Bali is an amazing country, the landscape is beautiful and the people are just wonderful! People have always told me that the bali smile is contagious and its true! even on those days when all I wanted was to not be annoyed or pulled into a small store, the second someone smiles it spreads and makes even the most tiresome days bare able. This trip was a whirlwind for me and the girls I travelled with, I only decided a month before I boarded the plane that I was going to go.
With only 10 days (well 9 1/2 if you take into account the travel time and time waiting around at the airport) to fit in as much as possible and from the second I left the terminal to the time I boarded my flight home it was full of adventure.
So here is some of my favourite places to stay, activities to do and places to see.
Now I have always been the kind of person who has believed that it doesn’t really matter where you stay because all you are doing is sleeping there, as long as it is safe and secure I don’t normally mind.
But when traveling with others it is sometimes hard to come to an agreement on accommodation so for once I actually stayed somewhere that was out of the norm, somewhere that was quite tranquil and serene.
For the first few nights of my Bali trip we stayed in a quaint little boutique hotel tucked away in a tiny street in Seminyak, Casa Artista. Now this isn’t your normal everyday hotel, there are only 12 rooms which is just lovely. You really get to know the staff and its not horrendously busy around the pool. Every morning you get a fresh and delicious breakfast on your balcony, or if you had the room my two friends did, on the roof top terrace. The building itself was beautiful, almost like they had transported a part of the French quarter from New Orleans, very colonial. The one twist with the hotel you ask…well it is tango themed. You can even take part in lessons and Tango night! The best part about this hotel is that it was walking distance to the main street and all the interesting little stores and amazing food. And they had a cute dog!
For the last few days of the trip we stayed in Legian at the Swiss belinn, a modern alternative with roof top bar and pool, gym and restaurant. It was on the opposite side of the scale to Casa Artista, there were 123 rooms and the pool was always busy but hey its got a great view over the beach and looks amazing at night time. The staff were friendly and it was in a great location, surrounded by little markets and close to everything.
As a traveler I am never one to sit around all day by the pool with a good book. I say if you spend all that money to go somewhere you might as well experience their way of life and also be a little adventurous! So on the second day of the Bali adventure we got up bright and early for a 26km bike ride with amazing views of Mount Batur (an active volcano) and then making our way through Balinese villages and amazingly beautiful temples and green rice fields. During our ride we stopped in and visited our tour guides relatives who showed us around their family compound. It was amazing to see all how they lived and I couldn’t help but wonder if I could hack it. Our tour guides were extremely informative and funny, even though they thought it would be hilarious to take four girls to the spider farm! It was an awesome experience and I would recommend it for everyone no matter what your fitness level as our group was varied and we made it with only one casualty (that would be me, falling into a rice patty)
As the adrenaline junky that I am I could not turn down a chance to go white water rafting! So off we went after a beautiful lunch at the Elephant Park to the Ayung River with ‘Bali Adventure Tours’ with 600 steps down to the river with amazing views and 300 back up to street level, but don’t let that turn you away! The river is surrounded by waterfalls, amazing rainforest and if you are lucky a few friendly monkeys. The rapids were fun and for once I didn’t freeze while rafting, we stopped a few time along the river to play under the waterfalls and ‘jump’ into the water to cool down. The afternoon was incredible full of squealing and trying to overtake the other boat full of Aussies!
Stop and Relax…
For the days where you feel tired and need some time to stop and let yourself unwind I would recommend a little spot of Yoga, and what better place to go then ‘The Power Of Now Oasis’ in Sanur. Britt has been to Bali before and when she came back after her month long stint in the beautiful country she raved about the beautiful bamboo treehouse on the beach, how it was so incredibly relaxing and they even had a sacred cow (Angeligue).
“The Power of Now Oasis is a beautiful purpose-built holistic centre, located in peaceful Sanur, right on one of Bali’s best beaches.
Our shrine is the ocean. A rich and very active local community surround the studio, with a large temple and local market close by. The water of the coral lagoon, together with the white sand beach, coconut palms and gental sea breeze make this a truly special part of Bali. Set in a tranquil garden among beautiful shady trees, our eco friendly centre provides a welcoming space for practice, relaxation, rejuvenation, conversation and fun”
The staff were amazing and as a person who for all accounts wants to do yoga but is so horribly unflexable that they cant actually do yoga properly, they took great care in showing me how to practice properly without harming myself. With the huge open space and tranquil setting you cant help but feel relaxed and peaceful. I know I cant wait to go back!
After all that mindfulness we wanted to be with nature so off we went to the beach for a relaxing paddle board around the coral lagoon, keeping our eyes peeled for any turtles.
Bali is famous for its night life, markets and adventure sports but behind all of that glitz and glamour is a third world country. People are living on almost nothing and children are struggling to survive in some cases, even taken from their families. Before the trip was decided on we began fundraising and collecting donations for the ‘Jodie O Shea Orphanage’ where Britt lived and volunteered for a month last year, with 88 children. The Orphanage was built in memory of Jodie O Shea who tragically died as a result of the 2002 Bali Bombings, they are not funded by the government and rely 100% on the public and donations. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when we arrived, after an hour of shopping for some much needed groceries and supplies. But I was amazed! Everyone was so happy and full of life, we spent an amazing afternoon talking to the children and playing with them. One of the visitors that day had brought in a few buckets of sidewalk chalk and after realising that you can wear them down into powder and all out chalk fight was started…88 against 3, we lost badly. It was such a humbling and life changing experience, I was glad that Britt got to go back and visit the kids especially because she has kept in contact with them over the year and it was great to finally put faces to the names. Next time I am determined to go back and spend quite a few days with them. If you are planning a trip to bali and want to help out and visit the kids get in contact with them, it really does make them happy to see new people and play with you.
Now its not just the people who suffer in Bali the animals do as well, I cant help but be horrified at the amount of stray animals I saw throughout the cities as well as all the turtle nests that were crushed on the beaches. So we made a stop in at the Turtle Conservation and Education centre in Denpasar, it was a huge eye opener but extremely worth the trip. We spent a good hour wandering around the pools learning about the turtles and even playing with some of the babies AND hand feeding the larger ones. It was amazing, if you are heading to Bali during late June and into July I highly recommend heading over to the lovely people at the centre because they will be releasing the hatched turtles back into the wild and are always looking for some help and it would be an once in a life time experience. I wish that I could be there for it.
Keep your eyes peeled for more on our Bali adventure.
What would you like to see if you were going to bali?