I like this blog to be as informative as possible – so if I’ve experienced something, I want to add a spin on it that helps others – but honestly, there’s already so much information out there about visiting Bali that I just don’t think I could add anything valuable to the conversation. Instead, I’m taking this blog back to the old school and simply using it as a diary for my trip, so I can look back on it and remind myself it was real and not just a dream!
If you’re travelling to Bali in the future, then first of all I’m super jealous as you’re going to have the BEST time, but I also hope you can take something away from this post to help build your dream trip. Read on to find out exactly what I got up to!
After a 24 hour journey – we went Manchester-Amsterdam-Jakarta-Bali – we arrived in Denpasar airport around midday on a Thursday. It was still a few days until the rest of our holiday party joined us so Chris and I decided to stay in Canggu for the first few days to just relax, acclimatise, and EAT lots of good food! Canggu was the place I had the most restaurants and cafes saved in my Instagram folders that I wanted to eat at, so we just went from cafe to cafe as we started to get used to the heat and humidity. I think my favourite place was Sprout, fairly close to our accommodation with absolutely delicious breakfasts, but Peloton Supershop was awesome for a relaxed evening meal, Fat Mermaid a great place for cocktails and a wide range of meals, and Finns Beach Club is brilliant for drinks day or night, but does close at 11pm.
As well as eating and drinking lots, I managed to get a yoga session in at Odyssey Movement, which is a beautiful yoga and fitness studio on the Canggu “beach shortcut” road. I did the Goddess class taught by Hannah which is Vinyasa flow with weights – I had flashbacks of doing a weird BodyPump/yoga hybrid at somewhere like JJB Sports Gym but it really wasn’t like that at all. Simply adding a light weight to a couple of postures encouraged you to engage muscle groups and also added a slight pull resistance movement, which tends to be missing from yoga flows.
A word of warning: the roads of Canggu are slightly nerve-wracking on foot, especially the beach shortcut, but although scooters zoom very close past you most drivers tend to be safe.
Next stop for us was the beautiful island of Gili Air. By this time our friends John, Chris, Kim and Todd had all arrived, so we hopped on a boat (upon which I was very ill) and made the two hour transfer over.
There’s very little to do on Gili Air, but I say this with great joy. Days are long and lazy, whether you’re splashing about in your villa pool, lay on a beanbag on the beach, or drinking Bintang as the sunset. It’s a very relaxed atmosphere but it does feel like something special, especially as the locals are lovely and tend to be very curious about you.
My favourite part of our entire holiday was the snorkelling trip we took from Gili Air. For 10,000 IDR (that’s six whole pounds sterling) we were picked up from the bungalows we were staying at; lent snorkelling gear; taken to three different snorkelling spots where we saw turtles, rays, and the underwater statues; taken to Gili Meno where we got extremely pissed and became the typical Brits abroad (plus the live band played Oasis for us); then taken to a final snorkelling spot before cruising back to Gili Air. Despite slathering each other in sun lotion we all got pretty burned on this trip, but it didn’t take away from what a magical experience it was.
I also did a class at H2O Yoga which was very chilled, fitting for the island. I realised that yoga here does tend to be slow and controlled because it’s so hot! Moving any faster would mean you’d be absolutely drenched with sweat.
The boat journey back from the mainland was much more pleasant – sat on the top deck of the boat drinking Bintangs, music on loud, we even saw a school of dolphins on the way back.
If you’re used to seeing serene photos of Bali on Instagram, then you might be little shocked by the main streets of Ubud! It’s extremely busy, with scooters and cars in traffic jams through the centre of town pretty much all day and night. I loved the buzz though and felt like we were seeing the real Bali, and there’s always a great cafe, yoga studio, bar or spa to zip off into to chill.
Climbing Mount Batur for sunrise was an absolutely epic experience. This was one of my non-negotiables for my Bali trip and although my friends weren’t sure, eventually all 10 of them agreed to go! This was another one that was arranged through our hotel and I think it was 350K IDR each, so about £20. We were picked up by a mini van at 2am, taken for a quick breakfast then drove to the bottom of the mountain where we were introduced to our guides and given small torches.
The walk up is achievable – it’s a fairly tough ascent but there are so many people that you’re walking slowly up. There’s a wide, windy ridge you go around, then it gets difficult (I got dizzy a few times but more from tiredness) but that hard bit only lasts about 15 minutes and it’s so worth it when you reach the top. Wrap up warm as waiting for the sunrise is absolutely freezing!
We went down a different route, which was longer but I loved this as we got to see lots of Bali farmland, plus it was a more leisurely stroll with awesome views of the mountain you’ve just climbed.
Another Ubud must-do for me were the Tegalalang rice terraces, just north of Ubud centre. We went late afternoon, intending to catch the sunset, but you can’t really see it so I wouldn’t bother! I could’ve happily spent all day here, but we had a good explore, played on the swings (200K IDR, but worth it) and tested some local tea and coffee. I’d suggest getting there for sunrise, I’ve heard it’s quiet and looks incredible.
I was really happy to find out our hotel was really close to the Yoga Barn. I’d been told this place was pretentious but I really didn’t get that vibe at all – it’s absolutely huge with lots of studios and lots of people and dogs buzzing around. A dog even came into our studio after class finished!
Four of us went to a really busy vinyasa class, and again, it was fairly calm and slow, but I think that was the most I’d sweated the entire trip, especially as I was feeling the effects of the night before’s cocktails.
You are NOT short of amazing food in Ubud. We were quite a large group by this point and we found most places we went accommodated for all tastes and diets. Near our hotel was Buddha Bowl, which some of us went to multiple times; The Onion Co, which is a really relaxed music bar with a delicious vegan menu and great cocktails; and Yellow Flower, which is a little more difficult to find (we ended up asking somebody) but well worth it for the healthy dishes and great view.
Next up was the reason we were all in Bali – Todd and Vinisha’s wedding! This one is just staying between friends, but if you’ve ever been to an Indian wedding you’ll know just how wild and fun they are.
I was in Seminyak for less than 24 hours unfortunately and had just started to get ill at this point so I don’t have a great deal to say – but I did make sure I got myself to Kynd Community for a smoothie bowl and also a vegan ice cream at their creamery next door. That “Love” sign fell off straight away by the way, I wouldn’t recommend eating ice cream outside in Bali, stick to air conditioned rooms. The villa we stayed in was beautiful too, I’m so sad that Chris and I couldn’t spend more time on Todd and Vinisha’s buddymoon.
And that’s it – another 24 hour journey home! I really hope I haven’t forgotten anything here as I want to be able to look back on this for years to come and remember what an amazing time we had. And of course it goes without saying really – I’ll be back, Bali!
Welcome to That Squat Bot, established 2013! I'm Sarah, a fitness professional based in Manchester, UK.
I love feeling strong and lifting heavy, but I also love trying different types of movement and using my fitness to adventure outside of the gym. I'm also a massive Marvel nerd!Find out more about me here.
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