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Travel Photo Diary: Bali

TravelShannon GuerreroComment

It’s that time again - another Travel Photo Diary to share with all of you!  Maybe I just wanted to look over all of my Bali travel pictures again or I’m just itching to get out and travel.  Ya, it’s definitely both.  Good thing I’ve got my next trip quickly approaching - Thailand at the end of the month!  You can be assured I am fully prepping myself to bring back a ton of amazing photos and cool stories to share on here.  I’m been trying to tell myself that I need to take more pictures when I travel.  I know it seems like I took a ton on this trip, but I really try to make it a point to be present and not have my camera or phone glued to my hand.  Still working on that balance, but I know that more variety in my photos is just going to better all around.

I don’t really have any specific stories to tell you about Bali since I wrote so many detailed posts about my time there.  I think the pictures here speak for themselves.  If I learned anything about Bali, it’s that it is full of such vibrance - the colors, the people, the spirit.  I think the vibrancy of these photos shows you how much color there is in Bali.  Everything from the Balinese people’s daily flower offering to the gorgeous landscape to each meal I ate.  So much color everywhere.

Really the whole reason I started the Travel Photo Diary series was to show snippets of my travels.  You know, the photos that don’t fit into a “travel guide”. The photos that show a true snapshot of the destination.  The photos that really allow you to see real parts of life for the local people that the ordinary tourist may miss.  I’ve started to embrace a technique that I read about where you shoot at hip level.  This allows you to take photos without people noticing as much or at all.  You can get some really great, natural photos of the native people.  I took one of my favorite photos thus far using this technique in Bali.  It is a of a lady weaving in between motorbikes in front of her local market.  I couldn’t believe it after I took it.  Everything was centered and the expression on the woman’s face was so natural and unassuming.  I didn’t disturb her but instead was able to preserve that memory as a snapshot.

Inspired to travel to Bali?  Good, mission accomplished.

Yours Truly // Shannon

 

WHILE YOU'RE AT IT, CHECK OUT THESE BALI POSTS:

Take a Balinese Cooking Class

TravelShannon Guerrero1 Comment

One of the things I really wanted to do when I went to Bali was take a cooking class. I already love cooking and of course I love Asian style food, so this was kind of a no brainer.  Balinese food is very similar to other Asian foods like Chinese and Thai, but has some differences.  For example, Balinese fried rice is called Nasi Goreng.  I’d say one of the main differences is that it has different vegetables in it - cabbage and tomatoes instead of peas.  One thing is for sure, the food is always extremely fresh.  It’s generally farm to table - fresh spices, fresh vegetables and fresh meat.

Speaking of meat, here’s of fun fact.  Since the majority of the island is Hindu, almost 90% in fact, with only a small percentage being Muslim.  Which is a huge difference from the rest of the Indonesian islands, where the majority of people are actually Muslim.  Hindus do not eat beef and Muslims do not eat pork.  You very rarely see a cow in Bali and if you do (which we did), they will not be used for their meat.  

Here’s the menu that we cooked:

  • Bumbu Bali: This a a Balinese spice paste that is quite literally used as the base of every single Balinese food. It's a combination of about 20 spices that are ground down into a paste.

  • Sate Ayam: Sate is a skewer of meat. Ayam means chicken in Balinese.

  • Bumbu Kacang: The peanut sauce made to dip the chicken skewers in.

  • Tum Be Pasih: Ground fish steamed in a banana leaf.

  • Kare Tahu Dan Tempe: A light curry of tofu, baby corn and long beans.

  • Nasi Goreng: Fan favorite, Indonesian fried rice.

The cooking class didn’t start in the kitchen, but at a traditional market (pictured above).  I didn’t realize how much I would love this market.  Like everyone’s been to a farmers type market, right?  No. This place was like nothing else.  First off, it was like multiple football fields combined under one giant airplane hangar.  Just as you thought it was ending, you would see more stairs and walk down to discover a whole new section.  There was the fresh fruit section, vegetables, goods, prepared foods, spices, meats and everything else you could imagine.  

You don’t actually buy the ingredients for your class.  They already have all the supplies waiting for you when you get back, but they want you to experience their daily market.  And boy was it worth it.  I love traveling and seeing places as the locals see it.  Granted, our visit to the market was probably not a typical experience, as everyone was staring at us the whole time.  Aside from the fact that we’re foreigners, my friend was on crutches which baffled the locals and I seemed to confuse the people because they all thought I was actually Balinese.  What an experience!

After we returned from the market, we quickly got started in on our class.  It was a great surprise to find out our instructor was actually the head chef of the hotel restaurant, Chef Ridwan Hakim.  We felt super privileged to be taught by an accomplished chef.  He was really insightful and helpful.  

I really wish I could recreate some of the dishes we made.  The Bumbu Bali, for example, smells so delicious and tastes so delicious, I would seriously use it in everything, just like the cooks in Bali do, but I don't think I would be able to find all 20 ingredients or so needed to create it.  By far my favorite dish was the tofu curry.  Surprising to me since I thought I would prefer the Nasi Goreng. Maybe it's because I had Nasi Goreng almost every meal.  The curry was lighter than any curry I've ever had.  Full of more flavor, and thinner than I would normally like, but oh so good.  I can just taste it now.  Yum.

If you have a chance to take a cooking class in Bali, or really any place you travel especially in an Asian country, do it.  You won't regret it.  Don't worry, if you do not have that much experience in the kitchen that's ok!  They walk you through every step and are so helpful.  If anything take the class just to eat all of the delicious foods you will make.  Trust me.

Happy Cooking!

Yours Truly // Shannon

Where to Stay in Ubud, Bali

TravelShannon Guerrero2 Comments

Ubud, first off, is a dreamy place.  I can't speak highly enough about it.  I would go back to Ubud in a heart beat.  Just being in the middle of the jungle is cool enough, but all that Ubud has to offer is even better.  I think part of the reason why I look back at Ubud so highly is because of the amazing hotel I stayed at.  This is not a sponsored post, just throwing out some high praise for an great place.

FIRST VIEWS

The first thing you see when you’re driving into the Alila Ubud are the endless rows of rice terraces.  You feel like you’ve just entered heaven on Earth.  You weave back and forth through the lush green landscape until you arrive at the lobby turnaround where you get your first glimpse of the infamous infinity pool just in the distance.  Looking around further, you quickly realize your smack dab in the middle of thriving jungle, loud jungle sounds and all.

CHECKING-IN

When you first arrive at the Alila, they are so welcoming the second your car door opens with a huge amount of Balinese hospitality.  Instead of standing at the counter, as you would do at most hotels, they offer you a seat in their beautiful open lobby, hand you a cool hand towel (which was amazing after traveling for 24 hours), hot tea and take care of the entire check-in process with you comfortably seated.  They then escort you to your room while carrying your luggage.  We were even given a full tour of our room amenities.

ROOMS

The rooms are a good size.  Each room has a large front porch (if on the first floor) that is open and looks out into the vastness of the jungle.  The jungle sounds are so loud throughout the day and night, you literally feel that you’re in deep in the jungle which, well, you are.  The bathroom is one thing that you’ll remember.  It seems like a perfectly normal bathroom until you open the back door and realize the shower and bathtub are outside.  Yes, literally outside.  Let me just tell you, showering with a frog sitting on the bathtub is an experience for the books.  Other than the bathroom, the room is really well equipped with things you may need.  The hotel provides a few power outlet converters and adapters, a flashlight, umbrellas and slippers to name a few.  They also provide the drinking water you need to brush your teeth.

FOOD

The food here was really amazing.  Granted if you do eat here it is much more expensive than eating out in Ubud city.  It’s affordable for US standards but in terms of Bali costs, it is on the more expensive side.  The breakfast menu was full of so many great choices and was constantly changing from day to day.  It also included a few traditional Balinese options.  Best part is breakfast is all you can eat!  You literally can order any and all of the dishes that you want.  So if I wanted one of the traditional dishes, an egg dish, a smoothie and the fruit - it was all included (at least my breakfasts were included)!  The dinner menu was also delicious.  It stayed the same but there are so many options you can get something different every night.  Also, can I just take a minute and say how amazing the wait staff was?  The service was amazing.  Sometimes, it did take a while to get our food or we were just really starving those times, but the people were always so wonderful.

AMENITIES

  • Wifi throughout the resort

  • Shuttle service to Ubud (15 mins away)

  • Morning Tai Chi

  • Morning Yoga

  • Balinese Dancing

  • Poolside Afternoon Tea

  • Walking and biking maps

  • Hourly car rental for $20/hr


STAFF

The people working at the Alila Ubud were all incredible.  I have to say the Balinese people are some of the most hospitable people I’ve ever come across.  It seemed they always knew what we were doing or where we were coming from.  I guess it’s a small property so the staff is really attentive to the guests.  

If and when I return to Bali, I will definitely be staying at the Alila Ubud again.  It is just the right about of jungle oasis and secluded getaway you need.  But really, you'll have to see for yourself, especially that infinity pool.  It is breathtaking.

Check the Alila Ubud, here.

Yours Truly // Shannon
 

Also, check out my other posts on my time in Ubud: