It’s been just over a week since our first weekly update, and boy have we been on an adventure since then.
If you haven’t seen our last post about our adventure in Nusa Penida, you seriously need to check it out! Louise and I fell in love with the tiny island, and we finally got to check off the T-Rex rock (‘kelingking secret beach’) from our bucket-list.
After spending 3 days driving around some of the most insanely bumpy roads in existence, and getting the most intense farmer tan/sunburn of my life, Louise and I headed back to Bali to start the much awaited Institute of Code course on social media marketing (here’s a more detailed blog post on what it covers).
Institute of Code
Once we got to our new digs in Canggu, Louise and I joined two amazing photographers, Renee Hahnel (Renee Roaming) and Christina Galbato (The Bold Brunette), in teaching ten inspiring students about our lives as full time travel writers/photographers. I wasn’t really sure how hard it would be spending 10 days in a classroom in Bali knowing that there was so much out there to explore, but honestly the lessons were so rewarding that it really wasn’t an issue at all.
For me, leading this course was also an opportunity for growth on a personal level. Each mentor on the course brought a vastly different perspective, and each day I found myself surprised to be learning new and insightful ways to grow our own business/brand. Louise and I are pretty pumped to see what the next course brings!
Exploring more of Bali
Aside from the classes, this week was another opportunity to explore some of our favourite spots around Ubud again, and experiment with a few new ideas we’d had for photos.
Here are some of the highlights:
Campuhan Ridge Walk:
Tegalalang Rice Terraces
This place is just as stunning as we remembered it. Still no light rays this time, but guess who was there again? Wayan the rice farmer. Honestly, he is one of the best people I’ve ever encountered on my travels. Every day he comes out to the fields with a massive grin on his face; he chops coconuts, plays his flute and laughs with the tourists, and for once, I feel happy to share a location with the world.
All too often posting photos can feel bittersweet because you know you might be potentially harming an area by increasing tourism. It sounds like Wayan’s life was pretty tough until Instagram came along, so it’s fantastic to not have to feel guilty about running around with a camera and sharing it with the world.
By the time we arrived at Tibumana, it was bucketing down with rain, so we we took a few rainy waterfall snaps and got the hell out of there. FYI if you’re thinking of visiting, the heavy rain has weakened the rock and it’s not really safe to swim to the cave at the back!
Christina had this genius idea where we’d go to the Ubud street market and take a blurry artsy photo.. One where the subject is standing still and the rest of the people walking by are super blurry. Sounds super easy right? The problem with taking a shot like that (one that isn’t photoshopped), is that the person that isn’t blurry needs to stand perfectly still for about 10 seconds, and everyone else needs to be moving to make the blur. Turns out that we’re not that good at standing still, so inevitably we ended up needing about a hundred attempts, annoying literally everyone in the process. Add that to the fact that we were also standing in the way of a fairly busy scooter route, you can imagine how many times we had to retake the shot and how many dodgy looks we got.
Here’s a good tip if you want to try a shot like that: don’t do it the way we did it – just take two shots (one long expo and one normal) and combine them in photoshop.
Sangeh Monkey Forest
This was definitely a hidden gem that we didn’t come across last time. While 99% of the tourists are at the main monkey forest in Ubud, this incredible monkey forest/temple flies relatively under the radar. The monkeys are calm and gentle and there isn’t the intensity that we experienced at the other one. Given the choice I’d come back to Sangeh every time. The monkeys are quite happy to climb on you and aren’t frantic like at the other place. You definitely might get some monkey balls in your face (seriously), but the whole experience is kind of magical.
Food is always a big part of any trip, so we were excited to come back to Bali and go to some more of the great restaurants in Seminyak and Canggu. Here are some of our favourites:
Coffee Cartel – One of the more instagrammable spots in Seminyak, and it does great breakfast. You can also get all sorts of coloured lattees (matcha, beetroot, charcoal).. They’re literally just for the gram, I’m pretty sure the charcoal one is just charcoal and milk.
Mad Ronin – The ramen here isn’t the best we’ve ever had, but the best part of this place is its best kept secret. If you head to the back and up the stairs, you’ll find an amazing NYC style speakeasy with some great cocktails. There’s no advertisement so you’ll just have to trust us on this one!. The mango beer is incredible (especially if you’re not really into beer).
Mexicolo – an enormous mexican themed restaurant/bar in Seminyak. It has some pretty decent mexican food and cocktails, and the place gets pretty rowdy as it gets late
La Laguna – The most amazing gypsy boho themed beach bar. Perfect for incredible photos, but don’t expect to just visit and take photos without buying something. The staff are pretty quick to catch on and chuck you out. FYI – the bridge connecting it the beach collapsed recently, so much of the bar is closed until it can be repaired. Access only from the road in the meantime.
La Cabina – If you’re looking for that LA/Miamia vice/pool bar vibe, La Cabina checks all the right boxes. It also does great cocktails (the starfruit mohito is amazing), but don’t expect the best service. They also do a floating breakfast if you’re looking for one in Seminyak. Happy hour has all you can drink for 200k rupiah
Munduk Moding Plantation
There’ll be more on this in a separate post, but after our students left the course, Renee, Christina, Louise and I all went for a couple of nights at the Munduk Moding Plantation hotel. It’s perched literally on top of a mountain and has the most stunning, panoramic views down to the sea. I think it probably has the best infinite pool I’ve ever seen and the sunsets/sunrises are out of this world. It also has a spa and a coffee plantation, so there’s plenty to keep us occupied.
We had a lot more adventures planned for the weekend, but a bad case of Bali belly has kind of crippled our group. After a very draining ten days, a couple of days in a spa hotel has been exactly what we needed.
More next week!