Trouble in paradise
Once we had explored Uluwatu and Ubud, it was time to move on for the rest of our 10 days in Bali. Shaun and I had really wanted to visit the Nusa islands (just off Bali) and the Gili Islands (just off Lombok) and this was actually one of the main reasons we had decided to come to Bali.
However, these are only accessible by boat from the main land and when we arrived in Bali, we were told there were no boats running due to bad weather. This is why we chose to spend out first few days in Uluwatu and Ubud and hoped we could spend the remainder of our time on the islands.
We kept inquiring about boats and whilst they had started running again, many locals advised that they personally would not travel at this time. Shaun and I were really conflicted about what to do as we spoke to many other tourists who were risking the trip.
Ultimately, we decided that it was better to be safe than sorry and missing out on the islands this time would give us a reason to come back and so we headed to Canggu instead. I am so glad that we did, as whilst we were in Canggu, Lombok was his by a 6.4 magnitude earthquake the aftershocks of which we could feel in Bali, Tragically, many people in Lombok were killed and many more injured, even in Bali.
So whilst the remainder of our 10 days in Bali were certainly not our dream itinerary, our main thought at this time was sadness for all those affected, and gratitude that we were safe, quite frankly our itinerary did not matter because at that time it was not at all important.
I would love to say that this was the end of our bad luck for this leg of the trip. However, Bali had some more surprises in store for us yet.
Batu Bolong Beach
Batu Bolong Beach is located at the end of a long strip of coast in Canggu, we spent most of our time in Canggu at this beach because it’s pretty much a hub of activity:
It has plenty of of sun loungers scattered along the sand, so it makes it the perfect spot to the sunbathe or relax with a book, this is where I actually started reading the break and came up with the idea for Reads for the Road.
Located here is also Old Mans Bar, named after the surf break on Batu Bolong beach, it is one of the most popular spots in Canggu and I can understand why, there is a lot going on here!
Old Mans Bar sells food and drinks throughout the day, when Shaun and I visited on a Saturday they had a market selling hand crafted items from independent traders. I bought some really nice bikini’s from one of the stalls (since I had managed to lose some along our travels – oops!). However, the prices of items were pretty similar to those at home which is unusual for SE Asia, but for the same price you do get to support a small business which seems worth it to me!
Old Mans Bar also has a strong line up of music and evening entertainment. Shaun and I went to the RNB evening on the Saturday night and had a really good time!
In addition to Old Mans, there are a few other restaurants and surf shops along the beach. Shaun and I decided to have our first surf lesson here which mostly consisted of our instructor telling us which wave to catch, shouting at us from a distance to stand up and making sure we weren’t swept out to sea.
Shaun is one of those annoying people who is good at everything they try, so naturally he popped on the board and could stand within 15 minutes, I on the other hand was finding it a little trickier to get to my feet.
The waves were pretty strong and there is a lot of coral and rocks on the sea bed, so when you fell off the board you could feel them scratching your skin a little which was quite unsettling, but all in all we enjoyed and we couldn’t really come to Bali and not try surfing could we?
Once we had wrapped up our lesson and were walking back to our bike, we noticed there was a reggae band playing on the beach, we ordered some beers and sat at a table listening to the music and watching the sunset.
None of my journal entries would be completed with giving a quick nod to some of best meals that we had.
Okas Bakery is perhaps a little unassuming on the outside, but inside reveals an amazing industrial looking building with exposed beams, a counter selling fresh produce downstairs and a large seating area above. Owned by an Indonesian women, the bakery offers a wide selection of healthy dishes which is spot on with Bali’s hipster image. According to Indasurf.com Oka’s journey to baking more natural wholefoods began when trying to introduce healthier eating habits into her daughters life who has Downs Syndrome.
The Bakery specialises in gluten free breads and rolls, but also sells canned goods, spices, fruit, muesli and a menu of delicious dishes. Shaun and I came here for breakfast twice as we enjoyed it so much.
Warung danilion is housed in a traditional joglo, so even from the outside it looks beautiful. However, once we stepped inside we were greeted by some of the most welcoming and enthusiastic staff.
The interior has a fluid indoor/outdoor feel and Shaun and I sat in the backyard area. We had the most amazing Indonesian meal and even had a little visit from the Dandelions bunnies who live in the backyard. I truly cannot recommend this place enough!
So this is where our itinerary really went out of the window, to be totally honest Shaun and I didn’t really have any interest in visiting Kuta and Seminyak but as I mentioned above the islands were off limits, so what else to do with the rest of our 10 days in Bali other than explore these areas?
Kuta Beach, is well… a beach. In my opinion there isn’t anything special about it or anything that warrants you going out of your way to visit. Sure, if your stuck in Kuta like we were – go and check it out, otherwise your time is better spent else where.
A couple of weeks before we left for our SE Asia trip one of my best friends had been in Bali and had told us that Sky Garden was quite the experience, keen to learn what all the hype was about Shaun and I visited on our first night.
Sky Garden is self proclaimed as the ‘Best night club in Bali’, the evening started around 5.30 pm with their ‘all you can eat buffet’ (and drinks!) in the restaurant area of the club, the food was actually pretty good so we filled our boots with pasta and pizza.
Once the buffet wraps up, that’s when it turns into a nightclub with three different floors each playing a particular genre of music. Shaun and I got a couple more drinks and sat listening to the music on the rooftop bar.
However as the evening went on, Shaun started complaining about feeling unwell, at about 9 pm he said he felt a bit sick. “Great” I thought, “he’s stuffed himself so full of pizza that he’s made himself feel sick”.
Needless to say I was not having any of it, and I told him we weren’t leaving until we had at least had a dance, fast forward two hours during which I repeatedly begged “one more song” at the end of every track. I turned to Shaun, who at this point was white as a sheet and looked like he was about to pass out.
Enough cutting shapes, it was time to go home! We had barely made it back to our room when it started… 24 hours of D&V or lovingly named ‘Bali belly’.
If the Diarrhoea and vomiting wasn’t enough, Shaun started hallucinating throughout the night and talking about being in the army (What!?) he was adamant that he needed to go out and purchase water that moment (4am), before I could completely come around from my sleep and stop him, he was off into the night.
I laid in bed half awake, trying to decide if I was more concerned about whether he was too disorientated to find his way back to the homestay or if he would make it back without crapping himself.
Crumb and coaster
Day 2 in Kuta was essentially a write off, Shaun was still suffering with D&V and I was feeling guilty for not taking him seriously the day before so I wanted to stay and keep him company. I did however, venture out for brunch – a girls gotta eat!
Crumb and Coaster is definitely not what I would call backpacker budget friendly, but since we weren’t doing anything else that day I figured it was okay to splash out a bit on brunch.
It’s a locally owned and operated business, the food is delicious and extremely instagrammable!
It wasn’t until I had sat and ordered, that I realised this was the first time I had ever gone out for a meal by myself, i’m sure this is the norm for solo travellers but for the average person this was quite an unusual experience, both slightly uncomfortable and empowering at the same time!
As soon as we arrived in Seminyak we hired a bike and went to the Turtle Conservation And Education Center( TCEC). The TCEC focus on education and conservation and as part of this, tourists are able to adopt a turtle and release them back into the sea.
Before choosing which of the hundreds of teeny turtles we were going to adopt we were told by the staff at TCEC that it’s better to pick a turtle that looks quite active swimming around the pool, as opposed to the ones snoozing in the corner, because typically these are the stronger turtles and have a better chance of survival.
We kept this in mind and ended up selecting the turtle which was whipping around the pool, he was placed safely in our bucket and we were transported to the beach for their release.
I was so excited to let our turtle go and watch him swim off into the ocean, we watched all of the others release their turtles which eventually swam off into the distance. Then it was our turn to release our turtle, we were instructed to tip the bucket out slightly so he could land on the sand and walk into the sea.
WRONG our poor little thing toppled out of the bucket and on to his back where he got stuck, finally one of the staff at TCEC came to help turn him back over to his front. However, he didn’t start walking to the sea like all of the others, instead he just froze on the sand, probably disorientated.
By now everyone else’s turtles had safely made it to sea, eventually our one started stumbling towards the water, but just before he could make it, a huge wave came in and sucked him up and so he went tumbling across the sand into the water.
Shaun and I looked at each other horrified, was he okay? I understand that’s nature and we weren’t to interfere too much, but I often wonder if he made it.
Double Six Beach
Double six beach is a 500 metre stretch of beach located in Seminyak. The beach is not overly touristy but is lined with restaurants and bars which means it’s a good place to spend a couple of hours reading or sunbathing.
They also have a bunch of surf schools and surfboard rentals along the beach, on our last day we hired some boards (which I wouldn’t advise after one lesson) as a last ditch attempt to get me standing before we left Bali. I’m pleased to say that after many tantrums I stood for a grand total of 10 seconds, but I will take it.
In my opinion, the stand out part of double six beach are the sea of colourful beanbags and parasols which line it. Double Six is also famed for it’s Balinese Sunset and you can watch this along with a beer and background music from one of the bars, so that’s a winning combination in my eyes!
Char Char Bar and Grill
Shaun and I were looking for somewhere nice to go for dinner to commemorate the end of our trip in Bali and ended up in Char Char Bar and Grill.
To be honest, I was completely sold on the design of the restaurant as opposed to the menu, but thankfully the food was also really good. The front wall of the restaurant has been converted into tiered seating, so the restaurant quite literally comes spilling out onto the walkway. The design means you can sit outside under the stars and watch over the street. I’m a big people watcher so I loved this element of the restaurant, and it was a really unique dining experience.
Bali is pretty well know as a party destination, being fresh out of uni when we were travelling, we thought it would be shame to leave without enjoying this part of Bali, especially after Sky Garden was such a disaster.
We consulted our funds and decided that we would go to Missy Sippy as they have 2 for 1 on drinks on a Thursday (the budget was never far from mind). We arrived and paid for a lounger and had a really fun day there.
If I’m being honest, it’s exactly what you would expect a pool party to be like, there was a mix of people for example, lots of young Aussies who were there to get drunk and pose on the outskirts of the pool and then there were the likes of me and Shaun who ordered two pizzas and dive bombed off the top of the 5m diving board whilst screaming ‘Yeeet’, so it’s really whatever you make of it. All in all we really enjoyed, and would love to go back with friends! For those who do enjoy beach clubs, here is a list of the best in Bali.
I suppose this post has become less about ‘great things to do in Bali’ and more about ‘what happens when things don’t go to plan’. However, I wanted to start blogging about our trips to remember them, ALL of them, not just the good bits! Even though over time the blog has transformed into something slightly more than this, I don’t think I ever want to lose that element of it, even if that does mean writing about D&V.
Strangely enough, despite everything we do look back on our 10 days in Bali with a great fondness. Yes, it was touristy, yes many aspects of the trip weren’t what we hoped, but we made some amazing memories and often laugh about the parts which didn’t go so well and I guess now all of you can too!