Bucketlist activity: Doing yoga in Ubud, Bali

Bucketlist activity: Doing yoga in Ubud, Bali

Doing yoga in Bali has been on my bucketlist for a while. Little did I know that meant practicing yoga while overlooking the lush green rice paddies of Bali. Ubud is a spiritual and cultural part of Bali where yoga and meditation are very popular among tourists and expats.

We booked ahead of time and paid (a very reasonable price) just before class. It all went very smoothly. Walking through the rice fields to get to the yoga studio, the unique experience had already started. The paddies and the tropical vegetation combined with the serene and silent atmosphere of the area were memorable. The studio was clean and well cared for. Our class was given on the roofed outdoor terrace on the second floor. The teacher was a Canadian expat who had been living in Bali for a few years while teaching yoga. The staff were all very nice and made the experience an even better one.

I loved the experience of doing yoga with nothing but fresh air, the sun and the sound of birds and water running through the rice fields.

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Surrounding rice fields, on the way to Ubud Yoga House
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Ubud Yoga House
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Ubud Yoga House
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Ubud Rice fields view from Ubud Yoga House
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Our yoga class group!
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Hong Kong streets

Hong Kong streets

Hong Kong is known for many different things but the first thing that comes to my mind when thinking of it is the way you feel when you are there. Walking down the main roads, you realize right away how densely populated it is.

Hong Kong is a former British colony in southeastern China. The people are of many different ethnicities. Chinese (cantonese) and English are the official languages and most signs are in both languages which makes it easier for us visitors.

Modern skyscrapers are abundant in downtown Hong Kong, which is a financial hub. The panoramic city views can notably be admired from The Peak, at Victoria Peak, and from the other side of the water from the Avenue of Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui.

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The Peak
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Botanical Garden
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Tsim Sha Tsui

On one side, the downtown Hong Kong skyline is full of futuristic skyscrapers. On the other side, the Mong Kok area has a charm of its own. The streets are bustling with people day and night and the illuminated signs light up the streets at night. That part of town isn’t as tidy as downtown but it is charming in its unique way.

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The Highest Bar in the World, Hong Kong

The Highest Bar in the World, Hong Kong

On our last day in Hong Kong,  Nick and I decided to treat ourselves with a drink at Ozone Bar, the highest bar in the World.

Ozone Bar is a rooftop bar located at the top of the International Commerce Center in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong. They serve Asian tapas and inventive cocktails, along with an amazing view of the city.

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Ozone Bar View, HK
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Ozone Bar, HK
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Ozone Bar, HK

Unfortunately, on the day we paid a visit to the bar-lounge, it was rainy and cloudy. Therefore, we had to be seated indoors, which disappointed us. However, the interior design was unique, artsy and luxurious and we were still able to hang out on the terrace to admire the view. We still had a wonderful time and enjoyed a great view amid the clouds. The drinks are pricey, but you’re really there for the view! Totally worth it.

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Ozone Bar, HK

Preparing for a hike

Mount Batur, Bali, Indonesia. July 2015.
Mount Batur, Bali, Indonesia. July 2015.
  1. Pick your destination. Decide if you’ll be going for a day activity or if you’ll spend the night there in camping or at an accommodation nearby.
  2. Pick the trail you’ll be doing according to how long it is and its difficulty. If the difficulty isn’t indicated, check out the elevation compared to the distance.
  3. Check the weather forecast on the day of your departure. Dress accordingly, in layers, and wear good hiking shoes.
  4. Pack light, wear a well adjusted backpack, and bring everything you need. Don’t forget …
    1. a wind/rain coat
    2. lots of water (and maybe some Gatorade)
    3. snacks, lunch
    4. a flashlight (in case you get stranded in the dark)
    5. some toilet paper and a “ziploc” bag (for the soiled paper)
    6. a first aid kit
    7. sun screen, mosquito repellent
    8. hand sanitizer or hand wipes
Mount Giant, Adirondacks, NY, USA. 2014.
Mount Giant, Adirondacks, NY, USA. 2014.

Hong Kong: Tian Tan Buddha and Ngong Ping area

Hong Kong: Tian Tan Buddha and Ngong Ping area

The main highlight of my stay in Hong Kong was my visit of Ngong Ping, located on Lantau Island.

It’s funny because when you think about Hong Kong, the first thing you think about is usually skyscrapers with plenty of chinese writing. However, Ngong Ping is so far from that image.

Once you get to the island by MRT (which is so easy by the way!), you can walk to the Ngong Ping 360 cable cars to buy your tickets. Then, the cable car takes you up the mountains to Ngong Ping Village. The village in itself didn’t please me as it was extremely touristic. However, the panoramas on the way up there are to die for. The journey lasts around half an hour, with a gorgeous view of Tung Chung Bay, the South China Sea, the surrounding mountains as well as the Hong Kong International Airport.

Mountain Gate, Ngong Ping, Hong Kong. May 2015.
Mountain Gate, Ngong Ping, Hong Kong. May 2015.

The Mountain Gate is a beautiful site in itself already, as from there, you can also see the Giant Buddha on top of its mountain.

Tian Tan Buddha, Hong Kong. May 2015.
Tian Tan Buddha, Hong Kong. May 2015.

Tian Tan Buddha is an awe inspiring site that is even more majestic in real life than it seemed in photographs. The long and narrow stretch of steps lead straight up to the giant Buddha statue, from which you can enjoy a 360 degree panorama view of the surrounding water and mountains while taking in the refreshing wind. The giant statue really incarnates the harmony in which nature and spirituality can cohabitate.

Next to Tian Tan Buddha is the Po Lin Monastery. In front of the main building is burning incense and you can visit a part of the religious building. The Grand Hall of Ten Thousand Buddhas is entirely covered in gold.

Wisdom Path, Hong Kong. May 2015.
Wisdom Path, Hong Kong. May 2015.

A short walk away from the center of attractions is the Wisdom Path. 38 wooden monuments line the path where serenity is at its best. On each wooden monument are chinese inscriptions . It is not much to see but the peacefulness of the site is a refreshing change of air from the city. Take a moment to take in the scenery and tranquility.