Bali, Bali, Bali…where do I begin?
It has been six years since I last visited Bali, and a lot has changed!
I am backtracking here a little… but last June, 2016, I organised a surprise trip to Bali for my boyfriends 30th – I know, lucky him – but I have never gotten round to sitting down and having time to write about it!
☀️ Danny and I both love keeping busy when we go away; I especially cannot sit on a beach for too long when I know there is so much to do and see! So I made sure we made the most of our short stay there 🐬
Bali in 10 days
However, all drinks and food bought at the hotel were taxed and service taxed an extra 20% on top of your bill, and it was not worth it. We left the table hungry!
Life’s a beach 🌴☀️🐚
We spend the majority of the first day venturing around Seminyak Square and lazing by the beach. Seminyak is as you would expect, beautiful and busy! We chilled out on some comfy bean bags outside one of Seminyaks many beach bars and sipped on our Bintang’s and fresh watermelon juice all afternoon!
Seminyak Breakdown.. all in $AUD
Prices: Everywhere you go differs, but generally for a large Bintang you are looking at $4, regular $3 and for juices $3, soft drinks $1.50 , cocktails $5, large water $2 and spirits $3 ! Pretty good ey?
Food: So being in Indonesia you HAVE to try some local cuisine, it’s delish! Indonesian food ranged from around $3 a meal. For western food it ranged from around $5-10.
Retail: Seminyak square is not short of boutiques and they are STUNNING! Only, the prices were no different from Australian / English prices ! Markets were cheaper and you could barter them down, but I think they must be used to people just paying the asking prices because they didn’t budge much! Also, in Seminyak, a market was hard to come by!
Temple Trotting Bali Day #2
By the end of our first day we were ready to see more of the beautiful Balinese culture, so decided to book a couple tours to keep us busy! The company we went through was Bali Trip Advisor and our driver was called, Trisna! Such a sweetheart!
There are so many tour companies and options for you to choose from- some cheaper than others! You can rent a private car with an English speaking driver for $5 an hour, however, this does not include food, entry fees to temples etc. So we decided to make things a little bit easier for ourselves, and spend a little bit more to get a package deal!
For our first day of touring we spent $130 between us (AUD) and spent an afternoon visiting two beautiful temples, the ubud monkey forest and enjoyed a sunset meal. This package deal included a private car and brilliant English speaking driver (Trisna). *+628123683387-contact number* Our driver was really flexible on how long we wanted to spend in one place; he was happy to stop as often as we liked to take pictures, he even drove us around just to find a commonwealth bank! Bless his soul! I thought that was a pretty good deal?!
Temple #1 ‘The Royal Taman Ayun’ ⭐️
Monkey Forest – Ubud.
🙊🙈 I just fell in love with the cheeky monkeys here, and it was lovely to see them free and happy in their own habitat. After spending time with the monkeys you are able to buy hand crafted art and goods from the locals.
The last temple we went to was Tanah Lot Temple, ready to watch the amazing sunset. I was mind blown at how unbelievably beautiful the temple was, especially as the sun set perfectly behind it. The tide was out when we went, but apparently when surrounded by water it’s as if the temple is floating! 🙌🏻 We spent a lot of time there watching the sun set and soaking in the beauty before walking to a nearby restaurant where we were served a traditional three course Indonesian meal. We were stuffed! 🐷
Bali Day #3
With pretty high expectations for today, we jumped in our private taxi and travelled over to the other side of Bali, to Tanjung Benoa, where we were in for a day of snorkelling and turtle spotting!
On arrival we were sat down and were devastated to hear that the ocean was too rough and the tour would not let us go into the sea due to the danger. So we hung around for two hours not being told what was happening! FINALLY another tour company allowed us on to their boat, but I was a little anxious as the waves were huge!
We sped off to turtle island conservation and met the most beautiful family of turtles and fed them. I’m not usually keen on seeing animals out of their natural habitat, but they were very well looked after! Having said that, there were two caged monkeys, which broke my heart! After seeing the happy, free monkeys the day before, I hated seeing these beautiful monkeys locked away. So we fed them and gave them as much attention as we could!
After that we were supposed to snorkel, but the sea was so murky and dangerous we had to give it a miss. Such a shame and we had to pay the full amount ( watch out for that)!
Following a light Indonesian lunch, we headed to Padang Padang beach and wow! You will not be disappointed! It was stunning! A little cove with white sands and crystal waters! Because we didn’t snorkel we had a few hours to relax there and take plenty pictures before moving on! 😍 ☀️ Being midday, the sun was blazing, so I took up the opportunity to top up my tan and soak in the goodness 😊 🐚
Shortly after this we spent the evening wandering around Uluwatu temple, which stands 70 meters above sea level. It is one of the most famous temples in Bali and you can see why! It is absolutely breathtaking! You can spend endless time walking around the paths surrounding the temple and pick your favourite spot to watch the sunset. Wild monkeys roamed the walls, waiting for their opportunity to get their hands on your belongings! Some sunglasses here, a shoe there…KEEP EVERYTHING AWAY! 🙈 😆 ⭐️
* Not a bad spot for yoga! *
We watched as the sun set behind Uluwatu; the sky changed into beautiful arrays of colours and you could hear the waves below, it was perfect. 🌏
Finally, after another amazing day, we settled on the beach front for a sea food dinner! If you are big on sea food you would be in your element, but I gave most of mine to my boyfriend and filled myself up on the rice haha!
Day 2 cost $180 and over all we were really happy with it, other than forking out for the snorkelling that we didn’t do! But we let that one slip! 👣⭐️🐢
Bali Day #4
Today we spent approximately $160 for the day. We spent the whole morning at ‘Tegenungan Water Fall’, this is where we wished we had a drone, because the whole surrounding area is stunning! Following this we drove up to ‘Kintamani Volcano’, in Mount Batur, for a buffet lunch overlooking the volcano. You cannot get much better than that for a view!
Completely noodled out, we finally made our way to the rice fields in Ubud. By now it was scorching hot and busy, but it still didn’t differ us from the beautiful scenery. We watched as the local Balinese people worked in the boiling fields, collecting rice. You can enjoy a coffee overlooking the fields too, but we decided against it as I was melting! Totally worth the visit though, its something you have to see!
Our day came to an end with a short visit to ‘Tirta Empul Holy Water Temple’, where you can pay a small amount to cleanse yourself within the ‘Holy Water’, which was pretty fun…you cant not!
With our busy day over, our driver agreed to take us to Ubud where we had booked to stay the night in a gorgeous room with a private pool. I cannot for the life of me remember the cost or name of the place we stayed, unfortunately, but it was just what we needed after three days of fun-filled activities.
After a relaxing day, the day before, we managed to bag ourself a great deal for getting ourselves to The Gili Islands. For $100AUD we were picked up in a mini bus from our hotel in Ubud, dropped off at our boat in Padang bai and sped off to Gili Air for an amazing 4 night stay. This price also included the return speed boat AND airport drop off.*it took a while to find this deal and its hard to come by as other companies ask for double that amount!! Ours was with ganggari fast boat *
The Gili Islands are situated about one hour and a half from Padang Bai by fast boat and are neighboured next to Lombok Island. There are three Gili Islands; Gili Trawangan – aka party island, Gili Meno – Couples retriet, and Gili Air – the middle man.
We arrived at Gili Air at approximately 11am, so had the full day ahead of us. Firstly, we dropped off our bags at our beach hut and then quickly made the short two minute walk to the beach to test out the water. Oh my gosh…I had forgotten how crystal clear the waters were! That was it, the next couple of hours were spent right there. Having said that, it was where most of the next four days were spent.
What to do on the Island..
As mentioned earlier, Gili Air is known for being the ‘middle man’, not literally, but meaning it is the island that is not too ‘coupley’, nor too ‘party’. Its my favourite island, because it has the best of both.
Scuba Diving – The island is not short of places to book a ‘fun dive’ or even get your PADI certificate, which Danny really wanted to get here. But we were running out of money boohoo so we had to stick with good old snorkelling. I have heard that there are some amazing dive sites surrounding Lombok and the Gili Islands though.
Snorkelling – Again, there are so many places renting snorkel gear and dirt cheap from what I remember. Just make sure you ask where the best snorkel sites are because we did not see much at all, and we tried a few different places. We got this photo though… haha look how clear the water is! 😀
Paddle Boarding – This is something I have always been meaning to do but have never gotten round to doing it! There was one place mentioned to me that rented boards out at a decent price..I think we got half way to renting one out but ended up stopping in one of the bars along the way and spent the money on one too many cocktails instead! oops!
Each morning I was up at the crack of dawn to make it to the beach for sunrise! Its absolutely sensational. We would sit in the warm water on the beach and watch the sun rise from start to finish, not one other person in sight but the early morning fishermen or dive masters in their boats, visible in the distance. The colours changed so beautifully in the sky… no one can say they do not like a sunrise!
The sunset was equally as beautiful. Each night we would get comfy at one of the beach bars and watch the sun set as we sipped on many more cocktails and beers. It never gets boring! The locals who worked at the bars were so friendly and would make every effort to sit with, and learn about us both. It was so endearing.
The island is so small, so one of the afternoons we decided to walk the whole way round it. It took roughly 30 minutes to walk and being the lull before ‘peak season’ arrived (June), there were parts of the island so quiet and isolated that we felt as though we were the only ones on the beach.
6 days soon turned into 10 and it was time for us to get the speed boat back to Bali and catch our flight home back to Melbourne (not a bad deal really). We were so sad to leave this gorgeous place but have both said we will definitely be back soon!
Hope you enjoyed the read! 😀