Travelled in: October 2017
Finding a long haul beach holiday destination for an October break was tricky. I looked in to South East Asia, it was rainy season. I looked in to Mexico, it was rainy season. I looked in to South America, also in rainy season. EVERYWHERE I wanted to go was in rainy season, except Bali!
I was super excited to plan a trip to Bali having seen so many incredible photos. Bali looked perfect on instagram, and it is even more perfect in real life!
We spent 16 incredible days in Bali! I would genuinely go as far as saying that this was the best holiday I have ever been on. Despite a few minor hiccups along the way (an overactive volcano and a minor scooter crash), we had the best time and visited so many amazing places on the west coast.
We split our time between mainland Bali, Nusa Lembongan and The Gili Islands, each destination a completely different vibe and experience.
It’s all too much to write in one post so I will break it down by location, but this was my overall Bali itinerary…
MY BALI ITINERARY:
Kuta – 1 night
Uluwatu – 3 nights
Nusa Lembongan – 3 nights
Gili T – 3 nights
Gili Air – 2 nights
Canggu – 3 nights
Seminyak – 1 night
Kuta wasn’t high up on my list of places to visit in Bali, however my flight from Singapore didn’t arrive until midnight in to Denpassar, so a quick stopover in Kuta was necessary to get some rest after 20 hours of traveling.
We stayed at The Ohana Hotel which is about 10 minutes from the airport and close to the center of Kuta. For £20 per night you can’t go wrong.
We had brunch in Kuta at Legian 27 Cafe, where I experienced my first smoothie bowl of the holiday.
If you are going to Bali purely for a big drinking and clubbing scene Kuta would probably be a good place to spend your time.
First of all its worth mentioning that Uluwatu spans across a vast area. We stayed close to Uluwatu Beach at De Sapphire Cliff Villas. In my opinion this was a perfect location as we were within close walking distance to a handful of great restaurants and bars, then everything else was only a short scooter journey away.
De Sapphire Cliff Villas offers luxury accommodation at really reasonable prices, we paid roughly £60 per night for a pool side room which looked out to incredible views and included breakfast…
We rented a scooter for 2 days of our stay here and spent most of our time driving around exploring what the area had to offer. We did have a minor accident on the scooter due to some rough gravel on the road that went down to our hotel, so watch out for rough patches on the roads, otherwise Uluwatu is a fairly quiet and safe place to drive. Remember to always wear a helmet and proper shoes though! It could save your life/feet if you do accidentally fall off:)
Some of my favourite spots in the area were…
Bingin Beach – The Uluwatu area is located on top a cliff, so any beaches you want to visit are always going to require a bit of trek down to. Bingin was our first beach stop and definitely the perfect place for a day of doing nothing. The beach itself is a mix of sand, pebbles and rocks so it’s a really cool landscape and lined with Robinson Crusoe style beach huts and bars.
Uluwatu Temple – A great spot to take in the Balinese culture. The best time of day to visit is at sunset. There are evening cultural shows at the Temple, we didn’t make it for this, but I did read very mixed reviews, so don’t think we missed much. As with most temples the site is crawling with monkeys, so watch out for them and keep your valuable belongings hidden.
Single Finns – This is the place to be on a Sunday evening for sunset. Drinks are a bit more expensive that you would usually pay, but the views are incredible, the music is good and the atmosphere is really fun. Make sure you arrive early to get a seat for the evening.
Uluwatu Gym – Wanting to keep fit whilst we were away, we scoured the area for a gym and this is the only place we could find. It was old school, a bit grubby, but had everything we needed for a quick gym sesh.
Some of the best food we ate in Bali was in Uluwatu, my favourite places were…
The Cashew Tree – For something healthy and delicious. The lunch we had here was by far one of our best meals in Bali.
Suka Espresso – For mouthwatering burgers and incredibly indulgent milkshakes!
The Corner Cafe – For great happy hour deals. Different deals every day of the week.
The Mango Tree – For mouthwatering tacos and a decent smoothie.
Uluwatu was one of my fave locations in Bali, well worth a visit!
A few miles up the coast from Seminyak you will find Canggu, (pronounced CHANG-GU). This hipster hangout is a surfers hot spot, and foodie heaven.
We wanted to stay at The Slow, a beautiful hotel right in the heart of Canggu, but sadly it was fully booked for the duration of our stay, so we opted for Echo Beach Resort. We got an incredible deal and booked a penthouse suite which had 2 private balconies and a roof terrace, just off the main road Batu Bolong, for £50 a night.
The main attraction to Canggu is to surf, but I still haven’t quite recovered from my 3 day surf camp experience in Australia 4 years ago. I didn’t attempt it again as I feel like I have already discovered it’s not my sport. Instead I set up a comfy spot on the beach and admired the surfers from afar.
One thing I did do a lot of in Canggu though was eat – there are so many amazing places…
Crate Cafe – For an incredible brunch and a very instagramable smoothie.
Dandelion – For some typical Indonesian food in a beautiful setting. They also strive for above and beyond service.
Shady Shack – Another incredible brunch spot, with a super healthy menu.
For a night out head to The Lawn! We were there on Halloween and it was a lot of fun, everyone went all out with their costumes. This is also a great place to come and watch the sunset. Old Mans is also a hot spot for this.
We took an UBER and did a day trip to Ubud from Canggu. (So technically UBER is legal in Bali, but you have to be super cautious when using the service… Taxi drivers HATE UBER and there are signs everywhere saying not to use it. It’s as safe to use as anywhere else in the world, just don’t draw attention to yourself getting in the car as the UBER drivers are at risk of getting beaten up by the real taxi drivers.)
Ubud is about an hours drive from Canggu so we spent the day here. My favourite thing to do in Ubud was the Camphuan ridge walk. Get dropped off at one end of this and walk the trail, it’s about 2.5km each way and offers some beautiful, green scenery. Plus there’s a cool swing…
We also explored Ubud market, where you can pick up some great Balinese souvenirs (at a tourist price of course). Just outside of Ubud you will find a rows of trade shops where you can get the same things for much better prices – ask your driver or hotel where to head for this.
On the way back we stopped at the Tegalalang Rice Terrace, which is a tourist trap to be honest, as soon as you get out of the car you have to pay a fee just to be in the area, but it is one of those things you have to do when in Bali. Unfortunately it started to torrentially rain when we got there so we didn’t make it down in to the fields.
Ubud was a great day trip, but I cant help but think it is a bit overrated. I think the biggest attraction to it is the amazing hotels it offers, so maybe I would feel differently if we had stayed there… We had actually originally booked to stay in Bisma 8, but cancelled our reservation due to a change in our itinerary.
We only spent a day in Seminyak at the end of our trip, but just like Kuta I am glad we didn’t spend longer here as it is super saturated with tourist traps.
I don’t personally have any recommendations of great places to stay in Seminyak, but check this blog out for some inspiration!
We did have an amazing dinner here though at Wacko Burgers – I highly recommend this place if in the area.
Seminyak seemed like a great place to shop, although having traveled light with only hand luggage on this trip I sadly didn’t have any space left to buy anything. 🙁
We didn’t make it to Eastern Bali on this trip due to Mt Agung being being on high alert of eruption. Since coming home the volcano has started to erupt so be sure to check your travel will not be affected if you are planning a trip to Bali. Hopefully when it all calms down I will be back exploring more of this amazing place.
Keep a look out for my next Bali post on the island of Nusa Lembongan…