Bali, Indonesia, Travel Link up, What to do in...

Bali Hai that special island

In the film South Pacific by Rogers and Hammerstein there is a beautiful song called ‘Bali Hai’ and whilst actually having no direct link to Bali itself I feel the title and the lyrics are completely fitting as Bali is truly a very special island.

Bali Ha’i may call you,
Any night, any day,
In your heart, you’ll hear it call you:
“Come away…Come away.”

Bali Ha’i will whisper
In the wind of the sea:
“Here am I, your special island!
Come to me, come to me!”

Your own special hopes,
Your own special dreams,
Bloom on the hillside
And shine in the streams.
If you try, you’ll find me
Where the sky meets the sea.
“Here am I your special island
Come to me, Come to me.”

I love Bali and yes I know some parts of are completely touristy and full of travellers but there is just something about it that is irresistible and our visit almost two years ago has left me wanting to go back again and again. I have already written about our experience of scuba diving in Tulamben on the north east coast of Bali but wanted to share all the other reasons why I just can’t get Bali out of my head for this months travel link up with Emma, Rebecca, Kelly and Liz .

Hire a driver to see what you want 

When I started looking at what else we wanted to do in Bali and how we could do this it seemed to make sense to hire a driver for a day. We were able to kill two birds with one stone with this as we also needed to get from Tulamben to Ubud so were able to combine a bit of a sightseeing tour with what was essentially a transfer. I scoured the forums and Tripadvisor looking for potential drivers/guides and ended up going with Bali with Sila as we were able to suggest what stops we wanted to do and plan our own tour. Our various stops and whole day transfer cost us just £25, what a bargain. Even with entrance fees, food and tips the whole day cost us less than £50.

Rice Terraces on our drive from Tulamben

Rice Terraces on our drive from Tulamben

Tirta Gangga Water Palace

Tirta Gangga Water Palace

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Ujung Water Palace

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Tenganan traditional village

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Some child friendly gambling in Tenganan

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Pura Goa Luwah (Temple of the Bat Cave)

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Kerta Gosha Justice Palace

Get stuck into doing activities

As tempting as it may be to just lounge around the pool and head in to the the centre of Ubud each night to eat and shop or kick back on the beach during the day and party all night in Kuta or Seminyak, we have found our fondest memories of Bali come from the days when we got out and about.

Whilst in Ubud we did a cycling tour which also enabled us to visit a coffee plantation, have views of beautiful Mount Batur over Breakfast and a meal with the hosts family. Jegeg Bali Cycling are one of the smaller companies who offer this sort of tour which meant we had our guide Putu almost to ourselves for the majority of the gentle downhill cycle through rice paddies to his family home for a stunning traditional Balinese meal. It was a great way to observe snippets of local life in the villages we biked through as well as made me feel like I had done some exercise after the huge amounts of food I had been consuming!

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Coffee production local plantation style

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Sampling the many tea and coffee delights

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Breakfast in front of Mount Batur

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On yer bike!

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Cycling through the rice paddies

Having been solely on land for a few days since our Advanced PADI course we both started to miss the water so booked ourselves in for some rafting down the Ayung river fun with the very experienced Sobek crew. We were picked up our hotel and driven to their to their centre to be introduced to our guide SS. They really know how to look after their guests and have thought of all the small details that will make your trip easier, safer but of course more fun including dry bags for all your belongings and even safety ties for your sunglasses. With kit on (buoyancy jacket and helmet) and paddle in hand we made off down the hill steps to the River. There were quite a few other groups setting off at the same time as us and I wondered how the congestion would fare once we were on the river; I need not have worried after a safety briefing from SS on land and then another briefing about commands in the raft we were off – down the river and rapids and splashing other guests! Great fun and everyone got in the spirit of being wet! I don’t want to reveal too much about the river journey itself as its such a great experience and don’t want to ruin that for anyone but this really is a great adventure of a day with lots of fun, laughs and splashes! A great lunch was included and we loved the CD of photos available to buy at the end, as at this point we didn’t have our GoPro so were really grateful for the mementos of this experience.

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Rafting on the Ayung River

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Our mental guide ‘SS’

 

Sample the cuisine

I love trying new dishes but unfortunately for me, my other half is not massively fond of spicy food so this makes things a little bit difficult when travelling to countries where spice forms a huge part of the cuisines seasoning. Much to his pleasant surprise, almost all the food in Bali and across the rest of Indonesia was so tasty he didn’t even notice the spices used in the majority of the dishes. There was one particularly fiery Nasi Goreng but that’s it! Whilst in Ubud we were spoilt for choice for where we ate both during the day and in the evenings. My favourites were; Cafe Lotus, Terazo and Cinta Grill.

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Cafe Lotus, Ubud

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The view of the temple at Cafe Lotus

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Cinta Grill

The views from Sari Organik were too stunning to miss despite the only average food, the smoothies however were so good we ended up having quite a few while enjoying the vistas.

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The walk to Sari Organik is signposted all the way from the centre of Ubud

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20 minutes walk from Ubud to be surrounded by the most beautiful surroundings

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The most delicious smoothies

Whilst in Seminyak we spent most of our time enjoying the stunning room service on offer in our private villa at our resort (more on that later) however the one night we did get out we decided to sample the delights of the infamous Ku De Ta. I am so glad I didn’t believe some of the negative reviews on TripAdvisor as we had a fantastic night here. The view and sunset were beautiful. Our meal in the restaurant was out of this world, I had the coral trout and I can genuinely say it was one the best meals I have ever had, the tastes of all the different components of the dish were so perfectly complimentary of each other and I really didn’t want the meal to end! My other half had the beef and experienced a similar delight with his meal. We both enjoyed the creme brûlée for dessert and continued with more cocktails in the bar listening to the music and enjoying each others company. Again staff were fantastic and were there if needed but left us to enjoy our evening together. A really enjoyable evening and I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending anyone to come here for an evening (or all day!)

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The beautiful sunset at Ku De Ta

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Scrumptious supper

I could honestly continue this post with so many more reasons on why I fell head over heels in love with Bali, every single person we met there was lovely and so pleasant and we both left Bali thinking what a fantastic destination it is for easy travel and how great it would be to come with children as everyone is so friendly. I found this guide to be invaluable in helping me plan what I wanted to do on the Island Lonely Planet Bali and Lombok. I really hope that we will return one day and that Bali will still be as special to me as it was 2 years ago.

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