This is definitely the hardest post to write about my travels, because it is indeed the last for now.
What a place, it really really is a surfers paradise and a place I could quite happily spend a lot more of my time. Starting in a jungle we explored Ubud, Seminyak, Kuta, Canggu and all over Uluwatu for the couple of weeks we had here.
Ubud is a magical place. We managed a deal with one of the local Grab (/Uber) drivers to take us around for the day as we didn’t have much time to see everything – this is such a good option if you’re short on time and don’t want to mess around with hiring bikes etc.
Of course we had to see the Monkey Village, which is a forest sanctuary for monkeys, they can roam free in a protected area and it’s so beautifully looked after and kept (although be careful – provoked (and unprovoked) if you get too close these monkeys will probably jump on you and sometimes bite…but clearly they are wild animals so what can you really expect!? And who doesn’t love running from monkeys anyways).
We also went to see Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave) a temple famous for its ancient carvings. It was built as a spiritual place for meditation and around the grounds Indonesian’s light incense and offerings are left on the temples as gifts. We ate lunch overlooking the rice paddies and constrained ourselves from spending a stupid amount of money to sit on a massive swing over the fields, as you will have seen posted about a million times by public figures on Instagram.
Ubud Palace is in Ubud itself and young children hold Balinese dance performances in it’s courtyard. Yet again we were tight with our money and didn’t pay to watch one, but got to see them all practising for free anyway! The Balinese architecture is so beautiful, it’s almost gothic or tribal and looks influenced from Japan or New Zealand but is apparently developed from Hindu influences with volcanic colours and rock.
One of the weeks we spent in Bali luckily landed on my birthday and a group of friends from home who happened to be travelling around at the time (plus Tobs who flew from China…) met up with us and we all shared a massive villa for a few nights in Canggu…it was honestly one of the best weeks of my life.
We basically spent a week going out, having pool parties until 5am, eating our way around all the hipster cafes (CRATE and Pelaton Supershop still win for me – check out the links for one of the funkiest websites I’ve ever seen) watching Skate Jams and the boys surf all day everyday. We explored what felt like the whole coast of Uluwatu by motorbike and swam in crystal clear water drinking coconuts and Bintangs on sandy beaches.
We went to a place called Sky Garden in Kuta and Old Man’s in Seminyak but my favourite club was La Favela in Seminyak which was covered in jungle, a stream running through it and bridges to link it all together. We also found out that Seminyak is very good for shopping, but much more expensive than Kuta…pick up your fake nikes and slides in Kuta guys n gals.
Canggu and Uluwatu have actually become some of my favourite places ever. Single Finn’s down in Uluwatu is the best place to watch the surfers at sunset and grab a cheap Nasi Goreng at a local Warung. They also have live music and DJs that you can dance to literally overlooking the ocean. We spent a lot of evenings drinking Bintangs in seating areas outside local Minimarts…this sounds so weird but apparently it’s the way it’s done in Bali (and it was actually so much fun).
On the last evening in Uluwatu we went to a club called Cashew Tree for live music and a dance, such a lovely place and way to end the time here. Definitely check out Outside Corner and Pretty Poison if you’re into skating – semi pros frequent skate jams here and sitting eating yum veggie food while watching a skate bowl in an actual restaurant is not a bad way to spend an evening.
On our last night in Bali (and the last night of our travels *CRY*) we ended up grabbing last minute tickets to see Disclosure at Potato Head Club in Seminyak – WHAT A TREAT. This club has an infinity pool overlooking the ocean, a big lawn with blankets and chairs to sit on under palm trees and a massive disco ball. It ended up being more of a private gig and we were honestly stood right in front of them for a 3.5 hour live set!
Bali is one of a kind. There are people from all over the world and you will frequently bump into or walk past celebrities. I found myself saying so often “Oh…that’s the model I follow on Instagram” FAN GIRL moments EVERYWHERE. The beaches are beautiful and the surf is constant. Food is cheap (and v v edgy if you want it FT smoothie bowls and avocado’s galore). The night life is crazy and the people are some of the friendliest I’ve ever met. Not to mention the weather is 10/10 every. single. day.
What’s not to like about Bali? Hmmm, I guess that’s kind of the problem. Bali is becoming so, so popular with people all over the world that it is starting to become exploited. There are too many people on this tiny island for the quality of life to carry on. Obviously poverty exists here and maybe the tourism industry is a good way to combat some of that, however, over population is over population. If there are more and more people there is less food, less clean drinking water, busier roads, not enough room for the local population etc etc.
It took us hours to drive from Kuta down to Uluwatu because of the traffic and how small the roads were (there was just toooo many cars and bikes on the roads for the traffic to even move anywhere!) when in-fact a quick motorway like here in the UK and the journey would have taken less than half an hour. Having spoken to friends who have been to Bali years ago, the development is insane. Places that were covered in jungle only a few years ago are now hubs for villas, housing and new businesses everyday. The wild Bali is being built out by a push from the Western world. I wonder what the local people have to say about their land being used this way? Or maybe they are the ones making the push and bringing money to the country? I’m not sure, but I for one would hate to see beautiful Bali covered in buildings and motorways instead of palm trees and rice paddies.
I love Bali. But so do millions of other people. And I’m not sure what the line is between over exploiting a country and traveling sustainably, supporting local communities? (Any tips on this please leave in comments below!)
Thank you Bali for some of the best days of my life (not forgetting the class people I got to spend them with – I LOVE YOU ALL).
(also LOL at this pic)
Saya harap saya bisa melihat Anda segera