Bali, Indonesia: A Photo Diary

In September, Michael and I went to Bali, Indonesia for my birthday! September is a fabulous time to visit Bali as it’s the dry season and not super hot. We rented a private one-bedroom villa and spent the week swimming in our private pool, eating everything, and watching the sun set from the beach every evening. Here is a little photo glimpse into our trip:

Where to Stay in Bali

As mentioned before, we rented a private one bedroom villa – check it out here. This property is located in Seminyak, Bali, but its just on the edge between Seminyak and Legian – two of the most popular spots to stay in Bali. Seminyak is full of restaurants, beach clubs and nightclubs.

Fun tip: I also made a video tour of our villa, you can see it here.

Where to Stay in Bali

where to stay bali

Favorite Restaurants

I have a bucket list primarily for restaurants in Bali – yes, I’m that girl. This trip, we focused on Seminyak restaurants, because that is where we were staying. There are tons of instagram famous restaurants in Seminyak, and we were lucky enough to visit quite a few of them. One of my favorites was Kynd, which is a completely vegan restaurant.

Where to Eat Bali

where to eat bali

Where to Eat Bali

where to eat bali

Another restaurant I really loved – which was my absolute favorite lunch/afternoon/day time restaurant with amazing cocktails – is SEA CIRCUS. This is probably the most instagrammed restaurant in Bali. It is well known for its adorable decor, but should receive wayyy more credit for its food. I ate the best taco OF MY LIFE here – the vegan jackfruit tacos.

where to eat bali

where to eat bali

where to eat bali

These jackfruit tacos are honestly life changing – if you’re going to Bali, do not miss these!

Another big hit was the watermelon margarita and the vegan burger.

where to eat bali

where to eat bali

Another restaurant that I really wanted to try is Sea Circus’ sister restaurant, Neon Palms. Neon Palms is just a few doors down from Sea Circus, and one of the most popular spas in Seminyak – Body Works – is right in between. I wish I had planned a lunch at Sea Circus, a long spa afternoon, and then dinner at Neon Palms. Next time! This time, we just stopped at Neon Palms for a quick drink before a beachy sunset.

where to eat bali

Another not to be missed restaurant (which we actually visited three times in one week!) is Nalu Bowls. They do the BEST smoothie bowls and wholesome brekkies/lunches. They also have a little shop downstairs, where you can pick up your own coconut bowls and super cute spoons.

Where to Eat Bali

Where to Eat Bali

Where to Eat Bali

The absolute best meal we had in Bali was my birthday dinner at the famous Mamasan. This restaurant came highly recommended by two coworkers, so I had to try it out. We went to dinner after a long day of swimming in our pool, and luckily we came with a big appetite, because everything was so amazing that we could not stop eating! where to eat bali

where to eat bali

It is a very dimly lit restaurant, so I didn’t get a lot of good photos, but I would highly recommend this restaurant. We had a few cocktails, and a three course meal. If you ask for the vegetarian menu, they’ll bring out an entire veg menu – woo hoo! I had the vegetable samosas to start, the baked tofu for a main, and for dessert we split a creme brulee and a chocolate cake.

Where to Watch the Sunset in Bali

I had a list of places to watch the sunset in Bali. Our first stop was Potato Head, which is one of the most popular places, but to be honest I HATED it. The whole place is super loud, most people in there are completely drunk, and its extremely expensive.

We went to La Plancha the following night, and that was MUCH MORE my vibe – really chill, colourful bean bags & umbrellas on the beach, a huge menu of snacks and cocktails; it is just a real casual place. I had fish tacos, a nice cocktail, and Michael had his share of Bintangs (the local Bali beer). La Plancha was a perfect 20 min walk back to our villa.

where to watch the sunset bali

Where to Watch the Sunset in Bali

What to Do in Bali

Though we wanted to spend most of our time relaxing in our villa, eating, and getting massages, we did plan two adventure days to break up the down time. I planned two big days of touring. One day was to East Bali to see the Gate of Heaven, the Royal Water Palace, Tibumana Waterfall, and some of the beautiful rice paddies and views of Mt Agung, the active volcano in Bali. The second day of touring was to Ubud, to see the Sacred Monkey Forest, the rice paddies, and take a walk along the ridge walk.

East Bali

What To Do in Bali

What to Do In Bali

Gates of Heaven

Mt Agung

Royal Water Palace

Royal Water Palace, Bali

Tibumana Waterfall, Bali

East Bali

Tibumana Waterfall

Ubud, Bali

Ubud is home to the Sacred Monkey Forest – where wild monkeys roam the grounds, and it feels like you are walking through the Jungle Book (with much smaller monkeys). The monkeys will jump on you if you let them, otherwise you can just observe and take all the photos!

Ubud, Bali

Ubud, Bali

Ubud Sacred Monkey Forest

Ubud Sacred Monkey Forest

Ubud Sacred Monkey Forest

Ubud Sacred Monkey Forest

I think this one was trying to pick pocket Michael!

Ubud, Bali

Ubud, Bali

Ubud is also home to the famous Tegalalong rice paddies. There is an instagram famous swing that you can hop on to get a photo over the rice fields. It looks beautiful BUT there is a line and a ride on the swing will set you back about $40 AUD. There are lots of other photo ops that don’t require waiting in line. The entry fee is about $5 AUD per person for a walk through the rice paddies.

Ubud, Bali

Ubud, Bali

Ubud, Bali

Ubud, Bali

Ubud, Bali

Ubud, Bali

Ubud, Bali

Ubud, Bali

The ridge walk in Ubud is a fun – but very short – hike. It’s just 2 km, which is just over 1 mile. Still, it’s super hot, so make sure to bring water and a hat!

what to do in Bali

What to Do in Bali

We finished our trip with a day pass at Club Med Bali. I was a big fan of the adults only pool, but we explored the beach as well!

Club Med Bali

Club Med Bali

Club Med Bali

Club Med Bali

Club Med Bali

Club Med Bali

Club Med Bali

Club Med Bali

Club Med Bali

 

Let me know in the comments – have you ever been to Bali? If not, do you want to go after reading this?!

 

 

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Athens, Greece

After a whirlwind of Italian food and aperol spritz, Momsies and I flew from Rome to Athens, Greece. We had just two and a half days here, but we were determined to make the most of it.

Athens, Greece

Athens, Greece

Athens, Greece

Athens, Greece

We stayed at the Plaka Hotel, which is in a fabulous little old quarter called Plaka. The Plaka Hotel has a rooftop bar, from which you can admire the Acropolis by night as you watch the sun go down and the ruins light up. This is a great wind down after a full day of walking around.

The Acropolis

This is the perfect place to stay, as Plaka is a super old village filled with the cutest cobblestone streets, beautiful architecture, and is walking distance from the Acropolis. I’d highly recommend staying here if you are visiting Athens.

Athens, Greece

We weren’t quite ready to brave the Acropolis on day one, so we spent the day at a restaurant recommendation – Little Kook. This is a themed cafe & dessert bar, and they go all out. The theme changes every few months, and when we visited, there was a Mary Poppins theme.

Little Kook Athens

Little Kook Athens

Little Kook Athens

Athens, Greece

The outside and inside of the restaurant was completely decked out.

We got a red velvet cake to share and a couple of aperol spritz. My mom was like a little kid at Disneyland – she was in her happy place.

Athens, Greece

Athens, Greece

After Little Kook, we stopped at Quick Falafel for a falafel plate to share. We had traditional Greek pita, falafel, and hummus – yum!

Next, we walked through Plaka quarter and took all the photos.

Athens, Greece

Athens, Greece

Athens, Greece

Athens

Athens, Greece

For dinner, we went to a restaurant just across the street from our hotel, called Collage. Momsies got a local cocktail called Made in Lesvos, which we both quickly became obsessed with.

We ordered a bread trilogy to start, and quinoa salads for mains.

Collage Athens

Collage Athens

Collage Athens

The food was absolutely amazing, so good that we actually came here for dinner all three nights of our stay! We tried something different every night.

The Acropolis

The next day we were ready to brave the Acropolis. We woke up early, got ready, ate brekky at our hotel, and left by 7:30 AM. The Acropolis opens at 8 AM, and if you want to go crowd-free, I recommend getting there right when it opens. No one is in line to get tickets right at 8, so you can go in right away.

Acropolis

Hot tips for the Acropolis: wear sunscreen, bring lots of water, and bring snacks. You’ll be here for at least a couple of hours, and there is not much shade, no water, and no food sold inside.

Athens, Greece

Athens, Greece

View from the Acropolis

The Acropolis

Acropolis

Athens, Greece

Athens, Greece

The Acropolis is a beautiful place, just make sure you come prepared with the essentials and be prepared for the crowds. It took a lot of waiting to get photos without other people in them, and a lot of the time when I was getting my photo taken, an entire tour group was watching. The things we do for the gram!

After three hours at the Acropolis, I had enough. Walking out, we grabbed two cold waters, and sat down at the nearest restaurant to eat our little hearts out.

Lunch In Athens

We spent the rest of the day with our feet up in our hotel room, chatting and having a rest. We finished our trip with dinner at Collage, and then got ready for our last adventure of this trip – Santorini!

Have you been to Athens? If not, is it on your list?

 

 

 

 

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Three Days in Fiji

I recently had the pleasure of being sent to Fiji for three days with a big group of fellow travel agents. Though our time was short, we fit tons in, and got to see so much of the main island of Fiji. The country of Fiji is comprised of tons of little islands, but the main island houses the international airport, loads of accommodation, and tons of things to do.

Three Days in Fiji

Three Days in Fiji: Day 1

We took the 6 AM flight out of Sydney, arriving in to Nadi International Airport in the late morning. It’s only a 4 hour flight from Sydney to Fiji. After a super quick trip through customs, we met our transfer company and hopped in the van to head to our first destination, the Pullman Nadi. A quick hotel inspection later, we gathered around the biggest table in the restaurant for lunch with the hotel manager. The hotel is beautiful (and I’d highly recommend staying here if you are interested in staying near the airport in Nadi), and the lunch was amazing – an assortment of thai dishes, finished off with a coconut rice pudding.

After a big lunch, we hopped back in to the van and headed to one of the activities I was most looking forward to – a mud spa. After watching “Suits” on Netflix, I had envisioned myself lying in a bathtub full of mud, cucumbers on my eyes and relaxing spa music in the background. What we were greeted with was even better.

Three Days in Fiji

Three Days in Fiji

Three Days in Fiji

The mud spa was based outside, in the mountains of Fiji. The scenery was beautiful, and we got to listen to the stories of how the hot springs were discovered as we caked mud on to every exposed inch on skin. As the mud dried, we watched litters of puppies run across the grounds. Finally, the mud was dry and we were allowed in the cleansing pool.

Three Days in Fiji

 

Three Days in Fiji

Three Days in Fiji

Three Days in FIji

The cleansing pool was muddy and slimy on the bottom, as this is the pool that the mud gets pulled out of. It was a surreal and awkward feeling, but as soon as we’d wiped all the mud off, we were allowed into the naturally heated thermal pool. The thermal pool was about 90 degrees fahrenheit, a perfect temperature for a cloudy and rainy day. It was a great place to relax and rejuvenate after a flight.

Three Days in Fiji

Too soon, we had to leave the mud spa and head over to our hotel to check in and have dinner with a cultural show. We stayed at the First Landing Resort, which was named so because it was located on the first plot of land where Fiji was discovered – the first landing in Fiji.

Three Days in Fiji

Three Days in Fiji

Three Days in Fiji

Day 2

The next day, we hopped back into the van for a ride to Port Denarau. This is the main port of the island, where you can take boats to other islands, or day cruises. We opted for a day cruise with Captain Cook Cruises, which took us to a tiny uninhabited island called Tivua Island.

Three Days in Fiji

Three Days in Fiji

I’d highly recommend this cruise. The boat ride was just 90 minutes long, and on the way there we had a kava ceremony. Kava is a root native to Fiji, and the locals have been making it into a drink for centuries. It is said to have effects similar to alcohol, but the taste is like a dirty water.

Once we arrived at Tivua Island, we were given the freedom to do whatever we wanted. Most of us chose to relax on the beach, but some of the group went snorkeling to find the black tip reef sharks, and scuba diving was an option as well.

Three Days in Fiji

Three Days in Fiji

Three Days in Fiji

 

 

Three Days in Fiji

Three Days in Fiji

At the end of the day, we trudged back to the boat (unwillingly, in my case) and rode the 1.5 hours back to the mainland. Once we arrived back at the port, a new van was ready to take us to the Westin, where we had sunset cocktails.

Three Days in Fiji

The Westin was absolutely stunning, and if I was to recommend one hotel on the mainland of Fiji, it would by far be the Westin. It was the most beautiful hotel we got to inspect, and I would definitely be staying there had I gone to the main island on my own trip. Unfortunately, the sun set before our inspection, so I wasn’t able to take too many photos as it was already dark.

Day 3

On our last day in Fiji, we slept in before an amazing lunch at the Boathouse. The van took us back to the mountains to have a quick zipline before taking us to the airport. The zip lining place is called Sleeping Giant, and though it was a quick few zips, it was such a fun time. I absolutely love zip lining.

Three Days In Fiji

We finished off the trip with a long flight home. Though the trip was super short, it was a great first experience of the beautiful country of Fiji, and I would love to go back.

 

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Positano, Amalfi Coast, Italy

Finally, after YEARS of drooling over photos of Positano, I made it there myself! This was my third visit to Italy, but my first time in the Amalfi Coast. On this trip, I was travelling with Momsies, and she picked the destination (she has great taste!).

Positano, Italy

Positano, Italy

How to Get to Positano

After two and a half days getting over jetlag in Rome, we hopped on the FrecciaRossa train and sped through Italy down to Salerno. From Salerno, you’ll just have to walk two streets over (a 3 min walk) and you’ll be at the ferry wharf. The ferry to Positano runs three times a day – 10 AM, 2 PM, and 4 PM from Salerno. Travel time is just over an hour by ferry. Plus, the ferry sells drinks (prosecco, water, soda) and snacks on board. It’s a beautiful ride, I’d highly suggest the ferry!

Positano, Italy

Another option to get into Positano is to take the bus from Salerno. This will take a bit longer than the ferry, and to be honest will be much less enjoyable. The streets in Amalfi Coast are so small and windy, I’d recommend either a ferry or private transfer (we went with private transfer on the way back). I booked our transfer through a private company.

Once you get to Positano, find the main road and take the easy way up, instead of lugging your suitcases up the stairs (like we may have…).

Positano, Italy

Momsies and I spent three glorious days strolling through Positano, admiring the views, drinking limoncello and aperol spritz, and eating all the pasta and pizza we could fit in. We took all the photos, drank wine as we watched the sun go down, and tried loads of new restaurants, all with incredible views.

Positano, Italy

Positano, Italy

Positano, Italy

Positano, Italy

Positano, Italy

Where to Stay

This time around, we found a cute little family run B&B called Florida Residences. It’s at the top of the hill, meaning you’ll have a bit of a hike from the city centre to get back to the hotel. Saying that, it is a great price and is run by the cutest little Italian family!

Positano, Italy

Positano, Italy

Florida Residence is the cutest little pink building, and our room had an amazing balcony overlooking the city of Positano. I’d definitely recommend.

Where to Eat

One of the best things about Positano is the FOOD. Everything is locally made, Italian, fresh, and made with love. I ate some of the best food of my life here!

My favorite restaurants that we visited were:

Ristorante Caffe Positano, which was not too far from our hotel and had some of the best views. I had a pasta here and it was amazing. I’d highly recommend at least one meal here, preferable as the sun is setting or during the day – the views are just stunning.

Ristorante Da Gabrisa, which was just up the street from our hotel. This was the best meal I ate during our stay in Positano. I had the spaghetti and a vegan raspberry cheesecake for dessert – they have a separate page on the menu full of vegan goodies! They also have amazing views from the outside terrace.

Positano, Italy

Positano, Italy

Il Capitano Pizzeria was one of our lunch stops – we had a great pizza and aperol spritz after an early morning. It’s a great place if you’re staying on that side of town.

Next time I visit Positano, I will definitely be going to Chez Black – it’s on the beach and makes your pizza into the shape of a heart, if you ask nice enough!

There is a little healthy restaurant called Casa E Bottega on the main road that I have also added to my list.

Positano, Italy

Collina Positano Bakery is where we got our morning americano and cappuccino. They have a mouth watering selection of baked goods, but we were still full from our hotel brekky most mornings.

What To Do

When you’re not eating, make sure to pop in to the boutique shops. There are lots of beautiful, handmade clothes, purses, and hats. If you’re more into relaxing, take a stroll down to the beach and lay underneath the colourful umbrellas on a sunny day.

Positano, Italy

Important Notes on Positano

Please note that though I used to do lots of budget travel, Positano is NOT a budget destination. Hotels start from minimum $400 USD per night, and a meal out (with drinks) will cost about $40 – $50 USD per person. Though it isn’t cheap, it is an absolutely stunning destination, and I would highly recommend a visit.

I went in May, and the weather was very temperamental. The week before we visited, it was warm and people were swimming. While we were there, it was windy, rainy, and sunny. If you are looking for a beachy holiday, I’d recommend visiting later in the summer, like June or July.

Have you been to Positano? Is it on your bucket list?

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Rome, Italy

This is the second time I’ve been to Rome, Italy, and I brought a new travel companion this time – my mom! I’ve travelled with my mom once before (check out our Costa Rica trip), but she has never been to Europe. I was so excited to show her around Italy, especially since it’s been at the top of her bucket list for years.

Rome Italy

Rome, Italy

On this trip, we started in Rome. After a long flight from San Francisco (with one quick stop in Montreal, Canada), we arrived in Rome in the morning for our first day in Italy. I had arranged a private transfer, and our driver picked us up at the airport to take us to our hotel. I’d booked in at Hotel Trevi, which came highly recommended through my work (I’m a travel agent!). I wanted to stay next to the Trevi Fountain as it’s my favorite place in Rome.

The hotel was in a great location, just about a block from the Trevi Fountain. We were so jet lagged, that the first day, we just unloaded our luggage and went for a short outing. I took Momsies to the Pantheon and we had lunch at a cafe just in front of it. I convinced Mom to have her first aperol spritz with her first Italian pizza. That’s amore!

Rome Italy Aperol Spritz Pantheon

Pantheon in Rome Italy

After a carby lunch, we were feeling so jet lagged and tired that we went back to the hotel to rest up a bit. We couldn’t keep our eyes open, and we decided to take a little nap. We ended up sleeping from 4 pm until 1 am.

Best Time to Visit the Trevi Fountain

We were wide awake at 1 am from jet lag, and wondering what we should do. My cousin suggested a late night trip to the Trevi Fountain (via Instagram). We got ready and walked over.

There were a few people when we arrived around 2 am, but we stayed for a while. Around 3 am, the crowds dispersed and the cleaning crew came by. They were there for about 30 mins, and then the place was clean, empty, and all ours. It’s safe to visit at night, as there are police monitoring the fountain 24/7. Momsies and I had a ball playing around and taking photos.

Best time to Visit the Trevi Fountain

Best time to Visit the Trevi Fountain

Best time to Visit the Trevi Fountain

What to Do In Rome

Over the next few days, we took it easy. We ate lots of italian food, drank our fair share of aperol spritz, and walked around Rome to make sure Momsies got to see all of the sights.

Our favorite cafe was Don Nino’s, which is right in between the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon. The cafe is so cute, the people working there are so happy, and the ambiance is so fun. I’d visited this cafe when I was in Rome before, and I knew Momsies would love it. She was hooked as soon as we went in, and we came here for coffee every morning of our time in Rome. She loved the chocolate croissants, and I am a fan of the americanos.

Coffee in Rome Italy

We walked to the Spanish steps and the Colosseum. If you plan to visit Rome, keep in mind that if you want to get photos without crowds, you’ll need to go early in the morning. Also keep in mind that you’ll have to walk quite far to get from one tourist hot-spot to the next – we easily hit our 10k steps a day!

Spanish Steps Rome Italy

Colosseum Rome Italy

The Best Pizza in Rome

We ate authentic Italian pizza at Pizzeria Da Michele. It’s one of the oldest pizzerias in Italy, one of the most visited in Naples – they have a second location in Rome. I was shocked that no one else was in the restaurant when we visited, as it’s a world famous pizzeria. They even have a photo of Julia Roberts eating pizza in their Naples location. The pizza was the best we had on our whole trip! I would highly recommend a visit here if you are in Rome. (But I don’t recommend the wine they try to promote – it’s a sparkling red – I wasn’t a fan. They do have very good local, still reds though).

Pizzeria Da Michele Rome Italy

Highlights of Rome

We spent two and a half days in Rome all together. It was a good amount of time for us, as I’d been before. I really wanted to show my mom a bit of Rome, like the Trevi Fountain and the Colosseum. We love the Hotel Trevi as it is great value, great location, and has everything we wanted.

My favorite part of this trip was visiting the Trevi Fountain in the middle of the night – I love spontaneous adventures. We had a great time and got over our jet lag before leaving Rome for the Amalfi Coast.

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