Canadian living in Germany - Enjoying Travel & Documenting as I go! My goal is to bring you honest reporting based on my experience. As blogging took over the internet, so did glossy photos and life is perfect mentality. The world is now officially viewed through rose coloured glasses. I aim to bring you a truer, more realistic version. Hope you enjoy and please share if you do.
Nestled in the limestone cliffs of Mount Lovćen on the beautiful Adriatic Coast, Kotor Montenegro.
Kotor – beaches, shopping, cruise port, cathedral and the best preserved Medieval town in the Adriatic!
We arrived in the cruise port town of Kotor via a gorgeous coastal drive from Dubrovnik, Croatia. The border crossing was a little uncomfortable – read more about the Croatia Montenegro border crossing at the end of this blog.
The waterfront was a perfect place to go for a walk and stretch our legs. Beautiful vistas and friendly people were already preparing for the cruise ship arrival. After awhile, we headed through the thick stone walls into the old town.
Like most old towns, enchanting architecture, lots of shops, restaurants and ice cream. Beware of the many gypsy beggars and make sure your pocketbooks are secure.
The town is not big, so it is an easy walk – even in the heat.
Cruise Ship Cruiser Info:
For those of you who are lucky enough to be cruising into Kotor, this is a tender port. How to:
1. Exit the tender area and go left across the little bridge to the park. Walk to the waterfront for tours. Some available tours include the Blue Cave, Kayaking, Canyoning, Budva, Jaz Beach, St. Stefan Island (Sveti Stefan) and more.
2. Exit and go right to the Old Town
3. Exit and go left to get to the swimming / beach area.
All of the above options are within walking distance.
Border Crossing Info:
Huge line up at the border. We wait 45 minutes on the border before we are finally stamped out of Croatia.
Then we are in a shorter line to be stamped into Montenegro. The customs police are very short fused and when they see our passport, ask for ownership. Then they ask for our green card. We have no idea what they are talking about and they are getting angrier. Finally he calms down and tells us it can be BOUGHT at the little shop in FRONT of us, to park and get it – he kept our passports, but he had also calmed down when he realized our naive innocence. I am not sure how we were supposed to have this green card when we arrived, if we were not able to buy it before passing through customs. Anyway, it is proof of international insurance, we buy the GREEN paper (which is white) for €15 without complication, present it to him and move on.
Craving Coffee? In the heart of Ubud, Bali is a unique cafe where the staff is having fun!
Cafe Name: Anomali Coffee Ubud Address: Jalan Raya Ubud No. 88, Petulu, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
Note: This is an independent review based on my personal experience.
I wandered upon this not so secret gem while out and about in Ubud in February. If you didn’t already know, coffee is grown locally on the lush green hills surrounding the town and therefore, it is taken very seriously by locals.
Bean to cup coffee is served in many cafes which line the streets, but it was the quiet laughter of the smiling baristas pouring out of the building which prompted me to have a cup at Anomali.
Anomali is an alternate spelling of anomally which means something that deviates from what is standard, normal, or expected. This coffee shop tries to do just that. Charts indicate acidity levels of single origin coffee so you can figure out what brew might be your favourite.
The huge variety of coffees and teas will not make this any easier, but that is the cult of coffee. The cool vibe allows you to take your time and smiling baristas are willing to make suggestions.
I ended up ordering a Single Origin Sumatra Iced Coffee which was wonderful to sip away on while sitting on the patio and watching the crazy traffic go by. It cost 28,000 IDR / €1.70 / US$2 which is pricy for Indonesia, but it is definitely worth a visit.
Opening Hours: 7 AM to 10 PM Contact: http://store.anomalicoffee.com/
Location: Asia > SouthEast Asia > Indonesia > Bali Island > Kabupaten Gianyar > Ubud > Anomali Coffee
Looking for a Restaurant eatery with fabulous service, good food and great prices in Legian Beach Kuta, Bali?
Restaurant Name: D’Medina Bistro Address: Jalan Legian No. 111, Legian, Bali, Indononesia – across from Star Surf
Note: This is an independent hotel / restaurant review based on my personal experience.
The Restaurant: A tidy, small and narrow eatery with a fresh modern cafe diner feeling. Colourful pictures displaying some of their offerings decorate the brick look walls.
The Service: We were warmly welcomed on our first visit and every visit after by the super friendly server Malik! She was simply great! She had recommendations, was efficient, chatted if you wanted and was always smiling.
The Food: Nice menu serving traditional Indonesian Food with some Western as well as vegetarian options.
Unfortunately, on our first visit, at 1 pm in the afternoon they did not have any cooked rice and said it would take an hour. Assumedly, they had no rice because I have never heard of rice taking an hour to cook. Instead of getting upset, we simply doubled our original order of Mie Goreng Ayam.
The fried noodles with chicken was delicious. A side dish of Sambal Goreng Pedas added the perfect spice level to our meal.
The servings are not huge, but a satisfying amount so you will not walk away stuffed, but not hungry either.
The Cost: 92,000 Rupias / €5.50 / US$6.85 including 1 small mineral water, 2 lemon iced teas and 2 Mie Goreng Noodle dishes.
Do I recommend D’Medina Bistro? I definitely recommend it. Excellent prices, tasty food, friendly service. Affordable, cheap food – where to eat in Kuta Legian Bali.
More dishes we tried:
Sapi Lada Hiram & Rice – Beef in Black pepper sauce, bell pepper, ginger and Capsicum, good
Ayam Lemon & Rice – Deep Fried Chicken Fillet with lemon sauce, ok
Chicken Satay with white rice, good
Ayam Kung Pao – Chicken with cashews and white rice, delicious.
Opening Hours: 12 noon to 4 am
Location: Asia > SouthEast Asia > Indonesia > Bali Island > Kabupaten Badung > Legian Beach > Jalan Raya Legian > D’Medina Bistro
Quiet, affordable accommodation within Walking Distance to Legian Beach, Kuta Clubs and Restaurants.
Hotel Name:Grand Bimasen Hostel Address:Jalan Legian No. 190, Legian, Kuta, Badung, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Note: This is an independent hotel review based on my personal experience.
The Hotel: We arrived late in the evening, but our wonderful hostess greeted us with a big warm smile and quickly checked us in. We were on the second floor. The room itself is simple and outdated, but a comfortable bed, a night table, a lamp and a tv provided the bare necessities. The bathroom was a typical Asian wet room – toilet, sink and shower in one small area. A big bar of soap and towels were provided at no extra charge.
The Service: Fantastic! Friendly, helpful and outgoing.
The Breakfast: Included in the price, the breakfast was a definite highlight. I had a banana pancake while my husband enjoyed fried eggs. A plate of fresh fruit, butter, marmalade, fresh pressed juice, coffee and tea were presented on a table by the pool.
Convenience: Restaurants, clubs, shops and Legian Beach are all within walking distance. The side street where it is located helps with night life noise levels and while we were there, the guests seemed quiet and respectful.
Breakdown Positive: Almost everything; the host, the breakfast, the location, the pool. Negative: Outdated, run down rooms; Internet is often weak to non-existent so best idea is to buy a SIM card so you don’t have to rely on it. Both afternoons we came back to no electricity, which lasted a few hours due to hedge / tree trimming, I think.
The Cost: €13 / US$16 per night (3 nights, Rp 689,700 / €40 / US$50)
Do I recommend it? Yes! If you are a person who is looking for a quiet place to lay your head at night for a great price, this is what you are looking for.
Contact: +62 818-0564-4611
Location: Asia > SouthEast Asia > Indonesia > Bali Island > Kuta Badung > Jalan Legian > Legian Beach > Grand Bimasena
Triple C follows B for Bali, Cocaine, Clubs, Crowds – Kuta Legian Beach
Where Ed Sheeran’s Perfect blares out of every bar, the song I will always associate with Bali.
Arrival in Denpasar, Season: February Airport experience & need to know info:
It was Pouring rain. Ladies with umbrellas greeted us at the airplane stairway and walked us to the waiting bus. Immigration: Do not have your phone on and go one at a time to the immigration booth (couples separate) – the Process was easy but very unfriendly, especially after super friendly Singapore. Make sure your entrance paper is filled out before proceeding to exit.
SIM – as soon as you get out of the luggage area, go right and head to the last shop on the left. It is all pink and says internet. 30 GB for 350,000 Rupias / US$27
ATM: Not one machine in the entire airport worked. Huge line ups of frustrated travellers. WARNING: throughout our stay in Bali, 2 credit cards and one debit card were eaten by ATM Machines, so be careful and have backup. There are many ATM machines, but our card did not work in most of them, however the Western Union bank machine did work.
Taxi / Transportation: all official taxis are the same price. Go to the taxi counter or speak with any guy with the blue flowered shirt.
Weather: February is rainy season and it was pouring when we arrived.
Insider Tip: Kuta Night Market was recommended by our taxi driver. He says the food is very good and the price also. Suckling pig is a specialty, and Ayam means chicken ie. Ayam Goreng means chicken noodles. We did not go, let me know in the comments below if you did, and what your experience was.
Legian Beach, Kuta
Our Hotel: Grand Bimasena – is it for you?
The Beach: Beautiful long stretches of light brown, sandy beach with light waves rolling in make Legian Beach the perfect water area to learn how to surf. The numerous surf schools and surfers support this fact.
Beginners are busy trying to catch the perfect wave and stay standing for longer than 5 seconds before falling or crashing into someone and determinedly getting back up for another go.
Unfortunately, this picture perfect view is destroyed by the massive amount of garbage laying all over the beach.
Locals flock in groups, setting up for a day out with family and friends while tourists sunbathe amongst them. We are told this (February) is low season, therefore very quiet; I can not imagine how crowded it must be in high season!
We strolled the not too busy beach before scooting across the road to an affordable Circle K convenience store, grabbing some drinks and sitting at a beach view table watching the world go by.
Our day was gorgeous sunshine until the skies clouded over and opened up and poured at around 6:30 pm.
Laundry: We dropped off our dirty clothes at a little place beside our hotel. Many laundry places offer 3 hour service, where we dropped our clothes, it is next day. Went back the next morning (dropped previous morning) and they told us no, it will be ready at 3 pm; went back at 4 pm and they told us nobody is there, come back at 5 pm which is when they said tomorrow. Frustrated, we informed them that it is impossible because we leave and then they had it ready in 5 minutes. One large bag $2.
Motorbike Rental / Highway Permit: Do Not Drive on the highway without an international drivers license and a highway permit. The permit can be bought at any convenience store for 5000 IDR (practically free) and it is a value card. We did not know, were pulled over by the police, were allowed to pay the 5000 IDR. Our license was not international so we were told to take the bike back immediately and do not rent a bike again.
The police officer in this case was very friendly and helpful. He told us at least 3 bike accidents a day occur in this area with tourists and because they do not have an international drivers license, their travel insurance does not cover the hospital expenses. Good to know. He also said Indonesia has the 5th highest transportation mortality rate in the world.
Drink / Night: Roti Cafe has great bucket deals – 3 beer, 60,000 IDR / €3.55 / USD$4.36
Cocaine and marijuana can be bought / is offered everywhere on the street and in the bars. I would strongly recommend not participating, but each to their own.
Kuta / Legian did not live up to my expectations, however, one can understand the draw for the party crowds.
Bali Bombing Memorial: Take time to visit the 2014 Bomb Memorial. This touching dedication lists all of the names of people who lost their lives in this senseless act of terrorism.
Leaving to Ubud after 3 nights: Uber did not work so we used Grab. The lady who picked us up told us that we need to pay 50,000 IDR on top of the agreed app fee of 150,000 IDR for a total of 200,000 IDR.
Want a private driver? I can recommend Gita: Whatapp Tel: +62 87861653398
**Please be careful when using Grab as it is known the Ubud taxis beat up Grab drivers. Best is to act as if it is a friend picking you up.