There is a unique excitement attached to exploring a new destination, and for me, Bali was an unchartered territory. I spent the weeks leading up to my visit quizzing friends who had been and trawling through review sites to ensure I was suitably prepared to make the most of my time.
Tourism in Bali is confined to the southern part of the island and within this region the key areas are relatively close together meaning that you can do quite a lot in a short space of time. I had 9 nights on Bali and split these equally by staying in 3 areas.
Our trip began with a stay at the Royal Purnama suites near Sanur which was chosen specifically to allow us to completely relax and unwind. The hotel was ocean fronted however not suitable for swimming due to the gargantuan waves. We spent the couple of days in our balcony hot tub, lay on the ocean front loungers watching the waves roll in or indulging in treatments at the spa. The food at the hotel was exceptional both at breakfast and Dinner. For those who wish to explore, there are shuttles from the hotel to nearby Ubud and Sanur where plenty of adventure awaits
After a couple of days we were eager to discover what else the island had to offer. Our driver, Putra, picked us up from the Royal Purnama and drove us to our new hotel, 'The Kunja villas' in Seminyak. Putra was an incredible addition to our trip and I would highly encourage anyone travelling to Bali to contact him before arriving and arrange for him to pick you up from the airport. He is a wonderful man full of knowledge and passion for the island and is a joy to spend time with. It also helps that he knows the island like the back of his hand so you can be sure you won't miss any of the gems under his guidance!
Kunja Villas in Seminyak is an absolute diamond. Let me set the scene. Imagine waking up to a gentle knocking on your bedroom door, slipping into your robe and opening the double doors to the pool side, open air living area to find your dining table laden with the most exquisite breakfast freshly cooked by your own chef in your own private kitchen.... the dream...
Seminyak itself is a vibrant beach side town full of trendy bars and restaurants. While my Mr played golf at the National Bali golf course (which, for those golf enthusiasts, he said was a sensational experience) I spent my afternoon happily hopping from ice cream parlour to cafe. I recommend that you grab an ice cream at Kynd community (picture below) and have lunch at Neon Palms, the cutest cafe in town.
For dinner and evening entertainment, Motel Mexicola is excellent for those looking for a lively atmosphere. We had some delicious Mexican food and danced the night away. La Favela is another great place to spend an evening where you will enjoy delicious South American inspired food and if you wish, a late night after dinner party vibe. The venue itself is like Doctor Who's tardis full of interesting nooks and crannys to explore! For a laid back dinner, La Lucciola on the beach serves delicious Italian fare in beautiful relaxing surroundings. The Potato Head Beach Club , a stalwart in the Seminyak party scene, is a wonderful place to have sundowners. (Try the Zombie, it packs a punch but is delicious and served in the cutest wooden Tiki mug) We also tried the W hotel next door to Potato Head although the hotel seems slightly dated and does not offer anything above Potato Head.
During our time in Seminyak, we had Putra bring us to Sunday's Beach club in Uluwatu. This club is the most wonderful way to spend a day eating delicious food, drinking cocktails, people watching all whilst basking in the sun on the most beautiful white sand beach. They light fires on the beach and toast marshmallows as the sun is setting. The journey took around an hour from Seminyak and on arrival you take a cable car down a cliff to access the club, a novelty in itself!
For our last 3 nights we stayed at the Royal Kamuela Suites at the Monkey Forest in Ubud. Allocating some time in Ubud is a must when in Bali as it is the cultural heart of the island. The Royal Kamuela was a wonderful hotel which included mostly 1 bedroom suites with private pool. Breakfast can be served at your suite or in the restaurant, we did have daily visitors in the form of cheeky monkeys seeking treats! You can visit the monkeys at the Sacred Monkey Forest where they roam freely in their natural habitat, which I really enjoyed but not for those with any fear of animals as these monkeys can get a little up close and personal!
Bali is rich in culture and religion and this becomes more evident in the Ubud area with locals attending the temple in traditional dress and bustling markets brimming with the most beautiful craftsmanship. I bought several mosaic bowls and wished I had space for more!
We used Ubud as our base to visit the rice terraces which are beautiful and the Luwak Coffe plantation. Luwak is the most expensive coffee in the world and it is produced by fermentation which happens when a Civet (similar to a small mongoose) digests Coffee cherries and passes out the coffee beans!
It quickly became evident to me why Bali is known as the Island of the Gods, it is unique in culture and tradition as well as breathtakingly beautiful. Balinese people strongly believe in Karma as it is a significant component to the most common religion; Hinduism. As a result they are such a kind hearted nation which makes the island a wonderful place to explore.
For any questions on hotels, restaurants, experiences etc in Bali, please do not hesitate to contact me. I'd love to help out!