Seminyak Shopping & Massages in Ubud – 20th August 2022

Today was the day we had a photoshoot organised. We’re not usually a couple to do professional photos however I wanted to display something on our wedding day that wasn’t just a selfie of us at some beach somewhere. I found a guy online and Whatsapp’d messaged him a few weeks prior about doing some early morning photos near a waterfall or in the rice fields of Ubud. Unfortunately though, the dress I ordered for the photos didn’t arrive until THE DAY we left Perth for Bali. I was out with Nathan at the gym when the courier came so they didn’t drop it off and It wasn’t yet at the post office as the courier hadn’t finished her shift so I couldn’t go and collect it. In the end, I literally had nothing nice to wear so I ended up cancelling the photo shoot. 😦 Luckily the guy who was doing the photo’s hadn’t 100% confirmed the booking so he didn’t seem too bothered.
Also meant we got to have a slight sleep in and had a free day to do what we wanted.

First thing on my ‘List’ of things to do in Bali was to go and have Breakfast at a cafe’ called Nude. They do a lot of healthy food, as well as your usual smoothies, coffee’s and vegan milkshakes. Yum!

We each took a Gojek Scooter to Nude which was only a 7 min ride away.
I ordered a Strawberry & Kiwi Smoothie while Nathan got a Bali Berry one.

For our breakfast, I ordered a Halloumi & Avocado Bun with Chilli Relish and Nathan had a Breakfast Burrito with scrambled eggs, bacon, avo and beans. As soon as I saw Nathan’s meal I regretted ordering mine. There was nothing wrong with my meal exactly, I just picked the boringest thing on the menu. They literally had smoothie bowls, sweetcorn fritters, omlettes and pancakes and I had a brioche bun with Avo and Halloumi haha!! I think I just really like halloumi so I ordered the first thing I saw that had halloumi in it. Next time I go, I’ll go for lunch as they have some yummy looking salads and a vegan burger I want to try. (I’m not vegan, however I don’t eat a lot of meat and much prefer vegetarian food)

After we’d finished eating, we paid and then took another Gojek back to our accommodation. I had organised with one of the Gojek drivers that drove us around the day before to take us shopping that Saturday. Her name was Izzi and she was so lovely! I grabbed her Whatsapp number and messaged her asking if she could drive us around Seminyak for the day (and look after our luggage in her car) before driving us 1.5 hours away to Ubud to check into our new accommodation. She happily said yes and we agreed on a price of AUD$50 (IDR500,000) for the day.

We had some time to spare before Izzi came and collected us at 9:30am so Nathan and I took a walk down the road from our hotel so I could find some cat food. I wasn’t quite full from my meal at Nude so I felt like something else to nibble on (haha just kidding). There was this cat at Canggu Suites that was looking a bit scrawny and crying for food. There was a cat bowl in the kitchen so I thought maybe the hotel didn’t have any food. I went to the nearest servo and tried to find something edible for a cat, after nearly buying spicy tuna (lol) I bought a couple of cans of corned beef for the kitty and took it back to the hotel. He seemed very grateful after being fed and proceeded to lay down licking his paws afterwards. I gave the second can of corned beef to one of the workers and said it was for the cat so I hope he didn’t take it home to eat haha.

It was nearing 9:30am so we checked-out of Canggu Suites (6/10 stay for me – the cat being the extra point) and met Izzi outside with our luggage.
First stop was Royalman Tailor in Seminyak to see if they could custom make a suit for Nathan. The experience here was much better than the first place we went to. They measured Nathan and got him to try on a few different suit colours. We did a bit of bartering on the price at the end and ended up getting 20% off the original price we were quoted which was good. We also ordered suit pants for the groomsmen – they’re just going to get measured and made when the Groomsmen get to Bali in October as we didn’t have their measurements at the time.
Nathan and I were talking about it last night and he was saying even with the 20% discount, we still paid more than what he thinks the suit was worth. As in, even though it was custom-made the price was still high for Bali and we should have bartered a bit more. Oh well! Learning experience I suppose.

After the tailor place, Izzi dropped us off at the Beachwalk Shopping Centre in Kuta. We went here last time we were in Bali and not a crazy amount had changed. Still nice shops but with western prices (as you are shopping at places like H&M, Kate Spade etc…) Also a thing to note, you have to wear a mask in the shopping centre. You also need to download an app before you go to Bali called the PEDULILINDUNGI App. It’s like your ‘check-in’ app they have in New Zealand and Australia where you scan a QR code to enter a premises. The Beachwalk Shopping Centre was the only place on our trip that required it so you won’t be needing it all the time – just good to have. (I also think they require it at the airport)

After briefly browsing the shops (we didn’t really find anything we wanted to buy) we went for a walk past the beach and around Kuta to all the classic Balinese haggling markets we’re used to.

Again, not a lot has changed since we last went in 2014. People are still haggling you to buy things but the vibe is slightly different. As in, it’s definitely a lot less busy and you don’t feel as good to haggle as low as you could go like you used to. Covid-19 hit Bali really hard. They rely heavily on tourism for job opportunities and to keep their economy going. With the boarders being closed, so many shops and restaurants shut down with most Balinese people moving back to their homes and villages, planting vegetables to survive and just sleeping or not eating all day. You can tell they are so grateful to have tourists back and it’s definitely picking up again. If you’re looking at going, try not to be an absolute dick when you buy things from the markets by offering them $5 (IDR50,000) for a pair of shoes. They’re all still trying to make a living (but also don’t spend like $60 on a handbag haha)

After buying all the classic Bingtang singlets and knock-off Nike shoes last time, we weren’t overly keen to load up our suitcases with that kind of stuff again so we didn’t buy much! I bought a couple of small handbags (IDR150,000 – IDR200,000 is a good price) but that’s really it!
I think Nathan may have bought a basketball singlet too.
Oh wait, I nearly forgot my FAVOURITE PURCHASE!! My big white wide brimmed hat. I got it for IDR150,000 (About AUD$15) and I absolutely love it and wore it pretty much the whole trip. Nathan kept saying it made me look like a Gucci wearing socialite on holiday in the Hamptons and that’s exactly the look I was going for. I can’t wait to take it back with me in October HAHA!!

Izzi took us to a few more stores including the Surf Brand outlet store – but again. Nothing tickled my fancy.
It was around 3pm and we’d already gone over the 5 hours I had hired Izzi for so I asked if she could take us to our new accommodation in Ubud. The drive was around 1.5 hours so I gave my Mum a quick facetime call on the way to pass the time.

When we arrived at Udaya Resort & Spa, I was in a bit of a rush as I had pre-booked Nathan and I a couples massage for 4:30pm at the Kaveri Spa (The spa at the resort) and we arrived at 4:15pm so we were cutting it a little fine.
After paying Izzi ($70 in the end as we had gone over our time) we tried checking-in to Udaya Resort. Unfortunately the Credit Card I was using wasn’t the same card as the one I had previously paid with so they had to re-charge me for the room and said they would refund me my previous payment. I’m still waiting on the refund and it’s been a week so fingers crossed I receive it!! Good thing to note, make sure the card you used to pay is the one you bring the Bali. Unfortunately my old one was scammed so I had to get a new one.

After being shown to our room – thankfully right next to the spa, we made it to our appointment just in time. We were booked in for a couple’s 90 minute deep tissue massage. We got to choose our oil before the treatment (Orange, Lemongrass or Lavender) then were taken to a room for a foot soak and scrub before the treatment – very relaxing!

Unfortunately, I didn’t rate the massage. Luckily I wasn’t stressed because if I was it would have stressed me out more. The massage definitely wasn’t a deep tissue massage, the pressure was far too weak and the whole massage routine was boring. I know that’s such a weird thing to say, but after being a Beauty Therapist and actually DOING massages, I’m a little bit of a critic when I receive one. This one didn’t flow very well and was quite repetitive. I did say at one point “You can go harder if you like” which is the nice Kiwi way of saying “Can you please go harder” but I actually don’t know if she could because I could feel her arms shaking when she tried going deeper. Disappointing!! Nathan said his one was good though so I really think it’s down to who you get. I really just think she was new and hadn’t been working there for very long.

After our massages, we went to our room and got ready for dinner. Our room was lovely! Albeit a bit dark (I think the resorts try and do a relaxation vibe with less lights but it makes it very hard to do make up)
I had booked us a Pool Suite which was a 100sqm room with private pool next to the tropical jungle which was nice and relaxing.

Similar to these pictures I stole off the website

Again, I had already chosen where to go for dinner before we even got to Bali! (I had a whole list of places to try I’d written down in my phone) and I’m so glad I did because we ate at some really great places.
This particular night, we went to Ely’s Kitchen in Ubud. I saw on their website they do High Tea and Romantic Private Dinners but we just went for a standard sit-down dinner for two 🙂 We didn’t book ahead of time but I probably would if you had a large party of people as I think a few people had reservations. We were seated outside upstairs and thankfully they gave me some mosquito repellent otherwise I would have been one large insect bite by the end of the night.
Nathan ordered the Iga Baba which was Caramelized Pork Ribs with BBQ Sauce, vegetables and rice. I got a Balinese Chicken Curry (to share with Nathan) and Flower Jack Salad which was Spiced Cauliflower, crispy jackfruit, potato and onion.

Terrible picture I know but I didn’t take any others – woops!

All of the food was really good! The service was great too and the whole ambience of the place was lovely. They had an acoustic singer singing some songs and Nathan and I commented a few times on how nice his voice sounded. When we left, we ended up asking the staff for his name so we could add him on Instagram to see if he could play at our wedding 😀 haha!! He did actually respond to my request and said he would so that worked out well 🙂 I thought it would be a nice touch at the wedding for when guests arrive and we’re having dinner etc.

After getting a Gojek back to Udaya Resort, it was off to bed!

Next Post: Tour of Ubud – we finally got some nice photos!

Birthday in Bali – 18th August 2022

I think I start off every post with “wow I haven’t written a blog post in SUCH a long time” then mentally promise myself that I’m going to update this blog more often… which as you can see from when I last posted – it never happens 🫣

Well I actually have some life updates so thought I’d jump back on here and write some more memories down.

Nathan and I moved back to New Zealand from Canada in 2020 🇨🇦 (not willingly though – our Working Visa’s expired so we had to leave) The plan was to head back to the homeland to attend Nathan’s sister’s wedding and then move to the United Kingdom for another Working Holiday Visa. Then shock horror – a world pandemic happened and we couldn’t go anywhere (along with pretty much the rest of the world) We decided we should probably buy a house in New Zealand so we had some type of asset but the house market went crazy and we couldn’t buy anything. We had approval from the bank and everything but we literally couldn’t buy because we were competing against hundreds of other people with the same idea. We gave up on the house idea and our next plan was to move to Aussie, so in March 2021 we moved across the ditch and settled in Perth, Australia. The western part of Australia…. Where everyone from the East Coast claims is “boring and remote with nothing to do”. Don’t believe what you hear though, Western Australia has THE most beautiful beaches I’ve seen in my life. Not to mention the job opportunities are great, housing is more affordable and it’s only like $200-$300 to fly return to Bali, Indonesia 🇮🇩 when there’s a sale on.

Which leads me to the reason I started writing again. I’m in Bali!! I booked this trip last year when Jetstar was having a sale and I knew I’d be itching to get out of the country once Covid wasn’t a massive thing anymore. The perfect excuse was “my birthday is in August and Nathan can’t say no to me for my birthday” so I went ahead and booked the flights hehe 😉 THEN Nathan asked me to be his future wifey over Easter by getting down on one knee and proposing to me with the most gorgeous ring. 💍 We’ve always said we would get married in Bali so my birthday trip turned into a Birthday/Wedding planning trip as we’re getting married here in October! 😃

Day One

We arrived into Bali around 8pm on Thursday evening. I considered paying for Bali Fast Track before we left Australia but decided not to. Bali Fast Track is where you organise assistance through the airport and they fast track you through. (Around AUD$50-70 per person) Thankfully it wasn’t needed anyways as we got through immigration and baggage claim within 30 minutes!!

As we were about to take off (literally on the Tarmac at Perth Airport) , I had quickly Whatsapped a driver to meet us at the airport and they were there waiting for us on arrival to drive us to Canggu. I recommend organising a driver to pick you up before you arrive. Just makes it easier and less to organise once you get to Bali. If you don’t have a driver, no worries there’s lots of taxis and things waiting at the airport to take you to your accommodation. I just couldn’t be bothered negotiating pricing etc..

Perth City

The drive to Bali Beach Glamping took about 45 minutes – 1 hour. This was the first place we were staying and it was a complimentary night as our wedding venue is next door and owned by The same people. Was kind of a “thanks for booking your wedding with us, you can stay for free at our Glamping tent accommodation” kind of thing. We didn’t get to see our wedding venue inside as it was currently occupied by another wedding but I wasn’t bothered as it means when we get married in October it will be a nice surprise. ☺️☺️

Our tent for the night

As we got to Bali Beach Glamping so late, we nearly missed out on getting anything to eat as the kitchen stopped making food at 10pm and we arrived at 9:52pm 😂😂 Nathan was so hungry and so was I. All I’d had to eat all day was every expensive fries from Perth Airport and half a very average Jam Donut.

Lunch at the airport – so expensive 🥲

After quickly having a Quesadilla and some spring rolls from the restaurant, we headed off to bed to spend the first night in our tent 🏕

I’d rate the Glamping experience a 7/10. The bed was super comfortable and it was nice and relaxing when it rained that night as I love the sound of rain on a tent. I just didn’t like how the toilet was literally in the same room but separated by a wall. Thankfully I’m very comfortable with Nathan so I don’t care if one of us needs to use the bathroom 😂but I can imagine some people might feel a little awkward. Also the lighting in the bathroom wasn’t the best for make-up application 💅

Day Two

In the morning we headed to the restaurant for breakfast (a small buffet), went for a walk along the beach in the rain then explored the resort a little bit. They had some nice photo spots which we took advantage of!

We had some time to kill so sat by the pool for an hour or so before we met with our wedding planner Helmi. She had organised for us to meet with our stylists to choose colours and decor for the wedding. I think we covered most things for the big day so I feel a little better now that most things have been chosen. (It was getting a little stressful knowing what was happening trying to plan a wedding from Australia)

After that was done, we met with the catering team to have a sit down tasting of all the food we’d chosen for our wedding. I was nervous at first, for some reason I thought the food was going to be mediocre. Especially as I’d included a sticky toffee date pudding that wasn’t even on their menu but they were specially making for us. However, they exceeded my expectations and the food was so good!! 🤤🤤

A sneak preview of the starters

After all our food, we checked-out then caught a ride with our wedding planner to our next accommodation in Canggu called Canggu Hype Suites. About 30 minutes away. However I might write about the rest of the day in my next post before this one gets too long 🫠🫠 if you got this far, thanks for reading! I purely write this blog now for my own personal memories so if you follow along, I’m always flattered 😂

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