Car Rides & Bali’s Gorgeous Beaches

One thing I realised when I was planning my itinerary for Bali was how huge it was, and how it was probably impossible to visit all the various areas within one trip. Nevertheless, since it was our maiden trip there, we wanted to make the most of it and check out as many places as possible. So we decided to hire a driver for a couple of days during our trip – and it was one of the best decisions ever! (: There are many of such drivers available for hire in Bali, and I believe most of them get their customers through word of mouth. So if you’re looking for someone to take you around Bali, you can consider our driver – Jering ^^ His number is +62 852 38038945, and he is contactable via whatsapp which makes communicating really convenient! He was really nice and patient, bringing us from place to place and waiting for us while we chilled by the beach for hours! He also gave us recommendations on planning the route for places we wanted to visit. I believe his prices are very reasonable, and competitive compared to other options – IDR 500,000 for a full day; IDR 400,000 for 7-10hrs and IDR 300,000 for 6hrs.

Anyway, so we booked Jering for 10hrs for one of the days during our trip, and we spent most of the time chilling on the beaches that day xD Though you may wonder why we chose to hire a driver just to drive us to the beaches…it was because these were located relatively far from Seminyak! And it was more convenient to have someone reliable to bring us from one point to another and back to our hotel at night. Here were the places we checked out!

1. Geger Beach, Nusa Dua

Bali Nusa Dua Geger Beach

Bali Nusa Dua Geger BeachEasily my favourite beach in Bali <3<3 It was SO GORGEOUS!!!!!!! White sands, clear blue skies, what more could one ask for? It was so lucky that I chanced upon this place, and we really really loved it!! Located at Nusa Dua, this is where all the 5-star hotels are found, and most of the beaches are private beaches. Thankfully, Geger Beach was open to the public for a small fee, and it was totally worth the entrance fee (Y) The beach was less crowded, as compared to those in Seminyak, and the sand was incredibly white ^^

Bali Nusa Dua Geger Beach, The Mulia Plus, this was the closest we could get to a 5-star hotel. Geger beach is located right outside The Mulia. Those lucky hotel guests who get to step out into this beach everyday! We chilled at this beach for hours. And although it was close to noon and the sun was scorching, it was still surprisingly very enjoyable because the strong sea breeze kept us cool the entire time!

2. Sundara, Four Seasons Jimbaran

Bali Four Seasons Jimbaran SundaraAfter we had enough of lazing at the beach, we decided to fill our tummies and headed to Four Seasons Jimbaran for lunch. Sundara is located in the hotel, but open to public, and it was one of the best dining experiences I had! Granted, prices were not cheap, but they were definitely reasonable for the kind of ambience compared to what you’d get in Singapore (<$20 for most mains). The cocktails were also the BEST that I had in Bali. Plus those nuts!! They were super addictive.

Bali Four Seasons Jimbaran SundaraAmbience-wise, it scored highly as well, as we had this amazing view ^^^

We were sitting on plush sofas with this view right outside! Sooooo beautiful. Take me back right now, please! There is an infinity pool next to day beds outside which I believe you can probably swim in, even though we didn’t try. Day beds have a cover charge, which is more expensive than Potato Head (definitely gotta try that out).

3. Jimbaran Beach

Bali Jimbaran BeachRight outside Four Seasons hotel is Jimbaran beach. You can walk down the entire stretch of beach, and there is where you’ll find many restaurants serving seafood, which is the main attraction of this area (although we didn’t dine there). The waves here were really strong and we had fun walking in the water (:

4. Uluwatu Temple

Bali Uluwatu TempleI really liked this place. The view was stunning and I probably took a gazillion photos here, and would have taken more if not for the monkey mischief we got embroiled in >.< There are quite a number of monkeys here and be warned – they are really daring and naughty!!! If you’ve never heard this before, take what I say seriously – don’t wear any sunglasses/spectacles into the place, and take good care of cameras and other personal belongings.

It was a really scary moment when one of the monkeys literally JUMPED ONTO SAM and grabbed his sunglasses off his face! :O I nearly got a heart-attack watching, and it happened so fast that neither of us had time to react. The next moment, that awful monkey was chewing and tugging at his sunglasses and there was no way to get it back -.- Apparently you can use food to do a barter trade with the monkey, but it’s probably entirely possible that the monkey will just steal the food along with other belongings, so I don’t really advocate that. Moral of the story: Watch out for the monkeys.

Bali Uluwatu Temple

Bali Uluwatu TempleNevertheless, Uluwatu Temple had of the most breathtaking sunsets I’ve ever seen :’) You HAVE to come here to watch the sunset!! You should note that visitors are actually not allowed into the temple itself, so you’re really there for the view. And it was so so beautiful! I actually wish I could go there again…

5. Petitenget Beach

Bali Potato Head Petitenget BeachThis is actually not part of our trip that day (we ended at Uluwatu Temple and dinner), but since I’m on the topic of beaches, I decided to just include Petitenget beach as well. This is right outside Potato Head, so you can definitely pop by easily. It’s not as nice as the other beaches because there are a lot more people. But the sunset is still really pretty though :))

Bali Potato Head Petitenget BeachTill next time, Bali (:

Eat, Pray, Love in Ubud

Moving from Seminyak to Ubud was quite a paradigm shift for us. Sights and sounds changed drastically. Bustling rows of restaurants and bars melted away to lush green rice fields. The air smelled fresher…(nope, just kidding about that one). Ubud was different from Seminyak in many ways, and it was a rather rejuvenating experience! For city kids like us, it took some getting used to, and I can’t say that we were able to embrace it entirely, but it was enjoyable in an unconventional way.

Anulekha Resort & Villa

Anulekha Resort & VillaThe hotel we stayed at in Ubud was Anulekha Resort & Villa. Newly opened just a couple of years back, this resort had a personal touch to it, being small-scale and located out of the town centre. We were greeted warmly with a welcome drink, cold towel and flowers for our hair! Even Sam got a flower, haha! xD It was really sweet of them to decorate our room with flower petals, and I was so excited to see that we had a canopy bed!!! It’s my dream bed, literally. Haha always wanted to have a princess bed! This probably sounds totally silly to you, but I had fun drawing the curtains to our bed every night.

We had breakfast overlooking rice paddies every morning, which was an incredibly therapeutic experience. Just sitting there, with a lovely natural breeze surrounded by peace and quiet – it was a great way to start our mornings. Unfortunately the breakfast was rather lacklustre, especially after the spread we had at IZE Seminyak. There was no buffet breakfast, but rather, a set menu of 3 choices, which was rather limited. There were options for sides on the next page, but we were informed that the sides were to replace what was originally in the set menu, rather than add-ons! And when we asked if we could order more, we were not allowed to. Rather unsatisfying breakfast I must say.

Overall, we had a pleasant stay here. But little niggles make me doubt if I should recommend this hotel. You might want to consider other places, and do suggest some alternatives to me as well! ^^

So, what’s so different about Ubud? Here are 6 Back-to-Nature things you can do in Ubud:

  1. Explore Ubud’s Rice Terraces

Tegallalang Rice TerracesImmerse yourself in the lush greenery of Ubud by visiting the Tegallalang Rice Terraces. While you may be surrounded by rice fields for the most of Ubud, rice terraces are less common. It was an interesting experience exploring these terraces, and they make a unique backdrop for photo ops!

Tegallalang Rice TerracesYou pay a small fee (less than $1 if I remember correctly) to get a ticket to go in. But along the way, there are huts like these, where the farmers will require you to make a donation to pass by. We did so at the first one to gain access to the terraces higher above, but it got annoying when we saw that there were several more along the way and decided that it wasn’t worth paying more.

2. Take a leisurely trek through Campuhan Ridge Walk

Campuhan Ridge WalkThe Campuhan Ridge Walk is a beautiful, leisurely trek that takes 1-2hrs depending on the path you choose. It takes you through rice fields and greenery, with some shops and restaurants along the way (see next point).

3. Have a meal overlooking the rice fields

Bali Ubud Sari OrganikAn iconic experience that you should really experience when you’re in Ubud is to dine in one of their traditional establishments overlooking the rice paddies. Sari Organik is located along the Campuhan Ridge Walk, and searching for this restaurant was an adventure in itself. Don’t be alarmed if you have absolutely no idea where you’re heading. We only saw one sign right at the beginning of the path, and after that, we simply just kept walking till we found the restaurant. The food is simple, yet wholesome and green. If you’re hoping to get a detox while on holiday, Ubud is the place to be, for its numerous options for healthy food. The walk out of the rice paddies was in pitch darkness, as there are no street lights at all. Just be prepared with a torchlight, and you’ll be absolutely fine (:

4. Go white-water rafting

This was possibly one of our favourite experiences in Bali! You can book a white-water rafting trip from anywhere in Bali, but we chose to do it on the Ubud leg of our trip, as it is located much nearer to the rapids we were going to (which means that you get picked up later – more time to sleep!). Vendors will usually quote you a price that is much higher than you should be paying, and we eventually bargained it down to RP 300,000/pax. This includes a two-way ride from the hotel, rafting gear, lunch, showers and insurance.

It was a pity that we didn’t manage to get any photos of our whole experience because we didn’t bring our camera along :(( Although I guess it was the perfect opportunity to soak in the atmosphere and fully enjoy ourselves. You don’t have to worry about your stuff getting wet though, as they usually have waterproof bags provided. There are various routes you can choose from, and we went for the Telaga Waja River route with BMW (not the car) which was an approximately 2hr ride. It was super fun!!!! It’s safe for beginners (we’ve never done anything like this before!) and very manageable.

5. Connect with your body, mind and soul through yoga

Bali Yoga BarnI’d heard so much about The Yoga Barn before I came to Bali, and I was so excited to try it for myself! Housed in a beautiful airy two-storey loft, the yoga studio was completely open to nature with an amazing natural breeze that cooled the place. No fans required! Yoga mats and various equipment like blocks and blankets are required, so you don’t have to bring your own. A single drop-in class is RP 120,000. It was so different practising yoga in Bali, amongst a bunch of yogis who were really serious about their practice! It was intimidating, yet inspiring (I wonder when I’ll ever have that kind of strength to do arm balances), but the good thing was that the instructor helped everyone along, regardless of which level we were at. I enjoyed the class so much that I only wished I had more time for it!

6. Dig into Bali’s local delicacies

Okay, this last one is a bonus. It’s nothing back-to-nature, but it’s a quintessential Bali experience that you can’t miss when you’re in Ubud! While Seminyak gives you plenty of options for international cuisines that you’ll be hard-pressed deciding whether to opt for the roadside nasi campur or chill in one of its gorgeous cafes, Ubud is where you can get your fix of local cuisine. That’s not to say that Ubud doesn’t have its cafes, because it does! In fact, the cafes in Ubud have such unique characters that they are really an experience not to be missed.

Bali Ubud Bebek BengilThere are two things you have to eat when you’re in Ubud/Bali – Bebek Bengil (Balinese Crispy Duck) and Babi Guling (Suckling Pig). I was rather apprehensive about both of them, since they seemed rather fried and unhealthy, quite unlike what I was hoping to have in Ubud. Since they were traditional Balinese dishes, I decided to go ahead with them nonetheless. For the former, we went to Bebek Bengil (a.k.a. Dirty Duck Diner), and I totally fell in love with the food there! Somehow I’ve never really been impressed by duck confit, which is probably the french equivalent of this crispy duck, but this completely surpassed my expectations! The skin of the duck was was deliciously crisp and crackly, yet the meat inside managed to retain its juices, lending an incredible flavour and texture. This was paired with an appetising spread of sauces and side dishes that complemented the duck perfectly. We had ribs there as well, which were not too bad, but definitely couldn’t beat the warung we had at Hog Wild.

Bali Ubud Ibu OkaWe had to go to great lengths to get our hands on the famous babi guling from Ibu Oka. Sam would know :P Ended up packing it to the airport because we didn’t have enough meals to eat it in the shop itself. This was a rather sinful meal, but definitely worth a try! For a very affordable IDR 50,000, you get suckling pig, deep fried pork, sausage and rice, with a delicious sauce that you have to eat together with the pig.

Bali Ubud Casa LunaAnd my favourite meal in Ubud definitely had to be at Casa Luna, where we had the BEST SATAY EVER. Nothing like the dry satay we have in Singapore, and not even the best ones in Malaysia can beat this. Thick, juicy chunks of chicken meat, that were marinated and grilled perfectly, paired with the best peanut sauce I’ve ever had! It was so goooooood. We also had a Balinese paella, which came with a really generous amount of seafood. While this meal did not come cheap, it was definitely more affordable than Singapore, and very worth the money.

Ubud was a really unique travel experience for us. Though I probably wouldn’t come back here if I visit Bali again (there are so many other places to explore!), I’ll definitely miss the yoga!

Living the High Life in Seminyak

Oh, Bali :’) Where do I begin? It was such an incredible holiday, better than I could have imagined it to be! Bali exceeded expectations on many levels – the airport impressed us from the moment we landed. It looks like a resort from the outside, and it’s super modern within! Almost on par with our dearest Changi airport, though there is really no place like home.

When I was planning the itinerary for our trip, I was having a hugeeeee (happy) problem deciding where to stay, because there seemed to be so many things to do in Bali! And that’s absolutely true. Whether you’re going there for the beaches, or the good food, surf, party hard or reconnect with your soul – there’s something for everyone in Bali. We’d heard so much about the vibrancy of Seminyak, and we chose to spend the first two nights of our trip there.

Bali Seminyak IZE Hotel

Bali Seminyak IZE HotelWhile it would have been ideal to stay in a villa in Bali, we opted for a hotel instead since it was just the two of us. We stayed at IZE Hotel, and I would highly recommend this hotel to anyone staying in Seminyak!! The location was fantastic. It was located along the bustling street of Jalan Kayu Aya, where there was an entire stretch of bars and restaurants for you to take your pick from. It was just a 5-10min walk from Seminyak Square, and you can even walk to the beach if you don’t mind a slight stroll. The room was super spacious, with a really comfy bed, and we loved the bathroom! It felt so clean! And it came with a rain shower and all. Perhaps one of the most attractive points of the hotel was its rooftop pool and bar. Unfortunately….we never had the chance to swim in it :( Which was such a pity! I would really stay there again just for the pool. It looked amazing! The problem was that the pool and bar closed around 8pm? Which was such a waste really. I can imagine quite a number of guests would be interested to chill at the pool bar at night :/

IZE Hotel big breakfast

IZE Hotel breakfast eggs benedictThe hotel breakfast was really impressive too! Besides the usual buffet spread, which included a salad bar, hot dishes such as mee goreng and nasi goreng, a pastries section, yogurt, juices and fruit, the restaurant had a menu for ala carte orders as well! All already included in the price, of course. We could order as much as we liked, but we had to restrain ourselves, because there was so much other good food in Seminyak to eat! (I’m already dreaming of my next trip back there…) We could order things like eggs cooked any way, and even eggs benedict!!! Now tell me, can you name another hotel that serves eggs benedict as part of their complimentary breakfast?! We were so pampered there.

Our hotel was so amazing that I have to say we had a hard time dragging ourselves away from it. But there were other things on our plate as well. Here are 4 foodie experiences you cannot miss when you’re in Seminyak:

  1. Go Cafe-hopping

Seminyak Sisterfields cafe

Seminyak Sisterfields CafeMove over, Singapore cafes. Seminyak has some of the hippest, coolest cafes we’ve ever been to! They were gorgeous. I’m really amazed at how the cafes in Seminyak managed to embody that incredible vibe of Australian cafes that Singapore can’t seem to have. Perhaps it’s the space issue? I’m not sure. I just loved, loved, LOVED the bright spaciousness of the cafes we visited in Seminyak, and the incredibly creative offerings they had on the menu! No boring eggs benedict there (I sound like I’m contradicting myself after swooning about it above, but no. Eggs benny at hotel breakfast = yay; eggs benny as the most interesting item on a cafe menu = nay). Instead, they had things like soft-shell crab everything and pulled pork sandwiches, yum! And the best thing? Prices at a fraction of what they cost in Singapore. GAWD. What prices are we paying at home??!!! This meal at Sisterfields consisting of two mains and a side cost us just a little over $20. I could eat this everyday.

2. Catch Sunset at Potato Head Beach Club

Bali Potato Head Beach Club

I’m not sure if you remember my Krabi post, but we went to a Beach Club there, which was actually a “beach club”. It was nothing like what we expected. Completely disappointing, where the only redeeming factor was that we had some peace and quiet because nobody could be bothered to go there.

Anyway, Potato Head Beach Club is a completely different story, and you HAVE to visit it! In fact, Seminyak has tonnes of swanky beach clubs that you can check out. We didnt manage to visit Ku De Ta, but I would want to do so on my next trip there! Potato Head here is nothing like Potato Head Folk in Singapore – I can’t see the link at all, to be honest. Any time of the day, PTTHead is abuzz with activity, and you can imagine why. From the restaurant and bar, to the day beds, infinity pool and the beach beyond that, there is always something to do there!

Bali Potato Head Beach ClubCome by at around 5.30pm like we did, and chill around while watching the sun slowly set over the horizon. Bali has some of the most breath-taking sunsets. Just look at the picture above! To snag one of the day beds, there is usually a waitlist. But not to fret, because time will fly past while you’re waiting. The day beds have a minimum spending requirement of RP 500,000++, which is very reasonable compared to most other places.

3. Discover Bali’s amazing cocktails

Seminyak The LibraryWe were lucky that our hotel was located strategically with bars just a stone’s throw away from it. One thing I loved about Bali was the range of quality cocktails its bars offered! Oh yes, I forgot to mention above, you’ve got to try the cocktails at PTTHead! They were so delicious. Slightly more affordable than that you’d pay for in Singapore, with twice the alcohol kick! On occasion I came across some funky-tasting ones, but for the most part, Seminyak has some of the best cocktails I’ve ever tasted! The Library has this fantastic happy hour deal all the way from evening to closing – buy three get one free, which means you pay around RP 300,000 for four cocktails! And the ones we had were pretty decent, especially for the price we paid.

4. Just stuff yourself with good food

Bali Seminyak Mykonos Need I say more? Seminyak has a tonne of good food, and you can find all possible cuisines you can think of, that your stomach will be spoilt silly. Try Mykonos for your mediterranean fix. Though the food was not fantastic, but it was still alright! The cocktails here were one of the funky ones though. Don’t bother.

Hog Wild in BaliAn institution in Bali, Hog Wild in Bali (formerly known as Naughty Nuri’s) serves one of the best ribs ever! For the most part, deliciously fall-off-the-bone tender, with an unlimited amount of sauce to go with it, and so affordable. We ordered a side of sweet potato fries to go with it, and it was pretty awesome as well!

Seminyak was a gem, really. And it’s definitely a place that I would visit it again when I return to Bali!

#beachlife 2015

I’m back from Bali!!! (: Oh, how I love these beach holidays <3

I’ve been blessed this year to be able to travel so many times. It’s the fourth trip and counting, and the best part was being able to travel with Sam for quite a number of the trips! It’s always a learning journey for us. Wounds from exchange have already healed, but our starkly different styles of doing things always raises challenges for us when we’re travelling. Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing though! One thing I’ve gained and appreciated about being in a relationship is that every challenge is an opportunity to learn something new (: Always reminding myself about this! And at the end of it, we always still have fun ^^

Here’s a snapshot of our trip in pictures! *Warning* Photo-heavy post coming up.

Would have made a good (accidental) hipster photo if not for my #fail expression

This was the photo I meant to take :P

Travel guides will be out in the next few weeks – wait for it! Hehe. I can barely contain my excitement. Bali was incredible :)) The amazing beaches and sunsets were just a part of it, and I loved every single bit of that island <3 Bali stole my heart, and I will be back again soon.

And a big thank you to Salon B for prepping my tresses for this trip! (: Got a colour refresh for my hair a couple of weeks before my trip, and I’m loving this deeper shade of brown. Had a shine treatment done as well, and the result was happy, glowing hair that caught the sunrays from every angle – perfect for my beach holiday. Check out their Facebook page to see what they could do for your hair!