Can I tell you a story about the time I went to Bali?

 

My trip to Bali has been long overdue.

Every Australian will eventually take a trip to Bali – it’s inevitable.

Bali is relatively close to Australia. You can fly from Perth to Bali in 3 hrs. And approx. 8 hrs from Sydney. The chances of you running into another Australian tourist is 80%.

I’ve been avoiding Bali for quite some time now, mainly because of the high influx in tourism that occupies this Indonesian island. But after reading up on numerous travel blogs about Bali, it was calling out to me to experience on my own Eat Pray Love.

This was actually my Philippines trip but I’ve decided to do a stop over in Bali for 3 days to see my friend M from New York, who was travelling to Bali to ring in her 30th Birthday. We both landed quite late, so we decided to stay in Kuta (close to the airport) overnight, so the next morning we got a transfer straight to Ubud. If you’re like me, not a big city person, I would recommend leaving Kuta and Seminyak for the countryside scenery too.

Ubud is beautiful, lash and green. It’s an hour from the airport up in the hills, so it’s slightly cooler and wetter in climate.

We stayed at the Calma Ubud Suite & Villa, and because it was so beautiful there we spent a lot of time chilling out in the pool and didn’t get the chance to explore the main town in Ubud. Mind you, I was only in Bali for a short amount of time I didn’t get a chance to experience the vegan cafes in Ubud (famous for healthy eating).

You can leave me here and I’ll be happy.

On our way to Ubud we stopped by the Tegenungan Waterfall and a temple.

I started to notice Bali is very Instagramable, quite literally, there are props around tourist spots for you to take photos e.g. the bird nests and swings. I’m a bit on the fence about this, as it takes away from the actual natural attraction itself.

We were there during a Hindu public holiday period, which was nice to see how the locals celebrated and prepared the offerings.

You must try the Indonesian national dish of Mie Goreng (fried noodles) or Nasi Goreng (fried rice). I must admit food was the one aspect I didn’t enjoy about Bali. It lacked authenticity, a lot of what was on the menu was predominantly western food, I guess it was catering to the masses of tourists and not local stomachs.

The next day we moved to our next accommodation (we didn’t stay anywhere more than one night), the amazing Mason Elephant Safari Park. I was immediately in love with this hotel, not only was it was 5 Star Hotel but it was also a conservation centre for Elephants. The Safari park has been rescuing Sumatra Elephants for years now, a lot of people get put off by the chains and the exposure the elephants have to humans. But the truth is, the elephants are so well treated that I didn’t have any problems nor complaints with my overnight stay. Elephants are my favourite animals and I would never endorse in an organisation where they would be treated unfairly.

Elephants are tribal animals, because the Park rescues different elephants from different tribes, at night they need to be chained up so they are not aggravated by each other, as they can start fights and become aggressive towards humans. The Park does allow guests to interact with the elephants such as bathing with them, swimming and riding them, at extra costs. This seems a bit off putting at the idea of exploitation, but the reality is Elephants are expensive to look after! They eat a large amount of food a day and the upkeep to protect and breed them can be exponential! It’s only fair that these costs are necessary to keep the conservation active. 

Sitting by the pool with the elephants roaming around casually behind us.

Our Uber transfer to dinner (to the restaurant 200m away) but such a lovely treat!

Last cuddles with a baby elephant before we headed out.

We organised a private transfer to the Tegallalang Rice Paddy, having a private transfer is the best way to go about this. It might be a bit more expensive, but there are no taxis in this area, your driver will have to wait for you to finish.

Absolutely stunning.

M wanted to do the swings, I wasn’t brave enough. But she loved it!

If you do want to pose with these floating nests, I would suggest doing it here because there are no lines, unlike the other tourist attractions.

Entry to the Rice Fields is roughly AUD$15.

On my last day we were a bit pressed for time, as we made our way to Nusa Penida, an island 40mins via ferry from Bali. We got our hotel to organise the transfer and private car tour for Nusa Penida. 

We got up early and caught the 8am ferry over to the island and immediately started our tour. By doing it privately it gives you more control to dictate how long you want to spend time at certain spots. 

We only had time to do the West side tour, but if I had more days on the island I would have liked to see the East side too. 

First stop, Crystal Beach!

The famous Kelingking Beach. If you have time, go for a hike down to the beach front.

Shops and restaurants at Kelingking, got ourselves a fresh coconut juice.

Broken beach and Angels Billabong.

Finishing my Bali leg of the trip by having dinner and drinks in Seminyak watching the sunset before catching my midnight flight to Manila.

Thank you Bali for a great time! Surprisingly loved my experience there more than I expected. And thank you M are letting me ring in your 30th with you! 

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