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One Week in Bali

June 26, 2015

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Seririt, Bali. This, perhaps, was the best vacation I’ve ever had in my life.

I’m writing this blog post now in Bali. I’m standing at the computer, writing out whatever comes to mind, and looking over the pool in the backyard and the ocean waves two meters away from the pool. I don’t see anyone on the beach. I can’t hear any voices, any music. I hear the ocean and I hear the birds, and that’s it. Martina just handed me a fruit I’ve never heard of before. It looks like a potato on the outside, but it’s softer than an overripe banana, and splits apart in your hands. It tastes like caramel, with the flesh of a kiwi. My face is a bit sticky from eating it, so I’m gonna go wash it off by swimming a few laps in the pool. BRB. Here are some pics of the place while I go swimming.

We’re here for our 8 year wedding anniversary. We had saved up enough air miles to be able to fly here for free, so we bought tickets for the week of our special day. We found a lovely AirBNB that was far from the tourist areas. Yes, we use Airbnb’s just about everywhere we travel. You should too! Here’s $25 dollars for an Airbnb if you haven’t signed up yet. Moving on, we wanted to be remote and undisturbed, and to spend a week with little to no distractions from each other. There are a couple of other people here in the area, but we don’t notice them often. This place comes with a maid, whose name is Mercy. She’s also the cook, and her food is AMAZING. AMAZING! Guise, I can’t emphasize this enough. Every meal she’s made for us we’ve yelled about. To each other, then to her. She laughs at us like we’re weird, when we look her in her eyes, shake her hands violently, and thank her for making Balinese food. We were given a very comprehensive list of where to go and what to eat during our time in Bali, but as soon as we started eating her food we abandoned those plans. Mercy suggests a dish, we give her money for groceries, and she comes back with fresh produce and makes us food that makes us weep. Then we get back in the pool and swim off our tears of joy and watch the sun set into the waters.

Seriously, I wouldn’t even consider this place a villa with a maid. It’s more like a chef’s restaurant that you can live in, and every day the chef comes up with new creations as easily as you and I can take a picture on Instagram. Martina’s been taking pictures of some of the meals we’ve been eating, not just here, but also around Bali. Also, we had loads of fruit we’ve never seen before! Here’s a small gallery of those pictures, with a bit of description:

Otherwise, this place we’re staying in is gorgeous beyond words. It’s definitely the best house I’ve ever been in for the entirety of my life. Martina grew up with some rich friends so I’m not sure if it’s the same for her, but I’ve never been anywhere this beautiful. It’s big, empty, remote, and comes with a chef. It’s my dream house. If I could sell everything I own and live here forever you’d never hear from me again. It’s that good.

But, for real, it’s not like you wouldn’t hear from us. I’m writing this blog post in Bali right now, instead of swimming and napping. Napping! I forgot to mention napping! There are so many places for us to nap while we’re here! We’ve napped so much! I could be napping right now, but I’m inspired to write about this place, to take pictures and videos. People usually go on vacation to get away from work, and spend time on their hobbies. For us, writing, taking pictures, making videos: those are our hobbies. It’s so hard to step away from it, because all we see around us is a world of inspiration.

I want to share some pictures with you. Not pictures of dolphins, because we only got them on video, but the view while dolphin searching in Lovina is just…lovely

We’re in Seririt right now, and the closest touristy place is Lovina, which is famous for dolphin watching. Fortunately, Mercy’s husband, whose name is Made, runs a boat that goes out to watch the dolphins every morning. She told us to meet him at 5AM. We woke up at 4:30AM – and well rested at that! – and went off to see the dolphins. When we met him, the sun hadn’t risen yet. He pointed us to his boat, and we got on with two other French girls we had never met, Made started the motor, and we were off. Just like that. If this was Canada, we’d have to put on life-vests, sign waivers, be instructed about safety protocols, watch a 30 minutes instructional video, pass a test, and then wait for two weeks before our application would be accepted. Here in Bali, none of that bullshit mollycoddling. Get in the boat and let’s see some dolphins!

We were lucky to be with Made. He has been doing this for many years now, and he understands the patterns of the dolphins. Made could guess their patterns, and we were closer to them than any of the other 100 boats out there. 100 boats, at least, for maybe 20 dolphins. It was a very bizarre experience. The dolphins would emerge and start jumping out of the water, and all of the boats would converge around the dolphins until the dolphins had no more room to jump, and so they didn’t. We came up with a plan with Made, and we all shouted “look! Dolphins! Over there!” and pointed to where dolphins weren’t in hopes of getting the other boats to chase them, but that didn’t work. Instead, we just drove away from the rabble for a bit and stared at the sun as it rose and warmed the waters.

We asked Made about the overcrowding of boats around the dolphins, and fortunately he made us feel less shitty about it. The dolphins eat there every morning, but they hang around to play well after they’re stuffed. They like the attention, and – interestingly – don’t come around when there aren’t that many tourists around. Oh, dolphins: you’re better with tourists than we are. If it was up to me, it’d just be you, me, Martina, and Made. The French girls could be there, too, I guess. They weren’t annoying.

Anyhow, if you plan on going to see the dolphins, and I would recommend you do so, because it was really gorgeous, go through Made. Call him at 087 762 225 913. Or email him here. He does other stuff as well, like snorkelling and fishing trips. We didn’t go for anything else, though we wougld if we had the urge. Instead, we’re back here swimming and eating and moaning at how good this all is.

I also want to emphasize that we’re not paid by either Mercy or Made for talking about them here. They don’t even know about our blog. We told them that we want to share their info with our audience, and they agreed. We just honestly had a fantastic time with both of them. They definitely made our vacation significantly better.

We also went to a waterfall. I’ve never been to a waterfall like this before. I’ve been to Niagara Falls, but that doesn’t count. It’s gigantic and impossible for you to perceive in one spot. This waterfall, though, was hidden away in the forest. We parked on the street close to the entrance, and walked down a path paved with vendors selling their spices and saris, and found the waterfall at the end of 15 minutes. It was stunning. A small cliff with a rush of water pouring down, some of it smashing on the rocks, some of it not making it down the drop, and spreading into mist that coated your face and camera lenses, and the whole thing surrounded by an uncontrolled growth of jungle. It was gorgeous.

Here’s our last pic dump, just of other fun and interesting things we saw and did:

Finally, we had way too much footage to put in one video for one week, so we separated a bunch of it and put it into some extra scenes right here. Check it out if you want more Bali!

I don’t know what it is, but I think that Balinese people are the happiest people I’ve ever met. Everyone I’ve seen smiles so sincerely, laughs so much. I know that Bali doesn’t have the strongest economy in the world, but it doesn’t show on anyone’s faces. Mercy, Made, our driver Putu, every owner of every restaurant we went to, all had smiles in their eyes. The few people that we did see occasionally around our beach were fishermen, and all walked into the water singing songs before swinging their rods. Though I’m sure everyone has their own struggles, I wonder if living on a paradise makes the burdens more easy to handle.

Or even stars. Stars. I saw more stars in Bali than I have in my life. Putu told us about catching shooting stars as a kid; when he saw one falling through the sky he’d reach up to pinch it before it left forever. We told him how, as kids, we’re told to wish upon a shooting star, to which Putu said if he made a wish every time he saw a shooting star he’d be a millionaire by now. The point is, the two of us, Martina and I, gawk at the smears of stars at night, and I wonder if you get used to it after a while. If you’ve grown up around waterfalls, sunrises and dolphins, warm waters and sunsets and countless stars, do you still feel the awe? Does that ever fade? I don’t know. I’ve been living in a megalopolis for the closer end of a decade now, and seeing all of this nature makes me ache.

I’d love to live in Bali. Maybe one day I will. For now, though, I’ve told Mercy that we plan on kidnapping her, and that she should prepare her husband for her imminent departure and living with us forever. She refused our offer to be our moms. I see no other choice. What’s the penalty for kidnapping here in Bali? I don’t know. I just hope it doesn’t blacklist me from entering again, because I most definitely will at any chance I can get.

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  1. Hi Martina and Simon – ladies first :)
    I would like to know which Airbnb did you booked for this trip. I loved the place and would like Mercy to cook for me and my husband :) You look lovely and soooo in love by the way. Thanks for your videos.

    3 years ago
  2. Hi there,
    I would like to know which Airbnb did you book for this trip. I loved the place and would like Mercy to cook for me and my husband :) You look lovely and in love by the way. Thanks for your videos.

    3 years ago
  3. I was lucky to spend a week this past Thanksgiving in Bali. I truly enjoyed every minute of it. I agree about the people, and the country is lovely. I stayed at a great older hotel in Legion, right across from the beach and had a personal tour guide and SUV for just a few dollars a day. One of the highlights of my stay was riding a moped taxi with a Balinese Speed Racer wannabe. And the sunsets! Fresh coconut and lime pancakes are now part of my weekend breakie agenda… Every meal was phenomenal! I also picked up some great spices and cocoa from a local coop that grows them. definitely on my list to go back to, soon!

    3 years ago
  4. try ayana or rimba Bali (hotels and villas). padangpadang beach, etc.

    3 years ago
  5. I’m reading this with goosebumps all over my body

    3 years ago
  6. It looks gorgeous, i have never been interested on Bali but now i would like to go to that house with Mercy!
    Congrats for your anniversary!

    3 years ago
  7. I really need to go to Bali one of these days! Oh and I just finished seeing your bonus footing and the first fruit you ate (with the ‘egg shells’) is what I know as granadilla. It’s my favourite fruit along with mangosteen. The second fruit looked like passionfruit.

    3 years ago
  8. I got so emotional reading this post and I’m sooo happy you really enjoyed your time in my country. Of course, visiting a place for a short vacation would be very different from actually living in it, but it feels great to read the positive view.

    My partner and I were actually thinking to go to the northern part of Bali and see the dolphins but we were way too lazy to actually plan it out so we ended up staying in the southern-middle part as usual. Reading this and watching the video definitely makes me regret not getting my lazy ass up there!

    3 years ago
  9. Shots! Shots! Shots! Shots! Shots! Nature Shots!

    Seriously, though, those angles and locations and EVERYTHING was just so stinking beautiful beyond reason! I’m so happy you guys got to have such an amazing vacation! Happy Anniversary!

    3 years ago
  10. Meg

    Everything I know about Bali and the rest of Indonesia I learned from my Intro to Southeast Asia course and it focused on the politics, history, and economy. So it’s so funny (and wonderful!) to hear you talk about the actual PEOPLE who are smiling and being happy because, let me tell ya, through course it doesn’t make me think of smiling people. But thats just it, isn’t it. The books aren’t being written by Balinese and Indonesians, most of them are being written by foreigners who I’m almost positive weren’t talking to the people.

    The pictures and videos are so beautiful and it looks like such a peaceful place to be. If I could I would pick up and just move to a hut on the beach and just relax and be one with the world there (hippie I know!) But someone like Made, who seems so happy you can’t help but think, maybe they have the right idea in loving the simpler, beautiful things in life. Amazing.

    3 years ago
    • I think when you learn about a culture, you need to learn it from the source, see it yourself how it is like, then build your own understanding based on your observation :)

      3 years ago
  11. I am travelling to Bali this August with my SO and am so excited. I have been to Bali before but it was a work thing and I didn’t manage to squeeze some downtime. But this time, it’s all fun and games cannot wait.

    3 years ago
  12. You guys gave me a flashback to some really good memories. I was in Bali back in the early 1990’s and so much of the exotic beauty I remember you guys brought back to me. How old so many of the little monuments that are everywhere, the lush jungles, the amazing colors, the food!!! Oh man … what a good memory.

    One of the things that always struck me … and you guys brought that back … was the handmade craftsmanship of everything there. Anything you bought, the food, the drinks, the service … the people were just so happy to really do their very best in everything. Like everyone there made a personal artistic statement with everything they did, made, or helped you experience. That sense of meticulousness and beauty everyone gave to you.

    Its such a lovely place and they were such lovely people.

    3 years ago
  13. this video and this post makes me so happy to see and read. i’m so glad you guys had such a good time, evil caterpillars not withstanding

    3 years ago
  14. Man, this place is gorgeous!
    Actually, my grandfather is from Indonesia and when I was younger he would cook us some of the stuff you had in this video. The bananas are my favourite! (he also got my parents + I hooked on using Sambal with every meal, hehe)

    3 years ago
  15. Happy Anniversary! It looks as though you’ve had (or are having?) an amazing holiday in a beautiful place. *adds ‘visit Bali’ to bucket list*

    (But wait – you didn’t call your post/vid ‘What Happened in Bali’?)

    3 years ago
  16. Hi Simon Martina, I’m an Indonesian who just start my study outside the country, and this post makes me miss Indonesia sooo bad! I am glad you enjoy Bali. I hope you would include other places in Indonesia in your holiday plan :D Even as an Indonesian, i haven’t got opportunity to travel to every attraction sites there. Just for a suggestion, last month i just went to Lombok Island, really close to Bali, which is also really amazing!

    3 years ago
  17. Bali is one of the many places on my annual south-east Asian pilgrimage list. My family, relatives and friends are dispersed across the globe so we decided to gather in Bali every summer. Collectively, we purchased a few villas as vacation homes and for retirement. There are many beautiful places in Indonesia, explore their marine life if you have the opportunity. Indonesia has one of the most beautiful dive sites in the world.

    3 years ago
  18. Hi Simon and Martina, another amazing video! I’m so glad that you had a good time in Bali, I remember a lot of fun times I had with my family when I went to visit. This video made me smile and I do hope that you both can come back to Indonesia to try the rest of the many amazing foods we have here.
    Having lived in Indonesia for most of my life, I still find myself amazed at everything this country has to offer. I’ve become accustomed to the warm sunshine and spicy foods (although that took a while :P), and the awe soon turned into gentle appreciation.
    I hope you guys come back soon!
    P.s. Keep making videos, they’re awesome.

    3 years ago
  19. Congratulations on your anniversary!
    I’m really glad that you guys went to North Bali instead of the Southern regions for your first visit, though the mountains-car-ride is vomit-inducing (at least for me, I’m really bad with altitude & motion sickness) the view and experience is absolutely spectacular. The Northern regions of Bali have a certain air to them that cures and sort of wonderstruck, and it certainly feels enchanting. When I visited the North Bali, the experience and feel was very much different from my numerous previous visits to the Southern regions. Northern Bali still feels distinctively cultural and refreshing, Southern Bali has gone a little bit too crowded for me. I love seeing the places you visited, and I’m jealous of the Villa you guys rented. Dolphin watching in Lovina is also an amazing experience, though I also felt bad for the dolphins (but now I feel a little better).
    I’m really glad you guys loved the food! (I’ve yet to met anyone who can turn down Indonesian cuisine, haha ^^) (+ I’m glad you guys didn’t get stomach aches)

    3 years ago
  20. Hi Simon & Martina! i really enjoy reading this post! its like i can really feel your mind during this trip. Bali have so many kind of things we can enjoy, from the food, nature, tradition, and even the people there. im really glad you enjoy your time there.

    i just hope you have a chance to visit Indonesia again later. but, i recommend u to explore another part of this country. I know its so tempting to go there again , ive explored Bali too before – it’s beautiful, but trust me, there’s a lot of city, island, places that will give you an awesome experience as in Bali or even much more. Go to the eastern part of Indonesia, it’s less crowded, more untouchable places too.

    2 weeks ago i had a sailing trip to Komodo Islands in East Nusa Tenggara, just a 1-2hr from Denpasar by plane. i stay on the boat for 4d3n, sleeping on that boat enjoying the night sky, trekking in the morning @ 5a.m for around 30min and watch a stunning most beautiful ever sunrise i’ve ever seen from the peak of the hill, the landscape is also mesmerizing! and dont forget the awesome komodo dragon. it’s one of my best trip ever.
    i share this bcoz i really want other ppl to visit that place, to adore the nature… it’s a must, Simon & Martina! trust me…

    p.s did u go to Menjangan Island? its in north bali too, it’s a beautiful tiny island and it has a beautiful temple too..

    3 years ago
    • and that one fruit u never had before… some ppl called it konyal/ markisa, if i google it.. it’s sweet granadilla. ^^

      3 years ago
  21. Hi Simon & Martina! I smiled for every second I spent reading this post! So so so happy that you guise finally experienced one of Indonesia’s best assets : Bali. It’s only one of many though! What was your favorite dish during the trip?

    Please consider coming back to Indonesia, I would love to host and cook for you guys authentic Balinese food and other Indonesian foods in general. Perhaps I should send you guys a care package with Balinese cooking ingredients and cooking instructions so you can have a piece of Bali in your home, and share it with Soo Zee and Leigh etc. Whaddya say? :D <3

    3 years ago
    • Hmmm, if I had to pick a favourite dish, I’d have to say it was the breakfast: fried banana and black rice pudding. It’s probably unhealthy as hell, but felt like such a perfect way to start the day. Oh man we loved it!

      3 years ago
  22. TL;DR Idea: Domestic Abuse in South Korea. I don’t know if you have heard of the Sunny Kim being abused and murdered by her boyfriend, who is called Mr.Lee in the article I read, and how he impersonated her and a bunch of horrible stuff. One thing that really ticked me off is that proof of her domestic abuse was taken to the police station last year but the police had done nothing about it. If you want to read more heres a link: http://www.buzzfeed.com/rossalynwarren/a-boyfriend-says-he-murdered-his-girlfriend-for-breaking-up. I want to know how common domestic abuse is and how it is handled, especially by police. Thank You!

    3 years ago
  23. Congratulations on your anniversary guys!! How about an Indonesian noona? I’d be happy to host an Indonesian meal while you guys are in Chicago… I’ve been told I make a mean beef rendang (curry)… Simon? Would love to show off Chicago to you guys too!!

    3 years ago
    • I would freaking love to take you up on your offer, but our time in Chicago is so tight. We’re only there for a few days, and we’re coming in, doing the event, and then filming a big video, and then leaving. Ah! I would have loved to have eaten your curry!

      3 years ago
      • No matter how busy you are, you gotta eat!!! Lol i’m coming to your event!!! Hope to get to bring you something and speak to you guys in person!!

        3 years ago
      • I’m coming to the event!! I’ll try to bring you sumthin….

        3 years ago
  24. Hi Simon & Martina,
    Great review, i’m glad that you enjoy Bali
    I am an Indonesian, if you really like Indonesian food, I can cook for you when i travel to Korea later

    3 years ago
    • That’d be amazing if you can cook it here! I think the bigger challenge is just in finding the ingredients here. Korea’s produce is very different than Indonesia’s :D

      3 years ago
  25. How was the Luwak coffee?

    3 years ago
  26. I am an Indonesian studying in the UK right now and it’s been a while since I came home. Your post really made me miss Indonesia, especially all the food. What you said in your post about the feeling of awe made me think. I have visited Bali twice and it is really beautiful, but I have always thought the stars and the food and the sea as something common, something that has always been there. Indonesia is filled with places like Bali, even the surrounding small islands near Bali is even more breathtaking than Bali and the town where I lived is also very beautiful. Since I have always lived surrounded by beautiful nature and delicious food, I longed to see history and castles and big cities. That’s why I studied in the UK. But to see Indonesia from your perspective, from someone who hasn’t grown up with nature all around and seeing how amazing Bali looks for you made me realize how beautiful it is and how I have taken it for granted.

    I have explored most European countries now and some of them are really beautiful too but this post awakened my feeling of longing and missing my beautiful home country. Thank you for the post Simon and Martina. The post is really beautifully written and with great pictures and videos too. I hope that you will visit Indonesia again in the future.

    3 years ago
  27. Hey guys! Awesome vid! Powerful anniversary!! Im sure you get this a lot but could you tell us the songs you pick for you videos. You always pick great stuff!!! (really wanna know the song behind the waterfall clip) Thanks for great videos always guys!!!!!!

    3 years ago
  28. My life goal is to forgo a traditional wedding and travel instead. I want to runaway with my partner for a month to an exotic location and just revel in our love + the local food and drink. We’re gonna be adding Bali to our getaway options. Really stunning, I can’t get over how brilliant you guys are to book away from the touristic areas and have a slice of heaven all to yourselves!

    3 years ago
  29. Absolutely beautiful! It brought tears to my eyes. The food looked amazing. I would love to have tried all those fruits. One thing I was thinking while watching it was “What the heck happened to that rooster?” It looks like it got into a really bad fight and lost half of it’s feathers! Ha ha

    3 years ago
  30. Where did you guys stay? The accommodation looks amazing, any links to it?

    3 years ago
    • We stayed at an airbnb in North Bali and we left a link to it at the beginning of the blog post! Also, this isn’t a sponsored post or anything, we just really loved this location and the staff!!

      3 years ago
  31. Simon and Martina, I am just so in love with you guys :)

    3 years ago
    • I am in love with your avatar. I’ve been on a big Zelda kick lately!

      3 years ago
      • <3 <3 <3 You're reply has replenished my heart containers! And now my husband is teasing me for the ridiculously large smile I will have the rest of the weekend because Simon and Martina replied to my post :)

        3 years ago
  32. Aaahh so close yet so far. I live just two island away from you. In Bandung, island of Java. I’m glad you two enjoyed the small pice of paradise in our country. Hopefully you can come here again on you 18th, 28th, 38th and so on anniversaries. Oh and Simon makes the best face when he eat that Terong Belanda fruit, while Martina look sooo cool about it ahahhahaa.

    3 years ago
  33. Nggghhhhh I’m tearing up >_<

    Aren't they soo, soooo friendly? Right? Bali is a tourist place, but even in the rest of Indonesia, I just love how chill and unrestrained everyone is. Just dropping by your house whenever. Asking you to stay for a meal whenever. Oh what you're hungry? Hold on *squawking noises in the back yard* HERE HAVE SOME CHICKEN xD xD XD

    I think it's the weather. I have a theory that people in hot places go out more, keep their windows and doors open more, so they have more chances to relate to other people, and thus make them friendlier. Maybe?

    Balinese food looks awesoommmeee!! I haven't had much before, I don't usually stay long enough to try. Bali is one of the few places in Indonesia that have pork on the menu, so I haven't had that either. Never heard of lak lak. I know all the fruits though; The passionfruit-looking one is probably markisa; the little brown guys looked like longan…? And the stuff at the market in the photo where Martina was buying stuff, that was salak (snakefruit). Did you have it? It's kind of bitter, but I like the crunchy texture.

    3 years ago
  34. Wonderful pics you guys. I think the fruit you were asking about is Markisa( passion fruit).

    3 years ago
  35. OMG what a lovely place! :D It looks like heaven on earth to me. It actually brought tears to my eyes… Wooow :)

    3 years ago
    • It was really one of the prettiest, lushest places we’ve ever been to. It really made you re-think things in life.

      3 years ago
  36. I wanted to write something nice and emotional but I’m so distracted by the food that you’re eating and that you’ve posted!!

    3 years ago
  37. Those nature shots made me all warm on the inside ^^ the biologist in me was so happy :)

    3 years ago
  38. I spent two weeks in Bali a couple of summers ago. The most beautiful place that I have ever been. I am definitely retiring there. I do have advantage over you guys though. My step-mother is Indonesian, so I don’t have to beg anyone to be my Indonesian mother ;) Balinese food is amazing, but everywhere in Indonesia has a unique take on food and it’s great trying them all.

    3 years ago
  39. I’m salivating over the food pics. southeast Asia countries have the best food to offer and I definitely miss all of the great food!

    3 years ago
    • Oh I swear: the food experiences we’ve had in Singapore and Bali have been shattering. Shattering! Makes us deeply want to live there and just make food videos of everything!

      3 years ago
  40. Pff great now I also want to go to Bali ! How much does a vacation like this cost ?

    3 years ago
    • I can’t really say for sure. Our flight was free, because of the miles we’ve accrued. And different places cost different, of course. This place was $180 a night or so, I think? But you can find places for much less, I’m sure :D

      3 years ago
      • Well I guess I’ll have to start saving up and planning ! It looks like a dream vacation. Especially the lack of tourists and other people… (that sounds just lovely..)

        3 years ago