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Bali, Travel & Wanderlust

The Best Places To Eat In Amed

July 10, 2017

Amed, situated on the north east coast of Bali is a quiet little fishing village three hours of Denpasar. In my month here I found some treasures, and must eats here for your next trip (for half the price of southern Bali.) Here are some of the best places to eat in Amed. Hit me up if I have missed any!

Warung Enak 

Warung Enak is a favourite with travellers coming to Amed and it’s easy to see why. Situated on the main street, they serve a great selection of salad, pizza, fish of the day and home made ice cream. They have recently extended their seating area but it still gets super busy, especially in diving season so get there early. Be prepared for things to take a while if you are in a large group. Notable mentions: Tuna and corn pizza and the tofu and egg salad. Jl. Raya Pengosekan Ubud, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia

Warung Osin 

This is a small, unassuming and very clean warung close to the centre of Amed opposite the ATM and Barung dive centre. It is easy to walk straight past but if you do you will miss some of the best Indonesian food in Amed. Here you can get great nasi campur (a little taste of everything), satay chicken and fish, as well as fish of the day. The above meal of satay tuna will set you back about $6 AUD. Continue Reading…

42 Days of Summer, Bali, Travel & Wanderlust

Tips for A Do It Yourself Retreat in Penestanan Ubud

May 2, 2017

If you’re travelling to Ubud for some chilled out relaxing time, then you’re going to be in shock. The centre of Ubud is well, a shock if you’re expecting tranquility. Row after row of souvenir shops, question after question about tours, transport and the like, yoga in a class full of 50 people. Your planned trip to paradise can feel a little hectic. But it can still be possible to find peace in Ubud if you look further afield. One word, Penestanan. Penestanan is an artist’s village about a 15 minute walk from central Ubud. It is how I imagined Ubud used to be. Rice fields, little pathways, hidden cafes and yoga studios. If you’re in for chill then this is the place to be. I’ve been lucky to visit here twice now so I would love to share my tips with you. This post is not sponsored by the way. Just sharing the love for everything you need for a Do-It-Yourself retreat in Penestanan.


There are quite a few options for accommodation in this area. You can look for a hotel (Booking.Com has some here). You can find a homestay or meander the paths yourself. You’ll no doubt see “room for rent” signs about and people outside of houses and villas waiting for you to negotiate. I found my treasure on AirBnB and I’ve stayed at Kuntia’s place twice now. The room is a short walk to Yellow Flower Cafe, Intuitive Flow Yoga, and has perfect lofty feel, there is even a day bed on the balcony where you can while away a day and read. It is the perfect place to a lot or nothing.


Penestanan is foodies heaven. In particular if you are into raw/organic/vegan/health foods, you do not need to travel far to eat in some of the best places in Ubud. At the bottom of the village, is Alchemy. This place set the standard for raw and vegan food in Ubud and is hard to top. I had the raw cannelloni above and it was amazing. I’ve also tried the bounty slice for dessert with a glass of organic red wine. Up the middle of the ridge is Yellow Flower Cafe, a hip hang out for yogi’s. Yellow Flower has a great vegan and organic food menu, a Sunday Buffet, and a range of flavoured soda waters for when you’ve walked up a sweat making it up the hill. Across the other side of the road from the Bintang Supermarket on Jalan Raya Campuan is The Elephant which might just be my favourite. A top spot for having a wine while the sun sets over the rice fields. The 100% menu has so much on offer, for even the ‘non-vegetarian’ types, such a Gyoza, Laksa, Rice Paper Rolls and more. If you come here, the dessert is  a must. Check out this dairy free cheesecake. OMG. For some great local food Lala & Lili Warung is fantastic and set around a lovely garden with a pond.  Continue Reading…

Bali, Women with Purpose

Women With Purpose : Agata Bogusz

January 23, 2017

It’s been a while since my last Women With Purpose post, but it’s time and well overdue! After growing up spending summer by the lake or at the seaside Agata Bogusz was always destined for life in the water. But it wasn’t until a scuba trip in Egypt in 2008 that she discovered freediving by chance. The polish record holder is now based in Bali, with a mission to share the benefits of freediving with others (and through freediving, I’ve been lucky enough to meet her and now call her my friend as well as my coach.) Here is my interview with this lovely mermaid that was originally published in Travel Play Live Magazine in January.

Have you always loved the water?

I was always in the water from early childhood. My father was a member of a scuba-diving club and it was a tradition to go to with him to the pool on Wednesdays and Saturdays. On these days I was playing a lot in the water with my brother and father. We were always holding our breath, having fun and diving in the deeper part of the pool. I remember crossing my legs, and pretending I had a tail.

How did you discover freediving?

I started scuba diving around the age of 19 and loved it immediately. I did my level one, and level two, and then started technical diving, because I really wanted to go deep. Technical diving is decompression diving with different mixes of gasses, which allow you to stay longer and dive at a greater depth. I was training with the polish record holder in deep technical dives; he wanted to make me his partner. This journey brought me to Egypt to train for a month in the summer of 2008. During this trip, I met a guy who was freediving and did not have a buddy for his dives. He took me out for a session with him and I thought it was easy. In just a few sessions I got to 30 meters. He checked that it was the Polish National record and convinced me to train properly. Then I came back home to Poland and I trained for a month for a pool competition, and came second. This is when I was introduced to the polish freediving community. After a year of training in September 2009 I re-set three polish records in Dahab. Continue Reading…

Bali, Relationships, Travel & Wanderlust

The Power of Connection

July 4, 2016

I hope the boys from Bubu Racok Homestay don’t mind me using this image of them below from my recent trip to Bali.The photo basically sums up what I felt the whole time I was staying at this beautiful homestay. Connection.

I contemplated the power of connection a lot during my week in the little village of Amed, far on the north east coast of Bali. Amed is far from the bars, the lights, the messy Australians found in the south. A simple seaside town, open to tourism but still retaining traditional life. Sure, I noticed the bad points. The poverty, the rubbish on the road, the lack of infrastructure, the kids out of school. But I also I noticed the smiles.

Most of all, I noticed the smiles.

I wondered, are the Balinese really this happy with the little material possessions they have?

The answer is yes, I think, because of connection, not only to each other, but to a purpose. I watched Wayan and his family in awe during my week, at the end of which, I felt like part of their family. I almost howled when I left. I watched how they worked together and helped each other out for the united aim of being the best homestay in Amed, and in my opinion it is. Not because of the rooms, or the air-con, or the banana pancake, which is ACTUALLY the best. But because of the feeling you get when you are there.  I watched as everyone worked together to solve problems and tasks. Sons and their girlfriends, cousins and friends. Nothing was too much for anybody. From cleaning to driving, to cooking, to helping fix a broken seat, to coming together in the evening to BBQ for their guests.

Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 4.52.06 pm

Between busy times, I would watch the family sit together, and just talk. Or sit, and just be together.  I can’t remember the last time I sat with my husband, just in each others company. Without Netflix, without talking about bills, the cats, this DVA claim looming over or heads….the list goes on.

Just connecting.

Just because. 

It rubbed off on me and I found myself talking to strangers during the week, connecting in the sunset, having real conversations.

The deep kind. I did not watch a single show or movie in ten days.

Something else that struck me was the connection to the spirit. It is something that you see everyday. It is not talked about, it is not pushed on people. It is lived. It is life. The week I was in Bali there was a series of festivals, people would return to their villages, for days of offering and thanking the Gods. Small baskets of flowers, rice and incense are put in front of people’s homes and businesses three times a day, every day. You will see them all throughout Bali on your travels, during festival time or not. This is a ritual based on thanks, and expressing gratitude, rather than on fear. The freediving team even held a ceremony to make sure that we are all safe in the oceans and to express gratitude for their business.

How amazing is that?

I can’t help but notice, back sitting in my cubicle, surrounded by people, how alone I feel.

Most of the time, I am surrounded by people. Sometimes, I’m actually squashed, whether it be on the bus or in the coffee shop.

But at the same time, I feel like we are all so alone. Together but disconnected.

Have we got it wrong?


Ashleigh XXX

Linking up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT

Bali, Travel & Wanderlust, Travel: Beach Series

Why to go East in Bali – Amed & Candidasa

January 26, 2016

The third place we will explore in my travel beach series, is the eastern side of Bali, Amed and Candidasa. My love of freediving took me here twice in 2015. I absolutely fell in love, and was so happy to discover that not everywhere in Bali has been overdeveloped, like I had heard. We love it so much so, that we are thinking about returning for longer this year. If you are a little confused as by what I mean ‘east” , I’m talking about heading north of Denpasar, to Candidasa and Amed.

Here are four reasons to go east in Bali.

Pristine waters

I’ve heard of places in Bali where there is so much rubbish in the water that you can’t see your hand in front of your face. So sad. But not unfamiliar. Like many asian countries, particularly small islands, they haven’t caught up with the fact that you actually need to protect the environment so tourists want to return. I really hope that the Balinese cotton on, before it is too late. Fortunately, the north-east side of Bali is slow to catch up to tourism. Amed, around three hours north of Denpasar is a series of protected bays sitting against the backdrop of Mt Agung. The waters are absolutely clear with a drop of 40 meters 10 meters from the shore, perfect for freediving and scuba diving. Here you won’t find rubbish, plastic bags, or anything really, except for maybe turtles and a shipwreck! This is how clear the waters were on our swim out to Tulamben.


Clear water in Amed

Accommodation for all – at great prices 

For absolutely a fraction of the price of areas like Seminyak and Uluwatu you can stay in relative comfort, or luxury if you like.  In Candidasa, there is a little village with great places to eat and drink. You want to be within walking distance of here (in my opinion). The northern beaches are quieter with some awesome snorkelling right in front of the hotels. Fair enough my accommodation choices here might have been determined by close proximity to a paragliding site, but we have stayed at Hotel Genggong twice. Their air-conditioned deluxe rooms on the top-level are awesome value for around $100 a night. You’ll also see one of the best sunsets in Bali.


At Hotel Genggong, nothing interrupts your view to the beach

Villa Bukit Segara, (that’s me, in the feature photo of this post, chilling out in their amazing pool) an hour north of Candidasa in Amed, can be rented out as a villa or per room. The private property has beach access with great snorkelling out the front, large comfortable rooms, a restaurant and an infinity pool. The airy, lofty rooms have a day bed for reading and unique furnishings with marble open air bathrooms. The property is beautifully maintained with amazing gardens, you almost don’t want to leave for sightseeing. At around $150 per night, this is amazing value for what you get.


Best view while you’re eating at Villa Bukit Segara


Our beautiful room at Villa Bukit Segara

If your on a budget, there is also a range of guesthouses available. Bubu Racok has clean beachfront, air-conditioned rooms in the main part of Amed.

The quiet

You’re not going to be surrounded by people on the beach, or at your hotel pool here in eastern Bali. If you like quiet, then this is the area for you. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of places to have great food and drink, or a Bintang, but it’s not a party place. Most people travelling to will be taking the opportunity to do the plenty of activities the area has to offer, and if you take these up (as you should) then your head will hit the pillow most nights, before you can even think about a big night out!


So many activities – so little time

Amed kind of reminds me of Ubud by the sea. You have stunning mountains, rice fields and greenery, then you descend down the hill, to black sand beaches and blue waters. Trek Mt Agung, take a rice field tour to walk to some quiet villages, motorbike through the countryside, snorkel, freedive, paraglide, or just laze around by the beach.  Villa Bukit Segara even has a sailing school, if this tickles your fancy. There is a number of important cultural sights as well, the most notable Tirta Gangga and Ujung Water Palace, stunning water palaces and gardens built for the king of Karangasem to relax from his busy schedule. Tough hey?


Those that freedive together, are friends forever

My final piece of advice, go there now before the rest of the world does!

Ashleigh XXX 

We always fly AirAsia to get to our holiday destinations! 

Interested in tropical destinations and travel?

Check out the rest of our Travel Beach Series.








The Tulum Blog

The Boracay Blog 

AirAsia Business Review 

The Koh Tao Blog 

Images by James Mills 

Disclosure My recent trip to Bali was courtesy of AirAsia and Villa Bukit Segara.



The Bali Files: An East Bali snippet

September 29, 2015

I had heard a lot of things about Bali. Bad bad things. People putting methylated spirits in drinks in replacement of alcohol. Bogans everywhere. Do not go, they said. On my first overseas trips in my twenties I fell in love with Thailand, and have been back about eight times, so Bali never appealed to me. Until now. We had the opportunity to take part in a yoga retreat, and freedive, so we said a big fat YES to Bali and I am so glad I did. We have a rule of thumb when travelling which is when you get anywhere, go as far away from the airport as you can and life gets better. This is totally true and what we found in Bali, when exploring Candidasa and Amed. We loved the people, the food, the slow paced vibe here – think ubud but by the beach, with less people.

You won’t find bogans here, or busy bars, just beaches, guesthouses and green green rice fields. Enjoy the view!



Poolside at Hotel Genggong, Candidasa




Bubu Racok Homestay in Amed




Amed beach sunsets


Candidasa sunset