Posts in Asia

The Instagrammable Places to Visit in Bali

Hun, I’m back in the Mother City after a full day of travel and I must say that the long flight from Cape Town to Hong Kong was not a selling point for me.

I had an economy ticket, as I usually do, and I don’t know about you, but I’ve always felt strange about having to pay more for seating that would kill me first if the plane crashed. A crazy rational to be budget-savvy, I know, but the only thing that I would really have loved about travelling in business class is the chance to stretch my legs – wow. I’ll never underestimate the luxury of being able to lie flat again.

Although, because I was travelling on my own and managed to hop onto flights that were completely full, I was lucky to have empty seats next to me, which allowed me to raise the armrests and lie down – as if I was in business class. I was well-rested when the plane landed.

Also, since I’m vegan, I’d requested that all my flight meals be adapted to my diet and Cathay Pacific did not disappoint. I had fresh fruit and hot meals that had a balance of protein and carbs. The snacks were roasted peanuts and they also had non-dairy milk and butter but I was too sceptical of the milk and butter to try it. I find myself nauseated when I drink anything other than water on a flight (black tea being the worst) so I stuck to bottles of water throughout all flights and drank more water than usual so that I was fully hydrated during the flights. According to a physiotherapist featured in Marie Claire, you can lose around 2 litres of water on a flight due to the change in temperatures and I wasn’t about to take that risk I ensured that the flight attends kept the bottled water coming.

Dehydration can cause skin irritations, sunken eyes, dizziness and other not-so-cool symptoms that should never have to experience, much less while on holiday.

Enough about the flight and more about what I got up to in Bali.

Watch this video of my tour to some of Bali’s most Instagrammable locations:

All my experiences were booked via Airbnb and I was really impressed with how professional and insightful the hosts were.

Here are the Instagrammable places mentioned in the video:

1.Tukad Cepung Waterfall

This was by far my favourite place to visit. It’s a bit of a hike to the waterfall so wear comfy shoes and a change of clothing if you plan to take photos near the waterfall. This activity was free and if you’re living in Ubud, it should be quite easy to get to.

Instead of hiring a car from your hotel, download the Grab app, which is like Uber in Indonesia. The rates are more affordable and if you’re up to riding a scooter as I did, you will save even more Rupiah and have a scenic experience, riding through the city.

2. Coffee Plantation

Another free activity here. You don’t even pay to taste the teas and coffees. They only ask that you buy something from their store and of course, you aren’t obligated to but I loved the teas so much that I bought a few, which were each R100 per 100g pack. If you decide to buy tea or coffee, remember that that the product will be ground into a powder, which is easy to consume anyway.

3. Tirta Empul Temple/ holy spring water

When visiting any of the temples, go early because these are the most popular tourist attractions in Bali. I had actually intended to visit the Gate of Heaven but by the time I returned from the coffee plantation, my tour guide said that we would have to queue for hours to get the building and I didn’t want to do that.

4. Tegalalang Rice Terrace (Jungle Swing)

A Jungle swing is a must-do activity when you’re in Bali. There are lots of swings throughout the island but the Rice Terrace Swing is the most scenic. You will have to pay 200K IDR for to use the swing and if you want to wear a flowy dress for an IG worthy photo, it’s 200K IDR extra.

Do you have any questions about these locations or my time in Bali? Drop me a comment in the section below and I’d be happy to continue the conversation over there 🙂

3 reasons to love India


About Robyn (1)

India is awe-inspiring and life-changing. We planned our entire trip specifically to include Holi – The Festival of Colour. That was definitely a highlight. The country is nothing like the stereotypes that are portrayed by the media. We expected to arrive to so much poverty and disparity, only to be welcomed by its unrivalled beauty and diverse attractions that largely outweighed any negative depictions.

India offers an equal dosage of old and new, traditional and modern, adventurous and serene. There is something for everyone.

The original Holi Fest can’t be beaten

The entire country takes a break from their daily lives to partake in the tradition of throwing coloured flour. Days before the event, every city is beautifully decorated with ribbons and colourful mosaics which are painted onto buildings. We were lucky to celebrate Holi with some local children who lived near to our hotel. The joy and look of enthusiasm on the children’s’ faces, during the event, made the experience all the more spectacular.

Related: Finding Solace in Mozambique

Nothing like the makeshift Holi festivals that have been popping up all over the world; experience the original Indian colour festival. (Photo/ Simone Franks)

Must-see attractions

The Taj Mahal’s architectural beauty is breath-taking. It’s without a doubt, a must-see attraction. I will never forget sitting in the gardens just staring at it, not even realising that hours had passed by.
Also great to see is the Amber Fort in Jaipur. The fort was built on top of a large hill and overlooks structured floating gardens (which were designed to look like a carpet). We trekked to the fort on elephant back!

Related: From Bellville to Grenoble

The food will steal your heart

Indian food is incredible. It took a while, adjusting to having curry for breakfast but the variety and range of dishes will entice even the fussiest of eaters.

There is always something new to try and experiment. Many of the restaurants we ate at had an open-plan kitchen so we were able to watch the chef prepare our food, and get a whiff of spices and other ingredients –  always fresh and usually made with seasonal vegetables.

Indian cuisine is not just about simply eating a curry; emphasis is placed on the preparation of the food, the presentation, and the etiquette involved with eating certain dishes. One restaurant used underground fire pits to cook dishes wrapped in banana leaves. The dish would arrive at your table as a steaming hot, banana leaf parcel, and the chef would stand next to you while you’re eating to discern if you enjoyed it or not. The food is also quite affordable – we were able to have a three-course meal for two  at a hotel for about R120.

Oh nothing, just travelling via elephant. Something spectacular to experience in India. (Photo/ Simone Franks)

3 Tips for travellers visiting India:

Keep an open mind

Travelling in India can be quite a culture shock, especially if you’re travelling to rural parts of the country. Hawkers may pester tourists and sometimes this can be quite invasive but it helps to understand that these people are desperately trying to make a living.

 Do your research

It helps to research cultural practices and customs but don’t let the research govern your opinion of what to expect in India. A lot of the travel blogs I read before my trip warned about various sordid elements prevalent in India and yet I experienced none of these on my trip.

Pack light

Shopping in India is extremely addictive so you’ll need to pack light to make space for all your new purchases. We had fun shopping at street bazaars.

You may also want to read: I toured London in 10 days and this is the short of it

Did you enjoy this story compilation of India? Find more photos of Simone’s trip on her Instagram feed via this link.

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Photos by Simone Franks