Travel: My Week In Bali

Hi everyone,

Last week, I found myself on a plane headed to Bali, Indonesia.

Funnily enough, this isn’t an unusual place to visit – it’s a very popular holiday destination for many Western Australians due to its location (3.5 hour flight), beaches, cheap food, shopping, accommodation and more. Bali practically caters to all walks of life; singles, couples, families, friends, retirees… you name it, there’s something for everyone.

Even me.

Now, I’m not the biggest traveler. Never have been, and I doubt I never will be. Sure, there are some places that I’d love to go and see one day, but I’ve never had the ‘millennial travel bug’. I’m quite happy to have a Staycation and chill at home. But life works in mysterious ways and I ended up in Bali.

Accommodation

There are lots of awesome places to stay in Bali, but this time around, I stayed in Seminyak. In a villa complex with a private pool. And an outside bathroom. I was very impressed, as I’d never had outdoor facilities before. It was pretty luxurious. And I completely forgot to take a photo (sorry about that!) I’m terrible with taking photos. But I did manage to take a photo of the street we stayed in:

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Our villa laneway (the blue chair is where our security guard sat to make sure on one broke in).

I liked the fact that we were secluded from the hustle and bustle of the busy streets – it was like a little piece of paradise amongst all the chaos (I’ll get to that later). The only downside was that we had to walk a little bit to get to the main drag, and it was extremely warm during the day.

Speaking of the weather – it was HOT! And humid. I normally fair relatively well in warmer weather, but there were times where it really overwhelmed me… to the point that I started to get headaches. Even during the night it stayed quite warm, so there was barely any reprieve.

Not fun.

But there were some places where it almost felt like home.

Uluwatu Temple

Perched high on a cliff, this temple was by far the coolest place I visited (temperature wise) and the highlight of my trip.

I made the mistake of wearing shorts, so I had to wear a purple sarong and yellow sash to cover up. Modesty is a virtue here, so if you don’t want to wear synthetics, make sure you wear long pants or a maxi dress/skirt.

The tour guide escorted a bunch of us around the grounds and explained the origins of the Hindu temple. It was really beautiful and definitely worth the visit. You can find out more about this temple here.

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One of the many views from the temple.

Interestingly, most of the walls had wire spikes installed. I found out later that  it was because tourists kept attempting to take dangerous photos. It was a bit distressing to learn that some people had fallen to their deaths, all in the pursuit of the perfect photo…

Speaking of photos, did I mention that this place is renowned for monkeys? Yup. These cheeky little animals live in and around the temple, and are famous for taking people’s belongings! I saw a couple of hats and an empty wallet while walking around and held onto my bag and sunnies pretty tightly – there was no way that I’d let a monkey get the better of me.

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Yup, the monkey is eating plastic. No doubt stolen from a passerby.

All I can say is that if you do plan to visit, make sure you keep your valuables safe. These rascals aren’t afraid of humans and will take anything unsecured.

Sundays Beach Club, Uluwatu

If you love exclusivity and the beach, then this is the place for you. Entry to the beach club was a bit steep – I’d never heard of a cover charge just to eat and swim – at $45 AUD per person, but you do get a $20 AUD food voucher which isn’t too bad.

There’s a cable car which takes you down from the cliffs to the beach club and I must say… this was a first for me.

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I’m the worst photographer, but here’s the view heading down to the beach.

I must say, I quite enjoyed the ride, as it was something a bit different. And so were the people.

The majority of patrons were European. And their bodies? Well, I felt pretty insecure when I saw how ripped everyone was. I feel like this was the type of place that you’d go if you were a bikini model. Lol.

The beach was nice – there were people swimming, paddle-boarding and snorkeling. There are plenty of places to sun-bake and just chill. And then there was me. Sitting under the bamboo cabana trying not to burn in the heat and humidity. I’m not a big fan of swimming, so this was my view:

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Bad photography strikes again – I took this one on Snapchat! @liseeyh

The food was pretty good too. And decently priced for high-end dishes. The standout dish for me was the crispy chicken wings with ranch dressing. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! As long as I’ve got a full stomach, I’m happy. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to stay for the bonfire (yes, they have one at 5pm everyday on the beach) but moved onto another spectacular place which I really want to go to again.

Rock Bar, Jimbaran

The Rock Bar is situated on the edge of Ayana hotel. This place looked like a palace, with an infinity pool included. Just with alot of people, namely Asian tourists. It’s like a selfie mecca with all the different backdrops throughout the resort.

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A photo during dusk. I’ve got to get a better camera.

Rock Bar is right on the edge of yet another cliff, with spectacular views of the ocean, and the shores of the island. If you love sunsets, then this is the place for you. Imagine sipping on a cosmo, overlooking the sea as the sun goes down. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to my table in time, but I did snap this shot from the queue:

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If only the line wasn’t so long…

Once the sun set, there was a mass exodus leaving Rock Bar, so table availability was freed up pretty quickly. I can’t even begin to describe how awesome this place is – there are so many different areas to explore and I felt like I was on an adventure. My favourite part of Rock Bar was a stairway which wound its way through a rocky cliff. I would love to go back and see this place during the day, honestly, it’s a must if you ever visit Bali.

Shopping

If there’s one thing I know how to do, it’s shopping. More specifically, finding a bargain. Bali has tons of amazing stores and markets where you can buy high-end knock offs for cheap. Seminyak is considered one of the more stylish areas part of Bali, so naturally I was curious to see if there was anything worth buying.

I hate to say it, but there wasn’t.

I walked into this one shop and was astonished to find that the dress in the window was around $95 AUD. I did brush it off, thinking that I wondered into a fancy boutique, but every single shop that had glass windows and aircon seem to be the same. The variety and quality wasn’t that great either. Same goes for the jewelry shops. There was no way I was going to spend $20 AUD on a copper ring.

Seriously, it wasn’t any cheaper than shopping in Perth.

No thanks.

The markets, on the other hand, were a different story. There was the option of bartering and I bought a pair of Gucci sunnies for $9 AUD and a fan for $2 AUD. Score! I’ll admit, it’s a bit scary haggling with a stranger, but you get used to it after a while. The only problem is that most of the market stalls were flogging the same merchandise, so it did get tiring after a while looking at the same stuff. There was barely anything that I really wanted to buy.

Needless to say, I didn’t do much shopping at all.

Food

I have a sensitive stomach, so I was extremely apprehensive about eating in Bali. I even spoke with my GP about ways to avoid the dreaded Bali Belly. Fortunately, the places that I went to were more along the lines of fine dining, and I barely found myself unwell. I did have the occasional funny stomach, but it subsided after a couple of hours with a little bit of R&R.

There are so many places to eat in Seminyak – I was truly spoilt for choice. Here are just some of the amazing dishes that I had:

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Dinner at La Lucciola, Seminyak. Roast chicken stuffed with mascarpone, polenta mash, wilted greens and cherry tomatoes.
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Dinner at U Look Hot In A Bikini, Seminyak. Pork loin with jus, apple chutney and Asian greens.
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Lunch at W Hotel (Fire Resturant), Seminyak. Char kway teow with prawns.
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Lunch at Zula, Seminyak. Buckwheat crepe with coconut whip, dragonfruit, strawberries and cacao syrup.

Seminyak is literally a food playground – and not as expensive as you think. Unfortunately, the only downside about eating at good quality resturants is the government and service taxes. They can add more than 15% to each meal, so be sure to read the fine print at the bottom of the menus and budget accordingly.

Overall Thoughts

I enjoyed my trip to Bali. It’s a nice place to visit for a holiday… once you get over the humidity! But I can see why so many people are attracted to this island. It’s relatively cheap compared to some other south eastern countries and the Balinese are very friendly people.

I’d visit again… maybe in a couple of years time. For now, it’s back to the daily grind for me!

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