When I see or hear this word, my heart fills with joy. Even though we had some tough times along the way, this holiday topped summer 2016 for me (sorry Steven if you’re reading, Sorrento Positano and Brugge were also excellent, and ticked all the boxes…!!!).
First thing’s first about Bali … Food everywhere was A1. Nobody got sick and street food doesn’t exist – well in 2016 it didn’t. I’d recommend booking accommodation early. I booked my flights on skyscanner with Emirates for €947 return, stopping at Dubai going over, and Singapore and Abu Dhabi coming home – I had time between most of my flights to leave the airport.
Where and When: Bali island (Indonesia) August 2016
With: 3 friends
How long: A little under three weeks
You may think that Bali looks like this (below)…. But it really doesn’t. We saw rich and poor in every area; poverty and luxury was plenty..
We started off here and actually came back here for the last two days. M Boutique Hostel was where we stayed – literally to rest the heads after a flight, and me being on one alone… – which was a tight squeeze for the luggage we had with us (ridiculous amounts!!). Single beds in single units with your own curtain, lamps and plugs, which was very convenient if you were lying in bed reading.
In regards to night life, Seminyak has an excellent array of late night bars and clubs right in the centre beside the 24H supermarket. Prices here in this area of Bali were probably the most expensive but it was worth every cent! On the very last night we went to Motel Mexicola (book your table well in advance!! HERE is their Instagram feed) that served Mexican food whilst music was blaring, strobe lights flashing and in general a great buzz in the atmosphere. Food was top class and the cocktails were insane – expect to pay regular prices as what you would do at home for the food and drink here. Following on from Motel Mexicola, we went to a bar on the main street that had large steps up to the top floor – I can’t remember the name of it and it’s not listed on trip advisor, but you can’t miss it. Here we had marshmallow and candy floss cocktails on our last night. Right in the centre of town you will find the nightclub – there is only one and the whole crowd ventures here so you cannot miss it!
Breakfast in Seminyak:
Strolling around, you will stumble upon many smoothie bowl bars or breakfast clubs, all of which are fantastic. On the first morning we had smoothie bowls (see picture!) and since then I’ve been trying my best to re-create it, but of course failing miserably at every attempt.
We had smoothie bowls at Nebula Petitenget, and they also do an excellent coffee range. Click HERE to see their Instagram page – scrolling for daayyyys. Nothing beats a Balinese smoothie bowl – do NOT leave Seminyak without treating yourself to one or two – or a few. There’s another place much closer to the beach across from the W Seminyak, but Nebula really topped it for us in regards to price and aesthetic appearance 🙂 …. UNTIL!
On our last morning in Bali – we went to Sisterfields for brunch… BEST brunch in Bali – this was the icing on the cake, for me anyway (tired, homesick, needed wholesome, good food…you know…). Following on from cleaning off everyone’s plates (as per every night for me…) I progressed to the frozen yogurt shop (come out of Sisterfield’s and turn left)… Happiest woman on the planet leaving Bali in terms of how full my stomach was; without a full belly I’m hungry! Click HERE to see their Instagram feed.
Potato Head Beach Club: We went to Potato Head Beach Club early in the morning for brunch as some rest & relaxation was well needed, and deserved! We bought our large sun-bed area for €30 with a minimum spend of around €30 on food and drink. This was well worth it and we were happy to have gotten up early for – views were out of this world and the pool area was very chill – no children around! There was direct access to the beach and if you’re lucky enough to avoid harsh waves, it’s a nice stroll of about 2km. Dress code was casual but trendy. Normally there are festivals on around August and September at the beach club so I’d say head to their WEBSITE to find out who’s playing and when – this could nearly decide which dates you’ll be in Seminyak for.
Long story short: the beach is nice at Ku De Ta… Besides that; dodge, with €2k stolen from a friends bank account at the beginning of a holiday… Don’t go here unless you’re staying on a top-class resort and plan on travelling to Seminyak for entertainment at night. Don’t use your bank card anywhere on the island to pay for drinks – carry cash always.
The happiness we felt to leave Kuta! Elated…
We probably didn’t stay here as long as we should’ve (2 nights) but at this stage we needed a rest. The four of us got two four poster double beds in one room at Padang-Padang Breeze homestay – which I would recommend: click the link underlined. The one thing that completely freaked us out and woke us all up (in shock at the same time – I can’t even describe this you-have-to-be-there feeling!!), was the geko lizard echoing in the middle of the night. Other guests must have thought we were imagining things or over-exaggerating – which we probably were; standing on beds, turning the lights on and screaming ecstatically. To find nothing. Lol.
In Uluwatu, we saw the main Water Temple (see pictures); and the Cecak Dance at sunset – this really played on our idea of the Balinese Culture. Little did we know we had so much more (in relation to culture) to see at our following destinations… However, we did the “must see’s” of Uluwatu, yet had a nice break from the busy life and nightlife.
4. Gili Islands
We stayed on Gili T for four nights at Angel cottages – click HERE for reviews. All of the ‘terrible’ ratings were somewhat accurate – there WERE fans and air conditioning in our cottages, NO cockroaches lying dead… We thought it was a fine place to stay in relation to safety of walking home and the fact that we could afford to eat breakfast out – we didn’t eat at the cottages. In terms of staff – extremely friendly and happy to accommodate us, gave directions and the advised us on the best things to do on the islands.
Book your transport early – Semaya Cruises is who we went with – last minute as per. We left from Padang Padang Bay – a really run down area… But was closest to where we were staying previously (long drive – about €20 taxi for two hours drive).
Nightlife: Follow the lead of the island, i.e: go to the bar that’s planned for the night and drink Bintang under the stars with any new friend’s you’ve made… Until the cows come home… Literally – you’ll see the cows when you cycle around the WHOLE island… Rent a few bicycles. To cycle the island without stopping takes about 45 minutes.
Eat dinner at: SCALLYWAGS (that’s if you’re into fish!). Click HERE to see their website and reviews. Also if you wouldn’t mind a cider or a cocktail whilst on the island, here’s your chance! Or Maty’s (click HERE) – another 10/10 restaurant – they gave us cocktails to beat the band!
Cookery classes: Looked good, but we did these in Ubud instead.
Here are some photos of Gili Trawangan. We got a boat out for the day to Gili Meno which was also beautiful, yet a much quieter island with many couples on it. During the day we were snorkelling and looking for turtles, however there are very little health and safety laws in Indonesia: the tide was pulling myself and a friend in to high coral. At one point I thought we were going to drown but it was important to stay calm when we realised nobody would help us.
Another long story short… Do NOT attempt to get into a taxi that anyone offers to you. Ever! Always stick with BlueBird – you’ll see this on the top of the taxis as soon as you arrive into the airport – these drivers wear blue shirts. You’ll regret not taking a BlueBird and it WILL cause problems.
We didn’t stay at the resort that we had booked initially because it was too far out of town, and after a bad taxi experience I wasn’t really up for getting in and out of many more. Indrapastha Homestay was our alternative suggested by a British man who thankfully picked us up at the side of the road…so we took two rooms that were available there and they were a treat! King beds and a huge balcony with sun loungers 🙂 It rained a lot when we were in Ubud and didn’t make much use of the sun loungers, but made the most of being in the most beautiful place ever!
After our taxi scare the previous day, we got advice from the lady who owned our accommodation on the best way to see Ubud and the main tourist attractions – the waterfall, the rice fields, the Hindu temple and the Luwak coffee plantations. This part of the holiday was without a doubt the highlight for me! I would jump on a plane and do this all over again in the morning 😦
Eating in Ubud: We did a cookery class in Ubud also but unfortunately I cannot remember the name of it! It’s number one on TripAdvisor – with a lovely lady. Eating out in Ubud is very easy no matter what time of the day it is. I really enjoyed a morning coffee by myself whilst the girls slept in, or wandering down to the food markets alone during the afternoon if we had free time. We definitely made the most of our time in Ubud. The Organic Cafe is one I would recommend for breakfast and lunch!
Climbing Mount Batur: We were collected from our accommodation at 2am and brought to a hostel where we were served breakfast (reeeaaallly basic – banana and a slice of bread!!). At this stage, we wondered what was wrong with us that we wanted to get up this early!, but we had heard that the sunrises were incredible and it lived up to every expectation!! We were given head torches for climbing up the mountain in the dark – everyone was split into groups and so it was pretty handy getting up. This excursion put the cherry on the top for this holiday for me – do not go to Bali without your running gear!
Here are photos of Ubud below: