Travel Guide: Bali, Indonesia

What To Do

  • Greenbike bike tour – Definitely recommend this to anyone. You don’t need to be in great shape for this because the biking is 90% downhill and they give you the option to go the harder or easier route for the last 10%. You start the tour with breakfast that overlooks a beautiful volcano, then visit a local coffee plantation. Sampling the different coffee flavors was fun (I liked the vanilla and coconut). The view is also gorgeous! You end the tour with lunch in these cute little huts overlooking rice fields. Also, take advantage of their shuttle service. We had them drop us off in the city center after, so we could head to the monkey forest!

 

  • River rafting – Gorgeous scenery! It looks like you’re floating through a jungle and you may even spot some unique wildlife if you’re lucky! Fun, but not as challenging as we expected. I heard from others that the river rafting was actually pretty scary in Ubud, so maybe it depends on the time of year and the weather. We went in the summer and the water was extremely low.
  • Monkey Forest – We got lucky and a guide basically took us under his wing (for the price of a large pack of bananas). We were pretty afraid of the monkeys because of how aggressive they were, so it was nice to have someone help us who knew what they were doing. As you can see from these blurry GoPro pics, the monkeys and I really bonded....

 

  • Surfing – Take a surfing lesson if you go to Kuta Beach. Just walk down the beach and people will ask you if you want a surfing lesson. Make sure to bargain for a good price! Also, they should offer you a rash guard to wear and absolutely wear it! Believe me when I say you will regret it if you don’t. If you happen to take your surf lesson in the afternoon, hang around the beach for a gorgeous sunset!


  • Yoga Barn – I was SO bummed that we didn’t get to do this. I had so many recommendations to go there, so of course we went and tried to make a reservation two hours before the class. It was first come first serve, so the receptionist told us to come back twenty minutes before the class started and said we would definitely get a spot. Well, we showed up twenty minutes before and the same receptionist told us there were no more spots. Yes, I still recommend going because everyone I talked to loved their experience, but go there EARLY!!!!

10 Pictures To Inspire You To Visit Koh Phangan

Koh Phangan is the island where the famous Full Moon Parties take place in the Gulf of Thailand. As fun as it is to decorate your body in neon colored paint and dance the night away (literally....until 7am), partying isn't the only thing this gorgeous island has to offer. I had my absolute favorite Thai food here. So good that I ended up eating at the same place for THREE meals in a row and another place for dinner TWO nights in a row. Island vibes are in full effect here with light sand beaches and clear blue water. You'll want to spend your days soaking up the sun and pretending to be a mermaid.

Hotel Review: The Lokha Ubud in Bali, Indonesia

So you're going to Bali....

Now, you have to figure where in the world you are going to stay. Don't worry, I got you on this part!

Stay at The Lokha Ubud. It's located in Ubud, Bali (which is the center of Bali, and really close to the Ubud city center). This is the jungle experience you're looking for with a resort off the beaten path, surrounded by the most gorgeous nature and luscious greenery.  It is absolutely worth every penny.

Very helpful staff who got us discounts on every activity/tour we did (all we had to do was ask for a discount and we got pretty big ones!) The staff just so happens to be so incredibly nice, as well, which truly makes all the difference when you're in a new place. The hotel is off the beaten path, so you can’t wander outside the hotel at night, but they do offer a shuttle service to and from the city center. Make sure to reserve your spot on the shuttle the day before. Breakfast was hands down the best one we had in all of Southeast Asia. It's a breakfast buffet, but the food and juices were amazing and tasted so fresh! Also, they have an infinity pool that overlooks the jungle and it's so picturesque. Plus, they have warm showers right outside the pool for when you get out. They have several bikes that are first come first serve, but they were always available when we wanted them. Take a bike ride during the day outside of the hotel and past all the rice fields. Turn right out of the hotel and you will have yourself a beautiful bike ride. If you turn left, you’ll be getting yourself in trouble (like we did) by having to carry your bikes up stairs and big hills. There is a beautiful temple and gorgeous views about 10 minutes down the road to the left, so I suggest walking there to take a look. The hotel also offers a complimentary afternoon tea (from 4:00-6:00pm if I recall correctly), which was nice to come back to after a long day of touring.

Travel Guide: Penang, Malaysia

Accommodations

If you want to be in the city or if you’re on a budget, Georgetown is the place to be. If you want to be close to the beach and are willing to spend more on a hotel, definitely stay close to Batu Ferringhi (the most popular beach).

Food

  • Absolutely go to the Long Beach night market. There’s another one right next to it, but even the locals will tell you that Long Beach is far better. There is such a variety of options to choose from and it’s all delicious! It’s located just inward from Batu Ferringhi and you can definitely walk from the beach in no time. If you’re with a group of people, get a little of everything to try! Tucked in the back is a tiny Greek food stand with the most amazing potato pockets! I had them two nights in a row they were so good….
  • If you happen to have time to spare in the airport, there are some cool places to eat! There is a full mall, grocery store, and food shops, plus an amazing restaurant inside! I cannot remember what the restaurant is called, but it’s the only vegetarian one there. If I could replicate their noodle soup I would be forever happy!

What To Do

  • Bora Bora Bar – This is located on Batu Ferringhi and is the perfect place to grab a beer and watch the sunset. Also, it is prime seating for some hilarious entertainment, watching people take off and land for parasailing. Spoiler alert: SO many people eat it into the sand, especially on landing.
  • Water Sports – There are numerous water sports to choose from on Batu Ferringhi, but whatever you decide to do, DON’T FORGET TO NEGOTIATE! The prices were so high it was almost comical, so bargain hard! Trust me, regardless of what they say, their prices are absolutely not set in stone. Tubing was definitely a highlight for me, and it’s right next to Bora Bora Bar. If you can get a group of 4, you’ll be in the tube that allows for a much wilder ride….I highly suggest that!
  • Hiking in the National Park - This is something that I would NOT do solo. It’s not exactly a regular hike….expect lots of wildlife, no obvious path, and a seriously good workout! Before you hike, be sure to sign in at the office so that they have all your information just in case anything happens….like I said, this is not a regular hike! There are two different hikes to choose from: one leads to monkey beach (yes there actually are monkeys there, extremely aggressive ones might I add, but it’s pretty) and another hike that leads to a more secluded, prettier beach. You can only swim at monkey beach though. I did the hike that lead to the more beautiful beach and got extremely lucky and ran into a park ranger about 15 minutes in, who we followed for the next two hours till we made it to the beach. Don’t forget to sign out at the office on your way out!
  • Street Art – Penang is famous for their intricate street art. It’s very creative and a lot of it is pretty old!

Street Art In Penang, Malaysia

Georgetown in Penang, Malaysia is known for their creative street art. The coolest part about it is that they all tell a story. I spent about half a day roaming Georgetown in search of all the unique street art and taking millions of pictures. I also highly suggest going to the Penang 3D Trick Art Museum. I believe this was inspired by all the street art and is a good place to end your street art tour. My friend and I bargained for a good price to have our own driver for the half day to save time and our driver was such an interesting guy! He was almost as entertaining as the street art and loved taking incredibly awkward pictures of us. Yes, he would even tell us how to pose! Enjoy....

 

 

10 Foods To Try In Thailand

Thailand is filled with some really incredible food! If you are going there, make sure to try these popular Thai dishes....and calm all the heavily spiced food with some Thai Iced Tea!

Garlic Vegetable Glass Noodle Soup

This is not a dish that is on every single menu, so make sure to try it when you see it! You may have a little bit of garlic breath after this, but I can promise you that it’s worth it! If you are feeling a little under the weather, this should do the trick.

Tom Kha Gai

This coconut milk based soup is almost like a dessert. It has a sweet a sour taste to it and it goes great with white rice. You can find it served with chicken, shrimp, or just vegetables.

Pad Thai  

This is obviously a more popular menu item and some places are better than others. The Famous Pad Thai Shop in Phuket was definitely one of my favorites.

Pad See Ew 

This soft, wide rice noodle dish is pan-fried with garlic, Chinese broccoli, egg, and normally a choice of meat or chicken. It’s flavored with a dark soy sauce. Sometimes, the Thai will add sugar, chili flakes, and a dash of vinegar to create a unique flavor.

Mango & Sticky Rice 

Amazing Thai dessert! Totally addicting.

Chicken Satay 

This is another popular Thai dish that can be found almost anywhere, whether it be in a restaurant or a street food stand. It’s kind of like the Thai version of a chicken kabob. Best when served with peanut sauce for dipping!

Khao Soi

Very popular in Northern Thailand, especially Chiang Mai. This curry-based noodle soup is optionally served with sides of lime, crunchy pickled greens, sliced shallots, and sugar. It has a coconut milk-based broth and is normally cooked with chicken or beef and wheat/egg noodles.  

Curry 

Yellow curry = mild, green curry = medium, and panang curry = spicy.  All three curries have very different flavors, so if you can handle some spice go ahead and try them all! Don’t be fooled though because ¾ of the yellow curries I had were definitely not mild! But then again, is anything truly mild in regards to spice in Thailand?!

Vegetable Fried Rice 

This is different than what you would expect. It's not like the fried rice in the states. It has a little bit different flavor, as well as lots more veggies. Often times this is served in a pineapple, which makes it even better!

Spring Rolls

You can find these in a lot of restaurants, as well as at most street vendors. Served with sweet chili sauce of couse! Filled with veggies and sometimes chicken or pork.

Have any Thai food favorites that you enjoyed in Thailand? Leave them in the comments below!

 

Travel Guide: Phuket, Thailand

Phuket is one of Thailand's many gorgeous islands and it's become a very popular tourist spot because of how much this beautiful island has to offer. Heard of Koh Phi Phi Island? Well, Phuket is where a lot of people stay if they visit the Koh Phi Phi Islands because it can be reached by boat. 

The Famous Pad Thai Shop – I’ve heard that some people have a difficult time finding it, but it was right next to our hotel in Karon. Definitely the best pad Thai we ever had. We went back again on our last day in Phuket. Go there with plenty of time though, because both times we waited quite a while to get our food. All of the locals were in and out before we even got our food, which was frustrating, but the pad Thai was worth it.

Snorkeling – We did a snorkeling tour that was amazing! We were picked up at 7am and dropped back around 6:00pm. There were about 15 people on our speedboat and I DEFINITELY don’t recommend doing a tour that has more people on it. They took us to the islands Koh Phi Phi, Maya Beach, Monkey Beach, and one other beach I can’t remember the name of. We had lunch overlooking the beach at Koh Phi Phi and it was beautiful! We were told the snorkeling wouldn’t be that great because we were going in the low season, but we were pretty impressed and had an awesome time! They give you the option to buy fins for 200 baht before you get on your boat and I highly recommend getting them. They try to scare you into buying them by saying there are tons of sea urchins and such, but there actually really were and we were glad we had the fins.

Thai massage – I got pretty sunburned from snorkeling so I got a Thai aloe vera massage and it was so nice! I tried Thai massages all over Thailand though and I do not suggest a full body massage, unless you like feeling like your back is about to break. I'm not even exaggerating on that....I honestly thought my back was going to break! I went with a foot massage almost every time and I have no regrets.

Watch the sunset on the beach - We watched it on Karon Beach and it was so picturesque.

Kayaking – Absolutely do not sign up for one of those tours with 50 people on the boat. Do one with 15-20 or less. Also, make sure to book ahead of time. I made that mistake and was unable to do John Gray’s Hong By Starlight Kayaking Tour. Even though I didn’t go on it, I still highly recommend it. It’s #1 on trip advisor and the amount of raving reviews they have should be enough to convince you.

Nightlife in Patong Beach – Monsoon’s is a good place to start where they have live music (such talented Thai singers!) and then we went to Tiger. Yes, Tiger is a little more expensive than the other bars, but there is so much going on there that it’s worth it.

Travel Guide: Koh Phangan, Thailand

Koh Phangan is one of the islands in the Gulf of Thailand that hosts the famous Full Moon Parties. The best way to get there is to fly into Koh Samui and then take a ferry to Koh Phangan. Expect to meet people from all over the world here who are looking to meet new friends and have a good time. The beaches are beautiful and so are the people!

Haad Rin Beach

Accommodations

Stay at The Dancing Elephant Hostel. Had the most amazing time staying here! All the people staying there are very social and fun, and the staff was extremely friendly and could not have been better. Don’t get your own private room, just stay in the dorm rooms. It is dramatically cheaper to stay in the dorm rooms and, to be honest, we really wish we stayed in the dorm rooms rather than paid a whole lot extra to have our own private room and bathroom. The room was definitely not even close to worth what we paid for and it was down the street from the dorms and where everyone hung out. The Dancing Elephant is minutes from amazing restaurants and about a five-minute walk from the beach. Hands down the best hostel I’ve ever stayed at!

Food

My Friend – By far everyone’s favorite restaurant in Koh Phangan. The staff at our hostel recommended it and it just so happened to be a one minute walk from our hostel, too. We ate there for almost every meal and absolutely everything was amazing! Their yellow curry and pineapple curry were great, as well as their tom kha gai. I also really enjoyed their vegetable glass noodle soup (great for some revival after all of the buckets you’ll be drinking there). Don’t even get me started on their pad thai and mango and sticky rice…..SO GOOD!

Monalisa – Owned by an Italian and, let me tell you, the pizza tasted like we were in Rome! I went there two nights in a row and ordered the same exact thing….margherita pizza. They even have that spicy olive oil to compliment the pizza (not that it needed it!).

Mama Schnitzel – I only went here once, but this is the place that got me hooked on the vegetable glass noodle soup. Seriously so amazing, but be warned that your breathe will wreak of garlic after. Don’t worry, just drink a couple buckets after (or before) and the garlic won’t even phase you....or someone else!

Nightlife

Let’s be real, the only reason you’re going to Koh Phangan is for the partying. And by partying, obviously I mean the Full Moon Party. Unfortunately, there was no full moon party for the month of July (when I went), but I still got to go to a half moon party. It was definitely a night for the books. I somehow managed to stay up past sunrise until 7:30AM. The party doesn’t start till midnight and is in the middle of the jungle. The full moon party is located on the beach and has about 40,000 people. There is literally no room to move there and if you want to even attempt to move you have to walk waist deep in the ocean to get around people (as told by the lovely staff at The Dancing Elephant). What to wear to a full moon party: closed toed shoes (unless you want to step on glass). Don’t worry girls, everyone wears their nikes and it’s so packed with people that no one can even see your feet anyways. We bought shirts and shorts on the island, since there’s a good chance paint will end up getting on your clothes. Speaking of paint, get artistic and make some cool designs on your skin with the neon paint that looks awesome in the black light. Drink a ton of water during the day so you have a chance at lasting past sunrise and don’t even think about drinking before 7:00PM. We started drinking at 8:00 and drank one bucket, then went and ate pizza at Monalisa at 9:00, then went back to the buckets. If you can’t make it to a full moon party, don’t even worry there is plenty of nightlife that won’t disappoint! Every single night at Haad Rin beach there are parties….Every. Single. Night. There are games to play, fire jump roping, and plenty of entertainment. Honestly, I had just as much fun at Haad Rin Beach as I did at the half moon party!

Full Moon Party