Tuesday, 24 March 2015

When In Bali...

For any of you planning on travelling to Bali my advice would be to grab your passport and go! Despite the 14 hour flight, I can say without hesitation that I will certainly be heading back to Bali in the near future...that I know for sure. I have created this blog post for any of you who are planning on visiting and need some tips. I have also listed lots of recommendations of places to eat, stay etc so if you are at all interested keep on reading. I hope you find this post useful. If you don't like photos, I suggest you look away now. 



If you are heading to Bali, make your first stop Seminyak. From the main airport of Denpasar, you can get a short cab journey of around thirty minutes to the centre of Seminyak which will cost about 150,000 rupiah (approximately £7). Note, you will need to pay $25 for a visa to get out of the airport which you can do as soon as you get off the plane. So make sure you have some cash on you ready for this once you land. You also have to pay 250,000 rupiah in airport taxes to leave the country so make sure you put this to one side at the beginning to make sure you have it left over. 

Once in Seminyak, you will find a main strip which essentially has numerous bars, restaurants, shops and hotels and is a great starting point. Here, I stayed at Ananda Resort which for the money, I was incredibly impressed with. As there are so many things to do whilst in Bali having a luxury 5 star hotel was not essential for me. If anything it is just a place to rest your head but this resort was perfectly situated in the heart of Seminyak with the option to laze about at the pool should you wish. 

If you are an experienced driver I would suggest hiring a moped as this is probably the easiest and cheapest way to get around Seminyak. For a month, you can hire a moped for around $30 which is insanely cheap but this gives you an idea of just how cheap it is to do. As far as I am aware you can hire mopeds on a daily and weekly basis too. Taxis are still very cheap averaging at 50,000 rupiah per journey but most good taxis will run on a meter so do bare this in mind. If you plan on staying in central Seminyak most things are within walking distance or a short taxi ride away. 

If I could give just one recommendation of a place to visit in Seminyak this would undoubtedly be to go to Potato Head Beach Club for the day. Make sure you get there early (around 11am) to ensure you get a bed for the day. To secure a bed you do have to spend a minimum of 500,000 rupiah per person (approximately £25)  but this is easily done especially if you plan on staying for the whole day. Potato Head boasts an amazing menu of delicious food and cocktails that you will literally be spoilt for choice. I suggest trying the fresh lobster roll as well as a berry margarita or two. The idea of Potato Head Beach Club is to just soak up the sunshine and enjoy the views of the infinity pool which overlooks the ocean. We stayed until the evening and watched the sunset which was breath taking. The pictures really do not do it justice. It is safe to say that I have not seen a sunset as beautiful as the one here and it's definitely one I will remember in years to come. Potato Head is also a great evening out but drinks are a lot pricier than other places in Seminyak so do bare this in mind if you plan on going for just an evening out. 

Where to eat: If you fancy a health kick you have to try out Shelter Cafe (surfboard pictured below). The quinoa porridge was incredible as was the freshly made smoothies and the trio of dips. I cannot recommend this place enough and the vibe here is really cool. If you are an avid coffee lover like myself then a visit to The Coffee Library is a must. The iced coffee is insanely good and better than any other I have had in the UK (Starbucks eat your heart out). I would recommend the iced caramel latte and the iced mocha. The eggs benedict is also pretty good from here too as are the homemade cakes and croissants. Make sure you also check out Motel Mexicola for a Mexican feast and the best Margaritas you will probably try. This is also a pretty good night out and things can get a bit crazy here so it does have something for everyone. If like myself you fancy a bite to eat after a night out, check out Soho which is a 24 hour diner serving great after hour snacks. If you are feeling a carb overload, make sure you head to Hanks. I promise you that you will not try better pizza than from here. Pretty much every restaurant serves traditional Indonesian food but I wasn't the biggest fan of Nasi Goreng (fried rice or noodles with an egg on top). 

Nightlife: Now when it comes to nightlife in Seminyak the options are endless. This was something that I wasn't expecting either. A great way to get a feel for the different bars and music they offer is to bar hop. One of my favourite bars had to be La Favela. The outside space is amazing. You literally feel like you have stepped into a Jungle and the music is great. A good mix of R&B, hip hop and old school music. If you are feeling like partying hard, make sure you head to Jenja. I went here twice in the space of a few days. Once on a Saturday which was a great hip hop night and on a Wednesday which played great house music. So depending on your taste of music there is something for everyone. Cocktails at La Plancha watching the sunset on bean bags with multi coloured umbrellas is a perfect way to end the day. The vibe here is pretty relaxed but the food is amazing and the music is nice and chilled. 

Beach cover up - Topshop




The Gili Islands - Gili Trawangan


Bikini - Triangl*

Just of the north coast of Lombok is Gili Trawangan. Approximately a 2 hour ferry ride from a port just outside of Seminyak and you arrive to this ever so peaceful island. We booked our ferry tickets which included transfers at the resort we stayed at in Seminyak. A return in total cost 800,000 rupiah. I am not sure if you can get this cheaper elsewhere but we went through our resort for convenience. Be warned that upon arriving to the island, the only mode of transport is either a horse and cart or bicycle which was a slight shock to the system. 

The beaches here are beautiful and a visit to the Ombok Sunset sea swings are a must, even for a cheeky photo opportunity. The nightlife is pretty good on the island particularly Rudi's bar which gets especially busy on a Wednesday but in general bars don't tend to get busy until after 11pm. Whilst in Gili T you must visit the food market for some authentic Indonesian food. Words cannot express how amazing the food was and I was astounded by how cheap it was considering the size of the portions you got. Personally, I would recommend staying on the island for three nights. This way you will get a nice feel for Island life and leave feeling refreshed. If you are happy to hire a bike (this is much cheaper and more enjoyable than getting on a horse and cart) and not be in the heart of Gili T, Belukar resort is gorgeous and so peaceful. Make sure you cycle around the island. We found a secluded beach bar surrounded by swings and hammocks. Sipping on fresh coconut water and cocktails with your feet in the sand will literally make you feel like you are in heaven. 

Crochet top - Andi Bagus / Shorts - New Look / Sandals - Daniel Footwear / Hand harness - Astrid & Miyu


Daisy Swimsuit - Motel* / Neon Bikini - Tuesday Lane*/

One of the highlights of my holiday had to be staying at Villa Sahaja situated in Umalas which is a short distance outside of Seminyak. This villa was breathtakingly beautiful and like no other I have stayed in before. Boasting outside bathrooms and a gorgeous pool, I could not have asked for more. Being that further ten minutes out from the hustle and bustle of Seminyak meant this place felt so peaceful. If you plan on staying around Umalas make sure you visit Bondi Coffee and Pulp Art for a fresh wrap that will blow your socks off. You must also visit Nook which is a restaurant overlooking rice paddies. The eggs benedict here is to die for and the pressed juices will be like none other you have tried. I recommend going for the banana fresh juice. 


Ubud


Top - Missguided / Shorts - American Apparel / Sandals - Daniel Footwear* / Bag - Topshop /

A trip to Ubud  is a great way to take in the amazing culture that Bali has to offer. The rice paddies are literally breath taking and you will not experience anything like it, that much I can promise. We did a day trip, where a driver took us around to various different locations for the day which cost 250,000 rupiah each. Pretty reasonable if you ask me. If you plan to do this yourself I would recommend visiting the Goa Gajah Temple and the Monkey Forest. The markets I thought would be more impressive. There were a few good finds but most of it was touristy merchandise that I could live without. The one thing I did notice is that you can certainly barter and get yourself a good bargain should you wish. 


So there you have it, a very thorough insight into my time spent in Bali. It really is the most beautiful place and I cannot recommend visiting enough. If you have any more questions you can ask me in the comments or tweet me and I would be more than happy to help you out with your Bali adventures. I also tagged a lot of places I visited whilst in Bali on Instagram so make sure you check that out if you aren't already following me. You can find me @gemmatalbot. 





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