Homemade Mexican Horchata

Horchata is a popular Mexican drink – sweet cinnamon rice milk, traditionally made with water, rice, sugar, cinnamon and tiger nuts. This recipes has an added twist; made with almonds and evaporated milk making it taste smooth and creamy. Another option is following the Yucatan lead and  using coconut milk instead of almonds. It can be made serval ways, but this is my personal favorite. Recipe inspired by chef Rick Bayless

Ingredients
6 tbsp of white rice (soaked in 2 cups water over night)
2 more cups of filtered water for blending
1 cup almonds (blanched)
2 inch Mexican canela (cinnamon stick) or 2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup evaporated milk
2/3 cup sugar (or to taste)

Soak rice in 2 cups of water overnight. Pour the soaked rice and rice water into a blender with 2 extra cups of filtered water. Add cinnamon, almonds, evaporated milk and sugar. Blend until the almonds become fine (like powder). If you have access to a Vitamix or a high-speed blender, your results will be better. Pour horchata into a fine mesh cheesecloth and press through until the almond, rice and cinnamon grit has been removed. Refrigerate and serve cold over ice. This horchata is a million X better than the powder mix at the Mexican restaurants you’ll find here in CA! Hands down!

Homemade Horchata | A Bit of Bees Knees

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Ubud and Sekumpul Bali

Holy smokes…this place. The thick jungles, monkeys, beautiful mossy temples and sculptures are all here and it’s an AFFORDABLE vacation paradise. Rooms from $20 bucks a night. Yes there is lots of rain and the buzz of the jungle will keep you up at night, but it’s so worth it. Ubud is gorgeous. We stayed here for a few days, visiting temples, hiking the ridge walk, floating in pools and running from aggressive monkeys (funny story).

A Bit of Bees Knees | Ubud + Sekumpul Bali

Where we stayed:
DD Ubud Jungle Villa
Jalan Raya Cebok, Banjar Cebok,
Kedisan, Tegallalang, Kedisan,
Gianyar, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80561, Indonesia
T: +62 851-0007-4102

Places we checked out:
Campuhan Ridge Walk
Monkey Forest
Warung Babi Guling Ibu Oka 3, Ubud
Ubud Market Jalan Karna
Bollerro
Pura Taman Saraswati Temple
Tegallalang Rice Terrace
Bali Pulina Kopi (Coffee) Plantation
Sekumpul Waterfall (North of Ubud)

A Bit of Bees Knees | Ubud + Sekumpul Bali

We stayed at DD Ubud Jungle Villas – private villas in the middle of the jungle. Romantic and rustic. You’ll have to be OK with a gecko chirping in your rafters and sharing your outside bathroom with a frog, but that’s a part of the magic in my book. The villa’s are about 15 min from the city center. There were two vans that will drop you off and pick you up for free each day if you want to spend your day in town and your evening at the villa (very convenient). The rooms even come with a mini fridge and coffee maker! We would shop in town and bring back food and drinks to snack on during the evenings and mornings.

A Bit of Bees Knees | Ubud + Sekumpul BaliA Bit of Bees Knees | Ubud + Sekumpul Bali

I think my favorite part was listing to the rain at night and waking up to a hot jungle with breakfast and coffee on the porch.

A Bit of Bees Knees | Ubud + Sekumpul Bali

Breakfast… for pennies! We’d stock up on goodies from Ubuds market and keep them in our fridge at night. Instant coffee with bottled water 😉 +  Salak (or snake fruit) taste a bit like crunchy green apples and mangosteen (my fav) tastes like a combo of peaches, sweet strawberries and vanilla. They’re so good.

A Bit of Bees Knees | Ubud + Sekumpul Bali
Evening swim overlooking the jungle

A Bit of Bees Knees | Ubud + Sekumpul Bali

Such ambiance – the path leading down to our villa was beautiful and so slippery! I ate IT walking down in the rain one night. I had a giant bruise on my booty for the rest of the trip. After inspecting myself for broken bones, we had a good laugh.

A Bit of Bees Knees | Ubud + Sekumpul Bali

We walked around town and stumbled across  Pura Taman Saraswati Temple. A lotus pond surrounds the temple with a path leading down the center. There are restaurants within the temple walls that you can have lunch at while enjoying the view.

A Bit of Bees Knees | Singapore and Bali

A Bit of Bees Knees | Ubud + Sekumpul Bali

I’d highly suggest Campuhan Ridge Walk, it’s beautiful! Start it early in the morning so the sun won’t fry you alive. We started our walk around 10:00AM and wished we did it even earlier…it’s scorching! Bring LOTS of water, sunscreen and a hat. The hike is definitely worth the sweat! Some of the best views in Ubud.

A Bit of Bees Knees | Ubud + Sekumpul Bali

A Bit of Bees Knees | Ubud + Sekumpul Bali

^^^Our buddy Dany joined us half way through Ubud. What a trooper – she was ready for a full day of trekking through rice terraces and coffee tasting after 21 sleepless hours of traveling!

A Bit of Bees Knees | Ubud + Sekumpul Bali

A Bit of Bees Knees | Ubud + Sekumpul Bali

Coffee tasting at Bali Pulina. The tasting is free (or maybe we got a deal bacause we brought our driver buddy with us) but I think it’s free. You’ll have to  pay for tasting the Luwak coffee if you dare (cat poo coffee). It was a fun and cheap tour that takes about 30 min. They have a fantastic view of a valley rice terrace while you sip your coffee and tea. They serve, lemon tea, ginger tea, ginger coffee, ginseng coffee (my favorite), chocolate coffee, pure cacao, vanilla coffee and Bali Pulina coffee were all tasty and free! There is a shop at the end of the tour where you can buy the tea and coffee that you like.

A Bit of Bees Knees | Ubud + Sekumpul Bali

^^^Dany roasting coffee beans.

A Bit of Bees Knees | Singapore and Bali
^^^View from the tasting deck at Bali Pulina coffee plantation.

A Bit of Bees Knees | Ubud + Sekumpul Bali

A walk through the Tegallalang Rice Terrace. If you hire a driver, they’ll most likely drop you off by the shops on the far side. You’ll start by walking down a staircase where you’ll have to pay a small fee to enter the terrace. We hiked down and up to the other side…the further you hike in the more “donation stations” you’ll run into – giving you access to go deeper into the terrace and away from the majority of the tourists. I think we spent about $3 USD each.

A Bit of Bees Knees | Ubud + Sekumpul Bali
Babe^

A Bit of Bees Knees | Ubud + Sekumpul Bali

Ducking into the Ubud market on a rainy morning. And when it rains here it RAINS! Bring an umbrella when you’re out and be sure to haggle, haggle, haggle if you plan on going to the market! It’s fun, frustrating, and hilarious! I think markets are one of my favorite places to checkout when we travel. Ubud’s market has everything from fruit and veggies to knock-off purses, coconut bowls, Bintang shirts, fake designer watches, leather bags and beautiful macrame wall art. I usually like to offer 1/3 of the asking  price and then settle around 1/2ish. Sometimes you’ll get lucky and sometimes you won’t, but it’s all fun.

A Bit of Bees Knees | Ubud + Sekumpul Bali

A Bit of Bees Knees | Ubud + Sekumpul Bali

^^^Guys and their jewelry. Barong a Balinese Hindu God – guardian and protector spirit portrayed as a lion/bear like creature with long fangs. Villagers still believed in the supernatural protective power of animals to this day.

A Bit of Bees Knees | Singapore and Bali

^^^After Shopping around the market, we stopped for matcha latte’s and taro ice cream in a covered cafe on Jalan(street) Karna on the side of the market.

A Bit of Bees Knees | Ubud + Sekumpul Bali

Sun’s out scooters out! Getting around bali can be quite difficult if you aren’t used to riding motorbikes. Almost everyone uses them for transportation here. We saw 3 kids under 10 and their dog all on one scooter! If you don’t feel comfortable riding one, you can always hire a driver, but they cost more and they’re harder to get around in traffic. Roads in Bali are narrow and crowded – especially Ubud. They even have motorcycle uber-like apps ( GO-JEK or Grab app) where you can hire a scooter driver and you can hop on the back.

A Bit of Bees Knees | Ubud + Sekumpul Bali
Lunch at Warung Babi Guling Ibu Oka 3, Ubud. Crispy crackling pork skin, wonderful spices and okra. Thumbs up.

A Bit of Bees Knees | Ubud + Sekumpul Bali

^^^The Sacred Monkey Forest! What an awesome place. The monkeys are a bit scary here, so be aware and try not to make eye contact with them (I guess they find it threatening). But the experience is like no other! Make sure you don’t store any food items in your backpack. They’ll find them. Entry Cost: 20,000 IDR = $1.64 USD.

A Bit of Bees Knees | Ubud + Sekumpul Bali

^^^Monkey on the bridge

A Bit of Bees Knees | Ubud + Sekumpul Bali

A Bit of Bees Knees | Ubud + Sekumpul Bali
^^^Best sign EVER!

A Bit of Bees Knees | Ubud + Sekumpul Bali

^^^Monkey Incident #1: This monkey decided he liked the rustling of the plastic bag sticking out of Dan’s pack. He proceeded to sit on Dan’s head, rip the bag open and chew on our art that we had just bought from the market. Damn you little monkey! I clapped at him and made eye contact (my bad). He hissed, jumped off Dan and tried to attack me while I ran away screaming. Fun times.

Monkey Incident #2: I left a bag full of fruit at the ticket counter so the nice lady could protect it for us while we walked around the sanctuary. I picked it up from her when we were leaving. We walked down the street and my arm was yanked back…I thought I was being mugged. Nope, just a big ass monkey stealing my bag of fruit. He had been watching me. I fought with him and pulled back until the bag broke and the fruit went flying everywhere. He scurried to pick up what he could hold and ran back into the forest to share his bounty with his friends. Terrifying and hilarious.

A Bit of Bees Knees | Ubud + Sekumpul Bali

^^^So many mandalas! A mandala is a spiritual and ritual symbol in Hinduism.  Mandalas offer balancing elements, symbolizing unity and harmony for Hindus, it means “circle” and represents the universe. It’s also a spiritual and ritual symbol which stands for protection, good luck, and the notion that life is never ending. Lovely. We found these all over Bali, especially in Ubud.


Refreshing drinks after being robbed by a monkey

A Bit of Bees Knees | Ubud + Sekumpul Bali

^^^from our walk around town

A Bit of Bees Knees | Ubud + Sekumpul Bali

– Northern Bali and Sekumpul –

We hired a driver from our place in Ubud to drive us to Lovina – a beach town on the northern coast of Bali (which I wouldn’t fully recommend staying here), it’s somewhat necessary if you want to see Sekumpul. The ride from Ubud to Lovina is about 2 hours on a map – up and over a big mountain with a windy road if you have a fast driver. We had a cautious driver (thank the lord), so it took us about 3-4 hours with a food stop along the way. This road is one of the steepest roads I’ve seen and I wouldn’t recommend driving a motorcycle or even a car of your own…hire a driver who knows this road!

Lovina was once a thriving tourist town, but in the early 2000’s there was a terrorist bombing which scared off most of the tourists. Things have gone down hill ever since. It’s sad really, to see the socio-economic impact on towns when terrorism has left its mark. This town was empty, “this is the aftermath of a bomb, this is what bombs do, this is what terrorists do. This is not just one initial bomb, two initial bombs this is the domino effect, the aftermath of terrorism.” — Gloria Goodwin.

We stayed in the massive Sunari Beach Resort…it looked like what once was a royal palace by the beach with at least 200 rooms, but the place was empty and the rooms were abandoned, paint was peeling, doors missing and the garden overgrown. It was creepy and dilapidated. Some call it a ghost resort. Don’t believe the pictures on the internet. We ended up staying in a room with a missing door knob, so we pushed furniture up against the door during the night. We were the only ones at the hotel! The town had an eerie feeling. Have you ever felt a place that gives you chills?

Now I don’t want to contribute to making Lovina’s situation any worse, but I do want to be honest. I wouldn’t go back. Maybe you’ll like the ultra quiet fishing beaches and no tourists. But none us felt comfortable here. To make a longer story short, we were recommended to stay here (probably a friend of a friend helping a guy out) so we hunkered down for the evening and arranged an early morning driver to take us to Sekumpul Waterfall! And boy was it worth it!  (Below)

A Bit of Bees Knees | Ubud + Sekumpul Bali

The picture doesn’t even do it justice! It’s breathtaking! We literally had to gasp when we came up on this view. It’s about 262 feet of cascading magic! It’s crowned the most beautiful waterfall in Bali.  Our driver dropped us off in a dirt parking lot. We were practically forced to hire a guide (although I’ve heard of people avoiding them and finding it on their own without any trouble). We paid around $40 for a group of 4 of us to get a guide for Sekumpul. I know…that’s crazy expensive for Bali, but our driver was giving us a glare and the group of “tour guides” sitting under an awning smoking Lucky’s seemed hard-up for some business. We didn’t want to piss-off the man in charge of watching our luggage so we agreed. A nice young guy 20 something (really into tatoo’s), walked us through a small village – a windy stone path lined with modest houses, flowers and cacao trees. We bought a fresh pod from from a farmer and shared it while we walked. The trail came to a steep cliff side. 20 minutes or so of switch backs and then we made it to the bottom of the canyon. What a spectacular place! And we had it all to ourselves. Bring your bathing suits…you can swim at the base of the falls. So fantastic! – worth the long car ride, creepy Lovina hotel and over priced guide! All worth it. I don’t think it can be topped!

A Bit of Bees Knees | Ubud + Sekumpul Bali

^^^Fresh Cacao pod fruit! It sort of tastes like creamy, sweet citrus. This is where chocolate comes from! You can eat the pulp and leave the seeds for drying/roasting and then grinding into 100% pure cacao. Mix it with milk, sugar and cacao butter and you’ll get milk chocolate.

A Bit of Bees Knees | Ubud + Sekumpul Bali

A Bit of Bees Knees | Ubud + Sekumpul Bali

A Bit of Bees Knees | Ubud + Sekumpul Bali

^^^Hiking along the Sekumpul river to get to the base of the the waterfall.

A Bit of Bees Knees | Ubud + Sekumpul BaliA Bit of Bees Knees | Ubud + Sekumpul Bali
Ginseng coffee and boiled peanuts on the way to Canngu. A typical Indonesian snack.
A Bit of Bees Knees | Ubud + Sekumpul Bali

^^^We stopped by a monkey hangout by Danau Buyan (Buleleng) crater lake. They were the cutest and so much friendlier than Ubud monkeys! And they REALLY love bananas. Now onward to Canggu for the last week of our trip.


SALTED CARAMEL AND PEANUT BUTTER RAW SNICKERS SLICE

Even though I’m not dairy free or vegan I like to try healthier recipes from time to time. They’re loaded with protein, good fats and sweetened with dates instead of processed sugar – a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth without feeling the guilt. Danny and I may have made 2 batches when we went vegan for a month…and may have eaten them the same day we made them 😉 We couldn’t resist the yummy layers of sweet, nutty, caramel and chocolate goodness.

10X10” glass dish
Makes 8 slices

Ingredients

Base
2 tbsp. rolled oats
1/2 cup roasted almonds (or almond meal)
3 soft medjool dates
1 tsp. coconut oil
1 tsp. coconut butter

Peanut Butter Nougat
1 1/2 cup cashews (soaked in water over night)
3 soft medjool dates
1 tbsp. almond milk
2 tsp. vanilla bean paste or extract
2 tbsp. smooth peanut butter

Caramel
2 tbsp. tahini butter
2 tbsp. peanut butter
4 soft medjool dates 1
1 tsp. sea salt flakes
1 tbsp. coconut butter
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste or extract

Chocolate Topping
3 tbsp. raw cacao powder
1 tbsp. coconut oil
1 tbsp. coconut butter

Crust Base: Throw ingredients into a food processor. Pulse until combined. Line the dish with the crust and press evenly until covered. Set aside.

Peanut Butter Nougat LayerAdd all peanut butter nougat ingredients into your cleaned food processor (I used our Vitamix…so blender or food processor will work). Blend until very smooth. Add water if needed to reach a “thick pour” consistency. Pour over the crust and use a spatula to spread it evenly. Place in the freezer.

Caramel Layer: Place all ingredients in your cleaned food processor and blend until smooth. Add more salt or soft dates until desired taste is reached (some like it salty, some like it sweet). Take dish out of freezer and pour on the next layer. Place back in freezer while you prepare the chocolate layer.

Chocolate Layer: Place all chocolate topping ingredients in a heatproof bowl and place in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir until “chocolate” is liquefied, smooth and the oil has mixed into the cacao. Pour evenly on top of the dish and place back into the freezer for 5 hours or until the raw snickers dish has completely hardened. When ready, pop it out of the dish by pulling on the plastic wrap. Peel off the plastic and cut the dessert with a large knife into desired size squares.

*Top with sea salt flakes


Melissa’s Baby Shower


Mo and I met when we were 3 years old! Our siblings were in the same kindergarten class, so Melissa and I had our first platydate that fateful year. We grew up together, pretended to be the Olsen twins, wrote fan letters to JTT, spent sunny days at the beach fishing for rock crabs with bacon on strings and going to summer camp together until our mid teens. From 1st grade to 1st boyfriends, getting married and now a BABY on the way; watching our lives unfold over the decades has been a treat Momo. I’m so happy for you and Jason and I can’t wait to meet your little man in just a few short weeks!
Here are some pictures of the baby shower that we (along with her Mama Sharon) threw for Momo in my Mother’s backyard. Sharon wanted to make it airplane themed to go along with Jason’s job. Cute idea Sharon!
Melissa's Baby Shower | A Bit of Bees Knees
The Mama-to-be looking beautiful as ever!
Melissa's Baby Shower | A Bit of Bees KneesMelissa's Baby Shower | A Bit of Bees KneesMelissa's Baby Shower | A Bit of Bees Knees
A cute onesie bouquet made by her sister Julie ^^^
Melissa's Baby Shower | A Bit of Bees Knees
“It’s a Boy” chocolates in my Grandfather’s 1950’s suitcase. ^^^
Melissa's Baby Shower | A Bit of Bees KneesMelissa's Baby Shower | A Bit of Bees KneesMelissa's Baby Shower | A Bit of Bees KneesMelissa's Baby Shower | A Bit of Bees KneesMelissa's Baby Shower | A Bit of Bees KneesMelissa's Baby Shower | A Bit of Bees KneesMelissa's Baby Shower | A Bit of Bees Knees
^^^Messages and love letters to baby Wyatt
Melissa's Baby Shower | A Bit of Bees KneesMelissa's Baby Shower | A Bit of Bees KneesMelissa's Baby Shower | A Bit of Bees KneesMelissa's Baby Shower | A Bit of Bees Knees
Melissa's Baby Shower | A Bit of Bees KneesMelissa's Baby Shower | A Bit of Bees Knees


Singapore and Bali

Singapore and Bali were fantastic to say the least. It was our first time in Southeast Asia and we loved every second of it! I went a tad shutter crazy over here… it was so beautiful I couldn’t help but snap away. I can only share so many pictures in one post, so I’m going to split them up into a few different locations that we visited (Singapore & Uluwatu | Ubud & Sekumpul | Canggu & Seminyak). Here’s a summary of our day-to-day, where we stayed, ate and explored. Starting with Singapore and Uluwatu! Stay tuned for Ubud & Sekumpul + Canggu & Seminyak posts to come!

Below is a clip of  our trip highlights!

-SINGAPORE-

We had 21 fun hours in Singapore! It was short, but action packed. Ev said it felt like he’d been on vacation for a week after our first day in Singapore. Yes. Mission complete.  Singapore is  beautiful, sparkling clean (they don’t even sell chewing gum here), efficient and so unbelievably cool. It will blow your mind – skyscraper infinity pools, giant jungle domes, fast transportation, gorgeous temples, friendly people and amazing food. If you can snag a layover here, make it worth your time and see the city. You don’t want to miss this one!

Where we stayed:
Boutique Hotel Singapore | Nostalgia Hotel
77 Tiong Bahru Road Singapore 168727
T: +65 6808 1818  F: +65 6808 1815
Nostalgia Hotel Singapore

Places we checked out:
Tiong Bahru Food Market & Hawker Centre
Chinatown
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
Sri Mariamman Temple
The Ministry of Communication and Information Building
Gardens By the Bay
The Marina Bay Sands Hotel
Spago
Nostalgia Hotel Singapore

Nostalgia was a wonderful, affordable hotel conveniently located via 10-minute walk from Tiong Bahru MRT Station. The rooms were small, but comfy and equipped with the chilliest AC. The bed felt like fluffy heavenly nest after a long sleepless flight. There is a glass-wall pool on the 3rd story that overlooks a bustling intersection (rooms are still quiet). This place was a great find and a 2 min walk from a yummy hawker station (food court) around the corner.

We landed after a 20hr direct flight from Los Angeles to Singapore and jumped on the MRT (mass rapid transit). The MRT connects to the airport so getting around is super simple. It will take you about 30 minutes to get to the city center from the airport. Buy a ticket at the computers in the station…you can’t miss them. I think it cost us about $2 vs a $30 taxi ride. Well worth the bit of extra research effort.

We woke up a 6:00AM the next morning and had an early breakfast at the Tiong Bahru Food Market & Hawker Centre. Pork noodles, wonton porridge and browned butter condensed milk coffee with a side of fresh mangosteen.
A Bit of Bees Knees | Singapore and BaliA Bit of Bees Knees | Singapore and BaliA Bit of Bees Knees | Singapore and Bali
Then we caught a taxi to Chinatown ($5) and toured the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. It’s free and fascinating! This Tang-styled Chinese Buddhist temple gets its name from what Buddhists regard as the Sacred Buddha Tooth relic! Make sure to take off your hat and cover your knees and shoulders when you go inside. You’re invited to see the tooth relic on the 4th floor, just leave your shoes in the cubbies by the elevator and keep quiet as you walk around the temple and observe people in prayer and monks in meditation.
A Bit of Bees Knees | Singapore and BaliA Bit of Bees Knees | Singapore and BaliA Bit of Bees Knees | Singapore and BaliA Bit of Bees Knees | Singapore and Bali
There is an orchid garden on the rooftop of the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, as well as a prayer wheel.
A Bit of Bees Knees | Singapore and Bali
A 2 min walk from Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is the Sri Mariamman Temple (Hindu Temple). It’s a melting pot of religions and cultures in Singapore! This was another free and interesting place to visit. Be sure to leave your shoes at the entrance.
A Bit of Bees Knees | Singapore and Bali
More exploring in Chinatown^^^ice cream and cold bottles of water!  With the humidity and temperature both at 85, we were drenched.
A Bit of Bees Knees | Singapore and Bali
After Chinatown we walked about 2km (15 min) to The Ministry of Communication and Information Building just for kicks. These windows are extremely satisfying to look at, am I right?

After our walk to the colorful windows we decided to catch a taxi ($8) to the Gardens By the Bay to see the Cloud Forest Dome! SO worth it guys! You’ll have to buy a ticket for this one – it will run you about $15 to visit one of the domes or $20 to see both domes. The Cloud Forest dome is the one with the waterfall. The outside gardens and supertree grove are free and the catwalk in the trees is $8. We only did the cloud forest dome – worth every penny! Plus it was a welcomed escape from the heat!
A Bit of Bees Knees | Singapore and Bali
Singapore Cloud Forest
A Bit of Bees Knees | Singapore and Bali
We walked from the Gardens by the Bay to The Marina Bay Sands Hotel via the bridge located inside the gardens. It’s about a 10 min walk. We made it to Spago (Level 57, Tower 2)! I think all first time visitors need to see the pool deck at Marina Bay Sands…instead of paying $23 to go to the observation deck (that actually puts you at the far end of the hotel, so you can’t get a good view of the pool), get a drink or appetizer at Spago. It’s right next to it! You’ll get to experience the view of the city skyline and sip on “I Love You Long Time” cocktails – a much better option if this pool view is on your bucket list. Only hotel guest are allowed to swim in the pool, but this is the next best thing! If you’re worried about the cost, I think I paid the equivalent of $19usd for 1 cocktail and the boys paid about $12usd for a cider and beer. It’s not cheap, but you’ll definitely get a better view and it’s less money than the observation deck that gives you jack squat. Go for it! I don’t think you’ll need a reservation around lunch time (we just showed up and were seated right away), but I’d suggest reserving a table if you’re planning on sunset drinks or dessert.
A Bit of Bees Knees | Singapore and Bali
A Bit of Bees Knees | Singapore and BaliA Bit of Bees Knees | Singapore and Bali
A Bit of Bees Knees | Singapore and Bali
We then caught the underground MRT (at the hotel) back to the airport for our connecting flight to Bali. What a crazy, spectacular 21 hours! We were so exhausted at this point, but really glad that we had an extra long layover to experience this wonderful place. By the way…Singapore’s airport is the best airport in the world! I’d love to write a post on it some day. A 4-story slide, butterfly garden, sunflower deck, spa, mall, movie theater, hotel etc. Singapore, you’ve become one of my favorite destinations!

-ULUWATU, BALI –

Where we stayed:
D’padang
Jl. Labuansait, Pecatu, Kuta Sel., Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia
A tad hard to find. Use this.

Places we checked out:
Jeffy’s Cafe
Single Fins
Suka Espresso
Padang Padang Beach
Nyoman local food
Uluwatu Temple
Labuan Sait Beach

D Padang
D’padang was just far enough from the craziness of Single Fin, but close enough to all the great surf breaks in Uluwatu. You can rent scooters for 70,000 rupiah ~$5usd a day (from the villa). There is a great breakfast spot across the street called Jeffrey’s and Nyiman Local Food and Suka Espresso are a 4 min walk down the street – Balinese food and Aussie style health food. D’padang was a comfortable stay and the staff were very friendly. They even let me make noodles in the kitchen and hooked us up with a ride to Ubud.
A Bit of Bees Knees | Singapore and Bali
Single Fin – a bar & restaurant popular among tourist and surfers for its stunning sunset views. Single Fin is one of many restaurants and small warungs located on the cliffside overlooking the best surf spot in Uluwatu. Continue down the path to the left and make your way to the bottom of the cliffs to find the entry point for the Uluwatu surf break.
A Bit of Bees Knees | Singapore and Bali
The first night in Uluwatu we walked to the cliffside at Single Fin and grabbed a bite to eat at a warung (family owned cafe) a few houses down from the top. It smelled wonderful…lots of garlicy mie goreng noodles, ice cold Bintangs and fresh fruit smoothies.  A great place to watch the sunset and waves.

It’s a bit of a rough crowd by Single Fin. I never felt unsafe, but it’s not the best area, mostly party goers looking to relax and cut loose. There were a few drug dealers peddling hashish and mushrooms.  Move along please. Drug laws are very strict in Indonesia. Punishable by death or life in prison. No joke. Besides this one encounter, Bali felt very safe and welcoming – full of the nicest people you’d ever want to meet. Just be aware of the skeezy peeps and drunk scooter drivers around popular bars and hangouts.
A Bit of Bees Knees | Singapore and Bali
^^^10ft perfect waves for days. Apparently they were 15ft the week before we arrived!
Suluban Beach Uluwatu Surf Break
Below the cliffs, down some steep stairs and across a janky bridge you’ll reach the sea cave entry point to the Uluwatu surf break.  This might just be the coolest and sketchiest of entry points I’ve seen.  Once you’ve reached the water, you’ll have to paddle out between these narrow sea cliffs. At the end you’ll be rewarded with some of Bali’s best and longest lefts!  Check out this old video clip of two men paddling through Uluwatu’s cave. Shiiiiiiza. No. Max high tide is way too dangerous. Best time would be mid-tide on its way down. Careful of that reef!
A Bit of Bees Knees | Singapore and BaliA Bit of Bees Knees | Singapore and Bali
The next day we had breakfast at Suka Espresso, omelets, avocado, beet puree, peanut butter banana crepes with dragon fruit sauce and coconut milk chia n fruit parfaits. Great Aussie style healthy eats.
A Bit of Bees Knees | Singapore and BaliA Bit of Bees Knees | Singapore and BaliA Bit of Bees Knees | Singapore and Bali
After breakfast we ventured to the Padang Padang. For some reason many people think Labuan Sait Beach is Padang Padang, when it’s actually the long stretch of beach to the left (see below). Make sure you know which one you’re going to if you’re meeting up with friends.

You can access  the real Padang Padang from the dirt road that leads to Thomas Homestay or the dirt road across the street from Suka Espresso (it’s a big u-shaped road). Follow it a few hundred feet and you’ll see a man sitting at a little bamboo shack. Give him a few bucks to watch your bike while you spend the day at the beach. I don’t know if it was completely necessary, but it seemed like the nice thing to do.
Uluwatu Padang Padang Map
Here’s how you can get to this beach if you ever find yourself in Uluwatu.
uluwatu-map
I really enjoyed this beach, compared to the popular Labuan Sait Beach around the point, which is much smaller and more crowded. We walked down the hillside and met a kind women placing banten in her family shrine. She offered us rooms for $5 per night…right on the water and breakfast included! What a deal! Unfortunately we had already booked a place.

We made it down the cliff. We had the whole stretch of beach to ourselves, just a few huts with locals tending to fires and cooking for their families. The beach had 3 rope swings tied to big rubber trees, women selling silk sarongs, bracelets and giant coconuts…literally a 10lbs coconut that I had to wrap my arms around when we walked down the beach. I chatted with the local ladies Dany and Wayana,  drank coconuts and learned about a full-moon ceremony.
A Bit of Bees Knees | Singapore and BaliA Bit of Bees Knees | Singapore and BaliA Bit of Bees Knees | Singapore and Bali A Bit of Bees Knees | Singapore and Bali
A Bit of Bees Knees | Singapore and Bali
A Bit of Bees Knees | Singapore and Bali
That evening we rode down to the Uluwatu temple. It’s a nice place to walk around, laugh at monkeys and  enjoy the view! They offer a cultural fire dance at sunset. We skipped out on the dance, because of the crowds, but it would be a fun experience if you’re traveling with kids.

We had dinner at Nyoman Local Food – just a few minutes walk from D’Padang (on the map above). We ate big plates of curry chicken and mie goreng for pennies; pet the owners pups while Indonesian cartoons played on a tv to entertain her little girl. I love places like this. You can feel apart of a family on the other side of the world, even if t’s just for one meal.

Our last morning in Uluwatu, we hitched a ride with Made (friendly guy from the restaurant) down to Labuan Sait Beach – a beautiful spot where jungle meets the beach and monkeys swing overhead. You’ll have to pay 50¢ to enter this beach (to a man sitting in a booth at the top). There is a staircase that lies between two rocks, just wide enough for one person to pass through. The beach itself is lovely at low tide, but can potentially take-out sunbathers at high tide and flood the left side of the beach. I actually preferred the the less busy Padang Padang around the point to the left (map above – paradise). But this beach is so iconic we had to see it + Dan and Ev enjoyed the waves here.
A Bit of Bees Knees | Singapore and Bali
^^^Fun cave entry to Padang Padang. Notice monkey above my head. He attempted to steal my camera, but I won. Cheeky little guy…
A Bit of Bees Knees | Singapore and Bali
^The boys were very happy today.
A Bit of Bees Knees | Singapore and Bali
A Bit of Bees Knees | Singapore and BaliA Bit of Bees Knees | Singapore and Bali
We left Uluwatu that afternoon and headed for Ubud. We had a wonderful time in Uluwatu…especially the surf rats 😉
Ubud & Sekumpul + Canggu & Seminyak posts are on their way!