The Bali Diaries
Bali is a favourite among the GG Team, with each of us holding our own travel stories and wish lists, always awaiting the next visit. We love Bali for its ability to change mindsets and put visitors in a holiday mood the instant they step off the plane. With cliff-top cocktail bars, secluded beaches, hidden waterfalls, a beautiful culture and lush landscape, Bali is the perfect place to escape, indulge and relax. Below is a journal detailing some of the experiences the GG Team has had travelling this lovely island.
Date: 5th – 19th December 2016
Location: Uluwatu, Ubud, Nusa Lembongan
GG Team Member: Jesse
Having started working at Girls Getaways 6 months earlier, it was very appropriate that I went on my first trip to Bali over the summer. After spending hours jealously researching inclusions for our packages, looking over our Bali Guide and taking in the advice of our GG Sister and Bali regular, Laine Swimwear, I was longing to experience everything for myself.
I travelled with 6 girlfriends, friends from high school who were equally as excited about escaping to the tropical island as I was. After our trip to Fiji together following the end of Year 12, we decided to go on an annual girl’s holiday each December – to refresh ourselves from the year of uni and catch-up with each other. This was our third trip away and I hope, like some of our GG Sisters, that we can continue our annual holiday for many years to come.
In 2016, we picked Bali for its beaches, shopping, good food (and cocktails), and balance between relaxation and adventure. Over the course of our two week trip, we made sure to relax, enjoying long beach days, lots of fresh juices, cocktails and massages. We also took time to appreciate the rich culture and beautiful landscape.
I could write forever about how amazing our holiday was but I’ll try to keep it short and fill you in on the best bits.
Uluwatu is located in the south on the Bukit Peninsula and hosts a laid back atmosphere with lots of beautiful beaches. Known for the iconic Uluwatu Temple, lovely hidden beaches and fantastic cliff-top bars, the area is a quiet and peaceful alternative to Bali's more busy areas, still offering the chance to sip a cocktail and indulge.
A must-see in Uluwatu is the striking Uluwatu Temple, built more than 800 years ago on steep cliff face above beautiful turquoise water. Having seen photos, we were all excited to visit, and the temple did not disappoint. The only tip we’d give is to be careful of the monkeys, who we lost a few possessions to..
Other places we loved were Suluban Beach, a pristine cove with huge white cliffs, accessible only through a cave, Padang Padang Beach, a small beach lined with mangroves, Buddha Soul, a great cafe for brunchy food, Single Fin, a popular bar overlooking Suluban Beach and the Unique Rooftop Bar at Ayana Resort. We could easily have stayed longer in Uluwatu and loved discovering the area.
Suluban Cave, Suluban Beach, Unique Rooftop Bar, View from Single Fin
Ubud is the cultural centre of Bali, described to us as 'paradise' by locals and home to many temples, shops and restaurants. We fell in love with the area as soon as we arrived, spending hours exploring the markets and main streets and enjoying the stroll through the rice fields back to our gorgeous accommodation. If you're looking to learn about the local culture, we'd recommend watching a Kecak Dance, a dramatic performance telling the Hindu story of the Ramayana (worth going just to see the elaborate costumes). Like most tourists in Ubud, we visited the popular Sacred Monkey Forest, a temple complex home to hundreds of monkeys. We were a bit apprehensive about the monkeys after our first temple visit, however we kept our possessions close and were happy we persevered as the temple was uniquely built around a deep ravine. Aside from the Sacred Monkey Forest, Ubud is home to many temples - Ubud Palace and Pura Sukawati Temple were the only other two we visited, however we'd love to have seen more. Food-wise we'd definitely recommend the Clear Cafe, a luxurious, tree-house inspired restaurant boasting an exotic menu sourced from local ingredients. Sari Organic, a short walk into the rice fields, also delivered fresh Balinese dishes and was another of our favourites.
Our beautiful accommodation, Ubud markets, Pura Sukawati Temple
Aside from the town itself, Ubud is great in that it is a convenient base for day trips to the north. Over our 6 days, we travelled up to the Agung River for white water rafting, to Tegenungan Waterfall, to the Water Temple to bathe under natural springs, to coffee and tea tasting to sample the famous Luwak coffee, to the hidden canyon in Beji Guwang for a surprise 3 hour canyoning adventure and finally to Mount Kintamani to cycle 26km down the volcano through rice fields and villages. Though we enjoyed a good sleep in the taxi leaving Ubud, these activities were all wonderful and we would recommend each to anyone visiting the area.
Tegenungan Waterfall, View of Mount Batur before cycling, Rice fields, Cycling down Mount Kintamani
Nusa Lembongan is a tiny island off the coast of Bali, a 30 minute ferry ride from Sanur. Home to some lovely beaches, snorkelling spots and beachside restaurants, the island is a great place to kick back. Sadly, we only had 3 nights on Nusa Lembongan however we still found the time to enjoy some poolside cocktails and lazy days by the beach. One highlight of the trip was the snorkelling which uniquely featured a stop along the coast of Nusa Penida, amongst the mangroves. After snorkelling on larger boats in Australia it was nice to share a small Jukung with my two of my best friends who were also visiting the island. Other favourites were the stunning Sandy Bay Beach Club, a beach-side restaurant with a beautiful pool perfectly positioned towards the sunset, and Dream Beach, a small beach with rolling waves and a striking headland. With more time, we would have loved to visit Nusa Penida, but I guess that's for the next visit!
Snorkelling, Sandy Bay Beach Club
If you can't tell, I had an amazing time visiting Bali, and I'm already planning the trip back.
Till next time!