It’s time for Indonesia! YAY, finally our money will stretch a little further!!
We spent three weeks in Bali staying in Nusa Dua, Seminyak, Gili Trawangan, Ubud and Canggu. Both Zoe and I have our boyfriends in Bali with us for around 2 weeks. Over 3 months apart from Ryan wasn’t easy and I missed him so much so I was BEYOND excited for him to join!
We mainly travelled around Bali as a foursome but splitting up at a few points. Some of you may not class this part of our travelling as ‘backpacking’ and to be honest, I wouldn’t either! We’re staying in air bnb’s and hotels as we move around Bali but as the boys are staying with us we couldn’t force them into hostels— it’s their holidays after all! Thankfully, accommodation in Bali is very cheap and extremely good value for money so our air bnb’s didn’t cost much more than a hostel would have— the hotels were more expensive but still very good value for money!
Zoe and I flew into Bali first and spent 5 nights in Nusa Dua before the boys arrived. It was Zoe’s birthday whilst we were here and Zoe’s mum Alison kindly paid for us to stay in a very luxurious hotel here, the Sahara Boutique Hotel.
We woke up on our first day to a sit down breakfast which included a fruit starter, bakery basket and followed by a very tasty main off the breakfast menu— it was not what we’d been used to and it was fantastic!
The pool area was so nice and relaxing with a Balinese décor that made you feel like you were in the height of tranquil luxury!
We made the most of this opportunity and spent every day lazing around the pool and making the most of the happy hour (four hours long)… it was about £2.50 for two cocktails!
On Zoes birthday we had a lovely spa day at the hotel which included 3 hours of massages, facials and foot reflexology.. so relaxing and you can get so much more for your money here. After more relaxing by the pool we went to the Arwana Restaurant at The Laguna Resort in Nusa Dua where we had the most amazing food!
Although we didn’t get up to much apart from relaxing in Nusa Dua we had a great time and to be honest after 3 months of travelling we were well over due some down time!
We then moved on to Seminyak which is probably one of the most popular area amongst tourists. The reason being is that there’s an abundance of delicious restaurants, luxury accommodation, bars and shops plus its right on the doorstep to a big beautiful beach which hosts some of the most stunning sunsets.
Zoe and I only spent a night here before the boys arrived and then it was the big reunion!!
Ryans flight arrived into Bali mid afternoon which meant that I had an anxious morning that dragged waiting for him to arrive. To add to this my taxi arrived 45 minutes late which meant I was driving to the airport after Ryan had landed and with the unpredictable traffic In Bali I was so worried I wouldn’t be there to greet him. Me having a little drama queen moment, we got there and waited over an hour as Ryans immigration queue was crazy long! When he eventually got through we were both so excited to see each other again, it was amazing!
We spent a couple of days relaxing on the beach, sipping on some Bali hai and Bintang beers (local Indonesian beers). The beaches were a great place to watch the world go by, there are sun beds you can rent for a reasonable price and you’re set up for the day. On the beach there’s plenty of places you can eat and drink and also get a cheap massage if you wish. Beware, there are a lot of locals selling all sorts of things of the beach and there’s not ten minutes that goes by without being asked if you’d wish to buy something. The sea isn’t one for swimming but more surfing as the waves can be so big… like HUGE! We still loved it here though.
The best thing about the beach at Seminyak is that there’s places such as La Plancha which sets up bright, colourful beanbags and umbrellas in the perfect spots to watch the sunset… and the sunsets here are stunning. As the sun sets it reflects in the stagnant water that’s lying on the beach and it looks amazing— I’m definitely going to miss this!
In Seminyak there’s some great beach clubs such as Potato Head, Mrs Sippy and Finns Beach Club— we made it to the first two. They’re relaxing places where you can enjoy the day in the sun and pool with amazing food and drinks.
We went to Potato Head only for drinks, just before sunset. They have some really great cocktails and as its located right on the beach you can take in all of the beautiful Seminyak coastline. If you’d like to spend the full day you’re advised to turn up at 9am to ensure you get a bed.
Mrs Sippy is known for its diving board and we’d been told before arriving to Bali that we simply HAD to go! The four of us spent the day here and it was great. Ryan and I jumped off the high dive board together which was a lot of fun… a little scary but still so much fun!
We spent our evenings enjoying cocktails at local bars and eating at some of the nicest restaurants— all for pretty cheap! Bali is a great place and great value for money… of course you have to pay for the flights to get here first!
Following our time at Seminyak we headed on a ferry from Padang Bay to Gili Trawangan. The Gili islands are a group of three very small islands— Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air— just off the coast of Lombok and about an hour and a half on a fast boat from Bali. The islands are known for their white sandy beaches, beautiful blue waters which are filled with lots of coral and so many giant turtles!
We stayed at Kuno Villas which is located on the east side of the island, suitably away from the busy and not as nice area of the island but still with a good number of bars and restaurants to keep you satisfied— although if you wanted to dine at the busier side it was only a 15 minute cycle away.
Our hotel was beautiful and the staff were so welcoming and friendly, I’d recommend Kuno Villas to anyone! We had a stunning bedroom with an open air bathroom— all decorated with indonesian features, I loved it!
When we arrived into Gili Trawangan you and your suitcases are loaded off the ferry and directly onto the beach where you’re greeted by locals shouting if you’d like a taxi. We soon discovered that we wouldn’t be able to drag our suitcases to our hotel and did need one— however it wasn’t a taxi as you’d expect. The Gili islands don’t have any cars or motorbikes and we were transported from the ferry to our hotel by horse and cart— it was certainly an experience!!
On our first day in Gili Trawangan, Ryan and I got up reasonably early and headed on a bike ride on a loop of the full island— it took us about an hour with a few stops on the way. It can be hard to cycle here as you’re cycling on sand and a lot of the time the sand can get deep which makes it very difficult, I fell off my bike a number of times, much to Ryan’s amusement!
We soon noticed when we were cycling the amount of construction going on, especially around the side of the island that we were staying. In August 2018 Lombok and the Gili Islands were struck by a number of destructive and devastating earthquakes which completely destroyed some of the buildings on the islands. The locals were working day and night on the building sites with an aim for completion of September this year— we couldn’t believe how much progress they made just in the time that we were staying there, certainly a lot quicker than buildings in England!
The Gili Islands are known for the amount of turtles they have swimming close to the beaches and at Turtle Point. We spent a day on a snorkelling trip around the best areas to see turtles, fish, coral and of course the underwater sculpture.
It was great, we saw so many turtles and we were able to get so close to them— they were huge too! Definitely one of the best things I’ve done on my travels so far. The underwater sculpture was so cool too and it was great to dive down and see the sculpture up close. I got some really good videos which are posted on my instagram. I’ll put some screenshots below!
We had a great time visiting the Gili Islands and it was very relaxing and beautiful. The sunsets here were also stunning! If you visit Bali I would certainly recommend at least a few nights here!
We returned by ferry to Bali and travelled to Ubud where Ryan and I were staying at Amora Villas which is located high up in the Campuhan Hills which overlooks a stunning valley filled with palm trees and wildlife. Here is a few pictures of our villa.
As I previously said, our hotel was located in the most picturesque valley which was surrounded by rice paddy fields. Only a short walk away was the Campuhan ridge walk which has stunning views of the surrounding valley, we enjoyed this walk just before sunset and when the light reflected on the greenery which gave it a purely stunning view. It’s as reasonably easy walk but in the sunshine you definitely get a sweat on!
On our first day at the hotel we wanted to make the most of our accommodation and surroundings. We spent the day relaxing by our private plunge pool and enjoyed an hour long full body massage in the spa which was overlooking the valley— the perfect scenery!
The following day we booked a driver to take us around a few of the best sights of Ubud. First we visited the Tegalalang Rice Terraces. These rice terraces are famous for the lush green terraced rice fields that create beautiful scenery— its quite a hot hike getting around here though! They grow three types of rice here, white, brown and red and harvest the rice around three times a year— it’s a family owned farm and you’re asked to donate to the family as you walk around the terraces.
Next we visited the Pulina coffee plantation where we were shown the process of making the famous Kopi Luwak coffee— it is produced from the coffee beans which has been digested by the civet cat, the coffee translates as cat poop coffee— I wasn’t the biggest fan of it! We also sampled teas and Balinese coffee which is produced here. This coffee plantation has some great views looking over rice paddy fields and some extremely luxurious hotels which were across the valley.
We then visited the Pura Tirta Empul which is a Hindu Balinese water temple. It’s famous for its holy water and there is a bathing water section where you can splash yourself with the holy water and pray. The day we visited was a celebration day and there was a snaking queue of over an hour to wait to do this but it was fascinating to see.
Next we drove to the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary. The locals view the monkey forest as an important spiritual conservation area and there are around 700 monkeys living here amongst over 180 species of trees. The monkeys run around you as you walk through the forest and are known for stealing things out of your bag so we watched them from a distance. They’re super cute and so funny to watch as they swing between branches and run around with their sweet potato!
Our final stop for the day was to the Bali Swings… we were excited to go here as the pictures I’d seen of the swings over the valley looked so cool however it was a tad disappointing when we arrived. When we got on the swings it was fun and the views were great, although Ryan was terrified because he’d afraid of heights! However, the queues for some of the different swings and hanging nests were long and you had to wait a long time for people to get 100 photos each time— it was a little frustrating and I didn’t have the patience to wait! Bear this in mind if you wish to visit.
We had a fantastic time in Ubud, the area has so much to do and our hotel was everything we could have asked for. Ubud was probably one of my favourite areas to visit in Bali.
Our final destination in Bali was Canggu. We hired an Air BnB here which was ok, but thankfully cheap. It was located near many restaurants which was handy and not too far to the beach.
The beach here is a surfers paradise and when we visited for sunset there was around 100 people surfing here, maybe too overcrowded, I don’t know?
We didn’t get up to much else here as Ryan had a touch of Bali belly before he was off back on a flight to Newcastle.
Canggu seems popular amongst Aussies who live in Bali and there were a lot of surfers here— it was cool but I prefer Seminyak which is only 20 mins away from here.
Overall we had an AMAZING time in Bali and loved everything that we did here. It was great to travel around and see all the different aspects that Bali has to offer. It was also the best time ever because I got to spend a whole two weeks with Ryan and I loved exploring things with him. I miss him already but I’m going to enjoy the remaining 8 weeks I have left of travelling!
I’m now on to the next one: The Philippines!
Thanks for reading!