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It’s me – Leah! Your Owner Education Consultant. As we all know everyone has their own perspective about Bali, so I would like to share my experience and a few tips I learnt along the way from my first ever trip.
One of the best things about travelling to Bali is that it’s affordable. When you’re paying $330 return from Brisbane to Bali, why not book it, right? Of course, the flights were on sale, but even food, shopping and entertainment is reasonably priced.
The other great thing about Bali is there is something for everyone! With yoga retreats, one of the world’s best surf breaks, Balinese massages, relaxing on white sandy beaches, incredible nightlife, markets galore, rainforest walks, an abundance of water-sports activities, scuba diving and snorkeling and… That’s only the half of it!
We arrived at Denpasar Airport and we arranged to be picked up by a private driver, his name was Made. The private drivers will cost roughly around the same price as taxi’s in Bali, sometimes you may find them to even be cheaper. We walked out of the arrival gate to find our driver, standing in a crowd of taxis and chauffeur’s holding a sign with our names on it – Talk about feeling V.I.P!
Are you looking for a bit of luxury and relaxation? Then Seminyak is where it’s at! It’s known as a more snazzy part of South Bali. This is where you would come for boutique shopping, luxury spas, upmarket dining options, and beach bars.
On our first morning we walked around Seminynak and found our way to the market place.
Tip: You can barter for absolutely anything in Bali which makes it extremely easy to buy things. I picked up sunglasses and pair of elephant pants for approximately $10 AUD. I was very happy – who knew I had this skill to barter all along!
I noticed a few day spa places that offered a fish foot spa, also known as a Fish Pedicure. This involves you dipping your feet in a tub of water filled with small fish called Garra Rufa or “doctor fish” and these fish will eat away at the dead skin found on your feet, leaving newer skin exposed. I’m not sure if I was okay with the combination of fish and feet, but I thought I would be brave and give it a go! My verdict – try it! It’s completely bizarre at first and throughout but it was all about the experience, something I can now tick off.
Our few days in Seminyak were over, and my only thoughts were ‘I wish I had more time here’.
I recommend doing a day trip/tour, they’re easy and a great way to see a lot in one day. We decided to explore around Uluwatu.
We stopped at Padang Padang Beach which is one of Bali’s most famous surf spots. The beach is only accessible down a flight of narrow stairs through a small hollow rock entry. At the bottom of the stairs the water is crystal clear and the sand stretches out to one hundred meters long. We stayed for a couple of hours, but you could easily relax there all day.
We then got to experience the beautiful Uluwatu Temple. This temple sits on top of a steep cliff approximately 250 Feet above sea level, and the views overlook the Indian Ocean – it was stunning!
Tip: Being a Temple, if you are wearing anything above the knee they will hand you a sarong to cover up as a form of respect. There are lots of wild monkeys running around, which are sacred, so we had very firm instruction to not touch them.
Finally, we ended the day with a Seafood dinner on the beach at sunset in Jimbaran, while a traditional Balinese band played near the ocean – A perfect way to end the day.
If you want more of a cultural experience in Bali, then visit Ubud, it’s completely different to the sights and feel of Seminynak. The Ubud village can be busy but in the surrounding areas you will find beautiful green rice fields and peaceful forests.
A popular thing to do in Ubud is to visit The Monkey Forests, it’s quite the experience to say the least. This beautiful forest is filled with wild monkeys. With an entry fee of approximately $4.75 AUD we entered the forest and walked over to a cart selling bananas, we bought a bunch and were instructed to follow a few rules;
1. Hide the bananas in your bag.
2. When you’re ready hold the banana in the air, over your head.
3. No sudden movements.
So I did just that, I held a banana up in the air and I had two very large Monkeys creeping towards me – they were pretty cute until one of them almost took off with my bag. Luckily he wasn’t fast enough for me!
On the second day in Ubud, we took a day trip deep into the forests to The Elephant Safari Park, this is a dedicated Elephant Sanctuary in Bali where you can see, touch, bathe, wash, ride and feed elephants. This was such an awesome and unique experience to be able to interact with these gentle giants. Each elephant also has their own caretaker who looks after them on a daily basis.
Another Temple we explored was the Goa Gajah, also known as the Elephant Cave Temple, built in the 9th century and is regarded as a sacred place. Despite it being called ‘Elephant Cave Temple’, you will not see any elephants there, I learnt this the hard way.
Kuta is one of the most popular tourism spots in Bali and it is best known for its surf / beach lifestyle as well as it’s nightlife. A lot of venues hold events on most nights, including talent competition, singers, traditional dancing in ceremonial clothing. It is certainly a very busy part of Bali.
We didn’t spend too much time in Kuta, but one of the things I did enjoy doing was going down Poppy Lane to streets and streets of market stalls to go shopping.
Did you know our Associate Resort, Ramada by Wyndham Bali Sunset Road is right in Kuta? See more details here.
This small island is surrounded by beautiful clear waters and white, sandy beaches. It is known as a party island with a wealth of restaurants, old school discos and bars blaring dance music from their speakers. But it’s also a place where you can relax or be a bit adventurous, and indulge in a few activities including diving, snorkeling, the turtle sanctuary, water-sports, surfing or learning how to cook Indonesian dishes in a cooking class.
There are no cars on the island, their means of transportation is a donkey and cart. So getting around easily meant you need to ride bikes – everywhere!
A couple of popular things to do, if you don’t want to spend money, is to watch the sunset on the famous Island swing, or explore the Island, it takes approximately one hour to cycle around it and two hours to walk it. The night markets are open every night and filled with stalls and stalls of different kinds of food and local, fresh seafood. Everything is cooked for you on the spot.
After a week on Gili T, I left the Island exhausted, but found a new appreciation for Piña Coladas.
My Top Tips
The one thing we learned very quickly is the Balinese will appreciate if you attempted to speak their language. A simple Hello, Thank you and Goodbye in Balinese will go a long way. It was amazing to see the smile on their face after we spoke either of these 3 words. By the end we were constantly asked if we spoke Balinese.
Try the street food, I know it’s daring but worth it!
Wyndham Resorts in Bali
Wyndham Destinations Asia Pacific Pty Ltd ACN 090 083 613 is a corporate authorised representative of Wyndham Vacation Clubs South Pacific Limited ACN 090 503 923 AFSL 225200 the issuer of the WorldMark South Pacific Club ARSN 092 334 015. You should consider the current Product Disclosure Statement available from www.wyndhamAP.com/pds for the WorldMark South Pacific Club before deciding whether to acquire this product.