Monday, August 15, 2011

Bali trip

We got home last night totally exhausted. The house was freezing as NZ is having it's coldest weather in living memory! Dog cuddles soon warmed us up though.
Bali is not a particularly easy place to get to from new Zealand and by the time we got home we'd been on the go for over 40 straight hours. We got home about midnight, exhausted, and woke up this morning at 1/4 to 10!!

Anyway, more about Bali.
I did no research at all before we went.  Lloyd had been before so I was just going with the flow. However, in my head Bali was all tropical jungle with monkeys jumping around, inland and lovely beaches on the coast. It was unspoiled, quiet and had little fishing villages dotted around the place. This was what I thought Bali was like before I went, so I got a bit of a shock!

First thing to hit me when we got off the plane was the humidity and heat. This wasn't a surprise and I had been expecting it. The second thing was the amount of people, cars and mopeds. Everywhere. I wasn't expecting that.

We were driven to Ubud. This is a town in the centre of Bali and is often regarded as the cultural capital. It's a very artsy crafty place and has some amazing architecture. It's actually 14 little villages all joined together with lots of rice paddy fields round the edges. The main part is very busy, and even though there is a lot of traffic on the small narrow roads it does feel laid back and somewhat serene! This may have something to do with the Balinese people who are totally lovely and all the incense burning everywhere.
We had booked a lovely villa to stay in, there were four of us travelling together, Lloyd, me, Lloyd's friend of many years, Chris and Dan, so we thought the villa way would be nicer than hotels. I think we made the right decision.
The villa in Ubud was stunning. When we got there our first thought was "why are we  only staying here for three nights?" 
If anyone is interested we stayed in Villa Di Abing

And it was gorgeous.

We now had a few days of exploring Ubud. First stop was the spa next door. Massages are quite the thing in Bali, so when in Bali... It was rather excellent.
After that we were relaxed and up for anything.
Everything is walking distance, but it is hot so it's a slow walking pace - well for me it was. 
One of my highlights was the Monkey forest where there are, quite literally, monkeys everywhere, and it was brilliant.

( I couldn't get the baby one to keep still)

We spent a lot of time just wandering the streets and exploring. Obviously we had to stop and eat sometimes and one place we wanted to go was Bu-Oka
Rick Stein and Anthony Bourdain have both eaten here and said it was the best pork and crackling ever - I tend to agree.

We went to Tegallalang to see the rice terraces and this was another highlight.

Also drank some Kopi Luwak coffee, it's the one that's made from beans that a civet has eaten, supposedly choosing only the best beans, then pooped out! 
Well it just tasted like coffee to me.

We had one 'blow out' meal - it was the birthday clebration meal, so we booked a restaurant called Mozaic. It's a multi award winning restaurant and I could see why. It was amazing and amazingly expensive. 
But what an experience.
So, I loved Ubud.

Next we were off to Lombok for three nights. Lombok is an island off the coast of Bali and is about an hour and a half by boat. ( but a day of travelling!)
We were staying at Santai in incredibly basic, grass huts.  No hot water, no shower, just a pitcher of freezing water which was placed above head height and to get a shower you simply removed a stopper and the water gushed out... freezing. Got used to it pretty quickly. ( and it is so, so inexpensive!)
Nice view, though!

There were communal meals at night and the food was lovely. It was also nice sitting with all the other guests and getting to chat, some sampled rather a lot of the local home made pineapple wine, supposedly it's rather nice!

The huts were small and dark, so we didn't spend that much time in them. What we did however, was take a day trip both days we were there over to the Gili Islands. Which are simply beautiful and unspoiled. The snorkelling was amazing and we spent hours and hours doing this ( too many hours as I actually burnt my back which was stupid) but it was worth it as we swam with turtles!!
This was the wee boat we hired to take us over. Chris named her Francine.

I should point out that this wasn't a beach filled with sun loungers and umbrellas, these were it!

Final destination of the holiday was Seminyak, back on Bali.
Up until about 10 years ago Seminyak was a bit of a backwater but it's fairly exploded now, and was as far removed from my 'pre-Bali idea of Bali' as could be. Even more busy than Ubud, but much sleeker. No hippy, crafty markets here, but lots of expensive boutiques. I have no idea how these shops survive as I almost never saw anyone in them, beautiful as they looked.

We were staying in another stunning villa, probably made all the more luxurious in our minds after the grass huts of Lombok!
It was one of the Chimera Villas and again I would highly recommend it. I spent a lot of time in this pool, reading with the odd bit of swimming thrown in ( but not much) 

I'm probably not quite cool enough for Seminyak, but I did go out for cocktails to a couple of the ultra trendy places, Cu De Ta and Potato Head! Possibly the most uber cool places I have ever been to have a drink in!
We ate out well here too, but the foody highlight of the holiday was a street stall selling Soto Bakso - thats noodle soup with dumplings, to me and you, and it was amazing.

On our last day we had to leave our villa by 11am but our flight wasn't until 10pm, as Dan was staying for an extra week ( lucky thing!) we booked a hotel for the day/night that he could stay in and the rest of us could use until it was time to leave. It made sense for it to be near the airport, so it was in Kuta. Kuta is full of people, FULL of people. A lot of people love it. I'm not one of them.
Give  me Ubud any day.

Cu De Ta

 One of our Balinese meals - Siam Sally's

I loved the frangipanis all over the place

Lloyd and I on the ferry back to Bali, from Lombok

Lloyd, Chris and Dan at Potato Head

I like this as I am all 'holiday'

Final night, Bali sunset

I loved Bali,  I loved that if you changed $100 to rupiah you were a millionaire for a few days, that was funny!
I loved the people, I loved the smell.


  1. I'm glad you enjoyed it Laura, it's lovely to have you back.

  2. Glad you had a good time, I went a couple of times in my twenties, much fun, much drinking , that sort of thing....not sure if I would go now with three children....I do remember the humidity, the smiling faces, the traffic (scary)and that Bali 'smell' that stays in your luggage for a while after.....I think of Bali when I smell cloves...(the cigarettes they smoke) actually, I think I might like to go there for a few weeks by kidding...

  3. I loved it, Rose!

    Suzanne, Lloyd remembers that clove smell, it wasnt there this time, the men must have all stopped smoking their cloves!
    I wouldnt necessarily go to Kuta with kids - or maybe that would be the best place... but Seminyak was filled with families with young children, they were in the uber cool bars just hanging out. It was actually great. Chris is seriously thinking of a holiday there with his kids.

  4. Sounds like it was heaven. You look so relaxed, you're glowing! Glad to have you back. Heard about the antarctic blast you're having in NZ! How are the animals? Must have missed you!! I missed you!!

  5. You forgot to mention the... Foie GRAS.... The mango lassi es ... The banana pancakes....

  6. Animals are fine - when I say it's freezing, it's not actually really freezing where we are - but it is as cold as it gets pretty much. The daft chickens will be up the tree though and I can hear it raining.
    Dogs were so happy to see us and so were the chooks - one of the cats only showed up this afternoon and made it very clear she was most unimpressed with us for going away for so long. ( this is the longest holiday we've had since moving to NZ)

    Dan!!! how could I forget that Doh!!!

  7. all looks and sounds absolutely amazing (except perhaps the cold showers !! Brrrrr).

    So glad you had a wonderful time, welcome back.

    Sue xx

  8. Well, that all looks and sounds so amazing I can hardly believe it. Bali sounds like a world slightly beyond my comprehension. I think world travel is worthwhile just for all the different foods alone!

    I'm glad the trip was so lovely. Are you now in need of a vacation to recover from your vacation? That always happens to me. I play too hard on vacation.

  9. Welcome home. I've been wondering how it all ended up. It's always hard getting back into things I find. I'm insanely jealous and have hit a wall of exhaustion, plus the bore pump has died just as we really need it. Think I'll head to bed for a nana nap and dream on Bali.

  10. Absolutely amazing photos! Thanks for sharing! What a great holiday! ~Jeff

  11. Alison it was spectacular! ( i sent you anther rambling email!) thanks again for all your help and suggestions - all were superb and I think Dan is getting on touch with Nyoman again this week.

    Jeff, many thanks - and all the photos were taken on my iphone!!! I was going to take my fancy smanchy camera but it's just too heavy and cumbersome - I was sure I'd regret it, but I didnt! Iphones rock! :)

  12. Jeff said it for me. Thanks for sharing your lovely trip with us!


I love it when you leave me comments, it lets me know there are folk out there reading my ramblings! Thank you, I appreciate them loads and loads
Laura x