Perhaps we got twitchy fingers, or legs, in that we wanted to explore a little more than Brisbane and it’s surrounding area’s. So recently, we booked up a weeks ‘retreat’ to Bali, and we did not regret it one bit. Slightly hesitant given some of the press it get’s due to it’s ‘party’ name it has accrued, but it’s easy enough to steer clear of this if it is not what you are interested in – and that we did; our rewards were some stunning sights and a real culture insight into their way of life.
We flew from Brisbane in the early hours of Friday 2nd June. Upon arrival and successful check-in and security checks, we grabbed the standard overpriced airport breakfast and proceeded to board. The flight was six and a half hours. It was a very strange feeling to be going abroad to one of the closest sizeable countries (Indonesia) to you, but spending such a long amount of time getting there. From London you can fly to New York in the same amount of time!
Arriving at Ngurah Rai, more commonly known as Denpasar airport – despite being 13km South of the city of Denpasar, we were stunned at the size of the airport. The tourism industry must have funded such a building as it was quite a new one, and very nice one at that. We met with our transfer to our hotel, of whom was a very amicable guy, as was his driver. On the way to our hotel he told us plenty we didn’t know and asked us plenty about what we did know, all during the time we were spent gazing out the window at the thousands of moped’s swerving in and out of moving vehicles, with our ears perked from the constant bibbing and tooting they are so accustomed to.
Our hotel, Maison at C Seminyak: Boutique Hotel, was a lovely little unique and warming hotel just a 5-10 min walk from the beach (of which we didn’t find out until our second to last day, we walked the long way around for the best part of 30mins). The staff were lovely and the hotel was far from oversized, so it didn’t take long to feel at home there.
Now, onto the fun stuff, namely, the weather, the pricing and the sightseeing! Weather wise – you only really get 2 seasons in the majority of Indonesia, but definitely in Bali. Their names? Dry season and wet season. Luckily for us we visited in dry season, and with a taste of a mornings downpour on our last day – we were very grateful we had 6 days of sun and relief from the sun via the clouding. When it rains, it pours; as they say. Price wise Bali is CHEAP. But a few top tips, bring your own alcohol from duty free! Alcohol is taxed at 400% and unless you are purchasing local produce such as Bintang beer, you are looking at over $12 for a glass of wine, the same for a cocktail and near-on $10 for some spirits. Bintang was just $2-$3 a bottle. Now FOOD, some of the food we had was some of the best we have had, and some of it was without a doubt the cheapest we have had. A standard meal was probably no more than $6, some even cheaper – but of course if you stretch to the most popular and ‘nicest’ places, you’ll be pushing the amount vertically a fair shade. La Lucciola, Seminyak, was the nicest Italian we have ever had, which took us both by surprise, given we have both visited Italy (and I have Italian in-laws, sorry guys!) The Tiramisu there was to die for, we had to both bite our tongues not to re-order a second dessert each!
Now onto the sight seeing.
Day 1 & 2) The former, we drafted in as a relax day after the long flight, so after checking in we explored very locally and got ourselves settled in. The latter, day two, we ventured out a little further into Seminyak, and spent some time sunbathing and reading by the pool (the hard life, hey!)
Day 3) Our first tour, with Buffalo Tours, we met up at 8am with our tour guide and driver, of whom were the same guys who picked us up from the airport! We experienced Balinese dancing (a 45 min show) in the morning, fabric and jewellery making, coffee & tea tastings at the plantation and a temple visit in Ubud. On the way back stopping for a spot of lunch with a beautiful view of the forest. The tour was very well executed, no one portion of driving was too long and you can chat along the way (Wi-Fi if you fancy it). Every 20/30mins or so you were popping out of the car to check out a market, see some craft making or for coffee tasting etc.
Day 4 & 5) Day four, again, was planned to be a relaxing one, a lovely meal out, market shopping, sun etc. Day five was our second day tour, this time with a different company (Made Dodi) but it was just as amazing. Again leaving early in the morning we proceeded on our tour, skipping the first activity of which was the local dance, we went straight onto the Taman Ayun Royal Temple. A beautifully clean and very tranquil temple, having skipped the dance we were ahead of the ‘crowd’ of whom may be taking the same tour/route as us, we were one of the only people visiting it, which is always pleasant!
Our next stops after the first temple;
||Lake Bratan Temple
||The Biggest rice field in Bali
||Bali Butterfly Park
|| Tanah Lot Temple
|This was going to be Seafood Dinner
||at Tanah Lot. But we decided to beat the crowd
||back as it got VERY busy at sunset time.
The total cost for this trip was 700k, no not dollars, just 70 of those! Yes $70 total for the entire day – add our entrance fees and spending money.
Day 6) Our last, sob sob, we were awoken to a downpour of rain, so our plans of sunbathing our last day away were scuppered – so we went for a massage, 2hr each in total at the grand cost of $20 each. For you English people, that’s about £12-13 for 2 hours of treatment. Felt like daylight robbery in comparison to the price we are used to!
All in all, Bali is well worth a trip – avoid Kuta if you want to avoid the party central with a lot more traffic and full on antics, fill your days with relaxing circulating with day tours and you will not be disappointed, the value for money is immense if you keep your wits about you. Asking regular visitors to Bali and reading reviews online will help you keep your intended trip cheaper and safer.
Thank you as ever for reading, and the blog will be a hell of a lot more active in a month or two, once we jump in Mimi, our trusty camper, and hit the road North – we will have plenty of pictures, info and stories to tell you all! But for now, please enjoy our pictures of beautiful Bali!