Excellent Adventures: Bali with Hanna Kim-Yoo
For our honeymoon, Johnny and I decided to head to Southeast Asia. We spent two weeks in the Philippines before making our way to Bali for 10 days. Bali was always a bucket list place I’ve wanted to visit — from the beautiful sunsets, the beaches and the jungle, it seemed like a magical place where some good R&R could be had. We spent the first part of our trip in Seminyak, a bustling area with tons of restaurants, hotels and surfing, and then we made our way for the last part of our trip into the jungle, Ubud.
The one thing no one tells you about Bali is how bad the traffic is. It’s every man for himself out on the road with hundreds of scooters and cars weaving in and out, riding on sidewalks, into oncoming traffic, and it can take up to an hour to travel two kilometres. It was wild. We were feeling brave and rented scooters for the majority of our trip, trying to blend in as locals.
After a diet of meat and rice in the Philippines, we were excited to have our pick of relatively healthy restaurants in Seminyak’s city center. We ate at Sisterfields Cafe (twice), sipping on smoothies, fresh juices, salads and burgers. It’s a busy restaurant, a tourist hotspot, but we had no problem waiting, no longer than 10 minutes, enjoying a really good cup of Australian coffee from their cafe next door, Sibling Espresso Bar, while we waited.
While we were close to the coast, we hopped on a speedboat and made our way to Nusa Penida, an Island just southeast of Bali for a day. We checked out the famous KelingKing cliff — famous for how it looks like a T-Rex from the top. We didn’t venture to the bottom to hit the beach (the stairs were really steep; it would take at least 20 minutes to get down and were on a time constraint) but the view from the top itself was worthwhile. We swam in Crystal Bay where many were snorkeling face down, marvelled at Angel’s Billabong — a stunning clear tide pool that pours out into the ocean (we didn’t swim as the tide was high, making it extremely dangerous and likely to be swept out into the ocean), and enjoyed a tasty authentic meal somewhere in the middle of the island. You can spend a few days exploring this island, but the roads are covered in pot holes and because it’s only newly discovered, signage isn’t clear but there are a ton of blogs out there that can provide enough directions to guide you.
We spent a day in Canguu, another area just north of Seminyak and spent an afternoon surfing at Batu Bolong Beach. It only costed $5 to rent a board, rash guard if needed, and no limit to how long we could stay out. It did get a little busy in the water, but with a beach break, it was fun to dip in and out as we got tired. After we worked up our appetites, we had to try 2 restaurants, one after the other. Our first stop was Leroy’s for Vietnamese food. Even though it was 30-something degrees out, a hot bowl of pho was exactly what we were craving after surfing. Next was Bangkok Hustle for Thai food, where Johnny and I shared one of the best bowls of Thai curry and pad thai ever tasted — bonus points for them because they had a fresh coconut to drink from.
We couldn’t leave Seminyak without seeing a sunset at a beach, so we made our way to Potato Head Beach Club for dinner. It was definitely the spot to be — their lawn was filled with vacationers lounging on bean bags, in the pool looking out at the ocean, and out on the beach enjoying the water. We sat on the patio of their Indonesian restaurant, and enjoyed some authentic food while watching the sun set and the hotel come alive, ready for nightlife. We took that as our cue to retreat back to our hotel for an early night before our trip to Ubud the next day.
The best part of our entire trip was our little villa in Ubud. Right in the middle of the jungle, we booked a spot with stacked small villas on top of the other, each with their own pools and green space to make it feel private. The villa was quiet, clean, and best of all, the room service food was amazing — we ordered in 3 times in 5 days and were in complete bliss.
We headed out early on one of the mornings and took our scooter out, about an hour, to the most epic and waterfall, NungNung. Known as one of the highest waterfalls in the region, we had climbed down stairs for about 15 minutes to get to the base of the falls (climbing up took twice as long). When we got there, we were so pleased to be the only ones and took full advantage. We spent the rest of the day back at our villa, in the pool and lying on our bed praying our legs wouldn’t be too sore the next day.
Another spot we visited were the Rice Fields. We went early in the morning because we heard it got quite warm in there, and we were happy we did. We were greeted by a 4-legged friend and followed him around the fields, going from one side all the way to the other (we’re dog lovers and it took everything in Johnny’s heart to not take the million dogs we met back home with us). Most rice fields don’t have terraces like the ones in Ubud, so when the sun came out and hit the palm trees at the right angle, the entire field glowed — a must visit if you have time in the morning.
We had an opportunity to check out the market, enjoyed a really great burger and coffee at Milk & Madu, dined with a cat at Thy Neighbour, and had some of the best freshly squeezed juices at Kafe before heading to our next stop, Hong Kong.
Want to see more more from Hanna?
Follow her on Instagram @haehanna.
Check out her website at www.haehanna.com.