16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!

16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!
16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!

So last week, I told you that even though I have a lot of future posts coming up about my FAM/Press Trip to the Philippines, I was going to divert to writing about Taiwan!

Taiwan?

Yes. Taiwan!

Aha!

?/%$!!?%$§!

Is Manila a crime-ridden place or is it something completely different?
Is Manila a crime-ridden place or is it something completely different?

Now let’s be honest. A fortnight ago, I told you that western travellers tended not to choose the Philippines when travelling to Asia, and with Taiwan, it gets distinctly worse because.

Nobody knows where it is!!!

There are murmurs of:

Taiwan?

Do you mean Thailand!

or

Taiwan?

Is that in Turkey or something!

In fact, until last year, I thought that Taipai - the capital of Taiwan - was somewhere in Korea!
In fact, until last year, I thought that Taipei – the capital of Taiwan – was somewhere in Korea!

In fact, until last year, I thought that Taipei – the capital of Taiwan – was somewhere in Korea!

Yes. Korea!!

Was it any wonder that when I decided to add another Asian destination to my trip, I opted to choose Taiwan!

But if you’re just following my blog, and you haven’t a clue why Taiwan even came up in the first instance, here are a couple of links to remind you:

Me in the Philippines, but could this be a James Bond moment! ©Scott Herder - BoboandChiChi.com
Me in the Philippines, but could this be a James Bond moment!
©Scott Herder – BoboandChiChi.com

Gosh!

So let’s do some history.

TAIWAN

Taipei 101 Observatory - The world's tallest building in 2004!
Taipei 101 Observatory – The world’s tallest building in 2004!

Taiwan, otherwise known as, the Republic of China (ROC), is a state in East Asia. It was founded in 1912, making it the first democratic republic in Asia!

Neighbors include the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to the west, Japan to the northeast, and the Philippines to the south. Taiwan is the most populous non-UN state and the largest economy outside the UN boasting a per capita income of over $45,000!

Despite its contentious relationship with China, Taiwan has thrived over the last four decades as one of the strongest economies in Asia, a population of just 23.4 million people, and a GDP of over $1.1 trillion!

16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!
16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!

The history of Taiwan can be traced back to at least 7000 years!

Between 7000 and 400 years ago, Austronesians, (the ancestors of the island’s indigenous people), arrived in small groups and became the earliest known inhabitants of Taiwan.

Taiwan was initially colonised by the Dutch in the 17th century, followed by an influx of Han Chinese, including Hakka immigrants from the Fujian and Guangdong areas of mainland China, across the Taiwan Strait.

The Spanish built a settlement in the north for a brief period, but were driven out by the Dutch in 1642.

Taiwan became a colony of Japan and remained under Japanese rule for 50 years!
Taiwan became a colony of Japan and remained under Japanese rule for 50 years!

In 1662, Koxinga, a loyalist of the Ming dynasty who had lost control of mainland China in 1644, defeated the Dutch and established a base of operations on the island. His forces were also defeated by the Qing dynasty in 1683, and parts of Taiwan became increasingly integrated into the Qing empire. Following the First Sino-Japanese War in 1895, the Qing ceded the island, along with Penghu, to the Empire of Japan.

The island became a colony of Japan and remained under Japanese rule for 50 years, during which time it evolved from a traditional society into a modern one.

In 1945, following the end of World War II, the Republic of China (ROC), led by the Kuomintang (KMT), took control of Taiwan.

Taiwan, otherwise known as, the Republic of China (ROC).
Taiwan, otherwise known as, the Republic of China (ROC).

The KMT ruled Taiwan (along with Kinmen, Wuqiu and the Matsu Islands on the opposite side of the Taiwan Strait) as a single-party state for forty years, until democratic reforms in the 1980s.

During the post-war period, Taiwan experienced rapid industrialization and economic growth, and was known as one of the Four Asian Tigers.

Wow!

How intriguing!

Singapore is also known as one of the Four Asian Tigers!
Singapore is also known as one of the Four Asian Tigers!

I was enormously impressed by Taiwan and here’s why:

16 BRILLIANT REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT TAIWAN!

16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!
16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!
  1. Taiwan is an island country boasting abundant natural resources
  2. A great collection of landforms have been carved out of the Taiwan landscape, such as majestic peaks, rolling hills and plains, basins, coastlines, and other natural landscapes
  3. There are 8 national parks and 13 national scenic areas to preserve Taiwan’s best natural ecological environment, and cultural sites
  4. Taiwan has invaluable rare and endangered wildlife such as the Taiwanese land-locked salmon, the Taiwan serow, Formosan rock monkeys, Formosan black bears, Swinhoe pheasants, blue magpies, Mikado pheasants, and the Hsuehshan grass lizard
  5. Taiwan boasts excellent infrastructure, a convenient transportation system, and high-quality communication services
  6. It’s utterly and completely clean! I couldn’t believe that there was no litter or trash on the underground train. And if it’s raining, you can pick up an umbrella at the train station. For free!
  7. The fabulous food, and the Night Market. I’m going to say no more about it, until next week!
  8. So that you can pay a visit to Taroko National Park
  9. Get all sweaty and energetic with a hike up Jade Mountain
  10. To experience the wonderful ambience of Sun Moon Lake
  11. So that you can hang out where the cool kids do in the hip neighbourhood of Ximending – the  first pedestrian zone built in Taipei and the source of Taiwan’s pop subculture, cool Japanese trends, cultural-creative goods, food, and entertainment, as well as unique avant-garde fashion and style. In fact, I stayed in this region for 3 days before I moved to another part of town. More about this next week!
  12. To discover and explore a bustling modern metropolis sprinkled with quiet lanes and alleys in corners that you would never expect, as well as a unique cultural environment filled with creativity and design. One evening, we bumped into a film company making a Taiwanese soap-show, based around a red-brick cultural building, constructed in a historically preserved heritage warehouse!
  13. So that you can hop on a high-speed train and experience the Taiwan Railway Journey across the country island!
  14. Get in touch with authentic Taiwanese life by visiting the mountain region of Pingxi where you can write wishes on a sky lantern, before letting it go into the sky!
  15. Be fascinated by the beauty and serenity of the Shifen Waterfall
  16. Because Taiwan has the feel of being Chinese, but itsn’t!

That’s all for now!

16 BRILLIANT REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT TAIWAN!

Me being a tourist in trendy Ximending 16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!
Me being a tourist in trendy Ximending
16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!

This article is not sponsored and even though I received a part-complimentary stay at amba Taipei Ximending and amba Taipei Songshan, all opinions and the magnificent time that I had, are my very own!

Next week I’ll be writing about what I did in Taiwan, and then returning to the Philippines again later!

On November 24th – 26th, I’ll be attending the Berlin-Premiere and the 10th anniversary of British musical comedy duo – Carrington Brown at Bar Jeder Vernunft in Berlin.

On November 24th – 26th, I’ll be joining my American friends to celebrate Thanksgiving!

On November 27th, the Berlin German Christmas Market will open, and the furore of mulled wine, German sausages and green cabbage, will begin!

In December/January, I’ll be going to Holland.

The British Shorts Fillm Festival will take place from 12th – 18th January, 2017

Berlin Fashion Week will take place from 17th –  20th January, 2017.

At the end of January, I’ll be skiing in the Czech Republic.

Save the Date!

November is going to be compulsive!

Watch this space!

Please also note that there is now a Booking.com affiliate link (for the very first time) connected to my hotel. Every time some sort of accommodation is booked via my link I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself! A win-win for all!

16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!
16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!

Would you like to visit Taiwan? Have you been there? Did you know that Taiwan was not a part of Thailand or Korea!! Let me know!

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com
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How I was attacked by monkeys and I screamed!

Ouch! I'm still smiling. I'm still smiling! Photo@ Frank Böster
Ouch! I’m still smiling. I’m still smiling!
©Frank Böster – Behind The Couch Studio

Monkeys!!

I absolutely hate ’em!

Last week, I retold the story and gave you the beginner’ guide to going up a volcano for the very first time; because going up a volcano really isn’t for everyone!

The-Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies.
The-Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies.

The adventure of walking through the flames of Mordor and struggling through the mountains of Erebor, whilst I plunged myself through the footsteps of Thorin Oakenshield and….

Oooops!

Not that mountain in New Zealand. The other one! The one in Indonesia.

In Bali!

It sure was a challenge and what was even moreso, was of trying to get through the hordes of monkeys.

I’ve met monkeys before.

Many times.

I don’t like monkeys.

I have a fear of them!

At the Ranthambore National Park, India.
At the Ranthambore National Park, India.

The last time that I had an encounter with monkeys was in India. I was in Rajasthan and I went on a tiger-hunting safari tour at the Ranthambore National Park, not far from Jaipur.  Ranthambore National Park is known for its tigers and the best times for tiger sightings are in November.

I happened to be in India in November.

I was looking forward to seeing those majestic creatures, and you would have thought that after paying our open-top gypsy jeep fee all we would have had to do, was to settle in, and take off.

Yeah right!

When has it ever been that easy?

Inside the national park is a huge forest, and in that forest is the Banyan tree. The Banyan tree is the national tree of India, and hidden in those mystic trees were monkeys.

Huge monkeys at the Ranthambore National Park, India.
Huge monkeys at the Ranthambore National Park, India.

Huge monkeys.

Huge monkeys who didn’t swing off into oblivion. Oh dear me no. These huge monkeys only had to come down and start parading around, as if they owned the place.

Apparently they do.

There was some sort of monkey temple nearby and in order to walk further into the forest, (as we were also on a guided tour of the flora and fauna of the national park), we had to pass these temples.

I turned into a sweat.

India is a place where they take the worship of animals quite seriously. You all know of the virtues of the Holy Cow but did you know that there is a temple called the Karni Mata Temple, dedicated to rats and known as the Temple of Rats.

Karni Mata Temple - The Temple of Rats, India.
Karni Mata Temple – The Temple of Rats, India.

The temple is the home to over 20,000 varieties of rats. You have to take off your shoes and walk in your socks, as bare feet are considered de rigueur. You are then surrounded by lots of little rats who scuttle over your feet.

Don’t move, as they’re holy and bring blessings.

Quite disgusting, but you can’t be in India if you aren’t shocked at least a little bit. Shudder!

Back to the monkeys!

Book your hotel here!

Don't look them in the eyes!
Don’t look them in the eyes!

In the monkey temple, the primates roamed free and they begged. Nay. They demanded, that you gave them titbits. Our guide had instructed us to:

  • Be careful.
  • Give small amounts of food.
  • Don’t show fear.
  • Don’t look them in the eye.

A huge monkey came towards me. And immediately, I began to shake. He brought out his hand. I gave him my “gift” whilst still shaking slightly. He strolled around me, and I gingerly walked on.

Walking on in Vietnam! I don't recall seeing any monkeys this time!
Walking on in Vietnam! I don’t recall seeing any monkeys this time!

Then we came to the actual temple and all the monkeys were right in front of me.

I was surrounded and found no way to go around them, so I had to go through them.

I kept my head down all the way through until we got to our safari jeep.

And yes, we got to see tigers!

Book your hotel here!

Horse riding in the Welsh Mountains.

But what started this fiasco of fear in the first place? How did it come to be that I can ride horses, elephants, and camels. I can eat snake and crocodile meat, but I cannot be surrounded by monkeys! I mean, The Music Producer, “The Tall Young Gentleman” and myself love going to the Zoo in Berlin, and even there, I refused to go into the monkey sanctuary, and waited outside.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

In fact, even though I love watching Return of the Apes, it still keeps me awake at night. I mean, what if?!!

Double Gulp!

I love Bali. I really do. We had such a lovely holiday in that most beautiful Bali resort called: Alam Shanti and in our own private ricefield house called: Utari House.

Book Utari House at Alam Shanti or your own Bali hotel here!

Book your hotel here!

Tea and cake at the lovely Alam Shanti.
Tea and cake at the lovely Alam Shanti.

What I neglected to tell you was that our beautiful residence was in Ubud. Ubud is one of the most fascinating places in the world. It’s surrounded by rice paddies and is just packed. Packed with opportunities to dig into your spiritual flow, get your karma going, and focus on your chakra. That’s right, Ubud is the land of enlightenment, learning, and discipline. It’s also next-door to that enormously famous forest of awe.

The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary otherwise known as The Monkey Forest.

You know how I told you that the Banyan Tree is the National Tree of India. Well, it’s also on the coat of arms of Indonesia and is deeply sacred. As are monkeys.

A family of monkeys in The Monkey Forest.
A family of monkeys in The Monkey Forest.

Our hotel was about 5 minutes away from the Monkey Forest. In fact, we had a private team of security men who slept in the surrounding confines of our house. Not because of crime. Nope!

Nothing to do with monkeys. Just a little light relief!
Nothing to do with monkeys. Just a little light relief!

Because of the monkeys.

Our house was set away from the grounds of the hotel and was blissfully secluded, but with seclusion came nature. We had giant toads, giant lizards, and lots and lots of monkeys. Monkeys that have no respect over walls, and just climb over! In fact, on our first day, we saw a huge number of them in the neighbouring rice field at the back of our house! Alam Shanti were great and ensured our safety so that we always felt safe and secure, as there was a large number of staff on the grounds. And rice farmers!

The Music Producer and “The Tall Young Gentleman” wanted to experience what The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary had to offer. As for me. I already knew.

Inside The Monkey Forest.
Inside The Monkey Forest.

Remember when I told you that I had been to Bali back in ’99.

Yeah!

It was here that I had my first experience of monkeys.

Myself with longer hair. Don't I look cute!
Myself with longer hair. Don’t I look cute!

I had joined a small group that had decided to go to The Monkey Forest. We came by mini-van and had just huddled up in the car-park. Our guide had instructed us to take off hats, glasses, and anything else that might catch the attention of a wandering primate. In those days, my hair was long, and I was leaning on the fence listening intently to the guide, when I felt a thump.

Something had landed on my head.

And that thing took a hold of my then-long hair, and pulled it.

Oh dear!
Oh dear!

It was a monkey.

I was in such a sense of shock that I screamed!

The guide shouted at me not to move but I couldn’t hear him, all I could see were the shocked faces of other tourists as this monkey proceeded to hang on for dear life, all the while pulling my hair, whilst I screamed and screamed!

Local people in Bali.
Local people in Bali.

The local people came to help me and enticed the monkey away, whilst I gingerly went on into The Monkey Forest too, all the while on high alert.

I did it, but not without discomfort, and almost screaming the forest down! As such, you can imagine my dismay when my family wanted to go to The Monkey Forest too.

Going Bananas!
Going Bananas!

They went and had a great time playing and feeding the monkeys. The Music Producer had a cheeky monkey go into his shoulder bag and help himself to a bottle of water. “The Tall Young Gentleman” had monkeys that liked him so much, they snatched bunches of bananas from his hand and tried to take his trousers!

And what about me?

Did I take up the challenge to face my fears?

No way!

They went without me!

Book your hotel here!

HOW I WAS ATTACKED BY MONKEYS AND I SCREAMED!

Going to The Monkey Forest without me!
Going to The Monkey Forest without me!

This article is not sponsored and all opinions are my very own!

I have so much to share with you so next week I will be continuing our adventures in Indonesia, and Qatar and you can read what happened to me in Korea……!

Winter is coming. Oh my!

A fortnight ago, a British company contacted me and asked me to contribute my expert knowledge on Germany and Britain. You don’t need to ask me twice. Here it is: The 5 best differences between Germany and Britain.

Additional National Theatre Live productions are also coming up and can be seen at the Cinestar Berlin – Original such as:

On January 15th, I will be watching the new Grand Show at the Friedrichstadt-Palast: THE WYLD.

Berlin Fashion Week is coming up and will take place between January 19th and January 23rd, 2015. Save the Date!

For the rest of the year, Berlin will be celebrating and marking the 25th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall.

At the end of 2014, I will reveal some of my plans for 2015. So many things are going to happen.

December is going to be marvellous!

Alive and well outside the Monkey Forest!

Watch this space!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

How I was attacked by monkeys and I screamed!

Have you ever been to the Monkey Forest in Bali? Do you like monkeys? Do you like rats?! Let me know in the comments below!

See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

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The beginner’s guide to going up a volcano: because going up a volcano isn’t for everyone!

The beginner’s guide to going up a volcano: because going up a volcano isn’t for everyone!

Last week, I told you that part of our summer in Asia was of going to Indonesia. Indonesia is one of my favourite countries and going to Bali brought back memories of my travels all the way back in ’99!

Last week, I told you how I went on a cycling tour and fell in a ditch, but that isn’t all I did. Oh dear me no! I also decided to try my hand on going up a live volcano.

Craaaaazy!

I had heard about how easy it was to climb them from a young American blogger called Ashley. Her blog is called Ashley Abroad and this year she spent considerable time travelling around the world and finding herself. At the beginning of the year, she climbed Mount Batur which is Bali’s most active volcano! She made it sound reasonably easy so I decided to do the same.

Ha! If only I had known….!

Some of the licensed trekking guides on top of Mount Batur, Bali.
Some of the licensed trekking guides on top of Mount Batur, Bali.

I did a little research and found that a local company called Pineh Bali Tours seemed to have the sort of activity that I was looking for and were well organised with various outdoor activities such as white-water rafting, cycling and of course, trekking up the various volcanoes that Bali had to offer. We opted for the Batur Sunrise Trekking Tour.

And Gulp!

They weren’t joking about the sunrise part of it.

The Music Producer had taken a turn for the worse and decided to stay behind in the safe hands of the wonderful Alam Shanti Resort Hotel and the blissful quietness of the two level Utari House in the rice paddy. Not the Utari House in the city centre! The staff were great and I arranged for regular cups of tea and slices of cake to be sent up to our house, while my husband slept away and tried to recover from the illness that he had unfortunately picked up in Thailand.

Book your hotel here!

The mountain is alive! Mount Batur, I'm coming!
The mountain is alive!
Mount Batur, I’m coming!

And so it was left for “The Tall Young Gentleman” and I to undertake an adventure never discovered before, aka – climb a live volcano in Bali!

What was I thinking?!!

As promised, a car came to pick us up at 02:00. I mean, 2 a.m. in the morning! We hardly slept but I made our 12-year-old son go to bed at 21:00 so that he would get some shut-eye.

It was too early to eat so we just had a drink and then crawled into the car which already had a young American couple in it, who were just as bug-eyed as we were.

A banana pancake in Bali. Why do we always have to have this? I hate banana and I don’t like chocolate! Sigh!

Within an hour, we arrived at the Pineh Colada Bali coffee plantation and organic farm. It was freezing cold, but we managed to have our included breakfast of banana pancake sprinkled with chocolate sauce. Sigh! And a variety of tea and coffee. I don’t like coffee either so I stuck to the tea.

The Association of Mount Batur Trekking Guides, waiting for business.
The Association of Mount Batur Trekking Guides, waiting for business.

At about 04.00, we proceeded to the base of the volcano where not far away was a car park and also the licensing office. The volcano is a treasure and is well guarded, it’s also live and therefore dangerous. We don’t have to look far to remember volcanoes that have erupted in recent years such as that in Iceland. As a result of this, one licenced guide is allocated to at least 4 people and 2 guides for 6 people. We were a group of four (4).

We were given a young English-speaking guide who then gave us bottles of water and torches. These torches were very much-needed as it was pitch-black. The volcanic ash was dark and all around were the twinkle of village homes. And so we proceeded upwards and onwards.

Let me tell you. It was awful. Scratch! Scratch! Scratch! Akwaaaard!
Let me tell you. It was awful. Scratch! Scratch! Scratch!
Akwaaaard!

Let me tell you. It was awful.

The path was extremely narrow and it was pitch-black. I couldn’t see a thing. Thank goodness, “The Tall Young Gentleman” had on a red-jacket. On one hand, I kept a constant eye on where he was, and on the other, a hand on the rocks in front of us. The young couple travelling with us were quite irritating as they wanted to run to the top of the volcano as apparently, they were leaving for Spain in less than three (3) hours. Er. What!?

I, on the other hand, was just struggling to breathe up there and I had to rest every few minutes. I wish I could have said every five minutes but it was distinctly less.

I wanted to turn around right there and then but that wasn’t an option as there was a long line of people with torches, also behind me, and in the pitch darkness, it just wasn’t an option. Also, the guide has to stay with the tourists so if we split up, we would have a problem. In the end, our guide attached the couple to a group leader that he knew, so that we could again, go on at our own pace.

Some of the other tourists wrapped up warmly.
Some of the other tourists wrapped up warmly.

It was a long hard slog with enough time for me to think of why I was doing it. Why the hell was I climbing up a live volcano when I even had trouble walking up five flights of stairs?

I’ll tell you why.

Because I’m an idiot.

I like challenges even when I know perfectly well, that it’s a rubbish idea!

Honestly, looking around me, I saw lots of 20-somethings skipping merrily ahead and in flip-flops no less! I saw very few people over 50 and even less under 10. I’m in the middle and I have to confess, I found it a struggle.

“The Tall Young Gentleman” in the midst of Mount Batur – Bali’s most active volcano.

And The Tall Young Gentleman? He had a blast, sang to the sound of music, and skipped along too!

I tried not to cry and then the guide started giving me words of encouragement, “it’s only 20 minutes away” when it was actually 2 hours away! He held my hand, carried my “city” backpack and made me rest when my eyes began to get blood-shot with tears. He began chatting about the village life of local Balinese people and the stories of why they have a temple in the middle of the hike to remember people who had died from volcano eruptions years before. It didn’t make me sad, it just made me more determined.

At about 06:30, we finally made it to the top of the volcano.

The heavens began to open on Mount Batur. In Bali.
The heavens began to open on Mount Batur. In Bali.

There was an eerie silence as the sky was cloudy and then it happened. The clouds parted and the heavens appeared. It was a “wow” moment and complete and utter silence.

We were on top of the world!

Slices of bread and eggs boiled in the steam of a volcano!
Slices of bread and eggs boiled in the steam of a volcano!

We were completely exhausted and an included breakfast was welcome. We were offered eggs boiled in the steam of the volcano, sliced bread and a banana. I opted for a cup of tea and put down my plate for just a second when I saw a sudden movement.

Monkeys!

I hate monkeys.

One of the monkeys on top of Mount Batur in Indonesia!
One of the monkeys on top of Mount Batur in Indonesia!

And I’m scared of them.

As soon as I saw it, I realised that it was not only eyeing my breakfast plate but also my backpack which had a bottle of water sticking out of it, as well as my camera bag. I began to shake as monkeys can be ruthless. I managed to slide the bag away from it but left the breakfast, and all of a sudden there were more.

More monkeys.

OMG!

There was a monkey temple on the peak of the volcano and they knew that once people were around, so was the food. I took a few photos and tried to step away from them.

Monkeys! That was our breakfast by the way!
Monkeys! That was our breakfast by the way!

Slowly.

I have a few photos but they are pretty shaky!

Soon, it was time to go back down and it wasn’t any easier. It was worse!

My knees! My poor knees!

I don't know how they do it! The Balinese locals run up and down Mount Batur. And with no shoes on too! I even saw a local lady. With a baby on her back. Going up! They've all got perfect knees!
I don’t know how they do it! The Balinese locals run up & down Mount Batur. And with no shoes on too! I even saw a local lady. With a baby on her back. Going up! They’ve all got perfect knees!

Thankfully, there was a view so that we were able to actually see the beautiful valley and lakes, and the temples scattered around the volcano. We also walked through a few villages where people were going about their business and selling fruit, snacks, and live chickens to passersby.

A Kopi Luwak or Asian Civet.
A Kopi Luwak or Asian Civet.

After another hour or so climbing down the volcanic mountain, I gave our guide a hefty tip and we were once again driven by private car, back to the Pineh Colada Bali coffee plantation and organic farm, where we could look around the plantation and see that most interesting animal called a Kopi Luwak or a civet. Apparently, the coffee berries are eaten and then defecated out by this creature. The droppings are then cleaned, roasted and ground to be made into coffee. The aromatic falvour and its unusual process make the coffee one of the most expensive brands in the world.

It’s a good thing I don’t drink coffee!

They had a range of exotic drinks such as Bali Coffee, Vanilla Coffee, Lemon Tea, Ginger Tea, Ginseng Coffee, and Coconut Coffee. Tea yes! Coffee yuk!
They had a range of exotic drinks such as Bali Coffee, Vanilla Coffee, Lemon Tea, Ginger Tea, Ginseng Coffee, and Coconut Coffee. Tea yes! Coffee yuk!

However, you do get a chance to have a snack of banana fritters, try some strange fresh exotic fresh fruit, and a wide variety of tea and coffee to taste, ranging from ginseng coffee to ginger tea.

THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO GOING UP A VOLCANO!

Don’t be an idiot like me! Get fit & do some yoga.
Before you go!

And so to what you’ve all been waiting for – the beginner’s guide to going up a volcano.

  1. Get fit
  2. Go to bed early
  3. Go with a reputable company such as The Batur Sunrise Trekking Tour
  4. Wrap up warmly. In layers
  5. Bring a torch
  6. Take some snacks
  7. Get a little fitter
  8. Make sure you’re between 12 and 50 years old or possibly a well-honed 60
  9. When you get to the top, breathe in the sights
  10. Protect your breakfast from monkeys
  11. Mind the monkeys
  12. Take in the views again
  13. Now take photos and videos
  14. Prepare to do all that hard work all over again coming down
  15. Relax. It’s exhausting
  16. Have breakfast and taste as many different breeds of coffee as you can, as you’ll probably won’t find them again
  17. Try the poop coffee
  18. Buy some of the local stuff
  19. Go home
  20. Sleep
We're on top of the world, or at least on top of Mount Batur, in Bali!
We’re on top of the world, or at least on top of Mount Batur, in Bali!

Here’s the info:

WHAT IS PINEH BALI TOURS?

Pineh Bali Tours is a local Balinese owned and operated business focused on small organised trips to visit and climb Mount Batur, and other areas around it.

WHAT IS THE BATUR SUNRISE TREKKING TOUR ABOUT?

The Batur Sunrise Trekking Tour is a private organised tour and a once in a life-time experience to see the sunrise from the top of Bali’s most active volcano – Mt. Batur.

Phew!

A Balinese temple in Bali, Indonesia!
A Balinese temple in Bali, Indonesia!

DO I NEED TO UNDERSTAND BALINESE?

Nope!

This particluar tour was in English but being that the tours are private, I’m sure that they would try to link different guides with different people. If English isn’t your native-language not to worry, as most of the staff members spoke a multitude of languages, and are dedicated to ensuring that you enjoy your time and experience with Balinese nature and culture.

WHAT DO I NEED?

A pair of good walking shoes, a pair of thick gloves, a warm jacket, a scarf, a torch, a hat, some water, a camera, some snacks, and a huge smile!

Me with a huge smile on the beach in Sanur, Bali.
Me with a huge smile on the beach in Sanur, Bali.

ANYTHING ELSE?

Yes, this volcano tour includes a small breakfast, a variety of tea and coffee, as much bottled drinking water as you want, and a small lunch.

The trekking tour costs $40 or €32.60 per adult.

Return transport is included and they will collect you from Kuta, and Nusa Dua at 01:00 and Sanur and Ubud at 02:00.

Book your hotel here!

It's
It’s “only” a km away to Mount Batur in Bali.

MY VERDICT:

A tiring day.

It was an exciting challenge and an adventure that I wanted to do.

I ticked off that bucket list but I probably wouldn’t do it again!

My guide, as well as the other guides that I met, were wonderful and so professional. Climbing a volcano isn’t for me but don’t let that stop you.

If you want to do it, then DO IT!

What a wonderful view of Mount Batur in Bali!
©Jessy Eykendorp – Tropica Living

My knees cackled, and my glasses got smudged with ash and tears, but I’m proud that I made it once, up the most active volcano in Bali!

Everyone should go on an adventure tour of sort every now and then, if only to make sure that you’re not dead!

Well recommended!

WHAT IF THE PINEH BALI TOURS ISN’T MY CUP OF TEA?

Keep reading my blog. There is more to come!

For more information please contact: The Batur Sunrise Trekking Tour

Clinking glasses while drinking exotic beverage after an exhausting hike, on top of a volcano. In Bali! Phew! We made it!
Clinking glasses while drinking exotic beverage after an exhausting hike, on top of a volcano. In Bali!
Phew! We made it!

This article is not sponsored and even though I received a discount, all opinions and the large variety of drinks that I sampled, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you so next week I will be continuing our adventures in Indonesia, and Qatar and you can read what happened to me with those pesky monkeys……!

Christmas is coming, with more exclusive productions, and merry-making at German Xmas Markets. Whoop! Whoop!

A week ago, a British company contacted me and asked me to contribute my expert knowledge on Germany and Britain. You don’t need to ask me twice. Here it is: The 5 best differences between Germany and Britain.

Additional National Theatre Live productions are also coming up and can be seen at the Cinestar Berlin – Original such as:

For the rest of the year, Berlin will be celebrating and marking the 25th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall.

Berlin Fashion Week is coming up and will take place between January 19th and January 23rd, 2015. Save the Date!

December is going to be jolly!

Watch this space!

The beginner’s guide to going up a volcano: because going up a volcano isn’t for everyone!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

The beginner's guide to going up a volcano: because going up a volcano isn't for everyone!
The beginner’s guide to going up a volcano: because going up a volcano isn’t for everyone!

Have you ever been up a live volcano? Would you swallow coffee poop!

See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

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