Bali in 4 Days-Part 2

Bali, Day 4 ( 2 December 2016)- Our final day in Bali was again, another early rising one requiring us to wake up at 2am in the morning to take the car to the northern side of Bali at Lovina to watch the dolphins.

Lovina Beach Dolphin Watching
We set out on one of their boat which all of us sat in a single row and set off towards the sea along with many other boats in search for dolphins. Was pretty funny whenever someone spotted a dolphin you will see all the boats racing in that direction. I think we were considered lucky to see groups of dolphins swimming near our boat and some even leaping slightly above the water!The sunrise was gorgeous too, though it didn’t rise above the water like I was expecting it to, but instead over the mountains.

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Banjar Hot Springs
Since we didn’t go to the other one near Mount Batur, our driver kindly suggested this alternative for us to visit today. Of course you can’t compare it to the view of the mountain and lake of the other , but it was really therapeutic nevertheless!

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Gitgit Twin Waterfalls
There were three waterfalls here though we just visited the Twin Waterfalls because we were still exhausted from the Mount Batur hike yesterday heh. Before we got off the car, our driver warned us of the local guides there who warn you that you will need them to show you around or you get lost and fall to your deaths or something nonsensical like that, and of course you have to pay them for their “service”. Sure enough, once we alighted, a man approached us telling us if we needed them and we told him that we didn’t have enough money so he didn’t bother us anymore. There were a few paths leading to the waterfall but definitely manageable and wouldn’t require a specific guide to bring us there. Our driver however, did tell us that a local guide is definitely recommended for the other waterfall which you could do cliff diving at since it can be dangerous, but not for this one. We swam a little in the waters which was freezing cold but super refreshing!WhatsApp Image 2016-12-06 at 03.13.12.jpeg

Ulun Danu Beratan (Temple by the Lake)
Started raining when we reached and was a little foggy. We sought shelter and had our lunch while waiting for the rain to stop but that of course…didn’t happen. But we still managed to look around and snap some pictures of the temple. This site is printed on their 50,000 rupiah dollar note so definitely worth seeing!whatsapp-image-2016-12-06-at-03-10-22img_6161

Jatiluwih Rice Field
So we spent a long time deciding if we should still visit the rice paddy field under this horrible weather, and we still ended up choosing to go since we are already here in the area. I was really glad we did though! Going down to the rice field was a dirty and muddy mess, probably because we chose the wrong path, but it was quite funny at the same time heh. When we finally reached the bottom and looked around us surrounded by rows and rows of neatly aligned rice paddy fields, I knew that our efforts were not wasted.img_8106img_6206

Tanah Lot
Our very last stop before flying off! We wanted to see the sunset here but no luck for us again with the rain and all though it stopped when we finally reached. It was still low tide so we managed to get down to the temple site which I didn’t the previous time I was here. We queued up to receive their blessing where they sprinkled a few drops of holy water on us and placed rice on our forehead and flower behind our ears, though you have to give a small donation of course. Saw the holy snake too which was linked to a legend at the temple though it just looked like a normal sea snake haha.

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So that was our eventful four day trip in Bali which we definitely wasted no time at all. Noted never to be tempted by the extremely lucrative exchange rates along the road side because they are FAKE and our money almost got cheated away. Apparently it’s a norm in Bali and our experience fit exactly what our driver told us, though he only told us a little too late. Luckily we didn’t change that much money and he returned us our euros when we threatened to call the police. But it’s a lesson well learnt!

Starstrucked in Santorini

Santorini, Greece (20 May 2016)– Picture perfect from every angle, my initial skepticism completely vanished when I caught sight of those white washed houses and blue domed churches finally in REALITY. Santorini has always been my idea of the perfect Greek summer dream,  a place on my bucket list of places to go, and sure enough it didn’t disappoint!

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Exploring Fira
Fira was the place where we stayed at for the entire trip. Our accommodation was a nice and cozy family house with really hospitable owners. We decided to go for a free walking tour on the first day and the guide brought us around Fira without of course, forgetting to bring us to see the famous blue dome and church bells. Actually that was the first question I asked him, typical tourist move heh.  We hiked all the way up to Imerovigli where he said we would see the best view and it was spectacular indeed. Once you reach a high vantage point and looked back, you can see the entire coastline with the white buildings along the cliff. There are a lot of paid tours on the island but they were the ones who started the first free tour despite the disapproving attitude the rest have towards them for disrupting the tourist business. Our guide was no expert but he just volunteered out of interest to show us tourists places that he consider worth going and sharing a little knowledge about what he knew.

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Journey up the volcano
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View from the top!
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Volcano Hike
On the next day we took a whole day tour which included a boat trip to the volcano and a swim at the hot spring, a visit to a tiny island called Thirassia and ending at Oia to catch the sunset. Honestly, we were feeling a little lazy so we just felt like following a tour without having to plan anything by ourselves. It cost 38 euros per person which we found pretty decent considering that it included transportation to and from the place we stayed at too.

Our first stop was the volcano and we hiked up to the highest point where we could see the crater and the entire sea view from the top. The wind was blowing so crazily hard and I don’t think I’ve ever felt so afraid of actually being blown away? Sounds stupid but the fear was real. The entire walk up and back down took around an hour before we depart for the hot spring. Such a shame that I didn’t bring my swimming suit because the water was so clear and blue that I would’ve loved to jump in. It turned out that the swim to the inner part of the hot spring was a pretty long one and many people didn’t even reach before they had to call for help to bring them back to the boat. So…swimming skills are still a must!

Thirassia
Our next stop was the island of Thirassia. Honestly, there is nothing much on this island. But being a Greek island, it still had that old greek charm and amazing view of the Aegean Sea that made it worth spending a few hours there. We hiked all the way up in search of food. There were many restaurants near to the sea but we decided that those were probably tourist traps and were likely more expensive. The hike up was tedious, especially since it was sweltering hot but the tavern we went to, and the view, was well worth the sweat and effort. The food was not too pricey and delicious, especially the freshly made Moussaka!We had one later on at Fira but it didn’t taste half as good as this. So definitely recommended to hike up for some great food!

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Sunset at Oia
Finally, the highlight of the tour was of course the sunset at Oia. Known as the second best sunset in the world, it’s not hard to see why. We spent some time wandering around  the alleys in search for the postcard perfect blue domes. When it was almost sunset, we went to the tip of the island where everybody is, and waited for the sun to set below the horizon. It would’ve been a nicer experience if we didn’t have to squeeze through the crowd just to get a peak of the view, but you know…all great things have to be shared.

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Red Beach
On our last day, we pretty much spent half the day at the Red Beach, soaking in the sunshine and ocean breeze. Honestly, the beach was nothing particularly spectacular except for the soil tinted with a slight reddish brown, but it was a nice place to just chill and relax about!

Still can’t believe that I’ve finally experienced the paradise island of my dreams, and I get the reason for the hype over this place. There’s something dreamy and surreal about this place, a place where you can dump all your troubles away into the foamy sea and just live in the moment itself.

 

 

 

 

Ghostly Gorgeous Mittenwald

Mittenwald, Germany/Austria (12 June 2016) – Right after the trip to Konigsee was another hiking trip to Mittelwald which was just as amazing. Our main route for the day was to visit the Gorge of the Ghosts (Leutasch Geisterklamm) , hike up to a restaurant called the Hut, hike back down to the village of Mittenwald where we will take the train back to Munich.

Our first stop was a short trail to the waterfall. We had to pay 2.50 euros to enter but it was definitely worth going! It brings you into the innermost region of the gorge with the foamy waters flowing fast beneath you and where you reach the waterfall at the end.

 

Then it was our turn to hike through the Gorge Ghost Trail. It’s really designed to be family friendly with educational stops along the way and stories about goblins and ghosts. We even saw a man carrying a baby who is probably only a few months old on his back!The hike was really easy at the start with the path already paved out, but after awhile it got a little harder when we had to hike up to a restaurant called the Hut which was a little steep and slippery but thank god the weather was great and it wasn’t raining like it was yesterday. At one point we even crossed the border of Germany and Austria, indicated by a square stone brick with T on one side and A on the other.

After what seems like a never-ending series of twists and turns, we finally reached the HUT. And it was totally worth it because we had the most amazing view of the Bavarian Alps around us that looked completely picturesque. Amazingly the weather did not disappoint like it was predicted to by the weather forecast, and the sun was shining in all its glory.

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We chilled around for a good two hours or so before making our way back down. Fortunately we did not have to take the original path and going down was so much easier.

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Then we reached the village of Mittelwald which was so beautiful and I especially loved how the houses were so colourfully well painted. The whole town pretty much could have popped out of any fairytale story though it felt a little like a ghost town especially since it was a Sunday with all the shops closed and barely anyone on  the streets. We had some ice cream and just sat around to enjoy the peace of this tiny town among the alps. Perfect way to end the day I say!