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!


Bali Packing List

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
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…
Bali Bali BaliBali Bali
Picture credit: 1,2,3,4,5,6


Girls Trip to Catalina Island

Catalina Poster
Our friend from Oregon was flying down to visit and she wanted to go to Catalina Island, so we made a girls trip of it. Four ladies and one beautiful day in Catalina. Most people stay for the weekend, but we just wanted a quick day on the island. Here are some pictures and a clip from our 6 hours in Avalon.
Catalina
Scoops Ice Cream – A yummy homemade gelato shop. I ordered toasted almond coconut. They have some fantastic flavors like rose petal raspberry, salted pretzel, maple toasted walnut, kahlua espresso etc. A bit pricey for a single scoop ($5), but hey you’re on the island. I think it’s better than Big Olafs Ice Cream (a childhood fav) down the street…they need to step up their game.
catalina
^^^A fun sub ride and a stop at Luau Larry’s – This place is hilarious. It’s a fun little dive tiki bar on Crescent Avenue. I’d suggest going here for a drink! I ordered a Catalina classic – Buffalo Milk and the other ladies ordered Wiki Wackers. If you order a Wiki it comes with a fabulous palm hat that is yours to keep. You must wear the hat while you drink. Too funny. It’s great people watching here -a bit wild and packed, but very entertaining.
Catalina
^After our drinks we walked down to Descanso Beach Club on the other side of Avalon. We found a spot on the big lawn relaxed, then headed back to the dock to be picked up by the flyer. All in all it was a fun day.
Catalina CatalinaCatalinaCatalina