Incredible Asia: Back to Singapore

Everyone must travel.

It’s not a must to fly over to an exotic country. Once you step off the familiar route in your neighbourhood, you are already “on the road.”

If possible though, Southeast Asia is not to be missed.

As always, I learned a lot during the Asian trip with my friends. About new countries, cultures, and people, but above all about myself.

If you don’t have a teacher – travel. If you do have a teacher – travel anyway!

 

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Incredible Asia: Bali (3)

In Bali it’s easy to relax and reconnect with yourself despite traffic jams, reckless drivers, enormous heat, and sometimes dirty beaches.

All you need is positive attitude, and Bali will pay you the same.

You always get what you give.

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Fresh watermelon juice is super tasty.

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And so is Balinese cake “lak-lak”.

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Local guys going to a ceremony. Bali is an island of thousand temples. Besides, there is a small temple in every house!

в храм только в саронге

Ready to attend a Buddhist Goa Goja temple in Ubud.

лувак - животное-производитель кофе

At the coffee and tea plantation: unique animal luwak that “produces” coffee beans by eating coffee cherries and defecating them. The result – “kopi luwak” – is one of the most famous and expensive coffees in the world.

кофе-лувак

Freshly “produced” coffee beans :).

на кофейной плантации

Time for degustation

к пляжу сквозь пещеру

To the beach through the cave

ради этого стоило приехать

Very photogenic Pandang beach popular with surfers

закат над Индийским океаном

Jimbaran beach: absolutely my favourite in Bali. Swimming in the warm Indian ocean at sunset is very soothing, almost like magic.

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Dinner at the beach. The airport is quite close. As the sun sets, it’s great to listen to the waves and watch the “stars falling” (planes landing) every 5 minutes.

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Let there be light.

вечеринка в отеле

Friday pizza party at the ESS guesthouse

мировое время в аэропорту Бали

Time to say good-bye

On the very last day, or actually night, just before the early morning plane, we went to the Kuta party area famous for its clubs. The experience was crazy, and I would like to leave it behind the scene.

For now, terima kasih, Bali. Or, as they say in Balinese, suksma!

Incredible Asia: Bali (2)

One of my most memorable moments from Bali is mount Batur sunrise trekking. Batur is an active volcano that erupted in 2000 for the last time. The trip was absolutely breath-taking and inspiring.

восхождение на вулкан рано утром

We were picked at 2.30 a.m. from the guesthouse and started climbing at 4 a.m. There were scores of people. Our own group had 5 people and a local guide named Masta.

предрассветный час

It was very cold in the beginning, then got warmer after we started walked. As we climbed up, the views around us were stunning.

солнце вот-вот взойдет

A moment before the sunrise

рассвет на вершине вулкана

With friends at the top. In the background mount Agung can be seen, the highest point in Bali.

прямо в облаках

After 2 hours of climbing there came the sun around 6 am. The view and the feeling were fantastic.

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Guardian of the roof

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Food is life!

вулканический кратер

Volcano crater

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Hot steam coming out of the mountain.

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Rainbow from above

вулкан в виде кота

Mount Batur seen from below. Looks like a cat :).

жареный рис с курицей по-балийски

Time to restore energy with Balinese fried rice…

термальный источник

… and with warm thermal waters.

обед после восхождения

Our group of climbers: having a lunch in a restaurant overlooking the volcano that we had climbed previosuly that day.

During the same day we also visited a coffee and tea plantation, and went to another beach. I’ll cover this in the next post. What a super day full of impressions this was!

 

Incredible Asia: Bali

 

Selamat Pagi!

Our final destination for this Asian trip was incredible Bali, Indonesia. We spent five days in this magic place. Even though it was almost purely “touristic” experience, I enjoyed every single hour of it.

I think Bali is popular because it can meet every demand and taste. Whether you like beaches, nature, hiking, extreme sports, culture, or parties all night long – Bali has it all. But above all, like anywhere, it’s the Balinese people that make the island so special.

I have made tons of photos after the trip. I decided to pick just some of them for the next few posts to give an idea why Bali is not to be missed.

So here we go.

в аэропорту Бали

Arrived in the Ngurah Rai International airport (Denpasar). The first impressions of Bali were very positive: modern, clean, beautiful airport with very polite and helpful staff.

зал прибытия

In the arriving hall: time to rent a car. Prices for car rental are very reasonable in Bali. We were assisted by a super sweet woman and a nice guy named Yoga.

тропическая зелень у аэропорта

Tropical lush near the airport

едем в гостиницу

On the way to the guesthouse

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In the countryside: welcome to ESS (“Eat, Sleep, Skate”).

гостиница утопает в зелени

Drowning in the garden of green

гигантские двери-окна

Super big glass door that I absolutely loved

живая ванная

Natural shower

бассейн в трех шагах от комнаты

Swimming pool with refreshing water

дерево-душ

And another natural shower :).

скейт-парк нашего отеля

The place was originally a skating park founded by a famous French skateman. It was later turned into a cozy gueshouse.

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On the road

первый балийский пляж

Our first beach the following day: Mengiat beach

воздушный корабль

Up in the air

попивая кокосовый сок

Three musketeers chilling out

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Sunset over the ocean

To sum up the first two days, my biggest impressions were: the aiprort, our amazing residence (including a very friendly owner, and the guitar which I love playing), swimming in the ocean, and the traditional Balinese massage.

Balinese massage deserves special mentioning.

It was something out of this world: special massage cloth and cover, the lady in traditional Balinese dress, soft music and candle, gentle but strong touch, oils and smells, a soothing mask on the face… And all this arranged by the owner right in our gueshouse. For me, it felt like an authentic cultural ritual rather than just a massage.

Terima kasih, Bali!

Incredible Asia: Bangkok

Our last destination in Thailand was Bangkok, the capital. We spent only one day there. When already on the plane from the city, a fellow passenger told me she could live in Thailand. As she said, “Things are easy there”.

Maybe it’s true. I really don’t know. Although I guess it’s very subjective. After one day I couldn’t say I could stay in Bangkok. Yet I felt spending more time could change my mind, and I truly enjoyed the day anyway.

For me Bangkok will remain as a city of tuk-tuks, friendly people, tasty food, massage, and streetwalkers.

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Taking a tuk tuk to the hotel with an wesome local driver. There will be many tuk tuks during this day.

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No clue what that motto in the hotel room means :).

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Welcome to Bangkok.

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The hustle-bustle of Thailand’s capital.

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Another tuk-tuk: going somewhere.

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Street food is the best.

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Enjoying the local taste

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And another stylish pinky tuk-tuk

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Going out for dinner to the popular Terminal 21 mall.

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Replica of the Golden Bridge inside the mall.

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Lots of people. lots of cheap and tasty food.

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When in Thailand, you’ll be offered massage at every corner, including “special massage”.

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Thank you and good-bye Bangkok and Thailand. Time to move on!

Incredible Asia: Phuket (2)

Our second day at Phuket included, among other things, a visit to the Chalong temple, a swim at the Nai Harn beach, and a taste of the nightlife in Patong. There were other excellent moments too, but I consider them too special to share.

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Welcome to Wat Chalong.

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Guardians of the temple :).

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Praying time

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The man on thet right was putting the fireworks inside this “structure”. The cracking sound of the fireworks was really loud!

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This building looked like a museum.

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There are many Buddha statues inside.

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View from above: wedding photography in progress.

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Another religous and touristic site at Phuket: the Big Buddha. It’s really very big.

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Happiness bell?

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Lilly flower: symbol of Buddha

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Chilling out at the Nai Harn beach. It’s not visible on the photo, but the waves were enormous.

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Nightlife in Patong: a crazy and vibrant atmosphere that can’t be captured with a camera.

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Embracing the night life with friends.

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Local youih at a local gas station with traditional Thai music playing out loud. I wish photos could convey sounds and smells too. Two-wheel transport is super popular in Thailand.

So this is just a quick glimpse at Phuket, a touristic island with beautiful beaches, tasty food, and vibrant night life. Most of the emotions remain inside as always. This place in Thailand is definitely worth a visit!

Incredible Asia: Phuket

Our second and penultimate destination in Thailand was Phuket island. Perhaps Phuket brought the brightest impresssions from the country, at least for me. While Phuket is famous for its beaches and night life, my best memories are associated with local people.

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This is how local buses look like in Krabi. Gone with the wind, real fun.

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After hanging out at the Krabi bus terminal for a while, talking to local women selling snacks, and meeting a funny policeman, we took a slow intercity bus to Phuket. In the photo: on the way to Phuket.

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Cute local bus in Phuket. The conductor on the bus was even cuter.

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Negotiating the price for a tuk tuk. As the time was passing, our bargaining skills were getting better and better.

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Our residence in Phuket. This was the first time we stayed in a hotel during the trip. As it turned out, it opened just a year ago. To our excitement, there was a mini-gym and a swimming pool whoch we both used.

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The interior decorum is quite impressive.

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The room is clean and spacious.

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A very nice salad bar – one of out tastiest lunches ever. (Photo taken from Internet).

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The food is organic, fresh, and healthy. (Photo taken from Internet).

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Veggies are grown in the greenhouse right next to the restaurant. (Photo taken from Internet).

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Ready to hit the night!

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One of the viewpoints at night

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The famous Patong beach after sunset

My biggest impression from that day was on the way back to hotel, when we got lost a bit at night. I stepped out from the car at some store to ask for the way. Two locals – an old man and a middle-aged woman – could hardly speak English. Actually, they did not speak it at all. Yet they were trying really hard to explain where we should turn, gesticulating and showing the way on the map. I was really touched by their willingness to help.

We spent only half a day in Phuket since we arrived quite late, but we had another day waiting for us,