Showing posts with label summer feels. Show all posts
Showing posts with label summer feels. Show all posts

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Travel Diary: Bali Indonesia

Last summer, we went to one of the world's most desirable island destinations- Bali, Indonesia! We were transported to Bali Hyatt Hotel, a 5-star resort hotel in Sanur, by a taxi from Denpasar International Airport. There were no traffic jams since we arrived late at night. The hotel staff placed Frangipani necklaces on us to signify a genuine welcome. As soon as I entered my room, I tossed my bags and headed straight to the balcony, hoping for a magnificent view of the beach! My excitement took over and I was dumbfounded when the only visible things were the palm trees and the well trimmed flower gardens. What was I thinking? It's already midnight! I tried to order some food from one of the hotel restaurants and they were so considerate to prepare Nasi Lemak for their famished guest. Soon enough I had my beauty rest and got ready for the awaiting adventure ahead.

Sacred Monkey Forest. Our first stop was in Ubud, Bali. As we enter the place, an elderly woman welcomed us, she was wearing a torso wrap made of Batik cloth. Batik Kebaya is their national costume. She then warned us not to bring food and asked us to look after our belongings while exploring the forest, for the monkeys can get a little naughty and might steal small objects from the visitors. Each group of tourists has an assigned guide, for us, it's the same elderly woman at the entrance. To make the tour more engaging, it is almost necessary to buy small packs of peanuts from a small store to attract and feed the tribe of monkeys roaming around.  I was a little freaked out when all of a sudden a monkey of a medium size climbed up my shoulder. He immediately jumped off of me when our tour guide waved a wooden stick. As soon as I calmed down, I started holding out peanuts to the little monkeys. I sat down a wooden shed for a photo op when one of the heaviest macaques around found me. I was busy posing for the camera and didn't notice that I was down to my last few pieces of peanuts. The monkey finished them all, so I was startled when he bit my arm! I think he was upset about not having enough peanuts to eat. The cut was not too deep yet it still bled enough for me to panic. I later found out it was one of the four monkey kings who bit me, apparently, a small offering wouldn't qualify me as queen, or so I thought. Haha! I immediately asked for a first aid kit. The tour guide told me there's nothing to worry about, she said every monkey had been properly vaccinated and consistently checked by a local group of veterinarians to make sure they don't spread infectious diseases when they come in contact with people. The tour finally ended with more photos of me climbing up a low tree branch, feeding a bat, and wearing a Balinese headdress. I did get a first aid after all... and a scar from a monkey king as souvenir! 

The Balinese Hindu Temples. Our next stop was in the Royal Temple of Mengwi also called as Pura Taman Ayun, one of the most important temples in Bali built in 1634 by a King of the Mengwi dynasty. It is a kind of Pura Tirta or 'water temple.' It is surrounded with ponds and flower garden. The place looked peaceful and silent, hence, the flock of tourists moving around. Pura Taman Ayun has a kind of split gate they call Candi bentar. Before I entered, I noticed a sign that says 'Women during their menstrual cycle are not allowed inside the temple.' I asked our driver, named Surya, why. He said it is one of their temple rules, women on their period were considered impure so they aren't allowed to enter. It applies even to us non-Hindus, we shall follow the rules to show respect to the people of Bali and their religion. Inside the temple were intricately decorated towers and their details were amazing. There were also open air place of worship within enclosed walls. We walked around the area on a special pathway made for visitors. These temples were a part of history, well-preserved by the Balinese people through time. You might want to do a research and read articles before visiting these temples.  

Mount Batur Hot Spring. While I weren't able to experience sunrise trekking, I have had lunch with a view and was able to relax in a natural hot spring in Mount Batur. The restaurants in Kintamani didn't only offer delicious Indonesian delicacies and Kopi Luwak, but also spectacular views of mountain scenery. Everything just felt perfect and peaceful here. You can really appreciate the beauty of nature. It's almost indescribable, you gotta see it to believe it! Meanwhile, the drive to Toya Devasya Natural Hot Spring was worth the wait, and not totally boring since I was able to see green rice terraces and picturesque scenes in a fishing village on the way. My experience in Toya Devasya was divine. I stayed there the whole afternoon taking in the wonderful scenic Mount and Lake Batur views, drinking watermelon juice by the pool, and having the time of my life. I even met the owners, they were pleasant to talk to and very accommodating. It was a perfect day and it was all still vivid on my mind!
Dinner by the beach. The perfect place to have dinner by the beach is in Jimbaran, Bali. When I got there, it was a bit crowded but there will always be a table available for you. The energy of the people around me was ecstatic. There were about forty to fifty seafood restaurants lined up, many to choose from so I thought. What's more exciting is that, the tables were set on the sand, out in the open, and next to the sea! I had to place my shoes aside and walk around barefoot. We had fresh seafood, Nasi Lemak, and sliced fruits for dessert. The atmosphere was perfect, it was romantic... if only I were with someone special. Haha! I could hear the soothing sound of the waves and actually saw aircraft from a distance, landing one by one on the airport's runway. We were also entertained by Balinese dancers performing on stage in their costumes and traditional Balinese music. I heard they start to perform by 8pm to 9pm only, so be there early to get the most out of this experience!

Finally, the beach! Most of my days in Bali were really spent lounging by the waters, reading a book on a beach chair under a palm tree, taking a nap, eating fruity tutti or drinking watermelon juice, trail biking, taking pictures, swimming, and instagramming (in my bikini) all at the same time. Well at least I finally found what I am best at... being lazy! Haha! Kidding aside, it was truly a fun-filled trip. Not everyone is granted an entire day of rest and pure relaxation, but I had a whole week of that so I ain't anything but thankful!!! Bali is truly paradise on earth, no wonder that tourists from around the world visit there on vacation, on their honeymoon, or on any other special occasions. In fact, I met two ladies from Japan, a couple from France, and two big families with their adorable kids from Perth. Most of the people staying at the same hotel as ours were from Europe, so it almost felt good knowing I have had quite a head start when it comes to working on my tan. Haha! At night, we also got to stay for a drink or two in the open bar and enjoy bossa nova music from a live band. But time flies and I had to say goodbye to this beautiful island. I walked down the beach for an hour thanking it, and contemplating on somewhat the happiest days of my life so far. I miss Bali. I love Bali. I will always go back to Bali, but next time I'll make sure I'll bring with me a DSLR Camera, more pairs of bikini, more sunscreen lotion, and hopefully the man of my dreams! Hahaha! 

I hope you enjoyed reading my post.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Top 10 Selfie-Taking Cities In The World

Isn't it that just last year 'selfie' was announced as international Word of theYear by the Oxford Dictionaries? 
It was also just twelve days ago when the record-breaking selfie by Ellen DeGeneres and A-lister stars including Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, and Bradley Cooper went viral with a total of 32.8 million views on Twitter and was instantly the talk of the town. 
Even my love, James Franco, wrote an article about The Meanings of The Selfie and was published online by the New York Times!
The word selfie means: a photograph that has taken of oneself, typically taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website. (Oxford Dictionary)
To investigate the geography of selfie-taking, they built a database of more than 400,000 Instagram photos tagged 'selfie' that included geographic coordinates. 

The top ten selfie-taking cities are:

1. Makati City and Pasig, Philippines - 258 selfie-takers per 100,000 people

2. Manhattan, New York - 202 selfie-takers per 100,000 people

3. Miami, Florida - 155 selfie-takers per 100,000 people

4. Anaheim and Santa Ana, California - 147 selfie-takers per 100,000 people

5. Petaling Jaya, Malaysia - 141 selfie-takers per 100,000 people

6. Tel Aviv, Israel - 139 selfie-takers per 100,000 people

7. Manchester, England - 114 selfie-takers per 100,000 people

8. Milan, Italy - 108 selfie-takers per 100,000 people

9. Cebu City, Philippines - 99 selfie-takers per 100,000 people

10. George Town, Malaysia - 95 selfie-takers per 100,000 people

Makati City and Pasig, Philippines is now the Selfie Capital of the World! Hooray! It's not something big, but we sure are happy for the recognition. And for that, I've posted a selfie myself! (see photo above)