Location: Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia
Date: 6th June 2017
Departing Airport: London Heathrow
Flight time: 15 Hours ( Via Dubai)
Duration: 9 Days
Currency: Indonesian Rupiah
Bali was the chosen destination for my 25th country visited on the world map this June, read more about staying in the Nusa Dua region of Bali here.
Despite a long flight (Emirates really does make the journey somewhat pleasant) 15 hours of travelling, I didn’t quite feel as tired as one would expect. Once we landed we quickly got to grips with the Balinese money, known as the Indonesian Rupiah ( IDR). 100,000 is equivalent to just over £5, so you can see how you can spend a million on the odd occasion. LOL
After checking into our hotel in Nusa Dua, we spent our first day in the spa and by the pool, with a drink, because that’s incredibly necessary.
That night we ate at the Maguro restaurant, situated in our hotel grounds, they specialised in Asian Cuisine and I opted for the Short Rib Beef, steamed veg and rice which was absolutely delightful, followed by my fav asian dessert, Sticky coconut rice with mango and Ice cream. ( I became obsessed with this in Thailand!)
The next morning we met with our lovely local driver, Sila, who came highly recommended, who took us to a Barong and Kris Dance. This is a traditional theatre and performance piece in an open air theatre in traditional dress. It’s a bit slapstick and a bit naughty at times! Prices for this show are 100,000 indonesian Rupiah ( IDR) and the show is just shy of an hour. You are welcome to take pics after the show with the main dragon, if you dare!
From there we headed to a large store to buy some handmade fans, which I always love to buy when abroad. They sold everything from sandals, candles and t – shirts, to handmade bags and coffee.
From here we headed to a Tea and Coffee plantation to look at the process of how they produce it here, they explained how Bali’s world famous Luwak Coffee is made, which involves Cats. :/
They have a process where they eat the coffee beans, which then ferment and they poop the bean out which sheds another layer, it is then ground to form the coffee. I did see one of the cats and he didn’t look best pleased being in a cage, so I opted for a No when trying the Luwak coffee. It was a No for the poop coffee!
However they do give you over 13 teas and coffees to try, which were all delightful, except for the coffee, because I’m not a fan of the taste! You then have the option to buy your chosen tea or coffee from the shop, I opted for the Vanilla coffee ( for my mum) and the Lemon Tea for Moi!
From here we headed to a Temple, There are sarongs there for you to wrap around you before entering, you are then asked to sign a book and make a donation of some form, before crossing the road into the temple. The architecture is beautiful and the temples are a must see.
We then did the long drive up to the Green Lush area of Ubud. We headed straight to Tegallalang Rice Terrace and paid 10,000 IDR for our driver to park, we then did the short walk to where the fields are. There aren’t really any signs telling you where to enter, but as you walk past the numerous shops, you can’t help but see the fields on your right. What no – one tells you is, the terrain is a little tricky and I’m really glad I had my trainers on instead of flip flops. There are a lot of stairs, some grass made, and of course mud and grass, so in order not to slip on your butt, I’d strongly advise some suitable footwear! it can also be quite humid, so take all of that into consideration, lastly carry some small notes, I’ll explain why.
Once we entered some kids asked us for a donation to buy postcards for their school, I of course observed that it was indeed a school day, so they probably should have been at school – but hey! We then took a pic by the sign I love Bali, and one of the kids said we had to pay them, despite taking a pic on our phone, ourselves! Once we got down further and crossed a bridge, we were asked for a donation for the upkeep of the bridge ( I did glance over the bridge to see what works had been previously carried out but obviously to no avail!) and then further along by a guy who asked if we wanted him in our picture. The hustle is everywhere, and if you can afford to give to everyone, come prepared. There is a lot of walking in steep places where the terrain isn’t easy to navigate, I almost needed a explorer stick! But once we had been walking down and around for a while, we started the ascent back up, which required frequent stops, especially in that heat! If you’re unfit this will definitely show it self on the way back up to the street! Lol
After that gym workout, it was time to re – fuel and this time we headed to somewhere a little special and very far from home! Introducing JamBali, an authentic jamaican food restaurant using local ingredients in Ubud. Michele, a Jamaican native, opened her doors for the first time a year ago and has been sourcing local ingredients and importing some of the essentials to re-create her home dishes here in Bali. I had some currygoat, rice and plantain, some bolt spicywings and sweet potato pie, all tasted divine! So if you are ever in Ubud, go and Visit and tell Michele we sent you! (www.jambalicafe.com)
Once back at the hotel and it being a Friday night, we headed to Mulia hotel, this modern lush hotel in the Nusa Dua complex was about 10 mins taxi ride from our hotel. They have a stunning bar inside called ZJ’s and on Fridays play the best in hip hop and R&B. I believe on busy nights you are supposed to book, but there was hardly anyone in there… great music and great cocktails and DJ Michealis entertained us thoroughly!
The next day we headed to Seminyak to Ku De Ta Beach club, we had heard this place was very popular and also expensive. I’ve grown to realise that expensive means normal prices in London when it comes to drinks! You have to get here early if you want one of the beds in the beach club overlooking the pool and there is a minimum spend of 1,000,000 IDR ( Roughly £50) for one of the beds.
If you plan to eat and drink and there’s two of you, you can see how this would make sense! Service is second to none, both food and cocktails were great and the sunset was a real treat. As the hours pass more and more people start to come in the evening at about 5:30 / 6pm you get a crowd coming in who aren’t in beachwear but have come to eat or drink so if you want to transition to the evening, think about bringing a change of clothes with you.
Sunday we headed back down to Seminyak again but this time visited one of my fav hotel brands, the W Hotel. We were booked into the Starfish Bloo restaurant for their Sunday Champagne or Prosecco Brunch. It’s imperative you book this in advance as it’s incredibly popular, if it shows as sold out online, as it did for us, we rang a couple of weeks before and the lady managed to fit us in and we paid in advance. Firstly the hotel is absolutely stunning, design is always at the forefront of the W Brand, hence why it’s featured in my hotels that you should stay at.
You are offered a glass of bubbly on entry and then taken to your seats, the food choice is endless from savoury to sweet and of course if you’ve picked the bottomless option, one of the staff kindly keep topping you up. Might be worth mentioning the champagne was Lanson, not my fav champs, but with a strawberry thrown in it made it much better.This teamed with a killer view of the beach and with a DJ playing some music, this was an ideal setting. The brunch is from 12pm – 3:30pm.
Food was great, Service was amazing – shout out to Pande Tato, but my birthday song by the staff was awesome! After leaving there we then used the pool and beach facilities which your entitled to use once you’ve booked in for the brunch. We were shown to a beach cabana, thank goodness as I needed to recuperate after the overload of champagne and food! Naturally they have music playing by their main pool and a selection of DJs.The pool was stunning and you have to take a picture by the W sign.
The day after brunch? Did I stay in bed with a hangover? NO! We headed to Uluwatu Temple, this beautiful multi layered temple on the cliff edge with an absolutely stunning view.
You pay to get in and can grab a sarong at the entrance. My advice? Beware of the monkeys, tie up your sunglasses, hats and flip flops, because they WILL snatch them and yes I saw this live. I did opt to not visit monkey forest because of my fear of the monkeys, so you can imagine my joy when Sila drove us to Uluwatu, we paid(30,000IDR), walked in and he said, maybe put your glasses away because of THE MONKEYS! …There may have been one outburst of a scream, but I survived to tell the tale.
Look at this guy trying to outstyle me!
After this we drove to Jimbaran Bay, here you can enjoy seafood on the beach, facing the waves, there’s a number of places to pick from, but most drivers have an affiliation to one of the restaurants. The food was great, it’s a shame it was overcast so we missed that amazing sunset, but the night ended with fireworks which was a lovely surprise.
The next day it rained, so we took that as a recuperation day and headed to the Tamarind restaurant on – site, which is like a gigantic tree house overlooking the beach, food was good in here too and is actually a really nice place to chill in the evening.
The day after was the most important day of the year, June 14th – my birthday!
Despite some awful news from home ( Justice for Grenfell) , I tried to make the most of the day.
We headed to Ayana Resort and Spa, this is an absolutely stunning hotel complex, also on the cliff edge. You will need your camera for this place…
We headed to Rock Bar, which gets very busy with people wanting to capture the sunset and you will have to avoid the old selfie stick brigade, but it’s a beautiful sunset and grab a drink and some food snacks whilst your waiting for it to appear whilst listening to the DJ play some music. There is a lot of stairs down to this place, but be rest assured, there is a lift to go back up!
Once back upstairs, we got on the shuttle to a restaurant elsewhere on the complex, called Dava, a steak and seafood restaurant. I opted for the steak followed by a chocolate dessert ending off the birthday evening perfectly. Well that and the contents of a bottle of Moet Ice Imperial rose’ back at the hotel.
The next day we spent our last day doing a Balinese cooking class at Raja’s restaurant in our hotel, it was a great insight into how flavoursome they like their food and their love of seasoning. We had a great day exploring and the food was fab tasting! We went home with full recipes, a chef’s hat but also a certificate with our photo on it!
Just like that it was time to get back on the flight and head home, whilst at the airport, I was called over the tannoy, thinking I was late, I rushed to the gate only to be told that my seat had no TV for the 9 hour flight! WHAAAAT! Thank you to all my friends who kept the whatsapp convos on the wifi alive.
On landing home, I headed straight to my community and spent the day and night with those affected by the Grenfell Tragedy. To assist or help in anyway, please check out: www.justice4grenfell.org