Entries Tagged as 'indonesia'

TO-DO (Bali, Indonesia)

August 21st 2012

Hey Taryn,

Hope you’re doing well! I love looking at your pics on facebook!

I was emailing because I just booked a trip to Bali this summer, flying through Hong Kong and staying there for 3 nights. I’m not sure if you’ve been to either but thought it was worth the ask; I’d love to get recommendations or suggestions on what to do and what part of town to stay in if you have time!

Thank so much,


Hi darling!!

My facebook connection isn’t great but wanted to get back to you about Bali—sorry I’ve been flaky!!

Do you know where you’re staying yet?

Kuta/Legion/Seminyak is the party area of Bali; If you’re going to stay in this area opt for Seminyak it’s by far the nicest of the three, though they’re all very close together. I felt like, as a whole, this section was a little touristy/cheesy with lots of flashy, expensive restaurants and clubs but it’s definitely where to find the action.

Ubud is a little further north and it’s the more peaceful, picturesque hippie, yoga part of Bali—it’s where Elizabeth Gilbert lived during her whole Eat, Pray, Love journey. It’s still touristy but I liked it better here…much more authentic and laid-back, though maybe too laid-back for some people?

These are the two main areas of Bail—they’re only an hour apart from each other—and it’s definitely worth it to see both. 

For the Kuta/Legion/Seminyak area make sure you go to Potato Head Beach Club—it’s a super trendy, beautiful spot to have fancy cocktails outside. The drink menu is absurdly amazing, if you like bloody marys they’re sooo good here! Also in this area is Ku De Ta which is a scene-y Japanese fusion restaurant—it’s like something transplanted out of LA. Forego the main restaurant and just drink and eat off the snack menu out back overlooking the ocean. For sunset head down south about 30 minutes to Rock Bar—it’s the bar at the Ayana hotel and it’s stunning—all carved into the cliffs and you have to take a fancy tram thing to get to it. Don’t eat there, the food was overpriced and bad. And, if you go, make sure you get there with ample time before sunset because there’s a line to get in as it gets close. About 20 minutes south is Jimbaran, an area famous for its seafood restaurants—there’s hundreds—where you pick your fish and then eat it on the beach 10 feet from crashing waves, surrounded by tiki torches. This is in the same direction as Rock Bar but a little closer, it’s also a nice area where people stay. The beaches directly in Kuta/Legion aren’t that great…the nicer ones are in Seminyak or about half hour further south. If you’re interested in taking surf lessons Kuta Beach is good for beginners and has tons and tons of lessons/classes (but do not go expecting a beautiful beach—it’s crowded and eh). If you already surf, Uluwatu is a great area about 40 minutes away with much nicer, less crowded beaches and a beautiful monkey temple at the top of a hill. Finally, in the center of Kuta near all of the clubs is the Bali Bombing Memorial—it’s really small, just a little park with a commemorative plaque, but it’s sort of like their equivalent to September 11th and I found it very powerful and very very sad. Shopping in Seminyak was nice—lots of cool Calypso-esque boutiques with tons of linen stuff and funky jewelry/scarves.

Ubud is a totallllly different area—it doesn’t have any beaches and it’s much more quiet and relaxing, small villages surrounded by rice fields. You rent bikes here and just explore, take yoga classes, visit the temples, chill out at cool, organic cafes. There’s honestly not that much to do in this area but I think it’s worth more than just a day visit which is what most people do. While you’re there you MUST eat at Naught Nuri’s Warung—it’s a cool outdoor grill, laid-back, not expensive…order the ribs and a dirty martini—Anthony Bourdain called them the best outside of NYC. Also, check out Ibu Oka Warung it’s a famous suckling pig stand, a delicacy you have to try in Bali. The Komaneka at Bisma is a really nice boutique hotel—it has a pool, overlooks a beautiful rice field and isn’t too expensive. 

Not sure how much time you’re planning to spend in Bali, but a few hours by taxi/speed boat is the Gilli Islands which are great for scuba diving/snorkeling/beautiful beaches…there’s 3 islands and none of them allow cars or motorbikes. I did a bunch of other stuff in Northern Indonesia, too, but again, not sure how much time you have? 

Anyways, hope this helps!! Let me know if you have any other questions!!! 



TO-DO LIST (Bali, Indonesia):

July 2nd 2012

DRINK: Rock Bar. This famous watering hole, carved into the cliffs (and reached only by a fancy tram contraption), hails as the best bar in Asia according to numerous sources like oh, The New York Times and CNN.

STAY: The Island Hotel Bali. A “boutique backpacker hotel,” comprised of inexpensive private rooms, two luxe dorms and a cool, young crowd.

BE SEEN: Potato Head Beach Club. Everything—especially the bloody marys, but seriously every.thing—about this place is incredible (except for maybe the name?)

DINE: Ku De Ta. Grab the “grazing” menu and head straight out back for flashy cocktails, fresh sushi and stunning Indian Ocean views.

BINGE: Naughty Nuri’s Warung. Anthony Bourdain called the martinis here the best outside of NYC, and he knows! The ribs, however, have no competition anywhere—and I know!!

TRIP: Gili Islands. A three hour speed boat ride off Bali’s east coast sits three little, heavenly islands whose motto is no cars, no motorbikes, no worries. (It should add “and awesome scuba diving/snorkeling!”)

SIGHTSEE: Ulu Watu. Hike up to this temple for the incredible sunset view—and the cheeky monkeys that will try and steal your camera as you capture it.

REFLECT: Bali Bombing Memorial. Small in size but big in impact, the spot remembers all those lost—by name and country—in the 2002 terrorist attacks.

PIG-OUT: Ibu Oka Warung. The menu consists of only suckling pig: Special suckling pig, different suckling pig, suckling pig meat and suckling pig skin…I went with special and it was pretttty damn special.

June 15th 2012

Trying to find the right adventure in Indonesia wasn’t easy:

Did I want to trek Mount Rinjani, the active volcano on Lombok? Or check out Jakarta, which holds the record as the worst city when it comes to traffic? (Totally not being sarcastic, I’m a sucker for a big, noisy congested city. Miss youuu Manhattan!) Also of interest: seriouss scuba diving in Sulawesi and the Indonesian cultural epicenter, Yogyakarta.

Decisions decisionssss.

Then I read about Bukit Lawang, a small village up in North Sumatra: “Lost in the uthe depths of the Sumatran jungle is this sweet little town built around an orangutan viewing centre.”

Oh, Lonely Planet, you had me at orangutan!

But forget the viewing center. I signed up for a legit trek into Taman National Gunung Leuser, one of two remaining jungles home to the orangutan (Borneo is the other), as well as tons of other fascinating wildlife.

Four days filled with hiking, white water rafting, camping and some serious orangutan ogling. Here’s the whole trip in pictures. Or just scroll down.

The Trek

June 15th 2012

Who: A Swede named Isak, orangutan whisperer #1 (and amazing guide) Utti, orangutan whisperer #2 (and even more amazing guide’s assistant/cousin) Yan and moi

What: A rigorous trek through the jungle, home to ORANGUTANS, TIGERS and RHINOCEROSES

Where: The tiny North Sumatran town of Butik Lawang

When: June 12th-15th

Why: Refer to “what” above

The Story in Pictures:

7am rise and shine, breakfast, walk from the Ecolodge on the jungle’s perimeter up a steep hill, stop (panting, out of breath already) and read this sign:

Establish some facts, namely: Sumatran orangutans are critically endangered (there are less than 7,000 of them left). The jungle is technically called Gunung Leuser National Park or Panduan Taman Nasional Gunung Leuser in Indonesian.

Less than an hour in and we spot our first orangutan:

Hiii! Does it get cuter?

Rhetorical question.

Then we hike A LOT, uphill, downhill, uphill, downhill. I am severely unfit. At some point I find it perfectly acceptable to take off my sweaty tank top and wear just my sports bra. (Note: It is not acceptable, but way less so when you’re just working out at Equinox, k girls?)

I also find it perfectly acceptable to wear a knock off North Face fanny pack.

At another earlier* point I proceed to swing from a vine just so I can caption a picture with “Me, Jane.”

(*I was trying to do this all in chronological order but this was clearly pre-taking my shirt off)

(Also, are captions supposed to refer to the following or preceding picture? I have no idea so I’m doing a little of both.)

Somewhere around here—it was hott, things are hazy—I saw a family of white face gibbons which I was not lucky enough to capture on camera.

Next up we bump into Summa (her park ranger given name) and baby:

Do you see that munchkin face peeking out from the trees?? Sooo cuuute until five minutes later Summa chased us, like legit ran after our motley crew and little Yan (OW #2) had to toss her a bag filled with fruit that was *supposed* to be our snack later.

Six orangutans sighted, one chase and zero pineapples later…we made our way to “Hotel Jungle”:

That’s Utti’s joke, btw (like Hotel California…get it?) Here he is modeling the sleek, minimalist interior:

Love him.

Not shown in pictures but also part of the excursion: white water rafting, pot-smoking, tons of noodle soup, rubber trees, monkeys and GIANT lizards everywhere.

Finally, some fun facts about orangutans:

  • They’re the only great ape found outside of Africa
  • Female orangutans give birth only once every 6-8 years
  • Close relatives of humans
  • Legend says they can speak but choose not to because they fear they would be forced to work if they were ever caught talking (my personal favorite, obvs.)
  • Orangutan arms can have a reach of more than eight feet
  • They spend 90% of their time in the trees, sleeping in nests
  • Mosquitos bother them and they use branches as fly swatters 
  • Deforestation and hunting have made them in danger of extinction

And if you’re interested: http://www.orangutan.org.au/donations…i just did!

June 15th 2012

Currently channeling: Jane Goodall (Bukit Lawang, Indonesia) (Taken with Instagram at Taman Nasional Gunung Leuser)

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