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January 30, 2017

Bali Itinerary and Travel Tips


Hi everyone!

Long time no talk. A lot of things have happened in 2016 (nothing bad) and consequently, I just didn't have proper me-time to blog.

Nonetheless, I am back this year with my Bali itinerary and guide as I went in November for the first time. I have been receiving numerous questions on what I did whilst I was there and I figured it would be much easier to condense it publicly onto my blog, alongside my video diary.

While I could write a long post about things that you could do in Bali, it made more sense for me to just explain what I did. Besides, I could always write an updated guide if I was to visit Bali again. I've tried to be brief but feel free to email me if you have any questions you want answered.

I was in Bali for approximately 10 days and stayed in Seminyak, Jimbaran and Ubud.

Seminyak

In Seminyak, we stayed in a private villa at eqUILIBRIA. The place was amazing and quite frankly, the hospitality across all three places was incredible! Everyone was so helpful and sweet.

Day 1: As we arrived quite late for our first day, we didn't do anything besides checking into our villa and being mesmerised by the interior of our place. We were even given an ipad and phone where we could contact our private butler whenever we needed him or her to do something for us!

Day 2: We visited Kuta- mainly to explore Discovery Mall and Kuta Beach. I knew there was a Sephora at Discovery Mall and I urgently had to buy a highlighter (make up, not the stationery) as I had left mine back at home in Australia. The mall itself wasn't great and I wouldn't go back. Sephora didn't have any highlighters in stock either...

We couldn't explore Kuta Beach much as it was raining at the time and instead, we went to find shelter for lunch.

For dinner, we went to Motel Mexicola. The place was buzzing and full of energy. However, if you want to take great photos of the restaurant's interior then it would be best to go during lunch because it's emptier. We ordered a set menu where they served us their popular dishes, although I would just order my own options next time because I didn't love everything that was served to us.

I also met up with my friend later that night at Potato Head Beach Club (known for its beautiful sunsets), which is another iconic place to chill and party in Seminyak. I don't know whether is usually busy at night but it wasn't that night when we were there. It could be because we had arrived quite late. Regardless, it was nice catching up with my friend over sangria by the pool.  It's a different story during the day though- it can be so busy but fun! I mean, the more the merrier hey?

Day 3: After having a delicious meal of mi goreng for breakfast in our villa, I spent the morning tanning by our pool with my cute unicorn inflatable. It's honestly difficult to get on these inflatables, especially if you've never been on one before. I capsized on mine...

Our butler was simultaneously decorating our outdoor bathtub, filling it with roses. Bathing in a tub full of roses was really fun and I highly recommend you having the same experience while in Bali, since it is much cheaper here than in Australia. That's if you want to though.

For lunch, we went to visit Cafe Organic for some insta-worthy smoothie bowls. It's cute when your boyfriend agrees to eat a pink smoothie bowl with you, isn't it? As the cafe was located next to Potato Head, we went back there to witness it while the sun was still out. It was a lot busier this time around but we didn't stay for long as we had to get ready for our pre-booked dinner. That meant I never had the opportunity to witness the Potato Head sunset...

Nonetheless, our dinner at Breeze was incredibly beautiful! I highly suggest for everyone to make a reservation here just to witness the picturesque scenery, especially as the sun is setting. We were lucky that it didn't rain that night which meant we could see a vivid sunset while enjoying your food. It was really romantic, and I loved it.

Day 4: Since we had to leave to Jimbaran the next day, we wanted to make the most of our villa's facilities.  It was another day filled with tans and chills. The relaxing holiday life really. Peter had organised a private candle lit dinner in our villa that night. We were quite excited to see how our attentive butlers were going to turn our outdoor area into a dinner space. And let me say, they did an excellent job! The night was perfect and they even had jazz music playing in the background as we ate our food. The dinner consisted of a three-course meal, accompanied with floating candles by the pool. Our chef cooked the mains right next to us. We were so spoilt to have had another amazing night in Bali.














Jimbaran

Day 5: We squeezed in a morning couple's massage before packing up everything to leave to Jimbaran. We stayed at RIMBA and it was an amazing hotel. Its iconic lobby was one of the reasons why I wanted to stay there.

Once we checked in, we headed to Rock Bar for dinner and were placed in the priority line since we were staying at Rimba. We managed to push in front of a lot of people to get into the cable car and came just in time to experience another sunset.

Day 6: Rimba is the sister resort of Ayana, which meant we were entitled to enjoy both resorts' facilities (i.e. their amazing pools) using their complimentary shuttle buses.  There are selected pools that are really popular amongst IG-ers and these include Ayana's ocean pool and river pool. If you want to take photos with either pool before it is crowded with people then it is best to arrive as early as possible!

RIMBA also has a really nice rooftop pool with delicious Mexican food. We spent half the day exploring all the pools before getting driven to Benoa Tirta Harum Dive & Watersport to do some water activities (near Nusa Dua). We ended up choosing the jet skiing, parasailing and sea walking package. I was initially petrified for sea walking because I'm claustrophobic. However I felt bad to pull out of it since we had already paid for everything and I couldn't let Peter sea walk by himself... How lonely. I ended up doing it and it was seriously one of the best things I've done in a while. The whole experience was incredible and our guide was so friendly! And by the way, you don't feel claustrophobic when you're down there! Peter and I both agree it was probably one of our best days, fortunate enough to get to know the locals while doing the water activities. They were extremely nice and we even received a CD with hundreds of photos and HD videos from our sea walking adventures.

To end the perfect day, we arrived at Jimbaran Bay to witness yet, another Balinese sunset with fresh seafood by our table. We had the seafood platter but realised we would've been better off just ordering lobster and crab on their own since we weren't a fan of the fish that came with the platter.

Day 7: Today we were packing to leave to Ubud but spent the morning at Blue Point Beach, trying Poké Bowls from Coco & Poké and smoothie bowls from Nalu Bowls. After enjoying our lunch and the view, seeing many surfers by the beach, we headed to Uluwatu temple. I would have loved to witness the Kecak fire dance if we had more time (it starts at 6pm) but we had to leave to Ubud.

Whilst checking out of Rimba around 6p.m., the hotel staff helped us organise a package to do to the 4am Mount Batur hike that night/ early morning. It was a pretty crazy but exciting idea at the time because that meant we still had to get ourselves to Ubud (which takes a few hours), and sleep before the 3a.m. pick up by our guide.



Ubud

We stayed at Padma Resort in Ubud. One of the negatives about Padma was that it was incredibly far from Ubud centre (45 minutes away), which made it difficult to explore Ubud, and also explains our more expensive taxi fares. The resort itself is stunning though.

Day 8: We had about 3-4 hours sleep before waking up and getting ready for our 4a.m. hike! We got to meet our tour guide when we arrived and he was extremely helpful. I feel like I'm repeating myself everyday, describing everyone as being friendly (but it's true!)

There were many different groups of tourists doing the hike but we were in a group of 3: Peter, our guide and myself. It was an intimate morning as we got to really learn a lot about our guide as we hiked in darkness with a torch each. The hike was rather tiring for me because I honestly hadn't exercised properly in a while. We could see the sun slowly rising as we reached at the top. It was picture-perfect. There was a dog roaming around the top and a lot of cute monkeys who loved their bananas. It was rewarding being able to see such a stunning sight after hiking up for a couple of hours.

After the hike, we went to the natural hot springs to wash all our sweat away. I really enjoyed the serenity of the hot springs, until it decided to rain an hour later. I wasn't complaining though because we had to head back to our hotel to rest up before getting ready for our early dinner.

We had planned to have a 100 candle-light dinner at Swept Away (The Samaya Ubud). Unfortunately, it kept raining all day and by the time we arrived, the restaurant had to cancel the arrangement. We ended up having to eat at their undercover dining area, which was nice regardless. It was another really beautiful night for me. The waiter there was so kind to us and even wrote down Balinese phrases and words to keep as memories.

Day 9: Today was our last day in Bali, as we had to fly off to Kuala Lumpur the next day at 6a.m. We spent the morning swimming at Padma's luscious infinity pool before heading off to Karsa Spa. I made the reservation even before going to Bali because I've heard they're really busy and can be booked out. We came for a couple's massage, floral bath and a facial. It was funny taking Peter to get a facial because he just fell asleep and you could hear him snoring... We then headed to Tegalalang Rice Fields but couldn't explore anywhere due to the heavy rain. We had lunch by one of the more popular restaurants (don't remember the name), overlooking the rice fields before heading to Ubud Centre, where we did some souvenir shopping. We ended up with some coasters and Mi Goreng packets (standard). Although, we didn't have time to do this, you should visit Tegenungan Waterfall while in Ubud.














Transport: In regards to transport, it was really easy finding taxis around Seminyak. Our hotel even had a private car that would take us to nearby places (and we just had to find our own way back). If you are to use taxis, try to only catch the official Blue Bird Group, as it is the only company that has a legitimate meter. You could also catch Ubers, which would be even cheaper or alternatively, hire a personal driver to take you around.

On the other hand, it is very hard to find a meterd taxi in Ubud. Instead, there are drivers everywhere in their vans who all quote you a fixed price. You are better off having a personal driver take you around even before you arrive in Ubud.

When we were in Bali, we never felt the need to have a driver take us around because we didn't need them for the entire day. Because of that, we encountered many incidents where we were essentially stranded because we couldn't find a taxi (e.g. when we were at Blue Point Beach), and had no choice but to hop into whatever car we saw... It definitely was not safe and I was always ready to be mugged... However all the drivers always ended up being extremely friendly and helpful. We were really lucky but I would advise everyone to have one driver they trust and stick with the same person!

Exchanging money: We exchanged our money in Bali but were told to only exchange it at official places because the ones you find on the streets can easily scam you. I don't have a specific place to recommend but you can always ask your hotel staff to take you to a credible/legitimate one.

Overall, Bali was amazing, and you should definitely go if you haven't already. I would've also loved to visit Gili Island. There's always next time. I hope this was somewhat helpful to you guys. Happy travels everyone!

P.S. Let me know if this post was helpful and whether I should do more of these when I travel in the future.

March 22, 2016

Rustic



Photos by Karen Nguyen

Although I was expecting the sun to come out yesterday, I actually ended up loving the results of the fall- esque vibes that were captured instead. The serene backdrop is almost an accurate representation of my remnant memories of autumn almost a year ago. I know a lot of Australians would agree that the idea of wearing cosy winter items in the upcoming weeks is a little exciting. Yet, I am still undecided as to whether I am more of a Summer or Winter person.

I am making the most of short dresses, skirts and shorts whilst the weather still allows me too. You know, soon enough, all anyone will ever see as I am walking down the streets is my heavy coat hiding whatever that is in the inside. Similarly, I will be frequently getting into the routine of changing outfits last minute and finding myself wearing jeans and a sweater instead. 

Also, I am having this little crisis where I want to dye my hair really light again. Contemplating on whether I want to go ash, silver, blonde, grey... Just as a warning, don't be too surprised if you see me with a new hair colour again. 

Jody 
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March 8, 2016

Beginning of March


Every time I take photos for a new blog post, something changes about me, and it's usually my hair. Withstanding the humidity everyday in Singapore and Thailand made me spontaneously want to get my hair permanently straightened, as well as trimmed again. That way, I didn't have to deal with the daily stress of turning on the straightening iron and forcing my hair to straighten itself.

In saying that, I should really stop visiting the hairdressers so regularly or I'll eventually have hair up to my ears in the next post. And with my current track record, that sounds likely to be every couple of months or so... 

Calvin Klein tee, Grey culotte pants (similar here or here), Nike Fly Knit Racers, ZARA bag, Larson and Jennings watch
Photos by Karen Nguyen

I purchased several amazing things when I was travelling in January. My favourite is probably these Nike Racers in my preferred colour and size! Although I do love the rainbow colourway just as much, I couldn't justify the price of it. Nevertheless, I was in incredible shock to find this gem sitting around in a Hong Kong streetwear boutique as I was randomly shopping around Tsim Tsa Tsui.

Anyway so what's new with me? Not an awful much. I've started my 4th Year of Uni again this month. I'll be finishing my Media studies by the end of the year, and my law degree at the end of next year... In the meantime, I'm just trying to keep myself productive with work, uni, travels, and starting to upload regular content on the blog again. 

P.S. Shoutout to my cute sister who was generous enough to take these photos for me on her 18th birthday!
Jody 
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