Travel Diary | Bali, Indonesia 2016


I recently got back from an awesome holiday in Bali, Indonesia. It was a really spontaneous trip- we only booked 2 and a half weeks before we left which was so exciting and fun!
It was our second time there- the last time was only in November last year, but we liked it so much we couldn't wait to go back.
We had 9 nights and 8 full days and this time stayed in Legian (last time was in Seminyak).
Here is a little summary of what my fiance and I got up to while we were there:

Bali from Brisbane is only a 5 and a half hour flight away. We arrived at our hotel- The Akmani at about midnight our time, so we were pretty tired. We went out for a quick dinner of Nasi Goreng and Satay chicken skewers (my favourite) along with some mandatory Bintang (beers). We took a short walk to explore the area and then pretty much went straight to sleep after that.


Day One. 

Due to a few unfortunate problems with our room, we were quickly upgraded to one of their finest suites with its own private rooftop garden which we were more than happy with!
We found an Indonesian gem for lunch just down the road from us called Kopi Pot.
The food and prices were so incredible we went back there two more times during our stay.
I ordered the charcoal fish on lemongrass skewers and it was so delicious!
For the afternoon we decided to check out our hotel's rooftop pool bar. We had a cocktail each for happy hour and a couple of Bintangs and sat in the pool until the sun went down.





Day Two.

In the morning we headed to Seminyak to get massages at Bali Spa. One of the great things about Bali is that basically everything is at least half price. Pampering services are even more so, with massages here at around $15 (Australian). So it's a really great opportunity to indulge and treat yourself, especially as I would never get a massage (or a facial or mani-pedi etc.) at home as they are usually more than four times the price there.
We enjoyed a traditional Balinese massage which was very firm but it makes you feel so good afterwards! After that we went to Mades Warung, and each had the 'Babi Guling'- a traditional Indonesian suckling spit-roast pig dish. It is so delicious and a must-try if you come here yourself!
We browsed a few shops on our way back to the hotel; there is really great shopping here and many unique boutique clothing stores.
We chilled for the rest of the afternoon and at dinner time went back to Seminyak to one of our favourite restaurants from our last trip- Queen's Tandoor which is an Indian restaurant, and seriously the best Indian food we've ever had in our lives! (As we haven't yet been to India obviously!).
After stuffing ourselves silly we went just down the road to Frankensteins which is a fun lively bar in the theme of a laboratory. The entertainment and live music is very good.
That evening the lead was dressed as Beetlejuice and they even performed to some songs from the movie which was awesome! We had quite a few drinks there including an 'eyeball' (lychee) martini and a cocktail for two that came in an IV bag. It was a very fun night!




Day Three.

We decided to venture to Kuta town centre which is only about a 20 minute walk from Legian. Again we browsed shops along the way as we pleased and I bought a cool new tie die dress. We walked along the beach and then found and browsed the Discovery Mall- the largest in Bali.
After a Nasi Goreng lunch, it was back to the hotel for the rest of the afternoon and we chilled by the pool and had a couple of drinks on our balcony which was nice.
For dinner we discovered another gem- probably our new favourite restaurant Warumg Padmasari as the prices were ridiculously cheap ($20 for a 3 course meal each and drinks) and the food was so delicious and authentic (we also went back there another two times during our stay!). After our great feast we decided to go for a nightcap and went to the Bali Sky Garden.
It's a really well-known and popular club but there was a really good live band that was playing awesome rock songs so we ended up staying for hours and had quite a few mojitos...
We were sitting with a view over the Ground Zero- where the Bali bombings happened back in 2002. It was quite surreal and so sad thinking of the hundreds of people that died in that spot- many of them Australian tourists.







Day Four.

We had a really relaxing day today. Gareth got another massage at Bali Spa while I got an hour long mani-pedi (both for less than $10!).
I also decided to get my hair done in Bali (blonde foils and cut) as I saw the prices for that were half the price than in Australia, so I did a little research and Smart Spa had very good reviews. I'm really glad I did because this hairdresser did the best job on me that anyone has ever done! He took so much care and my foils have never looked so perfect!
The downside was that it took twice as long as it normally does- but the results were absolutely worth it! I was so happy with my hair.
It was great timing as well as that evening we had pre-booked quite a fancy restaurant for dinner at Sarong. It was one of the top rated restaurants on Trip Advisor and the place was very nice- just, of course, a lot more pricey than you would normally spend on dinner in Bali. But we thought we should at least have one dressy-up nice meal out while we were here.
I started with my very first ginger espresso martini and it was delish! The food was very nice, and it was a lovely evening.
On the way home in a taxi cab, we met Mr. YoYo (our driver) who was to become our personal driver for two full day trips over the next week. He was quite a character and a very funny and interesting person to meet.






Day Five.

Spirituality is one of the central vibes of Bali and temples are dotted practically everywhere you look. The main religion here is Balinese Hinduism and they have many large beautiful and ancient temples I was keen to see.
Seeing the Uluwatu temple during sunset was a must-do, so we arranged a nice trip to the south of Bali and decided to make a day out of it. Mr YoYo picked us up after lunch and first took us to a beautiful beach in Nusa Dua. We then went to a Luwak coffee tasting place.
It was our second time trying it, and I don't really like the Luwak coffee (also known as 'cat-poo coffee'- seriously!) but I was all over the other tea and coffee tastings. My favourites were the coconut coffee and the lemongrass tea.
Next up we spent an hour on a popular beach, enjoying the sun and drinking Bintangs. There was even a monkey nearby in a tree eating a cob of corn!
We headed to the stunning 11th Century cliff-side Uluwatu temple for the sunset and to watch the traditional 'Kecak and Fire' dance. It was such a beautiful temple and a pretty entertaining show.
Lastly, our driver took us to a delicious fresh seafood restaurant right on the beach for dinner at Jimbaran Bay. We had freshly caught snapper and prawns we picked ourselves and it was fantastic eating before the waves.











Day Six. 

We had a very chill and relaxing day. We hung around Legian and went back to Warung Padmasari for lunch. We then checked out Legian beach that was very nearby and walked along it.
We spent the rest of the afternoon by the pool before heading to a close by Thai restaurant where I had a delicious Pad Thai and mango sticky rice for dessert.



Day Seven. 

Mr. YoYo picked us up bright and early this time for a full day trip North of Ubud. He was with one of his older sons this time to keep him company which was sweet.
We started with another traditional Indonesian dance show in the morning called 'Barong and Kris', followed by a visit to Batuan temple.
We had lunch at a restaurant overlooking rice fields in Ubud and it was so picturesque!
Our next stop was Goa Gajah, or Elephant Cave, a 9th Century sanctuary.
Our final temple was Pura Tirtha Empul, known for its sacred spring water with healing properties, which dated back to 926 AD. It was the most beautiful temple I've ever seen. Everywhere I looked felt like I was looking at a painting!
We had a big drive around the north of Ubud, and saw so much of authentic Bali.
It was really nice to see the real side of it- away from the big tourist hubs of Seminyak, Legian and Kuta. We got to see children coming out from school, their houses and a glimpse into how they live. It's such a different life from our own so it's really special to learn about other cultures and different people's way of life.
Lastly, we had a quick stop at the Tegalalang Rice Terrace, before heading home early evening. It was a long day but I think the most enjoyable I had on this trip.












Day Eight.

It was our last full day in Bali and I had booked in- my 6th Tattoo! I did a lot of research prior and found an excellent Tattoo studio with great reviews.
To be honest, I was a tad nervous in the days leading up to it as all of my tattoos were from the same artist, and being in a foreign country and all. Also, there are tattoo parlours on practically every corner, so I didn't really know what to think of that. But a couple of days before I did go in to Bali Tattoo Studio to check it out first- and it looked great so I was very reassured.
My appointment time rolled around and it only took 10 minutes of actual 'needling' before it was all done! He said he did it extra fast as the spot I was getting it (ribcage) makes you twitch as it's very tender (oh yes). So I was grateful for that!
It was a brand new packaged needle that they made sure to show me and the whole process was 100% professional, as good as my previous artist. The tattoo was perfect and I'm so happy with it!
I washed down the pain with a much needed Bintang at lunch and then Gareth and I had another appointment at Bali Spa! He got another massage and I had a lovely hour long facial which was so relaxing I almost fell asleep.
We headed to the beach for the rest of the afternoon and enjoyed a few beers on a lounger and eventually watched the sun set. It was very enjoyable watching the many surfers catching the enormous waves and a great way to end our trip.






On our final morning, we went out for a bit of last minute souvenir and present shopping before checking out of the hotel. We both had an absolute blast and were very sad the holiday had flown by so fast. We are already planning ideas for our next trip to Bali and will certainly be back sometime soon!

Thanks so much for reading, leave me a comment if you enjoyed this kind of post and stay tuned for a 'Bali Travel Tips' post coming later this month!

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Summer holiday: Travel packing essentials | Bali


I'm so excited that I'm off travelling to Bali, Indonesia today!!! My fiance and I were there only 8 months ago which was our last proper holiday, but we loved it so much that we spontaneously decided to go back. We booked our tickets only 2 and a half weeks ago... I think that's so cool and exciting doing fun impulsive things like this!
We both love to travel and as it's mid-Winter here and my fiance has a bit of time off work, it was the perfect time for a quick getaway to unwind.
We looked into a few options like Malaysia and Thailand as well, but they were a lot more expensive in comparison and take more than 13 hours flying time to get there.

The great thing about Indonesia is that it's so close to Australia- only 6 hours flight from us, so as this is just a quick trip and we want to mostly relax, we thought going back to Bali was perfect for us. I'm looking forward to it so much!
It's a tropical Summer there year-round, full of great beaches, palm trees, friendly smiling locals, and most importantly delicious (and cheap) food and drink!
Here I share with you my Summer holiday packing essentials as I'm so excited, and writing about it fuels it even more! I include a few typical Summer holiday outfits and swimwear, as well as my essential travel items and products.


Outfits


As the weather is extremely hot and humid- light and breezy outfits are the way to go!
I'm bringing with me three floaty dresses, shown below, as well as a couple of jean shorts and plenty of singlets to mix and match. Even taking a light cardy for the evenings is not necessary- it's still hot and sticky even at night! (Thank god for air conditioning in our rooms).
I'll only be bringing one sweatshirt with me and that will be to wear on the plane!

Denim high-waist shorts from Jay Jays, white Elwood singlet 

Favourite quote :p

Purple floral dress from H&M, paired with white Converse

Blue tie-dye baby doll dress from Dotti, paired with black detailed sandals

Purple O'Neil singlet, black Vans side bag

Blue dotted dress from H&M paired with black leather strap sandals


Pool/beach essentials


We are planning on spending a lot of time at the pool and beach so here's exactly what I'll be bringing for that:

  • 4x bikinis
  • Sunnies
  • Hat
  • Sunblock
  • Book (or 2)
  • Board shorts, light singlet
  • Jandals (flipflops)
  • Canvas bag


Bikinis I'm taking!

Assorted collection from Cotton On Body, Factorie, Jay Jays & Farmers

I find it easiest to carry all of my items from the hotel room- room key, sunblock, book, water, towel etc. in a cheap canvas/carry bag. I'll just throw on board shorts and a light singlet over my bikini and wear jandals to and from the pool or beach.
(Exactly the same as my picture below from the last trip to Bali- apart from I'm wearing his jandals in the photo for some reason and mine are next to me- so ignore that!).




Carry-on Essentials


Things I take with me every time I travel in my carry-on/hand luggage:

  • Passport
  • Phone, wallet
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Headphones
  • Plug adaptor
  • Camera
  • Chargers
  • Panadol
  • Chap stick
  • Notebook & pen
  • Water bottle



Beauty & skincare products


I like to keep it very simple when I'm on holiday and I also prefer to travel light, so I only take the essential make up, skin and bath products that I need. My make up all fits into one small cosmetic bag and my other products below fit into a medium-sized toiletry bag.
Starting with make up, I'm taking with me:

  • Mascara
  • Eyeliner
  • 2x small
    eyeshadows
  • Matte mousse
  • Powder
  • Concealer
  • Lipstick

Skincare and toiletries:

  • Mini shampoo & conditioner
  • Facial scrub/wash
  • Daily moisturiser
  • Make up wipes
  • Deoderant
  • Mini toothpaste, brush & floss
  • Razor
  • Travel-sized hairspray
  • Small hair comb


Cheeky selfie last time in Bali!

And there we have all of my Summer holiday travel packing essentials and what I'm taking with me to Bali!
No hair straighteners, laptop or heels.
We are going for a simple relaxing beach holiday, with a few fun island explorations and cultural activities thrown in there as well.

Thanks so much for reading, let me know in the comments if you have any other holiday essentials yourself or if you have a trip coming up that you're looking forward to.

This will be my last post for July as I don't return until the 30th.
Stay tuned for a Bali Travel Diary post about what I got up to along with plenty more pictures.


See you next month!

The Potato Head Beach Club, Seminyak

Tegalalang Rice Terraces, Ubud

P A R I S | Top Things To Do!



Bonjour!

If you are planning on heading to Paris anytime soon, or if you just want to read about me gushing about the beautiful city - read on!
What excites me most about Paris is the beauty of it, the history, the magnificent architecture, the gorgeous bridges across the river Seine, the food, and the fashion and shopping are incredible, world-class.

This is my first post on Paris which are guides, particularly for first-time visitors. For my top travel tips check out my second post: P A R I S | Top Travel Tips!

No matter what day of the week Paris is always bustling with activity. With countless museums, concerts, theatre and shows, there is always something on and plenty to do.
As there are so many great things I unfortunately haven't done everything (yet), so here are some of my top favourite things to do I have done myself - that I can fully recommend.


One of the most iconic structures in the world - the Eiffel Tower is of course number one!
I have always been mesmerised by the Eiffel Tower and I positively squealed when I finally laid my own eyes upon it for the first time.
Going up it is an experience not to be missed. I even did it a second time when I visited again, even though it had been less than a year since I had last gone up. It's so enjoyable - I'll probably do it every time!

Tip: take the stairs and walk up - it's cheaper than getting the lift (only 5 Euros) and it's not as hard as it looks. Think of all the impending bread, cheese and wine you are burning off! You can take the lift down for free so you only have to take the stairs one way if you wish to.


Quite a recent feature on the first floor: if you're brave enough - stand on the transparent floor made of glass and see the hundreds of tiny people standing below you. I'm not afraid of heights, but it's still pretty nerve-racking!
The views over Paris are breathtaking from every direction, more so the higher up you go.
After sunset, the tower lights up and sparkles for a full minute every hour on the hour until 1 am (2 am in summer).



Louvre

Being the biggest museum in the world and a historic monument in Paris - the Louvre is one not to be missed! Even if you have no interest in art or history, it is absolutely one of those astounding places that is honestly worth visiting.

Tip: there is more than one entrance, take the second, lesser-known one to beat the queues! Here's a link to an in-depth description of where to find it: Secret Louvre Entrance.


It has countless (okay I looked it up - over 35,000) objects, sculptures and paintings on display ranging from Ancient Egyptian, Greek, Roman to Medieval, Renaissance, World Wars, French Revolution etc.
It is a completely overwhelming (because there's so much to see!) but totally captivating experience.
Hire a headset and there's no need to take a tour - it will guide you through each room.
You can go up to anything on display you wish to know more about, input the number of it and it will tell you all about it.


As most people are - I was pretty disappointed by the Mona Lisa. It's so small and well, boring compared to all of the other grand and magnificent works of art surrounding it.
Not to mention so crowded in that room. So please don't be one of those people that only go to the Louvre for a photo with the Mona Lisa and then leave - it's the most underwhelming painting in there!

Cupid's Kiss
My favourite things to see were: Michelangelo's Dying Slave (1513), the Victory of Samothrace (190 BC), Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss (1787), Four Seasons (1600), the Great Spinx of Tanis (2600 BC), the Napoleon the Third Apartments (fully decorated rooms), the Borghese Gladiator (100 BC) and many others.
Make sure to take a break to let your brain properly digest all of the overloading information!
The cafes are a bit pricey so if you're watching your budget you can bring in your own lunch and drinks. The Louvre is open every day of the week except Tuesdays.


Catacombs

Not for everyone - especially the claustrophobic, but I particularly liked visiting the Catacombs because I like skulls! Yes, it's a bit creepy that they are real skulls and bones, but it's still a pretty cool experience.
It's a large underground tunnel that holds the remains of six million people... also known as 'The World's Largest Grave.'


The basic story is in the 1700's they ran out of room in the cemeteries - they were overflowing, so the underground burial site began. The skulls and bones were removed from the skeletons and arranged carefully and some even in an artistic way, which created the walls that we see today.
There is plenty of information as you walk along so it's an interesting history lesson as well.


Notre Dame

Complete in 1345, the world famous medieval cathedral is stunning on both the inside and out. It is considered to be the finest example of French Gothic architecture. I particularly love the gargoyle sculptures running along the outside of the upper building.
Pay extra to climb to the top (there is usually a very long queue for this) or for free you can enjoy the inside and admire the many statues, such as Joan of Arc, see the magnificent stained glass windows and visit the large crypt if that tickles your fancy.



Arc de Triomphe

Another stunning monument of Paris, the Arc de Triomphe is a must-see and surprisingly big! It's so large that in 1919 during the victory parade ending World War 1, Charles Godefroy famously flew his biplane through the arch which was captured on newsreel.
It stands in the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle, at the western end of Champs-Elysees.
Because of the heavy traffic surrounding the roundabout, take the underground passage to access it from below.
You can pay to get the lift to the top for magnificent views of Paris - especially the Eiffel Tower standing directly before it! There is even a small museum located at the top.

(I'm one of those tiny people at the bottom of the picture!)

Sacre Coeur

The Basilica of the Sacred of Heart of Paris is another popular landmark to see. Located at the summit of Montmartre, it is the highest point in the city. The top of the dome is open to tourists and gives excellent panoramic views over Paris, the interior is stunning and there is a garden and fountain for meditation.
While you're in Montmartre the area offers many great dining options as well as being home to the famous cabaret shows.


Cabaret show

Well-known for the famous Can-Can dance, a cabaret show might seem like a tourist trap, but it's an incredible spectacle and well worth the money in my opinion.
There are many different shows to choose from - I just took the photo of the Moulin Rouge, but actually went to a cabaret show just down the road from it which was half the price - and it was still amazing! The shows are high-energy, entertaining and features wonderfully talented dancers.
Even I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Most places you can choose to have dinner and wine packages and all you have to do is sit back, relax and be very entertained.



There we have my top recommended things to do in Paris. Unfortunately, I haven't yet been to the Palace of Versailles, and I would say that is definitely another top thing to do, I just haven't had the chance to visit yet. I also wouldn't say no to Disneyland Paris!
Definitely next time - as mentioned, there is so much to do, so I have no doubt that you will have a great time, whatever you choose to do yourself.

Don't forget to check out my other Paris guide - P A R I S | Top Travel Tips!.


Pin it! :)


Top things to do in Perth


Western Australia’s capital Perth is a beautiful city overlooking the Indian Ocean.
This vibrant and energetic city dotted with sleek skyscrapers, is home to around two million people.
Map of Perth, WAIts coastal location means it also boasts stunning clean, white sandy beaches. This has helped developed the perfect balance between bustling and carefree which appeals to all kinds of tourists.
Along with expansive green parklands, the Swan River, exotic wineries, fresh seafood and fantastic weather year round, Perth is a great destination to visit that is often over-looked.
Many tourists don’t consider visiting Perth and are drawn to the east coast instead, partly due to not knowing what is on offer there.
It is known as the most isolated capital in the world- but also the sunniest; with an average of eight hours of sunshine every single day.
Due to the booming mining industry Perth is also home to the highest per capita number of self-made millionaires in any city in the world.
Here is a small attraction guide for a glimpse into what you can experience in this marvelous city.


Discover the cultural centre

Perth’s cultural centre is situated in the heart of the city and provides plenty of both entertainment and education. You can discover more about Australia's amazing west coast at the Western Australia Museum, with its fascinating local scientific and cultural collection.
Delve into an extensive collection of Indigenous art at the Art Gallery of Western Australia. 
Be sure to make time for Perth Zoo, dedicated to conserving Australian wildlife.
The centre also holds music, theatrical and science-based events all throughout the year which are perfect for all ages. For more details on getting to Perth’s Cultural Centre and seeing what events are taking place you can visit their website.
Explore Perth's diverse precints. There are many boutiques, cafes and markets on offer. Turn down Hay Street and find the funky Wolf Land for eclectic collections of cafes, bars and boutiques.
Chill out in Subiaco, meet office workers in Perth's city bars, hit up vintage and antique shops along Leederville's Oxford Street and head to Northbridge for designer fashion, hip cafes and cutting-edge restaurants.



Head to the beach

Chill out or surf at Perth's best beaches. While it’s great to spend time within the city, going to the beach can help you relax and recharge your batteries.
There are plenty of picture-perfect beaches on offer, each with its own vibe.
If you love surfing, head to the beachside towns of Trigg and Scarborough.
Stop for a coffee at the funky cafes Wild Fig and Funky Lizard before taking to the incredible waves on offer.
Closer to the city centre, watch the sunset across the waters of Cottesloe Beach, a great spot for families and picnics under shady Norfolk Pines.
City beach is another that many people favour due to it’s cleanliness and fantastic views of the ocean. There is a whole host of restaurants, picnic areas, and playgrounds nearby, making it perfect for families again. Perth even has it’s own nudist beach, known as Swanbourne.
Whether you enjoy sunbathing or water sports, Perth’s beaches will be more than accommodating.


 

Spend a day in Fremantle

Thirty minutes from Perth's centre Fremantle Harbour, frequently used for it’s port has its own special character. Famous for its history and architecture, it is a complete contrast to Perth itself.
Discover colonial remnants like the interesting Fremantle Prison, which closed in 1991; one of the city’s most popular attractions.
There are plenty of bars, parks and museums to visit. Delve into seafaring history at the terrific Maritime Museum and Shipwreck Galleries, then drink from a choice of 43 beers at the 1843 landmark Sail & Anchor. You can even visit the famous craft brewer Little Creatures headquarters.
Fremantle is the ideal place if you want to get away for the day.
You can catch a direct train there or driving is very easy. Search for Perth car hire or Perth train timetables online for more information.




Other top ideas for things to do in Perth:


  • Enjoy Spectacular views in Kings Park; one of the largest in the world.

  • Feel an adrenaline rush with Perth's adventure activities- such as a 360 aerobatic high-speed flight or a rally-driving adventure in a V8 around the Barbagallo Raceway.

  • Plan a Swan Valley winery day trip. Only 25 minutes away is Western Australia's oldest wine region.

  • Sail Perth's beautiful river and coastline, especially recommended at sunset.

  • Hit Perth's small bars- a movement growing substantially with many popping up around the city centre.

  • Hop on a ferry to Rottnest Island (only 19 kilometres away) and meet Quokkas- the cute little marsupials only found in Western Australia.



These are just a few examples of the many popular tourist attractions and great things to go within the city of Perth. It might be considered one of the most isolated capitals on the planet, but there is certainly no shortage of things to do. It's a magnificent city that delights everyone that visits if given the chance.

Thanks for reading,

*This post is a collaboration and contains images that are not my own.

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