Bali Blog expat life HO CHI MINH CITY Indonesia living abroad lombok Southeast Asia Vietnam

Lombok, Bali & Saigon • Travel Lush

After shifting abroad in July 2014, I started compiling monthly roundup posts about life as an expat in Southeast Asia and all of the nitty gritty that goes on behind the scenes here at Travel Lush. Take a look at my most up-to-date month-to-month roundup posts July, Sept/Oct/Nov and Dec/Jan.

Wow, take a look at this. I’m truly writing a timely(-ish) monthly roundup publish. I haven’t finished that in, like, 5 months so that is quite the accomplishment.

I typically say that my life in Ho Chi Minh Metropolis simply isn’t all that exciting. Typically I don’t feel like I’ve all that a lot to say but, man, the month of February was undoubtedly an action-packed one.

So what did I rise up to in February? Let’s get to it:

Being grateful to have the chance to work remotely

Despite what most people assume, working remotely just isn’t all the time as fun because it appears. That being stated, having the ability to work from anyplace is an entire and complete present.

Because Aaron had a three-week vacation beginning at the finish of January, we determined to go back to our favourite nation on the earth: Indonesia. If it weren’t for the fact that I work remotely, I might have never been capable of go together with him. Our first cease was Lombok.

tanggun-aan-beach-lombokThere are worse locations to take a lunch break.

Identical to here in HCMC, massive chunks of most days have been spent hunched over a laptop on the bed of a lodge room (glamorous, right?). But once my work was carried out I was capable of spend the afternoons motorbiking by means of the Lombok countryside, sipping coconuts on the seashore and frolicking in the water of the island’s critically fairly seashores.

Visiting Lombok post-earthquake

For many who aren’t up on their Indonesian information, Lombok suffered a collection of devastating earthquakes final summer time. The tremors began a few week after my first visit to the island and the news was just heartbreaking. Tons of misplaced their lives, hundreds lost their houses and numerous buildings have been damaged.

I wasn’t exactly positive what to anticipate whereas touring to Lombok after the earthquakes but I used to be comfortable to see that issues seemed to be business as ordinary in Southern Lombok (and by that I imply the Kuta space).

night-market-gili-trawangan-earthquakeThe once-famous Gili T night time market lowered to rubble.

Whereas driving up the west coast of the island, nevertheless, many buildings both had large cracks, had partially collapsed, or at worst have been utterly destroyed. I can only imagine that these dwelling within the north of the island, the place the most important earthquakes hit, are nonetheless very much struggling.

I simply need to notice that Lombok is 100% protected to visit and other people should not be deterred from touring there. It’s just as pretty as ever and other people want your enterprise!

Situated off the coast of western Lombok, the Gili Islands have been additionally rattled by a 6.9 magnitude earthquake that hit Lombok. A tsunami alert was issued (thankfully one didn’t come), vacationers have been stranded on the islands and the injury was vital.

The good news is that the Gili Islands have been up and operating for months now, but there’s nonetheless lots of injury. Once more, don’t let that stop you from going. Although seeing the injury made me unhappy, I completely beloved being back on my beloved Gili Trawangan and was comfortable to spend my vacationer dollars there.

Taking an actual trip from work on Gili T

Identical to yearly, I acquired a full week off of labor for Lunar New Yr. Aaron and I went into full trip mode and spent that week being actually lazy on the tiny island of Gili Trawangan.

Fortunately, we scored on a really nice lodge, so we spent our days sleeping in, floating in the ocean, studying on the seashore and ordering in and watching films most nights. I do know. I know. It doesn’t sound all that adventurous, but given how onerous Aaron has been working recently and given the fact that I haven’t had a proper vacation in what seems like perpetually, I feel like we earned the appropriate to be lazy.

Scoring on lodge rooms

I’m an enormous fan of traveling in Southeast Asia through the off-season. Positive it’d rain just a little extra typically but there are approach fewer vacationers and most of the time motels are less expensive. We stayed in some great places in Lombok. We splurged a bit on our first place in Kuta but $50 was a steal for the place we stayed in, which ended up being more of a boutique resort than a traditional lodge.

accomodation-kuta-lombokNot too shabby.

The room was one of many nicest I’ve stayed in in a long time. The outside toilet made it really feel like I used to be showering within the jungle (sure, there have been tropical crops and timber within the toilet). The grounds have been insane, assume pretty pool complete with poolside beds to lounge on. It was truthfully the perfect place ever to remain at and work from.

We decided to go a bit extra finances on Gili Trawangan and booked every week at a spot referred to as Cinta Cottages for $22 an evening. Once we acquired there the receptionist stated that we’d been upgraded to the personal villa full with a personal courtyard and plunge pool. The room was beautiful, we had a stunning (and free!) breakfast delivered to our courtyard each morning, we dipped in our pool every afternoon. It was just such a pleasant place to unwind. But one of the best half is the place came with the 2 cutest kitties on the planet who stopped by every morning and night to cuddle with us.

gili-catI really needed to take her residence!

Going back to Bali (my second residence)

It’s no secret Bali (specifically Canggu) is like my second residence. I often stay in Canggu and work remotely from there for months at a time, so it felt very unusual to only have one fleeting week there.

sunset-baliOh, how I miss these Bali sunsets.

Once I wasn’t working, I marveled at the impossibly inexperienced rice paddies, ate all of the healthy (and not-so-healthy) vegetarian eats and had nightly sundown beers on the seashore. I simply love being there.

Scoping out road artwork in Canggu

Considered one of my many favorite issues about Canggu is that it has a very superb road artwork scene. Aaron and I drove round and found a number of new items and some previous ones. However this time around we additionally made some extent to visit the store of considered one of our favourite Balinese road artists, Slinat.

street-art-baliI significantly love his work.

He’s the nicest individual ever. We spent a superb hour talking about all the things from family to music to his inventive course of. He even showed us his workspace which was full of quirky work on the partitions and a few really superb large-scale pieces that he exhibits in galleries. I needed to take every little thing house but we bought a number of things for our new condo in Saigon.

Leaving Indonesia and going back to HCMC

My three weeks in Indonesia got here and went — they usually went far too shortly. I’m now back ‘home’ in Ho Chi Minh Metropolis, but the odd thing is I got here house to an entire new condominium in a completely new (and really totally different) neighborhood. Let’s simply say, dwelling in the suburbs is the exact opposite of dwelling in downtown Saigon.

shortcut-cangguYep, undoubtedly lacking Canggu…

I now stay in District 7, specifically Phu My Hung. It’s an area that’s in style among expats, professionals and English academics. Truthfully, it doesn’t really feel like I stay in Vietnam anymore. None of the issues I really like about downtown — the chaos, the street meals, the hems (alleyways) — exist in Phu My Hung.

But there are a number of perks of dwelling out here. I’m cooking a bit more (nonetheless have to work on that), I’m consuming all of the burritos (we’ve an excellent So-Cal type burrito place across the road and if you already know my obsession with Mexican meals this can be a massive deal), I’m going out with Aaron’s co-workers extra (it’s nice to not be so distant and to finally have the ability to hang around with these individuals!) and I’m exercising again (there’s no visitors in my neighborhood and I can truly jog outdoors).

phu-my-hung-apartment-1Full moon views from my new pad.

It’s an adjustment however thus far so good!

My new condo

I used to be tremendous enthusiastic about our new house. Most flats in Phu My Hung are in large complexes and utterly lack character. So once we found our two-story, loft-style condo it just felt right.

We’ve got a balcony, it’s means quieter than our final house and the view ain’t too shabby. However in fact, it comes with its quirks. The shortage of airflow means it gets really scorching and the second story is like a sauna until you’re pumping the AC. We not often go up there until we’re getting one thing out of storage or hanging our laundry to dry. (The laundry dries tremendous fast up there!)

And then there’s the case of the glass rest room door that is situated right next to our front room couch. What’s with the utilizing glass doors on loos in Asia? It’s frosted so it’s not like you possibly can see in nevertheless it’s a bit awkward.

All things thought-about, I’m shortly settling in here and enjoying our new neighborhood more than I assumed I might.

Planning for my family’s go to

A big chunk of my time last month was spent planning for my mom and sister’s huge journey to Vietnam on the end of March. I’m so used to journey planning with Aaron or flying solo but I’m not likely used to mapping out complete itineraries for different individuals. It’s a variety of strain! It’s not as a result of I don’t love planning trips for individuals, it’s because I’m just so concerned about them having an excellent time.

beach-encinitasMe and my sis at our beloved San Diego seashore.

I know Vietnam (and HCMC specifically) could be a daunting place, particularly in the event you’ve never been to Southeast Asia. I simply need them to like this country as a lot as I do and actually have the prospect to have a soothing, memorable and fun trip. I’m simply really pleased that I’ll be seeing my family in simply three brief weeks. That’s crazy!


So clearly I’m going to be performing some Vietnam journey quickly. My family arrives at the end of March and we’ll be exploring HCMC, Hoi An, Hanoi and Halong Bay. I’ve been to all these places before but that was method again in 2006. I’m very excited to finally be performing some Vietnam journey and to discover these places with my family. I can’t wait!


That is the first vacation the place I didn’t whip out my DSLR at all. That’s sort of sad, but I’ve also been to those places so many occasions earlier than that I’ve taken so many photographs. Even still, I posted a couple of pictures from my huge Indonesia journey: