So, we woke up to our first full day in Bali. I woke before Luke and took myself outside for a little self-practice yoga – this lasted all of 15 minutes before I was eaten alive by bugs. Went to the hotel reception and luckily Luke’s bag had arrived so I was able to dig out the insect repellent and get spraying! We had a chilled first day: relaxing in a beach club, drinking cocktails and reading.
Seminyak was nice but there wasn’t a huge amount to do other than relax by the beach and eat lovely food. It was a bit cloudy and we like to explore a bit on holiday so we enjoyed the time but were excited to move on. We’d also got a little frustrated by the constant horn tooting by cars (taxis announce their availability this way in Seminyak).
Our journey onto Ubud was long. It took longer to get out of Seminyak than it did to go the rest of the way to Ubud. There are no rules in Bali when it comes to the road. Lanes do not exist, you overtake on either side of a car, scooters can drive on pavements (if there are any), a road wide enough for one car can fit two cars and one, maybe two, scooters, 5 people can ride on one scooter and everyone has right of way – it depends who can push out the fastest and not get the front of their car taken off. In areas of high traffic it quickly becomes chaotic.
We were very glad when we finally got to our Airbnb, check in was a little awkward as it often is in an Airbnb, the hosts wanted to show us every little feature of the villa. Our stay in Ubud was a little busier than Seminyak. Whilst there we visited 3 temples, some rice terraces, a waterfall and hiked up a mountain to watch the sunrise. We also ate food in lots of amazing restaurants. Ubud was a little calmer than Seminyak but the roads were still absolute chaos and with the lack of pavements on a lot of roads it means wandering around felt a little dangerous. Bali really is a place you should travel around by car or scooter (if you feel brave enough) or you spend money on taxis most of which are unlicensed and just rip tourists off charging a fortune.
From Ubud we move up further to Lovina in Northern Bali. As the journey takes a couple of hours we decided to stop en route and check out a temple complex on a lake which was meant to be beautiful. Our transfer was awful – no air con in the car and the driver smoked like a chimney. The temple complex had been made into a tourist attraction (as most of them have) but this one had been taken to a whole other level. It was more expensive and so not worth it. The temple actually on the lake was beautiful but the experience wasn’t great. Our driver then didn’t know Lovina or where our hotel was so I had to direct him (thank you offline Google maps!)
Lovina, was chilled – beautiful beaches, lazy happy hours at the bars, lovely pool at our hotel. We went on a couple of trips – hiking to a couple of waterfalls, relaxing in hot springs and wandering around the island’s only Buddhist Temple. We had a great time. The only downside was the food. Being a bit less of a tourist hot spot vegan food was less readily available – there were still quite a few options but not as many as elsewhere. The food was also extremely oily. We had been used to fresher food in Seminyak and Ubud the change of food wasn’t great for our digestive systems. On the last night in Lovina I spent the night awake with sickness and diarrhoea. The next morning we were leaving to go back to Ubud by shuttle bus – not a journey I was looking forward too. Anyway, we made it back to Ubud pretty uneventfully. Our last couple of days in Bali were spent exploring the monkey forest, a little bit of shopping, eating food (tentatively for me) and relaxing in our beautiful villa. On the last day we went for a 5 mile walk to stretch our legs before the long journey home. The flights home went a lot smoother than on the way out (both less turbulence and less delays). We had a 5 hour layover in Dubai which was a bit long and a crying child sat next to us on the second flight which stopped any thoughts of sleep in their tracks. We arrived back in London and waited and waited and waited for our baggage. Finally, they both appeared on the carousel and we made our final journey back to our apartment.
Bali is a beautiful country with some incredible vegan food but is also, like a lot of places, very touristy in places. The transport and roads are chaotic which makes getting around a bit of a nightmare and it becomes a little less enjoyable to just wander around and explore which I always prefer to do. One thing I also was a little disappointed to see was not just how much temples and waterfalls had turned into money-making tourist attractions but how much everything was aimed towards social media.
Check back soon as I’ll be posting a Bali travel guide with my favourite places to visit and eat and those things which are not worth the hype!