Exploring Bali – Ubud and Sanur

After our 4 nights in Seminyak, My mum and I packed up our suitcases and made our way to our next hotel in Ubud. A place apparently made famous by the book Eat, Prey, Love which I haven’t read or seen the film so I didn’t have any preconceptions .

Travelling on the roads in Bali is definitely an experience that I will never forget, the roads are clogged with so many cars and even more mopeds, which are very popular for backpackers to hire and explore the countryside on. My mum and I weren’t brave enough for this. Also the road signs in Bali are pretty non-existent so I have no idea how our driver managed to find the hotel we were staying at without a sat nav as it was completely hidden away.

The entrance to our hotel

Now I can’t write this post without telling you all a little about the hotel we stayed in. Puri Gangga Resort (not an ad, sponsored or anything like that it was just amazing) has to be one of the poshest hotels I have ever stayed in, it was a truly beautiful place and the staff were the most attentive in all of Bali and it was probably about a quarter of the price of a 4 star hotel in Europe. When we left we were even given a leaving gift, my mum got a wooden turtle statue and I got a wooden cat statue.

Afternoon tea on the terrace
The infinity pool looking out over the jungle below

One of the great things our hotel did was on the Saturday night, they had a special evening of traditional Balinese dancing performed by the girls who lived in the village in the valley just below the hotel. It was a fascinating and entertaining evening. The dance told the story of a bumblebee falling in love. If you come to Bali and see one of these events is taking place then I highly recommend you go along and watch.

There was also a water temple in the valley below the hotel, the Gunung Kawi Temple which was so quiet and serene, a massive difference to the more commercial Tanah Lot Temple.

We were very happy to be tourists in Bali so of course when we spent the day in the centre of Ubud as well as walking around the incredibly varied and huge market there, we had to go to one of the main tourist attractions, the Monkey Forest.

For a small fee you get to walk around this forest that is quite pretty and honestly just reminded me of the first Tomb Rider game and get to see all the wild monkeys. Now these are not docile monkeys, they are very playful, some times aggressive wild animals and you have to be very careful of your valuables. My mum and I sat down for a rest because it was so hot and a monkey decided to climb on top of us and try to undo the zip on my mums handbag. I would advise that you have no food on you while exploring the forest.

One of the things we both wanted to see while in Bali was elephants. It’s one of the big draws of visiting Asia and Indonesia. I know there is a hell of a lot of controversy surrounding this subject and I have read a few articles condemning these places completely. So please don’t leave angry comments about this subject. As a massive animal lover I do agree with them on pretty much all of the points they make, especially the point of elephant rides, it is an unnecessary thing to do. I have never wanted to ride an elephant and I do not think this should be allowed at all, but I have always be fascinated by elephants and really wanted to get up close and feed some so I did some online research and the “best” place I found was The Elephant Safari Park and Lodge so we spent the day there. I have even included a picture of the information sign that they had around the park. I have since come to learn that there are no actual elephant sanctuaries in Bali, they are all just for entertainment purposes. In hindsight do I feel bad giving my money to a place like this? Yes but it was a great experience and I wasn’t displeased with the way I saw the elephants being treated and they all seemed pretty content.

One thing you have to do before leaving Ubud is to go to the Tegalalang Rice Terrace which we did on the journey to our next location of Sanur. Again it is another very busy tourist spot, you have to fight your way across a busy road and through the crowds trying to get the perfect shot for the gram but still an exceptionally stunning view.

We had spent a very busy few days exploring the wonderful Ubud and its surroundings. Our next location was Sanur, a quiet resort on the south east of the island. This was our chance to properly relax now, so we didn’t actually go on any excursions while in Sanur and I celebrated my 29th birthday while we were there so we just relaxed by the beach and pool, then spent the evenings enjoying good food and drinks, usually ending the night in an Irish bar called The Wicked Parrot. You have not lived until you have seen a Balinese band playing Irish folk songs and everyone in the bar joining in

Sanur Beach

Exploring Bali – Seminyak

After my three months of working in Australia’s Northern Territory I decided that I needed a holiday and because I had heard how great but also how cheap it is, the island of Bali in Indonesia was going to be my holiday destination.

I also decided that as I’m such a great daughter and thought my mum deserved a good holiday, I would invite her along too as my treat. All she had to do was pay for her flights, I would sort everything else out. Because of this I didn’t go down the normal cheap hostel backpacker route, I went for nice hotels which in Bali are still pretty cheap.

I wanted to see as much of Bali as possible in our 11 days there but also wanted a few just chilling by the beach days so I split our trip up into three different locations so we could experience a little bit of everything. We started out in Seminyak for 4 nights, Ubud for 3 nights and then Sanur for 4 nights.

I will be splitting my posts about Bali into three so remember to watch out for my next posts all about Ubud and Sanur.

Seminyak

Seminyak is a resort on the southern end of Bali, It is just north of Kuta. I chose to avoid Kuta completely on this trip as I had been told its basically like the Australian version of Kavos, filled will very drunk, drugged up, loud people, that’s not really my scene and as my mother was joining for this trip I didn’t think that would be suitable for us. Seminyak is still a very lively place, its biggest plus point is the many beach front bars, complete with bean bag chairs on the sand so you can relax under a brightly coloured umbrella while you drink a Bintang or a Bali cider (was so happy to find out they had this and it was so cheap too) and watch the amazing sunsets.

I arrived from Darwin the night before my mum so checked into our hotel, Puri Cendana Resort and got myself all settled in, I couldn’t wait to wake up the next day and start exploring. After enjoying a complimentary breakfast I headed off in search of the beach, Luckily the hotel was on the road to the beach so it didn’t take long for me to feel the sand between my toes. I relished in feeling the ocean wash over my feet again after spending 3 months away from it.

I eventually headed back to the hotel to check out the pool and wait for my mum to arrive.

After a few days relaxing on the beach and by the pool, letting my mother get over her jet lag we were ready to start exploring. We hired one of our hotels driver to take us to Tanah Lot Temple, one of the great sea temples of Bali.

Once you have paid a small entrance fee, you have to walk through a maze of market stalls to get to the coast line and eventually the temple. One thing to note about Bali is you can not walk past any shop, market stall, taxi driver without them trying to entice you in, sell you something or give you a lift. While walking around you just have to get use to saying no thank you to pretty much everyone.

You are able to walk over to the temple at low tide which we did, but non-Balinese people are not allowed to enter the actual temple. You might think that going to a Balinese temple would be a calming and enlightening experience but as Tanah Lot is one of the most popular attractions on the whole island just note that you will be sharing the experience with 100’s of other people. We even saw a bride and groom having their wedding pictures taken amongst the crowds.

One thing Bali is famous for is Luwak Coffee and on our way to Tanah Lot our driver took us to one of the many Luwak Coffee plantations. For those that don’t know Luwak Coffee is the most expensive coffee in the world because Luwaks or Chivet Cats eat only the ripest tastiest coffee beans, the beans then pass through their digestive system where they get fermented. The chivets then poo out the beans, they are collected, washed and processed into the most expensive coffee in the world. The whole process is suppose to give the coffee a much smoother and less bitter taste.

Anyone who knows me knows I hate coffee, even if its the sweetest, milkiest, trying so hard not to taste like coffee, coffee from Starbucks. I still can’t stand it, mainly because of the bitterness, it just sticks to my tongue but I have to say the Luwak coffee wasn’t actually that bad, it definitely had a less bitter taste than the normal stuff you can buy. I have to say I did enjoy trying the different types of tea a lot more.

The following day we left Seminyak and with another driver ventured into the hills to Ubud and probably the poshest hotel I have ever and will ever stay in in my life. Keep an eye out for my next post all about it.