Day 1 - Villa Cecilia, Canggu beach
Arrived in the evening and went to Old Man’s for Happy-hour drinks with Lukas and Josh´s family.. had $7 Pinacolada cocktails and a seafood platter… early night and a sleep-in at the Villa Cecilia. (click on any images to see larger versions/descriptions)
Day 2 - 18 July - First Bali Morning
Found a massive spider at the villa.. went to breakfast a Kanteen, eggs on toast and a banana pancake - Lukas went for a surf and we walked to Seminyak, stopped at Ku De Ta for cocktails and sashimi… then to La Favela for Tuna carpaccio.. Lukas stood on a sea-urchin and Ben dug it out with a needle when we got back. Early night adjusting to holiday time...
Day 3 - Canggu
Had an amazing breakfast at Betelnut (Lukas’s favourite place) - a naga bowl, smashed avocado on toast and papaya coconut juice… Did a yoga class at ‘Serenity’ down the road… Went to Sardine for an absolutely incredible lunch, Went to Jari Menari (advertised as best massage in Bali and massage school) for a ‘’massage with movement’’ walked around town and had evening drinks at Potato head before walking back to Canggu on the beach.
Day 4 - First surf - Stripes day
Finally made it to the beach with Lukas where we went for a surf… a little bit ‘thrown in the deep end’ for my first time… a local man yelled and stopped me in the water to show me how to get out to the waves (definitely looked like I had no idea what I was doing) and Ben helped me out in the water - so much fun but absolutely exhausting!
After the surf we went to Betelnut for lunch (all dressed in stripes) and had a play on someone’s guitar outside on the street… Then we walked along the beach to find dinner - Took some beautiful sunset pics and found a magical restaurant just over ‘’the wonky bridge’’ called ''La Laguna'' found out that it was only 9 days old - but looked like it had been there forever… Lukas was chomped on a bit and had a mozziemeltdown, and we moved to ‘’La Finca’’ for dinner - incredible food once again…
Hairy walk along the road to ‘’Bening spa’’ for a massage before heading back to the villa...
Day 5 - Tuesday 21st July
Caught a taxi from Serenity to Seminyak where we stopped at the leather store and Ben got measured for a leather hooded jacket which will be ready when we come back from the islands. Walked around and went to Mera Putih for lunch but Ben has been a bit sick with not much of an appetite…
Caught up with Rachel Barus and Freedom at ‘Old Man’s’ on the beach, had some happy-hour-mojitos and nachos, then walked back to the villa that evening with coconut gelatos… Received travel tips from Rachel for Kuta Lombok and ''Bali Be Day'' cooking classes in Ubud
Day 6 - Kuta Bali
Lukas went for a surf, Ben had a relaxed morning (still a bit sickly) and Hera wandered over to betelnut to get some breakfast and read a book. Headed back and we hopped in a cab to Kuta in Bali to do an interview and play a couple of songs at ‘Baliradio’
Then another ´hairy´ walk into town and found ‘Anika tailors’ where Ben got measured for a suit and some shirts. Stopped at the Kuta mall en route for some top shopping and a caramel ice-cream. From there they dropped us back in town at Metis restaurant, where we had a lovely 3 course meal (once again, the food is just amazing… Hera a bit emotional..) and headed back to the Villa - early start tomorrow...
Day 7 - From Canggu to the Gili islands…
We were picked up at 7am and drove to the harbour with a racing car driver through the back streets - sharing the car with two aussies. There we caught a fast boat to Gili Air, then hopped on a horse and cart with all our bags and checked in at Puri Air resort. We went for a wander and stopped at the first place we saw, ordered fish tacos and pina coladas on the beach and had to ask the chef wether it was definitely fish? (tasted like chicken!)
Headed back to Puri air to watch the sunset and had some bright blue cocktails on the beach… Stepped into the sea at the same time and got a bit of a shock at the no-shock warm water!
Walked around the island and had an incredible dinner of fresh seafood at ‘Scallywags’ followed by deep fried banana with Ice-cream and caramel sauce...
We got an extra bed added to the room and all three of us stayed in a lovely little bungalow - highly recommend this place..
Day 8 - Gili Air
Walked around the island and fell in love with it… We hired some snorkeling gear and went exploring - so many colourful fish everywhere… I found a turtle and the boys found a big crab in a shell... We were out for a couple of hours and Lukas did some filming on the go-pro.
Watched the sunset on the beach again, with tourists taking photos in yoga poses.. Played some gin, had some cocktails, smoked a cherry flavoured shisha pipe.. then walked around the island some more. Magic mushrooms for sale everywhere (in milkshakes, pizzas, drinks..)
Day 9 - 25th July - last night on Gili Air
Had banana pancakes for breakfast and found another great place for lunch.. sat in a small hut and played gin while feeding the leftover prawn tails to a local stumpy-tailed-cat (all the cats have strange short and bent tails here)
Did another lap around the island (have been walking the perimeter every day) and came back to our Puri air beach for sunset.. this time with Pizza and fresh juice, while listening to a gili island covers band play ‘’gili peppers’’ and ‘’I come from a lombok island’’ such a relaxed atmosphere with a bonfire on the beach and a few fireworks too.
After dinner we headed in for a massage next to Puri air. Ben was massaged by ‘Angel’ the island’s ladyboy who we’ve seen singing and cat-walking the beach every day.
Day 10 - Off to Gili Meno
We all had breakfast at Puri air and borrowed some bikes to head to the ATM on the other side of the island.. so we biked the whole way around before saying goodbye for now to Lukas, he was picked up by a horse-and-cart to catch the boat from the other side back to Canggu beach.
We hopped on a boat over to Gili Meno, where we bought some $4 pearl earrings on the beach before catching a horse to find our next home for two nights… in the middle of nowhere…
The Tibo treehouses are on a small piece of land in the middle of a farm, surrounded by a ramshackle fence with a bicycle lock on the handle of the opening. We met the owner who was busy trying to fix the broken water pump (no toilet, no shower for now…) and she showed us to our house…
No doors, no windows, no safe, no fridge.. you could see through the walls to the next treehouse. Actually pretty flipping amazing. Rested for a little while and listened to the animals (Crows, chickens, roosters, buffalo, cows with bells on, geckos and more…)
Headed out and did our daily island walk.. Gili Meno is smaller than Gili Air. We stopped at a pretty fancy resort for lunch and a few drinks, did some great people watching (banana-papaya, marie claire man, tired dutch snorkeler)
On our way back to the treehouses we found our local… ‘’We’be’’ cafe - had fresh seafood and an amazing fish curry for dinner and decided to go there every day.
When we got back to the treehouses,covered in sand and dirt from the walk, we had a cold spring water shower...
Day 11 - Gili Meno
Woke up to the sound of the animals and headed out to ‘’We’be’’ cafe for breakfast on the beach! We decided not to spend on a snorkelling guided boat but to hire snorkels, swim out, and see what we could find - ‘’Pri’’ gave us some advice on where to go and off we went.
Snorkeling on Gili Meno was even more magical - we swam really close to a big turtle and got a bit of a fright when we ended up in a swarm of small jellyfish and got stung a few times (more scary as we didn’t know if they were dangerous)
Discovered a bunch of snorkelers on a guided tour and saw another big turtle - crystal clear waters and some really big bright fish - beautiful black and white striped ones with yellow patches in big schools...
Lay in the sun, played some gin, did a bunch more walking and enjoyed the peacefulness.
Day 12 - Gili Meno to Gili Trawangan
Had breakfast at We’be bar and off to Gili T with a private boat… found accom easy on the main road (cockroach in the room, toilet not working, cold shower but lovely place and very handy - only 550 for the night) a little worried about bed-bugs after reading reviews and seeing pictures of peoples bites (not at our accom but the pics were enough to make us hyper-aware) Walked around the island and decided the most awesome place on Gili T is the Pirate bar..
Had a mojito with a lime-flower on the windy beachfront, then continued walking.. Found 2 baby goats, 3 swings in the ocean (Hera took a dunk) had some grilled corn from a street-cart that was really nice! Lots of coral on the beach, some hungrybums and boobs out in the open (quite a few g-string bikinis!)
Found a massage on the main road after the walk, then back to our bungalow before dinner.
Not as party-heavy as we expected but so so touristy and busy compared to the other islands… Went out to scallywags for dinner (tuna steak and pan-fried butterfish, chocolate lovers dessert) while it rained for the first time since we got here..
Stopped to walk through the night market, crazy to see the same bright beautiful fish, lying on plates ready to be barbecued… Gili T was actually much quieter than we expected, slept really well and no bedbug bites thank goodness.
Day 13 - Gili T - to Lombok
Breakfast on the beach at Gili T, then packed our bags and hopped on a fast-boat to Lombok for 100,000 each ($10) A little overwhelmed by the small group of local guys at the harbour offering to help and being quite touchy feely. Went to a little cafe and shared a beer with them, had some jackfruit and met a lovely french couple who were heading on the Komodo sailing trip (4 days/nights headed to see the Komodo dragons and ending at Senur - next time!)
Ben bargained a driver price to take us all the way to Kuta Lombok (about a 2 hour drive) down from 1.3million to 500,000 (about $50) Turns out our driver ‘Adi’ works at the surf-shop that Rachel Barus told us to visit, and is a good friend of Rachel’s friend Lam who she said we should get in touch with… small world!
So Adi took us around, stopped at the monkey forest and fed the friendly monkeys the rest of our pringles! paid 20 cents to use a very dodgy toilet in the forest… then stopped at a little weaving village, where the women have to learn, and aren’t allowed to marry until they are able to weave. Hera had a lesson in weaving and we bought a handmade sarong from the shop (bargained down from 1.2million to 250,000 - but takes about a month to make by hand!)
When we arrived in Lombok we tried a few accommodation places but they were all booked, Adi found us ‘the Family house’ which just happens to be right next to the surf shop!
We walked and found ‘El Bazar’ - a moroccan restaurant that Rachel recommended, and had amazing fish tacos! then headed back to the homestay where we met Adi and gave him a bottle of Absolut vodka for helping us out with everything - he literally danced a happy dance! it was wonderful!
Relaxed at the room for a little bit over an episode of Wayward pines (great new series) then had dinner at the homestay where we met the owner, Mick from Australia and his friend Mark, who are buying land and building here in Kuta..
There was a power-cut at the hotel and they set up a path of candles which was lovely!
Day 14 - Thursday 30th July - Kuta Lombok
Love the big beds in Bali! great sleeps here! (apart from early morning mosque wakeups almost everywhere) Breakfast at the homestay, then coffee at El Bazar.. Adi/Adye organised a scooter for us and Ben went and found accom for the night and tested his scooter skills - so we moved to Puri Rinjani (beautiful place that Rachel recommended, the first place we tried the night before but it was fully booked that night)
Moved our bags over and went for a ride around to explore the beaches! scootering is awesome!
Went to Gerupuk beach where we plan to go surfing tomorrow.. found a lovely clifftop resort and had lunch, fish burger - and the americans on the next table gave us a huge piece of fish (they had ordered a mini-tuna which was massive) again - tasted so much like chicken!
Scootered back to the accom and had a swim, discovered a tight-rope in the garden and had quite a few goes at crossing it (much harder than it looks!)
Went to Ashtari and did a 90-minute clifftop yoga session followed by dinner at the Ashtari restaurant… french themed and lovely with a local band playing and the European owner occasionally picking up the mic and singing terribly!
After dinner we met Adi at the surf shop where he biked ahead of us to a local home where we got to meet the massage master and his family. We each got massaged on the concrete floor outside their front door while Adi sat with us and translated, as none of them spoke any english. They shared some traditional snacks with us and gave us a bag to take home at the end of the night.
Day 15 - Kuta Surfing day!
We got up early and Adi met us at Puri Rinjani and took us back to Family homestay where we booked in again. Then we headed to Selong blanak beach with Adi and Meno for a surf lesson! We hired boards and were out for a couple of hours - the beach breaks were a great way to learn and no sharp coral on the ground, just lovely soft sand. Didn’t stop me getting smashed in the face by the surfboard though, had a couple of accidents, but all-in-all an awesome experience - we ended on some nice big waves and had some grilled corn on the beach afterwards.
Drove past a big bat-cave on the way back to Kuta, rested at the hotel for a little while before heading back to the surf shop to meet Adi and go back to the master’s house for another massage.
We were greeted by a lovely family atmosphere in the outdoor hut, where they shared dinner with us - we ate rice, grilled octopus (incredibly spicy!) and beans with our hands.. they went to the store to get water for us (since we can’t drink the local water) We shared a bottle of 2010 Pegasus bay Riesling with them, everyone skulled the wine with their eyes tightly shut! and the master skulled ‘’shots’’ of it while doing the massage..
After that we popped in to the restaurant where Adi's friend works at night, and ordered a couple of pizzas and bintangs before heading back to the hotel.. Zzzz
Day 16 - Last day in Lombok
Today we have flights booked back to Denpasar at 5pm. Met Adi and had ‘’Swissland'' coffee at El Bazar (flat whites) and showed him how to play backgammon. He gave us some really special gifts.. a precious stone he named Benera, a ring for Ben (that he had made) and a shell necklace for me…
We walked around the street markets and ended up buying almost one thing from every store, 3 hammocks, a blanket, a sarong, a bag.. some great bargainers here. A 13 year old girl called Laura told us a lovely story about her village which was woven into a sarong, and we got a sarong from her shop with Ben’s reverse-bargaining.
After this we met Adi at the Surf shop and scootered to have a look at his land.. he wants to partner up with Ben and build some accommodation - sounds like a pretty great plan, more excuses to come back again and again - have fallen in love with Lombok - so much quieter than Bali and feels like being back-in-time.
After looking at the land, Adi invited us into his home, and we found out he had a young wife and two sons! They gave us some more local snacks to take with us and we had some coffee on the floor of their home. They showed us their water system which is a well with spring-water, which they use for cooking and washing.
From there we went to the airport and Ben discovered he had left the electronic cigarette in the scooter - so he gifted it to Adi, along with oil and the charger (the e-cig has been very popular here) We also left him with some music, and will definitely be staying in touch.
The airport checkin was quick and painless altho the flight was delayed by an hour or so, watched the final episode of Wayward Pines in the departure lounge and ate the family snacks and Beng Beng Bars.
Landed in Bali and bargained a taxi to Nusa Dua to meet Tania and Kevin for tapas and cocktails at their $600US per day villa listening to a terrible singer fluff his way through western songs.
Checked in late (about 11.30pm) and stayed at the Puri Nusa Dua and Zzzz straight away
Day 17 - 2 August - From Nusa dua to Ubud
Had a big buffet breakfast at the hotel and found a driver to take us to Ubud. On the way we stopped to try some Luwak coffee - coffee that has been pre-digested and pooped out by the Luwak/Asian Palm Civet - also known as the most expensive coffee in the world. ($25 for 4 cups worth)
We also tried a whole lot of interesting teas made at the same place…
The driver also took us to a bunch of other interesting places, we stopped at a silver-shop and got a couple of rings and some earrings and checked out a large woodcarving shop.
When we got to Ubud we checked in at the Inata bisma, got a room with a lovely rice field view, and went out to find a massage across the road… not the best idea in the end, found a frustrating foot massage.
Day 18 - Monday - Cooking class
We got picked up early in the morning and were taken to the markets to get ingredients for cooking. It was a rainy day so everything was a bit muddy but still very warm. We chose a whole lot of ingredients, then went to the Be Bali Day class.
The grounds were beautiful, they have accommodation there, grow crops and have and have a stunning rice field. We got to see the family temple after we washed our feet over the toilet (!) then we had a private cooking class with Putu in an open hut with a view of the rainforest. We learned to cook a whole bunch of yummy dishes on an open fire and occasionally heard screaming bunches of people in the distance going by on the river-rafting trips.
We cooked Satay Tempeh and Tofu, steamed Tofu and Fish, salad, soup and corn fritters, followed by Jackfruit-fritters for dessert… After cooking everything we had a huge meal of all the food and took a few jackfruit fritters back to the hotel.
Here’s the Corn-fritter recipe as we got it:
Young Sweet corn, egg york,
Spices: shallot, garlic, aromatic ginger, candle nut,chili, kaffir lime leaf.
Method: Combine shallot, garlic,aromatic ginger, candle nut, chili and then grind. Mash the sweet corn in the stone mortal. Mix the mashed corn with egg to make a bit sticky and the add grinded spices and chopped kaffir lime leaf, salt and pepper to taste. Prepare to deed fry!
This all took place between 8am and 1pm, then we were dropped off back at the hotel where Anika Taylors met us for the final fitting of the suits and shirts… (all turned out awesome, really nicely fitted things and well made… the shirts only $50 each! tailor made.. that’s just crazy.)
After the fitting we went for a walk, and booked in at the spa across the road where Ben had a four-hand massage (two ladies) and Hera got a mani/pedi and a mortifying wax.
Jules Marchant was in Ubud learning to be a yoga teacher, he came and met us at the spa and got a massage too, then we all went to Earth cafe for a healthy dinner.
Day 19 - Tuesday - first-last-day
Our last full day in Bali.. we went to all the markets and spent almost a whole day exploring them - so many things! so many bargains! so many neat little gifts to find :)
We walked around Ubud for a while and went to ‘Nomad’ for lunch; a whole bunch of little tapas dishes in banana-leaf cups. It has felt like such a perfect holiday, we got everything done and went to the Bintang supermarket to get another wee handluggage-suitcase for the extra bits and pieces.
Got a little worried because the volcano was acting up again but we’re keeping an eye on the flights and it looks like we’re heading home tomorrow. We went to the Komaneka bisma for out last dinner. Really yummy food and great cocktails (Bali just wins)
Day 20 - Wednesday 5th August.
Woke up and checked the airline website. Our flights have been canceled due to the ashcloud… Might just be one extra night, we really had no idea… so we made the most of it and checked in at the komaneka bisma which was just a few doors down and luckily had one room available - just for tonight…
Our new flight is booked for Friday now, so we have two extra nights (need to find somewhere else for tomorrow)
Lukas and Laura + Family are in Ubud now so we all had lunch together with Jules at a great little raw-vegan restaurant (not sure how the others felt about the food but we quite enjoyed the weird green cashew spirulina - in between cucumber slices ’’blue cheese - ravioli’’ )
After lunch everyone went their separate ways and we went to the monkey forest; which was quite an adventure… There was a monkey fight and all of the monkeys screamed and ran and gathered in the middle (a bit scary actually) during the commotion a monkey took a liking to Hera’s new bag, and ate 4/5 of the dangling pom-poms on it. After that we had a great time watching some silly Italian tourists taunting the monkeys, taking selfies with monkeys on their shoulders and the like - we were sure they’d get annihilated - or something! but they were lucky.
We went over to look at a deer eating corn, and a woman beside us panicked when a big monkey hopped onto her bag - she was freaking out, so Ben went over to help and gestured for the monkey to move over. The monkey hopped on Ben instead, and bit him!
We had dinner at the Komaneka Bisma again with Lukas, Laura and her family.
Day 21 - Thursday 6th August
So nice to wake up at the Komaneka.. looked up the airline and our Friday-night-flight has been canceled too! it’s looking like it might be more of a long-term-situation! what to do?
Lukas came and joined us for breakfast in our room at the Komaneka, Anika tailors came by and dropped off the finished suits and shirts. We got a free foot-massage at the Komaneka spa and they’ve booked us in at another one of their hotels which is a bit closer to the monkey forest - the Rasa Sayan Komaneka.
So we moved hotels, again. Walked around ubud, had dinner near the hotel at ‘’three monkeys’’ - seafood pizza and a tuna steak...
Day 22, Friday
Packed up all our gear (again) and had some washing done. Spent the day wandering around ubud had some yummy smoothies and booked in for a yoga session at Taksu yoga. Pretty awesome setting in the forest.
Decided we’d stay another night in Ubud and booked in at the ‘Rouge’ - a sushi restaurant but also a spa and a hotel - somehow manages to be fancy but in really bad taste. Everything is red and there are cubes everywhere! wow.just.wow.
Walked just down the road to ‘Nick’s spa’ (Nick seems to own a lot of things in Ubud, and name them after himself…) and we had a lovely balinese massage (a full hour, for about $12 each, madness.)
Went back to our red room, put on our red slippers and red robes, got into our cube-shaped-bed with red pillows and went to sleep.
Saturday - time to move again…
Woke up in our red room, put on the red robes and red slippers, sat down at the breakfast table with red napkins and had breakfast.
Had a glass of (white!) wine at the Rouge restaurant and booked a driver to take us back to Canggu beach via the Five Elements restaurant - which was just incredible.. such a special restaurant, all vegan food and just delicious. We had a cashew cheese tasting and the best smoothies in the world.
We really had no idea where we were going but had a chat with the driver and he had a friend who is a yoga teacher in Canggu, and they have accommodation there too. So we decided on that. Off to ‘Samadi’ yoga.
Checked in and hired a scooter from Wayan Lucky across the road from Samadi. Scootered to ‘Old Man’s’ and had a bintang on the beach. Good to be back here after the hustle-and-bustle-business of ubud…
Met some lovely stray dogs and a beautiful wee white puppy and shared our food with them outside our room.
Sunday - Samadi yoga
Woke up at Samadi with a few new bites, the room isn’t quite sealed so a few mozzies got in. There was a local market happening so there were quite a few people around, but we decided to make the most of our stay and did the complimentary yoga class in the morning.
Lukas came and joined us for breakfast, and hired another scooter from Wayan Lucky. Brian at Samadi let us leave our bags in the room while we explored accommodation options in the area (the plan is to find somewhere where we can all stay together until the next booked flight, on Wednesday)
Scootered around and stopped at a neat little place with a rice field view for a breakfast-bintang, found an empty villa for rent and moved our gear in there.. (a massive place with a swimming pool out front, for $150 a night) Went to Deus Ex Machina for dinner, Ben found some awesome T-shirts and we listened to some live music for the first time in a while. Dinner was lovely, then we had dessert cheesecake from Betelnut before heading back to the villa.
Monday, Day 25, August 10th.
Lukas had some visa things to organise so he can stay a bit longer in Bali, so we scootered towards town, Lukas continued on and we stopped at Desa Seni for breakfast. After that Lukas joined us again and we did a jam-packed yoga class there which was just incredible - watched the giant geckos on the roof of the hut we practised in.
Then we headed to Bening spa for another massage and pedicure. We were all a bit undecided on dinner since we have just a few days left, so we scootered around for a bit and ended up at the pizza place in Cangu which looked lovely… Ordered a pizza then got a bit of a fright by a massive cloud of mozzies! Had a cocktail and shared a small pizza there, then ended up at the mexican place just a few doors down from where we were staying ‘’Laca Lita’’ - absolutely awesome food! Fish tacos, the best broccoli dish, two types of ceviche, and a really nice coconut dessert (not to mention the cocktails.. bloody maria, lychee margharita..)
Made a mission to the ATM so we could pay for the villa tomorrow, and discovered ‘Mike Tyson’ the security goose! (for real) Had a quick drink at Old Man’s and headed back to the villa zzz.
Day 26, Tuesday 11th August
Our last full day in Bali, again, so we went to Betelnut for breakfast! (love the Naga bowl, Hera had it for the third time)
Then we went back to the villa and watched some tv on the computer (discovered the magician show, ‘Jonathan strange and Mr Norrell)
Up again for a coffee break, went to the coffee place just down the road and discovered all the local staunch-guys (almost ridiculous, very entertaining people watching)
Then we went back to the villa and watched some tv on the computer
Up again for some food, we love Laca Lita so we went back there for fish tacos and broccoli again.
Then we went back to the villa and watched some tv on the computer
Up again and found a yoga class, at Samadi, at 6pmish - bad idea - mozzie-mania time - Ben got hammered and bitten everywhere including on the face, we all got a bit munched, but the class was lovely..
Then we went back to the villa and had a shower
For our last dinner in Bali we looked at lots of options but ended up at Old Man’s, where we had fish and pina coladas, and played some Gin.
Wednesday 12th August - the last day in Bali (for real)
The airport is open and our flight is happening.. so it’s pack time (again) We had breakfast at ‘Grocer and Grind’ then scootered around a bit and got a cheap nike carry-on bag ($15 without really bargaining) for some more of the extra bits and pieces we’ve accumulated.
Popped into a foot-massage place for a quick bit of reflexology ($6 ish) then went to ‘Gold dust’ for a back-buster massage as recommended by Lukas - wish we’d discovered that sooner - was quite amazing and really intense (strongest massage Ben has ever had)
Went back to Laca Lita for the third time, had fish tacos and a couple of cocktails, then went back to the villa where we finished packing and got picked up by Wayan Lucky who drove us to the airport… Can’t believe we got a whole extra week in Bali, while it snowed in Christchurch. Back soon xx