Yesterday, Friday (when we went from Thailand to Cambodia), was my 4-week anniversary of arriving in Asia, and, consequently, beginning my travels. Since arriving in Hong Kong on January 16th, I have been in six countries – China/Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Cambodia – taken three flights, gone on three train rides over 12 hours each, taken three bus trips over 4 hours each, stayed in 11 different places (hostels/hotels/etc), been to 12 cities, and eaten a ton of amazing, amazing food of all sorts. In the next week, I will go on two 5-hour bus rides, two plane rides, and be in 3 countries, one for less than 24 hours. I have to say that this has been one of the most exhausting trips ever, thus far, but it should (thankfully) slow down a lot once we get to India. I still have my perpetual cold that I acquired in Bali, though it is much better now, but I seem to have shared it with Michal, and we are not sleeping enough or letting our bodies recuperate enough in order to ever fully recover.
Before I get to the rest of Thailand, and now Cambodia, I want to do a quick hostel/hotel and restaurant review/recommendation, in the event that it might be of use to future fellow travelers.
Honeymoon Guesthouse – hotel/guesthouse: As a young woman traveling alone, I loved this place. Sure, there are a few more families and older couples than you might like ordinarily, but they actually reassured me, and I befriended quite a few people there, including the most adorable couple – he was British, she was French – and their little daughter, Ella. I also met several other women around my age staying there on their own who loved it. The rooms are nice and clean and well-appointed, and the whole place has a good ambiance and is quite beautiful. Plus, as it’s owned by the Australian woman and her husband who run Casa Luna and Indus restaurants, you get breakfast freshly made from the Casa Luna kitchen every morning, which I think totally makes up for the slightly higher price you pay. Plus, the security and reputability is nice when you’re alone, so I was willing to spend a little more. The first few nights I stayed at the “Second” Honeymoon Guesthouse, their newer property, just across the street, which is equally lovely.
Casa Luna – restaurant/cafe – You heard me mention it while I was there, but I love this place. Excellent food (Balinese, Western, and everything in between. And be sure to check out the pastries!), great location, really sweet staff (who came to know my friends and me quite well), lovely ambiance (there’s a nice view if you sit in the back), and did I mention the free wifi?
Sari Organic – restaurant – This amazing organic restaurant is situated on the owners’ organic farm, out in the rice patties just outside of town. Definitely worth the lovely walk – be sure to take your camera – and the open air restaurant (don’t worry, it’s covered for when it rains mid-afternoon) is worth it almost for the views alone. The food is equally impressive, however, with a full selection of raw, Balinese, and various Western ethnic dishes. Not to mention the miracle-working health drinks.
The Kafe – restaurant/cafe – Affiliated with my yoga place there (BaliSpirit/The Yoga Barn), this cafe seems to be the place to see and be seen in the expat community in Ubud. I didn’t personally make friends there, but know plenty of people who did, and you perpetually run into people there. My friend Petra swore off going there because she spent so long making the rounds that she never got to sit down. The food is good and inventive – mostly vegetarian and a good cultural fusion, though some Western staples are also available – and they have free wifi most of the time (not available between noon and 3 pm). I highly recommend the quiche and salad if they have it when you’re there – it was a Sunday special.
Rambutan Hotel – hotel – Lovely little resort hotel, but much more family-oriented than I anticipated. Definitely a place to go if you have kids with you. I liked it because it was clean and safe and they were really sweet, even if it was a bit lonely.
Kwizien – restaurant – This restaurant was probably the highlight of my short stay in Lovina. I spent several lovely hours sitting on their outdoor patio, reading Love In the Time of Cholera, enjoying my fresh Greek salad and perfectly grilled tuna and several excellent lattes, and not once did they harass me about leaving in favor of one of the larger parties of patrons. They are owned by the same people who own the lovely Cafe des Artistes in Ubud, which I also recommend, though I only went there for drinks.
The Watering Hole Homestay/Guesthouse – guesthouse – I can’t say how happy I was to find this place in Sanur. At first I was a little worried because it was a little drab, but it was clean and the people were so incredibly sweet and welcoming. I ended up getting a non-A/C room because the view was better, and the room itself was cuter. Had dinner there as well, which was good Balinese food, and one of the few options on the north end of town.
Debbi’s uncle is taking us to dinner now, so I’ll continue later.