Soak up the sun, lighten up

Bali has always been good to us! Not satiated with Ubud on the last trip, we decided to go back to the incredible place for an extended weekend trip last week.

While Singapore has been engulfed by an intermittent haze, Bali was quite clear and we enjoyed our fair share of sunsets this time around. See for yourself 🙂

Sunset in Ubud, Bali in the midst of Padi fields

Sunset in Ubud, Bali in the midst of Padi fields

Sunset at the beach

Sunset at the beach

Sunset at Tanah Lot, Bali

Sunset at Tanah Lot, Bali

Sunset at Tanah Lot, Bali

Sunset at Tanah Lot, Bali

Sunset at Tanah Lot, Bali

Sunset at Tanah Lot, Bali

Dusk at Tanah Lot, Bali

Dusk at Tanah Lot, Bali

I wrote this post while listening to Shreyl Crow’s Soak Up The Sun and it’s just so apt for my mood today 🙂

And ofcourse, we are going back again!

Happy Weekend folks! TGIF!

Everything will be okay.

Everything will be okay.

Eating out Organic @Ubud, Bali

Ubud might just be the place place to both rejuvenate and detox your body. Read on for more … full post @ Mouthfuls from Jhakal

Mouthfuls from Jhakal

My recent trip to Ubud, Bali was just awesome! What made it all the more interesting were all the great cafes we visited.

Although Ubud is supposed to be a village but growing tourism has led to mushrooming of a great number of eateries, cafes and drinking holes. And there are a lot many serving organic food and/or vegetarian/vegan super healthy food and drinks. I treated this as a wonderful opportunity to detoxify and tank up on nutrients, vitamins and all the healthy stuff I would normally not even think of having back home in SG.

Here are the places I tried and loved ALL of these:

Soma Cafe: really liked the whole set-up – wooden benches with comfy cushions, bare bricks walls, a tree in the middle and small fish pond. Tried the Wana Wrap and Shitake Mushroom Patty on Radish base + belly juice and immunity booster…

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What’s so good about Ubud, Bali

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Ubud Palace

This Oct was my second trip to Bali and we decided to spend more time in Ubud and I’m glad we did. Ubud is about 40 km from Kuta and door-to-door should take about 60 mins but traffic can be crazy sometimes. It’s better to keep a margin when you plan.

Ubud is actually supposed to be a village but its getting more touristy with each passing day. Even so its more laid back compared to Kuta, weather is nicer and there are loads of cafes dotted around. We tried 4-5 different cafes serving healthy organic/vegetarian dishes. They all also serve a selection of health drinks to wash it down. Read more about some cafes here. Another good experience was coffee and tea sampling at this place called Alam Sari. We even tried the famous coffee Luwak here …

At Ubud local market

At Ubud local market

Then there is the whole art & culture element to it. In fact the whole town is drenched in it with artistic buildings and statues cropping up in all nooks and crannies. I also enjoyed strolling around in the local market picking up odds and ends. We even visited the ARMA art museum to get to know the painting styles and influences. I really liked the ones from a German Artist called Walter Spies. One of the evenings we attended the traditional Barong and Legong dance performed in the backdrop of the Ubud palace. While it was nice to watch, it did become too long … so you can actually attend it for the first 30 mins or so and its okay to leave after that.

Traditional dance performance at Ubud palace

Traditional dance performance at Ubud palace

Lastly, it was a lot of fun driving around on a two wheeler in Ubud. It’s very simple to rent one there. You just need to provide a copy of your passport and fill a form asking for name, contact details, DL number etc. We were staying away from central Ubud, at a resort called ‘Tanah Merah’ and so we got to drive alongside rice paddies and some hilly slopes. It was really fun and made roaming around very cost-effective and convenient. See our zipping around Ubud here.

There is still lots to be explored, more cafes to try, some rice paddy walks and white water rafting. Can’t wait for my next trip to Ubud … 😀

Paragliding at Timbis, Bali

As you float off the cliff at Timbis

As you float off the cliff at Timbis

My first paragliding experience! yay 😀

I did tandem paragliding recently in Timbis, Bali. If you book a tour (approx. USD 95) it will include hotel pick-up and drop from certain areas, which was a good deal in my opinion. The site is actually on a cliff and basically you run off the cliff and float in the air. The landing is back on the cliff and not the beach down below.

Its was a great first time experience with nice views of the sea/beach, sea-weed farming and beach houses and all the activity going on down below. But, I understand for people who have done this before, it might not be the best experience you can get.

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You can carry your own camera or cell phone for shooting videos. Just ensure its secured properly to avoid dropping your device. Tandem is totally safe and when you become at ease after a few minutes, I’m sure you would want to take pictures! Your pilot can also shoot videos/photos for you at an additional USD 25.

That’s one more tick on my bucket list! Looking forward to more adventures in store … 🙂

Zipping Around in Ubud, Bali

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Recently we traveled to Bali and it was one of the most relaxing holidays we’ve had. This was actually my second visit. While last time we were mostly in Kuta, this time we decided to explore Ubud and thank god we did!

Unlike Kuta, the place is less crowded. Weather is much nicer in the mornings and evenings through the night. Ubud is becoming touristy but compared to Kuta much less so at this point.

The thing I really enjoyed was driving around on a two wheeler we had rented out. It’s really simple to rent a vehicle there. Unlike Kuta, where its a bit of a nightmare to drive in the crazy traffic, in Ubud it was a pleasure! More so, since we were staying away from central Ubud and got to drive along the rice paddies and hills. Once we stopped at this cafe called ‘padi organic’ in the middle of a rice paddy field. It was just so nice to sit there and cool off over some snacks and coffee. That’s the thing with your own vehicle. You can stop wherever and whenever you want! Town driving wasn’t too bad either.

Here is a video of some of our zipping around 😀

Eating it out @ Bali

Another one of our food adventures! This time at Bali! 😀

Mouthfuls from Jhakal

Location: Bali, Indonesia

We visited Bali this September and I have to say the trip was great. We had good fun and it was a nice break from routine. The trip was of course highlighted with some great eating joints we tried. And yes, there WAS mouthwatering vegetarian available.
  Here are three places I most enjoyed:
The Earth Cafe
The Earth Café:  This one is located in Seminyak and serves only vegetarian food. The menu is also complimented with super healthy drinks; classified as tonics, antioxidants, energy boosters etc.. The place is cheerful and has this earthy rustic feel, thus justifying its name. Several foreigners throng the place indicating a growing consciousness and preference towards vegetarianism. We went here twice and tried several items from their menu. Falafel with hummus was brilliant. Planet Platter was just okay but the stir crazy noodles was great. Black beans burrito was…

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Singapore to Bali

I finally got a job here in Singapore! Before I had to start at work, I thought it would be good to go for a short trip, just to have some fun before routine starts … again!

Out of the numerous travel destinations in South East Asia, we settled on Bali, Indonesia. I’m always a believer of budget travels. What’s the point of staying at a luxury hotel/resort when you spend maximum time away? We looked at some of the top suggestions on Trip Advisor and booked the AtanayaHotel on Sunset Road in Kuta area. It was a neat and clean hotel with hospitable staff and a roof top infinity pool.
When the plane landed on a runway surrounded by sparkling blue sea, somehow I knew I would enjoy this place!
Here is how we explored Bali in the 3.5 days we had at our disposal:
 
Day 1: checked in at hotel at 11:00am. Relaxed for a bit, freshened up and changed. Headed out to Semniyak street for lunch – went to a great vegetarian café called ‘Earth café’. It’s a cozy place with a rustic feel and serves a range of super healthy food and drinks.
Headed to  Kuta Beach on foot. This beach is quite long and there are plenty of vendors for renting out sun bathing recliners. It was good to spend time on the beach but I would think twice before entering the water there. It’s great for surfing though due to the high waves.
We spent the evening roaming around on semniyak street, window shopping at the various stores and finally landing up at Mykonos, a pleasant little restaurant serving Greek cuisine.
 
Kuta Beach
Day 2: at 3:00 am in the morning, we headed to Lovina for the Dolphin watching trip. We had booked a tour the night before, arranged by our hotel for 1 Mn rupiah or approx. 120 SGD. It included taxi ride to and back from Lovina, the dolphin tour in traditional boat and a stop at Lake Bratan on the way back.  
It took us about 3.5 Hrs to get to Lovina beach from Kuta. From there at around 6:30 am we got into one of the traditional boats and headed out to catch glimpses of dolphins in their natural habitat. It was a breathtaking view that early in the morning as we headed out to the sea and had the pleasure of witnessing a beautiful Bali sunrise.  There were about 10-15 other boats along with ours. After spending some time on the water we started to spot dolphins. We saw pairs and families and even saw them do those quick jumps out of the water. It was fun and exciting and we enjoyed it a lot! What I didn’t like about the trip – as soon as someone spotted dolphins all boats started speeding in that direction. My guess is that this will scare them away or annoy them. In my opinion, the boats can head out to sea and anchor at some place. Since, there are so many dolphins in that area, most likely tourists will be able to spot them better if they are quieter. Also, this will not annoy the creatures.
 
Sunrise at Lovina
Dolphin watching tour, Lovina

Dolphin Watching Video

An hour or so later we returned to the beach and had a good breakfast at one of the many seaside cafes. As we headed back to Kuta, we started to see hills at a short distance. I asked our driver to switch of the air con and rolled down the window glass. The air was nice and cool. It was such a refreshing splash of pure cool wind that it woke me up and enlivened my senses. That’s what is so great about Bali – there are beaches and then there are hills, making it an attractive destination for all sorts of activities.
Stopped at Lake Bratan for about 30-45 mins. It’s a nice Lake with Ullun Danu temple built at its edge. It was pleasant to just stroll around there but there is nothing much to do here unless you have a picnic lunch packed – so we hit the road soon. Back at the hotel, we crashed!
Went to Central Kuta in the evening, sat on the rocks by the beach for sometime, then strolled around in the Discovery shopping mall in the area. I wanted to buy this nice looking jute bag at a souvenir shop but didn’t , thinking I’ll get something better elsewhere. But, I never did … it was so pretty! Landed back in Semniyak and had dinner at Sasa Ristorante. Just two phrases are enough for this joint – great food, pathetic service!
 
Day 3: Lazed around at the hotel by the pool side in the afternoon. Then headed out for the most awaited and wonderful experience of the whole trip – we were going to get a Balinese massage … yay! After all the travelling and walking around we thought it was the best way to conclude our trip. We had booked massages at this spa called Bali Green Spa. Nothing very fancy about the place but not bad either. They give you massage in your own private gazebo with attached bathroom. The massages were excellent! It relieved so much stress. After the massage, I felt so light, almost zen like! Then we were served this hot tea with ginger and honey, it was quite nice actually.
 
Private gazebo at Bali Green Spa
In the evening we headed to Nusa Dua. We had heard that beaches in this area are quieter and cleaner. And, in fact that was the case. We went to the geger beach and it was prettier and bluer than Kuta. Spent the rest of the evening back in kuta shopping around a little bit. Just a few things like a jute handbag (yes, I bought one but not the same one), bali chocolates and stuff.
 
Day 4: Went to check out these sports factory outlets selling regular casual wear, beach wear and accessories. A couple of them had a good collection with moderate prices. Deepak picked up a couple of t-shirts and shorts. Then back to hotel and to the airport … ciao Bali!
 
We had a great time on this trip where we combined some activities with a good amount of time carved out for chilling out, and also getting ourselves pampered at the spa. And with Deepak, I always get to try great food! There is so much more to do in Bali, we can easily go on another trip and I’m sure we’ll have loads to do.
 
Related Posts: Eating it out @ Bali