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10 Things to do in Bali

Don’t be scared by the little islands size, Bali has the most different activities that I have ever experienced all in one place. This is a spot for those who wish for an active holiday, as well as those who wants to relax and enjoy life. I have listed some of my favorite things from our trip to Bali, and I hope you enjoy!

1. Visit a Rice Field

It is something about rice fields that fascinate me, and I always wanted to see one live. I tried on my trip to Vietnam, but that was a rather unpleasant sight as it was pouring down, and the haze was thicker than a cotton candy. When we came to Bali this was therefore one of my top 5 stops. Bali has several rice fields everywhere, and you will see them everywhere when you are driving around in Bali. The Tegalalang rice field in Ubud is maybe the most picturesque and popular rice field in Bali. A hot tips: get there super early, or very late just before sunset to get a picture without any people in it. I thought this place was gonna ble like you always see in pictures, but when we came it was as any other tourist spot; crowded with people. However, we decided to climb the rice field all the way to the top and just sit there and relax for a while. Suddenly we realized we were almost there by ourselves. Knips knips!

2. Rent a Private Bungalow

Bali has tons of private bungalows to rent, and often they come with your own pool! The interior and design is so sleek, and I must admit I have opened my eyes to a new interior style after staying in Bali. I was searching on Pinterest for hours after I came back! The prices are pretty affordable, so I would definitely recommend it. You can stay in a hotel room any other day. We actually only stayed in bungalows in all the places we visited, and they all came with private pools. Except the one in Ubud, then we were going hard core and slept in a jugle hut!

3. Stay Like Robinson Cruesoe

Ok I’m made exaggerating a bit, but the little island Bali actually have several other smaller islands around it that it worth a visit. The Gili islands are easy to get to from Bali, and only a few hour boat ride we were at the Gili Meno. This island is teeny tiny, and you can walk around it in less than two hours. There are no cars around the island, and if you want to get around it is by foot, bicycle or horse and carriage. This is definitely a place if you want to totally relax. You barely see any people before after sunset when everyone is out to get something to eat in (surprisingly) one of the many restaurants. In day time, I promise you, we bare saw anyone. And don’t forget to snorkle! Rent a private boat and go out on a tour. There is a turtle sanctuary close to Gili Meno, and I can almost guarantee that you will see a turtle. Even if you just swim out from the beach where you are staying you might be lucky to see some of these cool creatures.

4. Visit the Monkey Park

I’m a sucker for monkeys. Together with dogs, they are my favorite animals. How many times haven’t I been dreaming about having a little monkey in my apartment! Bali has a monkey park in Ubud, where you can get super close on the monkeys.

5. Visit a Waterfall

Bali has a lot of cool waterfalls, and some of them are quite easy to get to. We rented a bike and drove all the way up to Tegenungang waterfall. Bring your bikini, cuz you can actually swim in the water. Trying to take a shower under the fall is rather impossible, it is insanely strong. But I dare you! Try and see if you can do it.

6. Experience Traditional Dance

Around the several temples for sunset you can experience traditional balinese dance Kecak. It is a religious and artistic performance where they tell a story through their dance. There are no instruments involved, as they create the music with their own voices. Originally the participants are to get into some kind of trance, and the dance is a religious act. However, I would say that this has become a rather touristy activity, where the temple is packed with curious souls and they charge tickets for you to both enter the temple and the show. Anyways, the tickets aren’t expensive, and I thought it was a lot of fun to see a bit of their ancient culture.

7. Visit a Bar for Sunset

One of our favorite activities when we had the time was to go to any bar or restaurant and take in the beautiful sunsets. I think my favorite place to watch the sunset was in Uluwatu, as this city is situated along cliffs, and a lot of the bars and restaurants are built on top of them, giving an extraordinary view. We visited the Single Fin beach club, which is one of the most popular spots in Uluwatu. And an extra plus, on Sundays it turns into a big party for all the surfers and non-surfers. Take note; it is the place to be. But be aware: if you wanna have a seat, come early! We came two hours before sunset, but it was already packed. Luckily we were super lucky and got some perfect seats outwards the sea. Get a jug of Margharita and something to nibble on and wait for sunset. The view is spectacular. After that you’ve probably finished both one and two jugs, and the rest of the night go by itself.

8. Hike a Volcano

Get up super early and climb your way up in the pitch dark up a volcano and rewards yourself with the most amazing sunset you’ll ever see. The hike takes a few hours, but is feasible for most people that are comfortable with hiking. Bring some extra clothes for the top, cuz its going to be freezing.

9. Surfing

It is a must do! Either you have never tried before, or you are a decent wave rider, surfing is a must do when in Bali. We tried out both Seminyak, Cangu, and Uluwatu. Both Seminyak and Uluwatu had great beaches for newbies like me, but Uluwatu was definitely a favorite. In Cangu I had to pass as the waves got a bit too scary for my taste. You just go to any surf beach there is at the place you are staying, and there are several places to rent a board. There is also always several instructors there to teach you, no need to go to a surf school. Didn’t manage to get any shots, as you should leave all your valuables in your room. You never know who’s around on the beach.

10. Healthy Eating

There are tons of healthy cafes in Bali with the most tempting dishes. I have never visited any place where it is that easy to eat healthy. A lot of super foods, organics, greens, vegan places and yes, everything healthy you can imagine. I’m gonna share a restaurant and cafe guide with you later, its just too many good places not to miss.

 

Always on adventure

This easter holiday/Songkran I decided to take some time of and go to Bali. I’m soon going back to Norway, and Bali was one of those places I just had to check off before leaving. The flight from Bangkok is only 4 hours, and totally manageable. As a first time visiter I wanted to get a little piece of everything Bali has to offer, and truth to be told; I sure did. 10 days was surely not enough, and I’m definitely going back as soon as I have the opportunity. Bali literarily got something for everyone. The yoga crew hides in lush Ubud, the big city girls who just can’t live without their lattes do their shopping in Seminyak, the surfers of the world hang out in Uluwatu, and the Robinson Cruesos of us escape at the Gili Islands. I even heard that the party animals can have a good time in Kuta. At the moment I’m working on a little Bali guide, and I’m gonna share some of my Bali tips with you guys. Until then, have a lovely one <3

 

Wonderfruit

Cred: @tbarret

Cred: @wonderfruitfest

Can’t believe Wonderfruit is already over. Omg, what an amazing weekend! The festival is a immersion of arts, music, talks, workshops and food, where I would say that enjoyment is absolutely in focus. During daytime you can listen to interesting talks, engage in workshops or even have yourself a workout in everything from yoga and bellydancing to parkour and muay thai. I was only there for two out of the four days, and chose to go all in for the food and drinks. Hehe.. For sunset, everyone is gathering around the sun stage, and this is when the divas come out from their Boutique camps, and the party really starts. There are several stages around the festival camp with different music playing everywhere. My favorites were definitely Tiki bar, Bonafide and not to forget the Quarry. The last one is where you party your ass of before heading home (if you even make it home before sunrise that is..)
The festival is being held yearly in Pattaya, Thailand and is an event not to miss. It’s located at the plantation fields a Siam Country, and you feel like you are far away in the desserts separated from the rest of the worlds. The vibe was amazing, and I can’t wait till next time!

Secrets to Singapore

Recently came back from my trip to Singapore. Been mentioning it before, but living in Bangkok is heaven when it comes to traveling around! Took an express visit with 3 days, and to be honest, it is (almost) enough! 20.000 steps each day proves our commitment to the touristifying of the city. It was a lot of places and things we didn’t have the opportunity to visit, but here are just a few suggestions from my trip.

Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the bay

Disney world on speed! It seems like the architects and garden planners here had something to do with the movie Avatar. While walking here you are surrounded by plants from the future, and buildings that seems to take you to there. Put on some comfortable shoes (do not do like me), and just walk around in this «garden» for hours. Try some local specialities at the «Satay», and watch up on the «spaceship building». Do not go there yet, save it for the evening!

 

Singapore Art Science Museum

Geek allert! I have been studying chemistry and physics, but this is really a museum for everyone! Singapore Art Science Museum have several exhibitions, but Future World is what really got our attention. It was an interactive, inspiring, fun and educational exhibition, really mixing science and art. I would also recommend to bring your kids here, as there were a lot of activities and fun for kids to try. 5 out of 5 from me!

Singapore by night

Yes you’re right! Put on those heels and get up there. Singapore skyline is waiting for you as you sip on that long drink. And hey, it doesn’t matter which sky bar you go to. Just find you favorite and watch the view. It is spectacular! (For those wondering, yes we went to the space ship aka Celavi. Couldn’t go there without checking out Bangkok’s big sister)

 

Sentosa Island and Universal Studios

If you wanna have some fun, head over to Sentosa Island. The island of fun offer everything you could wish for.  Sentosa offers waterparks, aquariums, and museums. The choice is yours! As the landlubbers and speed junkies we are, our choice ended at Universal Studios. Already been to the one in Florida, but this one was no disappointment. Decent choice of rides for «grown ups», and when you just cannot behave and stop dancing when you hear the lyrics «I like to move it move it», you know this place is for you. And sorry for the lack of pictures, someone was having it too much fun!

Singapore has a lot to offer other than this, not to mention the tons of malls and opportunities for shopping. Did I mention that they have a (regular) Victorias Secret store there? Almost reason enough to go. The city is super clean and beautiful, and just walking around is an experience in itself. Not to talk about the food, as the multicultural diversity entails a lot of amazing cuisines to try. Bon voyage!

My little guide to Laos

Hi lovelies!

As you might know, a lot of traveling has been on my schedule lately. My last trip was to Laos and I want to share my experiences with you. So here it goes, a long post this time! For me, Laos was a country I knew nothing about, and had no dream of visiting. However, after talking to a few backpackers and people here in Thailand they managed to convince me that this is a country worth seeing. And weren’t they right? I went to Laos with no expectations, and was just stunned when I came out from the airport. High mountains and green forest raging over the little city of Luang Prabang was an absolutely amazing sight. Something refreshing from busy Bangkok.

LUANG PRABANG

Air Asia recently opened routes to Luang Prabang from Bangkok which makes it easy to visit the country. Luang Prabang is a city located north in Laos, and is a part of UNESCO´s world heritage. The city has a lot to offer, everything from culture and heritage to experiences in the nature. Actually, if you don´t have a lot of time, or do prefer to stay in just one city, Luang Prabang is a great option.

 

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Mount Phousi

Climbing Mount Phousi was a must do in our stay, and because of the easy access from the city center we just went for it. An easy hike up 355 steps gives you a great 360 degrees’ outlook across the city and the Mekong river. Google suggests to spend several hours on this hike, but to be honest, I’m not sure if we even spent 1 hour in total.

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Kuang Si Waterfalls

Rent a tuktuk and go on a hike to see the waterfalls! It takes around 30 – 60 min to get there (we didn’t actually pay attention to the time), but the trip in itself is very entertaining as you are driving on a bumpy and muddy road. Ok, someone would maybe not call that fun, but hey, it’s all about finding those small pleasures in life, and everything that is different from Scandinavia is exciting! Put on your trainers and walk all the way up. The last part of the trip is a bit challenging as it is very steep, so maybe don’t bring your old grandma up there (even though I’m sure mine would have been the first one to the top!). On the way you can choose to have a swim in the different waters, so it’s up to you. We, however, chose to wait until the top before we could enjoy the ice cold water. On the way down you can choose to take another route where you actually have to walk down some stairs that are placed remarkably close to a waterfall, leaving you soaking wet before you get down. Kuang Si is a perfect half-day trip you can combine with something else.

 

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(Wat Mai)

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(Wat Xieng Thong)

Temples

Luang Prabang has an extensive concentration of temples, Wats, which are homes to more than 1000 monks. Even though we have visited lots of temples in Thailand, we still felt it was a must because of their history in Laos. We decided to visit Wat Xieng Thong, which is considered to be one of the most beautiful temples in Luang Prabang, and Wat Mai (because of convenience).

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Alms Giving Ceremony

This tradition is the most sacred Laos tradition, and I’m very happy that I was able to experience it. When the sun rises, hundreds of monks walk down the main street of Luang Prabang to collect food for their only meal of the day. We participated in the ceremony after guidance by the locals, and it was a great pleasure. However, very sadly, as with many other things, I felt that the tourists were destroying this beautiful moment by running around with their cameras. I chose to take a quick snapshot, but if you wanna se some really great pictures from this ceremony just google «alms giving ceremony Luang Prabang». Put your alarm at 05.00 and observe!

 

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Lao Cuisine

As with all travels, a big part of the adventure is to try local food. Luang Prabang actually have a lot of good restaurants and friends suggested us to try Tamarind restaurant and 3 Nagas for good authentic Lao food. Because of full houses we ended up with the neighbor restaurant Bamboo Tree, and it was nothing less than amazing. Try the tasting menu, and I challenge you to go for «Lao spicy».

VANG VIENG

200 km away from Luang Prabang you find backpacker Mecca Vang Vieng. On European highways you could be able to go to such a distance around 2 hours, but here however… If going by minivan at daytime (which I recommend), it will take you about 4-5 hours, or if choosing the night bus 6-8 hours. And no, it is not the rush traffic that will stop you, but the non-existence of roads some places. No lights are to be found, which is why it takes almost twice the amount of time to go there by night. Nothing for those with heart problems or a rational mindset. When our driver chose to take a short cut down the mountain the only thing to do was to praise Jesus, Maria, Buddha and everyone else at once. Maybe this is one of the reasons there seems to be only young people in Vang Vieng…

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Cave Tubing

Tubing is a much discussed activity here in Vang Vieng which has caused the life of many young people, which is why Laos decided to shut down many of the bars surrounding the river. It is not how it used to be before, thus we chose to go for another activity; Cave tubing! Together with a local guide you put one a head light, jump into a tube and go into a deep dark cave. Such a scary but adventurous experience. I think that this might actually be one of the coolest things I have ever done. To get there you need walk for a little while, but look at the amazing nature you are surrounded with!

In Vang Vieng you also find numerous activities to do as hiking, waterfalls, zip lining and such. However, we were restricted by our time and had to choose one activity.

And for those who like nightlife; Vang Vieng, due to its small size, actually have a bar and a club where there always is something going on. If you are traveling by yourself this is the perfect place to go. We made a lot of new friends during our party night 🙂

I hope that you now feel a bit tempted to visit Laos!

Dragon trail

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Im going to give you a little tip of what to to in Hong Kong that does not involve shopping; Hiking! Most people don’t go to Hong Kong to go hiking, but I would really recommend this little hike on the Dragons back. You start your hike by taking the bus only a short 30-40 min ride from the city center, up to the mountains. From there you start your journey on the dragons back, a trip that google suggested to be 4 hours, but in reality it was only two. Maybe if you go all Asian and stop to take pictures everywhere it will be 4 in the end.. The hike is fun, as it has a lot of different terrain as stairs, open hills, and paths hidden in craters. And the best about the whole trip is the spectacular view you are able to see every time you reach a height. If you want to, and what we did, was to extend our trip a tiny bit and walk all the way to a nice little beach. In my opinion, the best way to relax after a hike.

 

And by the way, a lot of traveling these days. As we speak I’m actually in Laos! The computer is staying home, thus some late updates. But better late than never. For more updates from my travels follow me on Instagram @idakjoh or Snapchat: Idajohlol.

HONG KONG

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The past few days I have been visiting Hong Kong, and omg what is not to love! The city is uber modern in many ways, and sky scrapers are popping up everywhere. Hong Kong has everything to offer when it comes to shopping and restaurants. It is very easy and convenient to get around, so it doesn’t matter if you stay on the mainland or the island. One of our main destinations, as of any other tourist, was the Victoria peak. The place is crowded, and it takes forever to get there (ehm..2 hours to buy tickets to the tram), but even after fighting with targeted Chinese people, the view that awaits you is spectacular. As the spartan Norwegian I am, I was expecting a normal lookout post, maybe with a little telescope, but no way José. The Hong Kongers have of course created a fancy little shopping mall with restaurants and even a Madame Tussauds.  Do I need to remind you that Hong Kong is a shopping mekka?

More about my trip to Hong Kong in later posts!

NORNDEE

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SUIT: JJ MARKET

Norndee, our little hideaway for our stay in Hua Hin. The design is what made us fall for this place; a little hipster urban Scandinavian with a mix of beach vibes. Not too many guests, nicely located just a few min walk from the beach, and a fair little breakfast is included in the price. Next to the hotel you also find a little bar which also have the coolest design with live music and nice cocktails in the evening. Btw, do you like my new little outfit from JJ market? Only 100B (23 nok), what a bargain huh? Love that place! If I know myself right I will be returning JJ maaany times before I leave BKK. Have a nice Sunday lovelies, for me its classes all day.

Hua Hin

 

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Blue sea and white beaches as long as eyes can see <3 We were hanging out at the pool this week, and suddenly, because of cravings for beach I guess, we were sitting in a car on our way to Hua Hin. This is where Bangkok people like to go for their holidays, and the city is crowded by beach resorts. To be honest, I think that is why you go there. We however, who are not used to having a beach available all the time, could not resist doing anything else than rolling around in the sand. As it is a part of the main land, the beach is not as beautiful as if you go to an island, but at least you get sand and water. Another big plus is that you get the whole beach to yourself as everyone else prefer pool and beach resorts. 3 hour drive from Bangkok is not too bad, but as always, be aware of the traffic!

Ayutthaya

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I LOVE exploring! This time it was Ayutthaya, the old capital of the kingdom of Siam, with its many historical spots that was going down. I have to admit I don’t know a lot about Thai history, but even though I don’t, I really enjoyed Ayutthaya. I felt like a little Tomb Raider walking around in those ruins. These types of architecture and monuments really excites me, I find them so cool! The city is pretty big, and there is a lot of things to see. People normally go by a tuktuk, scooter, bicycle or feet to get around. We chose the bicycles as usual (need to burn those calories when you can right?), and I would really recommend you to as you then can cross the island on the smaller roads to get around. That is only possible by bicycle or feet. But honestly, feet will take you too long time and you will only be able to see a few things.

Before we went we read some guides about where to rent bicycles and other practicalities, thus we headed straight to the train station. ATTENTION PLEASE, don’t listen to the guides. If you rent the bikes next to the train station you need to bring them with you on the boat (Thai boat, not a big ferry, just sayin’) and carry them as a strong man up and down the long and steep stairs! Just cross the river, and get the bicycles right on the other side. And yes, that is another thing; you can actually get to the island (Ayutthaya is an island) by crossing the river and not the highway bridge. When we came we were told the only way to get to Ayutthaya was to cross the highway bridge. So there we were, 3 girls, one big highway and death in our eyes. I guess they tell you this because they want to you of with a tuktuk instead of the cheaper options as bicycles. However, as you already know we ended up with finding the boat who safely took us to the other side.

Ayutthaya is located 80km north of BKK, and you can get there by buss, mini van or train. Self I went with a mini van because that is supposed to be the quickest option. However, that only counts if the traffic isn’t too bad, which means you have to leave super early in the morning. The train will take you there just as fast, and it only costs a percentage of the price (Even though the mini van isn’t expensive either).

I really recommend Ayutthaya to those who like to just have a little adventure and see something cool. You don’t need to be a history fanatic at all. A perfect little day trip.