Bali Baes (AKA 6 days in Ubud – A Review)

Yes yes excuse the slightly tacky title that me and 2 friends named ourselves during our 6 day adventure in Ubud.

So Ubud is quite a popular tourist destination ever since the movie “Eat, Pray, Love” came out. I could describe my time there simply as “Eat, Haggle, Take-50-pictures-of-friends-so-at-least-1-turns-out”.

We stayed about a 15 minute drive outside of the city at Gangga Blessta Homestay. If you ever find yourself in Ubud book yourself in here because the level of service we received and the friendships we forged will forever stay with us.

We decided to hit the Traditional Art Market in Ubud for our first day. Not so much a traditional market as a souvenir market, the 3 of us got to practice our haggling, to very satisfying success. I admit that I usually am too shy to haggle, don’t feel like I should if the item is already fairly cheap, and always fear that I’m taking away money from the people who sell these things as a living. However, here, where everything is inflated to 3-5x the price it should be, it was time to refine my skills. The 3 things that seemed to work the best for me: Be smiley and have a fun tone when you name lower prices, go for the older stall ladies, and walking away with a smile and “no thanks”. I bought a bit more than anticipated…but I am being mindful of my budget, and am getting things I know I couldn’t find back home.

The next day was a long one. Tegenungan Waterfall and Pura Besakih, the most important temple on the island of Bali. The three of us found our “signature pose” while wandering the grounds with our guide. We also stopped by a coffee plantation and had a sampling tray of some of the most delicious teas and coffees I’ve ever tasted. If anyone reading this ever has the chance to try mangosteen tea and coconut coffee, accept ASAP.



When we fit in Jatiluwih Rice Terraces into the next day’s itinerary, we expcted maybe to spend an hour there. However, with walking paths covering the grounds encompassing no less than 600ha, we took 3 hours to wander and take ‘gram-worthy pictures. I loved these terraces because it was very easy to get away from the crowds. You simply walk a few minutes and you have a wonderful scenic area all to yourself.


The highlight of our Ubud adventures was definitely the sunrise treking adventure up the active volcano Mount Batur. 1am wake up, 2am pickup, 3am breakfast, and 4am start time. We reached the freezing cold and windy viewpoint at 5:30am, and even in leggings and a windbreaker I was shivering like crazy. I had to hold a freshly boiled egg in my hands for a slight bit of relief. Thankfully, after an absolutely gorgeous (but frickin cold) sunrise, walking in the direct sunlight helped to warm us quickly. A highlight of the trip, for sure.


We took a well deserved spa and ice cream filled itinerary the next day. With my skin still recovering from a sunburn I stupidly received in Sanur, and sore quads from the hike, I was most thankful for the full body massage, scrub, and yogurt rinse. Also because I won’t be able to be spoiled like that in Vancouver. Maybe for $200…

Also I am in love with mangosteens and don’t even want to think of what I’m going to do when I can’t find someone in the market or at the side of the road selling fresh mangosteens (sobs).

Ubud is a great base if you plan to make longer trips to the famous temples and attractions. The city itself is busy, but we still found local restaurants that weren’t full of tourists and lots of cute places for small treats.

As for me, it was an amazing energy boost to travel with 2 friends for a week. I love solo travel and alone time, but now that I’m nearly halfway through this trip seeing familiar faces was super refreshing. And I will admit that as much as I enjoy eating alone, it was fun to once again enjoy good conversation over meals!

Until next time!


Embracing the Fatherland

It has been just slightly over a month since I first landed in Taipei an exhausted confused and slightly homesick traveller with absoutely no idea what the next ten weeks had in store for me. The first brush of wind I felt was heavy and humid and at 5:30am my body was tired and hungry and overall not impressed.

But holy moly; part of me would love the opportunity to reassure my past self that the next ten weeks will be the best of my life. The other part says “No way” because a huge part of this experience has been all the wonderful people I’ve met and excursions that are still so vivid in my memory.

It’s funny; even though this exchange has been at the top of my “to-do” list for over a year I still never really accepted that I was leaving home until I left my mom at the gate of the airport.

And to put it simply, I’m thriving. Sarcastic, sardonic, cynical me is thriving off of the constant flow of people that I meet every single day. Back home I would vehemently insist that I couldn’t stand to be around loads of people all the time and that my being alone was necessary for my survival.

Now if I don’t have plans with people for one day I feel lost.

Granted, travelling personalities have been easier to get along and converse with than most (MOST NOT ALL) people back in Vancouver. The shared goal of experiencing a foerign part of the world leads to easy conversation. I’ve met up with friends I made in a different hostel, still go back to Eight Elephants, and have already had to say goodbye to a best friend I made in less than a week and knew for less than three (Seriously, when the heck does that ever happen?).

I feel as if it would be pointless to list off all that I’ve learnt not only because it’s so much but also because a different personality could be in my exact same position and have gotten a completely diffeerent experience than me. There’s so much I want to say about Taipei and myself but writing in  blog post really wouldnt do it justice. I’ll instead end off with the following:

Is it possible to feel as if your personality has matured?
Because mine has. The combination of studying my heritage language and meeting the most phenominal people has changed a perspective or two of mine – something that has surprised stubborn little me.

An Ode to Summer Festivals: Pt I

Hippie Regalia and Bonfires

Well I was originally planning to write an ode. An ode to summer festivals (Oh, hey look! That’s the title! Hahaha similarities!)

However, a sudden change of heart had me reconsidering the direction in which I wanted to take this post. I’ve decided instead to focus on the last weekend of what I truly consider to be summer: the Labour Day Long weekend in which me and a bunch of friendly folk (read: friends) loaded up a van and made our way to the Sunshine Music Festival on the beautiful Sunshine Coast of BC.

There’s something to be said about one’s first ever road trip with friends. Besides the 5am wake-up call and frigidly chilly morning and winds on the ferry, there were the long drives in which everyone threw out their own sarcastic witty remarks about god-awful radio DJs and the moments spent in silence where everyone stared out the window taking in the beautiful scenery of their home province.

There’s also something to be said about 7 people attempting to set up a tent together. And planning out sleeping arrangements. And then throwing sleeping bags and pillows at one another inside said tent.

The first afternoon was spent by the beach on the festival grounds, dipping our feet into (surprisingly) icy water and daring each other to take the first plunge in. Afterwards we spent our time air drying off in the sun with the glorious palette of the blue sky and water and green trees bordering the sides of our vision.

The main event came that night. As the families cleared out the young adult folk awakened. The sun, now a safe level behind trees, brought out a few brave souls who began the “hippie-dancing” as I like to call it. This is truly the only word I feel can describe the barefoot-flowy-skirt-lots-of-room-friendly-people-friends-all-around-you dancing that took us into the late evening. Not the standing around and bobbing one’s head that I am dismayed to admit is all too common; this is full out jumping and  actually feeling the music throughout your entire body and not just select appendages. I can proudly say I fulfilled my wish of dancing in a full hippie skirt and all I can say is: DAMN that was some heavy material….

I can gladly say that day 1 wasn’t even close to being completed. As the sun finished setting we found our way over to a bonfire where one of my friends recognized the people form her yearly festival-ing (Not a word. I know. Apologies). As the big group of us sang and laughed and drank and basked in the warmth of the fire I could not stop from looking up at the stars, completely in awe at the uninterrupted beauty that we aren’t able to fully appreciate in the city.


Next up! Pt II – The Cabin in the Woods (WE TALKED TO FAMOUS PEOPLE)