What does one do when there’s a seat sale?
YUP. WHAT ELSE?! Book a spontaneous trip + go for an unexpected adventure!
Last January, my friend and I was lucky enough to see a fantastic online deal from Air Asia. From a 0.80 sgd base fare, we were able to book a flight to Bali for around 122sgd RETURN! What is joy?! For 4Days x 3Nights, we were able to tour the majestic island! Just 2 broke girls trying to make ends meet, budget hopping…hoping to make the best out of this travel experience.
Janina and I were badly looking for some vitamin sea lately. We wanted a distraction, a space for healing and fun. For the whole plane ride, Janina was thinking of hashtags for our beachin’ adventure and she came up with: #YourBaliIsAWonderland ( *snap* *snap* confidence) and #SomeBaliToLove (yaaas).
Since we can’t take too much leaves, we actually left Friday night (March 3) and stayed in Bali till late Monday (March 6). So technically, we only had about 3 full days to go around. Hence, we had to make sure we hash out our itinerary well and maximize our time there.
In any case, I only had three non negotiables on my Bali wish list:
(1) Beach (of course) + Learn Surfing
(2) Go to ubud and have a taste of the luwak coffee
(3) Try and savour the ever so famous Babi Guling AND Balinese fried/ smoked duck
AND I TICKED THEM ALLLLL! Self high five!!!!
But again, this all wouldn’t be possible too without our amazing driver, Gede, to take us around the island. We are also going to be forever in debt and thankful for our close friend, Manu, for arranging all of it and making sure we feel welcome in his home in Indonesia! The next time you wanna visit the Philippines– you know who to call. We got your back too homie (hehe). Name it- you got it!
* So here’s an ode to our humble Bali adventure. Finally! I was able to use my nice mirrorless olympus camera to shoot and play! *
We decided to spend the first day going around the Ubud, and narrowed down the places to see and visit. Gede was kind enough to drive us around these amazing sites:
- Goa Gajah Temple (Elephant Cave)
An epic peek into local Balinese archeological artistry and intricacy. They say the Goa Gajah cave is a place of retreat, peace and monastery for buddhist monks. Here, you can find bathing ponds and tranquil spaces for worship.
Peaceful walks, kissing the earth with your feet!
Offerings and prayers
- Bebek Tepi Sawah (Because… DUCK?!)
For Lunch, we headed down to Bebek Tepi Sawah to have a luscious bite (okay not a bite.. BUT a whole plaaaate) of heaven sent fried/ smoked duck.
The cheapest duck ever. Crispy crispy skin. TAKE ME BACK!
Give girls thy food and we will forever love you. *Donations are always
- Bali Pulina (Agro Tourism, Civet/ Luwak Coffee Plantation)
Time for some cuppa! On the search for authentic coffee beans in Bali!
While I am not much of a coffee drinker, I find it always nice to try something new. So we decided to check out the Bali Pulina plantation (as per Gede’s suggestion).
Upon entering, a guide will tour you around the plantation and explain the process of making the luwak coffee. (Plus points? There’s no entrance fee at all!).
Literally– The coffee shit.
No words! The beauty of it is so so vast!
A cuppa of luwak/civet coffee costs $5sgd. But upon purchasing, they also give some complimentary free flowing coffee/ tea of different types as well. Not bad I’d say. The luwak coffee is very smooth, light and medium roasted for me.
Hmm. Although we’ve had an amazing experience (look at the view!), I am now.. not so sure if it’s a good idea to support the industrialization of the civet/ luwak coffee in the future. I mean I am all for coffee curiosity, but since the animals are being bred and kept in captivity, it’s bewildering if they are actually being treated well
. (If they are abused or forced fed).
Just a food for thought.
- Seniman Coffee (LOVE LOVE LOVE this cafe forever)
I chose a lighter type of roast: the Bali Karana Kinta- Manis. Smooth, slightly sweet and fruity on the palette!
The woman beside me was actually typing an article on yoga and meditation. I have never felt so much peace in my life. The atmosphere was absolutely chill– people reading (WISH I HAD MY BOOK WITH ME!), storytelling and conversing! They even have plastic rocking chairs. What is awesome.
Seniman coffee calls their coffee revolution the 4th wave. They have single origin beans, as well as coffee workshops available. Definitely going back here for more.
Wanted to have a nice walk and shop for a souvenir in Bali, and check out the little artistic paintings they’re selling. I ended up buying a tiny painting of farmers in fields.
- Chasing sunsets @ La Plancha Seminyak
After a wonderful time at Ubud– we headed back to Seminyak for some R&R. Time for some La Plancha chillin’: sitting by the beach bean bags, have a couple of drinks, and watching the breathtaking sunset pour itself over the night sky.
Ended Day 1 with a rejuvenating massage! (No need for explanations.)
Brunchy breakfast in the ever so hipster carnival themed resto-bar-cafe in Seminyak.
Had one pot of Chai Latte (forever favorite) + wonderful advocado (!!!) pesto on toast.
- Canggu beach (for surfing)
Started the beach day at 10am, by the wondrous heat of the sun. Stayed here, enjoyed the view and had some bamboo charcoal ice cream. Hello Sunburn!
We didn’t stay in Canggu for long since we wanted to check more of the beaches south, on our way to Uluwatu Temple.
Hues of pristine blue, sky and sea! Stayed here the whole afternoon, chasing crystal clear waves and making friends around the world.
- Uluwatu Temple + Kacak Fire Dance
Bali: a majestic island that holds 1000+ Temples! Our local guide, Gede took us to experience the Balinese Kacak fire dance at the famed sea temple in Uluwatu.
Perched on top of a magnificent cliff, the Uluwatu temple is a definitely a sight to behold. Said to be the known protector to Bali, they believe the temple stands to usher out evil.
Going here to watch the sunset is a must. We were lucky enough to catch the Balinese Kacak Fire dance against the beautiful, tranquil sight of the sun setting across the sky.
The dance is telling unique performance of light. No instrument was used in the dance. Storytelling was done by 50+ men sitting around in a trance, chanting “cak” in different timing combinations and melodies.
- Warung warung: Babi Guling *oink*
And for dinner! The search for some nasi babi guling continues! Gede took us to try some at a nearby warung in Kuta.
Friendly locals pose for a photo.
Initially, I thought this is the Babi Guling is the same as Lechon in the Philippines. But boy, I was wrong. This is Godsent. It’s so lactony-like and SPICY. A very far cry from our sweet herbed Lechon back home. But it’s very very veeery good and a must try.
- Partied it up at La Favela
Transported to an eclectic wanderland of hipsters and gypsies partying.
Initially, this is what the club looked like… until 12am and the people just started pouring in. Tables were set aside to open for an awesome DANCE FLOORRRR! Unfortunately, the later part of the night was not recorded. These two broke girls were busy enjoying and losing themselves dancing in between crowds.
But here’s a picture of me behind their awesome alcohol bar. Hi.
Day 3 (last day booo!)
- Seminyak beach for surfing (Near La Plancha side)
Sun’s out, surf’s up!
At first, I was kind of iffy to try surfing because I don’t really swim that well. But what the heck, I finally mustered up the courage to try and ride some waves.
First thing Joji told me: “I’ll make you fall in love even more with the sea.”
Paid 20sgd for a two hour surfing lesson with Joji. He is pretty chill and nice, as he was not really strict of the time. Honestly, all he genuinely cared about is for me to really learn. He said he won’t stop teaching till I manage to find my balance and stand.
And after many failed attempts– I did!!! I stood up (yaaaaay!).
I can’t quite describe it, but it is really something to be out there cruising with the waves. I don’t know how much gulps of salt water I’ve had, or how many times I fell… but I really felt free. Is it weird to say that I felt utterly loved too? Maybe it’s how the water presents itself– fast, forward and crashing. Or the way of the sun’s tiny droplets seeping into your skin. Or just maybe, it is just the accumulated plethora of joy, freedom, and presenting itself in view.
Why do I look so tiny beside this surfboard? haha
- La Laguna – Near Canggu and Berawa beach
Part boho- part gypsy, the cafe/ resto- lounge @ La Laguna is 100% made for the island chic. An addition to the other “La” places we visited (La Favela and La Plancha), this new hangout is definitely sporting some vintage eclectic vibes to the old souls. Divine antique chairs, shabby decors, and gypsy caravans make the venue even more swoon worthy.
Saw her by the bridge. She has such telling eyes. 🙂
and that’s all folks! The End of #YourBaliIsAWonderland adventures…. (for now).
Will definitely come back again for you Bali, you are absolutely breathtaking and beautiful.