Around the World in 30 Days // Part 1: Bali
This June was totally incredible. We got to travel to not just 1 but 2 international weddings in one month. We are very lucky to have International friends who scheduled their weddings in beautiful locals such as Bali and Italy.
Not only was it amazing to visit Bali for our friend James & Cristi’s wedding, but also it was amazing because it brought us back to our Bali trip from 4 years ago were we got to visit new places we wanted to previously and old that we fell in love with the first time.
Day 1: SFO –> Taipai
International Airport food always seems to be way more authentic and tasty than the food in US Airports
Day 2: Taipai –> Bali
Excitement mounting! Once you see that blue water you know that you are getting close to paradise.
The Legian Beach Gates
Our sunset arrival! What a magical time of night to arrive in Bali. Once we got to our airbnb we dropped our packs and headed straight to the beach. The Kuta/Legian/Seminyak beach is probably one of the widest beaches I’ve ever seen. I love all the activity that’s going on around us. It is such an international scene. Bali has definitely become even more popular than it was four years ago. You can for sure tell that there are more people and more beach umbrellas littering the beach than before.
Our first sunset in Bali
A walk down the beach leads us to La Plancha and our first Bintangs of the trip.
Stay: Kubu Kauh Beach Inn Airbnb
Drink: La Plancha
Eat: Pasar Pattimura Jaya Market
Day 3: Tanah Lot Temple // Canggu
Fresh fruit juice is so easily accessible in Bali - I love it. Ice + Water + Fruit for less than a dollar. Wish it was this easy to eat healthy in the states.
Tanah Lot - the Water Temple
Canggu - a surfer’s paradise with some great eats.
Visit: Tanah Lot
Lunch: Echo Beach
Dinner: Cafe Bali in Seminyak
Day 4: BINGIN BEACH
After a couple days in the Kuta area we headed down the Bukit Peninsula to join the wedding party at Mama Tom Toms. Getting to Bingin Beach is not easy - it’s a bit of a trek actually - where you have to drive or moto around some back alley streets where you finally come across a little old lady and a toll barricade. After you pay your fee you must climb down some pretty steep steps to get to the beach - but once you get there - it’s another surfer’s paradise - a throwback to another time with open air thatched huts built into the cliffs. There are many different stairways down to Bingin beach and the one we climbed down was all the way at the other end of the beach far from Mamma Tom Toms which is a bit secluded from the rest of the other homestays. Trudging through the sand with your packs on is definitely a bit of a mission and a work out but well worth it once you get there. Our friends were waiting for us with bintangs and smiles, and we got enjoy the last couple hours of the day watching the surfers catch waves at Impossibles.
At sunset the beach restaurants get even beachier and place tables and chairs out on the sand for their nightly seafood beach BBQ with the waves lapping at your feet. This is one of my favorite things - good company, grilled fresh seafood, bintangs, and my feet in the sand. No Worries!
Eat: Lucky Fish
Day 5-8: Bingin –> Gilli Islands
After a night sleeping right next to the sea (where it was so loud we thought it would sweep into our room), everyone packed up and carried all their gear up the steep steps to our taxis taking us to the Gili Islands ferry at Padang Bai. The last time Mike and I went to the Gilis we spent our time on Gilli Trawangan so we were excited to be staying on one of the other island Gili Air. We snorkeled with turtles and fish, stand up paddled to Lombok, learned how to cook mia goreng, and enjoyed the company of our friends. It was an amazing experience getting to spend lots of quality time with our friends who we don’t get to see that often before their wedding. Definitely a highlight of the trip!
Our breakfast spot every morning - can’t beat the view of Lombok!
After eating our delicious lunch, Mike walked over to the kitchen and asked the cooks to give me an impromptu pad thai and mie goreng cooking class. Which they happily obliged. Loved watching these women work. They have these 2 dishes dialed.
Gili Air Pad Thai Ingredients
Mia Goreng Ingredients
Sweet soy sauce
The Man, The Myth, The Legend - James Taylor blowing perfect bubble rings
Eat: Zipp Bar, Blues
Charter: Snorkel Boat
Day 8 - 12: Gili Islands –> UBUD
After a couple of lovely days in the Gilis it was time for the wedding party to make their way to Ubud where the wedding was taking place. We stayed at a pretty cool Airbnb away from the main part of town, so it was quiet and in a more local neighborhood. There’s a lot going on in Ubud and it can be quite overwhelming but the facade of hectic usually gives way to something a bit more peaceful. Ubud is unique in that sense, for me at least, in that when you are walking around the streets it doesn’t seem like there is a refuge from all the traffic, noise, and tourists, but when you get off the street the chaos melts away into serene views of rice fields. It’s truly mind blowing.
As you can see the food options in Ubud are endless. You can get anything from traditional Balinese food to BBQ ribs to fruit juice and healthy eats. You can definitely have pretty diverse meals if you get bored of eating nasi goreng for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Since we last visited, Ubud has become even more of a Yoga mecca than it already was, with places like the Yoga Barn popping up. We took a 75 minute yoga class that was definitely the hardest class we’ve every taken, but with a reward of an amazing breakfast after in their restaurant.
We weren’t really sure what to expect from a Bali wedding - but it exceeded whatever our expectations were. We’d already spent a week with most of the people attending so we already knew we were going to have a fun time with everyone. The villa was beautiful with an infinity pool and large deck overlooking the jungle of Ubud. Before the ceremony there was already talk of the wedding turning into pool party. James and Crisit both looked wonderful. They are beautiful people inside and out and it was such a special experience being able to share their special day with them. They brought together their families from South Africa and Mexico, and friends from around the world.
Goa Gajah Temple
Stay: Airbnb Taman Sari Guest House
Eat: Clear Cafe, Yoga Barn, Cafe Pomegranate, Dirty Duck Diner, Kafe, Local joint Nasi Ayum Kedewatan (only 1 thing on the menu served 2 ways - very spicy), Naughty Nuris, Sari Organic
Visit: Goa Gajah Temple
Day 12 - 14: BINGIN // ULUWATU // DREAMLAND
After the wedding we headed back to Bingin for some more surfing and adventure planning sessions. Ate some heaping portions of Mia Goreng at Julie’s Warung for lunch and enjoyed some beach time. Part of the group planned to follow a swell to Sumbawa, which we decided not to partake in because it was a bit of a journey and we only had one more week left in Bali. In the mean time - we walked over to Dreamland at low tide to check out the scene. Dreamland used to be an amazing dream of a beach but now there is a terrible looking awful imposing hotel (the last time we were there the hotel wasn’t finished). It’s really such a shame because your really see some beautiful architecture all over Bali and this hotel on the most beautiful beach is just hideous! The people watching though - is pretty spectacular. Be careful of the waves - the shorebreak is a bit gnarly.
Moto’d around the peninsula and rented some boards at Padang Padang. Being in Bali in June is way different than being here in November. The surf is much bigger. So Padang Padang was not as friendly as I remembered it. I tried for one wave, missed, and decided to take myself out of harms way. But I still worked up an appetite so Lunch a Buddha Soul soothed that with some good healthy food. After lunch we moto’d to Balangan - another spot we surfed at in 2010, but this time Balangan had some pumping waves as well.
Since the waves were getting a little big for us we decided to check out Finns Beach Club, which is part of a swank hotel but cost outsiders 250,000 for day use - it’s pretty much your very own slice of heaven. You take a little trolley down the cliffs to a beach and your entry gets you access to SUPs, snorkel gear, and kayaks. The food and drinks - though are very expensive even by Bali standards. At low tide we walked amongst tide pools and explored caves. It was one of those days at the beach that are truly relaxing. After, we caught the sunset at Uluwatu, which is always breathtaking.
Arvo at Ulus
Eat: Kellys, Swamis, Lucky Fish, Buddha Soul, Delphi Uluwatu, Jiwa Juice
Visit: Padang Padang, Balangan, Uluwatu, Single Fin, Finn’s Beach Club
Day 15 - 20: NUSA LEMBONGON
Our adventure planning in Bingin led us to Nusa Lembongan. A small island off the coast of Bali where a life of seaweed farming is a the good life. Cristi, James, Me, Mike, and another couple Dave and Michelle hopped a fast boat from Sanur to Nusa Lembongan with grand plans of surfing, relaxing, eating, and exploring. I have to say Nusa Lembongan is one of my favorite places we visited. I wanted to go the first time we were in Bali, but I am glad it happened the second time around with this crew. We had such a blast. We found an awesome spot to stay where the 6 of us took over the top floor - our balconies all connecting so we could enjoy breakfast and sundowners together nightly.
The tide changes of Nusa Lembongan was something I had never quite seen before. The tidal change from high to low is so significant everyday that at low tide you can walk along the reef and watch the seaweed farmers pick their bounty, and the 3 surf spots that the island boast are only surfable from 9 AM to about 1 PM. So other adventures must be had in the afternoon.
The view from Playgrounds
A Perfect Afternoon
Vegan food never tasted so good
James and Cristi enjoying the sunset
We took a couple of mini adventures while on Nusa Lembongan. The boys had rented a boat to take them over to Shipwrecks and we hopped in to take photos. Probably one of the scarier experience since the waves were coming in hot and our boat driver was not doing a very good job of navigating. Needless to say our photgrahpy session was cut short. We also rented a boat to go snorkeling for a day. The reef at Nusa Lembongan was one of the most spectacular reefs I have every seen!
Our second micro-adventure around the island was by moto instead of boat. The six of us explored every nook and cranny of Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan. It was quite a ride zooming around the streets from beach to beach with this crew. Lots of photo shoots were had - but that’s a perk of traveling with a professional photographer. On Nusa Ceningan we stopped at Le Pirate Beach Club for lunch and some cocktails. Highlight of the day. Food was spectacular, drinks were damn cold, and you could not beat the amazing scenery and pool. The next stop was to the very tip of the island where Mahana Point Warung stood. This was the spot all the boys were looking forward to because of the cliff jumping. Unfortunately - it was low tide and way too dangerous to jump. Something to look forward to for next time.
With every perfect day - you have to be prepared for the unexpected and roll with it. Our unexpected adventure was getting a flat moto tire on the way back to Playgrounds and having to negotiate with the locals to fix it. Always fun getting to socialize with the locals.
And to close out our last night on Nusa Lembongan we had a relaxing evening watching Point Break at the local Movie House.
Eat: Bunga Bungalow, Sunset Warung, Ware Ware, Eco Deli, Panoramic Restaurant, Crystal Bay Warung, Warung Nilya, Le Pirate
Watch: Jungut Batu Cinema
Surf: Playgrounds, Lacerations, Shipwrecks
Rent: Snorkel Boat & Motos
Cliff Jump: Nusa Ceningan (get there at high tide - morning)
Day 20 - 23: KUTA // SEMINYAK
After saying our goodbyes to the rest of the gang and we were back on our own in Kuta where Mike and I checked out the Potato Head Beach Club, recommended by a couple friends. Definitely a cool spot, with some hip drinks, but after having the pool to ourself at Le Pirate it was hard to compare the hustle and bustle of the beach club pool to the experience we just had on Nusa Lembongan.
Mike enjoying a sun down snack
Ending our 3 week trip to Bali the right way - a couple of Bintangs, a sunset, and some local flair at Robertos’.
Eat: Fat Chow, Cafe Zucchini, Sisterfields, The Junction Seminyak, Local Market
Hang: Potato Head Beach Club, Drifter Surf Shop
Being able to travel back to Bali with Mike, and getting to experience James and Cristi’s magical wedding was really another dream come true. These experiences are what make life truly spectacular and I hope to keep the adventurous times flowing for the rest of my life Now on to Italy for the continuation of our around the world trip!