A Coffee with a View

From a cup of coffee with sunrise in the middle of the Flores Sea to a mug of strong espresso underneath Tibetan prayer flags looking on to the never-ending Himalayas, a coffee with a view is how it’s served best.

This blog isn’t called wander with coffee for nothing! Although, tales focused solely on coffee have shockingly not featured here.

Yes, it’s shamefully true, my hands are empty and held high with caffeine regret – Wander With Coffee is really not click bait (for the whole five people who click), I do indeed wander with (and for) coffee often and have indeed been very privileged to do so in quite a few intriguing and it’s fair to say beautifully captivating locations (in the tree tops of Sumatra, in a Colombian coffee finca, looking on to a long green valley in Laos, beside a couple of volcanoes in Flores, over wide plains filled with grape-bearing vines in Australia… and so on).

This all means that the time is now, it’s happening in no particular order here are the places around the world where a caffeine hit has been met with a glorious view (special shout out to the incredible search function in Google Photos where you can simply type ‘coffee’ and they all appear).

(Ideally the following caffeine focused scroll should OF COURSE be served with coffee so, if you’ve not got one in your other hand, grab one now. If the day’s already over where you are make it an affogato or perhaps just add some brandy and cream.)

Service! Coffee with a view…

Sailing on a boat with six strangers and three crew in the middle of Komodo National Park in Indonesia, what a place to wake up! Five mornings spent just like this, waking up with a salty sunrise, rocking to sleep after sunset with a sky full of stars and the air moving to the sound of nothing, glorious – if you want to see more from this ocean adventure click here.

Underneath prayer flags surrounded by the GLORIOUS Himalayas in freezing Duerali, Nepal (a proper coffee too; how the machine got up this high on these trails I’ll never know for sure, but it was either by mule or mule and a helicopter). A much needed hot, strong espresso before a very early morning hike even higher up into the snow. Read more about this very surprising, fantastic coffee and overall I N C R E D I B L E hike to Annapurna Base Camp here.

One of the most welcome coffees I have ever received! Hot, strong, superb! On day 9 of a very memorable hike to Annapurna Base Camp in the Himalayas.

BY THE SEA! You will soon notice that a coffee plus a sea view is quite the common occurrence and perhaps even a preference when geography allows. First up, two pints of coffee above the non-existent waves in Pantai Bira at Cosmos Bungalows located at the most southern point of Sulawesi in Indonesia. This is still one of the best locations I have ever been scuba diving (and perhaps drunk coffee although the coffee sadly was not good) – I know diving is not entirely related to coffee however rest assured I drank coffee between dives.

Speaking of coffee between dives! Out at sea (this time off Menjangan Island) a hot coffee break is always essential for a surface interval, even in the warmest of waters (and weather) in South-East Asia I still get really cold on a fifty to sixty minute dives. (Read more about diving with deer in northern Bali, Indonesia, here.)

Wine? But first coffee! It’s something like that right? Good morning from The Hunter Valley in New South Wales, Australia. Three nights were spent in a gorgeous cabin amongst the vines. A mini coffee machine was provided for unlimited coffee enjoyed best each morning alongside freshly baked sweet muffins delivered to the door.

Up in the green hills of Lancashire, in the beautiful north of England mid picnic of course. Wandering, when the sun’s out, with a backpack with flask in tow is definitely one of my favourite things to do, podcast on, picnic and hot coffee ready, let’s go!

Lovely Lancashire!

On the terrace of a hidden hillside cabin in Flores, Indonesia (read more about exploring the overland treasure of Flores and all the mosquitoes that accompanied the photo below here).

A big blue sky always helps and this time it’s European; an early morning coffee near Lagos in Portugal. A holiday taken a few weeks after my dad died, a really difficult time, waking up each day to a new life without dad, he would’ve loved this view.

On a beach looking at the turquoise horizon in the west of Lombok at Raja Villa, a really fabulous place to stay before or after the Gili Islands (see what I mean right here).

Outside in the cool early morning mountain air with breakfast and The Himalayas. What a breakfast view! In Chromrong, on route to Annapurna Base Camp. Coffee, breakfast and the ever changing daily view helped my legs and mind keep marching all the way up to 4130m (and back down again).

An early morning in Halls Gap, South Australia, looking on to the glorious Grampians getting ready to hike (no morning in Oz counts unless you’re drinking coffee). This was part of a four day trip along the Great Ocean Road and into the Grampians. It was wet, windy and a bit wild at times but the sites, hikes and views were magnificent. Every day started with the best coffee, even just along the roadside in what you’d maybe call an outlet shopping centre (we were checking out surfing shops) there was an incredible coffee roastery! Australia is most definitely a connoisseur. (You can watch my Insta story from this trip by clicking right here – featuring kangaroos, surfers, a couple of koalas and lots of coffee.)

In Colombia, the country that educated my mind on how coffee is produced, right from picking red berries off a bush to brewing the perfect liquid that’s poured into billions of cups worldwide; not sure cheese is a common coffee condiment but I’ll take whatever they give me here, the land of coffee experts. (A coffee break during a rainy hike high up in the magnificent Valle De Cocora in Salento.)

High above Dovestone Reservoir in Greater Manchester’s gorgeous Saddleworth Moor after a steep, hot and sweaty climb, alongside a much needed, top quality English picnic – back doing what I do best.

A Lancashire picnic with a great view and a hot coffee, what more could you need?

All the way back down under now, this time squashed in a corner (on my birthday!) at Celsius Coffee Company overlooking the sea in Kirribilli, Sydney. This place was very cool and it was my first time eating Australian crumpets, definitely different to Warbutons but delicious all the same!

At breakfast looking through a colourful stained glass window on to one of the many volcanoes which dominate Flores (this one is in Manulalu and it is INCREDIBLE). Read more about my overland adventure in Flores and this volcano in Manulalu here.

Looking on to the rooftops of Labuan Bajo in Flores, with a tile covered mosque and the ocean for company at Bajo Bakery; an excellent window seat, although it was open air and very hot. (Click here to view much more of Labuan Bajo plus a couple of days scuba diving within Komodo National Park.)

An espresso in front of the green hills of Deia in Majorca, beautiful. Lots of delicious coffee and food in Palma too.

Alongside an empty pool in northern Bali, free coffee refills with breakfast, just how I like it. Read more about this beautiful Balinese accommodation here.

WITH A TIMTAM!!! Sorry, that needs to be shouted, they are that good. I know, I know there’s a pool and sail boats in the distance but it’s all about the timtam (on Magnetic Island in Australia). New Year’s Day 2020, beginning the first year of my life without dad, a touch hungover too so plenty of coffee and timtams required.

Enjoying the colourful lanterns of Hoi An’s Old Town, a great breakfast and a perfect spot for people watching.

On a beach in West Bali National Park logging dives at the end of a fantastic day diving . A coffee at Nusa Bay Resort, next door to Blue Corner Dive . Read more about this scuba diving experience here.

Above a busy road of scooters at Hue Coffee Roastery in Vietnam; explore my trip to Hue here. A great way to relax after wandering many kilometres in the city’s enormous, stunning Citadel.

On my own humid balcony in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. A Sunday relaxing with prayer flags and plants, oh how I miss this home, especially the balcony (morning coffee and evening g&ts, loved this life).

Nope, this is not above some coral in Indonesia, this is in fact above THE GREAT BARRIER REEF. Despite this definitely being a bucket list moment, the trip was a slightly disappointing as it was with a huge tourist boat from Mission Beach and the chosen reef sections where quite underwhelming (little coral, not much variety and limited fish). Now, of course the Great Barrier Reef is ENORMOUS so I’m sure I was unlucky, probably choose the wrong section etc. In a future post-pandemic life maybe I’ll try again.

With an empty infinity pool and the rolling hills of beautiful Sidemen in Bali (I stayed at the Artanadi Villa). (Check out Sidemen with me here.)

People watching and kindle reading with some much needed air conditioning in bustling Suria KLCC; a common occurrence when that city was my home. (Eight Ounce Coffee – they have the best mix and match cups and saucers.)

Back in Sulawesi, this time on Liukang Island, a small place off the coast of Bira in the south of Sulawesi. Fantastic shallow corals to explore around this island that has one little village in the centre, full of friendly faces surprised to see you.

Still in my dressing gown looking on to the Menai Strait in Anglessey, Wales; this photo just says ‘Sunday’.

Watching the pretty and quite busy boat park in Port de Soller, Majorca. After a coffee, we took a wander further up the hill to the left and clambered down the rocks into a few different, relatively secret swimming holes.

Lake Toba! Back in Indonesia this time on Sumatra. After orangutan trekking in Bukit Lawang, a sunrise volcano climb at Berastagi, I moved on to the beautiful, volcanic island of Samosir which is in the middle of Lake Toba. A cooler (in temperature) bit of Indonesia so no sweating required with these cups! Hard to believe this isn’t the sea this lake (and island) is massive.

Moving on to The Philippines up amongst the palm trees on the island of Siquijor at White Villas; read about this solo travel experience here. A great balcony for a morning coffee and evening beer, just set back from the sea but close enough you can hear the waves.

It doesn’t take long, back to Indonesia (living in its close neighbour Malaysia for four years meant Indonesia became a frequent holiday choice)! One of the absolute best coffee experiences – a very early morning coffee looking on to one of the three coloured lakes of Kelimutu in east Flores. After hiking in the dark, watching all the colours of the morning appear, then seeing a friendly local woman set up a tiny coffee stall, just wonderful! A pinch yourself travel moment. Watch the sunrise over the Tri-Coloured Lakes of Kelimutu here.

With a pool and some palm trees, taking a mini break at the Sagara Candidasa in Bali; I didn’t rate Candidasa but this accommodation was gorgeous.

Next to a grand, old Spanish building finding some shade under a group of umbrellas in Antequerra in Spain (tapas has been ordered). This view holds special memories, it was a half -term trip back to Europe for a friend’s wedding and a mini, very excitable family reunion. This was the first time my parents, brother and I had met in nearly two years (I know my dad’s next to me in this photo which is wonderful and bittersweet because we’ll never have a coffee together again).

Infinity pool! Sea! Waves! Sunshine! You’re on to a winner on Nusa Cenigan, an island off the east coast of Bali.

Hola Espana! A coffee with Antequerra for it’s view is a very good coffee indeed, plus the ‘before the coffee is fully brewed’ shot next to the pool (just loved that caffetiere).

Back down under, with a bit of art in one of the many side street cafes (which serve FANTASTIC coffee) in Melbourne, Australia.

An infinity pool, rolling green hills and the ocean on the horizon – must be back in South-East Asia. Southern Lombok, looking towards Selong Belanak Beach, not bad for a Christmas coffee break.

White sand, sea and a morning coffee on Perhentian Besar in Malaysia. This was during a risk assessment for an expedition I was due to run (what a place to briefly work) at The Perhentian Island Resort, two gorgeous islands off Malaysia’s east coast.

A coffee on the go with an Opal card, this means I’m back in New South Wales, Australia; just boarding one of the many cool double decker trains on the lines that run throughout the state. This station was Sydney’s Circular Quay, a station with an incredible view that includes the famous Habour Bridge and the Opera House, although I’m clearly more focused on the coffee and train view!

A stunning view wiht breakfast, up in the treetops of Bukit Lawang in Sumatra, Indonesia, just waiting for the orangutans to appear.

Still in Asia but this time further north… In the hills outside busy Luang Prabang in Laos, one of the best most enthralling coffee views I’ve experienced at Nahm Dong Park (also home to excellent BBQ pork as well as zip-lining (a fantastic short stretch through the trees) and lots of little trails to wander (and sweat) on. This very green coffee view went on for miles plus who doesn’t love a shiny red seating area?!

No trains here – a coffee amongst the endless variety of plants and rare sunshine in Dad’s garden, Tottington, England. A treasured place to remember my dad amongst the trees and flowers he planted and the robin that occasionally pops by.

Back with a beach view, one of the best and most peaceful on the island of Carabao (next to the much rowdier and more well known Boracay) in The Philippines.; having breakfast each morning with this view was absolute bliss!

Above one of Hanoi’s extremely busy streets, the perfect spot for viewing this endearing city’s non-stop action (once I’ve stopped gazing at the coffee). This balcony was a surprising find after entering a haphazard group of buildings (see photo after the coffee).

On the tiny Thai island of Koh Hai, alongside mum and dad, with a sunny sea view and lots of Thai style tapas seafood snacks, oh hellllll yeah! We’d had a morning wander and swim, walked back to our beach huts and just before arriving decided this was a good spot for a snack break and some needed caffeine.

Let’s stick with Thailand – about to jump in – but first, coffee. Following our Koh Hai adventure we travelled to the busier, but still excellent, Thai island of Koh Lanta for a mini family reunion with my brother. Alanta Villa was our absolutely fantastic home for a week, glorious rooms, open plan kitchen, lounge, beautiful tropical plants and flowers around the pool, oh and a coffee machine. Much coffee was also enjoyed in a couple of great cafes in Koh Lanta’s Old Town. We never wanted to leave.

One day I will live by the sea because a coffee with a morning view of a seemingly infinite ocean is all my mind needs to really wake up. A cup of coffee in celebration of arriving safely back on (relatively) dry land after five days at sea (and three days before that under the sea scuba diving), at Le Pirate in Labuan Bajo in Flores, Indonesia.

Savouring a coffee underneath some shade on Gili Meno, Indonesia, with a pool and the sea in the distance.

A KL cafe coffee view, a VERY common appearance of any weekend when that city was home. During four years in Kuala Lumpur China Town’s cafe scene probably developed the most, an enormous landscape change from backpacking Malaysia years previously in 2008.

Celebrating (and commiserating a little) the end of a good friend’s four years in Kuala Lumpur – going out in tropical style with a weekend mini break at The Andaman, Langkawi in Malaysia.

A coffee at home, THIS was once my (shared) showstopping rooftop pool and view (the Petronas Towers and the KL Tower are on the horizon), very, very lucky to live in some wonderful apartments in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Just squeezing one last view in here, it is technically a caffeine view BUT it’s tea, a rarity but still an essential drink amongst the bright, green tea plantations of The Cameron Highlands in Malaysia.

There are of course many coffee cups with glorious views enjoyed around Europe on holidays and throughout South America during a previous backpacking life – oh The Past! Yet, who knows if those photos exist, well they do but they exist in a time (and on a hard drive) before the supreme search function of Google photos was invented, so for ease and speed maybe i’ll add them on a rainy day (or perhaps during a second wave of Covid 19).

However, there are still a few coffee cups which didn’t in fact make the cut because their view wasn’t quite impressive enough, despite this they will not remain hidden in folders upon folders of relatively well-organised Dropbox memories, they will indeed appear below in mere moments.

For every caffeine cup listed below without a fascinating view there’s still a connection in some way to an imminent adventure, a just celebrated event or a much enjoyed experience.

Grab a refill!

Here’s some more coffee with a (questionable) view…

Within the four posts of my bed, resting after an eleven day hike in the Himalayas; a bit of coffee and TV in Kathmandu, Nepal. (Read more about Three Rooms with Pauline here.)

No view required when the coffee is this beautiful! Latte art before latte art was an award winning thing! All the way back to 2011 in one of the many coffee centric cafes in Colombia (yes, they’ve got booze in too, mmm, the best way to warm up).

Bus tickets AND a donut, that’s breakfast with a view alright! Just about to board the bus to Malacca/Melaka from KL Malaysia (this was only day one, the next day the bus journey would continue on to Singapore)! This was VERY early morning in the city’s huge, southern bus terminal BTS.

A celebratory view, The Tower of Hope is complete! Breakfast and coffee at KLCC’s Antipodean following completing a race where competitors run up all 2058 steps of the Kuala Lumpur Tower and I did it in 2016!

With a very comfy bed, in Manchester’s Northern Quarter for a mini staycation with visiting friends from KL. This is how breakfast is delivered at The Cow Hollow hotel, very cute and this meant you could stay in your pajamas, always a winner.

An orchid; a flower view is always welcome especially when it’s with breakfast in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

A travel book? This is definitely a great view as it means a trip is coming! In Yeast one of my top KL coffee and pastry spots (the best chocolate almond croissant you can get in KL in my opinion).

Well, if you can have French pastries you can certainly have Spanish churros! In Malaga Old Town in Spain, which was surprisingly pretty (the Brits abroad scene had wrongly tainted my expectations of this city), huge, grand old colourful buildings and lots of traditional eateries like this one; dad and I paused for a break before driving back to Antequerra – definitely photos to be treasured.

Just a bad photo of a coffee on a counter? NO! This is the tiny cafe in the incredibly cramped and confusing domestic airport in Kathmandu, Nepal. One room full of hundreds of mountaineers, trekkers, holiday makers and lots of dependable Nepalese guides waiting and waiting some more for their planes to finally arrive and then leave. Was I nervous at this very moment? Yes! A very tiny Yeti Airlines propeller plane would soon be transporting me to Pokharra, not sure caffeine settled those nerves but I did safely make it (hours later than planned) to the planned final destination.

Ok, this was a luxury birthday treat view. In bed (maybe when there’s no sea view I just like a cozy coffee in bed instead) at The Majestic in Kuala Lumpur, delightful. (See this travel experience, in a slightly confusing order, over on Instagram by clicking here.)

A kindle can be a great view too… Lounging in another lovely treat of a room in Malacca/Melaka, Malaysia., a Chirstmas present treat for my parents before they departed back to the UK. (I used to backpack and stay in dingy holes too promise!)

Another travel guide in shot, with breakfast in lovely Noosa, Australia planning a roadtrip all the way to Cairns.

By the runway waiting to board, excitement building, Kuala Lumpur’s main airport that’s not actually even close to Kuala Lumpur!

With a bit of colouring on a miserable day at home in KL watching the BREXIT results come in.

Coffee with champagne, a boozy coffee break with afternoon tea; celebrating mum’s birthday & the end of our successful (but definitely sad without dad) Australian road trip back at The Majestic in Kuala Lumpur!

The floor? Cars? Yes, but I’m just in the car ferry queue leaving Magnetic Island on route further north to Mission Beach. This being Australia there is OF COURSE fantastic coffee to be bought alongside a car ferry queue. (Check out this adventure, exploring Australia’s well travelled east coast right here.)

Passport? Check! Coffee? Check! Camera? Ready! Adventure this way but first an average coffee in a crammed in cafe in KLIA2, Kuala Lumpur, the home of Air Asia.

Yes, cannolis are stunning, however this is just before entering Melbourne’s Princess theatre for a production of Harry Potter (amazing) which makes this coffee experience even grander! Also this was one of many strong, successful solo travel experiences!

That’s just a coffee with some car keys! No, that’s a coffee with my scooter keys, taking a well earnt break after exploring the island of Siquijor in The Philippines, solo! Read about this adventure, Solo in Siquijor, here.

More pastry? A view of pastries counts right? Well, it does for me, one of the very best coffee views in my opinion. Much caffeine was consumed in my much missed local cafe ‘Encore’ in Taman Desa, my second neighbourhood home in Kuala Lumpur. A coffee photo can definitely hold many wonderful memories and wandering around the corner from my flat (every weekend and some evenings!) to this little cafe holds plenty; knowing the smiley staff and of course knowing the menu, is stored in the ‘treasured moments’ part of my mind.

That’s where I’ll end with some coffee served alongside memories that are wonderful, although now touched by a slight bittersweet edge that comes with living life after loss, when grief infiltrates everything no matter how happy a moment once was.

There will never be a day when my camera doesn’t capture the coffee being drunk and its supporting view, imminent adventure or just life’s more mundane accompaniments.

In some way each moment, each caffeine break is an important pause to take, a short break from life, a mental health breather.

These coffee breaks are stored in multiple clouds and external hardrives (and now here!) to remember each breather regardless of location because who knows when that memory will be forgotten, that place changed or the accompanying people no longer around.

It’s officially a hobby now anyway.

Right, I’m off for another.

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