BALI 2.0

Since our first trip to Bali 3 years ago in 2016 we definitely caught the Bali bug.  It is so easy to see why it is such a popular holiday destination worldwide from the beautiful people, picturesque beaches, mesmerising spiritual energy & rituals, terraced rice fields, mouthwatering food and world-class sunsets.  There is so much to see and do in this slice of absolute paradise with something literally for everyone.

We loved it so much we decided to head back with two of our best friends – Laura & Brendan in June 2019.  We had the best time and we loved spending this special time with them both so we thought we would share what we go up to …

After a very interesting 9 and a half hour flight (ahhh the joys of economy class, specifically row 65), we landed into the hustle and bustle of Dempasar Airport where we frantically tried to find our driver amongst a hundred other drivers waving their flags at you.  We headed to our beautiful Villa in Seminyak – Villa Lokasi which we would 12 out of 10 recommend. It was a such an epic location, quiet, safe (thanks to our wonderful host, Ketut) and of course lots of palm trees (my fav)! Once we were settled in we went and saw my parents who were staying at a villa around the corner for a drink, then dinner at Warung Nia for some of their famous bbq pork ribs – which we can confirm were bloody good!

Our first official day was spent exploring Seminyak, finding our bearings and basically following Blacky (My Dad) around on the scooters (including him leading us astray down THEE narrowest alleyway we have ever seen).  We had a delicious breakfast (world-class hot chocolate according to Laura) at The Corner House and an interesting lunch at Earth Cafe & Market – you can imagine the look on the boys’ faces when we rocked up at this vegan restaurant… I think Brendan actually loved his verge burger in the end.  We then scootered down to Kuta Beach to have a few bintangs and watch the sunset at Sam’s Bar, one of our favourites spots from last time. Dinner was at Bo & Bun – Vietnamese Asian Fusion, absolutely delish food with amazing sangria!

The next day we headed out to Ubud where we met up with both Luke and my parents who were already staying in Ubud to do the Jegeg cycle tour through the Bali countryside, rice paddies, and local villages.  You finish up at the guides home/temple for a home-cooked Balinese lunch, it was out of this world AMAZING! We also spent some time at the Coffee Plantation trying their renown Luwak Coffee – what they call Cat-Poo-Chino. This day trip was our highlight from last time so we couldn’t wait to share this with the others who hadn’t experienced it.  Putu, our same guide from last time was absolutely incredible, this day trip is a MUST DO and we would definitely recommend to anyone and everyone.  It’s literally ALL downhill I don’t remember peddling for the first 30 mins, so perfect for all fitness levels.  We got back to Seminyak at around 5pm and quickly scootered down to Seminyak beach for a well-needed beer and to catch the epic sunset.  We weren’t that hungry after our several helpings of lunch (specifically 30 satay chicken skewers) however stopped into Warung Mina, Seminyak for a cocktail and a light dinner which was awesome, they even had some live music.

The day after we had a beautiful breakfast at Sisterfields and scootered out to Tanah Lot Temple. Tanah Lot is a beautiful rock formation with a historical Hindu temple on top, literally in the middle of the sea.  Being a popular tourist icon, Tanah Lot is best visited early morning and at low tide.  We then hooned back in search for a warung asap.  It was getting late and the ol hangry-ness cracks were starting to appear (particularly on my part). Our lunch at Made’s Warung was interesting, we branched out and tried something new… fair to stay we stuck to the ol Mee Goreng noodles moving forward. That afternoon we hung around the villa, had a few or 10 cocktails and had the most amazing dinner at MyWarung.  In case you didn’t know by now, they call restaurants, warungs… We didn’t have a plan for dinner on this occasion however both Laura & I spotted this place from the back of the scooters as we drove passed, looked at each other at the same time and knew it was a must-try.  It was amazing and would definitely recommend.  Later that night we went and got foot massages at one of the local spas, which was a great way to wind down from another amazing day.

The next day we were up bright and early to be picked up from our driver DJ Bali Tour for our day trip down the coast to Uluwatu.  We loved Uluwatu last time and we loved it again this time, definitely best visited first thing in the morning as there is literally no-one there. IT’S BEAUTIFUL!  We then had the most amazing breakfast at Single Fin – actually pinching ourselves as we sipped on our smoothies watching from above the surfers ride the insanely huge waves that were rolling in.  We cooled off with a swim at Pedang Pedang Beach and like Julia Roberts in Eat Pray Love, we also fell in love with this little spot.  From there we visited Dreamland Beach where we sat for over an hour, bintang in hand (obvs) and watched in hysterics at the tourists trying to battle the gigantic waves coming in, they were getting absolutely smashed and it was the funniest thing (still makes me giggle as I write this). We had a delicious Balinese lunch at Warung Cikgo and then spent time wandering the GWK Statue (122m tall, approx. 30m taller than Lady Liberty), it was bloody impressive however quite expensive.  It was a quick turn around once we got home, a couple of gin shots later (thank’s Brendan) and we headed to Laggas for dinner.  We had so many laughs, yummy food, and a few too many mango daiquiris.

Our fifth day was another early wake-up and a scooter to Nook for breakfast with beautiful 360 views of the rice fields.  Nooks’ location is amazing and with delicious smoothie bowls, you really can’t go wrong.  Laura and I then spent the morning at the Seminyak Flea Market trying to haggle ourselves a bargain or ten and buying stuff we probably didn’t need. We met up with the boys and had a delicious lunch at La Lucciola, an amazing beachfront Italian/Mediterranean restaurant with stunning sea views.  We then scootered down to Kuta to stroll the streets and wrangle ourselves some deals.  A few hours shopping later and we were all hanging out for a bintang so headed down to see Sam at Sam’s bar and watched the sun go down on another beautiful day.  Laura was totally and utterly overwhelmed with the vendors swarming her selling all sorts from scrunchies to paintings to watches to sarongs – it was endless and rather hilarious watching her get so flustered. Not realising the time we raced back along with 100,000 others to Seminyak for our delicious dinner at Ginger Moon.

If there is anywhere we went for the gram it was to Kynd Community for breakfast the next day.  This place is an Instagram dream from it’s pink walls to amazing smoothie bowls to the gold cutlery, it’s so beautiful and my scrambled tofu was delicious.  We then headed to Eco Bali Spa for some treatments. Laura and I got an incredible deluxe foot and leg scrub + massage, Luke got a back massage with a lady who sniffed every 5 seconds (not relaxing at all LOL) and Brendan got a relaxing foot massage.  Later that afternoon we headed to Potato Head Beach Club, what started off as a rather stressful and confusing situation with how it all works ended up being an epic afternoon of swimming, cocktails, mango beer and relaxing.  We finished the day with a creamy gelato from Gusto.

Our final day in Seminyak was a very early start – 1am to be exact as we were picked up by Putu (our guide from the bike tour) that we arranged to take us up Mt Batur for sunrise.  We started the trek at 4am and were at the top by 6am, we took it super slow and the trek itself wasn’t hard, however, it was definitely a good calf workout but so worth it once we got to the top.  Once at the top Putu arranged us all a banana sandwich, boiled egg (cooked in the volcanic steam) and hot chocolate while we sat and waited for the sun to rise.  It wasn’t long until the stunning burnt orange starting peeping through creating the most unbelievable sunrise I have ever seen.  We sat in awe, soaking in this unreal moment appreciating where we were and what we were witnessing, it was so beautiful and something I will remember for a very long time.  The way down was a little easier (on the lungs) and being daylight we could absorb the stunning surroundings that we missed in the dark on the way up. We drove back to our new villa in Ubud where we were staying for 3 nights – Blue Lagoon Villa was also perfect, felt like our very own resort. Lunch which was well in truly appreciated (having been up for over 12 hours already) and was at Swasti Eco Resort a super cute organic eco village. That afternoon the boys sussed some scooters and we explored a little of Ubud.  Dinner was at Indus Restaurant which had breathtaking views of the Tjampuhan ridge and Mount Agung along with delicious food.

Our first full day in Ubud we started with an amazing breakfast at Zest which we would definitely recommend.  We then scootered out to The Tirta Empul Holy Water Spring Temple. Tirta Empul is quite a large temple complex which took us over an hour to explore the entire site. Just like the other temples and sacred sites around Bali, you will need to put on a sarong before entering the premises. The sarongs are available at the temple’s entrance and can be rented for a small donation.  The holy water shoots out through 30 waterspouts into two sacred purification pools. Local Balinese and Hindu worshippers use these pools to dip their heads under each of the 30 water spouts in a purification ritual known as ‘melukat’. Melukat aims to cleanse and purify the human body and soul to prevent from bad luck, havoc and sickness.  In the Indonesian dictionary, ‘lukat’ means ‘letting go’ which I believe is something we (Westerners) can learn a lot from – releasing negative energy from the body and soul through a religious ritual was fascinating and something quite special to experience.  On our way back we explored the Tegalalang Rice Fields and enjoyed a beautiful lunch with a beautiful view.  We had a desert dinner at The Spell Creperie which has the most delicious french crepes and fresh juices, Imean who doesn’t love chocolate covered crepes and ice-cream for dinner, right?

Our last full day in Ubud had come around all too bloody quickly.  We got up early, jumped on the scooters and headed out to the Bali Swing.  Would highly recommend getting here as early as possible as it was great to beat the bus loads of tourists flocking in left, right and centre.  I had an epic swing on a few of the big swings they have available and got the shot for the gram (obvs).  Having worked up quite an appetite we found a restaurant close by on Trip Advisor so hoped back on the scooters and made a b-line for it as hurricane Allie was about to eat someones arm off.  We turned down this narrow un-sign posted driveway which opened out onto the most unreal entrance to what was the Ritz Carlton Hotel.  We had a quick subtle conversation between the 4 of us awkwardly in front of the lady welcoming us to the hotel about how the breakfast was going to be like $3364.20 per person until we just kind of all said who bloody cares let’s just enjoy it! Well… did we what! 30 pain au chocolate’s later and at least 4 helpings of the buffet breakfast each, between us we literally ate the hotel down. The Ritz Carlton is absolutely stunning with the most unreal views and world-class buffet breakfast.  Did we mention their Pain au chocolates? WOW! From here we rolled back to our villa and chilled by the pool, it was such a relaxing afternoon getting in a final tan before our flight home tomorrow.  Later that afternoon we stopped into the Sacred Monkey Forest and saw a few of our mates hanging’ out… get it? From here we went for dinner to Cafe Pomegranate – being in the middle of the rice paddies and getting here a little earlier meant we had the most unbelievable sunset.  It was such a lovely dinner as we reflected on our amazing 10 days with our beautiful friends.

Our final day we broke the fast with a delicious breakfast at Watercress Cafe (very NZ/Australian) but a bloody great eggs benny. Laura and I then dragged the boys to the Ubud Market…again.  I mean what more could we possibly want? Nothing, but we found a couple of nic nac things which according to Luke I didn’t need however look great on the bookshelf at home.  After strolling around and filling in our last couple of hours we headed back, returned the scooters, had one last swim, packed out bags, said goodbye to our beautiful villa and sadly, headed to the airport.

What an absolutely incredible 10 days we had and how lucky are we, seriously! Sorry for the novel but we had such a fabulous time with our beautiful friends, so many laughs, so many cocktails, so many bintangs, and so much delicious food.  We can’t wait to look back on this amazing trip in years to come so thanks Laws and B for being the best travel sidekicks – let’s do it again real soon.

Love always, L & A
x

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