Cabeau’s Travel Destination Pick of the Week: BALI
by guest blogger, Ian Thornley
As I wandered through the Arrivals area of Denpasar airport, two things instantly struck me:
- The chilled-out, friendly Bohemian vibe of the crowd that was a far cry from the hustle and bustle that I’m used to in the UK
- The cash machine offering denominations of 1,000,000 Rupiah to withdraw… How much?!?!
Bali is a picture-perfect Indonesian island in Southeast Asia; if I had to describe it in five words it would be: paradise, laid-back, cultural, cocktails and — my personal favourite — affordable.
The island is a mix of heavenly beaches — awash with 5-10 foot rolling waves, baby blue water and beautiful people — jungle retreats, luxurious beach bars, infinity pools, yoga, wildlife, active volcanoes, Hindu temples, mouth-watering food, stunning sunsets, jaw dropping nature and a party every night of the week — should you want it.
Places to Stay
Bali offers a number of distinctly unique destinations suitable for every traveler:
Kuta – the complete holiday resort and probably the most commercial area, Kuta has a great beach for surfing, modern hotels and hostels to satisfy all budgets, and offers a full spectrum of eateries. For those looking for nightlife, Kuta’s main nightlife hub is situated on the island’s Legian street with an array of bars and nightclubs.
Seminyak – a long, golden beach complemented with luxurious (think Sofitel), beach bars, restaurants and spa resorts, the atmosphere is much more chilled than Kuta and this is reflected in the nightlife with a focus on classier bars with a more relaxing vibe… a great place to enjoy cocktails on the beach with an amazing meal followed by a full body massage.
Ubud – situated on the foothills of the Balinese rainforest, Ubud is where you will find jungle spa retreats, yoga, rice terraces, Hindu temples, a monkey forest, waterfalls, traditional Balinese shows, food and culture. A real get-away from the many beach resorts of the island where you can discover the ‘real’ Bali. For a picturesque ending to a great day, swim in an infinity pool overlooking the Balinese rainforest in Ubud — I recommend the Rijasa Agung Hotel!
Gili Islands – a 75-minute boat ride from mainland Bali, these three tiny islands are for anyone that’s ever fantasized about living on a desert island! With the main mode of transport being bicycle and horse cart, you really are castaway! The Gili’s have some of the best snorkelling spots in the world; Snorkel with turtles — Nemo and Dory — on the Gili Islands and have a beer at the largest Irish Bar on the smallest island in the world! Accommodations are quite basic, which adds to the realness of the experience — but the stunning untouched beaches and surprisingly active nightlife make up for this in droves.
Uluwatu – situated on rolling cliffs overlooking the Indian Ocean, Uluwatu offers some of the best sunset views on the island. Couple this with the relaxing cocktail bar spa resorts and water sports — surfing, scuba, snorkelling and everything in-between — you see the reason why so many people head here while on the island.
With an exchange rate of 13,000 Rupiah to 1USD, Bali is the first place on Earth where I’ve been officially classed a millionaire. Don’t be fooled by the plethora of 0’s — Bali is extremely affordable with a beer costing around 2USD, a double room in a 3-Star hotel about 45USD per night, a three-course meal on the beach (with wine of course) for 12USD or a driver for the day — yes this is a thing — 50USD.
- Climb Mount Batur in time for sunset – setting off at 1am to climb 5,000 feet up an active volcano; if nothing else, I promise that you will never ever forget the moment you see that sun rise above the clouds from the summit
- Feed the monkeys at the Monkey Forest in Ubud
- Scuba dive in Sanur for as little as $100, regardless of experience
- Surf. You can do it… even I stood up! For just $10 you can have a 90-minute surf lesson with everything included
- Visit Tanah Lot and Uluwatu temples for culture and stunning views
- Rise and shine with sunrise yoga overlooking the Jungle
- Take a dip at the hidden waterfall in Tegenungan
What I packed
- An underwater camera to snap your snorkelling, surfing and scuba memories
- A waterproof iPhone case – nothing makes cheap drinks at a beach bar mega expensive quite like a drowned phone
- Cabeau Slingpack – folds up easily and came in handy for snacks and camera gear when climbing the mountain and on excursions
- Hand sanitiser – playing with monkeys, surfing and trekking mountains is mucky business and nothing ruins a holiday quite like a sore tummy!
- Cabeau Evolution Cool travel pillow – Bali traffic can be horrendous at times, with no cell-phone reception — what better to do than catch up on lost sleep!
Ian Thornley is a travel enthusiast and blogger from Manchester, United Kingdom. Follow his travels on:
Infinity pool overlooking the Balinese rainforest
Sunrise as seen from the summit of Mount Batur