Travel in 2016 was all a little bit spontaneous. I can clearly remember sitting down at the start of the year, a sudden brainwave to finally tackle Seoul – solo – and the next thing I knew, I was planning a two-week break in Tokyo with my brother and sister, a week away to Budapest with my sister. And then three entire weeks away in South East Asia with my boyfriend: Bali, Malaysia, Hong Kong.
Bali is an island that should be on everybody’s travel wishlist. It’d been on mine ever since Dad told me about his spontaneous travels as a teen. Beautiful islands, iconic rice paddies, incomparable cuisine and a culture soaked in visionary values and religion, Bali is absolutely a place to hit reset on your cluttered life and recharge. Our original plan was to head to Bali at the end of October to watch my beautiful cousin marry her childhood love but due to terrible timing, we ended flying out two weeks later in order to coincide the trip with other family commitments.
I’d planned to document the entire trip through the eyes of my DSLR with wonderfully composed tales of everything we did and create a Beginner’s Guide to Bali. But I decided to strip things back to basics, take my phone, switch off a little and simply share a me-to-you holiday photo album of our first holiday together…
Landing in paradise
After a hefty long-haul flight – with a layover at Doha – we arrived in the middle of the night to Denpasar airport in Bali. We stayed at The Apartments Canggu for our week there. An adorable three-part villa hosted by Ilaria via Airbnb, the apartment was our little home and haven – the outdoor-style shower, private pool and excellent A/C certainly helped us ease in to three weeks of the tropics! I really couldn’t recommend it more! I felt so run down and drained by the time that November rolled around that beach life was the ideal thing.
The little outdoors ‘garden’ area was our late night spot; not much beats long conversation under the stars with mee goreng and coconut water at your disposal, let me tell you that!
One of our favourite meals in Bali was at the wonderful Motel Mexicola, a casual Mexican restaurant situated in Seminyak (way more busy and tourist-heavy) that transforms into a bar by night. We were hosted for lunch by their wonderful press team – thanks Joseph for a great afternoon! – and ate like KINGS. I’m working on a post all about that at the moment! And that’s the thing about Bali, it’s a melting pot of cuisines, culture, lifestyles and people. We met so many great people out there! Which leads me to…
Da Maria! Harvey and I were lucky enough to also be invited to sample the menu and an incredible night out at the newly opened Italian restaurant in Seminyak. I’ve been itching to share photos from that night! We felt so grateful to have been able to ‘work’ from all the way over in Bali.
That Canggu lifestyle
By far, my favourite thing about Bali was the area that we stayed in. Harvey had already been to Bali before so he had a huge list of best places to eat and drink that he took us to by bike (it was my first time!) and I just loved the easy-going, community vibes of Canggu. I’ve never been a believer of beach holidays, preferring city breaks and being a little more hands-on, but this was the perfect trip. We explored, we ate, we reclined by the pool and pretended we were on our honeymoon, we befriended an entire family of water frogs, Harvey picked fresh frangipani flowers for me everyday… and we rested. It was such bliss to be away, to feel relaxed, to be with each other and to be happily disconnected from the world.
You must visit Crate, a cute coffee house/cafe, if you’re in the Canggu area. SO damn good. Their juices and breakfasts are ridiculously tasty and ridiculously affordable. Another place of recommendation is Quince, a wonderful coffee shop with a meticulously well curated homeware store attached. Absolute life goals. Oh, and you must also traipse through Echo Beach and drink coconuts with your toes in the glittering black sand.
Five bikinis, insane sunburn, a new love for Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Cream and countless beautiful sunsets aside, that was a tiny tiny peek into our first Bali escape together.