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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.

Kyoto - Japan

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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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.

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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:

We’re going to INDONESIA!

7th August 2015

banner INDONESIA!!!

Yes I am shouting that. I was so stupidly excited to visit this place. I realise that this is quite a normal location for travel bloggers but for me it’s really exciting and completely new.

I am going to confess something to you all now and please don’t judge me but I LOVE THE BOOK EAT, PRAY, LOVE! I read it at a hard time and it inspired me to:

  1. Run around the world
  2. Leave behind me a very toxic part of my life

It was a very important book to me and I will always be grateful for each and every page of it. For those of you that have lived in a cave, this is a biographical travel book about a woman who gives up everything to travel the world. 3 months in Italy, 3 months in India and 3 months in Bali – Indonesia.

The second I read about the beautiful Ubud I knew I had to go. I am a massive cliché but I’m not ashamed. Any reason that makes you travel has to be a good one.

indo7 indo6 indo4 Lee on the other hand was a little wary of Indonesia. He is a Historian and had only heard about the conflicts and darker side of Indonesia, he hadn’t seen the beautiful photos and heard the wonderful stories from friends that I had. There are many dangerous areas in Indonesia but it is a big place. If you are worried it is important to check on your embassies website to see what they advise. Even after my constant sales pitch he still was quite reluctant.

So I did the thing any sane person does when being confronted with someone who doesn’t want to visit a country; you make them go for 3 weeks.

indo3 indo2 indo We started in Yogyakarta for the temples, then to Ubud for food and yoga, Nusa Cenigan for a quiet isolated island without roads, Gili Air for deserted island paradise, Gili Meno for an even more deserted paradise and lastly Lombok for expensive looking hotels at stupidly cheap prices. indo5

Our last stop on this trip is going to be nothing but relaxing and food. A holiday from the holiday. That’s a thing right? signature

Tokyo Arcade

2015 Travel Plans

19th February 2015

So I think I owe you all an apology. For the last few weeks i’ve become a little bit obsessed with my up coming plans to the point that I have kept mentioning it without giving any details.

So I thought that I’d share with you some of the things we’re hoping to achieve over the next year.

First, there are to-do lists…EVERYWHERE. My flat looks like a bombs dropped because there are about ten jobs going on at once but I’m hoping that it will all fall into place really soon and we will be ready to roll.

First I suppose it’s important to share with you what our plans actually are so here is our 2015 travel plans:

Tokyo Arcade Japan

Japan is somewhere magical to me. It’s a place mentioned in movies not a place that exists. When we went to Tokyo last year I was in my element and I fell in love with the place. Last night I was chatting to a friend who’s going to Tokyo soon and I couldn’t stop gushing about how much fun they were going to have. This time around we aren’t going to the bright lights of Tokyo, instead we are heading to Kyoto and Osaka. Kyoto has been high on my list for a long time and I feel guilty that one of the places i’m most looking forward to going over the next few months is our first stop but I just can’t wait to be surrounded by the history and beauty of this place….and the sushi!

 

El Nido Palawan Island, Phillippines Been here, truly magnificent and glorious!  http://www.lifebeyondthehorizon.com/philippinesparadise/The Philippines

Lee and I had never considered a trip to the Philippines but after seeing all of our friends fantastic pictures we quickly added it to the itinerary so we will be stopping in on Bohol, Boracay and El Nido. Here’s to sandy beaches and drinks with the locals.

 

Guilin, China. Globe Travel in Bristol, CT is standing by to make your vacation dreams come true!  Reach us at 860-584-0517 or by email at info@globetvl.com!

China

We went to China a few months ago but we can’t wait to go back. We wanted to see some impressive landscapes and the countryside of China is definitely the place to do this. We are heading to Guangzhou and Guilin …all the G’s. I’m not going to lie, I’m in it for the dumplings.

 

Hong Kong, China | 21 Most Colorful And Vibrant Places In The WorldHong Kong

I know listing Hong Kong as a separate country is debatable but I have a very good friend from Hong Kong who thinks of it as a different place and the British Visa application was different for Hong Kong compared to China so I think it’s fair to list them side by side. We are looking forward to climbing Victoria Peak and meeting up with my friend who happens to be visiting at the same time as us. Woohoo

Hoi An, Vietnam - Visit http://asiaexpatguides.com to make the most of your experience in Vietnam!

Vietnam

Vietnam is another place that’s been high on the list for a long time. We are starting in Hanoi  then going to Hue, Hoi an, Mui  Ne and Ho Chi Minh. We are looking forward to cooking classes, pho, and 12p beer… as well as all the culture/people/sights of course. We are going to the home of PHO!

Angkor Wat Cambodia / Watched the sunset here while drinking a horrid local wine and eating a crispy fried frog. A beautiful place & a wonderful adventure.

Cambodia

Next stop is a bus trip across the boarder into Phnom Penh. We don’t have long there before we are off to Sihanoukville. Before you all rush to tell us its not great we are only there for the night before we head to Koh Rong Samloem. A small island with about 5 hours of electricity a day. I’ll be celebrating my birthday here and I can’t wait. Sunsets and cocktails..woohoo. Lastly it wouldn’t be a trip to Cambodia without a sunrise trip to Angkor Wat in Seim Reap.

skyline2 Thailand

We are having a ‘do over’ in Bangkok since last time we had such a disaster (which you can read about here). People always think because of this we didn’t like Bangkok but I loved the place. I can’t wait to go back and see the place properly this time. Then it’s up north to the bloggers paradise that is Chiang Mai. Unfortunately , It’s rainy season when we go to this part of Asia . Our original plan didn’t have Thailand on it at all , instead we wanted to see Laos and Myanmar but the rain means we have to skip them this time, as well as the beaches of Thailand but I’m really excited to see Chang Mai after hearing so many great things. See you soon Pad Thai. You will be in our bellies.

Singapore's Supertrees at the "Gardens by the Bay". I see I'll have to go back to Singapore to see these by night.Singapore

I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am for this country. Is it for the history? slightly. Is it for the culture? marginally. Is it because one of my best friends is moving there a week before we arrive? HELL YES! This is a selfish stop for Lee and I to see one of our favourite humans…and maybe go to Sesame Street in Universal Studios, which for a Muppet fanatic is the holy grail.

Rice terraces close to Ubud. Bali, Indonesia To book go to www.notjusttravel.com/anglia

Indonesia

When we came to Asia this was high on my list of places to see. We are spending a lot of time here and seeing Yogyakarta, Ubud, Nusa Lembongan, Gili Air and Kuta Lombok. We can’t wait. Yoga, monkeys and beaches. We also may be dragging one of Lee’s best friends to meet us for a weekend so I can’t help but jump around a little bit when I think about journeying to this magic country.

The dolphins coming to shore at Monkey Mia, Western AustraliaAustralia

Lastly, but definitely not least is our new home for the year, Australia. This isn’t a country I ever wanted to live in , that was until Lee sold me on it because he is in love with the place. I am now fully on board and can’t wait to experience every inch of the place. We are starting in Perth but who knows where the year will take us.

Extra stops in 2015

Obviously we don’t know what will happen with the rest of the year but there are definitely some places we’d love to pop into:

Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Malaysia

When we are in Singapore we are very tempted to just run over the border and have some food there to say we did it. We are a little bit addicted to adding countries to our list but we will definitely be back to spend some proper time there soon.

Wow, just wow! Bridestowe Lavender Farm, Tasmania - by Tim Clark

Tasmania

I realise this is still Australia but I really want to pop over to this lavender filled paradise.

Fiji IslandsFiji, Tonga and Samoa

It would be rude to not visit these places while we are in Australia surely….let alone the Cook Islands, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu…ect

New ZealandNew Zealand

Once again this country is so close to us when we are in Australia that we would love to go and see the place but maybe we will do it at the end of year in Oz.

Here’s to an exciting year ahead.

 

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