Bali culinary paradise

IMG_7145Warung Lada. Super affordable and delicious vegetarian dishes.

 

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Balinese coffee and fresh mango served my by hostel keeper…

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Sari Organik. MUST try when in Ubud.

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Clear Cafe. Delicious healthy dishes and beverages and impressive yet cozy interior.

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Fueling up in between working, authentic Balinese food

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Breakfast at Jiwa Damai

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The most delicious and FRESH salads ever, Alchemy.

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Sari Organik, again

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Snacking at Juice Ja Cafe.

IMG_7367Another fresh salad with local ingredients. LOVE tempeh. This was our Christmas Eve dinner 😉

Having eaten campus food for couple months now, I appreciate even more the fresh and local food I got to eat in Bali. Here at HKUST, I get the feeling of being alive and living good life by learning a lot at my classes and by getting to be surrounded by such international and interesting people every day, but the food indeed is not stimulating in any means.

Also, the weather we are getting now is making me grateful that I got to experience Hong Kong at its best, at fall time. Most days are grey and sometimes the visibility is no more than 20 meters because of the fog. No need to say how humid it is. Today we’ve had a thunderstorm all day and right now no one can even think about stepping their foot outside. The strength of the storm is something we never experience in Europe.

Therefore, I’m channeling my energy to studying and relaxing;). And a little party never killed nobody… In our case this means celebrating The American 21st birthday of my Californian friend in Macau aka Las Vegas of Asia next weekend 😉 Can’t wait to experience this big celebration for the first time!

 

Last days in Bali

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I quit my work at the organic farm few days before my flight to explore some my unseen parts of Bali and relax after the tough working period ;). We drove all the day North to see the biggest temple in Bali, passing endless rice fields and beautiful little villages.

The last two nights I stayed in Canggu, a village I had wanted to visit, and where my friend that I met in Borneo happened to stay. I was happy to accept an invite to stay couple nights in an indescribably beautiful all white villa. The view was to the rice fields, getting breathtaking sunsets. I even did my first exercise in months,  taking a 1km swim in the pool. This time I mostly enjoyed the villa but the glimpses that I saw of Canggu made me want to visit there some day again, to explore the pretty streets and cozy cafés and healthy food restaurants. Even though Bali can be super touristy, I still love the atmosphere and nature of the island, you just need to find the right spots.

Christmas at Bali

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Christmas at Bali was everything but traditional. I’ve been working and enjoying the life at Jiwa Damai, occasionally spending the evenings at Ubud. Luckily, I got to spend the “holiday” with a dear friend as Nea stayed in Ubud over Christmas.  Bali showed the heavy side of ongoing rainy season for a few days – Christmas Eve and the day before being worst, making me already wish to have an earlier flight to next destination. However, we started our Christmas with a Balinese dance show, followed by a dinner at Swasti Cottages, a super cosy and relaxed resort away from the immediate center. The food was amazing, however making us badly crave for dessert as we missed the last order and had to settle for chocolate bars from the store. Apparently people are used to dine earlier, as we were left there to eat while all staff finished and left home. I almost sneaked into the kitchen to prepare the mulberry tart with ice cream by myself, but was able contain myself…

Jiwa Damai

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I am happy to volunteer few weeks in the most beautiful place in middle of the nature, Jiwa Damai, a retreat center and organic garden. I feel grateful to observe the growing process and consume organic food that comes from own garden and is prepared with love by a wonderful Balinese staff. I am lucky to eat the same food that the guests do, meaning a three course meal every day :). My job is not the most glamorous, but I feel lucky to spend my days under trees of coconuts, cacao, passion fruit, banana, papaya and so many more. There is even a coconut oil factory here and the oil is used in all cooking. Other own products consist of coconut flakes and dried fruits… In other words this place is my heaven as I dream of having an own health food business one day. Growing methods are based on permaculture, which is always organic but also pursues ways to link everything in the garden together, to provide best possible conditions for the plants and fruits to grow naturally.

Morning yoga as well as evening meditation is a routine here. After work I can take a swim in the huge pool, or head to town with a motorbike. Something that I never considered doing here but now find it necessary and is actually a lot of fun. Perfect way to slow down and connect with the nature before new adventures.

Ubud

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As my last visit was way too short, I am beyond happy to be back in one of my favorite places ever. Ubud in Bali is a heaven for healthy food lovers, yoga and everything hip. The first nights I stayed in the middle of the rice fields, waking up at 6 to the crowing of roosters. One day I walked my way to Sari Organik, perhaps the coziest restaurant ever, in the middle of rice fields. All food served comes from own garden and is organic and chemical free. Furniture is made of bamboo and you sit on a pillow. I could easily live with the menu and eat in the surroundings for the rest of my life 😉 If ever in Ubud, be sure to try this place out.

Though I would have loved to explore the center more, my stay remained very short after all. I got an extempore opportunity to volunteer for a retreat center nearby. As this has been on my bucketlist for years, I really felt like I needed to take the chance. The decision was hard as it meant canceling plans of spending Christmas at Gili islands with friends as well as diving and exploring other parts of Bali. Despite, I am super excited to contribute and learn in an amazingly beautiful place where you can truly connect with the nature.

Sepilok

 

 

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Luckily, many people I met in Mabul had come from Sepilok, the home of rainforest and orangutans. I got advice to stay in Paganakan Dii, which proved to be the mecca for relaxing. Two days now I’ve been lying in hammocks, had super interesting conversations with people and of course saw the orangutans. We saw a touching video of the rehabilitation of the orangutans back to the nature after found as orphans or starving in secondary rainforests where there is not enough food left for them. It was fascinating to see creatures sharing 96% same DNA as humans.

The people in Malaysia are beyond welcoming and friendly, which makes any place so much more appealing. Traveling alone has been both exciting and rewarding –  I’ve very rarely ended up being alone and met great people that I might have missed otherwise. Also, it is funny how you end up finding such similar minded people. I spent 5 days in Mabul with a lovely woman who taught me about sustainable living and growing your own food – something that I want to do one day. In Sepilok I had one of the most interesting conversations with a guy who believes in working half an year and traveling the other half. This same guy happened to have the exact same flight with me to Bali from Kota Kinabalu, so funny. Above all, he is a diving instructor who could teach me the qualification to advanced diving license. Yet another example how things can end up going ever better that you had hoped for. Though this time looks like my advanced course has to wait, as I am already exploring new opportunities elsewhere.