As part of my travels over in the Southern Hemisphere and keen to get some sunshine before heading back to a UK winter (double winter yes) I booked a couple of bargain flights over to Bali for a ten week break in Indonesia. Having tried and failed to enlist friends to travel with due to the prices of the flights, I would be travelling alone and so flew into Denpansar for whistle stop tour of Bali and the surrounding areas.
First stop – Canggu, a smaller surf town just north of the hustle and bustle of Seminyak and the infamous Kuta, I booked my first nights accommodation and pick with Mojo Surf who having built up a great reputation in Australia, have now branched out into Indonesia with surf trips and lessons that include visits to the best surf spots in Bali. I hadn’t surfed for nine years and the local instructors were very encouraging, I managed to stand (crouch) a few times and really enjoyed the experience despite my poor performance. The best way to get around Canggu is by scooter and we visited the uber hipster Deus bar on the evening for tacos and bintangs. Top tip for those wanted to get a new tattoo, Deus give away free ones on a Tuesday, best to arrive around 5pm as there is always a queue!
After a couple of days in Canggu, I headed to Seminyak. Whilst travelling alone I find it is always best to stay in hostels as you meet people to potentially travel with and many provide free wifi and breakfast. Staying in the Guess House Hostel, I met a great group of people and it was close to the beach. If heading to Bali check out one of the upmarket hotels like Potato Head or Ku de ta for delicious Espresso Martinis and sunsets overlooking the beach. For breakfast home from home Petitenget had a wide selection, busy with Australian groups and couples needing to get their brunch fix and Revolver who offered up a near Melbourne coffee.
From Seminyak I used Scoot Cruise to get to the “party” island of Gili Trawangan. The island gets pretty booked up in peak season; therefore I booked into one of the dive centres. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to do a full dive course, so enjoyed a snorkelling trip and cycling round the island. The island is a little more touristic than it used to be, some top spots I discovered were Scallywags for a beef rendang curry and Casa Vintage shops which were located close to the pier and in a cove on the less touristy side of the island. A must for Gili is to enjoy both a sunrise and sunset on either side of the island. The sunrise comes up over Mount Rinjani on Lombok which can be climbed if you have enough time.
Ubud was the final destination, where I needed a little zen after hostel life. I stayed in Gusti’s Garden Bungalows right in the centre of Ubud, a haven of greenery. Ubud is located within the rice paddies in northern Bali and is popular with those looking for culture, Yoga retreats, Balinese massages and mountain walks. Ubud consists of fourteen villages each run by its own committee, I enlisted the help of a local guide who took me to several points around Ubud including the Goa Gajah and Gunung Kawi temples, on to view Mt Batur volcano and to have a tea and coffee tasting session which included the lupak coffee.
Through instagram scanning and recommendations, I headed to Yoga Barn to check out their raw and healthy menu. Whilst slightly under the weather I didn’t take part in the Yoga, I took time to sample their boosting range of juices, salads and raw balls to get me back to health. Yoga Barn had a beautiful calm air about it and I wished I’d booked a little longer in Ubud to be able to take part in a retreat.
Images courtesy of Heather Kipling