This was my first time going to Bali, and I didn’t know what I was in for. The general consensus is that it’s super cheap and really dirty.
I was pleasantly surprised.
We flew over in Jetstar Business (another frequent flier redemption). It was… okay, I guess? It was on bar with long-haul international premium economy. I had a wander to the back of the plane and, well, it made me value my seat in the pointy end even more.
We made it through Denpasar airport unscathed. Things moved surprisingly quickly. The hardest part about the airport was finding our ride. We had arranged a transfer through the hotel, and it was kind of difficult to find who was responsible for facilitating that in the literal sea of drivers crowded around the airport exit. We eventually found the guy holding the Hilton sign, who took us to a carpark and handed us off to our driver. Not exactly the five-star experience I was expecting, but we made it… Eventually.
The traffic through Bali is awful. It takes a really long time to get places. The Hilton is in Nusa Dua, around 45 minutes south-east of the Denpasar airport. It was an interesting drive out, experiencing Bali traffic and crazy drivers.
When we arrived at the Hilton, there was a security screening just after you pull off the main road. Not sure what they were screening for, but they looked in the boot and under the car.
I’m not going to lie, the hotel was amazing. It was right on the beach with an amazing view over the bay. We booked when Hilton was having a sale, so we got a room with private lagoon access—this could be one of the best ideas we ever had.
The grounds of the hotel were amazing. The views were spectacular.
For the first few days, we didn’t really do a lot. We hung around the pool a lot. In fact, for the majority of the trip we didn’t really do much—I was chasing a relaxing holiday, remember!
One of the days (who’s keeping track?) we hired a driver and went on a ‘tour’. Our first stop was some sort of cultural experience that felt like it went on forever— and it cost AUD$30 each! Definitely give it a miss.
I got my photo taken with one of the characters though, which was kind of cool.
Our next stop was for kopi luwak—coffee that has been made from beans that were predigested by a luwak. It was not the best cup of coffee I’ve ever had.
More excitingly though, they had a jungle swing. That shit was AWESOME, and you start really high up:
After this, our driver took us to Bali Bird World. I could have easily spent all day here, but Chris isn’t what we would call a naturalist. We had lunch, and then spent a couple of hours wandering and looking at birds. The birds were super friendly as well.
Our next stop after that was the monkey forest. Chris had filled me with dread about this place— he said the last time he was in Bali the monkeys would jump all over you and steal your phone and you could even get bitten and catch rabies and be asymptomatic until you slowly go crazy and die some number of years later.
That was not the case now. The monkeys were all generally pretty placid and just happy to do their own thing. I did see a few get sling-shotted by the monkey guards when they got a bit too close to the punters.
One night we went to Double Six to experience their rooftop bar. It was reccomended to me by a mate who stays at the Double Six hotel when then go to Bali. The view was spectacular. But otherwise, the joint was a wank.
The place was pretty empty, the drinks and food was super expensive and the place was trying way to hard to be something that I don’t quite think it has any right to pretend it is.
There were plenty of great places to eat and drink in Seminyak. Our favourite drinking spot was Char Char Char Bar & Grill. It had tiered seating overlooking the main street of Seminyak, and was amazing for people watching. In the afternoon, we would have a few Bintangs and people watch, then pop over the road to the Kimberly Spa and get a massage (90 minutes for AUD$20!). Then, go back and have a few more drinks.
Chris’ sister is cabin crew for Virgin Australia, so she spends a bit of time in Bali. Our paths crossed while we were over there, so we caught up for dinner. She took us to one of her favourite locals, Ling-Ling’s. It was great.
Motel Mexicola might just be the loosest place I’ve been to in a while. It seems to be going off every night of the week, playing amazing music and full of people probably half my age. Chris and I definitely felt like the oldest people there.
For dinner one night, we went to KUDETA, right on the beach at Seminyak. The food was amazing, would definitely reccomend. I would love to check it (or any other day club) out again next time we’re in Bali, but I definitely need to get my summer body ready before that happens!
But really, honestly, most of the time was spent lounging in and around the pool at the resort. Which I think was a pretty spectacular way to spend a week.
Yup. I’ll be back.