Welcome to Bali! – Magical Pura Tanah Lot

After my Solo Travel to Malaysia, I met my friend and we went to Bali.
Bali is just wonderful, even though there are many tourists, you will still find some nice lonely beaches and spots. Today I will be sharing with you a lot of pictures of our afternoon trip to the west coast of Bali where we visited the famous temple Pura Tanah Lot. The temple is located in the sea, not far away from the coast. By the way, „Tanah“ means land and „Lot“ means sea. To enter the area around the Temple, you will have to pay a 60K entrance fee (IDR). After having paid this fee, you will have to walk through a huge market with lots of different shops in order to get to the temple. The temple itself is really beautiful and I can highly recommend going there in the evening, since the sunset behind the temple is really beautiful.

You will not regret having visited the temple, since it will only take approximately 40 minutes to get there from the Kuta area and this place is really magical!
After having taken some pictures of the coast and the area, we went to a nice spot above the temple where you can have young coconuts and drinks.
On our way to the spot, we discovered a Kopi Luwak café but we did not want to try the coffee. This type of coffee „includes part-digested coffee cherries eaten and defecated by the Asian palm civet“. To be honest, not really my favourite type of coffee…

Anyway, I can highly recommend visiting Tanah Lot! After our little trip we asked our driver if he could bring us to a fruit store and we bought Papayas, Mangos, Snake ‚Fruits and a Dragon Fruit for almost no money. What I really love about South East Asia is the cheap fruit. Make sure to try local fruit stores and have street fruit as well!

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The entrance

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Asian palm civet
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Us: „Oh we have never seen such a huge bat!“ Guy next to us: „Oh I can imagine, but it’s a flying fox by the way…“ – Oops … (Bad camera settings, bad conditions – Sorry!)
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The temple

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I hope you enjoyed reading this post, please ignore grammar mistakes, I had a surf day trip today and almost fell asleep while writing this blogpost.

Have a good week,
Sophie

The Batu Caves

Selamat malan!

Today I would like to share with you my Batu Caves experience.
I already talked about Kuala Lumpur in general in my last post, today I would like to talk specifically about the impressive Hindu Caves in the north of KL.

You can easily take a train to the Caves from KL Sentral and it costs about 3€ in total.
The station is called „Batu Caves“ and when you get out of the train, you are almost there. At the end of the road you will find a hill with a huge golden statue in front of it, which is dedicated to Lord Murugan. If you want to enter the series of caves and temples, you need to climb lots of stairs and you will be kindly asked to wear a sarong, but no worries, you can lend one for 5RM.
They will also be very pleased if you carry a bucket full of sand to the top of the stairs, since they are still working on the temples and the caves.

The Batu Caves complex consists of three main caves, one of these is the Dark Cave with lots of bats. You can book a tour at the entrance of the cave if you want to visit it.
Besides the three main caves, there are still a few smaller ones.

I really loved the caves, since the view from the top of the stairs is really stunning and entering the caves is simply magical! Furthermore, you will have a lot of monkey encounters, they are just everywhere! Be aware of these little creatures, even though they look cute, they can be mean and take your sunglasses, cameras, bags and food.
Short after we went out of the subway station, a monkey climbed up a man’s clothes and stole his whole bag of peanuts and ran away with it. Nevertheless it is nice to observe them and to take pictures.

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The peanut thief

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The stairs and the statue of Lord Murugan

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Construction workers at work

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What do you think about the caves? Would you like to go there?

Have a good week,
Sophie

Batu Ferringhi, Penang – and what I’ve learned in two weeks of Solo Traveling

As you know from my Solo Traveling Post, I planned to go to Malaysia on my own. My first stop was Langkawi, two days later I went to Georgetown, Penang.
Although Georgetown is a really nice city with great food an amazing street art, I was not able to enjoy it as much as I wanted to.
Why? Because I did not give myself the time to settle in, to deal with my culture shock and to calm down.
I have always been very enthusiastic when I came to another country.
When I arrived in Langkawi I wanted to do everything at once and totally forgot to care for myself and to listen to my body.
Please do not get me wrong, I really enjoyed my time, but there were two days in Penang where I felt really lost, lonely and overwhelmed. Even though I have never suffered from homesickness before, I started to miss the people around me.
I met really nice people in Penang, but it just makes a big difference if you are traveling alone or with a friend.
These two days I was afraid to walk around alone.
Many people will talk to you in Malaysia, since they are really friendly. But it also happened to me that groups of men were asking me where I was staying and if I was traveling alone, which made me feel quite uncomfortable. I always answered that I am traveling with my boyfriend and smiled. Fortunately they just smiled back and said „Okay, good bye!“.

Do not get me wrong, I do not think that every stranger might be dangerous, but it is still very important to be cautious and do not take to many risks when you are alone.

The next thing that caused a little bit of trouble was transportation.
Personally I feel that it is so much easier to take busses, planes, taxis or an Uber with a friend. At the beginning it really scared me to do all these things on my own but you know what? I got out of my comfort zone and now I know that you can also just walk to a hostel and ask if they have a bed for you, I can take busses, planes, ferries and Ubers on my own because I got used to it.
You will learn to deal with new situations every day! The moment when you realize that you have spent a certain time completely on your own, that you met new people and went out with them and that nobody but you makes the decisions is simply amazing.
After a while you know how to negotiate and how to deal with weird taxi drivers. It is an adventure and you are doing this challenge completely on your own.
If you go on a trip on your own, you will not regret it! Embrace the moment, be aware what you are doing and what you have accomplished.

Additionally, traveling alone does not mean that you will be alone. I recently talked to a friend from the UK about this. People are not the same when they are traveling. They make friends within minutes and behave like they already know each other for years.
When I was in Penang at the beach, Anna from Langkawi texted me and gave me the number of a girl from Holland. We met in Penang and had a great time. She showed me that I do not have to me the highly organized girl from Germany, but that I should be more spontaneous and enjoy the moment. While I planned my whole trip, she just decides from day to day what she wants to do and where she wants to go, which is really cool.
Now I slightly regret that all my flights are already booked and that I will probably not be able to go to Vietnam or Myanmar this year, even though I would love to go there!
On my next trip to Asia, I will just book my long distance flights from Germany to Asia and back. This can save money and you can actually go wherever you want.

Anyway, after having explored Georgetown, I went to Batu Ferringhi, which is located at the beach. The beach in Penang is nice in general, but it also depends on the weather.
I can highly recommend watching the sunset there!
Hope you enjoy the pictures, my next post about Penang will be published very soon!

xx, Sophie

 

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Georgetown, Penang

As you may know from my last blogpost, Langkawi was great. However, it would not stop raining and I decided to continue my journey and take the Ferry to Penang.
Penang is an island in the south of Langkawi and its capital, Georgetown is connected to the mainland through a bridge.

On my third day, I went to the local taxi stand at Langkawi. I met three girls from Japan and we shared a taxi. I would really advice you to take an Uber in South East Asia, since it is way cheaper!
Anyway, the Japanese girls and I took a taxi that brought us to the ferry. I sat in the last row of the little bus and had to find out
that there were several holes in the roof and the rain poured down the seats. Many streets were flooded and it was hard to get through the humongous puddles. After we finally arrived at the harbor I checked in immediately and went to my seat in the ferry. The ferry was old and had two decks, there was not enough place for all the luggage, so we placed it in front of us. The monsoon was not over when the ferry started, the waves were very high and many people got sea sick. A guy who was obviously part of the staff went around and gave plastic bags to the people who got sick. I just tried to sleep but I felt like a was on a carousel.
After almost four hours of horror I finally arrived at Penang and took a taxi to my hostel.

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I stayed at the Ryokan Muntri Beauty Hostel in Georgetown, which was apparently really nice, although the walls were paper thin and the WiFi was not that good. The next morning I got to know my roommate, he is from Scotland and we did our laundry a couple of minutes from our hostel. I was really happy that I met him, since I felt a little bit lost in the hostel. While we were waiting for our laundry to be dry, we went to the “Purrfect Cat Café“ which is a place where you can have a coffee or smoothie and chill out with cute kittens and cats. You have to pay 13RM if you want to go upstairs where the cats are.

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We decided to go for it and we had to read a rule book, wash our hands and take off our shoes first. The rule book contained rules like don’t disturb sleeping cats, don’t feed them and treat them with respect etc. Although the plan was a little bit too small, the cats were treated well, as far as I could see. They probably got some of the cats from the streets, since there are many sick cats on the streets in Malaysia who lost their tail or cats who are starving.
At first, I thought it was a joke but I was really surprised when there were actual cats in the café.

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When we had our laundry done, we went down the street and I discovered the first temple, a Chinese temple apparently. You have to take your shoes off before visiting a temple by the way.

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We also just wandered around the streets and had a look at all the different houses and buildings.

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If you are interested in architecture and art, you will love Georgetown! We discovered so many beautiful buildings when we were exploring Georgetown by foot, I really wish I had taken some photos with my reflex camera.

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In the following picture, you can see the St. Georges Church, Georgetown is named after King George III.

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The next temple we saw was a Hindu temple. Unfortunately we were not able to go inside, since the people were queuing up inside the building and we assumed that it would take us a while to get in.

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Next stop was a huge mosque, they even had a canon in the garden.

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I can also highly recommend going to “Chew Jetty“ which is like China Town. There is a small wooden path with lots of little shops and food places at the sides. At the end of the path you will find yourself on a terrace, looking at the beautiful sea.
Unfortunately it was a little cloudy, even though, the view was amazing.

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After we had explored Georgetown a little bit, we were looking for a restaurant to have dinner.
On our way, we stumbled across a little fire show, maybe a lost backpacker who is saving money for his flight to go back home.

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Make sure to walk down the streets of Georgetown by night, when all the lanterns are turned on and people are selling bracelets, necklaces and other stuff on the streets.

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Georgetown is also very famous for its street art. You will find many beautiful wall paintings at the walls of random buildings in the city. This one was my favorite:

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If you have the chance to visit Georgetown, definitely go for a walk an explore the city!

Have a good week,
Sophie

 

Airplane Thoughts

After five month of working and waiting, I am finally on my way to Kuala Lumpur, where I will start my little Solo Travel journey and later meet my friend in KL.
We will go surfing in Bali, exploring Thailand and later do some Work and Travel in Australia. As you can probably imagine, I am excited as hell. This blogpost is about my „Airplane Thoughts“ and my flight to Langkawi, an island in the north of Malaysia.

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Monday, 6:30am

I set my alarm last night in order to get up early because I want to say good bye to my brother. We have breakfast together, I am not hungry at all. He leaves at 7:00am we both cry but when he has to leave he just wipes his tears from his face smiles at me and takes the bus to school. He is such a tough cookie. I have a shower and go back to bed afterwards.

Monday, 9:30am

My mother wakes me up again and I am awfully tired. My muscles are sore and I could sleep for days. I finish my packing, we get in the car and drive to the Frankfurt Airport.
I slowly start to feel very sick. My head is aching, I feel queasy and my stomach hurts. My mother is laughing at me and tells me that this is just the excitement and that everything is going to be fine. To be honest, I was not excited at all the past few days. It all came very spontaneously.

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Monday, 12:45am

After we finally arrived at the airport I check in and say good bye to my parents. I also pass the security and wait at the gate for my flight.

Monday, 4:00pm

I finally get out of the plane, my flight had over 30minutes delay. I walk down the long hallways of London Heathrow and successfully pass the security. I have to admit that I am always worried when I go through the security zone, since I always forget electronic devices in my hand luggage. Very awkward. When I went to Texas I forgot my e-reader in my backpack and I had to empty my whole bag and they did various tests with my e-reader, that takes some time…
Another story, when I went to NYC, I accidentally wore a sweatshirt with small metal accessories on it. They treated my like a criminal.
Anyway, this is the reason why I am very happy that everything went right.
Additionally, I find out that they offer free non-sparkling water at the airport, so you do not have to buy expensive water and pay high money exchange fees.
I order a Starbucks but they do not have the size I want anymore, so they give me the larger size and charge me nothing for it. I wait at the seating area for my gate information and realise that I forgot to bring a travel adapter, very smart.

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Monday, 6:45pm

Still waiting for my gate to be published, I go to the Travel shop in the airport. I will definitely need a adapter for my chargers so I pick a worldwide adapter and pay 29,99£ (!!!!!) for it. Not cheap at all. My gate is still not published and I am looking for a shop to buy a bottle of water. I run down the hallway and wonder if one of these wheelchair assistants would let me sit in one of these chairs and bring me to my gate 😄

Furthermore, I feel a little uncomfortable in my sports pants, my running shoes and my huge sweater next to all these business people in their suits. However, I get to the point that I am a backpacker now and I decide that I have the right to wear sports clothes rather than business clothes, at least seven month in my life.

Monday, 7:00pm

Gate A10 c. I take the elevator to my gate and sit down. A flight attendant gives me a little feedback card with a link on it, she says everyone who gives feedback has the chance to win a special flight ticket. I kindly thank her and wonder how likely it is to win.

 

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Monday night

I can’t sleep. Fortunately there is a free seat next to me and I can put my stuff there.
After a couple of hours I finally fall asleep.
The flight was not that bad but I am very happy when we arrive at the airport. There is some trouble with the baggage, everything is different here and I have to take a train to get to the other part of the airport to grab my backpack.

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I have to take my next flight which is more difficult than expected. First of all I realise that I am at the wrong airport, luckily I find a french guy who has the same problem and we take the train to the other terminal. Then checking in, passing the security, waiting much longer than expected for my airplane, then I finally make it to Langkawi.

Well, it took me 28 hours to get to Langkawi, the flight was exhausting.
The pictures were taken in Germany, my brother took some photos of me again.

Stay tuned

xx, Sophie

Let the Cowboy rock – The Stockyards Championship

When I decided to go to Fort Worth, I was quite sure that I really wanted to go to a Rodeo, since we do not have anything similar in Germany.
Well, my host family made this dream come true and we went to the Stockyards Championship which is the only one year round rodeo in the world. The rodeo takes place every Friday and Saturday at 8:00pm at the historic Cowtown Coliseum.
If you are interested in the „Cowboy Life“, you will love the historic district in Fort Worth, as well as the Rodeo. Maybe you have watched this movie where a girl fell in love with a cowboy who had an accident and blablabla he wins the champoinship etc. etc. etc. endless love etc. – I had the impression, that Rodeos are exactly like that! I really loved it, especially because my host dad told me lost of things about it. I even wore real cowgirl boots and Levi’s shorts and a huge belt, I felt really texan.

Nevertheless, it is very controversial, if some rodeos treat their animals inappropriately. I have to admit that I am not really informed about animal rights concerning rodeos, some people say animals are tortured in order to become really aggressive during the show, other people say these prejudices are completely unrealistic. I came to the point that I think that buckling is a natural instinct, after the horse or the bull has bucked off the cowboy, they are brought back into the stable and get food and water. Consequently, one can argue that the buckling is conditioned and the animal associates buckling with food.
Personally, I am of the opinion that the Stockyards rodeo cannot afford criticism concerning animal cruelty, since the rodeo in Fort Worth is very popular.
To be honest, I don’t know, but I know that I enjoyed these two hours of my life because I enjoyed this „Texas feeling“.

What do you think about rodeos? Do you know anything about rodeos and would you go to the Stockyards Championship?

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Have a nice day,
Sophie

 

 

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Party in the USA 1995 – New York City

New York City is so far the greatest city I have ever visited. At the beginning of this summer I started my New York City blogpost series and today I would like to continue with a blogpost about my mothers New York trip.
In 1995 she traveled the United States with her best friend. They went to Memphis in Tennessee, went on a road trip in California and they spend some days in Boston and New York City. Stay tuned, she will probably write a blogpost about her road trip on my blog!

Anyway, she always promised me that we would go to NYC after my sixteenth birthday and that this trip would be my birthday present. However, we did not went to the USA together, since my school offered a field excursion and I took part in it.

Nevertheless, we both went to the same places in the city and it is amazing to compare our travel photographs. I hope you enjoy having a look at these vintage photographs, taken in 1995.

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Oh Central Park. We both loved Central Park. I already told you in my second NYC blogpost that I really enjoyed my bike tour through the park. I can highly recommend renting a bike, we rented our bikes at Central Park Sightseeing.

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Do you remember the pictures of Manhattan at night? My mother also climbed the Empire State building and took similar pictures but in broad daylight.

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The Times Square and the streets that surround the world’s greatest advertisement space. In 1995 the Times Square was already so colourful, I wish I could go back to NYC very soon. Today there are so many great stores near the Times Square, absolutely counterproductive if you are trying to live a more minimalist life.

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The Empire State Building, fun fact: My mother and her friend confused the Empire State Building with the Chrysler Building. They still laugh about it a lot.

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I hope you enjoyed this little time travel.
Stay tuned!

Sophie

 

 

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