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A day on Nusa Penida

Hi,

Nusa Penida, also knows as the Instagram Mecca of the 21st century. Boosted by the power of social media this particular little island became one of the most popular travel destination in the world. Nusa Penida features some of the most spectacular beaches and viewpoints in Indonesia and it's just one hour off the shore of Bali.

 

We started our trip from Bali early (check out the blog post here). The ferry operates quite frequently between Sanur Harbor and Nusa Penida. There're usually no jetties and you have to carry your luggage through the shallow water into the boat. 

First stop on our tour through the island was the famous Kelingking Beach. The iconic rock and chalk-stone formation has attracted millions of people and definitely doesn't lack in beauty. There's a path on the ridge of the cliff all the way down to the beach, sadly we didn't have enough time.

Little fun-fact, the little piece of land you can see in the pictures is also called drone graveyard by the locals. Apparently when you fly too low off shore you hit a radio dead-spot. Nevertheless, we flew our drone and it was fine, but keep that in mind.

Next stop was Broken Beach at the western side of the island. It's a natural pool connected to the ocean by an arch in the cliffs. The water is blue and quite famous for the large populations of manta rays. You can walk around the pool and over the arch and enjoy the picturesque views over the azure ocean. 

Not far from Broken Beach is Angles Billabong. It's another very shallow natural pool. It's exactly facing west so great sport for sunsets. Cliffs are pretty sharp so be carful when climbing down into the water.

Our final stop for the day was Crystal Bay. Since we were staying on Nusa Penida for the night we weren't in a rush to get on the last ferry. Hence the beach was relatively empty. We went out for a quick swim just on time to enjoy the sun setting behind the cliffs.

If you want to see the previous trips in and around Indonesia check out my previous posts:

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See you soon!

5 things to do on a layover in Singapore

Hello,

welcome back everyone. Singapore was the first stop in our Indonesia itinerary. Why Singapore? you might ask. When travelling from London there are no direct flights Indonesia that were convenient, also neither of us had visited Singapore before. The connecting flights from Changi Airport are also quite short and frequent, so Singapore was a great place to overcome the jetlag, get used to the equatorial climate and start the trip to Indonesia.

Singapore feels like a melting pot of cultures, religions, food and lifestyle. With futuristic architecture on one side of the town and traditional markets on the other it truly feels like a place of contrasts. When taking the underground metro from The Quays to Chinatown it seems like going back in time. There's Orchard Road with huge shopping malls and shops like Hugo Boss or Louis Vuitton and then there's Little India where people trade fish and vegetables in crammed and noisy market halls. 

Singapore isn't cheap. Compared to its neighbor Indonesia it's actually quite expensive. Average price for lunch is about 8-10£, coffee costs around 3£. If you want to save some money most shopping malls have some decent food courts that offer a large variety of local and international street food. 

 

We only stayed a total of 3 nights, two at the start of our trip and one at the end. Here are a few sights that you shouldn't miss and that are definitely worth your time:

1. Gardens by the Bay

The Gardens by the Bay is probably one of Singapore's most photographed site. The highlight of the park are undoubtedly the massive artificial metal tree structures that rise above all other plants in the area. The trees are illuminated in different colours at night (themed light-shows take place at 7.45pm and 8.45pm), best times to visit is probably very early in the morning or late evenings.

For about 15£ per person you can also visit the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest. Particularly the Cloud Forest was quite interesting, also refreshingly cooler than the rest of the park. The gardens itself are free, so you can visit multiple times if you like. 

2. Southern Ridges

The walk along the Southern Ridges was one of my favorite things to do in Singapore. It took about 2-3 hours, but we stopped many times for photos and coffee breaks. There were a few steep stairs along the path but the view over the city from the peaks are quite stunning. Even thou you're still in the middle of the city it feels more like walking through a jungle. There is also a tree top walk from where you can enjoy a unique view over the trees and foliage, sometimes there are even wild monkeys. The whole walk felt very quiet, we rarely saw any other people. Compared to the hot and hectic city this was a very relaxing experience.

Also there's a very chilled cafe at the top of Mt. Faber, which is quite amazing for an iced coffee and an great view over the harbour. 

3. Marina Bay Sands

The big question you'll probably ask yourself: Is it worth it? Rooms in Singapore's fanciest hotel don't come cheap, but the infinity pool on the 57th floor is really quite breathtaking. The hotel is a big tourist attraction and the pool gets very busy at peak times, particularly around sunset. The best times for a relaxed swim is early mornings and late nights (pool opens at 6am until 11pm). There are 2 types of rooms, one with view over the Gardens by the Bay and one over the city. Our room had city view which was quite spectacular, I would definitely recommend this side. Also hotel guests have free access to the observation deck, from where you have an almost 360° view over the city.

4. Botanic Gardens

Another entirely free thing to explore is the Singapore Botanic Garden. Very quiet and relaxing, I found it to be a much welcome break from the city life. There are many walks and trails through the gardens, the rain forest part is probably the most impressive. 

5. Quays at Night

The perfect end-of-day-walk! Start at Read Bridge and keep walking east on either side of the river. There are plenty of places to grab food or drinks. Once you reach the Merlion, a half lion half fish stature you'll have a fantastic view over the Singaporean skyline and the Marina Bay Sands. You can walk all the way around the bay, there's some pretty amazingly designed bridges and colourful buildings. 

Bonus Breakfast Tip: My Awesome Cafe

We had a great breakfast at "My Awesome Cafe". Great coffee and scrambled eggs and some pretty awesome shakes. If you're in the area that's definitely worth a visit:

202 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore, 068639
9:00 morning till 12:00 midnight

 

7 Best Spots for Photography in Paris

Bonjour mes amis,

when I first came to Paris about a year ago I was completely overwhelmed: The city is filled with the most beautiful architecture, elegant avenues and picturesque parks. No matter in which direction you're going to go, you will most certainly find some breathtaking sights. So in order to make your photographic journey through Paris a bit more pleasant, I've assembled my personal 7 best spots for shooting amazing pictures in Paris:

1. La Tour Eiffel

Alright, let's start with the obvious. It's gonna be hard to miss Paris' most iconic sight, the Eiffel Tower. Does it look great on Photos? Yes. Is it gonna be really touristy? Of course. So is it worth it? Definitely! 

Even though it has been photographed probably a million times it's still looks great. Bring a wide angle to capture the some different perspectives, try and get really close to the iron scaffoldings, if the weather isn't perfect the tower is going to look stunning in black and white. And the great thing about the Eiffel Tower is that it's visible from all over the city which gives you plenty of opportunities to play with different compositions.

2. The Louvre

The Louvre is one of the worlds greatest collection of art. Even if you're not into classical art, simply wander around in the gigantic building through sheer endless corridors of art and history. Book tickets in advance to avoid the queue, also the Louvre is open till late one day a week, which is usually a great opportunity to see the Louvre a little bit less crowded. 

3. Get out at night

If you think Paris is pretty during the day, wait until you see it at night. Pretty much all the famous sights are illuminated quite spectacularly. Definitely stop at the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre for some stunning shots.  

4. Get up high

Paris offers a lot of great opportunities for cityscapes. Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur on top of Montmartre, and Notre Dame are just a few examples to get that wide angle lens out on a tripod. Sometimes there are lifts, sometimes just stairs, so pack light. A fantastic insider tip is the Galeries Lafayette. It's a pretty big department store in the centre of Paris but it has an amazing rooftop terrace (which even has a bar). Try and be there when the store opens (usually around 9) to avoid crowds. 

5. Watch out for Street Art

Apart from all the official art exhibitions, Paris has a lot of guerrilla artists actively enhancing the facades of houses, bridges and building. So keep your eyes open, some are well hidden, some are quite obvious.  

6. Montmartre and Sacre Coeur

The district of Montmartre has quite a vivid history with being home to artists like Dali, Monet Picasso and van Gogh. Today the 130 meters high hill in the middle of Paris is still incredibly vibrant with art markets, little galleries and coffee shops. Right on top is the church Sacre Coeur, which will give you an amazing view over Paris.

7. Get aboard for a Riverboat-Tour

Perfect for your last day when feet already hurt. The Seine pretty much flows along all the major sights so you can get a last chance to get a shot of Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower, also from a different perspective and without the hassle of walking and taking the underground. It's a hop on/off ticket in case you feel like spending some on land. 


Weekend break in Cornwall

The most amazing thing about Cornwall if you're from London? It's pretty much next door. We took the trains from Reading and within a few hours it feels like you're in a different country. Instead of urban landscapes the train passes through lush fields and azure skies. But first if you're not from this continent, let me show you a map:

Spot-Tip:

If you have time and a car Kynance Cove close to The Lizard is doubtlessly worth a visit. If you come in the late afternoon you will be rewarded with a stunning scenery and some marvellous light. In terms of equipment I would recommend a wide-angle for landscapes and potentially a nice portrait lens (50mm-120mm) to take some pictures of your loved ones. Bare in mind that the tide levels vary quite a bit so don't let you camera-bag unattended at the beach otherwise it might get wet.