BALI TRAVEL GUIDE

DATES TRAVELLED | September 2017
 

I never expected it would take a full day for me to relax in Bali but on our first day, I felt really overwhelmed. Even though I knew the currency from online, having all those extra zero's on the notes in front of me in real life situations completely threw me. During my very first shopping transaction, I offered the guy $30.00 ($300000 IRD) instead of $3.00 ($30000 IRD) for 6 bottles of water before I realized "hang on a minute...". The thought of me blowing all our spending money by making silly mistakes like that made me feel so stressed! Also, the super hectic traffic (we were on scooter the whole time) and the fact there are no road rules was a little worrying, dodging potholes while getting whiffs of things like incense (which actually smells so much better in Bali than at home for some reason!), thick smoke wafting onto the roads from satay being grilled and then the not so nice things like dog poop! If you happen to be walking anywhere, taxi's beep at you wanting to know if you need a ride...it will literally happen every 30 seconds and shopkeepers were calling out to us trying to pull us into their stores. Bali is full of new smells and sounds - and it hits you at all once. I remember feeling a similar way on our first night exploring in Mexico City, so different from our norm but that is one of the reasons we travel right?! 

 

The next morning I decided to let Aary take care of the money (and I still practised with him at the villa and at places like restaurants etc until I felt like I got it...it took 3 days for me to feel like a pro!) and I said to myself "We're on holiday, I'm gonna have AT LEAST one cocktail for breakfast!" - to loosen me up, and yep it totally worked haha. And the super relaxing 3.5-hour spa treatment we had booked in at Spring on our second morning certainly helped too. As soon as I allowed myself to relax and embrace, Bali grew on me, and the more I became comfortable with my surroundings the more addictive that place became. I learnt which beeps and honks to ignore, I soon found out that if you smile at everyone you get the hugest smiles back and that instantly feels good for the soul, I learnt how to say "No thanks, we might come back later!" or just a smile and a shake of the head when we walked past shops, I remembered that no matter how crazy busy our scooter rides where (and somewhere in the dark and in tropical rain), we had very peaceful and private accommodation to come back to which balanced it out. The juxtaposition of it all became exciting. I also found myself inhaling and grinning on the good smells and accepted that every now and then there will most definitely be a shit smell and it's just part of it. 

 

When exploring Bali it looks almost "unfinished" with piles of rubble on the sides of the roads, all the uneven surfaces (due to the climate mostly) and there is so much construction going on everywhere. Small locally owned shops and warungs mixed in with beautiful temples, lush tropical plants, luxurious spas, homeware stores and fine dining restaurants. It was just the right balance of a little ruggard and a little fancy mixed with a completely a rich and historic culture, and that's what I loved. That is why Bali is addictive! 

I researched for MONTHS all the best places to see and do in Bali because I absolutely love getting organized for a holiday. Our 9-day getaway was far too short to spend on something like an average meal so I wanted to be prepared. I read and watched many YouTube videos, blogs, articles and online reviews and had personal recommendations from my friends Erica, Shelley, Kyra, and Shaye. From all of that, I am happy to be able to give you a very filtered 'best of the best'.  I have put two comprehensive guides together on travelling to Bali, one with travel tips (like how to avoid getting Bali belly and how learning a little of the language will take you so far) and also a list with my top 5 things to see and do while there. Click on the link boxes below to read more. 

ABOVE Villa Turtle, Seminyak where we stayed for the first part of our trip
| BELOW : Beautiful doors and temples on Monkey Forest Road, Ubud

ABOVE : Daily offering placed all over Bali; outside temples, shops, on the street and even on scooters | ABOVE LEFT : Lady selling flowers at the early morning market (see my 'Top 5 things to see + do guide') | ABOVE RIGHT : Little shops outside of peoples compounds (houses) can be found all over Bali   BELOW : Flatlay I createdusing produce purchased at the Ubud market.

ABOVE & BELOW : Scenes from the early morning markets in Ubud | ABOVE LEFT : This looks like it could be a savory dish with beans maybe? Well it's completely all sweet with NO beans. It is called 'Jaje Bali'. It has black rice and lots of yummy homemade textures and the main flavor is coconut which has been ever so slightly sweetened with palm sugar syrup. That little green (pandan coloured) bit I've separated in the bottom right corner is my favorite - it is soooo chewy, never had anything like it before, delicious! 

ABOVE :  (Image with stepping stones) Spring spa and it's lush rooftop location. An absolute highlight of our holiday was our THREE (greedy huh!) appointments at Spring. The stand out "you HAVE to get this" treatment was an easy winner - the 'HAIR RESCUE'. Harper's Bazaar Magazine named it the 'Most Relaxing Hair Ritual' in 2016. | ALSO ABOVE : Bright walls and tiles at Motel Mexicola, Seminyak | BELOWThe drink Aary is holding is called 'es campur'. Es means ice and campur is mixed. It's an icy cold drink/dessert made with coconut milk, pandan or palm sugar syrup and /or condensed milk. It will then have a variation of 'mixed bits' in it like fresh fruits, bread, sago, red beans, basil seeds (texture kinda like soaked chia seeds) and grass jelly - which is my favorite, so so good. At markets, you can choose what bit's you want in it. Before consuming - give it a really good mix up to get all the flavors happening and ice melting then lets the mellow jelly & textures balance out the slightly sweet liquid. Perfect slurping in the 30°C heat...and it only cost 60c. TIP: when ordering ask for it to be not too sweet - otherwise, it will be toothache sweet!

ABOVE : (in bag) A selection of sweet treats from the morning market in Ubud, which the staff at Bisma told me goes great with a morning coffee. Each cost between 10c-20c each and my favorite were the green rolled ones. They were a thin crepe coloured with pandan leaves (with not much flavor - like an unsweetened crepe but with a squishier texture) and inside it had soft coconut, palm sugar syrup + a slice of fresh banana.| ABOVE LEFT : Sea Circus cafe in Seminyak which has amazing brunches | DIRECTLY BELOW : Copper Restaurant at Bisma & some of the delicious food on offer there. Breakfast is included in the price and was an absolute highlight of the trip, and I'm not even really a breakfast person! On one morning we ordered a classic eggs Benedict and also the Indonesian rice porridge which was served with a softly boiled egg tofu and fresh herbs. It also comes with a super flavourful chicken broth to pour over. | BELOW : Also pictured above is their 'blue swimmer crab with (homemade) pappardelle, cognac, chili, tomato, basil and cream' which was my favorite dish I ate in Bali. Pasta is one of my all-time favorite things so this was such a treat. The crab flavor was INSANE!

 

ABOVE LEFT :  Dewa and I at the cooking class inside his compoundABOVE RIGHT : Being brave at the Bali Swing

ABOVE : The beautiful interriors at Bisma Eight | BELOW : Spring Spa in Canguu

ABOVE : at Tegalalang Rice Terraces

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