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
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 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

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.

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!


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
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
Sri Mariamman Temple
The Ministry of Communication and Information Building
Gardens By the Bay
The Marina Bay Sands Hotel
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 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 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!


Where we stayed:
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.
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.
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is zvc8YxIgS5eXsqUH4BtiA_thumb_f826-683x1024.jpgOur 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!

Taking a Leap at Skydive Elsinore [First Time Tandem Skydiving & What to Expect]

I went Skydiving with my Mamma and our friend Tena in celebration of my 29th! Woohooo last year of my 20’s. You guys are troopers and I’m so grateful you said yes. And thanks to my Hub for pushing me to fulfill one of my life-to-do’s… I had many sleepless nights before this day and you never stopped encouraging me. You’re the best babe. I know jumping out of a plane is not your idea of fun, but you knew it was mine and you gave me endless support and I love you for that and so much more. Here’s to stepping outside of my comfort zone, trying new things and living life to the fullest. Love you guys.

Here’s how my day went and what to expect on your first tandem jump.

Anticipation is the worst part. I’d suggest making your appointment a few days before you go…no need to make it weeks before like I did. There were too many days filled with watching YouTube videos of skydiving gone wrong. Don’t do that! Check the weekly weather report for your drop zone and pick a day that is sunny with low wind.

Morning of, we drove out to Skydive Elsinore and checked-in at the office. We watched a funny outdated video – an older guy with a majestic beard discussing the dangers of skydiving. Brilliant, they already have me laughing…I can’t take ZZ Top-in-a-suit seriously, so I’m just going to sign these release forms. Tandem jumps are preformed by professionals that have hundreds, if not thousands of jumps under their belts. Sign away and it’s time to get stoked!

We were some of the first tandem jumpers that day so we didn’t have to wait long. I heard if you pick a later time slot that you might have to wait around the drop zone longer, because earlier jumps are postponed for whatever reason (weather, plane maintenance, late arrivals etc). Plan on being at the drop zone for 3-4 hours. Bring some items to help you pass the time or just hangout and watch other skydivers land. It’s pretty fascinating watching them zip down so quickly.

We had about 45 minutes of downtime. I walked out to the Skylark and watched a military plane takeoff with a bunch of camouflaged divers packed in like sardines. Training maybe. I sat on log near the runway by the old Airstream trailer and Winnebago and called my friend Julia who had jumped a few months before.

“So Jul’s I jump in just a few minutes…any tips?”

“Just smile and enjoy it.”

“Oh God, OK. I can do this!”

I was the first to meet my instructor – Marcelo Zoni, who came up to greet me with a smile. I got suited up and he made sure everything fit correctly. He gave me the lowdown on what I needed to do – “keep your arms in close to your body and hold onto your shoulder straps. Keep your head up and tilted back while we jump out. Once we’re out I’ll tap to signal when you can put your arms out to the side. Don’t forget to arch your back while we fall.” So I listened and replayed his instructions over and over in my head…and then my thoughts turned to how I would frantically attempt to save both of us if something happened to him because of all those stupid youtube videos that I had watched days before. I bet I would qualify for an AFF 1 jump, with the amount of skydiving research I read over the past weeks. Oh Lord. Think happy thoughts. Everything will be fine. This is an exciting, happy day…

I found myself asking stupid questions like, “so how many times have you jumped (which I’m sure every instructor gets asked multiple times a day)? How old are you? Do you have a family? Children? You need to be there for someone right?  Just checking.”


My videographer interviewed me on the ground and in the plane… he asked several questions about whether I was nervous and if it was my first jump etc. I said something like…”oh I hope we make it, I love you family. Send my love to my hub.”
Before I knew it, it was time to go. I’m sure every plane is different, but ours held 14 people with two benches and a few floor spots. The plane took off and we climbed higher and higher until we reached about 12,500 ft. It was cold and loud inside our tiny plane. I was the closest to the door when the single jumpers rolled it back. My heart raced and I grabbed my shoulder straps while looking out the door. Wow this is really happening! And then the first team of 3 singles jumped out. They just fell out door in a cute little party pack and disappeared. Weird. My mind seemed to disconnect at this point. This is all so funny. People jumping out of planes…how is this OK? Then the next guy literally swan dived out the door. I remember watching him get smaller and smaller. Well, I’m up.
We scooted up to the door. I saw the curve of the horizon.  Amazing! My photographer put his hand on my shoulder (I’d like to think he was praying for us), I think it was just a technique to stay level with us when we jumped. And then I felt a hand on my forehead – a reminder to keep my head back before he threw me out of the plane.  I was definitely in shock of what was about to happen…just grinning from ear to ear and feeling out-of-body. It felt like a dream. Then he gave two swings and pushed away from the door.
Oh my God…

Those first 3 seconds took my breath away in the best possible way.

It’s pure magic.

It’s out of this world one of the most amazing feelings. You’re falling but you don’t feel like falling. You feel like you’re flying on a windy day. It’s very odd, peaceful, thrilling, happy and freeing all at once. There was no anxiety, no tension, no worry about plummeting towards the ground. I know this description is eye-roll-worthy but it felt comforting in a spiritual way. What was I afraid of? This is beautiful. (side note…I bet a solo dive is completely different. The best part about a tandem is you get to sit back and relax).
^^^A message to my Love at home who took over my work shift and told me to jump out of a plane…so sweet of him. I think 😉 Love you babe.
Then there was a quick jerk up from the chute opening and a moment of heaviness. Our chute had opened successfully and the wind had stopped. Back to reality. I think I yelled “It opened!” and he said “Of course it opened!” He showed me how to direct the parachute, pull left for left turns and right for right. Pull both to slow down and let loose for full speed. It was surprisingly easy.

The landing was fairly easy. He pulled a few quick S turns to position ourselves for the drop zone. At the last moment he flared the chute and we landed graceful on our bums! Not even a grass stain on my jeans. Nice job! Very impressed. Thank you!
My mom and Tena landed right after me. All three of us had an amazing time, one that I will never forget.

Later that night after googling more skydiving I stumbled across the Fresh Prince himself who had some wise words to share and I quote, “at the point of maximum danger [that first second you jump out] is the point of minimum fear. God places the best things in life on the other side of fear.” I couldn’t agree more. Anything worthwhile in this life will make you nervous – all those big decisions and moments. The rewards are so spectacular once you have the courage to commit. Sometimes you just need to trust your gut and take that leap. I’m so glad I did and you will be too. It’s fun to see what we are capable of. Life is good. Everyone needs to experience this at least once in their life – or maybe more. Sign me up again!

Bali Packing List

1 month countdown until we leave for Bali! I am beyond excited to say the least! We hope to spend a few days in Uluwatu – exploring different surf breaks and zipping around on motorbikes. Then upwards and inwards to Ubud – jungle trekking, hanging with monkeys in the Sacred Monkey Forest, a sunrise hike, swimming in waterfalls, walking along the rice fields, coffee tasting at plantations, cooking lessons and much more. The last leg of our trip we’ll be spending time in Canggu to meet up with some friends who live there. Surf, surf, surf, snorkel, explore cafe’s, babi guling shacks, fruit markets and then… doing absolutely nothing 🙂 I can’t wait! I’ve heard Bali is paradise on earth. Here is a packing list I put together for a 2 week trip.

Bali Packing List
1. Sleeping case. Perfect for those hotels with questionable/no blankets.
2. Playing cards. It’s a looooong flight. Dan and I like to play cards to pass the time.
3.SD card adapter. I use this to transfer my pictures from my camera or GoPro to my iPhone or iPad. Super useful! Bring and SD 32GB or bigger to take lots of pictures and videos.
4. Camera. I use the Canon Rebel T3. Durable and easy to use (bring your charger too).
5. Passport, wallet (cc, cash in both currencies home country and Indonesian rupiah), money-belt, travel docs, important papers, copies of passports, international drivers licence, itinerary, phone numbers and medical information in case of an emergency (and in case your electronics run out of juice/ are stolen/ break)
6. Day pack.  Canvas bag that is easy to roll up and stick inside your larger pack. Something smaller that you can use during the day while you leave your bigger pack locked up at the hotel.
7. Flashlight and extra batteries
8. GoPro for capturing water pictures and videos (bring your charger too).
9.Travel Pillow. Great for the airplane and your lower-end hotels that don’t provide pillows.
10. Small thin towel that will dry fast.
11. Mini speaker for playing tunes in your room or at the beach.
12. Digital waterproof travel watch with multiple alarms for catching sunrise hikes and waking early etc. This one has multiple time zones so you’ll know what time it is back at home. Pretty cheap too!
13. Hat
14. Sunglasses and/or Rx glasses
15. A few dresses: Tobi olive & toast knit dress -I like this one for the beach. It has a cute low back, but still modest enough for a cafe or Tobi Magdalena black shift dress – perfect for a night out at Single Fin or Kubu. Tobi has a bunch of cute affordable outfits. It’s fun to pick out a few for a trip.
16. A few blouses, bodysuits, tops (mixed up). I  like this this Alley Rose Ribbed Bodysuit. Remember to cover up if you’re visiting a temple or a sacred place. This suit is best for lounging by the pool or around your hotel or rental home.
17. Cover ups. Thin shawls or light kimonos to cover your shoulders. It will keep the sun off as well as the mosquitoes.
18. Tanks for the beach. It can get hot and humid so a comfortable tank is perfect for keeping cool. Oh and undergarments. You can’t forget those! I’d say bring 1 weeks worth and do laundry half way through.
19. Flips, flats and one pair of sneakers and socks (for riding your motorcycle or scooter).
20. Mosquito net to keep the mozzies at bay. I’d also suggest bringing insect repellent with deet
21.Calculator for those moments that you don’t want to use your phone –> calculating currency exchanges. Double check everything and learn how to haggle.
22. PJ’s or 2 or 3 shirts that are comfortable to sleep in
23. Shorts about 3 pairs  – 1 jean, 2 lighter material
24. Long flowy pants. Similar to the Thai style. 1 or 2 pairs
25. Sarong. Keep it in your day pack and whip it out if you need to cover your legs while visiting a temple. Also great for the beach and around the house.
26. Swimsuit (2 or 3)
27. Backpacking Pack – Store everything in this baby!
28. Hairbrush, clips, pins and bands
29. Earplugs earplugs earplugs! They will be your best friends – the only way you’ll be able to sleep on the airplane or in the jungle. Those cicada bugs party all night long.
30. It’s a 10 – hair detangler. A bit of splurge and one of my luxury items, but boy does it do the trick.
31. Shaving razor
32. Carmex is the best for lips and errrr your nose! OK this might be TMI, but the inside of my nose gets super dry on long flights (hurts to breathe through it), so freshen up in the bathroom – put a little carmex on a Q-tip and coat the inside of my nose. It works wonders me…feels so much better for hours. OK done being gross.
33. Eye drops
34. Make up essentials (concealer, powder, eyebrow pencil, tinted lip balm, waterproof mascara, bronzer) toiletries (mini shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, paste, floss, face wash, face cream, nail file, feminine products, small Dolce Mia Tuberose lotion – smells so good, any personal products you’ll be needing.
35. World power adapter
36. A scarf! One of my favorite items…so useful! Use it as a blanket, a head cover, a towel or tie-strap etc.
37. Jacket with hood. Semi-waterproof for staying dry on land and toasty in the plane.
38. Multi tool knife. Don’t pack this one in your carry-on! Leave it in your checked bag. Comes in handy while traveling…cutting food, ropes, getting out splinters, protection etc.
39. Tissues (for your nose and…your bum). If carrying your own T.P. Roll is too big, then take a bunch of these tissue packets with you. T.P. is not always available in every bathroom so bring your own.
40. Basic first aid kit,  hand sanitizer, band aids, tape, scissors , alcohol swabs, iodine, gloves, Rx medication, Aspirin, Imodium, Pepto,  tweezers, extractors, tourniquet etc.
41. A Pen (and small note pad while you’re at it)! You’ll be scrambling to find one when you fill out travel forms.
42. Not necessary, but I love bringing watercolor brushes, pencils or a mini brush kit to paint in my travel journal. A bit silly but it’s something that makes me happy!
43. Travel Journal. I love writing down bullet points, ideas, things we did, places we visited etc. you can make it as elaborate or simple as you want. It’s fun to look back on.
44. Sunscreen! Put it on everyday!
45. Chargers. FOR EVERYTHING! iPhone ✓ iPad ✓ camera battery ✓ music speaker ✓ gopro ✓
46. Phone. Preferably with wifi capability or a travel plan. It will help you plan your trip along the way.
47. Travel lock or bike lock. If you’re planning on using a lock on your checked baggage, make sure your locks are TSA approved. I usually like to bring a bike lock with me so I can lock up my scooter, or lock my bags in a closet when we’re out and about etc.
48. Travel Mug. Great for keeping drinks hot or cold. Fill it up after the security check in the airport.
49. Dry bag and ziplocs. I like to bring a bunch of bags with me to help compress my clothes in my backpack. They also come in handy when you want to organize clean vs dirty for laundry day.
50.Wet Ones anti-bacterial wipes.

Other items that could help you out.

clothesline or rope( if you plan on doing your own laundry), scissors, small sewing kit, zip ties…

Vegas Road Trip: Calico Ghost Town

We took a last minute road trip to Vegas to meet up with some friends. On the way home we thought it would be fun to check out Calico Ghost town!

36600 Ghost Town Road
Yermo, CA 92398

Calico is an old West mining town that has been around since 1881 during the largest silver strike in California. With its 500 mines, Calico produced over $20 million in silver ore over a 12-year span. When silver lost its value in the mid-1890’s, Calico lost its population. The miner’s packed up, loaded their mules and moved away abandoning the town that once gave them a good living. It became a “ghost town.”