Top Things To Do In Bali! | Excursion #2

At the end of last year I went to Bali for the first time, from December 23 to 30. It was also my first time in Indonesia for the record! I wanted to share with you some of the things I did which I can now recommend, in no particular order!


1. Visit Ubud, the Cultural Nerve Center of Bali

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I think that coming to Bali has to be accompanied with visiting the cultural nerve center of Bali, located in the town of Ubud! This small town was indeed packed with tourists but also with temples at every street corner, and some of the best restaurants I tried for the whole week! One simply cannot come to Bali without coming to Ubud, and seeing some of its sights 🙂 – At Ubud, 2hr-drive from Denpasar / exploring is free.

2. Visit The Sacred Monkey Forest

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I went to this jungle forest packed with wild monkeys everywhere and it was the best thing! Yes there were baby monkeys 🙂 – At Ubud, 2hr-drive from Denpasar / entry: 2$.

This definitely was a highlight of my stay in Ubud, because I’d rarely had the chance before to get so close to monkeys, especially wild monkeys. Even if you’re afraid of monkeys don’t worry: they rarely climb people, and if they do it would be because you brought food with you (which they can smell from the other side of the forest).

I took some beautiful pictures there, green was everywhere!

 

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3. See a Traditional Balinese Dance Show

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This definitely was a highlight of my stay again: I went to see a traditional Balinese dance show, which I believe is held every night, at 7 p.m., in the center of Ubud, at the Palace.

Despite the many many (many!!!) flying insects everywhere due to the humidity and the lights, the show is absolutely beautiful and the music enchanting.

If you’d like to be bewitched into Balinese culture, this show is for you! – At Ubud, 2hr-drive from Denpasar / entry: 5$.

4. Go And See Various Temples

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Crazy fact: Bali counts around 20,000 temples.

During my stay I went to see many temples – they are literally everywhere on the island! Each of them has something unique, so I’d say they’re always worth exploring.

I had the chance of going to Bali during the week of celebrations for the new year which is called Galungan 🙂 The whole island is on vacation, and decorations fill the streets and the temples: the main decorations, called Penjor, were very high bamboo sticks hanging above the streets. – Find more info here.

Visiting the temples is always free, but as the most famous ones are dispatched everywhere on the island, therefore accessing them is not always easy. You can either go by taxi (always ask the reception of your hotel) or scooter. – more info below.

You can find a list of the most famous temples here!

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5. Witness A Religious Ceremony

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In Balinese tradition, Galungan is the time of year when the ancestral spirits visit the Earth. For that occasion, the Balinese people gather in temples almost every day to bring offerings and pray altogether. – Find more info here.

The atmosphere created by the celebrations was truly awesome. It had a very authentic vibe, which was missing from the island otherwise, since it is overflowing from tourists. I strongly recommend going to Bali around this time of the year!

You can find a list of the most famous temples here!

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6. Go to a Spa And Get A Balinese Massage

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Going to a Spa is just part of the Balinese experience: you have to get at least one massage. Why? 2 reasons: it is so cheap you won’t believe it’s real, and the Balinese traditional massages are the best! The masseurs (generally female) carry just the right amount of pressure, although you can also ask for less or more pressure.

The beauty treatments are just amazing too, whether it be getting a manicure/pedicure, hair removal or a skin treatment, I assure you this will be a highlight during your stay! I did the best avocado hair treatment ever, which left my hair feeling sooooooo sleek I could not believe it. – 2 to 3 hours at a Spa / around 30$.

7. Make Friends!

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People on this island are some of the friendliest I’ve encountered. They smile all the time, they are happy to live, and they laugh a lot!

As soon as you get used to the indonesian accent, you’re up to go. Everyone speaks English 🙂

This picture was taken right after I climbed down Mount Batur, the most famous volcano of the island. I befriended my guide, the girl at my right, who I taught a bit of french since she was asking 🙂

On her left is the very friendly and funny driver I had to take me to Mount Batur, who also wanted to be on the picture, looking fab’ with his sunglasses!

8. Climb A Volcano

 

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Warning: if you’re afraid of heights like me, do not attempt this.

It was my first time climbing a volcano, and my first time going on a trek altogether.

Mount Batur is the second active volcano of Bali, the first one being Mount Agung which apparently you can’t climb anymore.

Climbing up Mount Batur is all fine since you do it during the night: however climbing down is a whole other matter! You don’t realise how far up you’ve gone until the sun comes out in the morning and you actually see the extremely steep slopes on both sides of the path (lacking barriers…)!

Hopefully I had a guide (which you’re obligated to have anyway if you want to climb) and she helped me go down when my legs wouldn’t support me anymore due to the fear.

However, I’m proud to have done it and I still encourage you to do it! – 2am to 7am / 10$ / ask your hotel reception for a ride there during the night.

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9. Take Some Of The Most Beautiful Pictures Ever

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Bali is of course one of the most instagrammable place of all time 🙂 Pictures speak for themselves, beauty stroke me everywhere I looked and of course I couldn’t resist!

Be aware that everyone wants his/her picture, and sometimes the sights are crowded of people who are here just to get their Instagram shot! Try not to get annoyed by it, it’s all part of the experience. 🙂

10. Relax And Enjoy Your Time There

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Bali is known for its relaxing atmosphere, its yoga retreats and its magical sights.

If there’s one place where you can forget everything and actually relax and enjoy the present, it’s there. Take time to breathe, you will not regret it.


Info:

Hotels are cheap in Bali. You can get a 3-star hotel for 20$ a night. Spend some time on the internet beforehand to check the best deals.

Getting around in Bali is pretty easy. You can either book taxis at your hotel reception (to avoid getting ripped off by taxi drivers in the streets) or renting a scooter for a day or a few days in a row. Any way, it will cost you around 10$ a day to go everywhere you like.

Balinese food is amazing although it is very much the same everywhere. You can get very big meals for around 5$ per day.

Activities can be pricy: it really depends on what you want to do and how big in a group you are. You will usually spend around 20$ a day for any kind of activities, per person.


This concludes my blog post on my stay in Bali, and if you want to know more, you can go and watch the vlogs I did while I was there! Here is the first part, and the second part 🙂 Do subscribe to my YouTube channel if you liked them!

Balinese kisses,

Lilly

aka The French Hat

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The Ultimate Travel Tag: 50 Questions

Tag: noun. Internet term referring to a list of questions to answer, designed to get to know better the person answering them.

Created by people on the internet for other people on the internet, a tag usually has a theme which can revolve around general or more specific topics such as food, friendship, culture, movies, seasons, travel…

Usually, a person answering a tag will take that occasion to create some new questions, and ask other people to answer the tag on their platform as well, in view of spreading the tag.

Has been seen on: YouTube, blogs, Pinterest, Twitch, Instagram, Twitter…

Derived from: To tag: verb. To link a person to a picture or video on a social network.


MAP OF THE WORLD

1. How many countries of the world have you already visited?

I’m originally from France, and so far I have been to Ireland, England, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands, the USA, Japan, Singapore and at the time this blog post will go up, I’ll be spending Christmas 2018 in Bali, Indonesia! So, 10 countries so far! 🙂

2. Which destination is the number one of your bucket list?

Oh my Gosh, this tag is already getting to hard to answer… Well, in fact my bucket list was all reshuffled after this summer 2018, because I went on a world trip with my parents for my 25th birthday/ end of studies/ life turning point and got to visit the USA and Japan, which were ex aequo my two ABSOLUTE number one destinations on my bucket list! You can read all about this mega-trip here 🙂

Therefore, now that two of my absolute dream destinations have been crossed off the list, I would say the number one on my bucket list now is be Australia. I’m actively looking at prices on Sky Scanner to see when it would be the best time to go there from Singapore!

3. 3 other places at the top of your travel bucket list?

Well, I’ve already written about the 10 Incredible Destinations I Want to Hit Before I Kick It, and from this I will say the other 3 are:

  • China
  • Egypt
  • South America

4. What does the ideal holiday look like for you?

Ummmmm… Let me think about it.

It would for sure be long, a month or two, and it would include discovering a new country and experiencing some kind of a culture shock. Visiting cities, but also incredible untouched sites, with preserved nature. And it would be either with one loved-one, or alone.

5. Favorite picture you’ve taken during a trip?

The two pictures I cherish the most are those two shots that my mother took of me in New York this summer…

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empire view

Both those shots are absolutely perfect to my eyes, and bring back so many memories of us being in New York, me for the first time ever, my parents for the first time in 27 years: they spent their honeymoon there before I was born…

It was my absolute dream to go there, for as long as I can remember, and both pictures represent the fulfillment of this dream of mine and make me remember how lucky I was then, and how lucky I still am to be able to continue fulfilling my dreams now.

6. Have you had to travel for work so far? If so, where?

Yes, I have had to travel for work on several occasions: when I was on internships in law firms during my law studies, I have had to travel to other courts or tribunals in France, for court hearings.

Since I’ve graduated as a lawyer in France, I’ve been working as a junior legal counsel for the Singaporean office of a big french company. So for my first job, I actually moved abroad, to Singapore.

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7. With who would you like to go on a vacation sometime?

With each of my loved-ones. Where? I don’t know, where the wind will take us 🙂

8. Who or what would you take with you to an uninhabited island?

For the person it would have to be a loved-one, and for the object it would have to be a knife, because I believe you can achieve anything with a knife (fire, create a shelter, make clothes, prepare food, etc.). But the real answer would be something intangible: knowledge about how to survive and nature in general.

9. Would you rather go to an amusement park or a zoo?

Anyone who knows me well knows I absolutely love amusement parks. For example, I have been to Disneyland Paris more than 30 times (I’ve had a One-Year Pass allowing me to visit for free).

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I also like going to zoos, but it really depends on the zoo, and I’ve visited a lot of zoos in my life actually, I’m guessing 20 different ones. In France, Ireland, Japan, the US and Singapore.

In France, you can have really nice open-air ones, where animals live freely in reserves, and most importantly not caged. I especially think about a bird park I absolutely love in Villard-les-Dombes in South-east France (website). I also remember visiting a domain where wolfs lived freely but were fed by humans, which allowed visitors to see them during lunch time. This is the kind of “zoo” I like, but it depends on what you’re calling a zoo really.

All I know is that when I see an animal caged and obviously looking like it’s gone mad, turning in its cage, desperate, it brings tears to my eyes. I can’t handle it.

10. Mountain or sea?

Sea. I’m a beach girl, have been going to the south of France and the Mediterranean sea for all my holidays from 0 to 17 years old.

11. Which country(ies) will you visit this year?

Well, 2018 will end in one week, but in fact I still have one country to go to this year: I’ll spend the last week of 2018 on the Indonesian island of Bali 🙂

I cannot say anything about 2019… you’ll see 😉 but stay tuned for my adventures to come, because 2019 will probably be the year I visit the most places, ever!

12. Where would you never visit?

Well, never say never, but I can think of places where there is a war going on, or countries under dictatorship. I can say I’ll probably never go to North Korea.

13. Which place did you think was so special that you wished to come back to it immediately after leaving it and still want to revisit now?

Kyoto, Japan. 100%, didn’t even need a minute to think about it. If you’ve never been, PLAN YOUR TRIP RIGHT NOW.

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14. A place you’ve been to where you would not go back to and why?

Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Will not go back unless forced to, and you can read all about the reasons why in this blog post: Why Las Vegas Was A Downer & Discovering Sin City | World Tour #8

15. What was the last country you visited?

Well, it was Singapore, because we ended our summer world tour with Singapore, and three months later I was back: now I’m living there 🙂

16. What is your favorite place on the planet that you have been to?

Japan. 100% again. Hands down. Not joking. If you’ve never been, PLAN YOUR TRIP RIGHT NOW!

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17. Favorite place in your home country?

Wherever I felt safe, at home, and with the people I love. It has never been attached to a place in particular.

18. You’re in an airport, and you know you can choose whichever destination to board a plane right now: which part of the world would you choose?

This situation only happens in movies… how nice it would be though! Well, to be really honest with you, I’ll go back to Japan, so the destination would be Tokyo, Narita Airport.

19. What’s your cup of tea – tropical island getaway, snowy ski break or city exploring trips?

Either Tropical island getaway (which will be what I’m doing for the last week of 2018, going to Bali) or City exploring trip!

20. What are your top 3 hand-luggage must haves?

A water bottle, a book and a blanket. It’s only with those 3 things that I can survive a 14-hour flight.

21. What 3 things would you take on holiday/travelling if you could?

All my books, my piano, and really nice camera gear.

22. Any travel tips to share?

Don’t prepare every single thing in advance of a trip: allow yourself to get lost, to explore whatever you wish to and to be surprised!

23. What is your most pleasant trip memory?

What I felt arriving in New York City for the first time in my life. I almost cried of happiness, feeling like the luckiest person ever.

24. What is your most unpleasant trip memory?

Being sick for two days straight in Tokyo, not being able to get up.

25. Most surreal travel moment?

The moment I left France again, to go and live in Asia. I cried, and in fact I’ve filmed it: you can watch my departure vlog here!

26. Most embarrassing moment abroad?

Well I can’t remember one in particular, but it always has to be with not understanding what a person is saying to me, usually talking in English but with a strong accent from somewhere.

27. Biggest disappointment?

Las Vegas, again. You can read all about the reasons why in this blog post: Why Las Vegas Was A Downer & Discovering Sin City | World Tour #8.

28. Nicest surprise?

San Francisco, California, USA! I’d never really thought about this place, but staying there and exploring this city was actually so nice! I’ll definitely go back to California in the future.

29. Favorite food discovery during a trip?

Well, this is a hard one because I’ve been eating food from all other the world since I was a child so for the moment I didn’t discover any food during a trip. However, I recently discovered Chinese Bao, at the Yam’Tcha teahouse in Paris, the small restaurant of Adeline Grattard’s husband, as seen on the third episode of Netflix’s Chef’s Table: France.

I loved the baos I ate there, and I’ve seen lots of restaurants specialised in baos here in Singapore, so I’ll definitely eat some baos again!

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30. Why do you travel?

Probably the hardest question of this tag. I will give the short answer, because I’d really like to extensively express my deepest thoughts on this topic in the future, on this blog.

I guess I travel because I’m looking for something, which I haven’t found yet. A place, someone, peace within, answers to my questions, truth? I don’t know.

31. Have you picked up any phrases from travelling?

I’m already getting so used to Singaporeans “Lah” to mark the end of their sentences, and “Can” or “Cannot” instead of answering yes or no, I’m sure I would have picked those in about a month!

32. Your dream travel companion?

A special someone I haven’t met yet.

33. Favorite city or country?

City: Kyoto, so far. Country: Japan, forever. (repeating myself here, am I not? Have you booked your trip there yet? What are you waiting for?)

34. Best item purchased abroad?

All the hats I own. They’re from all other the world, and I love them all.

35. Advice for those who want to travel but think they can’t?

If it’s a lack of money, then take time to look at all the budget travel tips available on the internet today: you won’t hesitate after doing that.

If it’s a lack of time, then really think about it: I am 100% sure you can find a way to take some time off whatever is keeping you from traveling (work, family, life in general).

And if it’s a lack of courage, which probably is the main reason for everyone, then meditate every day over this quote:

In the end, what you will regret aren’t the things you did, but the things you never had the courage to do.”

36. Travel accessory you always pack?

Taking aside the obvious (identity papers, phone + charger and money), I would say a travel guide or a physical map.

37. Your most treasured passport stamp?

My passport stamp from the US.

38. Can you recite your passport number from memory if asked?

Oh yes. Along with its expiration date.

39. Preferred method of travel: planes, trains or cars?

Cars, 100%. I’m all about road trips, even though I absolutely love planes and trains as well. I also cherish boats, and buses. Any kind of transportation really.

40. Hostel, hotel or AirBnb?

Hotel or AirBnb. Sharing a bathroom and a bedroom with strangers is my idea of hell on Earth, so hostels are NOT for me.

41. Are you a repeat visitor or do you explore new places?

I’m both. I want to go to all the places I’ve never been to, but also come back to my favourite places.

42. Do you read up on your destination (culture, history, safety) or do you wing it?

I read a lot about the destination, its culture and history, but I don’t plan the exact things I’ll be exploring or doing when I get there.

43. Favorite travel website?

I don’t really have one. What I’m all about are vlogs on YouTube, from youtubers like Louis Cole (Fun For Louis) who’s been to almost every country on Earth. I’ve been watching his vlogs around the world for almost 7 years.

Otherwise, I look at travel guides, and read travel blogs when I need information.

44. Where would you recommend a friend to visit? Name city and why.

Tokyo, Japan. Because anyone from anywhere in the world will for sure be getting a huge culture shock in Tokyo. This place is absolutely incredible, and it can be everything you wish it to be.

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45. To which destination did you first take a plane to?

Dublin, at the beginning of September 2011, when I was 17 years-old, to go and live there for 2 years.

46. Suitcase versus backpack?

Backpack. So much more convenient.

47. Is there something you do on every trip?

I always go out of the place I’m staying at, choose a direction, and walk or take transportation in that direction not knowing what I will find. This is how I’ve stumbled on amazing sites, discovered amazing restaurants, met locals, etc.

In fact, this is probably the best travel tip I could give to anyone, but to do this you’ll need to be absolutely care-free.

48. When traveling do you talk to locals easily?

Yes, and I make a point out of it. I need to connect with locals, because this is how I like to travel. Otherwise there would be no point to explore the world for me.

49. Do you feel like you’re different when traveling?

Yes: this is the time when I’m most feeling whole and complete, and not wishing to be somewhere else. I live in the present and am fully aware of the peace I’m feeling inside.

50. What is the greatest travel-dream you would like to accomplish before hitting your next big life-turn?

I would like to experience 3 to 6 months of living and working in different places, in one country or many… and I can’t tell much more because nothing’s settled yet. 🙂


Until next time,

Keep Calm & Travel!

Lilly,

aka The French Hat

Festivities in Singapore! A Portfolio | Singap’Life #2

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… even in Singapore! Well, in fact the town has been looking like Santa’s village since the beginning of November… so even before I arrived in Singapore, one month ago! Does it surprise you that much? Wait until you see what it looks like… I believe “kitsch” is the right word to describe it!


O’Christmas Tree, O’Christmas Tree, How Lovely Are Thy Branches

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Fairmont Hotel
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ParkRoyal Hotel on Beach Road
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Mickey Mouse Christmas Tree at Raffles City Mall
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Chijmes Square
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Raffles City Mall
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A purple one at Somerset!
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A white one at Orchard!

With Candy Canes And Silver Lanes Aglow…

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Christmas Logs… not iced though, because they would melt in approximately one second being brought outside!
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A Christmas special meal… in a salad!

May Your Days Be Merry And Bright…

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A Chimney at the Park Royal Hotel
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A ‘Stranger Things’ inspired decoration in a pub!
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A Reindeer at the Park Royal Hotel!
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The Cartier ‘Eye’ on Orchard Road!
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A Beautiful Ceiling on the Ion Orchard Mall!
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A Strange-Looking Decoration on Orchard Road!
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A Giant Open Bauble on Orchard Road!
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Same Ion Orchard ceiling in close-up!
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Purple Extravaganza at Somerset!
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A Mini-Christmas Village on Orchard Road!
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The Disney Theme of Orchard Road!
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Photo-Booth on Orchard Road!
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Alley of Stars at Somerset!
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Mickey Baubles in the trees of Orchard Road!
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What a Shiny Rainfall!
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THE Ion Orchard Mall Ladies and Gents!
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A Shiny Carousel under Shiny Lights!