Category Archives: Asia

Having a Korean Adventure in Australia

2nd July 2017

Lee and I made this video AGES ago. I just have no time to write anymore and I love YouTube videos so I thought I’d try and put some videos together.

We had a great day getting Korean food, walking around Korean supermarkets, going to cat cafes and watching Korean movies. Unfortunatly the camera broke and didn’t capture almost any of that stuff BUT it’s the thought that counts , right?

Enjoy 🙂

This is a little crazy and I seem like a mental Disney character in it so hopefully I get better.

Bye lovely people x

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How to Plan a Girls Holiday – Indonesia edition

8th September 2016

There is only one thing better than planning a holiday, and that is planning a girls holiday. (Sorry boys but it’s true).
If this was a film script this story would start with three teenage girls watching romantic comedies during a sleepover. Mouths filled with jelly babies. All snuggled under one duvet on the floor. These three girls would be (delusionally) talking about their lives as 30 year old millionaires and how magical it will be. They would make a pact to go on a big holiday together when they are finally grown up.
But this isn’t a film, otherwise at this point of the film i’d go and slap young Tania for thinking 30 is old and tell her I am definitely not a grown up . The story is true though. My two oldest friends and I have always planned to go somewhere together when we got to our dirty 30’s . We all have busy lives, crazy jobs and live in 3 different countries so the real question wasn’t if it was going to happen, but how the hell were we going to organise something like this.
To start off with our process involved lots of whatsapp-ing and numerous links to pretty pictures on Instagram. After a few months we were still no closer to a location or time so I came up with a list of what we needed, the kind of holiday-ers we were and what we want to gain from this trip. Here is my criteria to help all you lovely ladies out there find the perfect trip abroad:
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*What type of traveller are you?
To me this is the most important question. The kind of traveller you are will determined whether you want a beach, to go skiing or spend your time in a city. We are three very different types of travellers. One of my friends is a very busy director in a company. She works mental hours and long weekends. So when she goes on holiday she wants to relax, let her hair down and have as much indulgence as possible. She also wants to see magical things she couldn’t see at home. Our other friend is an incredibly talented accountant who has recently taken up the country life. She didn’t want to go anywhere on her husbands bucket list (understandably) , but wanted to have an adventure and go somewhere far and distant. Then there was me, the friend that lives thousands of miles away and who (after dealing with months of horrible visas) couldn’t spend too much money and wanted to see and do everything with her girlies. So our criteria was an exciting, active, relaxed holiday. Somewhere far off and exotic where we can indulge in luxury , but that doesn’t cost the earth. It was a tall order. The answer to me was Asia. Exotic yet cheap. Lots of activities, temples and scenery . Lots of nightlife as well as massages galore. It was a good starting point.

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* Weather –
Sunny but not scorching. We are all originally Welsh girls so our bodies don’t even know what vitamin D is. Nice weather was a must. The other thing to worry about is that I burn faster than a marshmallow on a campfire (I shared my beach pain here) so if we could avoid the height of summer it would be good. In Asia, summer can vary a lot by country so it was more important to find out when we could go on holiday and find out what countries suited my transparent skin and our need for heat.

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Kyoto – Japan

* Price –
As mentioned earlier I am the weak link in the chain. A few years of travel, visits to the UK from Australia, imposed house moves, family issues and Visa issues have meant that my bank account has forgotten what money looks like. Lee (the super budget wizard) has helped us get back on track , but I knew that to make this holiday happen it would have to be on a smaller budget. The main worry for me was that I didn’t want my friends to suffer because of my budget so I aimed to find a place were we could all live the high life, but for less. This meant that unfortunately places like America and Europe were out for me , but South East Asia was calling our names . The other plus point was that none of us have kids yet so we could go on holiday out of season when the kids are in school and reap the benefits of not being quite grown ups yet.

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* Girl friendly –

When three girls are travelling alone it is unfortunate that you have to consider things such as safety. At one point we were considering India or the Middle East , but I knew that I wouldn’t be able to relax if we went for a drink. I’d spend the whole time scared we were being scammed . This isn’t to say you can’t go to India on a girls holiday. In fact I have some really close friends who have done that very thing and loved every second. But it isn’t the place to go for a fun care free catch up. More of a location for a beautiful adventure. I have heard of quite a few scams that have happened to friends who visited, and as weird as it sounds we wanted to not be on our guard ‘twenty-four-seven’. Obviously everywhere you go has an element of danger and you should always be aware of that ,but I knew I’d go into ‘mum mode’ in India. It is still very high on the bucket list , but this time around I think we were searching for the lazy ‘Bounty chocolate’ advert experience.

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* Location –

I gave the girls a few options. We narrowed it to:
*Vietnam
*Cambodia
*Indonesia
*Hawaii  
I’d been to the first three so I thought back to previous trips . Lee reminded me of our time in Indonesia and how I spent the entire time telling him that Jess and Steph would love it. This is something I do for most places I visit , but he was especially right in this case. I did fall in love with this country. I made some rough itineraries for each country to try and squeeze in all that we loved doing and Indo won.

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From there it has been relatively easy. We used booking.com to make bookings that can be changed and cancelled if we decide to do different things last minute. We could see volcanoes and jungles, beaches and rice paddies, have massages every day and still party like we were ten years younger so it seems like the right choice.

We are  doing:
5 nights in Ubud – for the yoga, temples and tranquil part of our stay
3 nights in Gili air – For the stunning beaches , sunset cocktails and snorkeling
2 nights in Seminyak – for a bit of a city vibe and a party before we head home

We have made the roughest of rough plans to accommodate the endless chatter  and catching up that is needed and I cannot wait. I’ve been here before but I didn’t get to experience hardly any of it so I’m super excited to do almost everything for the first time.

Let the #dirty30 holiday begin.

 

Have you been somewhere that you’d recommend for a girlie holiday? Where would you recommend? Is there something we should definitely do in Indonesia?

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A China Travel Video

30th August 2016

I realised today that I haven’t shared our video of our first trip to China on this site (what?!)

I needed to rectify this wrong instantly. I imagine I didn’t share it originally because I was ashamed of my disgustingly cheesy choice of music to accompany the video.

Enjoy a few highlights of our trip to Beijing & Shanghai, where we completely walk passed the forbidden city, almost die on the Great Wall and dance up a storm.

Our trip to China from Tania Vincent on Vimeo.

 

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Before Turning 30.

11th July 2016

dock One of my favourite things to do on this blog is to recap the year on my birthday and see what I’ve been up to. I am 30 now after all and my memory is not what it used to be. I started doing this on my old little blog Doodlezilla when I was turning 27. I find that it is a great way to look back and appreciate the time that has past and kick my buttocks into doing more things.So here are all the adventures I managed to squeeze into my year of being 29*:

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Worried about being old? Dye your hair purple!

Worried about being old? Dye your hair purple!

  • My sister got a tattoo and turned 18 (WHAT?!?)
  • My mum joined twitter
  • Lee got a great job in Brisbane
  • Lee’s brother came to visit us in Oz

 

It’s been an amazing year. But there were sad moments. We lost my Great Aunty Pat this year. She was an incredible lady that raised my mum. I thought of her more as my grandmother than an aunt and it was really hard to be away from home. I wanted to just run home but money wouldn’t allow it. It broke my heart because I had carried her last letter to me all around Asia and I’d sent her a postcard from every location we’d been to .It made me happy to know she’d read them but also …it hurt so much. Life is full of ups and downs. I know these lists make it sound like it’s perfect but it’s far from it. Most of the year is boring days and a lot of bad ones too, but when I look back I only see those happy moments….even losing my Aunty, which hurt so much, makes me think about how beautiful a person she was and all the things I would be telling her now about my year.

Every time I think I’ve met the best the world has to offer, seen the best things, tasted the most delicious foods, I’m struck down once more by all of the awe inspiring things this little blue dot has to offer.   I don’t know how it’s possible, but life always finds a way to be more pretty and the people I know become more spectacular.

Thank you 29 for being filled with beautiful, lovely and delicious moments xxx

*I would like to point out that I wrote ‘my 29th year’ in this post. Lee pointed out that I had just lived my 30th year. What a Bumface he is. Boo!!! He’s lucky he’s cute.

 

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Gili Meno – The Girl and The Sea

20th October 2015

gilimeno_04 Gili Meno is the smaller of the three Gili Isles so you’d assume it would be less developed, but you’d be wrong. Gili Meno has the feel of a rich persons playground, or at least a middle class persons sandbox. There are nicer bars, bigger shops and lovely hotels lining the main area of beach…and then there is nothing. This island feels like it’s about to be a crazy popular tourist destination, but right now it’s still peaceful and well stocked. I still prefer Gili Air , but I’m glad we went.

We basically repeated our first few days on Gili Air, but with a little more snorkeling and a lot more sleeping. Being lazy turns out to be hard work.

gilimeno_05 gilimeno_03 I don’t have photos of our snorkeling adventures (Go Pro, you will be mine). It mainly involved me having a panic attack the second I stepped in the water and climbing onto Lee as if I was Scooby Doo. He calmed me down and I soon got use to the tide and the current, which is very strong on the Gili’s. We also both had to master the art of walking on the sharpest rocks known to man. I swear that Gili Meno once had a boat filled with broken glass crash on it’s shore and now it’s coast is a challenge even John McClane would fear.

gilimeno_07 gilimeno_02 We persevered and managed to snorkel enough to see a casting session for Finding Nemo down there. Bruised, battered and bleeding from the coral I headed back to the comfort of my sun lounger, happy with my day’s sightings. I told Lee I was tired, but the truth is I was scared my tiny cut was chumming the water enough for all the worlds sharks to descend on me . While I was shading myself from the midday sun I looked out to see a flailing Lee in the water. I instantly assumed a herd of Jelly Fish were trying to get his lunch money and I started to panic. There was no one around so I had to wait like a nervous maiden in a Bronte novel as Lee came back to the beach.

A manic Lee finally made his way to me and started dragging me into the water…”come on, come and see”.

I instantly assumed he had Sea madness and fought him off.

“Why do I need to go in the sea?” I screamed, digging my heels into the sand.

This is the part in the story where Lee turned to me with a face filled with more excitement and glee than I’d ever witnessed and screamed “theresaturtleinthewater”. That, by the way, is not a spelling mistake. He definitely didn’t put a single breath or break in his joyful sentence.

We waded out into the late afternoon waves , which were swelling quite a lot and becoming quite scary. Lee tied his size 13 waterproof shoes tightly on to my tiny feet so that I didn’t lose a toe on the razor like coral and we swam out to the deep waters. This is where it all started to go wrong. Lee’s shoes got tangled on my feet and were getting pulled the wrong way by the current, Lee was swimming far ahead and my mask was leaking water into my eyes that contained more salt than the rim of a good margarita. Suddenly all the water around me turned freezing and I felt I was getting pulled down. Panicking comes natural to me anyway but at that moment even Woody Allen would have asked me to “geez lady, just calm down” (please read this sentence in Mr Allen’s voice for full effect).

Lee was too far away to help so as I got dragged down I had to compose myself and untangle the shoes with my eyes closed telling myself that as soon as it was fixed I could just swim to the surface. Unfortunately I was wrong and I was never seen again…. No , of course not otherwise you’d be luck enough to not be reading this drivel. I resurfaced , emptied and tightened my goggles and went back down into the water just in time to see a beautiful sea turtle swim past us and away into the very wide, very blue, very scary ocean. Lee and I were elated. We hadn’t expected to see one at all and felt very privileged to have been given the chance to see this fantastic animal in the wild. We left the water on a high, my high not only from the turtle sighting but from the exhilaration of remembering how to function like a normal human in the water and not let my anxiety take over. That sea be damned scary.

Over all the Gili’s completely shocked us. The coffee was foamy, the people nice , the cocktails plentiful and the views…spectacular. I am not going to lie to you, I am extremely happy that Australia happens to be within a long weekend distance of these small islands. See you soon Gili.

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Well deserved wine and a cut up leg.

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Gili Air – Who Knew Water Could Be That Blue?

18th October 2015

giliair_07 By the time we got to Gili Air we were 11 countries in. Before we even stepped onto our boat we felt ready to just get to Australia and start our next adventure. We couldn’t imagine prettier beaches that the Philippines or a more relaxing atmosphere than Koh Rong Samloem in Cambodia. We were a bit exhausted from travel and ready to never pack a bag again. Luckily we stuck with the plan and arrived on the beautiful Gili Air.

Gili Air is one of the three Gili islands in Lombok. It is wedged between the tiny island of Gili Meno and the large , very popular island of Gili T. We decided right away to skip Gili T for the same reasons we skipped Kuta Bali. We heard it was filled with young teenagers on gap years eating magic mushrooms and partying into the wee hours. We looooooove a good party. In fact my liver’s future health was probably the main factor in needing to leave Korea , but after all these months we just wanted to do nothing. Not ‘tours of the island, climing mountains’ kind of nothing but actual ‘lay on the beach for a disgusting amount of time’ type of nothing.

Gili Air was exactly what we had hoped for. No cars, no fuss…just pure beautiful laziness on sand.

giliair_04 giliair_01 Our only major issue with Gili Air was that we were as poor as poor can be by this time. We were counting the pennies (or as I like to call them, cocktail tokens). There was only one atm that was almost always out of money, and we were hoping to pay by card as much as possible. This lead to a lot of walking around the island, which you can do easily in an hour or two. Each morning we would find a beautiful beach bar, ask if they took card and get a few lost looks. When we would eventually find a bar that took card, they would get the pleasure of our company until the sun had long thrown in the towel. In one bar they had sun lounges on the beach and our days were filled with reading, snorkelling and spring rolls. Eating breakfast, lunch and dinner in one bar was surprisingly liberating. They also obviously wou giliair_05 giliair_06 ld want to get rid of us and top up our cocktails with a little too much island liquor. We loved it.

We spent three days on our arses and I regret nothing. I did wonder how a holiday island would work that was mainly Muslim , but it was very respectful and surprisingly tolerant of Westerners skimpily clothed and drinking. This might sound naive to some people reading this, but after living in Saudi Arabia for a number of years it was a fantastic surprise. The call the prayer at 5am was actually quite soothing and reminded me of the early hours in Saudi where the songs would come floating through the house. If you are a light sleeper I’d make sure your hostel or hotel isn’t near the one main mosque on the island, but if like us you don’t check and are right next to it, it’s still easy to sleep. Coming from me this means a lot since the sound of an ant tickling its cousin could wake me.

giliair_08 giliair_09 giliair_10 After Gili Air we begrudgingly moved on to Gili Meno. We loved Gili Air so much that we couldn’t believe we were leaving it. Luckily we did because Gili Meno is just as lovely if not even quieter. ….but I’ll save that long winded tale for another time. Mainly because I want to throw more pictures of blue azure seas and random cocktails at your eye holes.

Happy Weekend Everyone. signature

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Nusa Ceningan – Wrinkly Fingers and Scooters.

11th October 2015

banner After relaxing in the tiny town of Ubud we did what any smart person would do and instantly went somewhere to relax even more…oh it’s a hard life.

We settled on the tiny island of Nusa Ceningan. While still officially Bali , this tiny island that is attached to Nusa Lembongan is a little off the coast of the main tourist area of Kuta. It is a forgotten island by most tourists so it is extremely untouched. No atms*, no real roads and beautiful untouched scenery are what you’ll find on this tiny island. There are some roads but they look like a blind giant got drunk and laid them.

nusacennigan17 The only problem with wanting to go to a tiny remote area is that getting there is a pain in the arse. There were quite a few boats but they basically wanted you to donate your kidneys to buy a seat. We decided to take the risk and take the local boat. After 3 months of travel we liked the word ‘local’. It normally translated to ‘cheap’. This local boat was A LOT cheaper, which should have been a sign. We soon discovered that we should have just paid through the nose for the other boat. At least there was a chance our nose would still be attached to our face after that trip…on this rickety, packed to the rafters boat…we would be lucky to be alive.

In the 5 foot waves we waded out with our bags to the floating shack. At one point a wave hit me that was so strong it took my feet from under me. We finally boarded the boat, soaking wet and ready to hit the (very) high seas. This is when we were told in broken English that some more cargo needed to arrive. We were already sitting on and among an array of boxes of all shapes and sizes so I dreaded to think what was on its way. What came aboard was two hundred ,ten foot planks of wood, a fridge freezer and of course, a motorcycle. Watching 4 men try to move a heavy bike onto a tiny boat while getting battered by waves was extremely entertaining and improved the trip immensely.

nusacennigan03 We were finally on our way and woozy from the petrol fumes. We pulled up to a beach covered in men screaming ‘TAXI’ at us. We knew we had a pick up from our hotel waiting so started looking for our people. They were nowhere to be found until finally one of the taxi men got excited and everyone started pointing at some people walking away from the beach. We ran up to these two and had to convince them that we were in fact the people staying at their hotel. They were having none of it. A recurring problem we’ve discovered while traveling on this trip is:

  1. Lee is an Asian name
  2. We booked our flights and hotels from Korea.

 

Everyone thought that Lee and I we would be Korean on arrival, most didn’t seem to mind but I could tell that some people had been brushing up on their ‘hangul’ for our arrival and were slightly disappointed in the pastie faced Westerners arriving on their doorstep .

 

nusacennigan02 nusacennigan01 We jumped on board their tiny scooters, covered in bags and started the ride to Nusa Ceningan and our hotel. About half way on our journey along the bumpiest roads I’ve ever experienced, I turned around slightly and couldn’t see Lee and his driver anywhere. I started to worry so shouted in the ear of the young girl driving that we’d lost them. I now knew her extremely well since I was clinging on to her for dear life. She paused for a while and waited but there was still no sign of them. She made the executive decision to carry on and hope they were just taking in the sights. What had actually happened was Lee’s guides bike couldn’t handle the weight of two grown men and three suitcases, so had given out. Lee had to get off and walk up any hill that lay ahead of their path. This is probably a good time to note that even mountain goats would come to Nusa Ceningan and think it was too ‘hilly.’

Finally Lee and his guide arrived at the hotel and we were given our beautiful room. It over looked our ‘private’ pool. It wasn’t meant to be private, but the two other villas were empty so for all intensive purposes we decided that it was our pool for the week.

nusacennigan05 nusacennigan06 nusacennigan11 We stayed at the ‘Da Fish’ Hotel and I’d recommend it to anyone. Great views, fantastic food brought straight to your balcony, lovely people and great location for seeing the blue lagoon.

We did nothing for the week apart from ride our scooter around the island and **prune our fingers. Hiring a scooter is something we never thought we’d do. Scooters are always part of peoples horrible travel stories. But without a scooter it’s impossible to get around Nusa Ceningan or Nusa Lembongan. We drove around, saw the island, ate at tiny restaurants and watched the sun set, but most 50% of the time was spent in the ‘private’ pool. We were definitely those smug annoying tourists for a few days.

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best part of travel? All the puppies and kittens

nusacennigan12 nusacennigan09 nusacennigan08 Nusa Ceningan is a tiny place but perfect for a couple. If you are travelling on your own or with your friends then I’d say Nusa Lembongan is better. More restaurants, music bars and even a local outdoor cinema. A bit more life to it and more places to drink, but for us Nusa Ceningan was where we belonged. Everyone needs to find a place they can pretend to be fancy tourists in once and a while. nusacennigan16

Lee throwing all the moves

Lee throwing all the moves

This is definitely the forgotten island and I’d recommend it.

*there is one atm but it is rarely filled. I think that it probably empties before the money delivery guy is even back on his boat. You can get money out from the money exchanges for a fee in an emergency, such as a ‘we need more pina colada’s’ emergency like we had.

** Pruning fingers is when your fingers have been wet for a long time and they get wrinkly. Lee laughed a lot when I used this term and I discovered it wasn’t a universal or even a local phrase.

Let’s Go To Asia – Travel Video

27th September 2015

So as the astute among you may have noticed, we are already finished with our trip. We are in lovely Australia. I still have a few posts about our trip to come, but I recently finished editing this little video together and couldn’t wait to share it.

So here is just a few of the best parts of our trip:

Ubud – Chilling out, Maxing, Relaxing All Cool

19th September 2015

header Oh Ubud. I thought I was in love with you before we even arrived. I had lived vicariously through blog posts, books and the eloquent ‘word of mouth’ that you have inspired. I always knew that our trip would include Ubud. I just hoped it would live up to the sky high expectations I’d already put on it.

We arrived for our 5 day adventure at Bali airport and were both amazed. Airports aren’t exactly known for being stylish or very different from one another. Bali airport is very different, they have redone the airport and have made sure that your first impression is a good one. A huge entrance gate full of statues and fresh flowers greets you from the plane. It really sets the holiday off to a good start. ubud006 ubud002 ubud001 ubud005

Then came our long taxi ride to our hotel. Ubud is about 45 minutes away from the airport and it was so dark that Ubud kept itself hidden. We arrived at our hotel and we experienced the magic that is an Ubud hotel. Many of the hotels have been built into temples so when you walk in you are faced with the detailed stone mosaiques, the smell of sandalwood and the beautiful flowers strewn all over the temple floor.

Just a casual street in UBUD

Just a casual street in UBUD

We woke up to the sounds of the jungle and we couldn’t wait to explore.

Ubud is bizarre, it’s a vibrant, funky little space. Hipster-ish but in the best kind of way. Walking around Ubud makes me want to do nothing but eat healthy, do yoga and drink smoothies. Everywhere you look there are temples, small markets and beautiful flowers.

The Balinese culture is so unique and probably one of my favourite cultures to discover. Each store and home has a small bamboo bowl filled with candles and flowers which is their daily tribute to the gods. They believe in family and don’t really believe in leaving Bali or in some cases even Ubud. This was especially strange to discover while talking to a local. He asked me and Lee a million questions about our exploits, but when it came time for him to decide if he’d love to see these places for himself he seemed completely content where he was. He said ‘Balienese people love stories but we love home more’. Bali is unique because it has somehow kept its traditional charm while still being very modern. Each restaurant still stares out onto endless rice paddies, Balinese traditions are everywhere you look and yet you can still use atm’s and buy anything you could possibly imagine. Other places around the world could definitely learn something from Ubud on how to retain their charm as tourism starts to take over.

ubud007 ubud013 We were lucky that a day after we arrived we were joined in Ubud by our friends Carly and Conner. Carly is my Ubud guru. Not only did she introduce me to the place but she also introduced me to the wonder that is Yoga. After just one class I was hooked. It only made sense that since we were in Ubud we would have to go to the one and only Yoga Barn. The Yoga Barn was made famous in Elizabeth Gilbert’s ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ and has become THE place for yogi’s from around the world to relax and display their skills. Having a class here guarantees not only a beautiful setting but the knowledge that you are being taught by the best of the best.

Even though I’d read a lot about the place it was nothing like I thought it would be. I have only been to two different yoga studios I suppose so I am not an expert, but I thought it would be a building with a large room for yoga…nope! It’s huge! There are cafes, restaurants, and a garden area with a stream. This is all leading to a huge open air atrium that goes down to a great (if not very expensive) yoga shop and of course the large yoga room. You could easily spend a week here. I wish we’d had time to do more than one class but we just did the one and I loved every moment of it. One of the reasons I’m looking forward to staying in one place for a while is so I can get back into a good fitness routine. It’s not impossible on the road and there are countless bloggers that look amazingly fit and healthy while they travel, but Lee and I love being lazy and eating our way around the world when we travel which doesn’t leave much room for gyming it.

indo3 ubud008 We honestly just spent 5 days being pampered, eating and driving bikes around this beautiful town. We got to see one of Lee’s favourite animals, monkeys in the monkey forest. I’ve never seen him as happy as when he had a monkey on his shoulder. We ate incredible food. Hummus, fresh fruit, olives and delicious treats are abundant in Ubud. The massages are super cheap so we had quite a few of them and were instantly annoyed that we hadn’t had more during our Asia experience.

ubud012 ubud011 ubud010 ubud009 It is a beautiful place and I’m sad that we couldn’t spend more time there. I think it’s definitely a place that we both felt we could easily live in for months and months. Who knows maybe one day we will.

Happy Ubud Faces

Happy Ubud Faces

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Yogyakarta – Asia’s Hidden Gem

20th August 2015

banner When we were planning our Indonesian route Lee stumbled on a little city in Java that peaked his interest. As a History buff Lee saw the words ‘largest Hindu temple in Southeast Asia’ and his eyes lit up.

yogya09 yogya13 The most important thing to know about Yogyakarta is how to pronounce the darn place. I was calling it yogi-o-karta until I arrived at the airport. Indonesians  pronounce it ‘Jog-ja-karta’ but the locals call it ‘Jog-ja’. This is what everyone calls it and it’s much easier to get by once you know that.

We were only in the town for 3 days and we spoiled ourselves with a nice place. There was a roof top pool and large comfy beds. Unfortunately the hotel is also where local school kids stay over night on school trips. Our room was surrounded all night by loud teenagers running up and down the halls. Its safe to say, as two ex-middle school teachers ……we weren’t impressed.

yogya06 yogya08 The kids weren’t the only down side of our first day on the trip. I also received some horrible news from home and spent my night curled up with Lee feeling horrible and very very far from home. Luckily I didn’t have time to think about everything too much since we had already planned a trip that started at 4am. I didn’t have time to think. I just had time to try and close my eyes before the alarm went off and we were on our way to Yogyakarta’s famous temples – Prambanan and Borobudur.

yogya02 yogya03 yogya07 yogya10 We took a tour to Prambanan organised by our hotel. We had a lovely driver and arrived at the temple complex just as the sun was rising. When you arrive at the temples you are given some water, a snack and a stylish sarong to wear. We leisurely wandered around the temple. Taking in the intricate carvings depicting Buddha’s pilgrimage and lifeline, beautiful surroundings and miles of jungle all around us.

The only thing to disturb the peaceful surroundings was the hundreds of kids that are taken there on trips. Schools take kids there to practice their English. We found it quite endearing because they were so cute and lovely shouting ‘mister , Mrs picture, picture’. We must have posed for at least 12 photos and managed to grab a few of our own.  It did take away from the beautiful sights a little especially since the concentration of kids was on the iconic roof of Borobudur where we wanted to take the most photos but couldn’t. But it was another welcome distraction on a sad day.

My favourite part of the day was when Lee and I went off the beaten track and climbed the hill over looking the Borobudur complex. We sat and watched the mist roll over the mountains in the distance and literally had time to smell the roses…and frangipans (at least that’s what I’m told they are called). Being so far up above the clouds was beautiful and I just wanted to stay there forever with Lee.

yogya04 yogya05 Since it was a tour , we didn’t have time to stop for too long. Our next stop was Prambanan. It was built in the 9th century and has a number of temples, each dedicated to different gods, The Creator (Brahma), the Preserver (Vishnu) and the Destroyer (Shiva). There was also a temple for Ganesha which is one of my favourite of the gods since it is half Elephant and half god. He is the god known for removing obstacles. He is seen as a patron of the arts and Hindus ask him for help during writing sessions almost like a godly muse. I’m not Hindu but I love the idea of a god that inspires imagination. It seems very fitting for a blogger to like him I suppose. He is also the god of beginnings. I had just discovered I had lost someone extremely important to me and it was nice to think of it as a beginning rather than a sad end. I am lucky to have known my aunty well enough to feel she was with me at every step of our journey.

yogya01 yogya12 yogya15 yogya16 Lots of things end but sometimes its nicer to think of them as changing. Maybe not always for the better but change opens us all up for new experiences and we also carry with us the things we learnt in the past. These temples were hidden from the world for so long and now they are there for everyone to see, even before that , in another life time they were strong central pillars to a community and a civilisation . People came to these stones for hope. It’s a wonder to be able to travel and see these sights that have been viewed by so many others.

A lot of people hate the idea of tourists or other people discovering something before them but I like it. I find it kind of satisfying to share these sights and incredible places with people I would never meet or even live in the same century as. It’s a privilege that I hope I never take for granted.

I am sorry for this reflective and slightly sad post but I don’t mean it to be . It was an uplifting trip and one I think we will both hold dear. Lee actually says he prefers these temples to Angkor Wat. I love them both equally but I also think it’s such a huge shame that Prambanan and Yogykarta itself is so over looked.

I’m really glad we stopped off in this nice little city as our first port of call in Indonesia. It was cheap  and a little grimy but the temples alone were worth the visit.

Our first impressions of Indonesia are high. I can’t wait to see what else we find.

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