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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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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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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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