I thought I'd throw up a quick post about my trip, for anyone curious. I went to Asia to visit Papua, Indonesia, because I know people living there. I got a (brief) glimpse into a completely different culture and way of life and I'm so glad I went (I'd been a bit scared). That said, it's not really a place I can recommend other people visit, just because it's pretty much impossible to get around if you don't have a local to guide you.
So let's move on to my other two destinations (that I had to fly through to get to Papua). Two MAJOR destinations, and they felt major. First off, Hong Kong.
I am definitely a city girl and I was super excited about visiting Hong Kong. The weather was not very accommodating, but I still managed to hit most of the major sites I wanted to in the three days I was there, including the Star Ferry (pictured), the Peak and tea at the Peninsula. The bad weather (and being a little run down at the end of my trip) kept me from doing all the exploring I would have liked to. But that gives me lots of reasons to go back!
The one off-the-beaten path place I managed to visit was the Temple of 10,000 Buddhas (where this photo comes from), which was heaven for a statue nut like me. Loved it.
Hotels in Hong Kong are expensive! I stayed here, which was certainly expensive by my standards but was thankfully quite fabulous. Here was the foggy but amazing view from my room.
I also went to Bali, which I had mixed feelings about. You should take into account that I don't like extreme heat, or places that are completely dominated by tourism. Also, I'm much more of a let's-walk-around-and-see-stuff traveler, than a lie-on-a-lounge-chair traveler. But this early morning view of Sanur, where I stayed here (recommended), should offer some sense of why people love this island so much.
I wasn't in Bali that long, and I pretty much avoided the fashionable places. I spent most of the time in Ubud, the cultural heart of Bali.
There was an impressive amount of culture, but it was a bit overwhelmed by a dispiriting amount of shopping.
I stayed at an inexpensive hotel with a lovely courtyard and pool, plus my own private terrace where they brought me tea every afternoon. Very civilized. I also had a spa treatment at the kick-ass amazing Maya Ubud Resort Spa. If you're visiting Ubud and like spas — go. I had a package that included lunch, which was also wonderful.
I wound up feeling very sad to leave Bali and wishing I had more time there. I suspect it's best experienced if you can hire a driver to take you away from the tourist centers. The island is a very beautiful place, especially in the very early morning. So that's my last piece of advice for anyone traveling to the equator. Wake up very early, as the locals do, and at midday ... sleep.
We now return to our regularly scheduled interiors blogging.