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wanderlife, japan, japan tourism, travel, travel blog, gardens ritsurinkoen, takamatsu city, kagawa prefecture. (1 of 19)

There is no denying that the Japanese have an art when it comes to creating Japanese gardens (日本庭園 nihon teien). The unique plant life and landscapes the Japanese people shape in their Gardens make them the ideal tourist destination, there is no shortage either with so many garden to choose from across the whole of Japan. While each garden is unique and special in it’s own way, there is one thing that a visit to a Japanese Garden will ensure, you’ll leave feeling happier, healther and more zen than you did when you arrived.

wanderlife, japan, japan tourism, travel, travel blog, gardens ritsurinkoen, takamatsu city, kagawa prefecture. (2 of 19)wanderlife, japan, japan tourism, travel, travel blog, gardens ritsurinkoen, takamatsu city, kagawa prefecture. (5 of 19)

My trip to Japan has been jam packed and there’s been little rest time with so much to see and do, so I was so excited to have the had a chance to visit Ritsurinkoen gardens, a huge traditional Japanese garden in the Takamatsu district of kagawa prefecture. While It was a short visit, the time spent exploring the gardens instantly dissolved my stress and gave my overactive travellers overwhelm a chance to come back to baseline and be in the present moment, all while surrounding myself with the immense beauty that is the Ritsurinkoen gardens.

wanderlife, japan, japan tourism, travel, travel blog, gardens ritsurinkoen, takamatsu city, kagawa prefecture. (7 of 19) Getting there:

I arrived via taxi, however if you’re traveling by train the Takamatsu station is only 1 a quick 10 minutes cab to the gardens.

Entry fees:

500 Yen will get you an all day pass to explore the spectacular grounds. The gardens are huge in size and offer many different viewing points, rest spots and areas to explore and relax. While our trip was a brief one, many locals and tourists can be seen throughout the gardens with their own DIY picnics with friends and family in the sun. Bringing your own picnic and rug is something i highly suggest doing in any gardens within Japan and especially Kagawa prefecture when you visit. 

wanderlife, japan, japan tourism, travel, travel blog, gardens ritsurinkoen, takamatsu city, kagawa prefecture. (15 of 19)Highlight 

The highlight of the gardens for me was viewing the seasons change before my eyes, as a select few Cherry Blossom trees had started to bloom providing beautiful pink colour explosions amongst the deep greens of the gardens. What I love most about Japanese gardens are their ever changing vibe, as Japan have very strong seasons which allow for an ever changing landscape and experience. No two times in one garden will ever be the same.

wanderlife, japan, japan tourism, travel, travel blog, gardens ritsurinkoen, takamatsu city, kagawa prefecture. (12 of 19)

Don’t miss out on.

While it’s hard to miss them due to their sheer size, Ritsurinkoen gardens lake is home to some of the largest and most beautiful coy fish I have ever seen and due to the constant turnover of tourists wanting to get a closer look, they flock to areas close to shore in hope of being fed.

wanderlife, japan, japan tourism, travel, travel blog, gardens ritsurinkoen, takamatsu city, kagawa prefecture. (11 of 19)wanderlife, japan, japan tourism, travel, travel blog, gardens ritsurinkoen, takamatsu city, kagawa prefecture. (9 of 19)

Things To remember

Ritsurinkoen gardens are huge and there is really so much to see within the gardens that it’s best to give yourself at least an hour to explore everything they have to offer. Japanese gardens aren’t something to be rushed so don’t cut your time short when planning a visit.

wanderlife, japan, japan tourism, travel, travel blog, gardens ritsurinkoen, takamatsu city, kagawa prefecture. (19 of 19)

WANDERLIFE: BALI GUIDE.

Chances are you’ve seen at least a few hundred instagram images of drool worthy Bali holiday snaps splashed across your instagram feed. The island of Bali in Indonesia, also known as the island of the Gods, has become a thriving hot spot for travellers of all ages and budgets over the years. For Australians, Bali has basically become some what of a second home with the island being over taken by 100’s of Australian expats setting up their lives and businesses there each year. Just like anywhere in the world, no two parts or areas of Bali are the same and if you’re going to put Bali on your travel list, it pays to have some inside info as to where to go and what to expect! One thing is for sure, Bali is an island that can go from surfer’s paradise to a rainforest filled with monkeys in less than an hours drive. With so many choices and never enough holiday time, here’s Wanderlife’s guide to Bali!

Uluwatu

Surfing, Chilling, Natural beauty

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Uluwatu is found on the south-western tip of the Bukit Peninsula of Bali, Indonesia. It’s best known for it’s great waves and often perfect conditions for surfers all around the world of all abilities. The beaches of Uluwatu are clean with white sand compared to the black sand and more populated waters of Seminyak and Kuta’s beaches. Uluwatu is a lush natural oasis and is a lot less commercialised than other areas of Bali. It’s got picture perfect beaches with white sand and turquoise blue waters. The main surfing spots in Bali are Uluwatu, Dreamland, Padang-Padang, Bingin/Impossibles and Suluban.

Ubud

Monkeys, Rice Paddies, Tradition
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Ubud Monkey Forest (5 of 12)Ubud Monkey Forest (8 of 12)If you’re wanting to escape into the lush Balinese forest and don’t mind making friends with cheeky monkeys, staying or visiting Ubud is the ideal Balinese escape for you! Ubud is found 35k northeast of Bali’s airport and is three hundred meters above sea level, making it’s climate cooler than most areas of Bali. Ubud has developed a name for being the ‘holistic and hippy’ area of Bali with an abundance of spiritual experiences and healer types being found in the area. It was once an unknown area of Bali, that’s now developed into a thriving tourist destination. Staying in Ubud is easy with a vast range of accommodation choices covering both budget or luxury options. We recommend putting a day visit to Ubud on your Bali to do list, as there are many attractions in the area including the lush rice paddies that make it a sight to see.

WANDERLIFE TIP- If you’re visiting Ubud’s famous monkey forest, be sure to give our guide a read here– You might end up losing a wallet if you’re not carful!

Seminyak

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If you want to be in the heart of where it’s all happening in Bali then Seminyak is the place for you. The area is jam packed with boutiques, perfect for shopping and a never ending selection of bar’s, cafes and hotels. You’ll find both luxury and budget accommodation in Seminyak as well as many mid range options so there’s something for everyone. If you’re after a peaceful tranquil escape, then staying in Seminyak isn’t your jam, but it’s well worth a visit.

WANDERLIFE TIP- Check out our review of Ize Seminyak here, it’s one of our go to hotels in Seminyak.

Changgu

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Changgu is close to Seminyak and Kuta, but just far away enough to offer a more relaxing environment that’s not yet over run with tourists. Canggu has become a hot spot for expats wanting to call Bali home and as a result, the coastal town is busting with great western run organic eateries and cafes. Canggu’s beaches are also cleaner than those of Kuta and Seminyak, which is great for swimming and surfing.
If you’re looking to live a little more like an expat local and perhaps want a private Villa for a more chilled experience in Bali while still being close enough to the action, Changgu might be the perfect place for you!

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If you’re after resort luxury, then choosing any one of Nusa Dua’s resorts to stay in while in Bali will be the perfect choice for you. Nusa Dua is great for all types with options for families or couples wanting a romantic getaway. The area of Nusa Dua has been developed into world class hotels and shopping complexes and also has Bali’s best 18-hole gold course on the prestige white beaches of Eastern Balinese coastline. If you would like an all inclusive resort experience then Nusa Dua will tick all the right boxes! If the price tag of Nusa Dua’s luxury resorts isn’t within your budget, then you can still experience the luxury waters of Nusa Dua by visiting the public beach of Geger and while you’re there be sure to visit the Museum Pasifika which is known as Bali best art museum hosting a huge array of Asian Pacific cultural artefacts.

Kuta

Fast Paced, Parties, Commercial

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Kuta is the heavily developed party district of Bali, which doesn’t offer much traditional culture due to the over commercialisation of the area. Best known for it’s nightlife, Kuta is over run by tourists and is missing what we would call the true Bali experience. If you’re looking for some surf, sun, shopping and a high energy party scene though, then Kuta has you covered! There’s 100’s of hotels to choose from in the area and there’s always something going on so boredom is not an option!

 

Gili Islands

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The Gili Islands of Bali are made up of three atolls off Bali which are picture perfect with white powdery sand, clear turquoise waters and no cars or motorbikes to be found. The lifestyle on the Gili Islands are a stark difference from the mainland of Bali and are even governed by village chiefs. This means they have their own legal system and are known for their more liberal approach to otherwise illegal drugs, namingly cannabis and magic mushrooms. Gili Islands are known as a chilled out oasis, where anything goes. While it’s not common to stay long periods on the islands, a short trip there will leave you feeling refreshed and relaxed!

 

Here at Wanderlife we love Bali and we love helping all our fellow Wanderlifer’s get tips and ticks on everything Bali related, so please let us know if you have any requests on anything Bali related.

How can I spend more than 90 days in Europe?

What are the Schengen Visa loop holes and tricks?

These were just a couple of the questions I’ve found in my google search engine history from my travels in 2015. For any non European citizens traveling to Europe on a Schengen Visa for an extended period of time, maximising the time on the continent is a high priority. Once you’re there, it’s unlikely you’ll want to leave anytime soon and who can blame you. Europe is awesome and the European summer stretches a lot longer than 90 days.
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During my 2015 travels I was faced with the challenge of staying in Europe for more than three months without breaking the law. There are very few if any loop holes in the EU/Schengen zone rule book, but there is one that isn’t going to be around much longer which I’ve personally tried and tested with much success.
Croatia, one of Europe’s most picturesque countries is also one of the most recent joining members of the EU, and have been a little slow at joining the Schengen zone. In other words, loop hole!
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Incase you’re not up to speed with EU visas, here’s the lowdown. The Schengen zone is made up of a collection of countries within the EU that have decided to participate in the Schengen zone visa system. This creates a single visa option that allows non EU citizen to spend a total of 90 days per 180 days of the year in Schengen zone countries (which is basically all of Europe) with the exception of England, Ireland, Romania, Bulgaria and right now Croatia!
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So therefore non EU citizens can spend 90 days hopping across Europe and then still enjoy up to another 3 months in Croatia, which technically means you can be in the EU for up to six months. I personally used this trick and spent a month enjoying the croatian coast line, visiting the island of Hvar, Bol and Croatia’s second biggest city Split. My month in Croatia was incredible and by far one of the biggest highlights of my trip to Europe.
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So if you’re looking for ways to spend more than 90 days enjoying the European summer, some time seaside in Croatia at any of their amazing Croatian islands is one way to do it. Our advice is don’t wait, because Croatia will soon join the long list of Schengen zone countries within the EU and this sunny loop hole will be no more!
All the more reason to book a ticket and just go! 🙂