Indonesia: Kopi Luwak in Bali

Have you heard or tried Kopi Luwak?

On our way to explore the northern part of Bali, we visited Lumbung Sari, one of the Luwak coffee farms as part of the tour.

Luwak coffee tasting in Bali

Luwak coffee tasting in Bali

As soon as we arrived at the area, a very friendly staff assisted us. He showed and explained to us how they prepare the coffee beans.

We have learned that in Southeast Asia, there are jungle cats called Civet that loves to eat coffee cherries. The civet’s digestive system uses the fruit of the coffee for nourishment but it is only partly digested. The civet then pooped out the coffee beans. They collected the undigested coffee beans out of the Civet cat poop, and proceed to process: roast, grind, brew, and serve them just like any other beans you can buy from the coffee shop.

Luwak coffee tasting in Bali

Luwak coffee tasting in Bali

We’ve also learned that it’s the most expensive coffee in the world probably because of its scarcity and experience value.

At first we were dead set on not drinking the coffee made from animal poop but we figured out “When in Bali…” So we decided to buy a cup of Luwak coffee (and shared it between me and husband).

Luwak coffee tasting in Bali

Our experience of drinking a Luwak coffee was really unique. It had a really distinctive aroma. In fact it was chocolatey, winey and had some sort of hazelnut tones. It was rich and delicious. It wasn’t gross or anything. It wasn’t strong and it had very little aftertaste.

They also offered a sample of various kinds of tea. And we got to meet a few of the Luwak too.

Civet “Luwak” is a nocturnal animal: sleeping the whole day long and very active and aggressive at night.

The view from the terrace over the Rainforest was gorgeous, tranquil and breezy. Great for photographs.

Luwak coffee tasting in Bali

It was certainly a pleasant stop. It was interesting seeing how the coffee was grown and ground into drinkable coffee. It was special and delightful, so combined with its really bizarre story – I think it’s worth a visit. Don’t miss out!

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Indonesia: Rice Terraces in Tegalalang, Bali

It was a bright sunny morning, we woke up early to see a photogenic place in Bali – the rice terraces.

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

The rice terraces in Tegallalang is one of the cultural landscapes in Bali that was classified as a UNESCO world heritage site as it show cases Subak, a traditional, oldest and most complex Balinese irrigation systems and it demonstrates Tri Hita Karana, a Balinese core philosophy of life – harmony – which means harmonious relationship with nature, with other people, and with God.

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

From our hotel in Kuta, we hired a car to venture in the emerald green interior of Bali. It was midday when we arrived there, and the sun was scorching hot. It left us two options since my husband and my son are so sensitive to the heat and humidity: either we buzz up in one of the restaurants/cafes and get a photo and enjoy the view from the top or we navigate the steps down to the valley and spend a little time exploring the rice terraces. We chose the latter option.

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

We ambled through the rice fields up to the highest terrace for about an hour. We rested under the shades of the coconut trees, sipped some water, took some photos, savored the little summer breeze, and indulged ourselves in the scenic panoramic view. It was stunning but we had mixed emotions seeing it – happy because it seemed like we were strolling on a vast shimmering fields of gold and sad because some of the rice seeds were too ripe and no one harvested them – it made us think that it was just there to look good for tourists.

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

As we walked down the stairs, there were heaps of swings for you to rent. The swing looks great though, wished I could get a unique Instagram shot but I didn’t have enough patience to wait for my turn to get on the swing.

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

The entire place is beautiful but they made it into a big industrial area for tourists. From the main entrance (where we parked our car), the street was packed with a plethora of rip-off restaurants, cafes and tourist shops. Nevertheless, if you like a gorgeous, unique and green view, I recommend this place for you.

Rice terraces in Tegallalang, Bali

Little Lilly travel tips:

  • Get there early in the morning to avoid the heat and to beat the massive flow of tourists.
  • There are many entrances down to the valley. I think it’s better to walk down the road from the car-park and then walk down the valley to the other side where they have a big swing tied to 2 palm trees.
  • It’s not suitable for disabled/unfit person.
  • Bring some water and a towel.

Philippines: Catching-up with high-school friends in Tandag

I am very lucky to have some really amazing and crazy bunch of friends around, who bring so much positivity and make my life wonderful and lively.

It’s been a while since we saw each other last; I’m grateful that they were able to squeeze in a little time off their busy schedules to make my short break in the Philippines worthwhile and I’m so glad I had the chance to catch-up with them.

…with my high-school friends through the years!

How did we catch-up?

  • I invited them to my sister’s wedding and to the house blessing of our new home.
  • Chaperoned our children (who happened to be classmates and friends) to their own catch-up time at VML Hotel.
  • Went for a sunset walk at the Riverside in Telaje.
  • Played badminton at ELG Badminton Center.
  • A coffee group date at Brew Central

…with my high-school friends at my sister’s wedding.

What did we talk about?

We talked about life in general – memories (loads of them and we laughed at them), work, family, food, fitness, travels, friends we have in common, etc – just a bit of everything. It was just pure fun and laughter. Everybody was cool, calm and casual, so there was a natural flow to conversation as if we were just talking a few weeks ago. And when one was talking, we were all ears!

…with my high-school friends through the years!

They were still the same guys then, even though I didn’t get to see many of high-school friends since it was December/Christmas break – in the Philippines, it’s a time of the year for so many family gatherings. I really missed them. It was so great to catch up with them after all these years! And I hope to see them again soon.

when we chaperoned our children…

Personally, I think when I met my high-school friends, emotions speak more than words. And when we met, we thought we were still in high-school and we wished to go back to those good old days when we were carefree and relaxed from the stresses of life. It’s like all that mattered was that we were together again.

…with Daryl.

…with Grace and Eowyn, her daughter.

Certainly, I reckon meeting up with a friend you haven’t seen in years and being able to chat for hours is one of the most special experiences I’ve ever had. Cheers to 25 years of friendship and counting!

in the wilderness?

sunset walk at the Riverside.

…with Daryl and her love of her life.

How about you – how often do you meet your old friends?

 

 

Philippines: Breakfast at the beach in Tandag

Amongst the many things I love about my hometown is a wonderful beach breakfast or brunch at Mabua Beach in Tandag, where we only live 5 meters away from the sea.

Breakfast with family at Mabua Beach in Tandag

Mabua Beach in Tandag

It was a beautiful day after Christmas, all of the big events in the family (my sister’s wedding, Christmas Eve celebration and house blessing of our new home) were over, so we decided to have breakfast at the beach.

Mabua Beach in Tandag

We brought all the leftovers from Christmas, plus mom’s cooked fresh tinolang isda (fish soup) with freshly harvested vegetables from her garden.

Everybody had good appetite. Everybody was delighted. Everybody savored the moment.

  • Got thrilled out by the unlimited karaoke on the beach. Don’t you know that it is part of the Filipino passions?

Mabua Beach in Tandag

  • Had fun with the big waves – swim through, dive under or ride over them.

Mabua Beach in Tandag

  • Luxuriate in with one of my favorite books.

Mabua Beach in Tandag

  • Got a kick out of a tranquil walk on the seashore.

Mabua Beach in Tandag

Mabua Beach in Tandag

  • Dug on the beach and buried up to your neck in the sand.

Mabua Beach in Tandag

Mabua Beach in Tandag

  • Wallowed in the luxury of tranquility and togetherness.

Mabua Beach in Tandag

Mabua Beach in Tandag

Certainly fun!

Mabua Beach in Tandag

How I love to smell and hear the warm early morning sea breeze, listen to the sound of the crashing waves, watch the sun glorious rising hues, and bask in the stunning view of the sea. It was so warm, relaxed and breathtaking!

Indonesia: 3 days in a gorgeous secluded beach resort in Bali

My family and I are a true beach bum. We love beach! And one of the reasons why we traveled to Bali was to enjoy a private escape to the beach without worrying about crowds.

Sandi Phala Beach Resort in Bali

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Sandi Phala Beach Resort in Bali

Sandi Phala Beach Resort in Bali

Sandi Phala Beach Resort in Bali

We lazed at Sandi Phala Beach Resort for 3 days – siesta on the beach, a lot of reading, schmoozing with my boys, sun basking, swimming, playing with the big waves, watching sunset, tasting Balinese food and enjoying the refreshing Bintang beer. We certainly enjoyed the luxury and the privacy.

Sandi Phala Beach Resort in Bali

Sandi Phala Beach Resort in Bali

Sandi Phala Beach Resort in Bali

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Sandi Phala Beach Resort in Bali

Sandi Phala Beach Resort in Bali

Sandi Phala Beach Resort in Bali

The tranquility, the beautiful sunset, the breeze, the big waves, the playful blend of aqua colors, the yellow brown sands, the luscious food and the friendly staff make this destination a genuine paradise.

Ma Joly Restaurant

Sandi Phala Beach Resort

Sandi Phala Beach Resort in Bali

Sandi Phala Beach Resort in Bali

Likewise, we liked the place because it is like half way between Tandag, my hometown in the Philippines and Carantec in Brittany, France. Plus, it was absolutely quiet. We spent 5 full great days in Bali – 3 days at the beach and 2 days to visit other places, was just right to re-charge our mojo, re-energize and re-ignites our passion.

Sandi Phala Beach Resort in Bali

Sandi Phala Beach Resort in Bali

Cambodia: Explore Mondulkiri for its romance in rolling hills

Mondulkiri is a special destination to visit in Cambodia. It is a very different place from the flat, steaming-hot capital city, Phnom Penh. The chock full of natural beauty, the thickly forested mountains, the powerful waterfalls, the lush green rolling hills, the Cambodian aboriginal community, the mild temperatures, the off-the-beaten-tourist trail, the variety of languages used – Khmer, hill tribe languages, Vietnamese, Laos and the tranquility of the place offer such a contrast when compared to Phnom Penh. I love it!

Mondulkiri, Cambodia

Mondulkiri, Cambodia

Mondulkiri, Cambodia

Mondulkiri, Cambodia

Mondulkiri, Cambodia

While traveling from the Penh to Mondulkiri, I couldn’t help but exclaimed, “Wow, it feels like we are traveling to the French countryside!” because of the manicured landscape and the quality of the road.

Mondulkiri, Cambodia

Mondulkiri, Cambodia

Mondulkiri, Cambodia

Mondulkiri, Cambodia

Mondulkiri, Cambodia

Once there, we walked through the forest, ambled hills after hills and did a lot of sightseeing. While hiking, I imagined several scenes from the movie “The Hobbit” especially when Gandalf entered Hobbiton and when Bilbo jumped over the fence and said, “I’m going on an adventure!” Mondulkiri is very picturesque. Certainly, our adventure there was nothing less than spectacular and it was one of the most wonderful experience in Cambodia for us.

Mondulkiri, Cambodia

Mondulkiri, Cambodia

Mondulkiri, Cambodia

Mondulkiri, Cambodia

Little Lilly travel tips:

  • The town of Sen Monorom is the best base camp for travelers who want to explore the surrounding areas.

Cambodia: Waterfall hopping in Ratanakiri

We fell in love with the natural beauty of the hidden treasures of Ratanakiri, which are off-the-beaten-track and unbeknownst to the tourist crowds. So, since Ratanakiri is home to stunning waterfalls we decided to do waterfall hopping.

Cha Ong Waterfall in Ratanakiri

Cha Ong Waterfall

We went there during the rainy season and we could only visit 4 waterfalls as some roads were not accessible – very slippery, very muddy. On our way to the falls, I felt like I was traveling back to the earliest beginning of the world when the big trees were kings. We saw a lot of plantations and some impenetrable forest. The air was cold, thick and sluggish, and there was no joy in the brilliance of the sun.

Ratanakiri

The water level of each waterfall was huge and strong, and the sound was impressive. The waterfalls were all gorgeous, refreshing, cool and each one is picture perfect.

If walking through dense jungle and lush green canopies is your idea of fun, then waterfall hopping in Ratanakiri should be on your Cambodia’s bucket list. So to help you on your next adventure, here’s our top 4 best and more accessible waterfalls in Ratanakiri for you to discover.

Ratanakiri

Ratanakiri

Ou’Sean Lair Waterfall

It has 7 steps and it is located in a deep jungle surrounded by beautiful landscapes. The water flows throughout the year. On the way to the waterfall, you will see villages and mines. You can also visit the zircon gemstones mining company.

Ou’Sean Lair Waterfall in Ratanakiri

Ou’Sean Lair Waterfall in Ratanakiri

Ou’Sean Lair Waterfall in Ratanakiri

Ou’Sean Lair Waterfall in Ratanakiri

Ou’Sean Lair Waterfall in Ratanakiri

Ka Chanh Waterfall

The waterfall is 12 meters high. One of the main attractions there is the suspension bridge right before the waterfall – great photo on the hanging bridge. There were also traditional houses in the area for you to explore. Once there, we got some amazing pictures and truly enjoyed the experience. For us it is the most charming waterfall.

Ka Chanh Waterfall

Ka Chanh Waterfall

Ka Chanh Waterfall

Katieng Waterfall

It is about 10 meters high and it’s in an interesting geological formation which has resulted in a cave forming into the cliff that faces both sides of the water. The highlight there is the elephant ride on the top of the waterfall, and feeding and bathing the elephants.

Katieng Waterfall

Katieng Waterfall

Katieng Waterfall

Katieng Waterfall

Katieng Waterfall

Katieng Waterfall

Cha Ong Waterfall

Cha ong waterfall is amazing and our favorite because you can go behind and explore a bit – there’s like a huge cave behind the waterfall. It is surrounded by such splendid nature and it is very jungle like.

Cha Ong Waterfall

Cha Ong Waterfall

Cha Ong Waterfall

Cha Ong Waterfall

Cha Ong Waterfall

Cha Ong Waterfall

Cha Ong Waterfall