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Some highlights of my trip to Indonesia (Bali and Lombok) and Hong Kong earlier this year. My first time in East Asia!

Bali and Lombok

Pura Luhur Uluwatu (Bali) ♥ Gili Trawangan (Lombok)Ubud (Bali): Maya Ubud ♥ Monkey Forest ♥ Pura Saraswati temple ♥ traditional Balinese shadow puppetsGili ♥ Maya UbudPura Saraswati Saraswati ♥ Offerings during Galungan ♥ Pura Tanah Lot temple Seminyak (Bali)

Hong Kong

Now the shocking bit: we didn’t love Bali. We (only) liked Bali.
Don’t take me wrong, it is a very beautiful island, the Balinese are very gentle people, the culture is fascinating, the weather was perfect (we went in June/July), we’d great food (although not enough Balinese or Indonesian food, which was surprisingly hard to find!), stayed in great hotels (well, some better than others…), got the best spa treatments of our lives and had lots of fun overall. But for most of the time we couldn’t stop thinking something along the lines this must have been fantastic twenty years ago! Clearly not the best thought when you’re visiting a new place (especially when that place is more than 20 hours away by plane).

Ubud (a town in the middle of the rice paddies which is considered to be the cultural centre of Bali) was actually great, but the coastal zones where we stayed in the southern and southeastern parts of the island (Nusa Dua and Seminyak) where slightly disappointing: too many tourists, too many hotels, too many pizzerias and fish & chip restaurants, too few locals. Well, maybe we’re ill-advised or our expectations were too high… In hindsight, I think we should have spent more time in Lombok, or exploring the less touristy northern and western parts of Bali.

On the other hand, we loved Hong Kong! We only stayed 3 and a half days there. And it was hot. Very hot – at least 35C during the day, 32C during the night. Every time we stepped out on the street, it felt like there was a full body size hair dryer pointed at us. Crazy! But we loved the buzz, the food, the shopping (is there any other place in the world with such a high concentration of high-end fashion brands? And with as many shoppers? We hardly bought anything, but it was fascinating to see), the organisation (I’m envious of the Hong Kong metro system), the people, the buildings, the lights, the landscape… Definitely, a place where I’d like to return.