Bali – Must Do’s! (2016 Version)

EDIT: I write about riding elephants in Bali. PLEASE DO NOT do this. This was 8 years ago when I was young and un-educated about animal welfare. All of the elephant venues in Bali offer elephant rides, which involve cruel training and expose the animals to stressful situations. It doesn’t matter how ‘nice and green’ the ‘Sanctuary’ they’re living in looks. Interacting with the animals is one of the country’s major tourism draws but over the years less and less tourists are doing this as they’ve come to realize it’s not all as nice as it seems. In order to make elephants submit to elephant rides and other human interactions, they are taken from their mothers when babies and forced through a horrific training process known as ‘the crush’. It involves extreme physical restraints, inflicting severe pain and withholding food and water. By the time tourists come to ride an elephant, it may look at peace, but this is because its spirit has been broken. The bullhook, used permanently, reminds the animal of human dominance.

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Bali is a beautiful place.

If you look past the beggars, the market people haggling to sell you things and the litter from us foreigners on some of the beaches, there’s actually a lot to see and do.

Basically, if you’ve been to Thailand. Bali is just a nicer, smaller version of it.
The water is warm, they have kind people and some fantastic food. Not to mention it’s cheap as chips and there always seems to be great weather for sunbathing, shopping and surfing.

With everything being so cheap, it makes for an awesome vacation . What you’d pay per night for a hotel back home in New Zealand ends up paying for 4 nights at a super nice hotel in Legian or on Gili Trawagen!
Not to mention the things you can do in Bali that are well worth your money.
Many of the activities I’ve mentioned in this coming blog post I’ve done myself when I was there so I hope I can give you some ideas if you’re planning on going!

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Private Day Trips – Ubud Tour

I beg anyone if you’re ever travelling to Bali, or anywhere else for that matter. Hire a driver and take a private tour or sign up for a guided tour!
I did a fantastic private day trip with Dewa Alit, an Ubud driver who’s been driving people around for over 21 years.
On the morning of our tour, I actually got the days mixed up and completely forgot about Dewa! Thankfully he was very patient and waited for my boyfriend and I while we rushed upstairs to pack a bag.
As soon as we were ready, we set off for the hours drive up to Ubud from Legian.
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We went to the monkey forest, went for a walk through the hills, had lunch overlooking the rice fields, went shopping in Ubud, all while Dewa waited in the car and helped us with our bags whenever we passed him. Basically whatever we wanted to do he’d be happy to take us there.

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It was quite a big day and by 7pm we were exhausted and pretty keen to go back to our hotel and rest. Dewa was planning to take us to a cultural/dance type show thing but when we said we were far too tired he completely understood and said “This is your tour, we do exactly what you want” and took us back to the hotel without any fuss.
We saw some great views on our tour and for NZD$83 (USD $54)  for a full day it was an awesome price. However, you can do half day tours for $53 through Ubud if you don’t have a full day to spare.
I really enjoyed doing a private tour because we weren’t rushed, we had our drivers undivided attention, we could personalize our tour a bit and he knew exactly where to go.
The only thing I didn’t quite like was going to places that I guess drivers get ‘paid’ to take you to.
We went to a tea tasting place where we tried too many teas – and we don’t even like tea! Then we felt like we had to buy bags of it afterwards.
Also we went to this Weaving place which was slightly boring but there were many other tour groups there and we just wandered around looking at weaved pictures to buy.
Discuss with your driver before-hand what you want to see, and what sights you’d like to spend the most time at. If you have a private driver, they should always take you where you want in reason.
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Other Top Rated Day Tours (I haven’t been on):
Bali Tradition Tours have amazing ratings on Trip Advisor.
They do Full Day Tours ranging from USD$79 – $94 (Per Private Tour, Not per person) and they also do Shopping Tours with Spa Stops, ohh la la. (That’d defiantly interest me if I was going with some girlfriends!)
You get to shop at the markets, go to Kintamani Village and see views of the volcano, have lunch, go to a family Balinese compound and see the traditional way of Balinese living then end your day with a one hour massage and reflexology.

Agus Bali Tours are also well talked about. Agus takes you on tours to the countryside to look at a traditional Balinese houses, Local Primary Schools, the Monkey Forest and even White Water Rafting at Ayung River. Otherwise you can design your own 9-12 hour tour for the day where you meet Agus before you start and look at a map of places you want to see. This costs about NZD $100 depending on what tour you do. Well worth it!

The Monkey Forest

I went to the Monkey Forest in Ubud and that was an awesome experience!
It’s a hit with tourists as there’s monkeys literally everywhere. The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary isn’t just a tourist attractions though, it’s an important spot for research and conservation programs that the Balinese have. You can get there by a very long taxi ride from Kuta/Seminyak, hire your own car or include it on your day tour (Which is what we did)
When you get there, at the entrance there will be people selling Bananas to feed the monkeys. Generally the monkeys will not come to you if you do not bring bananas or any other food so it’s always a good idea to buy a bunch. However if you are giving bananas or food to the monkey and they come up to take it, don’t ever try and pull it away because they’ll seriously get angry. As harmless as they are, they’re not so innocent. Before you go in, make sure you bags are zipped up tight and put your sunglasses away because these little monkeys will try and grab everything and run off with it.
From what I’ve read online, it’s about NZD$5 for entrance fees.

  • Location: Jalan Monkey Forest – Padangtegal – Ubud – Gianyar

Surfing

If you’re a water baby and love jumping on a surfboard like my boyfriend is, you’ll love Bali!
If you’re like me, and just want to watch, the beaches have beach chairs you can hire and ice-creams to buy while you watch your significant other or read a book in the sun.fb_img_1458187078008.jpg

The best places to surf depends on the seasons.
They have a Wet and a Dry season with the Dry Season (May – September) being the best times to catch the big waves.
The easiest beach to surf on if you’re wanting to learn is Kuta Beach. It has a soft tide and many lifeguards on look out as the undertow can get quite strong. If you know your surfing skills the beach’s swell is easy to conqueror.

Keramas beach past Sanur, is a good beach for intermediate – expert surfers so head over there if you’re feeling pretty confident.

Uluwatu Temple

I didn’t go here when I was in Bali, But I wish I did!
This Sea Temple is built on the edge of a 70m high cliff projecting out into the sea. Underneath is the Uluwatu Beach which is one of Bali’s best internationally-known surfing spots.

If you don’t get a chance to head to the monkey forest, Uluwata Temple will have many monkeys for you to see but be careful as they’re notorious for snatching visitors’ belongings
I’ve had a read online, and it seems like it’s best to go in the morning just before sunset for fewer crowds, Otherwise you can head there from 6pm – 7pm to watch a Kecak dance which is performed every day at the cliff-top stage with the sun setting in the background. That’d make for some nice pictures!

  • Location: Pura Uluwatu is located in Pecatu Village, Kuta sub-district, about 25km south of Kuta and it usually takes around one hour to get to and from there.

Waterbom Park

My partner and I went to Waterbom Park and we’re in our 20’s so it’s  great for all ages. It’s apparently the #1 water park in Asia and has 13 rides, a bungy, pleasure pool, fish spa therapy, massages, reflexology and hair braiding.

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It’s a really good family park. You have The Water Blaster where you get to fill up water balloons and fire them at your opposition, the little’s can swim in the  ‘Funtastic’ pool where there’s water cannons, jets and body slides with life guards on duty the whole time.Funtastic_1
The older kids and adults can go on the ‘Pipeline‘ which is what I did and absolutely screamed my head off. It’s a long 150m tube where you basically just plunge down in 13 seconds. Otherwise they have the Constrictor which is the longest water slide in the world at 1/4km long.

Don’t worry about bringing towels as you can hire them here. The park is open from 9am and closes at 6pm, You pretty much need the whole day but if you do get bored there’s the mall right across the road to do a bit of shopping afterwards or you can return to the park afterwards for ‘same day entry’
Adults are IDR 490.00 and children from 2 years old are IDR 325.00.
If you have a big family or you’re going with another couple you can do the VIP Package for IDR 950.00 per adult which gets you Admission, Lunch, All Rides, Gazebo, a Towel and the Express Counter. For VIP packages end an inquiry to their sales team at sales@waterbom-bali.com
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Bali Bird and Reptile Park

Birds, Birds, Birds!!
And snakes.
Maybe stick to the bird park if you hate snakes and reptiles.The park is divided into seven regions that recreate the natural habitats of the birds. They also do shows like the ‘Bali Rainforest’ free flight bird show and the ‘Basic Instinct’ show I’m pretty sure this is the one where I stood up and went to the front of the crowd and had big birds flying to eat food off my head. You can get pictures with the birds at ‘Guyu Guyu Corner’ and have some beautiful birds perch on your shoulders for some photo opportunities. The park and restaurant is open from 9.00 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. daily.

  • Location: Batubulan, on the road to Ubud. They’re just 20 minutes away from Sanur or 40 mins drive from Kuta.

Afternoon White Water Rafting & Night Safari

We booked this through our travel agent and it cost around NZD$200 each (maaaaybe)
I’m not completely sure. But I know that’s how much they’re advertising it for online.
We did our day trip through Bali Adventure Tours who have been operating for over 25 years.

For the White Water Rafting, you get picked up from your hotel around 12pm along with 6-8 other people and then head to the Ayung River.
We had lunch (which was just a buffet) and then headed down to the base camp where we listened to a short training session about White Water Rafting and got buckled up with our life jackets.

The Ayung River is the longest river in Bali, and to get to the top of it you walk down I swear over 100 steps to the rafts and oars.
It’s a long walk but it’s pretty much all downhill so not too bad. I had read online there were quite a few stairs so I was pretty prepared. (And now you are too)
The guides are really good. If you want you can take your camera with you and they put it in one of those waterproof bags so you can stop and take photos half way through.
They also have a camera man who follows the groups down the river and records heaps of stuff to make into a video at the end.
(You can buy the video or DVD at the end)
If you’ve done some extreme water rafting in the past, this would be pretty mediocre to you. This was my first time Water Rafting so I loved it. It was a great intro!
The scenery is lovely and it’s nice to just go down a river with no sounds of traffic or people around. Be prepared for it to rain at some point however and the guides to float you under little waterfalls and get you all wet!

Once the rafting is finished, they have showers so you can get changed and then you’re taken off to the Elephant Sanctuary for a Night Time Safari.
Unfortunately we ran over time so we missed the start of the Elephant show.
They’re in a big pen and the Elephants do tricks like painting and throwing a basketball into a hoop. I don’t have any great pictures of this as my Phone Camera is terrible in the dark.
I was a bit concerned about the Elephants as I always think they should be in their natural habitat, but the guide who took us for a ride on one was saying they’d never survive where they rescued them from. The park is acclaimed as the Worlds Best Elephant Park and has 2 hectares of exotic eco tourism landscaped botanical gardens, surrounded by national forest so they feel right at home.
You can even stay at the park if you wish!
They have accommodation ranging from Family Rooms to Suites where you can hire a private butler and private bar! Faaaaancy.
Staying at the park would be an experience in itself, imagine waking up and being able to watch the elephants get fed, ride them and then finish the afternoon off with food at their restaurant and then a body massage at their spa.
I’d recommend this adventure for couples, family’s with older children (Who can stay up past their bed time) and friends travelling together.
You can defiantly do it solo as you’re with a group of people the whole time.

Shopping!

Now I know shopping isn’t for anyone but if you have room in your bag, shop in Bali!
It’s sooo cheap.
I ended up going a bit over-board with my shopping and had to purchase another suitcase to take back home with me.
If you’re a backpacker, someone on a budget or just looking for some cheap souvenirs, the markets are always a good place to start.
Nothing ever has a ‘set’ price so you have to do some bargaining!
If you’re not very confident at it, act like you are. When I went to Bali, the shop keepers always seemed to ask us if this was “Our first time in Bali” we laughed and acted like this was our 3rd time hoping they’d think we were experts and not rip us off.
Whatever price they say, half it and then work your way up from there.
Say they want to sell you a bag for NZD $50 – IDR 441, 550 than half that price down to around IDR 220, 700 and work your way up from there.

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Everything I bought from Bali

Usually if they don’t like your price they’ll say “No no no! Too cheap” and wave their hands at you. However, if you walk away they’ll run after you and say “ok ok two hundred rupiah it is”.
Shop keepers hate to loose a sale so if they let you walk away, then you know for next time that the price you bargained was actually far too low. Sometimes if you only have a certain amount of money, just show them all you have and they’ll be more tempted to just take it instead of wasting time trying to get a better price.
If you’re wanting to buy a few pairs of sunnies or some watches (Let’s be honest, they’ll break at some point so you may as well get a few) then see if the shop keeper can give you a deal which they’ll always want to do.
The number #1 rule I suggest you follow, is always pay the amount you agreed on. If the shop keeper has accepted your price than don’t suddenly say “oh actually, no I don’t want it anymore” and walk off. It’s very rude to them and they’ll be very pissed off they just spent ages haggling with you for a couple of t-shirts when they could have been haggling other customers.

The best places for shopping are the boutiques in Seminyak if you want items that are more ‘high end’ and designer. Also the shopping malls in Kuta (Discovery Shopping Mall & Mal Bali Galeria)
You’ll find brands you recognize and prices that are much more realistic. The malls also have the westernized food like Burger King, Starbucks and Planet Hollywood if you get over noodles and fish.
Bali also have Art Markets if you’re into that sort of thing. You’ll find skirts and scarfs and wooden items to take home at the Ubud Art Market on the Jalan Raya Ubud Main Road or head to the longest standing market in Gianyar – Sukawati Art Market.

The Rock Bar

This is one other thing I never got to do but everyone recommended it to me before I went!
It’s located at Ayana Resort over looking the Indian ocean and it’s absolutely beautiful. It gets busy at sunset and I’d defiantly try and make a booking before turning up. It’s not a place to turn up in your flip-flops. They have a smart dress code so none of your Bintang singlets will be allowed. They open at 4pm and you can make a reservation through  fb.reservation@ayanaresort.com
You can also have dinner here and if you’re feeling very very generous, book a private table for you and your significant other for NZD $210 per person and upwards. They set up candle lit dinners with flowers and a 4 course menu, an extravagant dinner with Balinese dancers or have dinner on their private jetty with soft music and three lobster dishes. I obviously didn’t do this because I’m always broke haha!banner_image4

Gili Trawagen – Sunset Bar

If you’re staying on Gili Trawagen, head over to the west side of the island and check out the beautiful sun set.
It’s best to get there a bit early so you can grab a drink at the small bar and find a table.
There’s 2 sunset bars – I went to Paradise Sunset Bar which is located on South Beach. The service is a bit meh for drinks etc… but you really only go there for the view!

Gili Trawagen – Biking

It’s really easy to hire a bike on Gili Island. You’ll find many places hiring out bikes for cheap.
To bike around the whole island it takes about an hour. The only thing to remember though is if you’re doing a complete loop, there will be a part where you have to push your
bike through the sand and sweat your face off like I did haha.
Make sure to bring some water and wear a Bikini under your shorts because you’ll want to stop for a swim I’m sure!20140625_164834 Continue reading

Bali Overview. Where to stay?

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New Zealanders and Australians love Bali.
The scenery is beautiful when you get out of the bustling cities, the food and drink is so much cheaper than what we buy back home, flights are becoming cheaper with Airlines such as Jetstar providing 1-way fares for $150 and the weather is nearly always amazing!

Bali is the Number 1 Tourist destination for Australian Tourists.
Flights from Australia can be very cheap and it’s the closest country to them that has sunshine, cheap alcohol and surf. It’s like the Spring Break of America.

Depending on why you’re going to Bali, you can usually find what you’re looking for.
I know people who go to Bali on boys trips just to party it up and drink lots of Bintang Beer, Girls go with their Bridesmaids before a wedding for a long week of cheap pedicures, $10 massages and swims in infinity pools.
They have some awesome retreats here as well where you can spend days in the middle of the forest sleeping in luxury accommodation, waking up to beautiful rice fields, gourmet breakfasts and attending yoga classes.

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I personally went to Bali back in 2014 with my Boyfriend of 1 year. It was a spur of the moment decision as we were originally wanting to take a week trip to an island nearer New Zealand like Raratonga or Fiji.
One day we went to a travel Expo in our home-town and headed straight to the area where they had brochures on the Islands. As pretty as they were, we weren’t super ‘excited’ about going. The beaches looked beautiful, the accommodation looked nice but we came to the conclusion that’d we’d just be a bit… bored in Raro.
We like a bit of adventure mixed with some relaxation and culture so when we got talking to a Travel Agent who’d been to Bali, he pretty much made up our minds for heading to Indonesia for 2 weeks. He raved on about how cheap everything was, how there was lots of stuff to do and places to party etc… The next day we’d booked through Virgin Australia 2x Return trips from Wellington, New Zealand to Bali in June as our first trip as a couple!

How Long Does It Take To Get There (Direct):
This isn’t including stop-overs
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Auckland to Bali – 8 Hours, 53 minutes
Wellington to Bali – 9 Hours
Melbourne to Bali – 6 Hours
Sydney to Bali – 6 Hours, 16 Minutes
Perth to Bali – 3 Hours, 44 Minutes
Singapore to Bali – 2 Hours, 34 Minutes
New York City to Bali – 20 Hours, 46 Minutes
Chicago to Bali – 20 Hours
London to Bali – 16 Hours

I’ve had a little Sky Scanner search and I don’t think any airline in New Zealand flies direct to Bali apart from Air New Zealand who only fly direct from May – October on Saturdays and Wednesday’s.(Someone correct me if I’m wrong)

Virgin Australia always seems to stop in Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne (Both ways)
China Airlines stops in Taiwan and Jetstar will always stop somewhere in Australia.

Prices:

You can get some amazing deals on flights to Bali if you’re flying from New Zealand and don’t mind a shitty stop-over. I’ve seen Jetstar Flights for NZD$250 RETURN! (Obviously they have a stop over in Australia at inconvenient times) but if you’re not picky about times, can get time off work quickly and have the cash, I’d wait for an amazing deal like that to come up.

I’ve done a little research and the cheapest month to head over to Bali is in August.
The weather in August is pretty much the same as May and June. The whole month doesn’t vary much from the beginning to the end with average temperatures at 27°C (80°F) throughout the entire month, with lots of sun, virtually no chance of rain, and a constant, cool breeze. It is however quite humid but it’s very tempting as in August it’s Winter time in New Zealand and we’re dying for a bit of sun.

Obviously Australians can get cheaper flights, eg; Darwin to Bali for $161
Or Perth to Bali for $193 *sigh*
That’s another reason where you’ll feel like you’re surrounded my Auzzies when you’re in Bali. It’s just too cheap for them not to go!

Where To Stay:

Bali-to-Gili-Trawangan-and-Lombok1-1When my boyfriend and I went, we stayed in Legian for 5 nights, one of the Gili Islands for another 4 nights and Seminyak for 4
To make it simple for you I’ve written a little paragraph about the places to stay in Bali which you can find on the map above.

South Bali Area

South Bali is the main part where all the tourists go. It’s the closest to the airport and the perfect area for a first-time Bali goer. There’s shopping, beaches, water activities and many places to drink and party until the early hours.

berawabeach-01Canggu: Less tourists, quite a rural area with low-key nightlife and black/grey sandy beaches. Is becoming more developed over time…Think it has a water park for kids.
50-60 mins from airport

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Seminyak: Very chic, classy, fine dining and stylish beach bars. Great for high end spas and massages, surfing and the beach. Accommodation is more high-quality and modern. Many tourists stay here if you’re wanting somewhere a bit more fancy.
30 mins from airport

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Legian: Located South of Seminyak, Legian is a short taxi ride to Kuta with the advantage of not being right in the center of all the clubs and bars. I’d say this is the best place to stay accommodation-wise as you’re just a little bit away from the main ‘city center’ feel. You still have the choice of restaurants to eat at and market stalls to bargain at so you’re not completely away from all the fun stuff.
Legian has a better and less crowded surf break at the beach so may be good if you’re learning to surf.
If you’re searching for some good, cheap, clean accommodation, check out Bliss Surfer Hotel. It’s not the fanciest place to stay, the pool is over-shadowed by the hotel so it does get a bit chilly when you’re swimming but the staff are nice and the rooms are great.
I hear the Padma Resort  (Think, swim-up bar, Infinity Pool, Tennis Court, Cooking classes) or Pullman Resort are quite nice if you’re looking to pay a bit more.
10-20 mins from airport

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Kuta: Partying, Kuta beach, The Hard Rock Cafe and one of the main malls are all situated in Kuta. It’s great for nightlife and the beach but would stay away if you don’t like massive crowds and pumping music.
Kuta has great surfing options for beginners and experienced surfers. Have a look on TripAdvisor for some good companies.
If you’re looking to do some shopping, check out Kuta Square, Discovery mall (right across the road from Waterbom water park) or Beachwalk Shopping Center for all your shopping and dining needs.
Kuta is where the Bali Bombings took place in 2002 at Paddy’s Pub. There is now a permanant memorial at the site with all the names of the people that were killed along with the national flags of the victims to pay your respects.
10-20 mins from airport

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Jimbaran: Think Seafood, spas, calm waters and white sand. Great if you have children as the waters are shallow and you can explore the morning Jimbaran Markets for fresh seafood. Has an amazing sunset after 5pm where you can relax with a cocktail and head to bed before 12am as the clubs usually shut around 11pm. However Kuta and Seminyak are only a cab ride away if you want to stay here and party somewhere else.
This is where the famous Rock Bar is located.
10-20 mins from airport

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Nusa Dua: Has an amazing beach with water sports and coral beds for snorkeling. The surfing is amazing, I’ve read it’s recommended to hire a boat to take you out to the Nusa Dua Break. Also has one of the most popular shopping centers. Not really a place for partying and dining but the resorts will make you nice cocktails to sip in the sun.
30 mins from airport

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Sanur: More on the Southeast coast, but a great place for people wanting a bit of peace and quiet in a tropical paradise. White sandy beaches, clear waters, great for kids as it has calmer waters and a few water sports like water skiing or kite surfing. Not too many places to shop but has souvenir stores and places to buy some clothing.
30 -40 mins from airport

Central Bali


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Ubud:
Ever heard of Eat, Pray, Love? Well that was situated in Ubud. Imagine rolling green hills, fresh air, rice paddies and temples. This is the place to go if you want to get away from the touristy area and really get to know the Balinese Culture. This is where people come to do yoga and stay at meditation resorts. It also has the monkey forest, elephant riding and white water rafting. About a 45 minute drive away from the beach.

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Bali, Gianyar. Administration building in Gianyar city.

Gianyar: Not too far from Ubud, here you can buy traditional paintings, browse through flea markets, and haggle until your hearts content.Not really a place to party or even get massages but it has more of a Balinese Culture to explore.

North Bali

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Lovina: A destination of slow-paced beach towns. Has black sand beaches and live music with a few clubs scattered around. You can snorkel around the local reefs or take a trip to see the off-shore islands and dolphins! However from what I’ve read, there’s not a lot to do.
3-4 hours from airport

East Bali

tulamben1Tulamben: The most likely thing you’ll be doing here is Diving. Tulamben is a small fishing village and a very popular dive site. A US Army Transport ship torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in 1942 lies just 25m’s off shore so divers love to go and explore.
3 hours from airport

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Amed: Same deal as Tulamben, Amed is a very popular place for diving. Come here if you want to snorkel and dive until you have water in your ears. You can also climb up 3.142 meters of Bali’s highest mountain, Mount Agung if you’re wanting a day of exercise.
The mountain is about 40 minutes from Amed and while you’re there you can check out Bali’s largest and most sacred Hindu temple at the bottom.
Luxury Villa Celagi is a popular place to stay if you’re wanting to stay on the island.
2 hours from airport

The Islands

Now if you really want to sail away from the mainland, head over and check out some of these beautiful islands.

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Nusa Lembongan:
Not really a place to stay, but defiantly a place to visit. This is basically island life of what Bali used to be 25 years ago. Great for a day trip to do some snorkeling and meet the locals. However if you do want to get back to basics and stay on the island, there are some nice accommodation options where you can stay, go swimming and head to the Scooby Doo Beach Bar.

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Gili Islands:

To make this short, there are 3 Islands. 

  1. Gili Air
  2. Gili Meno
  3. Gili Trawangan.

    Gili Trawangan
    is the bustling island where you go if you want to meet backpackers, party, sleep or just watch a movie in the sand. Most of the action is centered on the southern part of the island but it’s also fine to go to as a couple if you want a romantic getaway. There’s not motorized transport so everything is horse and cart over here!
    Gili Meno is the least visited island. I know they have a turtle sanctuary and you can do some diving trips which are meant to be good. Other than that, there’s not too much to do. You can stay here in one of the bungalows they have available on the island but don’t expect anything too special.
    Gili Air is where all the locals live. It still has restaurants and bars but it’s not as intense as Gili T with all the partying. They have a Night Market, some boat tours and some Villa’s to stay in but I probably wouldn’t spend too long here.

kaliantan-lombokLombok: An East Island just off Bali, it isn’t as popular as it’s neighbor but has many isolated beaches and a perfect place to stay if you just want to do day-trips to The Gili Islands. Also it’s the home of Mount Rinjani (the second highest volcano in Indonesia) where you can book guided tours to explore. The main area to stay in on Lombok is Senggigi as that’s where all the hotels and restaurants are. Things to do are day trips, swimming and snorkeling.

Credit: None of the pictures used are mine, if you come across a picture you own let me know and I’ll credit you 🙂 I just did a cheeky Google search.

My 2014 Travels To Bali…

I thought I’d put in here an old entry that I wrote on my past blog about my trip to Bali in 2014 🙂 I apologize I’ve very lazy with my writing on this blog as I think I rushed it and probably wrote the word ‘like’ too many times!
EDIT: I write about riding elephants in Bali. PLEASE DO NOT do this. This was 8 years ago when I was young and un-educated about animal welfare. All of the elephant venues in Bali offer elephant rides, which involve cruel training and expose the animals to stressful situations. It doesn’t matter how ‘nice and green’ the ‘Sanctuary’ they’re living in looks. Interacting with the animals is one of the country’s major tourism draws but over the years less and less tourists are doing this as they’ve come to realize it’s not all as nice as it seems. In order to make elephants submit to elephant rides and other human interactions, they are taken from their mothers when babies and forced through a horrific training process known as ‘the crush’. It involves extreme physical restraints, inflicting severe pain and withholding food and water. By the time tourists come to ride an elephant, it may look at peace, but this is because its spirit has been broken. The bullhook, used permanently, reminds the animal of human dominance.

 June 2014

Our first day in Bali!
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After getting off the plane after a 6 hour flight we were very keen to just get through customs and straight to our hotel.

However once we got off the plane and the bus took us to the airport terminal we saw the line for quarantine and man was it long! There must have been at least 600 people lining up! At least there was wi-fi at the airport so me and Nathan just stood in line after paying for our visa’s and looked on Facebook etc.

There was this lady behind me with her husband and 2 kids who tried to push in front of us so I stepped in front of her (who does she think she is, everyone’s lining up for the same thing) and she gave me the meanest look! She honestly looked like she wanted to slap me. She said something to her husband in their language and the whole time we were lining up they were glaring at me. I could feel their eyes piercing into the back of my head

I was waiting for her to yell at me or something so I could yell at her back but she ended up joining a different queue.

Once we got through, our shuttle was waiting for us to take us to our hotel. We got flowers at the airport and our shuttle driver gave us water to drink on the way.
fb_img_1452478019431.jpgOur hotel was wonderful from the very beginning! I did a bit of research about Bliss surfer Hotel before we booked and i’d heard great things about it so I was very happy with our choice. We stayed there for 6 nights in Legian for around $400 for the both of us so it was well worth the money.
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When we arrived they carried our bags for us, gave us a welcome drink, and took us to our room. I was very impressed with how neat and clean our room was. The service from all the staff was excellent as well (always saying hello when we walked by etc) and they were very accommodating.
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When we’d finished unpacking a few things we thought we’d go out and explore the main strip of Legian for a bit. It was only about a 8 minute walk around the corner from our hotel which was good but man the roads in Bali are way worse than Thailand I think. Awful awful awful! So many cracks and parts that don’t have any footpath or just massive holes in the sidewalk that you’d fall into if you weren’t looking. After a few days me and Nathan begun taking taxi’s back to our hotel just so we wouldn’t have to walk back down the dimly lit roads to our hotel.

Markets in Bali are all very much the same. Selling lots of Bintang singlets (the local beer) lots of fake watches and Nike shoes along with every store selling converse shoes and ray bans sunglasses along with little nick knacks like bottle openers and mini surfboards etc.

We didn’t buy anything on the first day though. If you ever go to Bali you’ll be.ripped off on the first day because they’ll double the price of something to sell you and you won’t know any different so just straight out buy it.

I think t-shirts are around $50,000 RPH ($5 NZD) and bags are like $150,000 – $20,000 if you can get it down to that price!

So after being harassed walking down JL Legian we came across a little restaurant that we decided to eat from (there’s heaps of them it’s just finding one that’s good!) I ordered some Chicken Enchilada type thing and Nathan ordered a steak. It was pretty average but edible and I can’t really complain because we only paid probably NZD $15 for our whole meal including drinks. We were really knackered from our flight by this stage so we went straight back to Bliss Surfer Hotel and got ready for bed. We hadn’t slept in 24 hours so I was asleep so quick!!

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Day 2

I woke up with the itchiest leg!! I must have been bitten the night before or something because I had two massive lumps on my left leg that I just couldn’t stop scratching. fb_img_1456342779872.jpgUsually whenever I go on a trip I pack everything from sunscreen to anti-histamines but after many time of not using the stuff I bring in the first place I decided not to on this trip to Bali. Once we’d gotten up and showered we headed downstairs for our buffet breakfast at the hotel. At first we loaded up our plates because there was so much to choose from but by the end of our trip we were having cereal and very plain breakfasts because our tummies didn’t quite like the change in breakfast choice.
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There was everything from fruit salad to pancakes to omelettes and fried rice with sausages and noodles. It was quite a selection we had every day!  Once we’d finished up our breakfast we took a taxi to Kuta Square. (About a 5 minute drive away without traffic for NZD $1.50) we explored the shops, i bought a couple of watches, some massage oils and little souvenirs, Nathan got some sunglasses from a Kuta market stall which he nearly ended up paying $190 for!! He got confused with the money but thank god he quickly realized he was handing over too much money and only paid NZD$20 for 4 pairs. Phew! They were really cheeky there though. I bought a pair of sunglasses but he wouldn’t give them to me until i looked at his ‘mates’ dresses and tops from the stall next door to his. Id paid for them and everything and the guy kept telling me that this or that dress would suit me and to try this dress on and I was so beautiful blah blah. I was so not in the mood! Me and Nathan were sweating getting used to the heat and I just wanted to leave! The previous guy I bought the sunglasses off though had a go at his mate I think and he ended up handing over my purchase when He could see i’d defiantly had enough. We took a taxi to Legian Beach and lay in the sun for the rest of the afternoon.

I basically just sweated my face off trying not to get burnt and Nathan battled the waves in the massive surf Legian beach had. Honestly I was too scared to go in very far because the swell was huge!  When we’d had enough of the beach we walked a little bit back to Legian and looked at some more markets on the way then ended up just getting a taxi back to Discovery Mall because it was so hot. The heat in Bali I think I can handle a lot more than my trip to Thailand. I was either expecting it to be hot and got used to it a lot quicker or Thailand is just way more humid.

When we got to Discovery mall we had an ice-cream from Cold stone Ice-cream (which I loveee) and Nathan had a thick shake. They honestly make the yummiest ice-creams.fb_img_1456343214668.jpg

We had a look around all the shops as well but I didn’t really buy anything. There was heaps of cheap stuff but not as cheap as what you can get on the streets. we thought we’d go back the next day and have a proper look before we went to the Water park across the road from Discovery Mall the next day. I wasn’t super hungry so I kinda skipped on the dinner and Nathan had Burger King. Haha really branching out on the local cuisine on our second day weren’t we!
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Day 3
Today we thought we were gonna make our way to Waterbom Park.
We had just finished breakfast and were lazying around on the couches by the pool when Nathan asked me to look on the calendar on my phone and see when we had a night free to go out to this really nice dinner place called Potato Head.
It wasn’t until I looked in my phone that I realized we’d booked a Private Day Tour of Ubud that morning and we were already half an hour late!
We ran to reception where we were greeted by our tour guide.
Ahh, such a rush!
We quickly explained to him that we completely forgot and to wait a few minutes while we ran upstairs to our room to get a small bag ready for our day.
I was a bit gutted because for the Ubud tour I was expecting to take lots of pictures and that morning I purposely didn’t wash my hair because I thought we were going swimming. Hence why the Ubud photo’s on my Facebook I have my hair up in a ponytail looking like I just rolled out of bed.
I can’t remember our tour guide’s name. It was with Dewa Tours, and it was all very professional and he was really nice.
No one speaks the best English really over there but he was easy to understand and took us wherever we wanted to go.
We stopped off first to this Weaving place where we saw lots of Traditional Weaving techniques being made my Balinese women.
Quite interesting if you’re into that sort of thing…
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Next stop was the Bali Bird & Reptile Park.
We saw lots of birds (Obviously)
We took some pictures with them on us and got to hold them. There was even a bird show we attended and I ended up going up as a volunteer and had heaps of birds fly around me and grab stuff off my head.
After we had a good look around the bird park we went next door to the reptile park. Man were there a lot of snakes. Me and Nathan aren’t a big fan of snakes so we didn’t stick around to look at them for very long. There were also alligators and tortoises and those big lizard iguana things I’m holding in the picture I’ve attached.
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Once we’d finished at the bird park we headed off with our driver to the Monkey Forest. I was expecting some monkeys in a forest behind some cages or something. But nope, there was literally hundreds of monkeys in a forest roaming around stealing everyone’s bananas they purchased. (Note to anyone who goes here, don’t even bother purchasing bananas. The guides give you food to feed them anyways and you get to see them be fed before you leave)The monkeys are so cute!
Until they turn on you and each other and go nuts trying to fight. They’re actually like humans!
I can understand how there’s a relation between humans and monkeys.

So we fed some monkeys, did a walk up to a temple and took some pictures. I really wanted this one monkey to come near me and sit on me so I pretended I had some food and he came over and when he realized I was full of shit he started attacking me. He pulled at my bracelets and actually like hit me and tried to pull my dress until Nathan told him off haha.

After playing with the monkeys (And my hands feeling like they needed a wash)
We were driven to a restaurant out in the hills of Ubud.
I probably put bad karma on us as soon as we walked in because I stepped on one of the Balinese offering they had placed at the doorway
Offerings in Bali are literally everywhere. From the front of shops, in taxi’s, on the top counter of a store at the mall. They line the streets and are placed in and around temples EVERYWHERE. Basically I was bound to step on one at some point.
Collection of daily offerings to ward off the evil
‘Offerings’ as they’re called, are basically a ritual of giving back what has been given to you by the Gods. They appeases the spirits and bring good health to a family. The little baskets are made out of natural materials (Like a banana leaf) and they may hold a small amount of rice, meat, fish or part of a flower. It’s quite interesting because every morning the streets are swept and everything is cleaned to make way for the offerings to be placed.
Anyways, So i stepped on one of them and pretty much dragged it into the restaurant with me while a Balinese lady ran after me.
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We were seated at a table upstairs overlooking a pool (There must have been a hotel next door) and a beautiful green view of trees and rice fields.Thinking we’d really experience the Balinese culture on this day trip, Nathan and myself opted for a more authentic dish (Compared to burgers, fries and Pizza’s we’d been demolishing already)
I ordered a Curry and Nathan ordered a Grilled Chicken.
And my god, that’s exactly what he got. A chicken which was probably caught out the back, grilled and put on a plate for him while my green curry was pretty much water, some veges and a horrible flavor with Chicken in it.
I’m sorry but I couldn’t even eat my meal. I must be too used to additives and flavors in every meal I have back home so I attempted to eat my Curry but ended up just eating some Rice and mixing it around my plate to look like I’d eaten something!
Meanwhile Nathan had to break the bones off this chicken and tear it apart to eat it and ended up giving up because it just wasn’t appealing at all for him to eat!
We left pretty quickly after that.
We drove past alot of cool stuff, ended up stopping and shopping for ages as well while our poor driver just sat outside the car and waited for us.
We felt bad but it’s what they get paid to do! I’d feel less bad if he had a book or something to read.
Whenever we’d walk past with our shopping he’d run up to us and take it for us to put in the car so we never had to carry anything around.
We also did a walk through Ubud, up in the village where all of the locals live. By this stage I was so knackered and our driver said it was gonna be a 2 hour walk. He ended up dropping us off half way so we wouldn’t have to walk uphill and he met us at the end. I’m so thankful he did that because my feet were killing me and I was living on very little sleep I felt!
While I was looking at this abandoned house, I heard my name be called out and I realized my old flat mate from Auckland, Ashley was doing the walk as well! Small world isn’t it.
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Once we’d gotten to the car, I was pretty keen to go home, and that’s what I thought we were doing! But suddenly our driver said he would take us to a traditional dancing show which was like an hours drive away and didn’t start until 7.30pm.
Me and Nathan secretly really didn’t want to go. We just wanted to head back to our hotel, have some dinner and go to bed haha.
We were just going to go along with it but I thought, No I’m so tired I can’t do any more activities. I asked Kindly if it was okay if we missed it and our tour guide was really good about it.
He was all like “Of course, its your tour! You can do whatever you like”
On the way back, we hadn’t paid him yet so Nathan and I started counting out some money and for some reason I thought we had to pay him $60 USD EACH.
Even Nathan asked me, are you sure it’s $60 each? (He thought it was a bit expensive because everything over there is soo cheap)
I was adamant I was right so we counted up some money and even put an extra NZD $10 in there (Doesn’t sound like much but it would have been in Bali)
When he dropped us off at Bliss Surfer Hotel, We thanked him very kindly (Because we did have a really good day) We told him that we’d left him a little tip in the payment and gave him his money. He was all like “Oh wow, thank you so much! Have a wonderful rest of your holiday”
As we were walking off, Nathan was like “Now you’re sure it was $60 each?” So I re-checked the e-mails I’d sent to confirm the tour and it turns out it was $60 for the whole day altogether.*Sigh*
I know $60 isn’t much to loose but in Bali it’s heaps!! I could go out for dinner for three nights on that 😦
Bet he was a very happy tour guide that day!
Day 4
The next day we went off to Waterbom park and had lots of fun on all the rides and lots of swimming!
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There were a few scary rides that I wasn’t sure whether to go on but I kept thinking, I’m only here once so I gotta do it!
Very proud of myself, I went on everything and it was lots of fun 🙂
If you have kids and go to Bali, this is a really good place to go!
You don’t carry cash around either, you basically have a loaded wrist band to pay for everything from massages to food there. (Just like at R’n’v)
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We got our picture drawn as well and got some reflexology done and a half hour back massage.
Bliss!

We were there right until closing time.
The scariest ride was probably ‘The Climax’
You enter a small chamber 16M above the ground and then a trap door closes you in while you step on this platform and it fully gives way underneath you. You basically freefall on a near vertical dip before going back up and looping around.
I don’t have my own pictures of it, but here’s some I found on google…
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After Waterbom, we headed over to the mall across the road and went to the Games Arcade we saw there the other day.
We were expecting it to be heaps of fun but half the games we broken and we put $10 on a card which we just couldn’t run out of money on!
I swear every game was like 10c!
We ended up just playing the same game over and over to win tickets from and exchanged over 500 tickets at the end and got a stuffed owl toy.
We named him Olly.
Lol.
Day 5
Went to Crystal Bay today!
Our transport van came and got us from our hotel and drove us to where all the boats were.
We met a lovely lady on the trip as well who lives in Australia and travels all the time. She was telling us everywhere to go and what countries to visit. I felt like she mothered us on the trip, but in a good way.
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When we got on the yacht, we were given drinks and fresh fruit as well as a sea sickness tablet.
There were like little bed lounges at the front of the boat where Nathan & myself set ourselves up on.
I had a nice little shut eye on the 2 hour boat cruise until I felt really sick and ended up having to lie down inside the cabin. Urgh!
It wasn’t just me though. Everyone else felt really sick as well.
When we finally got to Crystal Bay though, It was really nice!
The bay isn’t easily visited and is therefore often empty. There’s just palm tree’s and a small village with some animals on the island which belong to the locals.
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Just outside the bay there is a big rock (Which you can see in the picture) and the diving here is considered some of the best on the island with eels, Napoleon Fish, Parrot fish and turtles. Only people who have good Dive experience can dive here so Nathan & myself just stuck to snorkeling.
I loved it though!
The water was clear and blue and there were lots of fish to see. I wish we did more snorkeling on our trip. We tried to on Gili Island but we were told to go in the wrong place where you couldn’t see much under water 😦
On the Island we also had a lunch, a tour of the village (Where we met some local children and saw how they all lived) learnt how to break open coconuts, received massages and did more snorkeling. It was a really nice day actually!
We left in the afternoon, and the boat ride back was a lot better I felt
We finished off our night with a trip to Beach-walk mall. Where I happily found the Victoria Secrets store! (I basically spent all my money there while on holiday) It was a smaller store (Didn’t sell bra’s etc…) But I bought pretty much every pair of underwear and body butter they had. Along with like 8 perfumes and spritz and little goodie bags. When Nathan saw Victoria Secrets he kinda just left me to it and went to get something to eat.
Day 6
Today we were picked up by Bali Adventure Tours.
They do activities such as Rafting adventures, River Kayaking, White Water Rafting, Jungle Trekking and Mountain Cycling as well as owning the Bali Elephant Safari Park where you can touch, feed and ride elephants through the tropical jungle. (It’s not really a jungle, just a part of the park you go through)
We booked the day of white water rafting, watching a Night Time Elephant show and riding the elephants at night then finishing off with a dinner.
Once our driver picked us up, he also picked up another couple from Australia pretty much the same age as us. It ended up working out really well because we all got along and were doing the exact same thing. They were in our white water rafting boat and joined us for dinner at the end too.
White Water Rafting was heaps of fun!
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It was defiantly not super thrilling like you see on some adventure things in New Zealand but it was really nice to float down the Ayung River and see the rain-forest. It was the perfect thing to do if you’ve never been white water rafting before so you can learn what to do and how it all works without getting too freaked out.
Half way through the 2 hour journey it ended up pouring down with rain!
Like literally just drenched us. It got so bad that I couldn’t even open my eyes. Everyone else had to paddle while I had my oar over my head because my contact lenses were beginning to come out. What a nightmare! Haha.
At the end, we had a shower and then headed off to this Elephant Show. If I could change anything, I wouldn’t do the elephants at night time. Unless you have a brilliant night time camera you don’t get really any good pictures. Plus when you’re riding the elephants it’s hard to see where you’re going so you can’t experience your surroundings very well.
I’d rode Elephants in Thailand before but it’s still an exciting thing to do when you’re overseas.
After feeding and riding the elephants we went and had a buffet dinner at The Elephant Park. The dinner was alright (nothing to rave about unfortunately) .
It was another ‘Bali buffet’ which tends to always be on the menu when you’re doing a tour. They did have a lovely vegetarian Lasagna which I think I took two helpings of.
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Before we left we had a look at the gift shop and Nathan bought me this little tiny stuffed toy elephant.
I have this thing where anything that’s soft and fluffy (Even if it’s not alive) it just melts my heart.
I think my Mum secretly had to throw out some stuffed animals of mine when I was younger because I just wouldn’t let them go. Nathan knows this as well so he picked up this tiny, cute little grey Elephant and said he’d get it for me. Knowing I was running out of room in my suitcase I said no but he insisted and kept making little baby elephant noises saying I was abandoning her and all she wanted was love blah blah so I caved and now she sits next to me on my bedside drawer. *Sigh*
Just another thing I’ll never be able to let go of.
She does look pretty cute though.
Days 7/8/9/10
[Gili Islands, Gili Trawangen]
The three Gili Islands, From left, Gili Trawangen, Gili Meno & Gili Air.
The big Island is Lombok (Where planes fly into and heaps of people live)
We sadly left Bliss Surfer Hotel and headed on to our next destination. Gili Trawangen!
It was a 2 hour speed boat ride over (Heaps of people got sick on the boat but not me!)
Gili T (As it’s known) is the largest of the three Gili Islands with a population of around 800. To get around the island you basically either walk, hire a bicycle or hop onto a Cidomo (Horse cart)
There’s no motorized transport so you have to either walk or go on a Horse Cart and you do end up feeling really sorry for the horses having to cart round people and luggage all day in the heat. 😦
We stayed at a place called Vila Ombak. It was all good, the staff were very slow, which we realized was very common on the island. The Vila we stayed in was probably a 5/10 for me.
3 light-bulbs didn’t work. We had to ask 4 times for them to bring us towels to our room as we had none and it’s all salt water showers with very limited fresh water.
The whole island itself has limited tap water that’s fresh so it is really Island life!
We didn’t mind the salt water after awhile though. Its really good for your skin anyways! It helps to moisturize it as well as drying out blemishes and it doesn’t disturb your skin’s natural barrier so it’s great when you’ve got a cut or a sore because it’ll heal it up really well.
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Our Villa we stayed in (Upstairs)
We stayed right across from the beach where they had this area with a big projector screen and bean bags and showed movies every night.
You’d basically lie on the beach and watch a movie (Which we actually never ended up doing) but we walked past it many times with lots of people laid out on the sand.
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Gili T is a big ‘Learn-to-dive’ Island.
I never did it but If I ever went back I’d probably give it a go.
Lots of resorts have ‘learn to dive’ type pools and there’s heaps of boats that can take you out and teach you as well.
There’s a Gili Yoga Centre (Which I only just found out about), you can horse ride along the beach and surf in certain parts.
There’s actually lots to do on the Island that’s known for it’s partying.
We went there and never partied though. Most of our nights were spent going out for dinners, taking walks along the beach, browsing around the few shops that they had.
Basically if you wanna relax you can, if you want to party you also can.
Nathan’s sister went to Gili T last week for 4 nights and she said that was defiantly enough time to stay there.
We went for 3 nights and it was perfect I think.
There are boats that can take you around all 3 Islands and we were going to spend a day doing that but after a week of just doing so many activities this was our chance to do absolutely nothing and I loved it.
We attempted some more snorkeling, did a lot of swimming in our hotel pool, had drinks at the swim up bar, ate out lots, got my nails done and massages and basically just lay on the beach all day!
Also, if anyone ever goes to Gili T, there’s a place called Sunset Bar which is really nice to go to just before sunset and it’s really beautiful!
It’s a bit of a walk but it’s worth it 🙂
 After Gili Island, we headed back to the mainland and stayed for a few more nights in Seminyak.
It was a lovely stay!
We stayed at Centra Taum and I defiantly recommend it as somewhere to stay if you’re not quite sure.
The staff are really friendly and helpful and the rooms are really nice as well! 🙂
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