Have you done any travelling outside of you study abroad placement? If so, where have you visited? How did you prepare for your trip? What kind of obstacles did you run into while travelling to and travelling around your destination? What advice do you have for others looking to take a trip while on a study abroad program?
Oh my gosh! What would I do this spring break was always playing on mind and was confused inking whether I should continue to stay back in Sydney, or consider going back home, or even travel around the country to explore more! While the first option can be less expensive it could be very lonely, and returning back home although fun would mean missing the experience the holidays in a foreign county. Here was my chance to ‘recharge’ before going back to studies and of course, I wanted to take full advantage of it and my parents were equally supportive of my decision.
This was the first time I realised that shortlisting and then finalizing a destination could be such a difficult task, and even more when it involved 20 people where we had to unanimous agree on our holiday destination for a 10-day break. What would be the perfect choice? Melbourne, Rainforest, Cairns, or even New Zealand and the list went on and on. It took us couple of days before we finally shortlisted a place, a place outside of Australia, yes you got it right, it was a holiday abroad from an abroad destination – Bali!
Bali, in Indonesia was decided! I am sure you must be wondering, of all the places, why there! Since most of my friends were from USA, they dreamed to visit this place, as it was so far away from home, it would be unlikely they would come this far on their own again. However, I wanted to explore Australia also, to see the Great Barrier Reef, precisely for the same reason but also because it is one of the seven wonders of the world and has been awarded World Heritage status. So, it was decided, a couple of us interested would go to Cairns and then join the rest at Bali after 3 days.
The next step was to decide on flights, accommodation and short list places we wanted to visit. All that was easily sorted, thanks to internet and the we got a good discount by booking online. We all coordinated on the flights but each of us booked our own. However, one person took the ownership of booking accommodation and local tour and we all transferred our share of money to his account. The next was to make arrangements for local currency and internet and each of us managed it ourselves. In addition, we all had to also take immunization shot to protect ourselves from any local epidemics, as a precautionary measure.
My first holiday hop was at Cairns airport! One that day we went to the water lagoon and different places to eat. I also did river rafting there and it was a very fun experience. The next day we went to the Great Barrier Reef to do scuba diving and snorkelling. After this trip we went to Bali.
Bali known for its cultural and spiritual spirit was one of the most awesome trips I have ever had. Despite its fairly small size, there are so many adventurous things to do in Bali. From white water rafting, diving and volcano hiking to wellness and yoga retreats, wildlife watching and temples.
On one of the days, we hired a jeep and a driver who drove us around for sight-seeing. Places looked like a waterfall, temple, water palace, rice field and end your journey on a swing in a jungle. Our first stop was the ancient Gates of Heaven at Lempuyang Temple, followed by visiting the rice paddies and relishing sweet porridge made of rice and enjoying the thrilling moment on the Tegalalang Rice Terrace Swing and enjoyed feeding the cheeky monkeys who I must admit were quite disciplined, in spite of the nasty stories I heard from the locals.
We stayed in a five-bedroom villa, booked through B&B and included breakfast in its package, although a quite an expensive one. However, we wanted a relaxing trip so we hung out in the villa most of the time during our stay. The rooms were spacious and neat and the beds huge and comfortable. There was also a private pool and most of the time we were in, playing game or have a leisure swim. Bali is definitely a great place for holiday and will always be one of my favourite holiday destinations for many years to come.
In spite of all the fun. here is some advice! Be prepared for unwanted showers which could ruin your plan for the day. Secondly, when doing group booking the cost should be affordable to all. Your entire effort on planning would go farce if you don’t keep in mind everyone’s pocket and choice. Although I agree, it is hard to be unified to find a middle path, it is indeed required. Be cautious as this can be a sensitive topic, which could likely upset others, especially when it comes to money! Secondly visa, can be a challenge for a few as they may not be an American, who do not need to have one but for others this needs to be worked out and that would cost both time and money. Luckily at Bali visas were issued on arrival so many of us did not hold an American passport did not face a problem.