The Ultimate Guide To Ubud, Bali - Rebelle Nutrition

guide to ubud, bali.png

The second place we stayed during our Bali trip (after Canggu) was Ubud. 

I didn’t know much about Ubud prior to going - other than the fact that tons of bloggers and Instagrammer’s talked about how “magical” and “healing” it was there. This totally enticed me, although to be honest I wasn’t really even sure what this meant. 

Well, immediately upon arriving in Ubud, I FELT this change. It’s something I can’t put my finger on, but if you’ve ever been to Hawaii and felt the incredible vibe/feeling/energy of the island (whatever you want to call it) you know what i’m talking about. 

The whole time we were in Ubud, I felt like I do after getting a great massage: relaxed, calm, inspired, positive, and high vibe AF. 

This blog post is going to outline my top picks for delicious places to eat in Ubud, things to do, and where to stay. If you’re planning to visit Bali, you MUST spend a few days (at least) in Ubud. 

Best places to eat in Ubud, Bali:

(all are either entirely plant based or have lots of plant based/vegan options)

Sayuri's Healing Food -

My first pick for AMAZINGLY delicious food in Ubud, Bali was Sayuri’s Healing Food. This restaurant is entirely vegan and mostly raw (something i’m not usually a huge fan of) and it was the most creative, innovative and delicious plant based restaurant i’ve ever been to! Erik even said that one of his meals at Sayuri’s was the best meal he’s eaten since we started traveling 4 months ago (<<< coming from a HUGE meat guy, this is saying a lot). We ate at Sayuri's pretty much every day while in Ubud (sometimes twice) and tried nearly everything on the menu so you can’t really go wrong, but my top recommendations are the peak performance bowl, breakfast burrito, and lasagna.

Moksa -

Be prepared to drive a little out of the way to get to Moksa (and be sure to make a reservation) but it’s totally worth it! Moksa is another entirely plant based/vegan restaurant in Ubud with food so incredible that any meat eater would be happy. Try the Thai curry and purple sweet potato fries! Moksa is also located on a permaculture farm which is pretty cool, so make sure to head there while it’s still light out so you can see everything!

 Moksa Thai Curry - sorry for the horrible lighting!

Moksa Thai Curry - sorry for the horrible lighting!

Alchemy -

Alchemy is every yogi, Nutritionist, Instagrammer, and wellness enthusiast's dream. The menu is 100% raw vegan which I wasn’t always in the mood for, but if you’re looking for something cooling and light, like a build your own salad or smoothie bowl, this is your place! It’s also super cute inside and has a little shop filled with body care products, supplements, etc. This is also where I picked up my favorite Tamanu face oil!

 Alchemy build your own salad bowl

Alchemy build your own salad bowl

 

Curious about how I travel the world (and make $ simultaneously) and you can too?

 

Most Instagrammable places to eat in Ubud, Bali:

Clear cafe -

Clear cafe in Ubud, Bali could be easily passed by because, honestly, the sign on the outside of the restaurant is really ghetto (just being honest). So I was completely blown away to walk into a beautiful restaurant with a koi fish pond, Japanese style floor seating, a spiral staircase, and marigold flowers everywhere (they even spell out a new message in marigold flowers on the staircase every day!) They also have a massive menu with tons of vegetarian and vegan options. It does get really busy here at night so be sure to make a reservation or come early!

 Clear Cafe, Ubud Bali

Clear Cafe, Ubud Bali

 

The Elephant -

The Elephant came highly recommended to me when I asked you guys on Instagram where to eat in Ubud, and unfortunately it was pretty far from where we were staying so we only ate here one time, but I would HIGHLY recommend it, even just for the location/view alone. The restaurant sits atop a hillside and has an incredible view of the jungle and Campuhan ridge walk (a beautiful hike that we didn’t end up doing…next time!)

 View from 'The Elephant'

View from 'The Elephant'

Best coffee in Ubud, Bali:

Seniman coffee -

Admittedly, I tried about 4 different coffee places in Ubud before finding Seniman and was disappointed in all of them. After weeks of my beloved coconut cold brew in Canggu, the standards were set pretty high. Luckily I found Seniman (on google maps actually) and after looking at their menu and reading about their coffee credentials (seriously) I was sold. Their cold brew was the best I found in Ubud, and their “nitro” cold brew had an incredible presentation (and taste) I would highly recommend as well! Plus they have soymilk for a plant-based option. 

Things to do in Ubud, Bali:

Monkey forest -

I might be partial to this one because I LOVE monkeys, but I definitely recommend going to the Ubud monkey forest one day while in Ubud. For a small fee you can get access to the Sanctuary where monkeys are literally EVERYWHERE. Just be careful because they are known to be naughty and will try to steal your belongings (or your water) and jump on your head. A super fun experience and I highly recommend it. 

Tukad Cepung Waterfall  -

The Tukad Cepung waterfall was about a 1 hour scooter ride from Ubud but totally worth it! Once you get to it, you’ll have to pay a small entrance fee and then walk about 10 minutes down a paved path to get to the waterfall. Be prepared to get tons of shots for Instagram…this waterfall is dark and dreamy in some areas and bright green and lush in others…perfect for any aesthetic. I would plan to come around mid day though since the waterfall is found within a valley, so if you get there too early or too late you’re not going to have much light. 

 Tukad Cepung Waterfall

Tukad Cepung Waterfall

Yoga/spa/healing-

If you’re planning to come to Ubud, the number one thing I would recommend doing is relaxing, going to the spa, meditating, eating delicious food, going to a yoga class/healing center, etc. These are the things that Ubud is known for, and you’ll have endless options when you come here! The yoga barn is one of the most popular places for yoga classes in Ubud and it also has it’s own healing center, restaurant, and villas to stay in. I didn’t actually ever go to the yoga barn so I can’t give my personal experience here but i’ve heard great things :)

Tegallalang Rice Terraces -

The Tegallalang rice terraces are an ABSOLUTE MUST if you're going to Ubud. Try to go at sunrise or sunset to get the prettiest light (and the least amount of other tourists!) Also, be sure to bring some cash with you because certain areas are still owned by families that will charge you a small fee to walk through their property. 

 Tegallalang Rice Terraces, Ubud, Bali

Tegallalang Rice Terraces, Ubud, Bali

 

Where to stay in Ubud, Bali:

Budget: Sang Fajar -

if you’re on a budget, there are still TONS of really affordable and beautiful places to stay in Ubud, like Sang Fajar. The location was great, the villa was large and had it’s own kitchen, and outside was a beautiful garden and shared pool. The location was awesome (and super close to Sayuri’s!) as well (For about $40/night)

If you're new to Airbnb, use this code to save $40!

*NOTE TO DIGITAL NOMADS: The internet in Ubud is HORRIBLE so I recommend not planning to do much (if any) work while you're there :)

Luxury: Zen Hideaway -

If you’re willing to splurge a little bit more, I HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend staying at one of the Zen hideaway villas (we stayed in #2). They are about 20-30 minutes away from the main part of Ubud which is kind of a pain, but totally worth it in my opinion to have a this million dollar view:

 Zen Hideaway, Ubud, Bali

Zen Hideaway, Ubud, Bali

The villa is also huge so you could totally plan to stay with a larger group and split the cost, but only one of the rooms is actually enclosed/AC’d. But don’t worry, it’s actually not that hot in this area of Ubud and even bougie me opted to sleep in the open air with just a mosquito net around me.  Plan to stay here at least 2 nights to fully enjoy it and make sure to wake up early for sunrise and get some epic photos on your OWN PRIVATE SWING!!! You can expect to spend $200-$300 USD a night here (depending on the time of year) which is still a steal in my opinion to get this nice of a place, multiple bedrooms and view. 

 Zen Hideaway Private Swing, Ubud, Bali

Zen Hideaway Private Swing, Ubud, Bali

For more Bali info on things like Visas, SIM cards, and transportation, check out my Canggu blog post here

 

Have you been to Bali before or have I inspired you to visit? Tell me below!

XO,

Amie

The Ultimate Guide To Canggu, Bali - Rebelle Nutrition

ultimate guide to canggu bali

My top picks for Instagrammable (and delish!) places to eat, stay, work, and play in Canggu, Bali. 

 

You guys.

Canggu, Bali is a Nutritionist/Instagrammer/Basic b*tch's P A R A D I S E. (<<< whatever, i'm owning it)

I mean, I knew there was going to be great surfing and good restaurants, but I had no idea how much of a paradise I was in for by coming to Canggu. Let me just break it down for you:

Where to eat in Canggu

(All are either entirely vegan/plant-based or have vegan and gluten free options)

First let me just say, i'm sure there are tons of other delicious places that I didn't make it to, but these were my faves:

Peloton Supershop: Peloton comes first because it is my #1 pick, and many days while in Canggu we ate there multiple times 🤣 The restaurant is entirely plant-based, but the food is so good it would satisfy any carnivore. After 3 weeks, Erik and I tried nearly everything on the menu (ha!) but I would highly recommend the Contador salad + "tricken" Caesar wrap (on the lunch menu only) and for dinner: the rendang burger, quesadilla, powerhouse bowl, or napolean dynamite (pasta). Oh yeah, they also have an epic breakfast menu and one of the best smoothie bowls I found in Canggu ;).

 Peloton Supershop - Canggu, Bali

Peloton Supershop - Canggu, Bali

Secret Spot: Located right next to Peloton, head over to Secret Spot for some delish vegan coconut soft serve (or regular soft serve if that's your jam!)

Kynd Community: Another entirely plant-based/vegan spot with SO. MANY. DELICIOUS. OPTIONS. I loved the Bli Buddha (buddha bowl with chickpeas, lentils, hummus, tofu and veggies) and Erik loved the vegan Ban Mi sandwich. They also have build your own avocado toasts, epic plant based smoothies and mylkshakes, OH and you can have them write whatever you want on top of your smoothie bowl. Be prepared to spend a while here and get tons of cute Instagram photos! 

 Kynd Community - Canggu, Bali

Kynd Community - Canggu, Bali

Nude: The food at Nude is good (I wouldn't say incredible) but the main reason I included it on my list of places to go is because it is one of the only places in Canggu with an entire air-conditioned room to work in. Absolute heaven. The juices here are also really good and the wi-fi is fast. 

Coffee Cartel: Another SUPER Instagrammable spot that you are definitely going to want to check out when in Canggu. I only tried their coffee, and although it was really small, it was quite tasty. They also have the ability to screen press (?) whatever image onto your latte that you want (see below) and other inventive drinks like beetroot lattes if you want that pink aesthetic 🙋🏽. 

 Coffee Cartel Bali

Coffee Cartel Bali

Loft: The Loft in Canggu had hands down the best avocado toast i've ever had in my life (and i've eaten a sh*t ton of avocado toast, you guys know if you follow me on Insta). To be honest, avo toast was pretty much the only thing I tried on their menu so I can't really say what else to try, but this place is (another) super cute and Instagrammable spot in Canggu, just be prepared to sweat because there isn't any AC. 

 The Loft, Canggu, Bali

The Loft, Canggu, Bali

Cafe Organic: The food at Cafe Organic admittedly is lacking in flavor (and we tried a lot of different things) but they have great juices, smoothies, and ice cold AC which sometimes takes precedence for me over food. It does get pretty busy around lunch time, but Cafe Organic is a great spot to grab a healthy lunch/juice and work for while if you're living that Digital Nomad life in Canggu :)

 Cafe Organic - Canggu, Bali

Cafe Organic - Canggu, Bali

Bali Bowls: A cute restaurant in Canggu with all different types of bowls: salads, buddha bowls, and smoothie bowls. 

Sprout: A cute little breakfast spot with THE BEST COCONUT COLD BREW EVER!!!!!! Erik and I would sometimes even go to The Loft for avocado toast and then to Sprout just to get their coconut cold brew (high maintenence, much?) If you're in Canggu, you MUST go try it. But they do sell out of it, so make sure you get there early! 

 Sprout - Canggu, Bali

Sprout - Canggu, Bali

La Briza: This is an AWESOME restaurant/bar/pool/lounge area located right on Echo Beach in Canggu. It is almost like a big treehouse type place with a pool and tons of cute areas to lounge. Next time we go back we'll probably make an entire day of our time at La Briza and maybe order a bottle of wine by the pool :) Make sure to get there early in the afternoon to secure a spot right right on the deck (complete with bean bag chairs) to watch sunset. And FYI there is a 100,000 rupiah cover charge to get in (about 8 USD) but it can be applied to food and drink.  

The Lawn: The Lawn in Canggu is one of the most popular sunset spots in the area, and although it is a little bit over priced, it is worth it in my opinion to go for at least one night! There is a really cute (and, you guessed it, Instagrammable) lawn area as well as a pool, day beds for rent, and a second level bar area for hanging out and getting some sunset photos. I can't speak to the food at all (we only ordered drinks there) but in my opinion it is definitely worth going to while you're in Canggu!

 The Lawn, Canggu Bali

The Lawn, Canggu Bali

What to do in Canggu, Bali

Surf: If you're coming to Canggu, I would definitely recommend heading down to  Batu Balong Beach (right by Old Man's) to go surfing (or take a surf lesson if you're a newbie). Just make sure you go out on a day when the waves are small (or stay to the left) otherwise you'll get pounded like I did. 

Sunset at Echo Beach: One of my favorite things to do in Canggu was to walk down to Echo Beach (just to the right of Batu Balong) and watch sunset. Around 5PM bean-bag chairs are set up and you can sit there and watch sunset for free as long as you buy some sort of drink (coconuts were about 2$ US). 

 Echo Beach -&nbsp;Canggu, Bali

Echo Beach - Canggu, Bali

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rent pool floaties: Ummm who doesn't love a good pool floatie moment? Luckily in Canggu you don't even have to buy a floatie, you can just rent one (plus have it delivered) for about $20 USD but contacting @Balifloaties on Instagram. Totally worth it in my opinion 🤣

 Unicorn Floaties at Pondok Canggu

Unicorn Floaties at Pondok Canggu

Shop: Definitely check out Wanderlust bikinis (they have a few different locations) where you can mix and match the CUTEST swimsuits for a really affordable price. I also loved the store Lost In Paradise, but there are so many surf shops and boutiques in the area with GREAT prices, so if you're planning to come to Canggu, make sure to pack light!

Treat yo'self: 

Jet Black Ginger (Hair/nails/waxing salon): I decided to darken my hair and eyebrows while in Canggu, as well as get a haircut. I found the salon, Jet Black Ginger, on Instagram, and loved their photos so much I immediately booked an appointment. They did an awesome job and even gave me a consultation to talk about what I wanted to do beforehand. 

Eden Life Centres (Skincare): If you want to get a REAL facial while in Canggu (one that offers real results, not just a relaxing face massage) definitely check out Eden Life Centres. They are located right next to Kynd Community, and after walking in and seeing the aesthetic of their office, I was sold. I opted for the DermaPen (microneedling) treatment while I was there (for hyper-pigmentation) and was super happy with the results. Definitely recommend, good prices too. 

Work: For all my digital nomads out there, you'll probably need to dedicate some time to work as well :) I hit up Dojo co-working space while in Canggu, and although they didn't have AC, the place was MASSIVE and had super fast internet. I even hosted a webinar from Dojo, and had no problems whatsoever! They offer daily, weekly, and monthly passes and are a great option if you need a community-type atmosphere to get your best work done!

Play celebrity for the day at The Edge (One Eighty Degrees):  PUT THIS ON YOUR TO-DO LIST!! The cliffside pool at The Edge hotel is about an hour and a half drive from Canggu, but it is totally worth it. I mean, just look at this photo. 

 One Eighty Degrees at The Edge

One Eighty Degrees at The Edge

Watch the video I made about it below if you want more details :)

Getaway to Nusa Penida: Another thing I highly recommend doing while you're in Canggu is taking a few days to visit Nusa Penida island. You can take a boat out of Sanur (about 1 hour from Canggu) and be there in about an hour. There isn't much to do on Nusa Penida island, but you can drive to Kelingking beach/Kelingking lookout - which is totally worth the trip.

 Kelingking Lookout, Nusa Penida

Kelingking Lookout, Nusa Penida

Where to stay in Canggu, Bali:

Where you stay while in Canggu can totally make or break your trip, but even if you're on a budget you can find some super cute places for around $30 US/ night. (If you have a bigger budget, you can live like royalty for about $100 US/night!)

Pondok Canggu Homestay - This is a great option for the budget (but high maintenance) traveler who wants icy cold AC but doesn't necessarily care about having a lot of space or a full kitchen (me!). There is a shared pool outside and the room is small but it has everything you need (plus it's in a great location) for an awesome price. 

Riviera house - if you want the entire place to yourself, a full kitchen, and tons of space, this is Riviera house is my recommendation! The location is great, the owners are awesome, and they even have cold coconuts in the fridge for you to buy for about $1 whenever you want one. We stayed in this room which was a little more pricy, but you could also stay in one of their "huts" for a more rustic (and budget friendly) option. 

Random things to know when you come to Canggu, Bali:

Visas: If you plan to stay in Bali longer than 30 days, you're going to need to get a tourist visa with the option to extend (different than a normal tourist visa). You can get it upon arrival at the Denpasar airport, just make sure get it before going through customs. It's about $35 USD per person (make sure to have cash with you) and then you'll end up paying about $50 more per person to get the extension once your 30 days are up. IMPORTANT NOTE: You must file your extension at least one week before your 30 days are up, but no sooner than one week after you've arrived - so basically there is a very small amount of time for which you can do this. Also - it's kind of a pain in the ass to figure out yourself, so to save yourself the headache (plus 3+ trips to the Denpasar customs office) I recommend using a Visa agent. (We used this place and they were awesome). It will cost you about $50 per person to use an agent PLUS the $50 for the extension, so about $100 total per person, but totally worth it in my opinion not to waste multiple days figuring it out on your own. Also, they do have to hold on to your passport for a few days so be sure the get a copy. 

Motorbikes: If you're not willing to rent/drive a motorbike while in Canggu (or anywhere in Bali) getting around is going to be a b*tch. Just being honest. But don't worry, if you're too afraid to drive one yourself you can always call GoJek (a motorbike service kind of like Uber that will take you where you want to go, get groceries for you, deliver food, etc).

Uber: Ah yes, Uber. When people told me not to use Uber in Bali, I didn't really take them seriously. But i'm not kidding when I see THE BALINESE PEOPLE HATE UBER. Like really hate them. So if you look like you need a ride and are looking at your phone, taxi drivers will automatically think you are waiting for an Uber and give you a hard time. Ubers here will also try and rip you off, so my advice would be to either rent your own motorbike, use a local Taxi (they are everywhere) or hire a driver. 

Hire a driver: This is your best bet for getting around safely (without getting ripped off). We had two different drivers while in Bali (both named Ketut, which you'll realize is pretty common 🤣) and I HIGHLY recommend them both. Save yourself the hassle and send either of them a Whatsapp message letting them know when you'll be arriving, and they can pick you up from the airport so you don't have to fight off the hundreds (seriously) of aggressive Taxi men at the Denpasar airport. Tell them Amie sent you!

Ketut #1: +62 878 6096 6048

Ketut #2: +62 812 3942 759

Both on Whatsapp

SIM cards: You'll need a SIM card when you get here! You can get one at the airport, but expect to pay a lot more than if you wait until you get to Canggu. Just have one of the Ketut's take you to a SIM card place - they will put it in your phone and set everything up for you. You can expect to pay around $10 - $15 USD for a SIM card that lasts you about 30 days. 

Ok guys, thats all i've got for right now! Have you been to Canggu? What were your faves? What places do I need to check out next time i'm there?

XO,

Amie

P.S. Want to learn how to turn your passion into a business you can run from wherever you are? Make sure to sign up for my new training HERE!

Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, and Sapa, Vietnam - Top Things To Do + Restaurants in Vietnam!

Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Sapa Vietnam.png

I'm not gonna lie, when it came to Vietnam, I had ZERO idea of what to expect - aside from the fact that it is one of Anthony Bourdain's favorite places in the world which obviously put it at the top of my list. 

Immediately upon getting into our Uber driver's car in Hanoi, we knew we weren't in Myanmar anymore 😂Hanoi is a big, crazy city (with a population bigger than New York!) with pretty much zero traffic laws, and people here LOVE to honk. 

The hotel we stayed at was in a perfect location within the Old City - which meant it was walking distance to pretty much everything that we needed.

Hanoi is an incredible mixture that I would compare to the craziness of Bangkok mixed with the culture and history (and coffee! and baguettes!) of Europe. I immediately fell in love with this city, and had the time of my life just walking through the streets if the Old City without an agenda (one of the BEST parts of traveling, in my opinion). 

Throughout the streets you'll see tons of street vendors, beautiful flowers everywhere, fruit stands, and locals sitting on small plastic stools sipping egg coffee (literally Vietnamese coffee mixed with egg - paleo peeps get excited) and eating Pho - at all hours of day/night. 

Restaurants in the Old City, hanoi

Another great thing about Hanoi are the restaurant options! Of course, you can get a ban mi (Vietnamese baguette sandwich) or pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) on pretty much any street corner - but there are also tons of restaurants with plenty of allergy friendly, gluten free, paleo, and vegan options if that's your jam.

Here were some of my favorite places to eat in the Old City, Hanoi:

Jalus Vegan Kitchen (V, DF, GF, P): Even if you aren't vegan, Jalus Vegan kitchen has tons of delicious options like nori wraps, sweet potato fries, roasted vegetable salads, and dairy free pesto pasta that totally impressed me. They also have things like smoothies and coffee with cashew/soy milk (not easy to find "alternative" milks here!)

Lifted (V, DF, GF, P): We went to Lifted cafe the first day we were in Hanoi for breakfast, and the avocado mushroom omelette was freaking delicious. The iced coffee was great as well (and they do have soymilk) but I will say that the service wasn't great and it was pretty expensive - even for US standards. 

Hanoi Social Club (V, DF, GF, P): Another brunch place we visited that had quite possibly the BEST cold brew coffee i've ever tasted. The only bummer is that they only give you about 2 oz. which is not enough if you're a coffee-chugger like myself :) Their breakfast options were great as well! I got poached eggs with a roasted tomato salad. 

Hanoi social club

Other things to do in Hanoi:

  • There is a night market in the Old City that happens every Friday-Sunday night that is super fun and interesting to be a part of. TONS of people are out and about, eating, drinking, and even playing games in the streets. 
  • Check out the S. Joseph's Cathedral in the Old City! It is absolutely beautiful and will make you feel like you are in Europe.
St Josephs Cathedral Old City Hanoi
  • Walk through the streets and people watch!
  • Visit the Lotte observation deck! This is one of the highest points in all of Hanoi, and you can see an incredible view of the city from here. There is also a creepy glass floor if you're brave and want to get some cool pics (and try not to vom)
  • Get drinks and watch sunset at the Summit bar - we visited this rooftoop deck and ordered cocktails and spring rolls and it was so much fun! You guys know how I love a good rooftop bar, and this one did not disappoint. Again, it's a little on the pricy side for Vietnam but totally worth it for this view. 
summit bar hanoi.JPG

Next up: Ha Long Bay

After Hanoi, we took a shared "luxury" (<-- not sure what that really even meant but it was only 5$ more so, YOLO 😂) taxi to Ha Long Bay. 

From the (little) research we did prior to coming to Vietnam, we knew Ha Long Bay was going to be a must-see. I mean, just look at this view:

Ha Long Bay Poem Mountain.jpg

 

Upon getting to Ha Long Bay, I was amazed with how beautiful it was there, but also what a sleepy and non-touristy area it was! I thought this place would be swarming with tourists like Koh Phi Phi or Koh Phangan. Don't get me wrong, i'm a big fan of calm, less crazy places, but this also meant that Ha Long Bay's restaurant scene was pretty slim pickings. 

Food in Ha Long Bay

Of course, like anywhere in Vietnam, you can get street food pretty much everywhere. But coffee shops were a little harder to come by, and an American breakfast was literally impossible to find 😂 we even went to about 4 different places until we decided to get some eggs and cook them ourself back at our Airbnb. 

Don't let this scare you though, I completely recommend putting Ha Long Bay on your travel plans if you're coming to Vietnam, but i'd say 2 days is probably more than enough time (and make sure to get an Airbnb with a kitchen so you can cook your own food if you have any specific preferences).

Things to do in ha Long Bay

To be honest there isn't a whole to do in Ha Long Bay, besides hiking up to the viewpoint (on top of Bar Tho, or Poem Mountain) but the view from the top is totally worth it. 

How to get to the Bar Tho (Poem Mountain) Viewpoint:

The entrance to this hike is REALLY hidden so you have to know where you're going. There is literally a staircase hidden between two store fronts that you must climb up, then through someones house (they charge you about 10,000 to 25,000 VND per person), followed by a gate you have to climb before you get onto the hike. Bar Tho (Poem Mountain) viewpoint is really an experience, and a ton of fun. 

The hike to the top is mostly paved stairs and takes about 20-30 minutes, but as you near the top it gets pretty sketchy so make sure you're in decent shape and have good balance if you plan to go all the way to the top. And FYI - the gate is open from 6am to 6pm, so if you get down the mountain at 6:30 like we did, you'll have to scream until someone comes to unlock it for you like I did 😂

Here is a pin I dropped (the heart) at the entrance (the hidden stairs) to get to the top of Bar Tho viewpoint:

Bar Tho (Poem Mountain) Ha Long Bay

This is what it looks like once you're there:

IMG_7368.jpeg

And when you get to the top of the viewpoint...

Ha Long Bay.jpg

The only other thing I wish we had done while in Ha Long Bay was to take a boat or cruise out the water, but we didn't end up having enough time. 

Lastly, Sapa!

To be honest, our trip to Sapa was a bit of a whirlwind. We decided last minute to take a sleeper bus from Hanoi to Sapa as soon as we returned to Ha Long Bay, with a plan to stay one night in Sapa to see the beautiful rice terraces. 

As soon as we arrived (bright an early after 6 hours on a bus!) we realized how under-prepared for the temperature changes we were. Not only was Sapa FREEZING (40 degrees and high humidity when you're coming from Thailand, Cambodia, and Myanmar and have no warm clothes is pretty rough 😂) but none of the restaurants, cafes, or even our hotel had central heating. It was also extremely foggy and rainy during our time in Sapa, so we decided to cut our time short and head back to Hanoi early. 

If I could do it again I would: 1) go to Sapa in the fall when the weather is nicer 2) plan to go on a short trek to the rice fields (assuming the weather was good) 3) come prepared with WARM clothes, boots, gloves etc. 

Oh well, you live and learn right? But we did have a chance to scope out the restaurant situation in Sapa and I was actually pretty impressed! 

Restaurants in Sapa, Vietnam:

Viet Emotion (GF, DF, V): This place had a wood burning stove which was the main reason we went there, and their food actually ended up being delicious and inexpensive as well! They also had lots of variety as well as Vietnamese and American options. 

Gecko Cafe (GF, DF, V, P): We spent the morning working at this cafe (there are actually two Gecko cafe's in Sapa, one is a little more fancy than the other but they pretty much have the same stuff) and I was impressed by their tea and coffee selection! They even had soy and coconut milk, delicious lattes, AND it smelled like cinnamon rolls in there which isn't a bad work environment if you ask me.

That's it, because, well...we were only there for about 12 hours 😂

Now we're back in Hanoi for the next 3 days and I am super excited because i'm OBSESSED with this city. I'm already planning our trip back to Vietnam because there are still so many places to visit here like Da Nany and Ho Chi Minh City...have you ever been?!? Tell me all your recommendations below!

XO,

Amie

Temples of Bagan + Mandalay, Myanmar

temples of bagan + mandalay myanmar.png

When planning to travel to Myanmar, we had a lot of unanswered questions that the internet couldn’t answer for us, such as:

  1. Are drones illegal in Myanmar? Or only illegal to FLY in myanmar? (We had heard stories about both but couldn’t find a definitive answer)
  2. Are you required to get an e-visa to enter Myanmar or can you get one on arrival? (Again, we heard both)
  3. Is it actually as dangerous in Myanmar as people say?

Luckily, we quickly found the answers to all of these questions, so in case you’re wondering:

1. It IS illegal to bring drones into the country of Myanmar, so *if* they are paying close attention when they scan your bag through customs and see a drone inside, they will confiscate it until you come back to the airport to leave the country. This comes with a few caviets though: we have a DJI phantom 4 pro drone which is HUGE in comparison to most drones (not a smart travel decision), so it is pretty hard to miss. If you tried to bring in a smaller drone, they might not notice and you could bring it in without having customs confiscate it. However even if you do get your drone past customs, it is still illegal to fly it in the country of Myanmar, so I definitely wouldn’t risk it unless you have a letter of permission to fly it for your job, etc. 

(Obviously if you have the option to leave your drone at home and bypass any of these issues, i’d recommend doing that. We didn’t have that option unfortunately.)

2. You can either get an e-visa online for about 50 USD per person before entering Myanmar (they take anywhere from a few hours to 3 days to be approved) OR get a visa on arrival at the Mandalay airport. Not sure about Yangon, though, as we didn’t go there. 

3. Depends where you’re going, but the more touristy areas of Bagan, Yangon, and Mandalay are completely safe. (Obviously, do your own research beforehand). The religious genocide is still happening in Myanmar, but it is near the bordering countries. All in all, I felt totally safe everywhere we went in Bagan and Mandalay, and I even went for a jog (alone) near our hotel in Bagan one day. All I encountered was a few children saying "hello" to me and a local man who gave me recommendations for a park nearby to check out! Despite getting some weird looks (running is a very Western thing i've realized) the Burmese people are truly some of the kindest and friendliest I have ever encountered. 

Tips for traveling in Bagan, Myanmar

To get to our hotel in Bagan, we pre-booked a private taxi from the Mandalay airport using viator.com (it was about 70 USD for the 3 hour trip). The car was nice enough and had AC, but unfortunately our driver spoke zero english and didn’t understand our requests to stop for food or a bathroom, so plan ahead! (Other options to get from Mandalay to Bagan include a 12 hour boat ride, but I didn't want to sit for that long, ha!)

The car ride to Bagan was about 3 hours on a dirt road which was a little bit sketchy to be honest but I also felt like it gave us a real look at the way many Burmese people live, outside of the comfort of the main city where we were. There were lots of people working on the side of the road, carrying large loads by hand, and living in huts.

We stayed at hotel Zfreeti in Bagan, and I totally recommend this hotel enough if you plan to visit. The hotel runs about $45/night and has super cold AC, E-bikes for rent, a pool, free breakfast buffet, and is in a great location (about 15 minutes by bike from all of the temples). It is also less than a 5 minute walk from a few of our favorite restaurants including Weather Spoon, Bagan Zay, and Aroma 2 Indian food. 

The best part of being in Bagan is having such close access to all of the incredible temples (my FAVORITE yet of anywhere we’ve traveled in Southeast Asia). To get to them, all you have to do is head into old Bagan and there are literally hundreds of them everywhere you turn. 

Unfortunately, these days there are only a few temples that are open to climb to the top of, and they aren’t super easy to find on your own. And oddly, the ones that ARE climbable aren’t listed on any maps, other than one:

She Leik Too, Bagan

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The easiest way to find which temples are climbable are to head towards Old Bagan, a few hours before sunrise or sunset and wait to be approached by a local on a motorbike. I know that sounds really random, but I promise you they are EVERYWHERE (by the third day I was on the verge of yelling NO I DON’T WANT TO SEE THE SUNSET because we’d been asked so many times 🤣). 

Be warned, the locals do offer to take you to the open temples and then sell you various forms of their artwork for money, but we were glad to give them a few bucks for showing us where to go. This is just good to know ahead of time if you want to decide on a price before they take you. 

The other climbable temple we found was a few steps west of the Alodawpyi Pagoda if you want to try and find it on your own (just put it into google maps).

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Honestly though, don’t stress too much about finding specific temples, there are incredible ones EVERYWHERE. You will see what I mean when you get to Bagan. I do recommend finding your spot at least an hour or so before sunrise or sunset if you want to secure a good spot to take photos. 

Food in Bagan:

I was pleasantly surprised by the food options in Bagan! Here are my recommendations:

Weather Spoon (V, DF, GF) - Serves Thai, Burmese, and American cuisine. We chose to eat here the first night based on the fact that it was the only restaurant that was full (always a good sign) and loved it so much we came back almost daily. They also spoke very good english and were happy to make modifications for us! Try the vegetarian green curry. 

Bagan Zay (V, DF, GF) - This restaurant is a cute little hideaway with modern Burmese food. The food here was decent but what we really loved about this place was the fact that you could sit on the ground inside!

Aroma 2 Indian (V, DF, GF) - The smell coming from this restaurant alone was enough to bring us in! It is operated by an Indian family that makes everything to order, so it takes a bit longer, but it is totally worth it. They also close everyday at 2PM to have a family meal, which I thought was pretty cool. Be sure to try the garlic naan bread!

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Things to note about Bagan, Myanmar:

  • The WiFi doesn’t work pretty much anywhere 🤣 so if you care about that, make sure to get a SIM card at the airport. They are SUPER cheap here and they will put it in and set it up for you within a few minutes. 
  • Bagan is actually broken up into 3 different sections: Old Bagan, New Bagan, and Nyuangu. Our hotel was technically in Nyuangu, close to many of the restaurants which was super convenient. Old Bagan is where most of the temples are (although they truly are everywhere) and I can’t really speak to new Bagan as we didn’t go there. 
  • As with all temples, be sure to cover up your shoulders and legs. Even the men here do not show their legs, and instead where long skirts called a "longyi"
  • Even when you aren’t visiting temples, Myanmar is very conservative country and I rarely saw anyone who wasn’t a tourist with their shoulders and/or knees exposed. 
  • Be sure to not drink any of the tap water in Myanmar and be sure to only eat at restaurants that use clean ice and ensure that they use filtered water to prepare your food. I have *heard* that the hygiene standards here are pretty much non existent which leads to westerners often getting really sick, so I was very careful with what I ate, avoided all street food, and also avoided getting sick. Woo!
  • The people in Myanmar are truly some of the kindest, friendliest, and funniest I have ever met. We loved the staff at the Weather Spoon restaurant so much we went back nearly every night, and they would just come stand by our table and talk to us. A lot of locals also wanted to take pictures with Erik which was pretty hilarious.
  • Everyone in Myanmar wears a natural sunblock called "thanaka", made from tree bark. One of my favorite experiences during our time in the country was having a local woman rub it on my face and tell me about what it was used for. 

Mandalay, Myanmar

The city of Mandalay, where we flew into is one of the main cities in Myanmar, and we only stayed there for about 24 hours which was the perfect amount of time, in my opinion. It is a much busier city than Bagan, but without any of the charm of other Southeast Asian countries like Bangkok or Siem Reap

We specifically went to Mandalay to visit the Hsinbyume Pagoda, about an hour and a half drive of the hotel we stayed at in the city. 

 Hsinbyume Pagoda

Hsinbyume Pagoda

If you plan to visit the Hsinbyume Pagoda (it's TOTALLY worth going if you're in Mandalay) be sure to plan a bit ahead if you want to arrive by boat, because they boat to get there only departs once a day at 9am. 

Since we were short on time, we hired a private taxi to take us there which took a bit longer (about an hour and a half one-way) and cost 20 USD roundtrip.

Since we only stayed in Mandalay for about a day, I can't really speak to the food situation, although I was pretty impressed with Mingalabar Restaurant. It is local Burmese style food, and they give you a TON of it, so make sure you bring your appetite.  

All in all, I would absolutely recommend coming to visit Myanmar (specifically Bagan) if you’re planning a trip to Southeast Asia. The temples here are truly magical and unlike any others i’ve ever seen (yet).

Have you been to Myanmar? What did you think?!

XO,

Amie

Things To Do In Siem Reap, Cambodia

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After our epic adventure all over Thailand, our next stop was Siem Reap, Cambodia.

I’m not sure if it was the fact that I had zero expectations or outside influence of what to expect in Cambodia, but I was seriously in awe of this country for so many reasons. 

Erik and I flew into, and stayed in Siem Reap and although we didn’t visit Phnom Penh or Koh Rong (next time!) I definitely recommend making the trip to Siem Reap while you're in Southeast Asia.

Here were some of the highlights of our trip to Siem Reap:

The Temples:

Angkor Wat: Of course! Angkor Wat is a must see while in Siem Reap, and it is only about a 20 minute tuk tuk drive out of the main city to get there. Tickets are about 37 USD for a 1 day pass or 64 USD for 3 days. I definitely recommend getting there for sunrise. Also be sure to find the monks inside and get a blessing from them. There are a few of them inside the temple and all you have to do is give them a donation. They will then invite you to sit, give you a blessing, chant, splash water on you, and tie a red bracelet on your wrist. One of the coolest experiences of my life for sure and I highly recommend it. 

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Ta Prohm: Also known as the "Tomb Raider" or "Angelina Jolie" temple - Ta Prohm was unbeliebly cool and way different than any other temple i've ever been too. It is in the middle of a jungle-area and has trees and roots growing through and all around it. 

Bayon: Bayon temple is another amazing temple with faces carved into it. Definitely worth checking out, and you can hit all 3 of these temples in one morning of exploring. Just tell your tuk tuk driver you want to do the "small loop" and he'll know what you mean. 

THE FOOD:

Omg you guys, who knew that Siem Reap, Cambodia would be a mecca for amazing gluten free, paleo, and vegan, and even AIP (Autoimmune Paleo) options. After weeks of street food, I was seriously in heaven with the smoothie bowls, green juices, fresh salads, and buddha bowls available.

Here were my favorite spots:

  • Vibe Cafe: try the positive pancakes, alkaline bowl, and avocado toast!
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  • Sister Srey: try the breakfast salad, juices, and smoothies!
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  • ARTillery: try EVERYTHING!! Our favorites were the build your own bowl, jackfruit tacos, veggie burger, and spring rolls. You can also get free coffee here if you rate them on TripAdvisor!
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The People:

The people in Cambodia were so unbelievably kind, generous and welcoming - they truly made our experience unforgettable. 

  • Our Airbnb hosts invited us over for beers and to go swimming at a local pool with them and a bunch of cambodia kids (BTW cambodian kids are the cutest, and I that’s saying a lot because i’m not a kid person 🤣. Everytime Erik and I saw a cambodian kid they would say hello and wave to us! It was so cute and also must have been super obvious that we were tourists.)
  • Our tuk tuk driver went out of his way to make our experience memorable and even took us our of the way to do things like try palm fruit (only found in Cambodia) and take us to special spots we never would have found on Google. (If you’re going to Siem Reap, hire him! Here’s his info: Whatsapp: +855 12 328 397 and his name is Nao Saroeum)
  • One day while waiting for a tuk tuk, one of the locals offered us a free ride into town on his motorbike. I was a little scared but he seemed trustworthy so we went for it and it was an awesome experience. Obviously use your discretion and i'm not advising you take free rides from strangers, but this as part of the whole experience and I loved it!

The Floating Village:

There ate 3 different floating villages in Siem Reap; Chong Kneas, Kampong Phluk, and Kampong Khleang. Kampong Khleang was our first choice as it had the best reviews, but we ended up going to Chong Kneas because we were running low on time and it is much closer to Siem Reap (about 30 mins, vs. Kampong Khleang's 2 hour drive). 

My thoughts on Chong Kneas are really mixed because on the one hand it was an incredible experience to see the way that the people in this village live, and it also was beautiful at sunset. On the other hand, the people in these communities are living in extreme poverty; and I felt a little...voyeuristic? as a tourist, riding around in a boat and just watching them. It's a hard thing to put into words, and I got the feeling that living in this village was not a conscious choice by the people living there, but more of a product of their circumstance. Our boat driver even mentioned that he wanted to move away, but couldn't because he didn't make enough money and had to support his elderly parents. 

All in all, i'm thankful for the experience, but I struggle with recommending it because I don't think the money we paid for the boat ride (20 USD a person) went to the people of the village - the boat driver said it went to the larger corporations that own the boats. So we tipped well to try and compensate :) 

Cambodian Visas:

We got our visas online before arriving to Siem Reap, but you can also get one on arrival. Either way it costs about 30 USD and is easy to do. Customs actually didn't even look at our visas when we arrived (but you should still get one, of course)

Important things to note about Cambodia:

  • Cambodia is a very conservative country, so besides making sure your shoulders and knees are covered at all of the temples, you may also want to dress more conservatively when walking around the town. Having said that, it was HOT AF in Siem Reap and I didn’t care to cover myself up (other than at the temples) and I didn’t feel judged at all. I’m sure I just stuck out like a sore thumb as a tourist. 
  • Get A.C!!!!!! Enough said.
  • Tuk tuks are available pretty much everywhere, and generally only cost about 2-4$ to get anywhere in the city of Siem Reap
  • Cambodia uses a combination of the US dollar and Cambodian Riel. Just bring USD and you'll be fine. (Also most places only take cash so keep that in mind)
  • If you’re planning to hit all of the temples, I recommend going to Angkor Wat for sunrise and hitting the rest of the temples afterward, before it gets too hot out
  • Find a tuk tuk driver you like and see if you can use them during your whole stay. We used ours every day and just contacted him whenever we needed a ride because he was so great. Also you can usually hire them for an entire day for only about 20 USD.
  • The Angkor Wat ticket office opens at 5am and the temple closes at 5:30PM

Want to learn how to make money from wherever you are? (Without relying on ads, teaching english, or freelancing? 

XO,

Amie

P.S. Follow my travel adventures on Instagram!

Have you been to Siem Reap? What were your favorite parts?

Things To Do In Koh Phangan - FULL MOON PARTY! Rebelle Nutrition

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Koh Phangan was the second island we visited during our Thailand adventure, and our main reason for wanting to visit was to check out the famous Full Moon Party. 

To get to Koh Phangan from Koh Samui, we took a ferry for about 10 USD a person. It is cheapest to book your inter-island ferry's at the pier, but many travel agencies will book a taxi/boat ride combo for you, which is helpful, for almost the same price. 

Why Koh Phangan?

If you’ve done any research about things to do in Thailand, you’ve probably heard about the 1x monthly Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan.

The Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan happens once a month in Haad Rin, and after reading up on it and watching plenty of Youtube videos on it, we knew we had to check it out.

Here’s what you need to know about the full moon party in Koh Phangan:

BOOK EVERYTHING IN ADVANCE! We waited until a few nights before to book our hotel (rookie move) and nearly everything was full. We even got to our hotel and they almost didn’t let us check in because they said they were overbooked (until they saw us vlogging and then upgraded our room...hmmm)

FYI waiting until the last minute to book your Thailand accommodations *usually* is the best way to save money and get last minute deals, EXCEPT when it has to do with the Full Moon Party. 

Make sure to book your ferry tickets (to and from Koh Phangan) in advance as well - don’t expect to go to the party and then buy a ticket to leave the next morning. The boats/ferries/hotels all fill up quickly because most people try to come to Koh Phangan the day of the Full Moon Party and leave the day after.

Ferry bookings/taxis can usually be done through the hotel/resort/hostel you’re staying at, and when we were in Koh Samui our resort even had it's own ferry that went to and from the Full Moon Party, so it is possibly you'll even be able to book your accommodations on another island and just take a ferry boat to and from the Full Moon Party. I knew after a night of partying that I wouldn't be up for that, so we opted to get a hotel about 20 minutes from Haad Rin and just take the shuttle back and forth from our hotel, so that we could leave whenever we wanted. (My party-till-6am days are behind me  😂)

Taxis are EVERYWHERE, but I would still recommend coordinating a taxi to and from the Full Moon Party especially if you aren’t staying right in Haad Rin. As a matter of fact, I would recommend NOT staying in Haad Rin so that when you are ready to sleep you are away from the craziness/noise. 

We stayed in Haad Yao which was great, and we even scheduled a shared taxi for 300 baht (about 10 USD) to and from the party that let us leave whenever we wanted to. (Something similar can be arranged through pretty much all hotels/hostels/resorts)

Full Moon Party Prices

Compared to the US, everything in Koh Phangan, even during the Full Moon Party, is extremelyu cheap. It was about 100 baht to get in the party (about 3 USD), buckets of liquor (small bottle + your mixer) were about 10 USD - and definitely enough for 2 people to share.

There is also tons of street food available at the Full Moon Party for great prices, you could definitely get a full meal for less than 3USD, but if you have any food sensitivities or preferences, don't expect for there to be many options for you (unless you're ok with mystery meat). Most of the street food was typical Thai fare: pad thai, fried rice, etc. (DELICIOUS but not super allergy-friendly). 

Things to know about the full moon party

  • You will have to pay to use the bathrooms, however most people (men) just go in the ocean (seriously, at any given time there were at least 50 men peeing into the ocean)
  • There is lots of trash/broken glass on the beach, so definitely be careful and if you're worried about it, wear close toed shoes
  • Everyone wears neon clothing and body paint! Don't worry, most places where you can buy your alcohol provide free body paint to paint yourself. There are also tons of places selling neon shirts, but unless you want to ditch the one you were wearing before, it's best to get one pre-party
  • The Full Moon Party means lots of craziness, drunkenness, dancing and people watching. Most people start arriving around 9PM and stay until 6am or later...
  • Make sure your hotel has AC!!! I thought after living in Maui i’d be ok with no AC but I am SO glad we made sure that everywhere we stayed in Thailand had AC because I would’ve been such a bitch without it (especially when hungover). The heat and humidity in Thailand is unreal - unlike anything i've ever experienced and I LOVE hot weather. 

Besides the Full moon party...

Koh Phangan is SO much more than just a party island. We actually loved the beaches here even more than in Koh Samui. The island (away from Haad Rin) also had lots of healthy, vegetarian and vegan options, and even more coffee + breakfast spots than I had expected.

Again, motorbike is the cheapest way to get around or shared taxi.  And they aren’t hard to find, just start walking in any direction and they will honk at you which is their way of asking if you want a ride.

Overall, I loved Koh Phangan (even more than Koh Samui, surprisingly) and not just because of the Full Moon Party. The beaches were a little nicer, there were more healthy food options, and it was a little quieter (especially once we got out of Haad Rin). I wish we could've stayed longer!

Want more Thailand? Check out my posts on Bangkok and Koh Samui!

Want to learn how to travel full time AND make a full time income?

Have you been to Koh Phangan, Thailand and the Full Moon Party? Tell me about your experience below!

XO,

Amie

Best Things To Do in Koh Samui, Thailand - Rebelle Nutrition

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Koh Samui was the second stop on our Thailand tour. From Bangkok, we decided to splurge a bit and fly to Koh Samui for about 140 USD per person instead of taking the longer, cheaper route which would’ve included a 12 hour bus ride + ferry, and would have us arriving in Koh Samui super late at night (no thanks). 

I will say though, our flight to Koh Samui was on Bangkok Airways and although it only lasted 45 mins I would’ve been happy to stay on the plane longer. The seats were large, we had a pretty decent in flight meal, and there was even a private room in the Bangkok airport with coffee, snacks and wifi pre flight. (This isn’t sponsored, I was just super impressed!)

FYI to figure out our options for getting around Thailand (or anywhere we're traveling) I like to use the site rometorio.com.  This is especially helpful when trying to figure out how to get to an island in a foreign country where I have no clue about transportation-and it is difficult to call and ask directly. 

Koh Samui Thailand

My thoughts on Koh Samui, Thailand

My initial thoughts about Koh Samui were that the airport was beautiful and reminded me a lot of the Maui and Kauai airports! I immediately knew I would like the beach-y vibe of Koh Samui, and was super excited to be back on an island after busy Bangkok!

Once we arrived at our Airbnb (click here to use my code and get $40 off your first stay!) we realized that it was actually a surprisingly loud island (?!?) with trucks driving by every few minutes or so blasting announcements about thai boxing or other local events coming up. 

Having said that, Koh Samui is a beautiful island that still has the “feel” of Thailand: lots of shops, street food and people watching, plus beaches! The island is also pretty americanized which surprised me - inclduing Starbucks, Mcdonalds, etc.

We stayed near the airport in Koh Samui, which was convenient, and we could actually walk to Chaweng Beach (one of the most popular beaches on Koh Samui, stretching a few miles long!) 

Chaweng beach Koh Samui

If you have the time I would definitely recommend going to the southern area of Koh Samui to explore! The best way to get there would either be a shared taxi or a motorbike, but again, rent/drive these at your own risk.

Transportation in Koh Samui

It is a small island so no matter where you are, you’ll probably be walking distance to plenty of restaurants/shops/beaches etc. which is awesome, especially if you don't feel like taking taxis everywhere! However, taxi's are EVERYWHERE and will even honk at you as they drive past in case you need a ride. It is also very easy to take boat/ferry's to the nearby islands, or fly out of the Koh Samui airport if that's more your style. 

The Food in Koh Samui, Thailand

The food in Koh Samui, just like in Bangkok, was incredible. We would usually have a light breakfast of fruit and coffee and then decide between one of literally hundreds of Thai food restaurants for lunch/dinner. On average we spent about 20$ US a day on food in Koh Samui, and this was including things like drinks, fresh fruit, smoothies, and even the occasional “bucket” (liquor + juice). Eating this way (lots of Thai food + fruit) was definitely the most cost effective way to eat. However if you get sick of Thai food, there are lots of American options, but you're likely going to be spending a lot more.

In terms of gluten-free/dairy-free/allergy friendly options , they were pretty hard to come by in Koh Samui. Vegetarian options however, were almost everywhere.

Another perk, in my opinion, were the $10 massages on every corner. 

Koh Samui Temples

The only temple we went to in Koh Samui was called the Big Buddha (or Wat Plai Laem) and was actually walking distance from out condo, which was awesome. The Big Buddha was a beautiful temple with tons of gold and other vibrant colors. I definitely recommend visiting if you're in Koh Samui, and just be sure to 1. get there EARLY to beat the heat (Wat Plai Laem opens at 10am) and 2. cover your shoulders (however they provide coverups for you if you don't have one!)

Big Buddha Koh Samui

Overall, Koh Samui was a fun island with lots of great restaurants, shops, and beaches - however it definitely wasn't my favorite island in Thailand. I didn't end up snorkeling like I had liked to because the water (unfortunately) wasn't quite up to my standards (I know that sounds snobby, but coming from Maui I just had to be real with you guys!)

Also, the loud/crazy/party vibe was definitely not what I was expecting. It was fun for a few days, but if you're looking for a tranquil vacation, this is probably not the place for you. It would however be an awesome option for college students wanting to party on a budget!

Another perk was that there are tons of people from all around the world in Koh Samui, many of them travelers/backpackers, making it a great place to socialize and meet new people.

I wish we would have had more time to explore the southern area of Koh Samui because it looks beautiful, but overall after 4 days I feel like we pretty much saw/explored everything in the Northern part of the island. 

For more on Thailand, check out my blog posts on Bangkok, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao.

Want to learn how I travel full time + work from wherever (and how you can too?!) 

Have you been to Koh Samui? What did you think? Tell me below!

XO,

Amie

Best Things To Do In Bangkok, Thailand - Rebelle Nutrition

Best things to do in bangkok thailand

My husband Erik and I's first stop in Thailand was Bangkok! And despite being told numerous times that Bangkok was “just another big city”, we were completely surprised with how magical, busy, hectic, and exciting the city was to us (especially after having lived in Maui for the past year and a half). 

Things we did in Bangkok:

We were only there for about 4 days, and considering we were pretty jet lagged with the 12 hour time difference, we were actually able to do (almost) everything we had planned!

Wat Pho temple

A buddhist temple (also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha) that houses one of the world's largest buddha statues. It is located in the Phra Nakhon District of Bangkok and was only a few dollar Uber ride from our apartment.

Things to note about Wat Pho(and really any temple in Bangkok or elsewhere in SE Asia): 

  • Bring a jacket or scarf to cover your arms, they will not let you in to see the buddha if your shoulders aren’t covered 
  • Cost: $100 baht to get in (around $3 US)
  • Taxi drivers outside most temples will tell you that the temple is full and they aren’t letting anyone else in - as a way to try to get business from you and take you somewhere else. Just say thanks or Kob khun kha and go in anyways

Obviously there are tons of other temples in Bangkok but without much time, we just picked the one we wanted to see the most and called it good

Wat Pho Temple Bangkok

 

Khao San Road

Khao San Road is the famous backpacker road in Central Bangkok. This is a MUST see/do in my opinion because it is so quintessentially Bangkok, although it was much shorter than I had expected. It is a crazy street filled with authentic Thai street food, vendors, restaurants serving “buckets” i.e. literally a bucket of alcohol + a mixer, henna shops, tattoo parlors, and dried scorpions on sticks for tourists to try (Erik even ate one - vlog footage to come😂)

The malls

There are a handful of malls in Bangkok, but the two that we visited were MBK and Terminal 21. Both MBK and Terminal 21 are definitely worth checking out, but Terminal 21 was my favorite because each floor is themed after a different city. Plus it has AMAZING food with tons of different options and price points. 

Massages

$10 massages are literally EVERYWHERE in Thailand, including Bangkok. Just walk down any street and you’ll have tons of options to choose from. This was one of my favorite parts of the city. But beware, traditional Thai massages don’t usually include oil, and instead include a combination of stretching, rocking, and the occasional back cracking which I totally was not aware of. Don't get me wrong though, it was still amazing (especially for $10). Plus, if you want oil you’ll usually just have to pay about 50-100 baht more (about 2-3 USD)

The Sky Bar(s)

There are a few different sky bars in Bangkok with EPIC views of the city. The Red Sky Bar in Bangkok, and the one where the Hangover II was filmed, the Sky Bar in the Lebua Tower. Be prepared for a dress code, a pricey menu, and having to check any purses or bags at the door before going in, but the views at the Lebua Tower Sky Bar are 100% worth it.

Lebua Tower sky bar bangkok

 

Food

Be warned that traditional breakfast is hard to come by in most of Thailand, Bangkok included, unless you want street food. If you’re looking for an amazing American breakfast in Bangkok I highly recommend Breakfast Story on Sukhumvit street (one of the major streets in the city). After our 20 hour travel experience the day before, I was STARVING and this place had everything I wanted…a massive omelet with tons of veggies, a fresh fruit bowl, and an iced coffee with almond milk. Be prepared to pay for it though, they do not have typical Thai prices and my breakfast alone cost about 500 baht (about 15 USD)

breakfast story in bangkok

 

Street food is EVERYWHERE! And although i’m sure most of it is amazing, i’m a little sketched out by meat that has been sitting in the hot sun for god knows how long. I also had a hard time wanting to eat anything hot when it is 85 degrees and humid out. For these reasons, I didn’t actually eat any street food when in Bangkok (Anthony Bourdain would be so disappointed) but if you did, you could get a full meal for around 1.50 USD almost anywhere. I did however, seek out many of the street vendors thats were serving mixed fruit and “shakes” (fresh fruit mixed with ice, water and sugar).

Also, the malls had surprisingly good food options! At Terminal 21, the top two floors are full of restaurants and “cafeteria style” food options that seriously blew my mind (and obviously i’m a bit of a food snob). There were also tons of more "formal" restaurants which were a little bit more pricey, but with either option you’ll have your pick from tons of Thai food options in addition to pretty much anything else you could ever want. The “cafeteria style” options are closer in price to street food, and all you have to do is load a card with money prior to choosing what you want. I actually loved this because Erik and I could get different things if we wanted, and then if we had any leftover money on our card we would get fresh fruit or smoothies for dessert. Each time we ate at either mall, we each got a TON of food for less than 5 USD a person.

What about Gluten free/ dairy free/ vegetarian/ vegan options in Bangkok?

If you’re planning on traveling to Thailand with any strict dietary guidelines, I highly recommend bringing a card to show to the restaurant that explains your dietary needs (in Thai). Even then, if you have a true allergy to a certain food, I would be extremely careful when eating in Thailand because I got the feeling that most places don’t really care if you have a food sensitivity or not, they will make your dish how it is traditionally made.

For example, I don’t have a peanut allergy but sometimes I just didn’t want extra peanuts on top of my pad thai or papaya salad, and every time I asked, they still came with peanuts. Not a big deal because I could just pick them off, but I do feel for anyone who might have a serious anaphylaxis reaction to peanuts or something else. 

Eating gluten free in Bangkok would probably be pretty easy as there are tons of rice dishes everywhere in Thailand, however i’m not sure about what ingredients are used in their sauces, spices, etc. I no longer gluten free, so I didn’t ask, but you could either learn how to say "gluten free" in Thai or search for foods labeled gluten free. However, I didn't find that to be too common. 

Eating dairy free in Bangkok was actually relatively easy - Erik avoids dairy and loved that he could choose from almost everything on the menu, wherever we went. BEWARE though that many almond/soy milks have added milk to them!!! WTF!! We only realized this after Erik's post-nasal drip became horrible after drinking coffee a few days in a row and once we checked the ingredients of the almond milk we were adding to it, what do you know! Whole milk!

Eating vegetarian/vegan in Bangkok seems like it would actually be really easy. There were tons of vegetarian options pretty much everywhere we went that i'm sure could've easily been made vegan by leaving out the egg or fish/oyster sauce.

Watch our Bangkok, Thailand adventures here!

Other random things I learned about traveling in Bangkok:

  • Be prepared to wait a LONG time for an Uber. Usually it will take them at least 30 minutes to get you, and at least 30 minutes to bring you anywhere in the city. It's not their fault, the traffic in Bangkok is just ridiculous. I'm sure if you're used to a big city though, this won't be anything new for you.
  • The cost for an Uber anywhere in the city is usually 100-400 baht. And unless you can walk to your destination, ubers/metered taxis are your best bet to get around unless you want to take a motorbike. I was not that brave.
  • Try a tuk tuk! They are a little more expensive because of their touristy nature, but they are a super fun experience you’ll definitely want to have while in Bangkok.
  • Another transportation option is the sky train which is a cheaper option but also takes a REALLY long time get you even short distances
  • Pack light!! You can shop for literally any and everything you need in Bangkok for only a fraction of the price you'd pay at home, especially clothes! I bought a super cute pair of shorts that fit better than anything else i've found in the US for 8$ US.
  • Breakfast is hard to come by, as is coffee. We ended up getting iced coffee at 7-eleven most days and adding our own almond milk. 
  • There is free wifi at nearly all restaurants 
  • My cell phone actually worked really well! However if you're worried about this you can buy a sim card pretty much anywhere. True wireless stores will even put it in and set it up for you. 
  • Many places don’t have toilet paper, only bidets, so bring your own if you can’t get down with spraying yourself clean

Have you been to Bangkok? What did you think? Tell me below!

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