We left Hong Kong and boarded our Cathay Pacific flight to Bali (see previous post). The plane ride was about 5 hours and went by smoothly.
I was beyond excited to arrive in Bali. Bali has been on my travel bucket list for a few years now and every time I watched ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ or see pictures I wanted to visit even more. So I made sure that my 25 birthday extravaganza included a trip to Bali!
A Traveller’s Nightmare – Airport Lines
We arrived at the airport excited to make our way to our villa.
The immigration line was one of the longest I’ve EVER seen. September is not even considered peak season, but from the look of this line I would hate to see what the peak season immigration line would look like.
So if I can give you some advice for your travels to Bali, mentally prepare yourself for the long line! Try not to have that much carryon luggage, if you must, make sure it has wheels or else your back and shoulders will feel the weight of your bags after the long wait.
My mom and I were collected by our Chauffeur and were quickly whisked away to our Villa in Uluwatu
I enjoyed taking in the beautiful sights on the drive. Bali has some of the most beautiful roundabouts that you will ever see. Each one tells a story, and our driver made sure to give us some background on each one as we passed by
I do not have words to describe how beautiful Hidden Hills Villas is. It was everything I could have asked/wished for. Hidden Hills Villas is nestled at the hilltop of Uluwatu with great views of the Indian Ocean and tropical surroundings. We arrived just in time to catch the sun as it was setting. Our eyes were steady on the horizon looking at the beauty of God’s creation. I quickly grabbed my camera to catch the sun before it disappeared in the clouds.
Sunset from our villa
Of course, we started our Villa experience with a Spa treatment – 3 hours of pampering in our Villa was the perfect end to a day of traveling and something that I recommend to all – remember self care is not selfish!
Another thing I loved about our Villa was that it had a private pool. Swimming at all hours of the day and night was a definite bonus and not to mention the poolside breakfast every morning.
Our first full day of adventure started at Celuk Village.
This village is formerly a traditional Balinese village located in the entrance gate of Gianyar Regency and has changed into a tourist attraction with its trademark in the form of gold and silver. The location itself is full of beautiful white and gold carvings and is great for snapshots.
Before entering their store, I recommend going into the factory to watch the jewelry designers at work. Seeing such intricate details up close and personal will allow you to really appreciate the jewelry that you are about to see. The village has a uniqueness and is known for its excellent production of gold and silver hand crafts. I would recommend this stop if you are looking for some unique jewelry pieces.
Ubud Traditional Art Market
Art at the Art Market
Ubud’s Traditional Art Market should be added to the list of every Bali Visitor. This Market features goods that are made in the neighbouring villages of Pengosekan, Tegallalang, Payangan and Peliatan.
Ubud Art Market is located in the centre of the art producing villages, just opposite the royal palace which is a centre point to Ubud itself, making it a perfect shopping place for Balinese handicrafts and souvenirs. An excellent place to pick up all your souvenir shopping in one go.
And, don’t forget, like in Hong Kong…you haggle, haggle, haggle. The same rules apply…have fun, and play the game!
The Sacred Monkey Forest
This is another must-do while you are in Bali especially if you are not afraid of monkeys. This might actually be one of Bali’s most popular attractions. Get there early, it’s a popular attraction and as Bali can get quite hot, the coolness of the morning is a plus. The monkeys are pretty friendly – if you are not aggressive towards them they will not be aggressive towards you. I’d like to say, treat the monkeys the way you would like to be treated lol.
Follow the rules – Be sure to take off all jewelry. These monkeys can be quite cheeky and inquisitive. Anything that looks interesting to play with, like the new earnings you may have bought at the Celuk Village, the monkey may just grab and take you on a high speed chase to try and get them back lol.
Shortly after the monkey jumped on my back (below picture) it climbed down, jumped on another tourist and took her pearl earring. After running around, jumping from limb to limb, the monkey eventually dropped the earring. Boy was she happy…and quite lucky
We had a wonderful time at the Night Safari park. We did a walking tour, driving tour and buffet dinner. This was one of the highlights of our time in Bali. Not only did we get to see some nocturnal animals as they roamed the grounds but instead of the animals being in a cage, they put us – humans – in a cage. The tigers came and jumped up on the caged-van. It was both beautiful and frightening to see such large animals up close and to feed them. If you can fit this into your itinerary, do it! You will not be disappointed.
Ubud Water Temple
Ubud Water Palace
Tirita Ganga – or the Water Palace – is stunning! The story behind this place is that the Royal Family of Bali once lived here and they built beautiful gardens for the family to enjoy! This involved a huge pond full of Koi fish with stepping stones and fountains. You can walk along the stones and feed the fish! Make sure to take a walk through the pond and remember….don’t fall in lol.
Feeding the fish
A refreshing drink after a day of temples
The Bali Swing – Up, Up and Away….tree tops, sky, the river below and jagged rocks
The Bali Swing is absolutely worth a visit. This is a place to capture stunning photos for you to remember your incredible trip to Bali. There are over 12 swings, 6 nest and various other props (wings, the big rock etc.) from which to take pictures.
The swing is not for the faint of heart! Yes you will get amazing photos however…have you ever swung over the abyss…that is exactly what you will be doing when on the swing. You get the opportunity to gaze into the beautiful scenery from unparalleled heights.
I remember sitting on the first swing and holding on for dear life whilst still trying to look good for the pictures. With the first push, I immediately started conversing with Jesus “…oh no! who told me to get up here, whoa this is way higher than I thought – oh my gosh – Jesus! Jesus! Jesus…pleeeeeeaaaaasssse take the wheel…or rather, the swing, such groaning(s) and hysteria has never been heard at the Bali Swing….lol. On the other hand, my mom had no fear, I think I was freighted enough for both of us!
Although I was scared, it is something that I would do again, and again! I recalled my theme for this year, “stepping out of my comfort zone”, and that is exactly what I have been doing on this trip and definitely at the Bali Swing.
After leaving the Bali Swing, we spent our last night at Jimbaran Beach. We made it there just in time to take in our final Bali sunset on our way back to our villa. The beach was beautiful, although it was filled with people, there was still a tranquil vibe.
We took off our shoes and headed towards the water to dip our feet in. The water was cool and refreshing and the gentle crash of the waves as they hit my feet was calming. We walked, and walked, and walked…taking in the sight…lots of pictures!
As we got further down the beach we noticed and abundance of beach front restaurants, each with its own uniqueness. As we had not eaten since breakfast we suddenly realised how famished we were and decided to get a table at the Pandan Sari Café.
My mom ordered a medley of seafood and if you are a seafood lover, apparently it is to die for. Her serving, which was enough to feed 2.5 people, consisted of – a whole 1.5 lb lobster, whole crab, whole fish, ½ lb oyster and 2 jumbo shrimps – mom had a plan – dinner for tonight and lunch for tomorrow!
I was wonderfully accommodated with a vegan diet, which was so very tasty…a delicious dinner in deed. There was a man roasting corn and peanuts on the beach. You have to try the corn! I have never tasted chilli dipped corn – it was everything my tastebuds never knew they were missing!
If you are a seafood lover – I definitely recommend arriving hungry, getting a table and enjoying good food and I wish for you, the most beautiful sunset you have ever seen.
What a way to end our time in Bali – we love you Bali – soon come back!
- Mentally prepare yourself for the long immigration line at arrival.
- Have your camera always at the ready whilst driving around – there is a beautiful roundabout on every corner!
- Hire a driver who can double as a tour guide – it will be worth it – make a list of all the places you want to see before you get there and your driver will make it happen.
- Think about renting a villa instead of a hotel – trust me you’ll love it.
- Ubud Traditional Art Market – go in there with your game face, have fun and don’t forget to haggle.
- Visit the Monkey Forest – follow the rules – remember no jewelry.
- Try your best to catch the sunset, even if it is only once – for some reason the sunsets look so much better in Bali!
- The Water Temple – definitely worth the visit.
- The Bali Swing – arrive early to avoid the long lines, don’t let the hight scare you, have fun and enjoy the swing – YOLO.
- Jimbaran Beach/Pandan Sari Café. – Arrive hungry and leave happy 🙂
If you have ever travelled to Bali, please let me know some of your favourites spots in the comments. If you have Bali on your “to go list” of places you wish to visit and have any questions, please feel free to comment or email me and I will be happy to provide you with more information.
Sampai jumpa! (See you later)