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Something for Everyone in Beautiful Bali

Even before it was made famous by Elizabeth Gilbert in her book, Eat, Pray, Love, beautiful Bali had always held a special allure to travelers. This tiny island in Indonesia is full of natural beauty and welcoming charm. Known as the island of the gods, Bali is a popular spot for surfers chasing after the perfect wave, luxury travelers looking for the perfect beach resort, and even artists seeking out the perfect creative retreat. No matter what type of traveler you are, there is something for everyone in beautiful Bali.

Beautiful Bali

LeafCanoer, ladyd, recently shared her tips on Bali in her leaf, “Bali Miracles.” Highlights of her leaf include exploring rice paddies in Ubud, visiting the island’s many temples, and sampling the local seafood in Jimbaran. Bali is a great choice for any type of traveler.

The Luxury Traveler
Luxurious beach resorts line the coasts of Bali, where white sands are as common as the motorcycles that zoom along the roads or the Bintang beers that are served at the restaurants. In Bali, luxury travelers can have their pick of resorts, including brand names like Four Seasons, Marriot, Westin, and Sheraton. In addition to the abundance of resorts, there is also an abundance of shopping opportunities in Bali, from the brand name stores around Kuta Square, to the famous goldsmiths and silversmiths in Celuk Village.

Beautiful Bali

The Budget Traveler
On the other end of the spectrum, if you’re the type of traveler who wants to minimize spending, there are plenty of cheap lodging and eating options for you. Indonesia’s currency, the rupiah, is relatively weak compared to the dollar, which makes the cost of living in the country quite inexpensive. Guest houses are a popular accommodation option for budget travelers, but there are also cheap hotels and hostels that you can choose from. As for food, you’ll find that places that serve local cuisine will be much cheaper than those that serve Western style food.

Beautiful Bali

The Adventure Traveler
The island of Bali is full of natural wonders, and as such, there is a plethora of outdoor activities available for the adventurous traveler. Since the 70’s, Bali has been known as one of the surfing capitals of the world. Besides surfing, there are plenty of other water activities to choose from, including snorkeling and scuba diving. On land, adventure travelers can take their pick from hiking, biking, and exploring the island’s many volcanoes and caves. After a long day of adventuring, you can also take some time to unwind at any of the yoga retreats that can be found throughout the island.

Beautiful Bali

The Cultural Traveler
Bali is a unique oasis of Hinduism in a country that is predominantly Muslim. Balinese culture centers around music, dance, and temple worship. Travelers who love learning about local culture will enjoy visiting the many temples that dot the island and are used on a daily basis by the Balinese. There are also plenty of opportunities to catch a dance performance or a shadow puppet show. These shows are often accompanied by a percussion ensemble known as a gamelan. The city of Ubud is known as the cultural center of Bali, and is a must-see for anyone who really wants to get to know the culture of Bali.

Beautiful Bali

The Family Traveler
Bali is not just a place for adults. There are plenty of activities geared towards kids throughout the island. In the Kuta area, the new water park, Waterbom, is a popular place for families who come to visit Bali. Many of the tourist activities in Bali are kid-friendly, and the hotels on the island are actually quite accommodating to traveling families. Kids especially love visiting the Monkey Forest in Ubud. There is also the Bali Safari and Marine Park, that includes both a safari and an aquarium, and the Bali Tree Top, which features zip line circuits for all ages.

Beautiful Bali

No matter what your travel style is, Bali is the ideal place to spend your next island vacation. There is truly something for everyone in Bali.

To see more of ladyd’s leaf about beautiful Bali, or to read up on other tropical destinations, download the LeafCanoe app.

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Seven Reasons To Visit Shanghai in 2016

For the traveler, a new year represents an open road, a blank journal just waiting to be filled with travel stories. There is something exciting about the uncertainty of a new year. Where will your travels take you? What new place will you discover this year? The possibilities are unimaginably endless. This year, instead of the usual tourist destination, why not go for the unconventional?

visit Shanghai

There are dozens of tried and true destinations to choose from, but in our opinion, the place to visit this year is Shanghai. A blossoming metropolis, Shanghai has been growing in popularity and presence over the years, and is worth the visit. Leafcanoer, searchingforyourzen, recently shared his advice on what to do in Shanghai in his leaf entitled, “Top 8 Things To Do in Shanghai!” For those looking to add more travel to their new year resolutions, here are seven reasons to visit Shanghai in 2016.

The old meets the new
The area in China known as Shanghai dates back to around 700 BC when it belonged to the Kingdom of Wu. Since then, it has grown from a small village to a large market town, and finally to a full-fledged city, with its city walls erected in 1554. In Shanghai, you can find historic gardens and temples, juxtaposed with some of the city’s newest buildings, including the Oriental Pearl Tower, which offers 360 degree views of the city. It’s the meeting of the old and the new that makes this city so unique and special.

visit Shanghai

A shopper’s haven
The strong US dollar makes spending money in Shanghai relatively easy. In fact, the city is often called a shopper’s paradise. Two of the major shopping roads in Shanghai are Nanjing Road, which still has shops that are centuries old, and Huaihai Road, known for its high-end designer stores. In 2015, the city adopted a tax refund policy, in an effort to entice more foreign travelers to visit Shanghai and shop.

visit Shanghai

The festivals
Shanghai has a number of festivals worth experiencing. Just a few weeks away is the Lunar New Year, usually falling in January or February. In the spring is the Dragon Boat Festival, which celebrates one of China’s national heroes, Qu Yuan, and often features boat races. Summer time festivals include the Shanghai Film Festival, the Shanghai Television Festival, and Shanghai Tourism Festival. And one of the more notable fall festivals is the Shanghai International Art Festival, which falls in October.

The Bund
The waterfront area in central Shanghai, stretching a mile along the Huangpu River, is known for its stunning skyline. With over 50 buildings representing a variety of architectural styles, this stretch of waterfront, known as the Bund, is one of the most visited destinations in Shanghai. Here, visitors can marvel at buildings showcasing Romanesque, Gothic, Neo-Classical, and even Baroque style architecture, as well as some more modern architecture.

visit Shanghai

The culinary scene
Shanghai cuisine has been around for over 400 years. Characterized by its frequent use of seafood, the cuisine found in Shanghai has traveled well beyond its borders to places like New York City. Yet, with its influence outward, it has also been influenced by the many cultures that have visited Shanghai. Many of the newer restaurants in Shanghai take traditional Shanghai and Chinese cuisine and rethink it in more modern terms. In this way, the culinary scene of Shanghai is much like the architecture and design of the city: a meeting of old and new.

visit Shanghai

Water town excursions
Sometimes the best way to experience a city is to get out of the city. There are about 8 towns just outside of Shanghai that are built around water and are worth visiting. Many of these towns date back centuries, and still have some of the original architecture remaining. Qibao Ancient Town is the closest water town to Shanghai, but is arguably one of the smallest. Zhouzhuang Water Town, on the other hand, is one of the most visited water towns, although it is approximately 79 kilometers from Shanghai.

The metro system
Speaking of excursions, one of the best ways to get around Shanghai is by metro. Considered one of the longest metro systems in the world, with a total route length of 420 kilometers, the Shanghai metro system has had several upgrades over the last few years and is expected to grow. Four new lines were added in 2014, and nine other lines began construction in 2015. This growth and development will make getting around the city a lot easier.

visit Shanghai

With the new year coming up, it’s time to think about where you want your travels to take you. For 2016, why not visit Shanghai?

For more ideas on what to do in Shanghai, or to consider other travel ideas for 2016, download the LeafCanoe app     .

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