Self-Discovery or Self-REdiscovery – Nusa Lembongan

Many people go traveling in order to find themselves and to achieve happiness.
Through all these different influences, cultural experiences, inspirations and new ways of living, people do change during their travels.

Some people hope that they may find out what kind of job they want to do because after graduation they had no idea,
others hope that they can break bad habits and start something completely new,
some try new things and find new passions.

What if I tell you that in thirteen weeks of traveling, I have experienced „self-rediscovery“ rather than self-discovery?
Actually, I cannot completely explain this but I just feel more like myself.
When I left my town I thought that I would leave many things behind. Former hobbies, my old mind-set, stress and insecurity. And yes, I feel that through traveling I became more stress-resistant and I gained self-confidence. I learned a lot about myself and I know what I am capable of and what I should not do, or either what I do not need.

I rediscovered myself because I found hope that I can actually keep doing certain things and that I can trust myself.
For example, when I left I thought I would also leave my passion for dance behind. I assumed that I have to move on, try something new – I thought I was not good enough at ballet and dance in general and that even if I put a lot of effort into it, I would get nothing in return.
I was wrong. For thirteen years, dance has always played a big role in my life.
How could I expect my body to give up this passion that has always fulfilled me, a passion that guided me through good and bad times?
I cannot just let go of it and I do not have to. I love ballet and I cannot wait to start dancing again when I am back in Germany.

Additionally, I realized that I do not have to search for escape because there is nothing to escape from.
I love my family and I love my friends, which is most important because these people will always give their best to help and protect you.

I learned to love „home“ but I also appreciate being elsewhere, or even far away from home. As I already stated in my birthday blogpost, it will not matter where you are as long as there are your people surrounding you and you are able to do the things you love.
Of course, memories are often linked to certain places and situations, but maybe we must have to take a step forward and create new ones.

Sorry for this labyrinth of thoughts, which might cause some confusion, but I just had to put some thoughts on paper.
However, I hope you enjoy these pictures of Nusa Lembongan (click here to read my last post about this small island)!

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Have a good week!

xx, Sophie

Chickens in plastic bags and pseudo Tsunamis – Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia

After it took us two hours to pack our backpacks, we finally left our beloved Surf Camp in Seminyak and went to the port in Sanur where we planned to take a boat to the small island Nusa Lembongan, next to Bali.
Well, since nobody could really tell us when the slow boats usually leave, we decided to take a speed boat and payed 200K Rupiah plus 25K Rupiah for our luggage. It turned out that the guy who grabbed our backpacks just took advantage of us – THERE IS NO LUGGAGE FEE.

Additionally, we found out that there is a Slow boat from Sanur to Nusa Lembongan departing every morning at 10:30am for only 100K RP!!
Just in case you are planning to go to Lembongan one day.
In order to get on the boat we had to walk through the water and climb on the small speed boat. The boat itself was quite crowded and there were only two seats in the front left. We sat down and after a while we wondered why the bag next to the captain moved and made strange noises. Turned out it was a chicken in a plastic bag. Not a big deal in Indonesia.

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Poor chicken in a plastic bag

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While wondering if chickens can get sea sick, I enjoyed the 30 minute ride through the crystal clear water. The water became more and more turquoise until we finally arrived in paradise.

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The Taxi

When we arrived at the small port a Taxi driver convinced us that our hostel was quite far from the port and we payed 100K to get there. Hm, after a five minute drive to the other side of the island, we realised that that they screwed us AGAIN. 😁

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stel was okay, it was a bit smelly, guess they had a problem with their drainpipes…<<<<<
er, we spent the afternoon walking around and exploring the island by foot.<<<<<
a ten minute walk from our hostel we reached a big bay and could not believe our eyes – the water was gone.<<<<<
onest, my first thought was "Damn, water always pulls back to the ocean when a tsunami is coming." but it was just low-tide. Anyway, it looked really cool, there were small boats stuck in the sand and kids playing in the middle of the bay.<<<<<
lunch in a Warung and payed 50K for Nasi Goreng Vegetable, which is quite expensive for such a small island. We expected the food to be way cheaper than in Bali, but the prices were mostly the same, due to the tourism.

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we found a very small lonely beach (thanks to Maps.me) where we took some pictures.<<<<<
ition, I had to noticed again that Indonesia definitely has a waste problem, there is trash everywhere. Plastic bottles laying around between gigantic Banana trees and trash piles next to beautiful, lonely beaches.<<<<<
ng through paradise, breathing the fresh salty air, laying down under palm trees next to trash piles, it breaks my heart.

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xt morning we woke up at 8am and walked to another beach,<<<<<
d "Dream beach".<<<<<
each belongs to a hotel where you can pay 50K and use their showers and the infinity pool.<<<<<
rrent was really strong, the water turquoise and crystal clear, and nobody was there. At 11am we decided to walk back, since it got a little bit more crowded.<<<<<
get me wrong, we're talking ten people at the beach, which is almost nothing.

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Dream beach

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n our way back we found a PADI diving centre and booked a snorkeling trip for the next day.<<<<<
embongan is very popular for its Manta Rays in the north of the island, but the conditions in the north of the island were not good for snorkeling so we had to pick another stop, which was in front of Nusa Penida.<<<<<
many corals and fishes, it was pretty cool but not as good as scuba diving of course.

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nt two days and three nights on this island and really enjoyed the silence and the lonely beaches.<<<<<
last day we had dinner at Dream beach and watched the sunset.<<<<<
er, we missed Bali and especially our Surf Camp a lot, so we decided to spend our last five days in Indonesia with Kima Surf.

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xt morning we took a speed boat around 8am back to Sanur, Bali.<<<<<
ime we negotiated with the guy at the ticket counter and only payed 150K each.<<<<<
us, our camp picked us up in Sanur and we arrived early at the camp and enjoyed our beloved camp breakfast.

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embongan is a nice island, perfect for diving, snorkeling and renting a scooter.<<<<<
xt time when I go to Bali I will definitely visit the Gili Islands which are supposed to be magically beautiful.<<<<<
theless, I can highly recommend visiting Nusa Lembongan and Penida, since these islands are not that popular and they appear to be like Bali fifty years ago.

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you for reading my little Nusa Lembongan travel diary, these pictures were all taken with my phone by the way 🙂

Have a good week!<<<<<
phie<<<<<
t;<<<<
gt;

Koh Lanta, spending my 19th Birthday in Paradise

Hello together,

I hope you are alright and had a good weekend. I am already in Christmas mood, even though it is still November. What can I say? I just love Christmas.
Family time, baking cookies all Sunday long, lightening candles, eating ginger bread, listening to Christmas music, watching American Christmas movies and drinking hot tea. Anyway, I am in Darwin at the moment and 34°C and 75% air humidity make it quite difficult to stick to my German Christmas traditions.
I mean, we will probably celebrate Christmas in Brisbane at the beach, which will be very exciting I guess.
I even have to admit that we already bought a small plastic Christmas tree in KMart for 5$, all Aussies buy plastic Christmas trees – we had to adopt this tradition.
We will take this tree with us while we will be travelling the Australia’s East Coast…stupid, I know.

However, I did not plan to talk about my Christmas obsession, actually I wanted to tell you about my time in Koh Lanta.
Koh Lanta is an island on the west coast of Thailand, located in the south of Krabi.
This beautiful island was our last stop before we took a flight back to Bangkok and from Bangkok to Australia. We spent four nights in two nice bungalows and celebrated my birthday on our last day.

I never thought of celebrating my birthday in Thailand, but it turned out to be really cool. We rented a scooter and had breakfast in our favourite french breakfast place „Faim de Loup“. After we had asian food for two month, we were really excited about western food again and enjoyed good bread, croissants and cheese omelettes. It was delicious!
Unfortunately I had a cold because of the air con and took a for three-hour nap before we went on our scooter beach hopping trip.
At this point, I would like to recommend my favourite app „Maps.me“ which really helped us discovering beautiful, hidden places in Thailand and Indonesia.
The app is free and you can download maps and use them offline.
The second beach we explored was really beautiful, there were only two other travelers and the scenery was magical. We took some photos and I daydreamed a lot while watching the sunset.

On this day, I realised that it only matters to a certain extent where you are on a day like your birthday. What matters the most is the people with whom you are spending your day. I am still really happy that I was able to celebrate my birthday with Lina, I missed my family a lot that day but she put a lot of effort into this day and made it really special.
We had a great day together, even though it is not the same as waking up early in the morning and having cake for breakfast with my family.
However, Lina and I enjoyed it to the fullest. After we had spent our afternoon at the beach, we had dinner at our favourite beach bar, the so called „Moonwalk Bar“, where we enjoyed cheesy Pizza. The evening was great and I will always remember it as the most extraordinary birthday I had in my life so far.

Now, I proudly introduce you to Nui Bay, my birthday beach:

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Have a good week!

Love, Sophie

Five Reasons I would love to go back to Bali

If someone gave me a flight ticket and asked: „Wanna fly to Bali?“, I would scream „Yes of course!“ and directly take a cab to the airport. No doubt.
To be honest, I do not really know what I love most about this island.
Even though the island is almost surfeited with hotels and tourists, I still know five reasons why I would love to go back immediately.

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1. The people

One of the greatest advantages of our Surf Camp in Bali (besides learning to surf) was that we met so many locals in camp. Some of the surf guides were from Sumatra, others from Java and some were Balinese. During my travels in Thailand I found it quite hard to get in touch with locals, since I do not count talking to receptionists as local contact.
But in camp, we spent our days with the Indonesians, played the guitar together, went surfing and talked a lot. I learned so much about Indonesian culture and their beliefs.
The people from Indonesia are also very helpful and open.
One day our car broke down during rush hour and our surf guide just asked three people on the street for help and they immediately stopped working and pushed our car so that we were fortunately able to drive back to camp.

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2. Catch good waves all year long

Bali is a surfer’s paradise, the whole island is about surfing. Surf shops everywhere, surfers everywhere.
For me, the conditions in Bali are perfect, there are beaches for every level.
No matter if you are a beginner, an intermediate or a pro, you will (almost) always find some nice waves.

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3. Bali’s boutiques

Actually, I would advise you not to bring too many clothes, you will be overwhelmed by Bali’s small boutiques and the beautiful and unique clothes.
If you are interested in good quality and boutiques, make sure to go shopping in Seminyak and Canggu.
Many Indonesians are also selling clothes on markets or in small shops on the street. You will find some cute cotton beach dresses, sarongs and baggy elephant pants in their stores and everything is extremely cheap. Additionally, the more you buy, the cheaper it will be. Do not forget to negotiate, if they want to have 200.000 Rupiah, ask for 100.000 and try to make a good deal. Do not worry, they will still benefit from your purchase.

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4. The weather

Some people may say the air is quite humid and it is too hot, but I think the climate is pretty perfect. You can wear shorts, skirts, beach dresses and all the gorgeous clothes Bali’s cute boutiques have to offer. Yes, it can get very hot but it is not as bad as in the big capitals in Southeast Asia where you will be running from one air conditioned store to another.

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5. Bali has a big variety of experiences to offer

You can go shopping in the Kuta area, go scuba diving on the east coast, go surfing at the beaches of the Bukit Peninsula, visit beautiful temples everywhere, do Yoga in Ubud, climb one of the volcanos and enjoy the sunrise, or explore the beautiful nature in the north of the island with its waterfalls and rice terraces.
There are so many things to do and places to see in Bali, it is impossible to see everything at once. People come to Bali ten years in a row and they still have not explored the whole island yet. Bali is an everlasting adventure and I would love to come back as soon as possible!

 

I hope you enjoyed my Bali posts, I know that I may be a little bit overexcited about this island, but I simply fell in love with it.
Fly to Bali and get an own idea of what it is like!
These pictures were taken at Balangan Beach by the way 🙂

Have a good week,

Sophie

Elephant Sanctuary

Hello everybody and welcome back!

I know it has been a long time since I posted the last blogpost but I tried to enjoy Thailand to the fullest and took a little break from blogging.
Please do not get me wrong, I love to share my experiences and pictures with you, but sometimes I felt like I had to leave my camera at home and try to enjoy the moment without thinking about pictures, Instagram or even blogging.
Actually, I did not plan to go on a „digital detox“ or something, I took this break intuitively and I do not regret it. Of course I took pictures and texted my family and friends, however I tried to appreciate and enjoy the moment like people did thirty years ago, that time when all this internet, social media stuff was still in early early progress.

Anyway, little update: I spent the last three weeks in wonderful Thailand and headed to Australia yesterday. So, I am a bit behind my blog schedule.

Today I would like to share with you my magical elephant encounter in Chiang Mai, Thailand. At first I have to state that I really care about animal rights and we did our best to find a good sanctuary where these beautiful animals are treated appropriately.
I know that some animal lovers out there will say that they would not even go to this kind of a sanctuary, but I could not resist because I have dreamed of meeting elephants since I am three years old. These giants are my favourite animals and seeing them in real life was unbelievable.

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We went to a western travel agency in Bangkok who recommended the „Happy Elephant Home“ because the elephants can move freely in a big area, there are no chains, only an „elephant house“ (a roof with eight pillars). There is no elephant riding and no elephant shows. If you plan to go to an elephant sanctuary, it is crucial that they do not provide this kind of activities, since it is bad for the animals. You can book a half-day or a full-day trip at the Happy Elephant Home and it is all about caring for these lovely giants.

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The shuttle picked us up around nine in the morning and it was an one hour drive to the sanctuary. A friendly mahout woman welcomed us and told us we would say hello to one of the oldest elephants at first. I was so excited.
The mahout cut bananas for us and we met the first friendly giant who was quite happy to see us, obviously because we had food.
The lady told us that all the elephants in the sanctuary were rescued because they were abused for hard work. You could tell that the first elephant we met used to carry heavy stuff on his back, since he lacked hair at the front part of his back. She also had a blind eye and a disabled leg. However, she was not afraid of us and one could say that she is a picky eater, since she preferred the bananas that we had already pealed.

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The Mahout lady also told us that all the elephants in the sanctuary are ladies, since the men are kind of lone wolfs.
After having said hello to the elephants, we went to the wardrobe and got changed and well, we dressed up like actual mahouts which was amazing!
Additionally, they wrote our names in Thai language on our hands.

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We spent the morning with three elephants and one two year old baby. We prepared food for them and cut bamboo (I guess it was bamboo) into pieces and put it into our mahout bags. They were able to take pictures with them and later we went to a small lagoon with them where we washed them. Nine happy travelers standing in elephant poo and pee 😀
It was obvious that the elephants loved the people from the sanctuary, they followed them and cuddled them. The baby always tried to „eat“ the mahout lady, since it knew her her whole life.
I was really happy about this, since it is a sign that the animals are well treated in the sanctuary. We returned to the camp for lunch and they let us cook our own Tom Yum Soup. You have to put veggies and rice noodles into a sieve and dunking it into boiling water ten times in a row, put it into a bowl and add vegetable stock with tofu (or chicken) to it. You can add chili or tomato sauce, vinegar and spices afterwards and top your soup with peanut chunks. It was so delicious!!! For desert, we had fresh pineapple!

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Home made Tom Yum 

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After we had lunch, we cut some more bamboo and went on a hike with the big giants.
Again, there were no leashes or wooden sticks to make the elephants walk. They probably walked with us because we had food and also because they followed the mahouts. We walked to a river and even had a bath with them!
It was just magical. Lina and I laid down on one of the elephants and they blew water with their trunks. I did not want this moment to end.

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There was another elephant sanctuary or park on the other side of the river, but it looked more like a zoo and there were people riding on elephants which made me quite sad. However, I was really happy that we chose the Happy Elephant Home!

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All in all, it was an amazing day! Lina and I took pictures with my GoPro and her digital camera, but I did not want to bring my DSLR. There are also many videos which I will be sharing with you as soon as I can.
Additionally, there are no pictures of us at the river, since we decided to enjoy the second part of the day to the fullest, without being distracted by the urge to use our cameras.
We wanted to be aware of what we are doing and to live the moment.
We do not regret it!

 

Stay tuned!
xx, Sophie

 

The Bukit Peninsula – My rainy Beach Hopping experience

Bali offers a huge variety of things you should see, you would probably need a couple of months to see everything. As you may know, we went to the north of Bali (click and click), which was amazingly beautiful. We saw waterfalls, rice terraces and monkeys.
Today, I would like to share with you my experiences on our day trip to the south of Bali, to the Bukit Peninsula. We booked a driver for a whole day who picked us up around 8:30am and we came back around 6:00pm. Our tour should have included Balangan Beach, Dreamland Beach, Bingin Beach, Padang Padang Beach and Uluwatu Temple with the famous Kecak Dance. However, the weather upset our plans. It started to rain and we were only able to do half the trip. Consequently, I will talk about the beaches we were able to visit today, and I will show you some other pictures we took on this day trip in a couple of days. So, this post is supposed to be a little „Beach Guide“ for the Bukit Peninsula.

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Our first stop was Balangan Beach. We arrived on a hill and walked around, explored the location. We found some cool cliffs, a hidden temple and had a nice view on the beach itself.

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On top of the hill, we observed the fishermen, who must have climbed to these rock spurs in order to fish. It looked so idyllic!

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When we climbed down some rocks, in order to take pictures of the sea, we found this little temple that is hidden in the rocks. Unfortunately there was a lot of garbage, however the experience was really cool! There was a little wooden house in the temple itself and the view on the sea.

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There was another temple on the way to Balangan Beach, with traditional statues in front of it:

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In order to get to the beach, we had to walk down some stairs and climbed over some cliffs. The view was amazing, the water clear and blue and full of advanced surfers.
As we walked along the coast, we discovered some nice „Surf Warungs“ and coincidentally met friends from the camp, who were joining an intermediate/ advanced day trip to Balangan Beach. We sat down together and had lunch, since the sky already gave the impression that it was about to rain.
After half an hour, the rain had reached the shore and we were stuck in the Warung for almost three hours. Although it went quite cold and stormy, the atmosphere was still idyllic and nice, since they played good music and we were able to talk to our surf guides and friends. The Balinese and Indonesians were crazy, they would not stop surfing and enjoyed the messy waves, although it was raining heavily.

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Dreamland Beach

After three hours of waiting, eating and talking, we finally went back to our car and asked the driver to drive us to Dreamland Beach.
However, I unfortunately have to disappoint you, Dreamland Beach is not a dream at all.
In order to get to the beach, you have to take a free shuttle bus and still walk past some markets to get to Dreamland Beach. Although the water was very blue and turquoise, all the Air Asia umbrellas disturbed the view and the atmosphere. Still, it may be a nice beach on a sunny day, but our expectations were higher than reality. Additionally, there were many people at the beach, even though it was still raining.

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Padang Padang Beach

Our next stop was Padang Padang Beach, since we decided to skip Bingin Beach. Well, we did not get out of the car, as it was still raining a lot. However, I suppose it will be a very nice beach if the weather is good and it is also a well known surf spot!

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Even though the weather upset our plans, it was still a very nice trip!ve
I hope you enjoyed reading this.

Have a nice weekend!

Sophie

Exploring the North of Bali #2 – Sekumpul Waterfalls

Hello everybody,

this is the second part of my day trip to the north of Bali, click here to read the first part.
After we jumped into a waterfall and enjoyed the fresh water of the natural swimming pool, we continued our hike, wondering how beautiful the so called Fiji Waterfalls may be. It was hot, the air was humid and we were exhausted but still enthusiastic to see our first big waterfall.
Climbing down around 250 stairs and going back upstairs took it out of us.
Nevertheless, it was worth it! The waterfalls were huge but we were still able to stand underneath them and take pictures with the GoPro. The water was fresh and cold, we were so amazed to swim in an actual waterfall!

Additionally, we also went to see the Sekumpul Waterfall which was humongous!
However, I forgot to take a picture…pretty ridiculous.

On our way back we were picked up by the locals who drove us to a restaurant where we got a 30.000 Rupiah Voucher and had food. I ordered Nasi Goreng, Fried Banana and Water for only 2€!!

All in all, the day was really nice and we were all happy that we went on this tour.
In total we payed around 33-35€ which is not too much for this amazing experience, since it includes transport, food and the guided tour.

I hope you enjoyed reading this, have a good week!

Sophie

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