Komodo Liveaboard – A Bucketlist ExperienceKollecting Koordinates - Komodo liveaboard

We recently received our advanced diving certification on a Komodo liveaboard with Uber Scuba Komodo. I went from having nightmares about scuba diving to loving it. We fell in love with the underwater world while completing our Open Water Course in Bali last year. Our goal is to dive the Darwin and Wolf Islands in Galapagos one day, which means we need more XP to level up in this scuba game.

Kollecting Koordinates - Komodo liveaboard

Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re planning a Komodo liveaboard:

What is a liveaboard?

You live on a boat for a couple of days and follow this cycle: eat, sleep, dive, repeat.

Why should I choose liveaboards over day trips?

Liveaboards allow divers to explore dive sites that are difficult to reach on day trips. Divers have the advantage to get to sites before day trippers and see marine life that are only visible at certain hours (early mornings and late nights).

How do I even get to Komodo?

Komodo National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site made up of 29 islands. Labuan Bajo, a fishing town on the western tip of Flores, is the entry port to Komodo.

Tip: Wings and Garuda Indonesia are the recommended airlines. Flight time from Bali is just over 1.5 hour.

Kollecting Koordinates - Komodo liveaboard

Why Komodo and what kind of marine life will I see?

Komodo National Park is where the Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean meet. The currents are intense, which means Komodo offers some of the richest marine biodiversity on Earth. It’s like being in a massive aquarium. On top of the bijillion species of fish that I can’t name, we also saw tons of sharks, mantas, turtles, stingrays, nudis, and cuttlefish… even a pygmy squid (the size of your fingernail) on our night dive!

How experienced do I have to be to join a Komodo liveaboard?

It’s recommended that divers have a minimum of Adventure Deep dive since most of these sites have strong currents and are deeper than 18m. If you are only Open Water certified, you can do your Advanced Course on board like we did.

If you don’t want to take the full Advanced Course you can opt for individual Deep and Night Adventure courses. You can simply sit out on these dives if you don’t want any training at all, but you’ll probably end up missing most of the fun stuff.

Just how strong are the currents in Komodo?

Pretty damn strong. Komodo has up and down, and even roller coaster type currents. We were exhausted after Tatawa Besar and had a difficult time hooking onto rocks at The Cauldron!

HOWEVER, the divemasters and crew know these dive sites like the back of their hands. They would jump into sea for a quick final check of currents before we all back-rolled in. Leave it to the pros to determine when to dive where.

What can I expect on a Komodo liveaboard?

If you choose a phenomenal dive operator like we did you’ll be in good hands. You’ll swim and dive in crystal clear waters, feast on gourmet meals, see Komodo dragons up close, and witness breathtaking sunrises and sunsets every day. An amazing crew will help with your heavy equipment and make sure you have dry fluffy towels after dives.

Oh yea, you get to befriend some pretty rad people along the way!

Kollecting Koordinates - Komodo liveaboard

Figgy prepping breakfast for us

Are there things to do other than diving on a Komodo liveaboard?

Yes! Our package included a trek on Rinca Island to see the famous lizards that can only be found in Komodo National Park: the Komodo Dragons. We also hiked up Gili Lawa Darat to catch the sunset one evening.

You can go snorkeling, swimming, or SUP-ing any time you want. On our last evening, the crew prepared a BBQ dinner on a secluded beach. They played music and sang for us, and even taught us some dance moves!

How do I choose the right operator for my Komodo liveaboard?

No one feels comfortable wiring such a large sum of money in advance, especially when shady boats and scams are all too common in Indonesia. Do your research; be wary of operators with sketchy reviews where the reviewer has only posted once (*cough* fake news).

I came across horror stories where people would pay up front, only to find that the dive center is nonexistent when they land in Labuan Bajo. Others end up in dirty and worst of all, unsafe boats.

Ask lots of questions: Is the dive centre PADI and/or SSI certified? What’s included/excluded from the total cost? Is the boat you paid for the actual boat you’re getting on?

After hours of scouring reviews and forums we decided on Uber Scuba, which proved to be the best decision ever! The staff were quick and helpful in responding my never-ending questions. Our boat, The Amalia, was exactly what we had expected.

Kollecting Koordinates - Komodo liveaboard

Our boat – The Amalia

What was The Amalia like?

Uber Scuba uses Amalia for liveaboard trips. It has 5 sleeping cabins, an upper sun deck with comfy day beds, and a spacious outdoor dining area connected to an indoor saloon and kitchen. Juices, tea, coffee, and snacks are available throughout the day.

Note: The double en-suites are perfect for couples. We had a private bathroom (marine toilet!) in our small but clean cabin.

The crew does an amazing job in keeping the whole boat tidy, including the wet station. Each of us had a designated spot for our BCD’s, tanks, fins and weights. The only thing you have to be responsible for is to hang your wet suit up after every dive.

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How much does a Komodo liveaboard cost?

Our 3-night Komodo liveaboard in the en-suite cabin came to $890USD per person, plus an additional $200USD for the Advanced Course. This includes everything except for the Park fees and alcoholic drinks. Not bad at all, especially when liveaboards in the Galapagos or Palau are in the thousands!

Kollecting Koordinates - Komodo liveaboard Disclaimer: This post was done in partnership with Uber Scuba Komodo. As always, our opinions and experiences are honest and our own. We wouldn’t recommend something if we didn’t love it ourselves!

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Heaven on Earth – Munduk Moding PlantationKollecting Koordinates - Munduk Moding Plantation

You’ve probably seen Munduk Moding Plantation’s award-winning infinity pool many times on social media, but there’s more to this resort than just its pool. Three days at MMP was the perfect end to our Bali adventures- except we wish we allocated more time here because there’s still so much we haven’t done!


Escape the crowds of South Bali and enjoy the unspoiled natural beauty of North Bali. With Lovina Beach in the north and Menjangan in the northwest, Munduk Moding Plantation is surrounded by jungles, rice fields, and hidden waterfalls. It’s just a short drive to the Twin Lakes of Tamblingan and Buyan. Bedugul, where Ulun Danu Bratan Temple is located, is also close by.

MMP is not just a luxury resort- it’s an organic coffee plantation too. It is the only place in Bali offering luwak coffee harvested from the wild, unlike other plantations that inhumanely cage these animals. 

Apart from ethical farming practices, MMP gives back to the community by offering job opportunities to the local population. Most of their staff are recruited from the Gobleg and Munduk villages. In addition, MMP works with schools to get children involved in traditional dance, music, and crafts.


A chrysanthemum wreath, cold towel, and welcome drink await you in the lobby as you make your way through the garden path. After a swift check-in, you’re whisked away to your suite or villa in a golf cart. Make yourself at home and munch on fresh fruits while flipping through the MMP activity book.

Note: Every unit has a mobile phone for guests to call the front desk and to take on their adventures.


Every evening, you’ll find a box of chocolates and a scroll in your villa. It contains a Balinese folklore (kind of like a bed time story!) along with a schedule of activities for the upcoming three days. These include yoga, bird watching, coffee roasting and cupping, kite making and flying, bamboo straw making, traditional Balinese dance performance, and traditional Balinese martial arts. You can even learn how to make towel animals and how to wear Balinese attire!

There’s an activity room on top of MiMPi Restaurant with a small gym, table tennis, and pool table. Still looking for more things to do? You can go riding around the plantation on one of four handsome horses.


We tried both the hot bamboo and hot stone Balinese massage. Unfortunately, there’s nothing to write home about in terms of the actual treatments- they felt a bit rushed. Nevertheless, it was still nice unwinding after a long day.


Munduk Moding Plantation offers free shuttle services to Munduk Waterfall and the Twin Lakes every morning at 9:30am. Shuttles to Bedugul leave at 12:30pm.

You can also request a driver for the day. Pricing is quite fair; it depends on the duration of your trip. For instance, a day tour (8hrs) costs 79USD.

Tip: Do not miss Banyumala Twin Falls!


A strong believer in sustainable agriculture, MMP grows their own fruits and veggies. MiMPi Restaurant serves Indonesian and fusion dishes, using organic, homegrown produce whenever possible.

Breakfast is served in the restaurant or in your own villa. Choose from Indonesian, Balinese, American, or Continental. Swing by at 4pm for afternoon tea- you can smell the freshly baked cookies from miles away!

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And finally, the incredibly IG-worthy 18m award-winning infinity pool. We were graced by the most breathtaking sunrises and sunsets every day. If you’ve seen ‘Passengers’, remember that gorgeous scene where JLaw was swimming towards stars in that gravity-defying pool? Go for a swim at dawn- it’ll feel reminiscent of that scene as you glide towards the moon.

Kollecting Koordinates - Munduk Moding Plantation

Sunset at MMP’s infinity pool


With only a handful of villas and suites (Garden Suite, 1-Bedroom Villa, 1-Bedroom Pool Villa, 2-Bedroom Coffee Villa, and 2-Bedroom Pool Villa) on 5 acres of land, guests have absolute peace and privacy. The only time when we saw other guests was at the pool and MiMPi Restaurant.

Note: There aren’t many rooms so book in advance!

Our beautiful 1-Bedroom Villa had huge glass panel doors on all sides, letting in lots of natural light. The warm interior is finished with hardwood floors and furniture, as well as marble floors in the bathroom. We could see rolling hills of lush vegetation from our king-size poster bed. On a clear day, the views extend out to the Java and Bali seas.

The bathroom is complete with a hand finished terrazzo bathtub and shower stall. A separate outdoor rainshower is steps away in a private garden. We even had his and hers sinks!

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Other tips & Info

  • Rates start at $170USD+ for Garden Suites, $200USD+ for 1-Bedroom Villas, $290USD+ for 1-Bedroom Pool Villas, and $480USD+ for 2-Bedroom Pool Villas.
  • There’s also one 4-Bedroom Pool Villa for large groups or families.
  • Breakfast is included in the nightly rate.
  • Because of the high altitude it can get chilly at night- bring layers!
  • For more information and current promos, visit their official website, Facebook, and Instagram pages.

Kollecting Koordinates - Munduk Moding Plantation Disclaimer: Many thanks to Munduk Moding Plantation for hosting our incredible stay. As always, all opinions and experiences are honest and our own. We wouldn’t recommend something if we didn’t love it ourselves!

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Kollecting Koordinates - Munduk Moding Plantation

Luxury meets nature in Ubud – Chapung Se Bali + Jungle FishWhere to stay in Ubud - Chapung Se Bali + Jungle Fish

With so many resorts to choose from, “where to stay in Ubud?” can be a tough question to answer… until you feast your eyes on Chapung Se Bali, that is! It’s one of those resorts where once you’re there, you won’t want (and don’t need) to leave. You may have already heard of its famous infinity pool and open-air restaurant: Jungle Fish, also known as the beach-less beach club in the middle of a jungle.

Where to stay in Ubud: Chapung Se Bali + Jungle Fish

Location & Space

Sitting high above the Osh Valley you’ll find Chapung Se Bali tucked away in a lush jungle. It’s hard to believe this secluded paradise is only 10 minutes away from the hectic Ubud Centre, and steps away from the scenic Campuhan Ridge Walk. This makes it the perfect home base for exploring Bali as you’re in the center of it all.

Tip: The resort offers complimentary shuttles to Ubud Centre upon request. Pickup/drop-offs are at Ubud Palace.

Over the years, the resort has evolved with new facilities and finer aesthetics. On top of the famed Jungle Fish, Chapung Se Bali has its own fine-dining restaurant, amenities room with a pool table and bar, and spa facilities. It even has its own mini rice terrace! The whole property screams luxury with an emphasis on natural wood and dark tones.

Note: The resort is undergoing construction in some areas as they continue with their improvements. (i.e. new gym with TRX training and a new pool)

Kollecting Koordinates - where to stay in Ubud

Where to stay in Ubud – Chapung Se Bali’s own rice terrace

Kollecting Koordinates - where to stay in Ubud

Where to stay in Ubud – Chapung Se Bali’s own rice terrace

Villas & Suites

Chapung Se Bali offers four kinds of villas and suites: Deluxe Suites, Deluxe Pool Suites, 1-Bedroom Pool Villas, and 2-Bedroom Pool Villas. After touring all of them, we can safely conclude that you can’t go wrong with any room category. While the villas are more intimate, the suites offer an incredible jungle view.

We stayed in one of the brand new Deluxe Pool Suites and fell head over heels for the open floor plan and luxurious decor. The gigantic sliding doors let in plenty of natural sunlight during the day. Complete with a private plunge pool and day bed, contemporary furnishings, spacious living area, walk-through closet, and king-size bed, these suites are probably bigger than our apartment back home!

Where to stay in Ubud – Deluxe Pool Suite at Chapung Se Bali

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Where to stay in Ubud – Deluxe Pool Suite’s private plunge pool

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Kollecting Koordinates - where to stay in Ubud 1

Chapung Spa

Pamper yourself with a rejuvenating treatment (or two) at Chapung Spa. Many of the products used are natural and homemade. We were blown away by our 60min Balinese Massage with Suda and Dewa. I was a little iffy about having a male therapist but Suda’s massage was ah-mazing. Our treatment ended with a fruit salad and warm cinnamon tea.

Highly trained therapists aside, the setting is breathtaking! Birds chirping. River flowing. The treatment room looks into endless greens, letting in a refreshing breeze.

Kollecting Koordinates - where to stay in Ubud

Where to stay in Ubud – Chapung Spa at Chapung Se Bali

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READ MORE: Heaven on earth at Munduk Moding Plantation

Di Abing Restaurant

Candle-lit tables fill this open-air restaurant with an incredible jungle view. From the moment we entered we knew it was going to be a fabulous meal. Picture an upscale restaurant in your home city with a 5* rating  on Yelp that’s in the $$$$ price range. That’s Di Abing- quality, romantic fine-dining except it’s at an affordable price.

Budi was extremely attentive- perhaps the most professional server we’ve encountered in Bali. The mister and I shared the pulled beef rendang, crispy pork belly, rib-eye steak, and chocolate lava cake. Every bite was better than the last!

It’s a shame this restaurant is not more frequented since it’s not in Ubud Centre. The quality of food and service here is definitely one of the best we’ve had in Bali.

Tip: The restaurant opens at 6pm; go early to enjoy the view before night falls.

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Jungle Fish Restaurant

Breakfast is served in your room (à la carte) or at Jungle Fish Restaurant (buffet style). Do both! Like Di Abing, diners can swoon over spectacular views while they indulge in delicious food.

READ More: 12 Things to do in Bali for first-timers

Jungle Fish

This jungle beach club is a “must-do” when you’re in Ubud. Guests of Chapung Se Bali can avoid the afternoon rush and get first dibs on seating. Grab a daybed, order some food, slather on sunscreen, and soak up the sun at this breathtaking infinity pool.

Kollecting Koordinates - where to stay in Ubud

Jungle Fish Pool Bar serves delicious pasta and burgers! Dont miss the chocolate milkshake

Where to stay in Ubud - Jungle Fish at Chapung Se Bali

Where to stay in Ubud – Jungle Fish at Chapung Se Bali

Where to stay in Ubud - Jungle Fish at Chapung Se Bali

Where to stay in Ubud – Chapung Se Bali + Jungle Fish

Other tips & Info

  • Rates start at $350CAD+ for Deluxe Suites, $420CAD+ for Deluxe Pool Suites, $600CAD+ for 1-Bedroom Villas, and $700CAD+ for 2-Bedroom Villas.
  • Breakfast is included in the nightly rate.
  • Call the front desk in advance to book the complimentary shuttle service to/from Ubud Centre.
  • Entry to Jungle Fish is free for guests, or 150,000IDR for visitors.
  • For more information and current promos, visit their official website, Facebook, and Instagram pages.

Where to stay in Ubud - Chapung Se Bali + Jungle FishDisclaimer: Many thanks to Chapung Se Bali for hosting our amazing stay. As always, all opinions and experiences are honest and our own. We wouldn’t recommend something if we didn’t love it ourselves!

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Kollecting Koordinates - where to stay in Ubud

Perfect base to explore Nusa Penida and Nusa LembonganKollecting Koordinates - where to stay in Nusa

Just a short ferry ride from Sanur are the Nusa Islands. We missed out on this part of Bali last year so we were eager to cross it off our list this time! Deciding on where to stay in Nusa Lembongan and Penida was easy- a quick search using any hotel booking engine will show you Batu Karang Lembongan Resort & Day Spa sitting pretty at #1. It became clear to us that this ranking is no joke from the moment we landed in Denpasar.

Kollecting Koordinates - where to stay in Nusa

4:30pm. Our driver, , had waited over an hour for us but we were still in the immigrations line. Worried we weren’t going to make our 5:30pm boat ride from Sanur we called Luca, the bar manager, who got in touch with Putu and Rocky Fast Boat. By the time we hopped on the car it was already 5pm. It was a bad day for traffic at DPS- it took us an hour just to get out of the airport!

6pm. Putu had spent the last hour driving as fast as he could through that crazy Bali traffic and begging the boat to wait for us. We were still on the road when the last boat sailed. Our hearts sank. The general manager called and said we’d have to stay in Sanur for the night before catching the earliest boat over to Lembongan the following day.

Read more: Luxury meets Nature at Chapung Se Bali, Ubud

Then a miracle happened. “Lembongan! Lembongan!” Bursting with joy, Putu put the pedal to the metal and told us to get ready to run- a boat was waiting for us at Sanur! It was 6:11pm and we were the only 2 passengers on the way to Nusa Lembongan. By 7pm we were sipping on our welcome drinks at Batu Karang!

Where to stay in Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida

Location & Space

Batu Karang Lembongan Resort & Day Spa is footsteps away from the speedboat harbour, where Rocky and Scoot dock. The famous yellow bridge connecting Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan lies on the other side of the resort, just a short ride away. You can reach Nusa Penida within 15 minutes by speedboat from the yellow bridge. This makes Batu Karang the perfect home base for exploring the Nusa Islands.

Because the property sits on a slope, all villas and common grounds have a breathtaking view of crystal clear turquoise waters. Golf carts are available to transport guests who have rooms up the hill and those requiring mobility assistance.

Kollecting Koordinates - where to stay in Nusa

Where to stay in Nusa Penida and Lembongan – Batu Karang

Kollecting Koordinates - where to stay in Nusa

Where to stay in Nusa Penida and Lembongan – Villas at Batu Karang

Facilities & Amenities

Get pampered at the Lulur Spa after a long day of exploring the Nusa Islands, or chill by the pool. Two is better than one, but what about 3 pools, including one with a swim-up bar? Those looking to stay in shape on vacation can take advantage of the gym and steam room. A day lounge is also available to facilitate early arrivals and late departures. There’s even a mini movie theatre!

Kollecting Koordinates - where to stay in Nusa

Where to stay in Nusa Penida and Lembongan – Batu Karang

Kollecting Koordinates - where to stay in Nusa

Where to stay in Nusa Penida and Lembongan – Batu Karang

Kollecting Koordinates - where to stay in Nusa

Villas & Suites

Whether it’s a double room or a 3-bedroom villa, all 6 different room categories capture the essence of being home away from home. The villas and suites are luxurious and spacious; designs reflect traditional Balinese architecture with a modern flair.

We stayed in the air-conditioned 1 bedroom villa, furnished with a comfy king size bed with mosquito net, personal safe, workstation, and plush robes. The large balcony was perfect for yoga morning sessions and relaxation on the daybed. On top of a fully stocked mini bar and coffee/tea-maker, complimentary bottles of drinking water are replenished daily. Our favourite part was the private outdoor shower and beautifully hand carved bathtub.

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Kollecting Koordinates - where to stay in Nusa

Where to stay in Nusa Penida and Lembongan – Batu Karang

Kollecting Koordinates - where to stay in Nusa

Where to stay in Nusa Penida and Lembongan – Batu Karang

Drink & Eat

Muntigs Bar & Restaurant, The Deck Cafe & Bar, The Howff, The Balcony- all of Batu Karang’s on-site bars and restaurants offer a stunning view of the beach and Mount Agung in the distance. Grab a seat and enjoy a beautiful sunset over delicious food and drinks. Luca and his staff will take care of your dining experience; Wiran and Ray really stood out as fantastic servers.

Breakfast is complimentary at Muntigs or The Deck- the Islander Bowl was so good that I had it every morning! Muntigs also offers fine dining in a gorgeous setting. The seafood laksa and beef rendang set the standards high for the rest of our trip.

Where to stay in Nusa Penida and Lembongan – Muntigs Restaurant at Batu Karang

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Our personal favourite were the drinks and tapas at The Howff Whisky, Gin, & Wine Bar, a romantic speakeasy tucked away from the island bustle.

For a more laidback meal head to The Deck; their burgers are finger-lickin’ good! Happy Hour is from 5 – 6:30pm every day with 25% off selected cocktails and beers. There’s also live music with DJ’s spinning from 5-8pm at Sunday Sunset Sessions.

Kollecting Koordinates - where to stay in Nusa

Kollecting Koordinates - where to stay in Nusa

Where to stay in Nusa Penida and Lembongan – Batu Karang

Other tips & Info

  • Rates start at $260CAD+ for Twin Rooms, $290CAD+ for Double Rooms, and $325CAD+ for 1 Bedroom Villas.
  • Breakfast is included in the nightly rate.
  • WiFi signal is strong throughout the whole resort! h
  • Rocky Fast Boat is the recommended boat service from Sanur; 500,000IDR for a round-trip transfer. The resort can arrange this for you.
  • Pickup/drop-off in mainland Bali is available for a fee.
  • For more information and current promos, visit their official website, Facebook, and Instagram pages.

Kollecting Koordinates - where to stay in Nusa
Disclaimer: Many thanks to Batu Karang Lembongan Resort & Day Spa for hosting us. All opinions and experiences are honest and our own- we wouldn’t recommend something if we didn’t love it ourselves!

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Kollecting Koordinates - where to stay in Nusa

12 Must-Do’s for first-timers in Bali, IndonesiaKollecting Koordinates - Things to do in Bali - Kintamani

Some people say Bali is overrated and that it’s lost its magic over the years. I say those people must be on something 😛 The list of things to do in Bali for first-timers can go on forever, you’ll never run out of things to do! We spent a week in Bali and only scratched the surface of this paradise- there’s still so much left to be explored.

Bali’s one of those places that made us go “Okay, we’re definitely coming back”… and we are! We loved it so much that we just booked our flights to revisit this fall. There’s still so much we want to accomplish but first, here are 12 of many, many things to do in Bali for first-timers.

Kollecting Koordinates - Things to do in Bali - Kintamani

12 things to do in Bali for first-timers

1. DON’T try the Kopi Luwak, or cat poo coffee

Known to be the most expensive coffee in the world, it’s actually brewed from the feces of an Indonesian cat-like animal called the civet. They feed on coffee cherries, magic happens in their digestive system, and out comes these ridiculously priced coffee beans. However, most coffee plantations in Bali force feed these animals and cage them up in appalling conditions. Perhaps it’s not as intense as the making of foie gras but still pretty damn inhumane.

2. Visit rice terraces and rice fields

One of the main things to do in Bali for first-timers is to visit rice paddies, and Tegalalang is the obvious choice. If you want to avoid the crowds, head to Jatiluwih instead. But really, there are rice fields everywhere! We saw so many driving through the rural areas of Bali.

Kollecting Koordinates - Things to do in Bali for first-timers - Rice Fields

Tegalallang Rice Terraces

Kollecting Koordinates - Things to do in Bali for first-timers - Rice Fields

rice fields outside Karsa Spa Ubud

3. Stay at a villa, live like a king

You can live like a king for the price of a 3-star hotel in metropolitan cities (i.e. Vancouver, New York). Ours at The Amala came with a private plunge pool, outdoor jacuzzi tub, and a steam room- all within our own suite! You can easily spend a day just relaxing, doing absolutely nothing.

Kollecting Koordinates - The Amala

breakfast at our private pool at The Amala

4. Make friends with monkeys

Or not, they might have rabies and most likely carry other diseases. Remembering what our travel doctor said, we tried our best to keep our distance. It was awesome seeing so many monkeys monkeying around because they’re so smart. A baby monkey tried to steal my clutch while another little dude tried to pickpocket AS!

We only visited the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, but our driver said that the ones at Uluwatu Temple are a lot more feisty. Regardless, keep your hands to yourself and your personal belongings close or hidden.

Kollecting Koordinates - Things to do in Bali - Monkey Forest

little thief

Kollecting Koordinates - Things to do in Bali - Monkey Forest

5. Chill out at infinity pools

Do you like infinity pools overlooking the jungle or do you prefer listening to the ocean while you sip on a tropical drink? The choice is yours depending on where you stay. You can still find stunning infinity pools at reasonably priced resorts even if you don’t have a fat wallet to afford the Hanging Gardens. If your resort or villa doesn’t come with an infinity pool, you can simply spend a day at Jungle Fish.

Kollecting Koordinates - Puri Gangga Resort

infinity pool at Puri Gangga Resort Bali

infinity pool at Bisma Eight Ubud

6. Go temple hopping

Visiting temples is one of the top things to do in Bali for first-timers. While Indonesia has a Muslim-majority population, the predominant religion in Bali is Balinese Hinduism, which is a fusion of Buddhism and Shivaism. Pura, or Balinese temples, integrate core beliefs of Hinduism and Indian spiritual ideas.

Uluwatu, Tanah Lot, Tirta Gangga, Goa Gajah, Ulun Danu Beratan, and Besakih are some of the most popular ones. Because these temples are scattered throughout Bali, you’ll have to group them by region and plan your itinerary accordingly so you’re not wasting the whole day on the road. 

Pura Lempuyang is by far our favourite one. It’s waaay out in the east but the scenery at the ‘Gateway to Heaven’ is second to none.

Kollecting Koordinates - Things to do in Bali for first-timers - Pura Lempuyang

Gateway to Heaven at Pura Lempuyang

7. Pig out on healthy delicious food

Using a variety of spices, fresh veggies, and meats, there’s a hint of Indonesian, Chinese, and Indian flair in Balinese food. Our favourite dish is probably the glass noodles at Bambu Restaurant in Seminyak.

Because it’s a tropical island, Bali is loaded with tons of fresh fruits and veggies. Lots of restaurants serve organic cuisine using only fresh local ingredients, making healthy eating very easy. Earth Cafe and Kafe Ubud are perfect examples!

8. Always chase waterfalls

Home to many stunning waterfalls, Bali is the place to prove those TLC girls wrong. Some waterfalls you can swim in, some you can slide down, and others you can only watch from afar. Just look at how many there are!

Our favourite is the Nungnung Waterfall. We had to descend down around 500 steps to reach this oasis, which means it was a strenuous hike back up. It was totally worth it though, because we had this all to ourselves!

Kollecting Koordinates - Things to do in Bali - Nungnung Waterfall

9. Take a cooking class

Learn how to make local cuisines from scratch! We learned how to cook a 3-course Balinese meal at The Amala: lawar salad, tum ikan, and dadar gulung.

10. Get pampered, treat yoself

Massages are dirt cheap here- without losing quality! Most resorts have an on-site spa. Many also offer a complimentary 30min massage when you book a stay with them.

Our favourite is Karsa Spa in Ubud. Surrounded by rice fields, its idyllic location is perfect for some R&R. The best part? A 60min massage is only 160,000IDR, which is around $15CAD! A flower bath can be added for an additional 160,000IDR.

Kollecting Koordinates - Things to do in Bali for first-timers - Spa

flower bath at Karsa Spa in Ubud

11. Go scuba diving

I legit thought I was going to drown when I went diving the first time in Oahu but I’m so glad I gave it another shot in Bali. We got PADI certified last spring with Bali Aqua and it was one of the most surreal experiences ever. I’d have to say that diving is one of the best things to do in Bali for first-timers.

We checked out the USS Liberty Shipwreck in Tulamben, swam with manta rays in Nusa Penida, and were carried by the currents through a giant aquarium while drift diving in Nusa Lembongan.

Kollecting Koordinates - Things to do in Bali - Manta Point

mantas in Nusa Penida

Kollecting Koordinates - Things to do in Bali - Shipwreck

shipwreck dive in Tulamben

12. Catch the Mount Batur sunrise

If you can wake up at 2am for a hike, you’ll be rewarded with a majestic 360-degree view of the sunrise on the summit of Mount Batur. Or if you’re lazy like us, just ask a driver to take you to Kintamani. The sunrise seen from here is still gorgeous, no?

Kollecting Koordinates - Things to do in Bali - Sunrise

Kollecting Koordinates - Things to do in Bali - Sunrise

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Kollecting Koordinates - Things to do in Bali


Unforgettable jungle stay – Bisma Eight UbudKollecting Koordinates - Bisma Eight

We had the pleasure of indulging in one of Bisma Eight’s 38 suites. This is a fairly new luxury boutique hotel (opened in early 2015) that’s very close to Ubud Centre. Surrounded by a lush jungle and rice fields, it only takes 10-15 minutes to walk to Ubud Market and the Monkey Forest. The location is unbeatable!

Kollecting Koordinates - Bisma Eight

From the moment our cab pulled up to Bisma Eight we were treated like royalty. Staff with huge smiles rushed over to greet us and carry our bags. Welcome drinks were served promptly and we were each given canang sari to offer to Ganesha, the God of knowledge and wisdom, at a small shrine in the lobby.

Bisma Eight prides itself in being more than just a hotel- it is a community that embraces even the smallest act, ensuring a unique experience for both their guests and staff. We were immersed in a relaxing atmosphere right from the get-go. The property takes on a minimalist, yet classy design. This bamboo path leading from the lobby to our building blends in seamlessly with the gorgeous architecture and grounds.

Kollecting Koordinates - Bisma Eight

Kollecting Koordinates - Bisma Eight

We stayed one night at a Forest Suite, located at the west end of the property. All the Forest Suites offer a jungle view from a private balcony (from the bed too, actually!). Because our suite was on the ground floor, we could only see the base of the trees. Don’t get me wrong, it was still lush and beautiful. But I’d imagine the higher floors would offer a better sweeping panoramic view of the jungle from the treetops.

Our suite was MASSIVE; it came with all the essentials plus more. There were more than enough outlets (always a problem when we have so many electronics to charge) and the WiFi signal was very strong (wasn’t always the case in Bali). Not only did we get our own living room with tons of space for luggage storage and a huge bed with a forest view, but also a Japanese inspired soaking tub in our bathroom! I adored the interior design- the minimalist approach with a wooden touch was so chic and luxurious.

Kollecting Koordinates - Bisma Eight

After we settled in, we got a knock on our door with afternoon tea. Each individual treat was a burst of flavour, leaving us wanting more.

Kollecting Koordinates - Bisma Eight

Copper Kitchen & Bar

Bisma Eight’s rooftop restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor seating. We dined here for both lunch and dinner- it gave off a different vibe in the day vs. night. During the day, you can see the fields of greens and volcanoes in the distance while you enjoy your food. AS devoured his Focaccia Club while I munched on my healthy vegetarian Bisma Eight Bowl. Only fresh, local ingredients are used and they even have their own organic garden where they grow their own produce!

Kollecting Koordinates - Bisma Eight

After dark, the restaurant comes to life with romantic lights and candles. The ambience is perfect for a dinner date with beautifully presented fusion dishes. Both our entrees were delicious, but the star of the meal was this dragon fruit tart with milk rocks and meringue. It’s so pretty. And it was as yummy as it looks- tangy with just the right amount of sweetness.

Kollecting Koordinates - Bisma Eight

We chose to have our breakfast served on our private balcony. With 11 options to choose from (western, Balinese, Japanese, and Korean), there’s something for everyone. The pastries were full of buttery goodness and both our mains were cooked to perfection. I love how the fruits were served with a piece of lime- the tiny bit of sourness makes them much sweeter.

Kollecting Koordinates - Bisma Eight


There are also yoga classes every morning that take place on the roof top. AS tried yoga for the first time and he loved it! Although there is no spa facility at Bisma Eight, there is a stunning infinity pool and a well-equipped gym. We were finally able to burn off some of the fat we’ve gained, hah. Nothing feels better than letting loose and relaxing after a workout. That was exactly what we did- we went back to our suite for a soak.

Kollecting Koordinates - Bisma Eight

It takes around 45 minutes to fill up the tub but trust me, it’s worth the wait!

Kollecting Koordinates - Bisma Eight

There are both daybeds and cabanas by the infinity pool, along with a rooftop pool bar with an equally gorgeous jungle view. The pool is even heated at night. Daybeds get filled up quickly but we never had an issue with finding a spot. This was the perfect place to unwind and get your tan on.


  • Rates start at 330CAD a night (before taxes), breakfast inclusive.
  • It’s just a little over an hour from the airport by car, which costs around 300-350K IDR (~$30-35).
  • Stay in a Forest Suite and request a room on the 3rd floor.
  • All the suites are equipped with a Japanese onsen tub, regardless of room type.
  • For more information and current promos, check out their official websiteInstagramFacebook, and Twitter pages.

Kollecting Koordinates - Bisma Eight

Disclaimer: AS and I were invited guests at Bisma Eight. However, all opinions are our own and we wouldn’t recommend something if we didn’t love it ourselves! 

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Kollecting Koordinates - Bisma Eight

Indulge in luxury and zen at The AmalaKollecting Koordinates - The Amala

Our 10 days in Bali were so packed with activities that we were drained by the end of the trip. Looking back, AS and I agree that the day we liked most was our first day in Bali. With so much Bali has to offer, we’re a little embarrassed to admit that we really enjoyed being cooped up in our villa at The Amala.

Kollecting Koordinates - The Amala

After landing at Denpasar Airport, we were picked up and transported to an adults-only sanctuary tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Seminyak. One of 6 Lifestyle Retreats’ properties in Bali, The Amala is ideal for wellness retreats offering both luxury and zen. Amelie and her team greeted us with huge smiles and welcome drinks upon arrival. A swift check-in ensued, then we were led to our very own Spa Villa through a lush bamboo path.

Kollecting Koordinates - The Amala

There are only 14 guest units at The Amala, giving guests complete intimacy. Each unit utilizes an open-air concept that is absolutely stunning. Our spa villa came with a private plunge pool with jacuzzi jets, daybeds, an outdoor bathtub, and a shower that doubles as a steam room. The steam shower can be scented with either ginger green tea or spiced citrus depending on your mood. Our bed was even decorated with swan towels and bamboo leaves, congratulating our wedding anniversary!

A complimentary shuttle will take you anywhere in Seminyak, given that it is available at the time of request. We weren’t so lucky in getting a ride to our dinner reservation, but it only cost us around $3 to get there by cab so it wasn’t a big deal. Free yoga is also available at 8am every morning- you can also sign up for additional wellness sessions and classes at an extra cost.

Kollecting Koordinates - The Amala

Breakfast was served right by our plunge pool. Not only do they have Western and Indonesian options, but also Japanese!

cooking class

When we were in Bangkok we had a blast at a cooking class so we wanted to sign up for one in Bali. However, we found that most cooking classes in Bali are only offered in big classes where you have to share workstations with others (not our thing). The one offered at The Amala is completely private! We signed up for Menu 1 with Chef Wayan, who was very patient with my husband who doesn’t have any culinary knowledge. The staff also noticed the number of bug bites we had and set up mosquito repellent without us having to ask.

We learned how to make a 3-course Indonesian meal, including a spicy chilli paste from scratch that’s highly addictive. We present to you: lawar salad, tum ikan, and dadar gulung! This was definitely the best lunch we had in Bali.

Kollecting Koordinates - The Amala


After the cooking class came our couples massage at their Spa & Wellness Studio. I booked us a Balinese Exotic Fruit package, which is a 2hr treatment beginning with a foot bath/scrub, followed by a traditional full body massage, a scrub and wrap, and finally a flower bath. The drinks – freshly pressed juice and hot ginger tea- were the cherry on top. Our masseuses, Rassmi and Vidya, were gentle with great technique and power. They were so good that I fell asleep and drooled!

We really loved the peace and tranquillity The Amala. The service was next level- Amelie and her team pride themselves on a personal level of service that is second to none. Because it was our first stay in Bali, it set the bar extremely high. AS still can’t stop talking about our experience here. We wish we had stayed longer!

Kollecting Koordinates - The Amala

Disclaimer: We received a discounted rate for our experience at The Amala. However, all opinions are our own and we wouldn’t recommend something if we didn’t love it ourselves! 

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Kollecting Koordinates - The Amala

Home away from home: Puri Gangga Resort UbudKollecting Koordinates - Puri Gangga Resort

Puri Gangga Resort Ubud was our last home in Bali- we call it home because it really did feel like home, even if it was just for a brief 2 nights. This luxury boutique resort is not really in Ubud- it’s actually in a lovely village called Sebatu (about a 20-30min drive away from Ubud Centre), further up from Tegalallang rice fields. It’s one of those places where it may look unassuming online, but it’ll take your breath away when you’re actually there.

Kollecting Koordinates - Puri Gangga Resort

Nestled up on a hill in the forest, it’s away from the hustle and bustle of Ubud but still has easy access to many attractions. It’s just a 5-10min walk from Gunung Kawi temple, and only a 30min drive to see the Mount Batur sunrise from Kintamani! The location is hard to beat, especially when they offer daily complimentary shuttle services to Ubud Centre that run every 3 hours.

After a warm welcome and swift check-in we were taken to our room. The grounds are beautifully kept with endless greens and bamboo paths. With only 20 rooms, we felt like we had the whole resort to ourselves. Other than at the pool and restaurant, we never saw other guests!

We were in the Deluxe Room for 2 nights. Even at the most basic tier, our room came with a private balcony overlooking a small pond and garden. Imagine what the other rooms are like! Ours had all the essential amenities, with a mosquito net that came in handy (we lost count of how many bites we got in Bali). The washroom utilizes an open concept with a rainfall shower and humongous bathtub. Unfortunately, the blinds by the tub were broken in our room. It would’ve been awesome to take a bubble or flower bath with a view of the lush garden.

Puri Gangga prides itself in being “A Home in Living Culture”- and rightfully so. There are paid activities you can take part in, such as the Holy Water Spring purification, candlelit dinners, spa treatments, and Balinese cooking classes. If you don’t want to pay extra, there are TONS of other free activities you can take advantage of. These include guided morning walks, yoga classes, free bike rental, Balinese music during dinner, 15min foot massage, temple visit to Gunung Kawi, and handicraft lessons! They’ll teach you how to wrap coconut leaves and make Canang Sari- the daily offerings in little baskets that you see everywhere in Bali.

Complimentary afternoon tea (Balinese treats!) can be enjoyed daily from 3-5pm at Kailasha Restaurant. We also had lunch and dinner here a few times; AS loved the Rendang Curry. The tables by the railing have such an amazing view!

We had breakfast (complimentary for resort guests) served on our balcony. The staff were super punctual- we asked for a 7:30am breakfast and we got a knock on our door at 7:29am. (Yes, I kept track because because I’m obsessed with breakfasts- I want it when I ask for it!) We had 4-5 selections to choose from (American, Balinese, Continental, etc.) with freshly squeezed juice. I loved their pain au chocolat!

Kollecting Koordinates - Puri Gangga Resort

The BEST part of Puri Gangga is their infinity pool. It can get pretty packed with all the day beds occupied in the afternoon but the view is absolutely gorgeous. I don’t think pictures do it justice! The best time to take a dip is at dawn and dusk- it’s less busy (or empty in the morning), and the colours in the sky against the still pool water will make you speechless.

Kollecting Koordinates - Puri Gangga Resort

Kollecting Koordinates - Puri Gangga Resort

Something special about this resort is how close we were to wildlife and animals. I got a little addicted to the sound of the Tokay gecko during our stay. They come out at night and they make the funniest little sounds! I had a giggle fit every time and got quite good at imitating them. There were also little frogs bouncing around throughout the resort as well as a cow right next door (fenced off). We even saw chickens running around in our garden one morning!

It was difficult leaving Puri Gangga- it made the end of our Bali trip so bittersweet. What I miss the most about this place is one of the front desk agents: Nara! She was so sweet, courteous, and helpful- nothing seemed too much to ask of her. She helped us book a driver, super last minute, when ours failed to respond on time. Thank you Nara, Mr. Adita, Mr. Mudatra, and all the staff for making our stay so enjoyable. We can’t wait to return!


  • Early bird specials start at 150CAD a night (before taxes). They always have a bunch of promos and special packages you can take advantage of.
  • It’s a 90min drive from the airport, which costs about 400K IDR (~$40).
  • Stay longer! Our 2-night stay was way too short.
  • For more information, check out their official website, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter pages.

Kollecting Koordinates - Puri Gangga Resort

Disclaimer: AS and I were invited guests at Puri Gangga Resort. However, all opinions are our own and we wouldn’t recommend something if we didn’t love it ourselves! 

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Kollecting Koordinates - Puri Gangga


Review: IZE SeminyakKollecting Koordinates - IZE Seminyak

If you do a quick search for accommodation in Seminyak, you’ll find that most decent hotels will cost you an arm and a leg in this part of Bali. We planned on spending most of our nights in Ubud, but we didn’t want to miss out on the amazing restaurants Seminyak has to offer, nor did we want to throw down too much just for a night’s sleep… so we found the perfect solution: IZE Seminyak. IZE is one of 6 properties owned by lifestyleretreats, each catering to a unique crowd.

Situated right in the center of the action in Bali’s most luxurious and high-end area, IZE Seminyak is only a 5-minute walk away from Seminyak Square, and within walking distance to plenty of shops, bars, and restaurants. We had so many to choose from it was a struggle finding a place to eat! You’d think a hotel in such a great location would be ridiculously expensive or filthy (think Vegas)- but it is neither. The building stands out on the strip with its sleek and modern design. The entire hotel is cloaked in neutral tones and soft blue hues, inside and out. We loved the colours and found them calming (serenity is a little hard to come by in this area).

Kollecting Koordinates - IZE Seminyak

We sipped on yummy welcome drinks in the lobby while the front desk checked us in. Many sitting areas can be found throughout the hotel. These are perfect for both families and big groups.

Our Deluxe Room on the second floor was squeaky clean and massive- even the washroom was huge. An added bonus was the fresh fruits and complimentary drinks in the mini bar that came with the room.

One thing we loved about the washroom at IZE is the rainfall shower head, and that there is a mirror in the shower! It just makes so much sense to have a mirror in there. I’m all about being efficient- I could brush my teeth, remove my makeup, and wash my face while I condition my hair. Who doesn’t like to save time?!DSC03797

The rooms on the first floor have access to a shared private pool right from their balcony:

The public pool is located on the 7th floor along with a pool bar. Instead of going to the beach for the sunset, we caught the last glimpse of it from the rooftop pool. The same soft yet sleek design is reflected in their beautiful pool bar. The colour contrast and lines at this pool bar made the OCD part of me very happy, heh. IZE also has a gym for those that want to stay fit even on holidays.

Unfortunately we didn’t get to enjoy the complimentary breakfast buffet because we had to check out before 7am to go to Sanur for our PADI course. The staff didn’t send us off hungry, though. They packed us each with a breakfast box to-go, with some pastries, fresh fruits and juice.

I don’t think you can find another hotel in the area with so much to offer for less than $100. We did find our room on the second floor a little lacking in privacy and voiced our concern. Management quickly responded and mentioned they’re working on a new design to improve the privacy of certain rooms. If you’re looking for a secluded romantic getaway, you’re not going to find that at IZE because the area gets pretty bumpin’ at night. But if you’re looking for a convenient, comfortable stay with great amenities and easy access to lots of action, this is it!


Disclaimer: We received our IZE Seminyak stay at a discounted rate. As always, all opinions are our own!