I went to Bali with not a lot of expectations. I did a bit of research but I mostly wanted to discover what it had to offer. What I found was an island paradise with so much culture and exciting things to do at every turn. I didn't make it to Ubud or anywhere further north which I'm pretty gutted about, but I was only there for 5 days and had to fit around my friends' plan so I'm happy I did what I did.
The first couple of days were pretty chilled, we looked around Kuta and did some bartering, had massages, changed accommodation, I went for a surf and we explored the Legian Beach Festival which was really awesome. We ended up eating dinner at the festival 3 times in a row because we all fell in love with one of the stall's BBQ ribs, they were next level and cost less than $4NZD. We also saw some interesting cultural dances and a bar-tender competition on the main stage.
On the Friday night a few of us went to Sky Garden which is one of the big nightclubs in Kuta. We got there by scooter, which was a terrifyingly exciting experience. My friend Holly and I went on the back of one scooter with a local driving us, and our two male friends did the same. Can't say there were many helmets worn (none) and our bikes barely made it over the speed bumps!
It was a really huge nightclub with several floors and we chose the rooftop bar to dance the night away in. It was filled with heaps of travellers like us and had a really good vibe. I'd had a few Bintangs beforehand and stuck to those because I'd heard not-so-great things about the local alcohol, Arak, and that some of the other beverages in the establishment could be less that favourable.
The next day Holly and I went to Tanah Lot to see the temple there that sticks out of the ocean. It was really stunning but I wish we'd perhaps gotten there earlier to beat the crowds, there were a lot of colourful sun umbrellas and people taking photos in front of the best bits which is what I wanted to do! We also got to hold a giant boa constrictor! Holly really wasn't a fan, as you can see...
Sorry Holly, just had to use that image, it's priceless!
On Sunday, we went to Sunday's Beach Club, which was absolutely stunning! We each paid 300k Rupiah, which is close to $30NZ for the day. This included a 150k tab for food, entry to the Infinity Pool and the beach club itself which is reached by gondola, towel use, access to snorkels and paddleboards and the sunset bonfire. It's not how I would usually travel, I don't find relaxing relaxing, even in luxury, but I was enticed by photos of the sunset and the snorkelling and paddleboard access. It was an amazing day all up but I got bored half way through because we could only snorkel and paddleboard around the small bay and the food and drink was about the same price as back home. I also couldn't lie around sunbathing because I had quite bad sunburn from the day before. But we enjoyed the Infinity Pool for a while then I went and explored around the rocks for a bit and then it was time for the bonfire. That, I really enjoyed. From 6-7pm the drinks were half price so we had some delicious concoctions and watched the sunset from our beanbags by the fire. A lovely way to end the day but instead of staying for dinner at their restaurant we headed back to the festival for our cheap ribs!
For my last day, Holly and I had planned to go to Ubud because I wanted to see the monkeys and the rice terraces, but our friends had said they saw some monkeys in Uluwatu and there were turtles at one of the beaches, so we opted to go with the group to Uluwatu. I am really stoked we got to ride on scooters, I hired my own and had a blast riding around on it and I loved going to see Uluwatu temple. Sadly it took us so long to get there though, so after roasting in heat at the temple, we headed down to Padang Padang beach and I only got 5 minutes to swim and cool off before I had to rush back for my flight. And I saw no monkeys or turtles which I was really bummed about. But I know for next time, and I would definitely love to go back to Uluwatu and explore more of the area, it had a really laid back, beachy vibe, kinda like Piha.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Bali! I will definitely go back one day, I can see how people go back year after year for a holiday, but there are plenty more places I want to visit first, the world is a huge place!
Have you been to Bali before? What was a highlight for you?