Hello dear readers, Scrubs2Sweats followers and the like.
I know it has been a minute (over 2 months to be exact) since I have shared a blog. I was off travelling for a few weeks and then life took over upon my return.
Nonetheless, I am most excited about this blog and the next one to follow (my travel itinerary for the Philippines).
I am extremely fortunate to have traveled to 60 countries to date. Travelling is one of the few things I choose to spend my money on, so I make several sacrifices and have learned a few tricks that allow me to do so (stay tuned for another blog post on that topic coming shortly). Having been to that many countries, and a goal of hitting 100, I don’t often like to do repeat offenders. But Bali is one of my favorite places and one where I truly enjoy visiting again.
I previously wrote about my first trip to Bali here:
I went to Bali this time on a layover to the Philippines. We went for 4 nights and almost 5 days in February but with the amount we packed in, it felt like over a week. And by “we” I mean my travel companion and most amazing friend from down under – Aleisha (@eat.shop.travel on Instagram- her content is amazing so be sure to check her out).
I arrived in Bali around noon, where Aleisha met me at the airport and we drove to Munduk. With Bali traffic, it was about a two plus hour drive. If you haven’t been to Bali before, then traffic is one thing you have to factor in, which makes a significant difference on your time management.
I first stumbled on Munduk Moding Plantation on Instagram, and was instantly obsessed with their infinity pool. I knew if I ever returned to Bali that I would need to stay here. And so, Aleisha and I booked a villa for 1 night.
We started our stay here with a massage followed by coffee scrub. For me this was the perfect timing as it was over 37 hours of travel from Toronto to Bali.
Additionally I was feeling a little jet lagged so wanted to unwind, have an early dinner and then crash so that we could wake up early the next day.
Day 2/ Night 2
Jet lag kicked in as I was up at 3am. I literally woke up to the sound of rain and birds chirping. I opened up the door and could smell the Earth and see the lushness around me. If you are like me and live in the concrete jungle, it is so refreshing to wake up embedded in nature. I was also super excited to get out and explore this region of Bali.
We started out our day with a mini shoot at 6am by the pool. It literally felt like we were floating on clouds.
Then we were permitted access to a villa where we could take photos and enjoy a floating breakfast. As cheesy and totally overdone as this is, it was on my bucket list for Bali since my previous trip, so I was eager to check it off this time.
After we returned ready to check out and onto our next item but we ran into a few other travel bloggers, so we spent some time chatting and of course taking photos with them. It was so nice to finally meet Pegah in person (although we are both in Toronto and shamefully in the same neighborhood, we hadn’t met before), and to be connected with Negin and Camilla. There accounts are linked below. I encourage you to check out their beautiful travel content.
We hired a driver through the hotel, and pre-arranged several stops for the day for approx $75 Canadian (keeping in mind insane traffic, multiple stops and carrying our luggage). I am sure you can find drivers for cheaper but I am honestly happy to spend money on services like this to the locals so I didn’t care to shop around.
Nests and Swings in Munduk
One of the first stops is the instagrammable bird nests and swings. There are about 6 photo op stations at this stop off. I was keen on only a nest or two and the swings but there are other options (like a ship) that offer the perfect backdrop with the mountains and mist. If you are in the area, then I encourage you to stop off. You have to pay but I it is a small fee (I think it was approx $10 Canadian).
Tukad Cepung Waterfall
We mapped it out from Munduk to Ubud to include a couple of waterfall stops, with this being the first. As with typical Bali weather in February, it was sunshine one minute and then pouring rain the next. So Murphy’s law, when we got here, it was pouring.
We had to climb over and squeeze in between rocks to get to the opening of the waterfall. The weather made the lighting almost non-existent but it was still nice to quickly check out. We got there early afternoon, so even though it was low season, we still had to wait in line for a pic.
Kanto Lampo Waterfall
This was one of my highlights in my last trip to Bali, so I wanted Aleisha to experience it as well. While this time I didn’t have the falls entirely to myself, it was still worth a re visit.
Our day 2 ended in Ubud where we checked into Zen Hideaway for the night. This place was raved about all over social media, especially because of the outdoor tree house like vibe and the infamous swing. Ironically it was our most expensive stay, at about $300 Canadian for 1 night (and this is in low season), and my least favourite. You can book Zen Hideaway through Airbnb only and there are only a few tree houses available.
If I am being really honest, I would not stay here again for free. I was not comfortable and would have preferred a camping outdoor experience to this. The open concept meant that animals (and humans) had free reign to the place – there were no doors that could close (except for the toilet). I barely slept as I was worried about creatures crawling all over me despite the mosquito netting, and I was slightly paranoid that outsiders could just open the gate and walk in to our place. This place was very over rated, especially for Bali price point BUT we made the best of it.
Zen Hideaway is about 20 minute drive to Ubud so is perfect to check out the main area. We met with friends at night for dinner and capped it off with a cheap foot massage (this is a must do in Bali).
Day 3/ Night 3
Once the sun came up, I was able to appreciate the beauty of Zen Hideaway. We enjoyed taking some photos on the famous Zen Hideaway swing, which initially brought my heart to my chest. The swing literally goes over the river, so my thoughts instantly races to the quality assurance and sturdiness of the safety belt, which was secured around my waist by the local house manager. Once I got over my fear, it was fun. You can enjoy a similar swing on the property, for a fee, which I recommend (although I prefer the swing in Munduk).
We made arrangements for yet another driver, who took us from Ubud to Uluwatu, with a few stops along the way.
I went to Ubud market when I was in Bali 2 years ago and had done some shopping then (coconut bowls, frangipani essential oils, yoga pants wrap) and it was interesting to note the exact same items with there 2 years later, along with some more popular products like the circular bamboo bags. I wasn’t keen to do any shopping this trip, but I did enjoy walking around with Aleisha while sipping on a fruit smoothie.
As a nutritionist and lover of fruit flat lays, I knew that this place would be top of my hit list. And it did not disappoint. I couldn’t decide what to get since I wanted everything, but eventually settled for Avocado toast and a smoothie bowl with a side of coconut water.
This insta worthy location checks all the points for location, ambiance, decor, presentation and great food.
We then checked in to our 3rd hotel in 3 days – Sals Secret Spot.
I absolutely love the look of Sals- it is totally my beachy minimalist colour vibe.
The staff were super friendly and they surprised us with an upgrade to the honeymoon suite.
Although we both would have loved a setting like that to be enjoyed with the opposite sex, we definitely bonded with each other so much so that it felt like we were long lost sisters finally reunited.
Sals secret spot is in Uluwatu, a surfer beach town. We made our way over for dinner at Single Fins– a massive beach bar that played great music and had tons of other travellers from all over the world, so a great place to connect with others especially if you are travelling solo.
Day 4/ Night 4
We spent some time in the morning enjoying the hotel pool before hiring a driver (again through the hotel) to take us to the boat to Nusa Penida.
Sals secret staff were also amazing in that they coordinated it to include the ferry ride to Nusa Penida and the return trip the next day with the driver fees. This was super helpful and convenient for us so I recommend asking your hotel for assistance. I didn’t feel at all scammed by any of them and felt all the prices were fair.
When travelling anywhere, one must always factor in extra time for wait times, transportation etc. It took us half a day to get to Nusa Penida. We booked a bungalow through Airbnb for 1 night- eloquently called Crystal Bay Bungalows.
For me this truly felt like an off the grid island experience. We had to walk through farmland with sightings of cute piglets, cows and chickens to get to Crystal Bay and the surrounding area. I loved it! It was so humbling seeing the locals with so little yet so happy!
We went for dinner on the Crystal Bay beach where we had local food from one of the beach stalls. There was some hesitation with respect to sanitation of the kitchen but we wanted to support the locals and there wasn’t that much options within walking distance so YOLO.
I highly recommend watching the sunset. In bali they are breathtaking!
As I mentioned, the region felt a little off the grid. We had limited WIFI, which to be honest is a luxury, not a necessity; we also lost electricity throughout the night, which is to be expected in an island like that. And you know what- it was perfectly fine! It is part of travel.
The previous day when we arrived at Crystal Bay Bungalows, we got the contact number from the driver who collected us from the ferry. We figured since he already knew where to find us, we pre-discussed rates and possible sites to visit.
Since we were leaving for the Philippines that night, we knew we had to maximize our day. And we certainly did. Near Crystal Bay, you will find the famous row of palm trees. It was the highlight of Penida for me, so clearly I recommend.
Our driver drove us all around Nusa Penida island. Beware the roads are God awful – to the point my back was really hurting me from all the bouncing and resistance with the seat belt. But it was all worth it!
First stop- Kelingking beach with the popular view of the T-rex. The shades of blue was everything. I do think this is totally worth the trek; maybe because in some way it reminds me of my home Barbados.
We then went to Broken beach and Angel’s Billabong, which are both in walking distance to each other. The area is a great way to get your steps in and take multiple uninterupted snaps.
After we left here, we made our way back to the ferry docks. As much as I enjoyed my time in Nusa Penida and making memories with Leisha, if I had to do it again, I would have opted to staying an extra night in Ubud or going to Canguu for a night instead of making the trek over to the island.
Near the ferry docks is a restaurant with a day pool called Rock Sand Pool Bar. We got some of the healthiest tastiest lunches in Bali here (I got tuna tar tar and Leisha got a pumpkin salad) and we got to cool down in the pool, while listening to amazing music as we waited for our boat to leave.
Plus resting up in a cabana with our suitcases provided for a stress free journey back to the mainland.
As I previously mentioned, the staff at Sals secret spot organized the driver for us on the mainland to take us to Seminyak for a few hours before our flight. Our original plan was to go to Potato Head to watch the sunset but by the time we got to Seminyak, it was well past that time. So instead we hired the driver for a few more hours to wait for us with our suitcases, while we went to Sea Circus for the last supper, and of course to charge our phones. We were in for an overnight flight to Philippines, leaving at 11pm, and scheduled to arrive in Coron at 6am. Stay tuned for my upcoming blog on my 10 day Philippine travel guide.
Thank you for taking the time to read my trip details and recommendations. Please leave a comment or email me if you have any questions.