Posts Tagged ‘ocean’

My Birthday at the Rock Bar in Bali

The Rock Bar at Ayana Resort

When I was planning my trip to Bali, I noticed that my birthday was going to fall in the middle of my trip. I hesitated when I thought of how much I love my birthday at home… friends, drinks, bar, etc. Then I realized how amazing it would be celebrate in Bali and experience something different for just one year. So I booked my trip and started looking forward to this night.

I saw a blog post on the Rock Bar at the Ayana Resort and we decided that we should go there for sunset drinks and to celebrate my birthday. According to their website (http://www.ayanaresort.com/rockbarbali/wp/?page_id=5), Rock Bar is located along the 1.3 kilometer coastline of AYANA Resort and Spa Bali, a 77-hectare property that features 78 private luxury villas and a 290-room hotel. Taking the concept of “on the rocks” to a whole new level, this innovative open-top bar is perched 14 meters above Jimbaran Bay on a rocky outcrop at the base of towering cliffs.

The walk to the Rock Bar

I posted on Twitter (@Kattte_) that I would be going and was happy to get a response from the Rock Bar asking me what time I would be getting there.  We took a cab from Legian and it didn’t cost too much. The resort is beautiful and we did a quick walk through and headed to the Rock Bar. When we arrived, we realized that the top deck is reserved for hotel guests only. This was very disappointing until we asked and realized they had saved a table for me since I tweeted about coming for my birthday. Very nice of them!

MEnu

Very cool menu at the Rock Bar

It was extremely hot from 5pm-6pm before the sun went down, we were sweating like crazy! We ordered cold rolls and maki and a few martinis. The martinis were amazing and the food was pretty good too. The menu there is a cylinder that sits on the table and lights up at night time. I love how they took an item like the menu and made it unique and memorable. Not enough restaurants these days come up with anything original.

Delicious Martinis

Cold Rolls and Maki

Sunset views

Reflection of the sunset to our table

I heart sunsets

The sunset was beautiful and we took a TON of photos. Then it became bright pink and orange and I pretty much couldn’t stop smiling. We picked a great night to be there! After it got dark, the staff came out with a cake for me and sang happy birthday. Not even an hour later, guy sitting behind us, got down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend. She said yes and the champagne started flowing. It was a very memorable night!

Thanks again Rock Bar staff!

For my full Bali photo album on Flickr click here.

Tanah Lot Temple at Sunset

Before my 12 day trip to Bali, I did some research online to see where I wanted to visit. I love photography, so I really wanted to check out some interesting spots so I could get some really cool shots. The one place that kept coming up in blogs and travel books was Tanah Lot Temple. The biggest tip was to not visit the temple at sunset. This is due to the face that bus loads of tourist descend on the temple each day at sunset to capture the incredible sight. I didn’t take that advice and VERY happy with the results.

According to Wikipedia, Tanah Lot means “Land in the Sea”. It also says that Tanah Lot is claimed to be the work of the 15th century priest Nirartha. During his travels along the south coast he saw the rock-island’s beautiful setting and rested there. Some fishermen saw him, and bought him gifts. Nirartha then spent the night on the little island. Later he spoke to the fishermen and told them to build a shrine on the rock for he felt it to be a holy place to worship the Balinese sea gods. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tanah_Lot)

Motorbike adventure to Tanah Lot

We decided to skip the tourist bus and rent a motorbike for the night and drive there. We were staying in Legian which is about 10 minutes from Kuta. The rental was about 40,000R which works out to about $5 US. Not a bad deal! We were concerned about getting there before sunset and getting lost. It turns out there are tons of signs along the way so it was easy to find.

Sunset Terrace

When you arrive at Tanah Lot, you park in a huge parking lot and walk past tons of little market stalls before you get to the great temple. You can choose to take a view up high and sip a Bintang while you watch the sunset below. You can also choose to stay below (low tide nights only) and watch the sunset as you stand by the ocean and watch the waves crash in front of you. We chose to watch from above and then walk down for some closer shots. I am so glad I put up with the tourists and came at sunset. It was absolutely beautiful and something I will never forget.

Walk up to the watch from above

Amazing sunset views

Tourists getting front row as waves crash

The pink sky was unreal

For full Bali photo album on Flickr CLICK HERE

Fiji – A week of island hopping

I booked a trip to Australia for a year and decided to take a week in Fiji on my way home. The travel agency was really trying to push stop overs in Fiji so I went with it. I’m not sure why they were but it sounded like an awesome idea. I would fly in to Nadi and have 7 days and 6 nights to hang out. I was going alone so I went with a backpacker travel company called Awesome Adventures. (http://www.awesomefiji.com/)

I chose to visit 4 islands over 7 days. A huge yellow boat comes and picks you up and goes for hours before arriving at the Yasawa Islands. You exit the boat in the morning after breakfast at the island you choose for that day. This is usually an interesting process since the huge yellow boat can’t get close to the island since they are so remote. You are put on a tiny boat and then have to walk through the water a bit to get to land.

Each island has only a few people staying there, anywhere from 10 to 30 for each given night. When you arrive, they stand at the edge of the beach and sing a welcome to you. You stay in small huts and sleep on bunks like at camp. The locals make you all three meals and they definately aren’t the best meals but each island makes something different and it’s local food. They also offer simple activities during the day like bracelet making from the local women. Each island is staffed my Fijian families who have lived there for years.

Most of the days are spent sitting on the beach, lying in a hammock, snorkelling and just hanging out. Each island as something different. One of them has a long hike over the island and you end up at the stop where they shot the movie, The Blue Lagoon. On the hike back, we ran into one of the locals who had climbed a tree to get a coconut. He cut it open with a machete and we enjoyed some fresh coconut. We did the hike back at midnight and we saw the most amazing sunset from the middle of the island on a huge hill.

My favourite island was called South Sea Island. The entire island was the size of a baseball diamond. It had one large hut that everyone slept in. There was also an outdoor eating area and a pool in the middle of the island. There was sand all around it and you could snorkel all around and see amazing fish. They had a great fresh outdoor buffet and the staff sang and played guitar as you ate. They had a small bar inside and play music at night as well. There were amazing sunsets and the best thing was the beach side massages.

Click here for more Fiji photos

Arrival and Departure song by the locals

The hike to the Blue Lagoon

Beach side massage. Aka heaven.

Tiny little South Sea Island

Sunset from South Sea Island

A Day in Cozumel

So I had 48 hours to spend in Playa Del Carmen with a friend I met from Texas so we decided to spend one of the days in Cozumel. We took a 10am ferry from Playa Del Carmen to Cozumel, its about $20 USD for a round trip.

We rented a scooter from one of 100’s of booths when you get off the ferry. It was about $30 USD for the whole day. They gave us a map and highlighted some of the cool things to check out. We headed out to Chankanaab which is one of the best snorkeling spots apparently. When we got there we found out it was set up like an amusement park type place with $20 USD admission and various costs for snorkel equipement. When you rent equipement you get a free locker so that was good. We headed out and found a few fish but had to look for quite awhile before we found spots filled with TONS of fish. There are also statues at the bottom on the ocean that you can look for those and take some cool pics with them. Jon from Texas was a little more adventurous than me so he checked out the statues and I took his word for it. The photos below will really show what the snorkeling was like.

Next, we headed, or should I say ‘scooted’ back to the main town for some lunch. I got a recommendation from a friend to check out a locals spot called La Choza. Since it was a little off the beaten path (and very damn street is a one way) this took us quite awhile. Finally we found it and had a great lunch of soup, fajitas, and beers. They bring out fresh natchos and spicy cheese sauce when you sit down and it is sooo good. We were too full so couldn’t try the avocado pie for dessert. I will always wonder what avocado pie tastes like.

We asked the waitress where the best spot to hang out before the ferry and she suggested No Name Bar so we headed over there. This place is hidden from street is a little alley. You go in and find a huge back hotel with bar, beach, hammocks, pool and tons of people swimming and partying. It is owned and operated by an ex cruise ship crew member.  He started it for crew members who were in town for the day and looking for a place to relax. We hung out, swam and rested in hammocks for an hour and then went back to ferry.

Scooter guy said that the people who came in after us to rent a scooter had it break down on them. They were stranded on the street and I think had to walk back. We were very lucky our scooter worked well all day. Scootering is definately fun.

Oh and it was damn hot. 41C with humidity. wow. The sunset on the way home was incredible, a HUGE red glowing sun over the ocean. Too bad my camera didn’t capure it nicely.

Me and the Scooter

Jon and all the fish

One of the Statues

More Fish

Natchos and Spicy Cheese Sauce at La Choza

No Name Bar

Snorkeling with sea turtles (Maui, Hawaii)

We decided to not do one of the guided tours in Maui for a snorkeling trip. Since we were staying at the Westin Maui, we were a ten minute walk from Black Rock. This is a very popular snorkeling spot in Maui and people staying close by in Ka’anapali.  There is public parking if you can’t walk at the Sheraton Resort. You can rent snorkeling gear from the beach front are at the Sheraton for about $7 an hour. We usually went around late afternoon but apparently early morning is the best time.

We saw two different sea turtles and tons of brightly coloured fish. There are also lots of people cliff jumping off black rock all day. The best time to go to take photos of this is around sunset since it sets over ocean.

These photos were taken with the Olympus waterproof camera. Great for any water related activities. We also took some amazing videos with the camera.

Sea TurtlesSwimming with Sea Turtles

Snorkeling

Snorkeling

Lahaina (Maui, Hawaii)

Lahaina

Lahaina Pier

Lahaina at Sunset

We took our rental car to Lahaina for an afternoon and toured around and did some shopping on the main strip. There are tons of touristy shops, art galleries, surf shops and restaurants. The view is incredible around sunset so make sure you schedule your trip so you are there for this amazing view.

Mala in Lahaina

View of Ocean side tables at Mala

We had dinner at the local restaurant Mala. Call ahead and make reservations and then make sure to arrive early to wait for a ocean view table. We had the most amazing table and it only took a 20 min wait. The food at Mala is all local and incredibly prepared and delicious. We shared the ribs, seared Ahi tuna, fresh fish special and a salad. All were great but I liked the ribs the best.

They are known for the mojitos so make sure to try them. I feel in love with the mango mojitos.

Mala in Lahaina

View from our table at Mala

Salad at Mala

Our salad at Mala

Ribs at Mala

Our ribs at Mala

After that we headed to Cool Cat Cafe. It is a cute spot on the second floor above some stores on the main street. This place has drink specials every night of the week for $3. I actually found out about this place while doing a search for Maui on Twitter. I know, I’m letting my geek show. They post their drink specials every night and I kept seeing them as I waited for my trip to come while being in snowy Toronto. The prices are a nice change from the $8 drinks at the resorts and restaurants around Maui. They have live music most nights and seems like it doesn’t get too busy. I think everyone in Maui goes to bed at 11pm, damn honeymooners.

Cool Cat Cafe

My Blue Hawaiian at the Cool Cat Cafe

We did our Luau at the Westin but we heard that the Lahaina Luau is the most authentic in Maui. You can find details here: Old Lahaina Luau.

If you have a lot of time on your hands, check out the entire Maui album on my Flickr page: http://tiny.cc/maui146