We have taken a very chilled approach to Yogyakarta and made the most of being in the same place for more than 2 nights! Yogyakarta feels like the Ubud of Java and is where it is all going on, we have instantly noticed that Java is a lot less touristy and we are getting a lot more attention here. By attention I mean people stopping in the streets to stare and asking us for photographs because we are white, I remember it happening a lot in India but it always feels quite strange. We actually asked a tour guide why they do it and she said that the Indonesians are really intrigued by us because we look different, have white skin and pointy noses!

When we arrived in Yogyakarta we were taken straight to our hotel which is like stepping into a quiet oasis after being on the busy hot streets. It has a nice little poolside restaurant so you don’t have to leave at all if you don’t want too. By the time we had unpacked and eaten etc. it was around 3 o’clock so we didn’t want to venture too far, we ended up wandering the streets near to where we are staying and finding a lovely little restaurant that we went and had a drink at, when I say drink I mean 2 bottles of wine and a three course meal! It was nice to just sit and relax drinking nice wine (something there is a lack of in Indonesia).

The next day we spend the morning researching things to do and trips we could go on, we booked a trip to Borobudur and Prambanan temples for the Monday, and then looked at where we could go and see a Javanese show. We wandered to the ticket office and booked dinner and the show and then grabbed a Becak (like a backwards rickshaw that had like a sofa on the front and you get cycled around) to the cool market area with all the bars, basically where it’s all happening called Maliboro road. We had a wander round looking at all the markets and then realised we had walked 15 minutes walking in the wrong direction (it was so annoying in the heat). We turned around and headed back and found a cafe for lunch (it was about 3ish by now). After we had spent 3 hours in the cafe (there is a trend here) we got another Becak – this time it was motorised not pedal so much more fun as you feel like you are going so fast, to the ballet. After the buffet dinner we were taken into the theatre for the show.


The show (a traditional ballet called Ramayana) wasn’t really our thing but we are really glad we did it, I could really appreciate the amazing costumes and the performance. It was so hard to follow what was going on in the story though, it was a love story and involved a man cutting off his private parts and a fight between giants and monkeys. It was a very beautiful performance though and it was great to see this side of the Javanese culture. There was a huge tropical thunderstorm in the night which was really cool to watch it rained that much that the pool depth rose by 4inches!

The next day we spent the morning wandering round the very hot streets looking at the buildings and Dutch fort that is here, I can’t tell you how hot it is though it was unbearable. We ended up in another cafe (haha) and Chris decided it would be a good idea to try a drink called ‘Devils drink’ which was snakes blood mixed with honey. It arrived and in the bottom was a snakes heart and also snakes marrow, it looked disgusting and his face was a picture (he later admitted that he’s been reading too many Spider Shepard books by Stephen Leather about a really tough SAS guy who got his name from eating a spider. It’s my fault I got him into the books).

Anyway we got back to the hotel and spent the afternoon by the pool, before getting another Becak up to Maliboro road again to see it at night.

The next day wasn’t much different we have been so full on with our traveling that we have tired ourselves out, we made the executive decision very early on that we would have a pool day, which was so nice! We had a lot of nice food that day too including the best falafel salad ever. That night for some reason we thought it would be an amazing idea to get drunk even though we had to be up at 3am for a trip- I stopped drinking pretty early but my lovely boyfriend was a tad rough the next morning.

At 3am we were up for our tour or Borobudur and Prambanan Temples, we were picked up by our tour company which was probably the most unorganised tour I have ever been on, it was so funny. We headed to Borobudur for sunrise and honestly the driver was mental, swerving, driving very fast, cutting red lights and driving on the wrong side of the road. We got to Borobudur and were quickly hustled into the hotel entrance as we had opted to pay more and actually see the sunrise from inside the temple.

Not a lot is known about Borobudur’s history, it is a Buddist temple that was built sometime between AD750 and AD850 and 60000 cubic metres of stone (2million stone blocks) were used to build it. As there was a decline in Buddhism in the country Borobudur was left abandoned until the early 20th century where the Dutch started to restored the temple but the hill on which it sat started to subside. A Unesco funded restoration took place between 1973 and 1983 to restore and stabilise.

The temple is beautiful it’s very hard to explain but it is 118m by 118m and has six square terraces which are topped by three circular ones, with four stairways leading to the top. The three circular terraces contain large stone bells that surround one amazing large bell in the centre. There was a scale model at Borobudur so I took a picture to make it visual for you (see always thinking about my readers).



So now you have had the history lesson we were there for 4.30 waiting for sunrise which was again not the impressive but the crowds were a lot quieter and we got to see the amazing temple as the light increased, and then about an hour later a gorgeous sun broke through the haze! We were given a breakfast and told to meet at 8.30 but at 9.30 we set off due to the crazy unorganised tour, who tried to tell us we weren’t even on their tour! They didn’t believe us until we knew their names!

Next up we were off to Prambanan temple which is a Hindu temple and it is so spectacular. This temple was built between the 8th and 10th century AD when Java was ruled by Buddist Sailendras in the south and Hindu Sanjayas in the north. Prambanan also made the Unesco list in 1991, it is currently being restored today as in 2006 it suffered a lot of damage in an earthquake.


The main spire of Prambanan is 47m high and the carvings are very detailed and intricate, the temple consists of eight main and eight minor temples in the main complex and it honestly was so impressive. I cannot decided which one I preferred. It was such a hot day though we were really struggling I think it’s one of the hottest we have had. After this we were taken back to the hotel, it was around 2.30pm so we just chilled for the rest of the day, we had to be up again at 6.30 for our next 8 hour train to the capital Jakarta!

Also another very successful train ride I managed to write my blog and watch 7 episodes of Keeping Up With The Kardashians!

Lucy 😘


Mount Bromo

Following on from my last blog where we had just arrived in Java and got to Malang for our trip to Mount Bromo, we were up at midnight bright and early for our 1am trip to see the sunrise! We were picked up by our driver Hary, in his Toyota Land Cruiser it was a really cool car – Chris loved it! We were sharing with two others a couple from London called Carl and Hannah who were really cool and we got along really well. Hannah was in the front and me, Chris and Carl in the seats in the back it was a bit of a squash but it was so much fun.

Hary told us the drive was around 2.5 hours, I initially thought that I might get some sleep in this time but there was no chance of that in the back of the Land Cruiser, plus we were all having a laugh chatting and getting to know each other. Harys English wasn’t the best and he just answered yes to everything which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing! After about 45 minutes you could feel the roads changing, they got narrower and more bumpy and we started to climb. Our ears started to pop as we made the climb and if you looked out of the back of the car there was a line of jeeps all making the same journey. It was dark but you could tell that if it was light you would be cringing at the drops and cliffs we were next too.

We arrived at the shops next to the main view point at 3 o’clock, Hary got us some tea and coffee and we had a look round the shops and just chatted, I couldn’t believe how busy it was! Hary said that we should go up to the viewing point at 3.30 for the 5.20 sunrise, it seemed so early to get there and I couldn’t understand why were hadn’t set off later. I said to the others I just wanted to nip to the toilet before we walked to the viewing point (there is a point to this story), so as I went to pay for the toilet the man looked at me a little bit funny but let me in. As I was in the toilet I looked up and saw a sign that had a price list that said Baka 2000 and Baba 3000 – turns out you had to pay more if you needed a poo! It was so funny!

As we got to the view point there were a few people around so we just decided to get a good spot and wait for the sunrise. We passed the hours quite quickly really just laughing and swapping stories, Carl even managed to fall asleep, it was quite cold but nothing too bad. After about half an hour the whole place just filled up and it was packed out, now I know why we had to get there early! So as the ‘sun rose’ (we couldn’t see the sun it was so misty) we couldn’t see a thing. I was so disappointed as I knew Bromo was meant to be beautiful and we had just waited all that time for nothing!

Heading back to the jeep we were very disappointed but Hary said there was another view point down the road which we might have more luck with. It was so beautiful, the view was amazing you could see the volcanos perfectly. It was so lunar like, the volcanos rise from the ancient Tengger Caldera – the large crater is Bromo and the flat topped one next to it is Batok. It was much a magical view and the way the mist had settled below the volcanoes over the land made the view ten times more amazing! The It is up there with the most amazing view I have even seen. I was so happy. As we were leaving the most started moving over the top obscuring the crater from view it was like water flowing the way it moved.



Hary then took us to climb the crater we had just seen, as we got there the whole landscape was made of ash, they call it the sea of sand as it just covers everything. The climb to the top was pretty tough because of the altitude, we kept getting offered a horse, but I opted no because the itinerary said ‘we will chose you a not so aggressive horse’ and if I’m on a horse I don’t want it to be aggressive at all! The last bit of the climb was up a very steep ash hill (we later found out there were steps underneath but they were just covered). As we got to the top the mist had covered and we couldn’t really see anything but the noise was unnerving, I have never heard a volcano that you can physically hear. It was like a jet engine the sound of the steam erupting from underground, the geographer inside me kicked in and I just kept thinking ‘this is really dangerous, if it erupts were dead from pyroclastic flow’. I loved it though it was so cool! We slid back down the ash to meet Hary I asked Chris the time and couldn’t believe it as only 8.30 in the morning!

The drive back across the sea of sand was cool and we kept stopping for funny photos – me fixing the engine, jumping in front of Batok and various poses on the jeep. It really was a cool jeep, all the guides used that type of jeep and Chris couldn’t get over that in England they would be classics and over here they are used as work cars. As we drove and took silly photos the mist cleared and we got an spectacular view of the whole of the volcanoes which really made the trip.




There were a few more nodding heads in the back on the drive back from the trip, Hannah fell asleep on Harys shoulder (sorry Hannah), and somehow Chris fell asleep in the back of the jeep.

Hary took us to a few sites on the way back like the lion rock, waterfall and a beautiful green Savannah. It was such a great trip and it was made better sharing it with Hannah and Carl who made our trip so much more fun. We got back to the hotel at 1pm after our 12 hour trip, it wasn’t over yet though as we had to panic pack and get to the train station for 1.30pm for our train to Surabaya. We were staying the night there before our next train to Yogyakarta.

We had the funniest taxi driver from the train station to the hotel, he told me and Chris that our names were Indonesian and that English people are usually called Albert, Robert or John (he has a point). Then he started drawing a map of Java on some money as he didn’t have any paper, he was just a really funny character.

That night after dinner and cocktails we were asleep for 8pm and up again at 5.45am! As I write we are now on the 5 hour train to Yogyakarta where we have 5 nights in the same place (woohooo). I have had a successful journey really I have admired the lovely rice paddies we are travelling past, wrote this blog, listened to the new Catfish and the Bottlemen album three times and got to level 32 on Cooking Dash on my iPad.


Getting from Bali to Java

I am writing this blog as a ‘how we got from Bali to Java’ for family and friends and a ‘how to get from Bali to Java’ for those who need the tips! It took us 20 hours in total to get here so we were a little bit tired when we arrived! We booked an online ticket in advance which was a combined bus, ferry and train ticket from Ubung bus station in Denpasar, Bali to Surabaya Gubeng train station in Java. We did this on tiket.com which is really easy all in English and they take a small admin fee, they have a link with Kereta Api the Indonesian train service. You can book online through Kereta Api but it’s more difficult as they don’t take most credit cards and it’s all in Indonesian. We can really vouch for tiket.com and it is well worth saving the hassle.

Our ticket was given to us as one and all it had was a booking reference and start and end times so no defined times for the ferry train etc. All we knew is that our bus left Ubung station at 14.30 and we had to exchange our ticket an hour before. Ubung Terminal is very overwhelming with people trying to sell you tickets to lots of different places so be wary of that, once we told them we already had a ticket they directed us to gate 20 and said our bus leaves at 3 (not half 2) and the company was Damri. So we sat in the terminal at Gate 20 for an hour and a half hoping for the best. Now what we weren’t told is that you don’t actually need to be there an hour before for the bus just the train! At 14.50 a pretty old looking bus with Damri written on pulled up called our our names and we jumped on, to be honest the bus was ok even if the seats were a bit cramped.

They put our big bags at the back and then small bags with us. The bus set off at 3 and the guy told us it should take about 3 hours to the ferry. As I mentioned before the bus seemed a bit old and was making some pretty funny noises! About an hour in the bus started to smell and there was a loud bang as we were going downhill and the bus veered to the left – turns out the suspension went and we had to wait an hour for a healthier much nicer bus. We were just unlucky and I wouldn’t let it put me off using them again to be honest.

Even without the stop the bus ride was more like 4 hours it was quite comfortable as we didn’t have anyone sat behind us so we could recline our chairs and the scenery was lovely! As we got to the ferry terminal the bus driver just sorted everything out, we just stayed on the bus until we were parked onboard. The ferry wasn’t the nicest and the toilets were horrible but for an hour crossing it was fine and it got us from Bali to Java! There was an inside section where they were playing Indonesian karaoke with aircon so we sat in there until an announcement in Indonesian told us to go back to the bus (or so we gathered).



Back on the bus and the next stop was Banyuwangi station (nearest to the ferry) for the final train to Surabaya. We had an hour and a half wait here in the station. We had to exchange our ticket at the manned desk and were given a print out which we thought was our ticket, but it wasn’t. We weren’t told but you then had to go to the computer, scan the barcode and then get your proper ticket. It was very easy to read the departures in the hall and when our train arrived the staff were very helpful letting us through scanning our tickets (have your passport handy). We also didn’t know Kereta Api actually have a bag size limit we have got away with it so far as our rucksacks just go on our back and we walk through, but we did see a few people with suitcases get stopped though! We have three other trains to get yet though so I will let you know how we get on.

On the train we had opted for business class which wasn’t much more expensive, and a bit comfier. It was hard to sleep on these though but we eventually sorted ourself out so that Chris leant against the window and I leant on him! This train left at 10pm (remember Java time is back an hour from Bali) and arrived at 4.26am so it took 6.5 hours. Remember to take snacks unless you want stale bread or a pot noodle!

Once we got to Surabaya we were actually carrying on another 2 hours to Malang on the train for our trip to Bromo so the journey wasn’t over for us! We actually had 1st class executive seats on this train and I would say if you have the little bit extra spare, do it! The seats recline it’s quiet and a much happier journey, we have just changed our other two upcoming 7 hour train rides to executive!


We had a 5 hour sleep when we get to the hotelat 9am and we have to be up at 1am to get to Bromo for sunrise. I have written this at the hotel after a lovely meal out at Tugu Hotel (it’s 6pm), up in 7 hours might get some more sleep!

Hope this blog has been funny/ helpful.



We were taken the two hours to Munduk by the owner of our Ubud hotel Abut. We arrived after a very windy two hour climb into the mountains and it is so pretty! As far as you can see is green lush mountains and rice paddies and it is so quiet and relaxed. Our hotel is called One Homestay and we have a room with mountain view, the hotel is lovely and clean and all the fittings are dark red, so when the sun shines through the curtains in a morning it is a little bit ‘Amsterdam’.

There isn’t much to do in Munduk apart from admire the view but it is so beautiful which I have already mentioned! We spent the afternoon in the bar attached to the hotel with an amazing view pictured below drinking Bintangs!

We searched trip advisor for the best place to eat out of a choice of fifteen and chose a place literally next door called Warung Heaven. It was a little bamboo restaurant and it was tiny. The place was packed though. One of the tripadvisor reviews said that you needed a little bit of patience here as everything was cooked fresh and they only had two burners in a tiny kitchen – they weren’t kidding! It took 2 hours for our food to come and the owners gave everyone packs of card to pass the time, it was funny and quite quirky really, we had a lovely night. It’s much cooler here in the mountains so the Bintangs went down very well! Chris needed the toilet at the restaurant so they took him on a very long walk down some stairs and past a massive bulldog to go to the loo. It was funny because everyone in the restaurant who was taken to the toilet came back and told the Bulldog story, and even in a different languages you could pick out the word ‘pit bull’.

The next day wasn’t much different and again I do not have much to report, we wandered around floating from coffee shop, to restaurant to coffee shop, reading our books and writing up Indonesian recipes for you to try (here they are if you want a go).

Munduk has been so chilled out and lovely! It been nice to just read and admire a beautiful view I between tropical downpours 🙂

We got picked up at midday for the drive back for a night in Denpasar which is basically just the base for us to get the overnight bus/ferry/train to Java! We spent the evening at Jamie’s Italian drinking lovely wine and eating amazing food – perfect for our last night in Bali!


Tasty Indonesian Recipes

I promised I would share a few of the best recipes for the cooking class we had about a week ago in Ubud, for those who have said they want to try. I think the initial big shop could set you back a bit but once you have all the spices and sauces at home they will last for ages (and I bet some of you curry and mulled wine lovers already have a lot of this stuff). Now from what I gathered from the cooking class a lot of the Indonesian dishes work from one ‘basic’ yellow sauce that they use, so I will start with that and then give you the other delights you can whip up afterwards. The sauce can be made in a big batch then frozen for 2-3 weeks and trust me it’s worth the effort it’s so tasty!

Basic Yellow Sauce (Base Gede Bumbu Kuning) – Serves 4-6

10 shallots
15 garlic cloves
2 thumb sized pieces of lesser galangal (this is in the same family as ginger if you can’t buy raw it is often exported as a preserve, so try the preserved garlic etc isle).
2 thumb size pieces of great galangal (same as above)
2 thumb sized pieces of ginger
1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
2 hot chillies (usually green)
3 red chillies
4 macadamia nuts
1 teaspoon of coriander seeds
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon white pepper
2 cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon palm sugar (it says online sainsbos do this)
1 stalk of lemongrass
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons shrimp paste (Indonesian if possible but Thai etc will do)
3 tablespoons of coconut oil (can use other oils but this gives the sauce a better taste)
Pinch of salt and pepper

1. Slice and remove seeds from both sets of chillies. Finely chop shallots, garlic, both types of galangal, ginger, nuts and chillies.
2. Blend the chopped ingredients, coriander seeds, turmeric powder, nutmeg and cloves in a pestle and mortar or blender until it forms a fine paste.
3. Sauté paste in your coconut oil. Crush the lemongrass stalk then add lemongrass, salt, pepper, palm sugar and bay leaves to the paste in the pan. Continue to fry for around 7 minutes on a low heat.
4. Then use for whatever dish you intend or let cool and then freeze.

Chicken in Coconut Curry (Be Siap Mesanten Kare Ayam) -Serves 4-6

3 chicken breasts (can use any meat or fish)
Cup of cubed potato
7 cloves of garlic
3 shallots
1 spring onion
2 red chillies
3 tablespoons coconut cream
1/2 litre chicken stock
2 tablespoons of your pre prepared yellow sauce
1 tablespoon coconut oil (again can be substituted)
2 bay leaves
5 kaffir lime leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Slice chillies and remove seeds. Slice shallots, garlic and spring onion.
2. Clean, peel and cut potato into 2cm cubes and cut chicken into small slices.
3. Fry shallots, garlic and spring onion on medium heat until light brown. Add the basic yellow sauce and then the chicken and potato and mix together.
4. Add the chicken stock and bring to the boil. Break the bay leaves and kaffir lime leaves and add to stock, also adding salt and pepper to taste.
5. Add coconut cream and cook on low heat until chicken is cooked and potato is soft.
6. Serve with boiled rice and deep fried shallots (if you want to).

Chicken Satay (Sate Siap Sate Lilit Ayam) – approx 15 skewers


500g minced chicken (or any other minced meat you choose)
2 tablespoons of your pre prepared basic yellow sauce
1 tablespoon palm sugar
1 wedge of lime
Salt and pepper to taste

15 skewer sticks – you can use ice lolly stick, kebab sticks or lemongrass.

1. Add minced chicken, basic yellow sauce, palm sugar and salt and pepper into a bowl and squeeze lime over and mix throughly with your hands.
2. Take around one tablespoon of mixture to form a ball and mould the mixture onto your skewer sticks to make around 15 sticks.
3. Grill the sticks (or BBQ) until meat browns (they don’t take long to cook).
4. Serve as a starter or with rice for a main.

Steamed Fish in Banana Leaves (Pepesan Be Pasih Pepes Ikan) – Serves 4-6



500g tuna steak (you can use other meats and fish)
3 medium tomatoes
1 cup lemon basil leaves
2 tablespoons of your pre prepared basic yellow sauce
Salt and pepper
Slice of lemon
Banana leaf (you can use tinfoil or baking paper also)

1. Slice tuna into 1cm cubes. Dice tomatoes.
2. Roughly mix tuna, tomato, lemon basil, yellow sauce, salt and pepper and squeeze over the lemon.
3. Place two tablespoons onto the banana leaf (foil or baking paper) and roll until mixture is wrapped, securing with a tooth pick at each end.
4. Steam the packages for ten minutes or grill for three.
5. They are now ready to serve with rice or whatever you choose

Coconut and Green Bean Salad (Jukut Urab)


250g green beans
1/2 whole fresh coconut grated
2 tablespoons of your pre prepared basic yellow sauce
1 tablespoon palm sugar
1 lime
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Boil the green beans for two minutes so they are still crunch and slice into half centimetre sized pieces.
2. Grate coconut.
3. Mix the chopped beans, coconut, yellow sauce , palm sugar and salt and squeeze over the lime. Mix together and serve.

Now enjoy and if anyone does cook any of these please send me a picture and let me know how it goes 🙂


Ubud – Part 2

Ubud Part 2 begins with us booking a full day in a Balinese spa for £30 each, we spend an hour over breakfast looking at the various options and ringing to see who could fit us in at short notice – number six on trip advisor was available so we booked in and within half an hour we were being picked up ready to go, the package included;

* Exotic Bali Massage
* Green Tea Body Scrub
* Yoghurt + Honey Wash
* Flower Bath
* Facial
* Creambath for hair
* Manicure
* Pedicure

It was a lovely spa a little bit outside of Ubud so very quiet and relaxing! We started with the massage which was even more intrusive than the last one we experienced, which was followed by a green tea scrub and yogurt moisturise all of them were lovely! Now after this we needed a shower before the rose petal bath, the bit that followed was very uncomfortable and very out of our comfort zone as we were showered down by two ladies who then helped us into the rose petal bath (Chris says he was uncomfortable but I’m not so sure ha).

Anyway after this we had the rest of the treatments and by the end of it we were starving! I must say a Balinese strong massage is very strong and I have a few bruises today, but if was a lovely relaxing day at a lovely spa and they had lovely little touches like bringing you tea and fruit throughout the day.

After the massage we got dropped off in town for a meal we were so hungry, we both had three courses and the best deep fried calamari we have ever had!

The next day was a little more active as Abut the owner of our hotel was taking us to the sites of Ubud! The first stop was the famous Tegalalang rice terrace that you see in all the pictures of Ubud! They were amazing so perfectly formed and very very green stretching for as far as you could see, we walked around over little handmade bamboo bridges and little paths it was really cool. We got talking to one of the workers Wayan who played us a tune on his bamboo flute and took a photo of us. We carried on to the very famous view taking lots of photos as we went. On the walk back the ledge was very thin and slippy I lost my footing and plunged my foot ankle deep in mud to everyone’s amusement, but because my foot and flip flop were so slippy I couldn’t carry on walking and it just kept slipping back in, I eventually got it out and used a litre bottle of water to clean it off.

Next up on Abuts tour was Gunung Kawi temple it was beautiful, there was this gorgeous clear pool out the front and the carvings were so intricate. Chris even made friends with a friendly cockerel who let you pet it so we were happy all round really, now my foot had dried off!

The next temple we visit was the Holy Spring Temple or Water Temple which was very different from the first, it had 14 holy springs at the front and ques and ques of people were waiting to be bathed under the holy water it really was cool to see.

Call me uncultured but my favourite stop of the day was the coffee plantation, where we were shown how they grow coffee, how it’s dried and how the coffee is made. We also saw the cats that make the famous cat poo (Luwak) coffee, and how this process is carried out. As coffee lovers we were excited when we were given a free tasting tray of 12 coffees, teas and hot chocolates made at the site – they were so good! We also opted to pay to try the Luwak coffee which was surprisingly very nice, our favourite drinks were the Ginseng coffee, macchiato and hot chocolate – so we went crazy in the gift shop afterwards and bought all three. The funny thing was the Luwak poo coffee was really expensive and the one we bought at the market a few days earlier was so cheap, and we were ‘reassured’ by our guide that it definitely would not be the real thing, we are now wondering what poo we actually have and whether it’s a doga mocha or maybe a monkeyato (boom boom).

Last stop was the famous Ubud waterfall which was massive and really impressive you could feel the force of the water as you stood next to it! Chris went in for a swim and said the force was really strong. There were so many steps and the waterfall and it was absolutely boiling, so after this we asked Abut to drop us in the town centre so we could grab dinner.

On the way back to the hotel Chris decided to go into one of the spas and have an ear candle which is meant to really clear you ears our. It was so amusing and a lady basically just lit a rolled up piece of cardboard in his ear, she then went on to tell us that it didn’t work very well as there was too much wind, but she turned the aircon on half way through!

We have really loved our time in Ubud it’s been very chilled and nice to stay somewhere for longer than two nights. It is such a cultural and vibrant place and the artwork and wood carvings here are incredible.

Next we head to Munduk for some time in the mountains.


Ubud-Part 1

We were picked up from our hotel in Gili Air by horse and cart and taken to the port for our fast boat. We had a bit of a wait, then the two hour fast boat and an hour drive to our hotel in Ubud. The fast boat wasn’t a luxurious as the one on the way out but it was fine, got us from A to B and was faster than the ferry.

Ubud is a city in the centre of Bali famous for its culture, it is very busy with locals and tourists and was made even more famous by the Julia Roberts film Eat.Pray.Love that I have mentioned before.

We arrived at our hotel in Ubud called Baruna Guesthouse which is great, so well priced and the owner Abut is lovely! He welcomed us with Bali coffee and told us about trips and advice about the area, as we were 15 minutes walk outside of Ubud centre he recommended a place for dinner called Ju nearby. We decided to just have dinner, chill at the hotel and explore in the morning as it was already around 5oclock. Ju was a lovely restaurant that looked over the rice paddies, we both had duck as we hadn’t tried it yet and it’s a delicacy here and it was lovely!

The next morning we were picked up at 8 as we had booked a Balinese cooking class with a company that has five star reviews on trip advisor called Paon Bali. We were first taken to Ubud market and shown around all the colourful fruit and vegetables, a lot we had never seen before and the guide explained what they were and how they were used, and even let us sample some. He then showed us to the spice stand which was amazing, I loved it, there were bags of every spice you could imagine and the smell was so good! We bought some Luwak coffee to take home, it’s the most expensive coffee in the world, and it is made by a certain cat, that eats the bean shell and then poos out the rest, which is then cleaned and made into coffee – the locals call it Catpoochino ( me and Chris found this hilarious).

The guide then took us to the families rice paddy and explained about how it grows and how Balinese eat half a kilo of rice each a day – too many carbs here! Then it was onto the cooking class, we were welcomed by the man of the house who gave us drinks and told us about his family, and then we all went into a huge kitchen and got ready to start. We were put in a group with a German couple and a Canadian couple and we all had a really good laugh. We were taken through all the amazing ingredients by the tutor who was the wife of the man who introduced us she was so funny as she kept shouting ‘S’cuse me honey’ to everyone. One we were taken through the ingredients we split off and prepped everything for the class doing all the chopping and crushing etc and then it was time to cook. We were all in pairs I was with Chris as the lady told me ‘you have to stay with your honey bunny’ (it’s amazing how many Balinese think we are on our honeymoon – but that’s a different story). We took turns at frying, adding ingredients etc and learning how to cook each dish it was a really good morning and we both really enjoyed it. We learned 8 dishes in total and at the end we got to try them all from the buffet (I was thinking of doing a blog and adding a few of my favourite recipes, so if you want me too let me know). The food tasted so so good! I would recommend Paon Bali to everyone.

We asked the driver to drop us in the town centre as we wanted to visit the Sacred Monkey Forest. It’s a huge forest that has lots of cool temples and walkways and has hundreds of monkeys running around. We had put everything in our backpack including sunglasses as they have a reputation for stealing your stuff and then trading you back for food, they can also be aggressive too so we were a bit apprehensive as well. As we walked around tourists can buy bananas so the monkeys will jump on you for photos and steal the bananas, they were so quick they just sneak up behind people and grab them.

As we walked around the temples were beautiful but you couldn’t fully relax as the monkeys would come from anywhere. I saw one girl get attacked and a guide had to punch it and then another girl got bitten, so after a very quick walk around we left.

We did a bit of shopping and bargaining, and then headed to the Ubud Palace where the Royal Family still live, it was so beautiful with lots of very intricate carvings in stone, wood and gold. It didn’t take too long to walk around so we though we would stay in town and get dinner at a place I had heard about called Three Monkeys. It was great you walked in and it looked like a normal restaurant but out the back was a gorgeous rice paddy all lit up. That’s what I love about Asia you can be in a busy manic street horns beeping and traffic everywhere, and you can go one minute inside a restaurant and it’s beautiful and calm. This place was probably the most expensive place we had eaten in Indonesia (£35 for 4 cocktails, two mains and a dessert) but it was worth it for the view.

In the morning we had a late start due to the downpour that happened in the morning, but we finally got to the Elephant Cave which is a temple carved into the rock it was pretty impressive and really cool to see. Chris said it was like something fro Tomb Raider and it really was!

For lunch we were heading to a famous place called Ibu Oka to try the famous Indonesian dish Babi Guling which is suckling pig in lots of spices – it was soooo good and probably the best food I have had so far. That afternoon we just pottered around having a few cocktails before heading back to our homestay to chill out!

I am going to split our time in Ubud into two blogs as there is so much to say!


Gili Air

At 4 o’clock after our day of swimming with the turtles we boarded a public boat to our next island Gili Air, which was about 10 minutes away it was a really fun experience travelling on the public boat, as they packed everyone on and people were even sat on the roof! Once on the island we got a horse and cart to our accommodation which is so nice! I cannot believe what you get for your money here. It was £30 for two nights in there lovely oriental style huts, with breakfast and access to a swimming pool.

We dumped our bags and headed out to a place I had read about called Mirage for sunset, we got a comfy seat a cocktail and some hummus and settled in for the sunset. The sunset was beautiful probably one of the best I have ever seen, the colours were so vivid. We had a quick bite to eat after and booked in for a 90minute massage for the following day.




The massage was amazing! It went quite quickly, we were on this balcony that overlooked the sea and all you could hear were the waves! I told Chris before we went to take some boxers rather than his swimming shorts but he didn’t listen. When we got there the lady handed him a plastic bag that had a pair of see through black budgie smugglers in there – it was hilarious! The massage was lovely if not a bit close for comfort at times, I had sunburn on my bum from snorkelling the previous day (sorry for too much info but I want to let you in on my true experiences) and the lady actually massaged our bum cheeks. It was funny because we were on massage tables next to each other so I knew Chris was having the same experience too.

To be honest I haven’t much else to say about our time on Gili Air, we spent the rest of the afternoon chilling by the pool and went to watch another sunset that night.

Onto Ubud next for five nights which I am really excited for! Our time on the Gilis has been so relaxing and Gili Air has been the perfect balance between the party and honeymoon islands. I have heard a lot of travellers complaining about their time on Gili T so I’m glad we didn’t decide to stop there!

Back to the main crazy island now.


Gili Meno

Our next stop on the big adventure was Gili Meno! The Gili islands are three tiny desert island just off the coast of Lombok you can only really appreciate what they look like if you see an aerial photo so I pinched one off google for you and posted it below! They are so quiet and beautiful and no motorised vehicles or dogs are allowed!


We were picked up from Jimbaran early in the morning by a company called Gili Getaways they operate a fast boat service to the Gilis. We got a speed boat that took around 2 hours across to the main Gili island called Gili Trawangan, this is the main party island. The trip across was lovely and comfortable and they even put a film on for us, gave us drinks and cold cloths as it’s very hot! You can get a ferry across here but it takes ages and we wanted to pay a bit more and make the most of our time.

From Gili Trawangan we then had to get a smaller boat across to Gili Meno where we were staying, spending an hour on Gili T made me glad we weren’t staying it was packed and so busy! The boat across to Gili Meno was funny as they packed as many of us as they could onto the boat, and then as we got to shore we have to transfer onto a tender and then jump ashore, it was hilarious the whole thing was like total wipeout! Gili Meno is beautiful and the quietest and most calm of all the islands, they all have separate attractions even though they are so close together- Gili T is party (the big one), Meno is calm and romantic (the middle one) and Air is the cultural island (the one closest to Lombok).

We headed to our accommodation on Gili Meno which turned out to the amusement of a few locals we asked, to have been closed for two years! We do not know what happened we booked it through Booking.com and all seemed OK, it wasn’t an issue though as we found somewhere else to stay within 10 minutes that actually looked nicer! I stayed very calm too which is unusual for me I think I’m getting the hang of this calm spontaneous traveller malarkey! Our accommodation is in a hut style with an outdoor enclosed bathroom just no roof, which was really cool as when you are having a shower and look up you can see coconut trees!


We headed for lunch after this on this beautiful platform over the waves and had Indonesian curry it was so good! The island is beautiful just golden sand and turquoise water, very relaxing and such a small island. After lunch we just chilled in the afternoon got changed and headed to the other side of the island a small walk though dirt roads in the centre of the island. The other side of the island was even calmer and we had an amazing meal as the sun went down. We decided to go back to the other side of the island after this as it had gone dark, there and no street lights and there was a storm lots of lightening but no thunder.

We had a drink at the other side of the island in this lovely little platforms that a raised off the ground with roofs and cushions and tables they are so cosy and I nearly fell asleep listening to the sea.


Gili Meno is known for having lots of turtles so after breakfast the next day we hired some snorkelling stuff and tried to find some to no avail! The fish were cool though but the coral was very bleached. We went back for a shower after a few hours snorkelling as I hate sand – I know a traveller who hates sand (a bit like my hatred of eggs when my dad used to be a chicken farmer). We then went for lunch in another of the beach huts which was so relaxing and we researched turtle viewing trips! We spent the first half of the afternoon in the hut reading and drinking watermelon juice. We booked a turtle tour for the following day with a local called Ali Baba who said if we didn’t see turtles we would get our money back!

At around 3 we wandered to the saltwater lake and made the epic journey of 20 minutes (it was epic in the heat) across the island to Diana’s Cafe! It was so cool the whole place was on the sand made from drift wood with high platforms and shells and coral strung around. We had a Sprite then trekked back!

The next day Alibaba’s tour did not disappoint he took about 25 of us out on his glass bottomed boat in search of turtles. At the first place we snorkelled there wasn’t much coral as the water was deeper but we saw 3 turtles! They were amazing especially when they swam up close to you they were beautiful. We moved on and swam at the Gili Meno coral wall and coral garden the coral was a lot more colourful here but still not as bright as the Great Barrier Reef (how lucky are we to have done both?). The coral had some neon yellows and blues and loads of colourful fish. We saw 4 more turtles here also, one swam from the bottom of the coral right up to the surface for air and then back down it was amazing. I cannot believe we saw 7 of them it was so special.

The only bad thing about it was I kept getting stung by something really bad on my arms and legs even my face a times and when we got back on the boat a few others had too. The guide called them mosquitos of the sea as he didn’t know the English for them but some people said they were tiny jellyfish and come sea lice. I still don’t know what they were!

The last stop on the tour was a ship wreck that was also really cool to see. It is a 30m long WWII wreck just off the coast and it is now covered in coral. I have stolen some more photos off google of the turtles and the wreck. They look exactly like what we saw, I don’t take any credit for them just wanted you to see what we saw.

After we checked out of the hotel and sat eating lunch before we board the boat to the next paradise island! We are 2 weeks into our trip now only 5 more to go!



After our whistle stop tour of Cairns we had a late night flight booked to Bali! I was so excited as I love Asia. The flight seemed to take forever even though it was only 4 hours and we landed in Bali around half midnight (it’s quite nice now after 5 flights in 10 days to have a month off flying). We had to go through customs, bag collection and declarations which was actually a lot quicker than I thought. We then got a taxi to our airport hotel, we think we might have been ‘ripped off’ for the taxi but it’s hard to complain when it was only £5 anyway!

Indonesia grants a 30 day visa on arrival after that you have to apply, most travellers opt to stay for just under a month to make the most of it just like we have. Indonesia is made up of hundreds of islands and is a lot bigger than you think it is, I originally had this big plan to do lots of different island hops, but travel isn’t fast and we didn’t have the time. We decided to do Bali and Java with a stop in the Gili Islands, most travellers pick Lombok over Java but there was something about the volcanic landscape and culture that captured us more (and the trip advisor reviews were better).

So back to the story our hotel wasn’t the best but it was 2am and we didn’t really care that much as we were so tired and it was only £9! Chris had to catch a massive cockroach before we went to sleep and there was a lizard lose in the room somewhere but we were that tired we were asleep within minutes!

Our stop near the airport was only to grab some sleep and we were headed straight to Jimbaran the next day a little place on the Bukit Peninsular to the south of Bali. We ordered a taxi for 12pm as we wanted a chilled morning and checkout wasn’t until midday. I was so excited about Jimbaran as my friend who I used to work at The BM Massive (Boundary Mill to those not in the know) with was also there we arranged to meet up!

The hotel in Jimbaran was amazing! It was a bit out of town but it was so calm and beautiful, it had a lovely swimming pool with stepping stones and fish swimming around. It really was lovely and BangBang the owner was brilliant! At around 2 o’clock we went to meet my friend Georgina and her friend Kayleigh at their hotel, it was so good to see them! I haven’t seen George in a few years but she is now a Marine Biologist in the Philippines which is so cool. We headed to Jimbaran beach which is a lovely little beach but there isn’t much there, so we just had a wander around the fish market and went to Kuta where there was a bit more going on instead!

We really wanted some Indonesian food and settled for a little place at the side of the road where I had Nasi Goreng a classic Balinese rice dish and a Bintang (Indonesian beer). After this we had a wander around and me and Chris had a beer whilst G got a hair braid now I know she won’t mind me saying this but it wasn’t the best braid we have ever seen and her head was all bruised afterwards – she defo needed a Bintang! It started to absolutely chuck it down so we ran into a bar with happy hour and had a few drinks, it was so lovely to catch up and see one of my really good friends from home. I have missed her!

Kayleigh was flying to NZ that night, so the next day it was just the three of us – we decided to go to Tanah Lot temple an hour north of where we are staying! It took ages to get there but it was worth the drive. There was a beautiful temple out on a rock in the sea with huge waves crashing into it. You could go into the holy cave and be blessed with Spring water so we did this and then had a wander, it was such a beautiful temple! Now we didn’t realise but this area had a no taxi pick up rule so we ended paying an ‘extortionate’ rate to get back to Kuta, but the taxi driver was hilarious.

Back in Kuta we were ready for some food, so we wandered the streets looking for a ‘Warung Padang’ which are little stalls with seating at the side of the road. We found a man selling Bakso which are little Indonesian chicken dumplings so we bought a bowl and all shared them, they were so tasty but the sauce was very spicy! I managed to find a pair of Havaiana flip flops for £15 so I was so chuffed and Georgina managed to haggle a backpack for Chris down from 600,000idr to 200,000idr. She is probably the best haggler I have ever seen (sorry Tish you come a close second). We found a little Warung and had a proper meal which was really lovely apart from Chris’ which was squid in what looked like a block of butter!

After this we wanted to go to a beach somewhere for a drink so we paid a driver to take us south to Padang Padang Beach which is very famous, as it was in the Julia Roberts film Eat.Pray.Love. It was a beautiful beach and we wandered along the sand, I got a bit scared of the waves (surprise surprise) and thought we might get stranded. We found an amazing bar that overlooked the beach and had a few drinks. The taxi driver got a bit arsy with us for being 10 minutes late and told us to have a horrible day (lovely guy).

We finished the night on the balcony at Georgina’s hotel with another few Bintangs! It’s been so amazing to spend these two days with my lovely friend and we now have an invite to the Philippines which is very tempting! Thanks for a lovely time G! She heads back to the Philippines today to do more cool marine stuff!

It’s so great to be back in Asia! Although I have never had mossy bites on my face before!