Where do I begin? Honestly, Bali is currently my favourite holiday to date and my top destination. From the people, the culture, unreal sunsets, hotels and food. What more can you look for in a destination.
Before visiting Bali I read a lot of mixed reviews; some said that Bali is very overcrowded with tourists and has become a love/hate destination. I didn’t get those vibes at all. Perhaps it’s the areas I visited, but I can’t see how anyone could hate this gorgeous island.
Bali is situated in Indonesia, Far-East Asia. Indonesia is an archipelago which comprises of 17,000 islands – insane right! Bali is known for its volcanic mountains, bright coral reefs, rice paddies and paradisic beaches.
When I travel I get a lot of questions, mostly on Instagram, asking how I booked my trip.
For this trip I booked flights and hotels separately. I used Skyscanner.com for flights and flew with British Airways to Singapore. I stayed in Singapore for 3 days. My return flight was from Bali (Denpasar) to Singapore then Singapore direct to London.
Direct flights are usually more expensive than multiple flights, however I’m not a fan of stopovers unless necessary.
I stayed in 4 different hotels for the duration of my trip and used different websites for each, including direct websites and 3rd party.
The first resort we stayed in was Ayana Resort and Spa.
One word; exceptional!
The Villas at Ayana completely took my breath away. This hotel was so intricately and thoughtfully designed and it was worth every single penny.
I had seen a picture of the Ayana resort many years ago and always said I wanted to stay there when visiting Bali. We decided to go all out and stay in the private Villas in order to get the full Ayana experience.
We stayed in Jimbaran for 5 days and had planned to leave the resort and explore Jimbaran, however we actually ended up spending almost every moment in the resort and I don’t regret a second of it. Ayana was a 10 out of 10 for me.
Read this post to find the ins and outs of my fabulous stay at Ayana.
Situated 20 minutes from the airport Jimbaran is a perfect mixture of luxury and authenticity.
Best for: Seafood – Sunsets – Luxury Resorts
What to do: Dinner on the beach – Visit close-by Uluwatu – Rooftop Bars for sunset – Visit the famous Jimbaran beaches – Go on a fishing trip
I have mixed feelings about Ubud… whilst filled with gorgeous greenery and incredible sights, Ubud was a place I loved to visit but also loved to leave.
I did my research before my trip and I knew that Ubud looked so beautiful and unique, however I’m not a big fan of forest. I decided to stay in Ubud just overnight, and I was very happy with my decision.
There is a lot to do in Ubud! And if you want to complete all the activities that Ubud has to offer then you should stay no less than 3 days.
My two days spent in Ubud I managed to visit the famous Bali Swing, attend a cooking class, visit a Luwak coffee plantation, and visit the famous Tegallalang Rice Field. My friend and I decided not to visit Monkey Forest, because monkeys are pesky little animals and we were not in the mood to spar with them.
Ubud really is a one of a kind, fascinating destination. I do highly recommend that you visit when holidaying in Bali. Ubud is such a stark opposite to the beachy areas of Bali.
The arts and crafts hub of Indonesia. Known for It’s gloriously green rice paddies and lush forestation.
Best for: Arts – Scenery – Tropical animals
What to do: Monkey Forest – Rice Fields – Coffee Plantation – Rooftop beach clubs – Waterfalls – Temples – Bali Swing – Cooking Class – White river rafting
Lombok, Gili Trawangan
About a month before my trip to Bali, the Gili Islands was hit with two massive earthquakes. Over 1000 Tourists were evacuated and locals suffered from extreme devastation.
With my hotel already booked and upcoming trip looming, I scanned the internet trying to find out how bad the situation was. It was bad. Hotels were in ruins and some were non contactable and the UK Foreign & Commomwealth Office (FCO) had advised against all travel to the Gili Islands.
Over the next few weeks I scanned TripAdvisor, and social media to keep updated on the situation in Gili. 95% of individuals advised against going to Gili but there were a handful of optimistic people. Their advice was that if your hotel was open you should try and make an effort to visit, and honestly thank God for these few optimistic people.
The locals had lost their businesses and homes and with tourism at a standstill there was no way for them to generate any revenue unless the tourists came back. As my hotel had reopened after a month of being shut, my friend and I made the decision to go ahead with our trip to Gili Trawangan and I’m so happy we did.
We stayed at the Pearl of Trawangan. This hotel did absolutely fabulous considering how soon after the earthquake we visited. We stayed in the standard Teak Cottage which was newly renovated. The hotel was clean and the staff went out of their way to make sure we were comfortable.
The Pearl of Trawangan is situated in the best location on Gili T. It is far enough away from the harbour and the main strip if you need the peace and quiet. At the same time it is a 3 minute bike ride from the hub if you want to be in the mix of things.
The hotel provided free bike rental with a bike lock, so it was very easy to get around the island.
The hotel’s restaurant ‘Pearl Lounge’ serves some of the best food on the island and their snickers flavoured ice cream was to die for!
Gili T was a dream – gorgeous white beaches and endless turquoise seas. I would have loved to visit it when was alive with tourists. It was quiet and solemn when we visited, there were a handful of tourists and the island was just beginning to get back on its feet. The locals were so appreciative of us and the other tourists and told us to spread the word!
We stayed in Gili for 4 days, this was enough but I would have loved to stay for longer.
In that time we island hopped to Gili Meno and Gili Air. We swam with turtles twice, once on Meno and once at turtle point on Gili T. We got massages, ate lovely food – including our favourite local Indonesian dish, Nasi Goreng. We had bike rides around the island, and watched a film on the beach.
Gili T was paradise and I would advise everyone to visit and get the Gili Islands back to what they used to be.
Gili Islands facts:
The 3 Gili Islands are situated off the coast of Lombok, Indonesia. Gili T is the biggest island, popular with travellers. There are no motorised vehicles allowed on the islands, meaning that you have to get around by bicycle or horse & cart.
Best for: coral reefs – sunsets – swimming with turtles
What to do: Movie night on the beach – shisha – sunset watching – massages – snorkelling – scuba diving – kayaking – watersports – island hopping – turtle point – night food market
Seminyak was another must-visit for me. Seminyak is Bali’s most trendy and upscale beach resort area which is pretty much a bit of me.
We stayed in Seminyak for 4 days at the Four Points by Sheraton Seminyak in the Deluxe Room, pool view with balcony. The hotel was nice but nothing to write home about, a standard chain hotel. In hindsight we should have stayed in the W Hotel as we spent 3 out of 4 days there.
After an action packed time in Ubud and Gili T it was nice to unwind and relax in Seminyak. We knew that our time would be spent eating, getting massages and sunbathing by the beach – and we did just that.
Two oustanding eateries that I would recommend are Dough Darlings and Merah Putih.
Merah Putih is an Indonesian restaurant. Their food was top notch, affordable and the restaurant ambience was on point. I had the Nasi Goreng… again.
Dough Darlings is an artisan doughnut bakery. The doughnuts were mouth water-ingly good. We visited several times, and bought 4 doughnuts on the way to the airport… greedy. I still wistfully dream about their doughnuts.
If you go, my personal recommendation is the dark chocolate, and the peanut butter with strawberry drizzle… yum!
Apart from eating good, we also had spa days and beach club days in Seminyak. We visited the popular Potato Head Beach club and I must admit that it was a let-down for me.
Potato Head was extremely busy and difficult to get good seating. The infinity pool was also a bit of a let down but in fairness the infinity pools at Ayana were a hard act to follow. We ended up leaving before the sunset and went back to our favourite haunt in Seminyak, The W Hotel.
The W Hotel had winning vibes, and being a beach front hotel the sunset view was dazzling. Advice, if you’re not a hotel guest, book in advance for good seating.
Seminyak was a perfect ending to the dream holiday. It’s also a 20 minute journey to the airport which ensured a smooth transition.
Seminyak is a trendy hub of Bali; perfect for foodies and fashionistas. With luxury beach front resorts, spas new restaurants, and shops, there is always something to do.
Best for: luxury – food – relaxing
What to do: Beach clubs – Brunch – Spa – Clubs
Bali was an amazing experience. I would absolutely return. The Island has so much to offer and is so versatile.
I hope you find this useful. Please feel free to comment with feedback o\r questions.