My next destination was the enchanting island of Bali! From sun-soaked beaches to mouthwatering delicacies, let me take you on a journey through my Bali escapade that was nothing short of a sensory delight!

I kicked off my Balinese adventure with a breezy flight from Jakarta to Bali, an island about the size of Delaware, where I taxied to Canggu. Nestled at the Legong Keraton Beach Hotel, right next to the legendary Finns Beach Club, my days were a perfect blend of sun, sand, and scrumptious bites. Picture this: waking up to a seaside breakfast with the freshest local fruits – an idyllic start to every day!

My hotel in Canggu.

I spent my evenings at Milano Italian restaurant enjoying wood-fired pizza, but mostly hung out at the Alma Tapas Bar.  At Alma, I enjoyed a variety of wonderful meals including jamon serrano (dry cured ham from Spain), queso Manchego (sheep’s cheese from Spain’s La Mancha region); Croquetas de Jamon (serrano ham croquets with mojo picon sauce), Pulpo a la Gallega (Octopus, potatoes, paprika, olive oil, and sea salt), and calamari relleno: a squid stuffed with chorizo, pork belly, apples and onions – a flavor explosion!

Moving on to Kuta Beach, I checked into the Grand Istana Rama Hotel. Hard shell smoked beef tacos at Luber were a highlight, along with evenings filled with live music at the hotel restaurant. Indonesian and international delicacies added a flavorful touch to my stay, making it an unforgettable experience.

For a splash of adventure, I hired a driver and headed to Padang Bai for a snorkeling extravaganza. I dove into the crystal-clear waters, discovering an abundance of fish species and even stumbled upon the elusive “Nemo” fish, hiding among the vibrant anemones. It was a mesmerizing aquatic spectacle!

Driving in Bali.

No trip to Bali is complete without a visit to the yogi-haven of Ubud! Bebek Joni stole my heart with its traditional Balinese crispy duck. Surrounded by picturesque rice fields, the restaurant offered a perfect blend of delicious cuisine and breathtaking views.

During the ride back to Kuta, we were forced to stop the car and wait.  I ventured out to discover a funeral procession taking place.  It was a rare and unique view into the soul of the Balinese people and tradition, as women paraded with baskets of various contents, and men carried a multi-tiered contraption made of bamboo, paper, silk, flowers, and many colorful objects.

A rare spectacle.

Caffeine lovers, this one’s for you! At the national Pondok Sari Luwak Coffee Reserve, I indulged in a coffee tasting extravaganza. From traditional Balinese coffee to vanilla, coconut, turmeric, avocado, ginseng, chocolate, and ginger coffees, to pandanus, ginger, lemongrass, mangosteen, and rosella teas; I tried them all.  I ended with a cup of the uniquely famous Civet or “Poop” coffee (made from beans that have been digested by a civet cat).  A civet is a kind of weasel that consumes coffee cherries. 

The enzymes in the animal reduces the acidity of the beans, producing a high quality, rare, and very expensive coffee; my taste buds were treated to a symphony of flavors. Energized by the caffeine rush, I hiked through the adjacent elevated rice fields, before ending my day the same way I ended every day in Bali, with magical sunset views on the beach.

Rice fields.

From culinary delights to underwater wonders, this island paradise is a feast for the senses. Stay tuned for more travel tales and epicurean adventures. Until next time, keep exploring and savoring the world!

Bye-bye Bali!

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