Best Cafes in Bali

Let’s be honest: we can’t go to Bali without being tempted to try all the cafes and eat the super yummy and delicious food this paradise had to offer!
So, a holiday in Bali quickly turns into a fun cafes hopping with a food scene that the rest of the world can only dream of!
I know I’m not alone when I say that I am slightly obsessed with finding new cafes! I love looking for all the exciting healthy/plant based options and trying as many as I possibly can!
And Bali IS THE PLACE for this!

Cashew Tree - Bali


Since many of you often ask me advice on where to eat, and I know that the best recommendations are the ones you hear from another person and not travel guides, I have combined a list of all the best spots in Bali, divided by area (Canggu, Seminyak, Uluwatu, Ubud).

As you know I prefer to keep a diet that is mainly plant based, adding fish when I feel the craving and when I know it’s fresh and well cooked! Among all of the following places I have my favourite of course, starting from the Cafe Organic that is a real paradise for me! Every time I go there I eat, treat, cheat and indulge in all its vegan options - such an amazing feeling when you can order anything off the menu that catches your attention and you know it doesn’t come from animals and it nourishes your body!

Happy café hopping!
In addition, you can find HERE an article I wrote some time ago, dedicate only to Ubud and its vegan options!

Canggu:

Peleton Supershop - @peletonsupershop
Shady Shack - @theshadyshack
Crate Café - @cratecafe
Gypsy - @wearegypsy
The Loft - @cratecafe
Betelnut Café - @betelnutcafe
The Naked Coconut - @thenakedcoconut
Jungle Room Bali - @jungleroombali
Café Vida - @cafe_vida_bali
Café Organic - @cafeorganicbali
Bali Buda - @Balibuda
Nalu Bowls - @nalubowls
GIVE Cafe - @givecafe
Sprout Bali - @sproutbali
Milk and Madu - @milkandmadu
Sprout Bali - @sproutbali

Seminyak:

Alchemy Café – @alchemycafe
Nalu Bowls - @nalubowls
KYND Café - @kyndcafe
Shelter cafe - @sheltercafebali
Nook - @nook_bali
Clean canteen - @cleancanteenbali
Quince cafe (North Kuta) - @quince_bali

Ubud:

My favourites in Ubud are listed here -> CLICK

The Elephant - @the_elephant_ubud
Alchemy Café - @alchemycafe
Sari Organic - @sarki_organik
Sayuri Healing food - @sayuri_healing_food
Seeds of life - @seedsoflifebali
Sage café - @sagebali
Clear cafe - @clearcafeubud
Yoga Barn - @theyogabarn
Milk and Madu - @milkandmadu

Uluwatu:

The Cashew Tree - @thecashewtreecollective - It’s also my fav YOGA spot in the area! Read HERE!
Drifter Café - @drifterbali
Nalu Bowls - @nalubowls
Outside Corner - @outsidecorner
Landsendcafe - @landsendcafe
Bukit - @bukit__cafe Suka
Espresso - @sukaespresso
Muzz Cafe, Yoga and Surf Café - @yogasearcherbali

ENJOY and let me know your favourites once you have tried!!

Namaste,
Giulia

LADAKH - Nubra Valley wilderness

Nubra Valley is an amazing and peaceful area north of Leh.

Driving there I couldn't stop saying "wow" because it's really wonderful and I could really feel the sense of immensity. High mountains are framing endless sand dunes, grey rivers, copper coloured rocks and a sense of bliss. Nature can fill my soul like nothing else! The original name of Nubra Valley is Ldumra Valley that means "valley of flowers".

One technical info!
The electricity in the valley is available only from 7pm to 11pm, regardless the kind of accommodation you pick, just keep it in mind :)

Nubra Valley step by step:

  • At first, we drove from Leh to Khardung-La, the highest motor road in the world (5602mt) for about 39km. Here, in August, you can still find the snow! 

  • The second step was Diskit monastery and its giant Buddha, 32mt high. 
    Another breathtaking view!

  • We then slept in Hunder (10 km from Diskit) in a gust house immerse in flowers fields and apricots trees. 

  • If you have time, before going to Diskit, you can also visit the Sumur monastery that is located in a super quiet and peaceful area of the valley. Nature, nature, nature, nature!

Driving around you'll meet many military check points and lots of army trucks for security reasons since this area is next to the Pakistan border and they're not allowed to come to certain areas of Ladakh.

Enjoy the drive! :)

Giulia

LADAKH - Must Dos in Leh

Welcome to Leh! This is the first stop of my trip to Ladakh. I took the plane from Delhi and reached this paradise in the morning (Leh airport closes at 11am, take it in mind when planning your holiday!).

Ladakh is a quiet and paradisiac area in the north of India, close to Pakistan and China. It is highly recommended to settle one or two days in Leh before start exploring the area because of the altitude. In fact it's common to experience mountain sickness symptoms such as headache, dizziness, vertigo, nausea, lassitude, irregular breathing... But don't worry, it will be more than fine in the end! :)

Must do's in Leh:

  • Stroll along the Main Bazaar street, where you can find fresh fruit, every kind of nuts, colourful pashmina, the thangka (typical Ladakh woollen hat) and much more.
  • Visit the Tibetan refugee market where you can buy items from Tibet, Nepal and China. I bought a super nice necklace and a series of coloured flags with my favourite mantra written on them.
  • Pop to the Oxygen bar to make your oxygen level measured! In case it's lower than 80/90 they will give you oxygen for 15 mins with a mask :) 
  • Climb the hill behind the Old Town Market to reach Leh Palace. The ticket entrance is 300 INR and in my opinion is not really worthy, it's nice but the view from the nearby monastery is far better!! If you continue the track on the right side of the palace you'll reach Tsemo Gompa. Breathtaking view! Highly recommend during sunset to really feel in paradise :)
  • If you haven't planned the coming days or need a driver or a trekking guide, the city centre is full of local agencies where you can easily (and at a reasonable price!) plan next days. I highly recommend to go Samsara Travels (Mr. Dawa: dawahanupa@yahoo.com) that I personally used and everything went smooth and it was amazing! There are also many shops selling winter clothes in case you need for the hikes.
  • Go for some yoga and/or mediation to the Mahabodi International Meditation Center in Changspa Road (there are many branches in the area).

Take it easy the first days in order to properly acclimatize and get ready to explore! 

xx
Giulia 

LADAKH - 9 days of Happiness and Discovery!

Hi guys! This trip has been incredible! We did 9 days in this amazing region in the north of India, bordering Pakistan, China and the Tibet region. It's a wonderful mix of cultures, with Buddhism as the main religion, reason why we found monasteries and shrines at every corner.

Find our ITINERARY below, and a dedicated post to each step will follow soon! 


Leh - 1 night
Nubra Valley - 1 night in Hunder
Pangon Lake - 1 night
Leh - 2 nights for yoga and meditation
Trekking (Spituk, Jingchen, Yurutse, Shingo, Chilling) - 4 days and 3 nights

Some PRACTICAL TIPS for you, especially if you are planning to do some trekking:

  • bring a sleeping bag with you
  • bring Diamox with you, the medicine for altitude sickness, because those symptoms can ruin your holiday
  • travel as light as possible (during the trekking you have to carry your own backpack for the whole time)
  • bring tons of wet tissues, you'll understand why when reading the post about the trekking :)
  • bring soap and small size toiletries, same as above
  • remember the sun screen
  • be ready to get dirty, muddy and sleep in uncomfortable "beds" :) 
  • bring a heavy jacket, I had the 100g from Uniqlo and it was perfect!

Make sure you subscribe to the website to receive the following posts about this hidden Himalayas region! 

xx
Giulia

Taipei - 10 Must Dos

I love this city, the people, the vibes and all the amazing things you can visit. I'm not a big fan of Taiwanese food but if you like it, Taipei is a real paradise for this as well!

What are the 10 must dos in this beautiful city?

I would say...

  1. Stroll around Ximending district
  2. Walk along Dihua St
  3. Visit Bao An temple and Confucius temple
  4. Get amazed in the big square in Zhongshan district where you find four incredible buildings, one on each side: the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, the National Concert Hall, the National Central Library and the Evergreen Maritime Museum
  5. Rent UBike and ride along Keelung river
  6. Visit Wufenpu market: a maze of lanes and alleys full of racks of clothing, a gigantic outlet that carries literally everything, mainly women's apparel and accessories
  7. Go on top on the 101 tower, the highest in Asia: 360-degree view of the city
  8. Hike on top of Elephant Mountain to see the sunset on the city (easy hike)
  9. Visit one of the many night markets! I would suggest to avoid Shilin since it's too commercial and touristic... Go for either Raohe or Linjiang St! :) Make sure you try some typical food like the stinky tofu or, if you eat meat, you'll find plenty of options!
  10. Get lost in Daan Forest park

Some shots taken walking around the city...

Yangmingshan - Hiking in the green

Yangmingshan National Park is less than 1 hour bus ride from Taipei and it's great for some hiking and nature-watching. You can also combine the hot springs in Beitou and do an amazing full day trip!

One of the easiest way to reach the park is taking the red line of the MRT until Jiantan and then the S15 bus. The last stop is Qingtiangang that is exactly where the trails start. There are various options and you need to go further into the wild in order to be immerse in nature without having people around. 

I climbed up to Mt. Qixing (2100mt) that is the highest peak and it takes around 1.5 hour of stairs up to the main peak and then went down to Xiaoyoukeng passing through the volcano. A part from this trail there are really tons of different options if you want some hint shorter or less steep! Once you reach Qingtiangang you can decide which one to do and spend one day lost in the green :)

If you're doing my same itinerary then you can take the bus 108 from Xiaoyoukeng until Yangmingshan Bus Station and then one of the many buses to Taipei centre.

Here's what's left of my map! :) 

IMG_1238.jpg

Enjoy getting lost! :) 

Sun Moon Lake - Cycling and Hiking in Taiwan

From Taipei I took the HSR (high speed train) to Taichung and then the bus to Sun Moon Lake. I bought the ticket for the train in advance online and it costs TWD 700 while for the bus there's no need to book in advance and there is one every hour.


In SML I took a basic hotel, convenient to what I had in mind to do, that is renting the bike to go explore the lake and then to climb Mt. Shuishe. My hotel was in fact in front of the Giant shop that rents bicycles and next to the bus station of Shuishe.


My recommendation is to spend at least 1.5/2 days in Sun Moon Lake. One day you can rent the bike (really nice Giant shop on B1 of the Visitor Center building) and either do the full loop (around 30km) or just a few parts of that. In any case you have to stop and visit all the amazing temples along the way.


I did the full loop starting from Shuishe Visitor Center going clockwise and stopped at Wenwu Temple, Xuanzang Temple (Xuanguang is a smaller one next to it but it's nothing special) and the amazing Cien Pagoda with a breathtaking view!!!!
You'll also find many view points where to enjoy the peaceful and beautiful scenery. 

 

Some more shots to show you how wonderful it is!


The other day you can do some hiking!

Mt. Maolan is a short (around 2km) and easy one, it starts behind Shuishe Visitor Center, while Mt. Shuisheda it's way more challenging and starts from Ita Thao. 

This last one takes around 6 hours and it has around 800mt elevation. Make sure you have enough water and snacks with you because there's nothing along the way! The surrounding is amazing and very very wild but from the top there's not a great view since it's mainly covered by he trees!

ENJOY! :) 

Jiufen - Little Gem

 "wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow"

"wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow"


I really fell in love with this little village nestled against the mountains and overlooking the ocean! Kinda Asian version of the Italian Cinque Terre ;) 

I went there for a one-day trip from Taipei but if you have time I suggest to spend one night there in order to explore more! You can either hike the mountains around there or rent a motorbike and visit the coast. 

To get there you can take the 1062 bus from Taipei straight to Jiufen Old Street (about 1 hour).
Once there, as first thing, just get lost walking along the super crowded Old Street!

A few things you could and should try:

  • drink the Taiwanese bubble tea
  • try the taro and sweet potatoes balls, apparently super typical
  • stop in one of the traditional and super cute tea houses overlooking the sea
  • try the stinky tofu or any other "strange" (for me!) food you find there
  • visit the temples along the way and get lost in the small alleys

After having visited the Old Street you have many options specially if you like hiking!
One of the best spot where to see the sunset is Mt. Keelung that you reach walking from Jiufen itself. Once you enter the path you will soon find a junction, at that point keep left: it's the longest route but the one with the best scenery!!
Have a look at my pics during the sunset and I'll let you judge :) 

Another option is to go to Teapot Mountain but you need to take a bus from Jiufen and then start the hike!
If you don't wanna hike then you can take a bus to Jinguashi, another small village, less crowded than Jiufen and really near.

Dambulla & Sigiriya

The first stop of my trip to Sri Lanka is in the North of Kandy, an area called The Cultural Triangle, famous for its ruined palaces, temples and caves. Here I've visited Dambulla's cave temples and Sigiriya's Lion Rock! A great start that foretaste the wonderful nature and sceneries of this simply amazing country.

IMG_0208.jpg

Dambulla is famous for its five cave temples decorated with amazing murals. They're open from 7.30am to 7pm and it will take you around 45mins / 1 hour to visit them all. The best murals are in cave 3, cave 2 is the biggest and most spectacular and cave 1 hosts a 14-meter long sleeping Buddha. At the bottom of the steps up to the cave temples stands a Golden Temple of Buddha that claims to be the biggest in Asia but actually is not even the biggest in Sri Lanka :)

15km from Dambulla there is Sigiriya, famous for the Lion Rock! I highly recommend you to but the ticket (around 30USD) and climb it till the top! It will take you around 1.5/2 hours to visit the area, climb the Rock and enjoy the breathtaking view! The best times to visit the Rock is either early morning or late afternoon, less tourists and better light! I've done it around 5pm and was perfect. On the summit there once was the Royal Palace, but now only remain the foundations, a square brick platforms overlooking the green hills.