Bali must do’s for first timers

In my previous blog, I highlighted some sights you should visit in Java. Even though Java is beautiful, I think an even more special place in Indonesia is Bali. Bali is quite a popular destination and once you visited this island you’ll understand why. While in most of Indonesia, Islam is the main religion, in Bali most people are Hinduists. You’ll see Hindu temples everywhere. But these are not the only interesting sights. Here’s are some Bali must do’s if you’re visiting the island for the first time.

Ubud
Ubud is the cultural hart of Bali. It has a lovely center with nice bars and restaurants. It has quite a spiritual vibe with all its great temples. The most impressive one is Gunung Kawi, an 11th-century temple complex spread across both sides of the Pakerisan river. It comprises 10 shrines that are carved into seven (!) metre high sheltered niches on each side. Once you move away from the center, Ubud also has beautiful surroundings, you can walk for example to Campuang Ridge and see beautiful rice fields.

Bike downhill from Mount Batur
This is a spectacular tour which starts in Ubud, from where you’ll drive to Penelokan, which is right next to Mount Batur. You’ll have breakfast overlooking this impressive, active, volcano and its crater lake. After this great start, you will bike downhill back to Ubud. Along the way, you’ll see little villages and visit a coffee plantation, typical Balinese houses and the well-known rice fields.

breakfast-with-a-view
Breakfast with a view

Dive in Amed
If you like diving, Amed is the place to be in Bali. There are lots of different dive schools that all offer PADI or SSI courses, or just regular dive trips in case you are already certified. One of the most memorable dive spots is Manta Point, close to Nuusa Lembongan. It takes some time to get there and it’s therefore also quite a pricy dive, but it will be well worth once you see massive – up to 6 metres wide – Manta’s under water. 

it-is-called-manta-point-for-a-reason, Bali must do's
It is called Manta Point for a reason!

Relax at the Gili’s
The Gili’s do not really belong to Bali, but they are the perfect getaway with their white beaches, clear blue water and amazing sunsets. You can easily get there by boat from Padang Bay. Gili Trawangan is the biggest island and mostly known for its parties. Gili Air is a bit smaller but it has a great atmosphere and is very vibrant with all the restaurants along the beach where you can eat sea food that just came out of the ocean. And if you really want some relax time the smallest Gili Meno is the place to be. All islands are home to an impressive underwater world and snorkeling or diving are great activities here. Find more info about the Gili islands here.

There you have it, just a little guide into Bali must do’s for first timers. And I’m sure there will be a second time very soon after!

Love,

Dionne

*Dionne is one of our guest bloggers from the Netherlands, currently living in Den Bosch. In everyday life she works as a marketing-communications professional. She loves to travel to distant destinations, but she also enjoys a city trip closer to home.

How To Stick To Your Running Schedule During Your Holiday

Vacation is a time to relax. Right? Except for some walking during sightseeing or hiking, I usually don’t really exercise when I’m on holiday. Actually, some years back when I met a lady in Greece who went running in the evenings, I thought she was craaazy. I kept this point of view over the years; until this summer when I was in Cuba. Earlier this year, I started running and after doing an enjoyable 10K run, I decided to sign up for a half marathon as a sort of ‘try before you die’ project. And because I did not want to miss 3 weeks of training during my vacation, I packed my running outfit.

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Ambitions vs. reality when running during a holiday
While packing my running shoes, I set myself the ambition to run at least 2 times a week during my holiday. In reality, I barely managed to go once a week. It was quite hard to squeeze the running into the vacation program as on one day we were sightseeing, and the other day we were travelling. Also, it was so hot that I could only go running very early morning, which in this case meant 7 o’clock, or in the afternoon right after a big shower or thunderstorm. Getting up so early wasn’t exactly my idea of being on holiday, but it actually felt like a fresh and very good start of the day. Also the views along the route definitely made it worth it.

first-run
Running in the Valle de Viñales

Route: where to go when you don’t know your way around
Another challenge while running is the route. Where do you go when you don’t know your way around? Especially interesting when you lack a sense of direction, like me. Luckily, in Cuba the towns and cities are organized in a grid plan, so it was fairly easy to map out my way. Just to be on the safe size I brought my phone with an offline GPS navigation app on it so I could always find my way back in case I got lost. Additional advantage of bringing my phone was that I had some nice music while running (and I could take some pictures along the way) :)

second-run
The view while running in Santa Lucia

Some final tips while scheduling your run on holiday
  • Keep in mind that the temperature in a lot of countries will be much higher than back home. When it’s really hot it’s a good idea to schedule your run early morning or late evening. And off course, bring some water along the way to keep hydrated. Last but not least, in order to protect yourself from the sun you can wear a cap (and put some sunscreen on).
  • If you want to stick to a running schedule during your holiday, you can best download a running app on your phone. This app can give you a week schedule and push you to keep running. I for example have the 21K running app, and although I did not have a very strict schedule, I did use this app for every run during my holiday. Also, it can be difficult to stick to a schedule if you are travelling a lot during your vacation. Try to think a few days ahead in order to see how your running schedule can best fit your travel schedule.
  • On holiday, the food is also quite different. I would recommend to try and eat as ‘normal’ as possible. Want to go running in the morning before breakfast? Probably a good idea if you do this at home as well, otherwise it would probably be better to at least eat a small snack before heading off.
  • The roads in other countries might also be of different quality. Before you actually head off, it’s a good idea to explore the area a little bit to know the conditions (and to make sure you don’t end up on a blind alley)

Do you recognize this? How do you maintain a running schedule during your holiday? And how do you find a nice route? Let us know!

P.S. Curious about Cuba? Read my earlier blog about 7 places you should definitely visit.

Love,

Dionne

*Dionne is one of our guest bloggers from the Netherlands, currently living in Den Bosch. In everyday life she works as a marketing-communications professional. She loves to travel to distant destinations, but I also enjoy a city trip closer to home.