cait +tiff


2 Comments

T / go away / eat sleep walk ubud

bali-headerThis is the last post on Bali. I promise. At this point you’ve probably had the wonders of Bali driven down every orifice.  So this one is going to be pretty basic.  Everything Ubud.  The one place we slept that we loved, the ten things we ate that blew our mind, the road we re-loved and the one walk we did which I wish we could do e’er weekend.


bali-sleeps-headerWe knew we were meant to be flashpackers when we were 24 and the New York Times had recommended the Alam Indah family of hotels.  At the time we had blown all of our money on this trip to Bali, but we knew we had to stay here.  It helped that Alam Indah’s rooms can be as low as $45 per night during the low season (including breakfast and taxes).   We fell in love with Balinese hospitality and the rich (yet not kitschy) local design of the hotel immediately.  So we knew we had to stay with them again for lucky number eight.

Tiffany TsangAnd this time we could splurge (and not feel the pain of it) for a standing bungalow in the middle of a rice field at the Alam Jiwa.  Balinese hospitality also means that you can order breakfast the night before and they’ll serve it on your veranda.  All of the rooms, no matter what price, have their own little private terrace space.

This time we went for the Jatayu, a massive single room kampong (featuring the most comfortable king sized bed) with an outdoor, rice field-facing bathroom, and the most luxurious private little veranda.  We didn’t necessarily feel like leaving.

alam-jiwa-roomThe entire property, which is structured like a Balinese household compound, is stunning.  Each residence behind a wall and a gentle little path through lily pads and rice fields.  It’s actually mind blowing.  You really don’t need to leave.  Also pool, and complimentary afternoon tea? You really really don’t need to leave.

Tiffany Tsang

Fruit, muesli, yogurt, fresh squeezed OJ and babur (Balinese rice porridge with spinach) at 9am please.

alam-jiwa-pool-and-walkOh right, and breakfast (which is big and divine) served on your veranda in the luscious morning light?  You’d be crazy not to.


bali-eats-header

When we travel, we eat everything.  From the pig on the side of the road, to reservation attempts at the Michelin stars, or the new culinary upstart in town.  And that’s exactly what we did again on this trip.  We had really great new little discoveries (like the nasi pecel above), and obligatory pitstops (the babi guling below).

Babi Guling (aka roasted suckling pig, all the parts very much loved).

Babi Guling (aka roasted suckling pig, all the parts very much loved). Skip Ibu Oka, the place Anthony Bourdain exploded into a crowded tourist item. Any of the dudes with a big on the side of the road will be just as good.

Then my partner surprised me with something kind of epic and mind blowing.

Will Goldfarb worked the desserts at El Bulli. Drop Mic. That’s all you need to know right?  Here are some other bits: he moved to Bali, he trains chefs there, and he opened a restaurant  (in an abandoned night club) that is serving locally inspired sweets (and some savouries) and still dabbling in molecular gastronomy and the most delicious cocktails mastered by a barely legal Balinese bartender whose family makes all the local fruit-derived syrups and bitters.  He’s also the nicest guy, and his roster of very cool chefs are the best conversationists.  They will even be aware of the nuances of Cambodian food.  You should absolutely order the 9 course dessert tasting menu. Share with two other work out buddies also visiting Bali, break the diet and have a sugar high.

room-for-desserts

Room for Dessert is located next to Naughty Nuri’s Warung on Jalan Sanginggan (open 4pm until late, 7 days a week). One of these dessert features coconut vinegar. Another has toasted gelato. I’ll let you guess which.


bali-rides-header

Pick a road that leads from Ubud’s city center to Gunung Batur and drive your custom café race (read: scooter you rented from your hotel) up through the rice terraces, through holy bathing sites, and all the temples.   That’s all you need to do to get a sense of Bali.  And if you have time, keep driving north, or west.  Not enough people see this part of Bali.  Tourists mostly stick around the island’s south east bend of beaches, yoga and parties.  But there is so much more in between roads and down a dirt path.  And if you’re feeling intrepid, wake up at 3am and climb the dead volcano at the end of the road.

Tiffany Tsang

Bathers at the holy pools of Pura Tirta Empul.

The roads are smooth.  The green is so lush. And it is so easy to navigate and your fellow drivers are decent and polite.  You have no excuses basically.  Tiffany Tsang

Bring your sarong.

Bring your sarong.

Gunung Batur.

Gunung Batur.


bali-walks-headerThe very last thing we did was a bucket list item for me.  The moment I saw this path through a gorgeous rice field, I just had to.  The Campuhan Rice Ridge is eight kilometers of some of the coolest hikes you can do in the region.  On both sides of you are rice terraces, gorgeous traditional Balinese homes sitting on hills and a bunch of romantically placed palm trees. Here are perfect instructions on how to get there. Bring mosquito repellant and a good pair of shoes.  My flip flops didn’t exactly leave much to be desired.


All photos by Tiffany Tsang.  Please request permission for use.  We are not responsible if you can’t get a room in Ubud because it’s high season and you put off booking everything.


Leave a comment

C / DAYDREAM: Surf in Bali

tumblr_n9jghizn5I1rnhgwio1_500

Photo: A Well Traveled Woman

The last time I was on a surfboard, I was 15 and in Honolulu for a band trip. Oh yeah, that’s right, 60 something super awkward teenagers set against the backdrop of Waikiki and all its tacky-awesome glory. What could go wrong?

I was nervous about trying the sport, mostly due to my extremely vivid imagination and visions of bathing suit loss, drowning and shark attacks. (I was an anxious teenager.)

I was the last of all of my friends to rent a surfboard from the little beach shack and mine didn’t have an ankle strap. Dude-bro working the hut told me I wouldn’t need it. Dude-bro lied.

From what I can tell, the ankle strap is the most important part of learning how to surf. We all paddled out together and all fell off after the first wave.  Without my ankle strap, this part was less fun for me. Every time I bit the dust (bit the wave? bit the surf? bit the sea?), I not only had to make sure that my sweet Esprit bathing suit was still intact, but I had to find and swim over to my estranged board. After taking a time-out from the pack to basically pass out on top of the board and float out to sea (not a great choice) I decided that standing up is preferable to swimming. This turned out to be decent motivation to suck less at surfing, and I got the hang of it by the end of the day.

as_surf_steph_576

Photo: espn.go.com

Pictured: Stephanie Gilmore, world champion surfer. Also pictured: what I thought I looked like when I stood up on the surfboard for the first time.

So now, 16 years later, I want to learn again, in better conditions, and I think I should go to Bali. I have never been to Bali, nor do I know much about Bali, but people seem to like it. There are a few all-lady surf schools that are making me want to jump ship and swim over there now. Since that sounds logistically and physically improbable, I resign myself to day dreaming about gliding through waves like this sea lion. 

tumblr_nc1d0nG5gF1rd4og0o1_1280

Photo: Mathieu Lodin

I want to be a surf camper at one of these gorgeous places:

Hooray for day dreams.

caitsig

 

Top photo: A Well Traveled Woman