On my latest trip to Bali, I spent two incredible nights at Goya Boutique Resort, nestled in the heart of Ubud. They are a luxurious tropical hideaway, offering modern private villas set in a lush and tranquil environment.
I had such a blissful and relaxing time, I only wish I had stayed for longer!
Goya Boutique Resort is in a good location (not far from the Monkey Forest) and easy to find. I was warmly welcomed and had my luggage taken for me as I walked up the steps into the large and modernly designed reception area.
The check-in process was seamless and I was informed of all of the onsite facilities and daily activities. Because I had arrived slightly early I was taken to Senja Bar, a gorgeous area in front of the infinity pool to wait for my room to be ready.
I was extremely impressed by the eloquent surroundings, and the pool overlooking the rainforest was mesmerising! I couldn't wait to join the other guests lounging around and enjoying the warm sunshine.
I was presented with a refreshing drink and a lovely fruit platter while I waited. Included was also a welcome 10-minute foot or shoulder massage and I opted for the latter which was most relaxing.
Not long after, my room was ready and I was shown to my incredible Private Pool Villa.
It was my first time having my very own private pool and it blew my mind! As I was shown around the features of the room I couldn't stop saying, "Oh my God" and "Wow!"
Through the door was a beautiful outdoor area surrounded by lush greenery. The pool was most inviting with its own comfortable double lounger set in front of it.
The outdoor entrance was modernly furnished with a large sofa, table and chairs, to fully maximise the experience of being outside, which I loved.
Through the front door, the large four-poster bed was an impressive central feature. The entire room was tastefully decorated with wooden furniture and decorative art.
On the bed was the loveliest welcome with hand-written leaf notes, beautifully displayed flower petals and towel art.
The room was well-equipped with everything you could want for including a flat-screen TV with cable channels, and underneath, a refrigerator and minibar with a kettle, and tea and coffee making facilities.
In a corner sat a wooden desk and chair with complimentary mineral water and a jar of cookies.
Through the sliding doors was a stylishly decorated bathroom with a double vanity. A double wardrobe was located at one end with a safety deposit box, robes, slippers and a pool bag to use.
I loved the round mirrors above the sinks and the luxurious Bvlgari toiletries provided, all of the highest quality.
To the right was another lovely surprise, a beautiful white ceramic bath filled with fresh petals - I couldn't wait to have my first flower bath! It was set with a view of the pool if you chose to have the blinds up, to make it an ultimate relaxing experience.
The large rain shower at the end was also a delight to use. Other features of the room included excellent Wifi and air conditioning, room service, daily housekeeping, laundry service available, unlimited free bottled water and a nightly turndown service.
I especially loved how secluded and private the villa felt, and how spacious, artfully decorated and cosy the room was. The bed was extremely comfortable and the sleep quality was excellent.
Other types of rooms available include two-bedroom private pool villas and deluxe suites with balcony and views overlooking the rainforest.
Beyond the Room
Goya is a resort that has it all; so you don't ever have to leave if you don't want to. There is an incredible infinity pool overlooking the lush rainforest below, surrounded by plenty of loungers to relax on.
At each ends of the pool are luxurious cabanas with a table and comfortable seating to enjoy the surrounding tranquil views.
Onsite, Goya Spa offers a sanctuary of solitude and an enriching spa experience. From a traditional Balinese massage to hot stone, aromatherapy and acupressure, there is something to suit everyone's needs and wants. There are a range of luxurious spa packages to indulge in.
There are also complimentary wellness activities including Yoga available at certain times.
The 24-hour front desk can assist with vehicle rentals and airport or hotel transfers. Free bicycles are also available onsite to use. You can also book through them a Balinese Cooking Class and a local Ubud ricefield experience. They are happy to help arrange any other tour you might like to do. Furthermore, there is the lovely onsite Senja Bar & Resto where you can enjoy lunch, dinner and a cocktail, beer or wine in an elegant setting. This is also where breakfast is served each day.
A daily à la carte breakfast is included in the room and offers an impressive selection on the menu. You can choose anything you like including made-to-order barista coffee, teas, juices, and a range of hot and cold breakfast options.
Savoury waffles, tasty omelettes, fresh fruit, fluffy pancakes and acai bowls; breakfast every day at Goya was absolute #goals.
The lunch and dinner menu offered a good mixture of European and local specialities. I highly enjoy eating Indonesian food and I particularly loved their Beef Rendang.
There is a daily complimentary afternoon tea at Senja Bar from 3-5 PM, which is a thoughtful touch. Each day they have a range of delicious Balinese cakes and treats to enjoy, as well as hot, fresh coffee.
My stay at Goya was absolute perfection and I cannot wait for the day when I return again.
I absolutely loved my stay at Goya Boutique Resort and wished I didn't ever have to leave! It was such a memorable experience staying in a private pool villa and enjoying the delightful facilities of the resort.
The staff are all incredibly warm, generous and friendly. Any minor request was taken care of straight away; the service was impeccable.
As it is quite a secluded resort, this is a wonderful retreat to refresh, rejuvenate and relax. It is the perfect place for couples, families and friends for a special occasion or luxurious getaway.
If you do wish to leave the sanctuary of your villa, there are a number of nearby attractions such as the Monkey Forest, Ubud Palace and plenty of shopping and eatery spots.
Goya is without a doubt, my favourite place I've ever stayed at in Bali and it was a highlight of my recent two-weeks there.
I highly recommend it to anyone visiting Ubud, it was a real treat to stay there and one not to be missed!
It's been some time since I've written anything personal here and updated you on my latest wanderings. I've been super busy for the last 6 weeks, travelling New Zealand's South Island with Stray and I've just returned from a relaxing holiday in Bali.
There are a bunch of new blog posts coming your way very soon from what I've been up to, but for now, I wanted to share some of my favourite photos from my most recent trip.
Pin it! :)
As most of you probably know, I absolutely love Bali and ever since my first trip in 2015, I've consistently gone back every year (this latest trip was my fourth time).
Every time I go back it has grown more and more in tourism, but what I love most about Bali is that the people and their beautiful culture remain the same.
As mentioned, this trip was more of a holiday for my partner and I, to spend some time together in our favourite place, as he is going away for six months very soon for work.
As we've been so many times we have already done many of the main temples and waterfalls etc. some more than once, in case you may be wondering why we didn't do them this time.
We enjoyed some well-deserved relaxing and soaked up the warm sunshine, being mid-winter back at home.
For the first four nights, we stayed in Ubud and then spent one week in Seminyak, where we also did a day trip and hopped over to Nusa Penida, the island next door to explore.
Visiting Jakarta was a very different experience for me. While I initially regretting going at first, and almost bought an early plane ticket out of there, I decided to give it a shot and in the end, I'm glad I did.
I wanted to visit Jakarta as it was my third time to Indonesia, and I thought it would be rude not to visit the capital city of a country I liked so much.
Going to a city with a metropolitan area that exceeds 30 million people - the largest city in Southeast Asia, I was rather excited by that fact rather than hindered. (I'm crazy).
It was also the first predominantly Muslim place I had ever been to, a whole new experience for me, and because I am apparently very ignorant - I had no idea that I was coming right at the beginning of Ramadan.
The day before I was due to fly there from Bali, I woke to the news that there had been twin suicide bombing attacks in Jakarta. This, to be honest, freaked me out as I am travelling alone and I just didn't know if it was a safe place for me to go to.
I messaged my Airbnb host and he quickly reassured me that it was fine, there were still tourists walking around and that we shouldn't let the terrorists win, which I agreed with.
A bad start. Day One. 26.05.17.
As I was staying for a full week at my Airbnb, an airport transfer was included which I was very grateful for. Without traffic, it should have taken around thirty minutes, but it took an hour and a half as it was around 2 pm, and as I had been warned - the traffic in Jakarta is terrible! But Reza, my host was wonderful to talk to. He had even studied in New Zealand at an Auckland high school and university and also owned a property in Bali.
He gave me some frank advice, which I highly appreciated: "It is the beginning of Ramadan here, so it is better that you keep your head down. The women, they demand respect, so cover your shoulders and knees and don't look them in the eye."
He also warned me not to walk alone by myself at night, as it is not even safe for Muslim women. Their public buses here have even had to employ security guards on every single one, and there are also separate women's only buses, to try to stop sexual abuse.
Passing the National Monument on the way
Reza's place, my apartment for the week was located in Thamrin, a local area. And I mean local, as in I was definitely the only European in the near vicinity and everywhere I went I had eyes on me.
The apartment was on the 39th level so it had great city views and the room had everything I could need - including a washing machine (which I'm sure every traveller would be grateful for!).
The view from my balcony
I zoomed right in to see the famous monument and mosque behind it
After taking me to the apartment, Reza kindly offered to show me to the supermarket which was located on the ground level, where there was an enormous local mall called Thamrin City. We zigzagged left, right, straight, up an escalator, left, right, through rows and rows of stalls. We eventually came to the supermarket - and he left me there. So I went about and did a little shop, stocking up on supplies, and then... I couldn't find my way back. What a surprise! I was stuck in this nightmare of going round and round and I just could not find my way. There were no signs in English (not that I knew what I was looking for) and I asked several shopkeepers (who ignored me) and a total of three security guards if they spoke English, and they did not.
I am normally a tough person, but after an hour and a half, I was on the verge of tears. I asked one more guard desperately if they spoke English and he actually got up and found me someone who did, who was my saviour. I was on the wrong level and he pointed me in the right direction...
I eventually made it back to my room feeling f***ing relieved, only to then try to connect to the wifi - which did not work! Reza said he would message me the password through the Airbnb email, which he did - however, I needed the internet to access it... the text that I got on my phone only showed the first two lines of the message and not the password.
I was so upset I literally screamed! I had to go back into that god damn mall (sorry, just venting my feelings here), and I had to try to find an Indonesian sim card to buy data. Two unsuccessful attempts and another hour later, I had a sim card and data on my phone.
It was now around 7 pm and I managed to capture a glimpse of the burning red sun going down, before tucking into my 20 cent pot of instant noodles for dinner, as I sure as hell was not going out again. The way everyone stared at me, the lack of help and being thrown wildly out of my comfort zone (which I normally embrace) really shook me.
The final damning point in my day was that after all of that stress, all I wanted was a beer, which as I very sadly found out, is not sold in supermarkets and local stores. (Cue violin strings). I settled with an alcohol-free Bintang radler, which okay, wasn't that bad, and went to bed wondering what I was doing in Jakarta.
Lit up at night
Day Two. 27.05.17.
I was woken up at 4:45 am to the loud cries/prayers of a nearby mosque. The sound certainly rose high and that was my first introduction to Ramadan. As I later found out, Muslims have to pray at scheduled times five times a day, the first before the beginning of the fast.
Today was a Saturday and to be honest I was not interested in going out and exploring.
I skyped with my husband Gareth and used the time to catch up on the pile of work I had accumulated in Bali. I did pop out around lunch time as I had heard there were cafes and food available in the mall but after a lof of searching I discovered they were of course all closed during the day for Ramadan. There was a 7/11 type convenience store on the ground level so I stocked up on more noodles, packets of chips, chocolate cereal, milk and bananas.
That was literally my day. The way the men stared at me wherever I walked, even with my skin covered and my head down made me feel very uncomfortable and to be honest I did not feel safe. I seriously considered buying an early ticket to Thailand, but I knew I had not even given this place a chance and that's what stopped me.
The view from the opposite side of the building I was staying in
Day Three. 28.05.17.
Being a Sunday, Reza had told me that it was a car-free morning along the main streets from 6 - 11 am. At 9:30 I thought I should pop out to see what the city was like. It was a 40-minute walk to the main icon of the city, the National Monument, or Monas, as the locals call it. It was actually a very pleasant walk and there were many locals out and about for a jog or cycle along the empty roads. I only passed one other European, and we both side-eyed each other as we walked past with the expression of "what is this person doing in Jakarta?" It was a funny moment.
Down my street a bit
Jakartan Tuk Tuks
I took my time, so as I approached Monas I took a few snaps and had to basically turn around to make it back in time before the cars came. I made a very quick stop at a Starbucks first, where I ordered a refreshing coffee frappuccino (it was very hot walking around in jeans at 35° C) and a ham and egg quiche which I wolfed down, my first proper meal in a while.
I was glad to have gone out and I walked passed and discovered Grand Indonesia, a big Western shopping mall, which was only a 15-minute walk from where I was staying. I noted to visit there the next day.
Day Four. 29.05.17.
Today, as predicted, I walked back to Grand Indonesia. This became a haven I frequented often. The shops didn't so much appeal to me, as I wasn't interested in buying anything, but there were many local food courts (that were open!) and it was a safe place, you even had to put your bags through a scanner to enter inside. I explored the mall and found an excellent Japanese sushi restaurant, which you ordered on an iPad, and it came flying out on train-like rails. And they sold beer! Glorious beer. I was very happy and over-ordered, but extremely pleased with my discovery.
A very eerie morning (it started pouring soon after)
Inside the mall
I ordered another 4 pieces after this...
Day Five. 30.05.17.
After spending the best part of the day working I ventured back to Grand Indonesia in the afternoon with the plans of visiting the Skye Bar for sunset. I had read it was one of the top things to do in Jakarta and conveniently it happened to be attached to that exact mall. I browsed a few shops before locating the only bar in the mall called Paulaner Brauhaus. Now if anyone here knows me, you'll know I love my German beer, and I was ecstatic to find there was not only a bar (uncommon), but a German bar here. It took me a while to find, but eventually I settled with a delicious half pint of freshly poured Hefeweizen, my favourite. I laughed when I looked around wondering why everyone was staring at me - I was the only female in the bar, and also alone, which I suppose might be strange to some people.
Afterwards, I rocked up to the 56th floor to the Skye Bar and wowed at the incredible skyline. I had two cocktails, a mango vodka and a dragonfruit margarita, both around $15 AUD each, but you pay for the view. I enjoyed watching the sky darken, but as it was super cloudy/smoggy on the western side I couldn't actually see the sun set.
The Skye Bar is at the very top!
Once it was dark, I popped down to the busy local food court and ordered a delicious Indonesian chicken curry. I was the only European amongst a sea of people breaking their fast, but I was not unwelcome. As I was out late after dark, I decided to try my hand at my first Uber motorbike. I already had the app downloaded on my phone from Australia and I didn't need to change anything to use it. It automatically came up with the extra option to choose a motorbike. It arrived quickly, the guy didn't speak English, but he didn't need to. I hopped on and at first, held on for dear life - but it was a breeze! I had a huge dopey grin on my face, weaving in and out of the traffic, and it didn't take long at all. Guess how much that cost me? A grand total of 50 cents AUD. I was flabbergasted.
Day Six. 31.05.17.
I researched quite a bit and although there weren't many tours I found for Jakarta, I happened to find a free walking tour on Trip Advisor that had good reviews, among the central city highlights. They do several tours including a street food tour I was interested in, but as it was Ramadhan, it was temporarily canceled. I booked my new favourite way to get around - Uber motorbike and it was about a fifteen-minute ride to the meeting point at the National Museum.
I was the only person on the tour (I wasn't surprised) so I basically got my own personal tour! We started with Monas before heading to the famous Istiqlal Mosque - the largest in Southeast Asia, passing some interesting streets and buildings along the way.
This was my first time in a mosque so it was a very new experience for me. Even though I was fully clothed I still had to don a robe (which was stifling hot) and you had to take your shoes off to enter. I cursed myself for not bringing socks, but ignored that and got shown around the enormous place. I was taken to a viewing platform where I was allowed to take photos (I didn't want to be rude but I did snap a quick couple). The praying sections are segregated and the right side is for men only and the left for women. The set times for that day's praying were all illuminated on large clocks on the walls. I was shown the ground floors where the big beating drum is that calls the prayers and the large area where a capacity of 200,000 people can meet at one time during big celebrations. There were young boys playing around the drum and they all came over and stood around me while my guide talked about the significance of the drum. They couldn't even say hello but they were very interested in me, this blonde girl that was in their mosque (there were no other tourists about that I saw).
Afterwards, we walked across the road to the Saint Mary's Cathedral. They were built opposite each other as a symbol of tolerance among all religions. Even their national slogan translates to "Unity in diversity." The top spires were destroyed in earthquakes twice before they decided to rebuild in stone, which is why they are white.
We had a peek inside and then the three-hour tour was up, which sure went by quickly. I really enjoyed my day and I learned so much from my guide, even where his top favourite spots in Indonesia were to travel to (which I hastily wrote down). I gave him a decent tip and Uber motorbiked back to Grand Indonesia. By my third ride, I was cruising around on the back of the bike like a pro, not even holding on. Totally fitting in (not really, I stuck out like a sore thumb). That ride was rather interesting, I was proposed to by a guy on the side of the road while stuck in traffic. That sure doesn't happen every day. I had one last Paulaner Hefeweizen (and the bartender impressively remembered my order) before heading back to the food court for a cheap and delicious local dish.
The national symbol and slogan
Day Seven. 1.06.17.
For my final day in Jakarta I was up bright and early for a day trip I had also found through Trip Advisor. I had my own personal driver and guide for the day to see more of the city. I had shaken off my initial apprehension and wished to make the most out of my time there. As I had already seen the central highlights, I was first taken to the Old Town Square which has the first ever building, built in 1707 which served as the Town Hall.
We then drove to East Jakarta to Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, meaning 'Beautiful Indonesian Miniature Park.' This was a large cultural park full of miniature traditional Indonesian houses, museums, a water and fun park, even a reptile park. I started on a gondola ride around the entire 250 acres, which had excellent views (although it was a rather bumpy and nerve-racking ride!).
I then got to go inside one of the traditional West Sumatran houses I saw from above. One part was dressed for a typical ceremonial wedding and there were traditional bridal and groom outfits on display.
I was super excited to visit the reptile park as they had a Komodo dragon and I had never seen one before. It was just a small one, but I heard all about how dangerous they are - basically, they are mini dinosaurs. There were also many different types of Indonesian lizards, crocodiles and humongous snakes, the biggest I had ever seen!
Our final stop there was Museum Indonesia, of which the outside was a Hindu style temple. It reminded me so much of Bali and I loved it! Inside were three levels of historical Indonesian artifacts, displays, sculptures, custom clothing and mini traditional rooms of homes.
I remember learning about Indonesian puppets from Play School! (Kids TV show)
Lastly, I was taken to a famous Gado Gado restaurant where I tried the traditional Indonesian dish. Gado Gado is rice, vegetables, potato crackers and an egg served with a peanut sauce.
It was an excellent tour and the last couple of days ended my time in Jakarta on a good note. The next morning I packed up and was dropped back to the airport for my next adventure to Thailand. I won't lie, I was very excited to get to Thailand.
I was told to skip Jakarta as there are much nicer places to visit in Indonesia. I definitely believed them but I still wanted to go. I try not to regret anything that I do, as it is all life lessons that you can learn from, and I learned a lot in Jakarta. It was a new cultural experience and opened my eyes to a different part of the world I hadn't seen before. I was impressed by their symbols of religious tolerance, but whether it is actually peacefully tolerated, I cannot be sure. I think if I had of stayed in a comfortable Western hotel and received great service, went about my tours and stuck to Starbucks and the mall, then yes my experience would have been significantly different, but my eyes would have been shielded. Staying in a local area showed me the real side of things, the streets and the real people and I did feel very exposed and uncomfortable at times, being alone and a female. However, all was well, I kept to myself and walked about during the day fine enough and it was an interesting place to visit. Would I return again? Once was enough for me, but I did as always, appreciate my time there.
If you would like to see the highlights video I made from my time in Jakarta for Youtube, here is the link here:
One of my guides told me the locals call Jakarta the 'Big Durian'. This made me laugh, and he said "Smelly on the outside, but sweet on the inside." That, just like the fruit, might just be a matter of opinion! Coming next will be my travels in Bangkok and Krabi, hope to see you there!
My final night in Bali was spent at the luxurious Hotel Vila Lumbung in Seminyak, which was the perfect way to finish my wonderful time here.
This secluded boutique Seminyak resort was like walking into a slice of Ubud. Tucked away from the streets, away from any noise, it instantly felt relaxing. I was warmly greeted in the grand open lobby by the friendly staff and presented with a refreshing welcome drink.
The check in process was smooth and I had my bags taken for me and shown to my room. The lush tropical grounds are beautifully maintained and there is a two-level swimming pool as an impressive central feature which made my eyes pop when I saw it!
I was very excited when I was shown my room. The villas are made in exotic 'Lumbung' style with Balinese wooden roofs. Located on the far right end of the resort, I had the deluxe family room and it was incredible. Outside was a front patio with table and chairs, through the sliding doors was a large and comfortable double bed.
The room was tastefully designed and decorated in exotic Balinese decor. It was fitted with air conditioning, good wifi, a safe, seating areas, a widescreen tv, a fully equipped kitchenette with tea and coffee making facilities, an attached sunroom that could be used for an extra person, wardrobes with gowns and slippers, and probably my favourite feature - an outdoor garden bathroom!
I have never had an outdoor bathroom before and it was absolute goals! The garden was very private, with extra shades to pull down if you wish. There is a large shower and bath and the vanity cabinet was equipped with every toiletry you could possibly want for. It was a surreal experience and one that I thoroughly enjoyed!
The sun room
There are many other types of rooms to choose from to suit a variety of needs, including Superior and Deluxe rooms, perfect for couples, and even grand 3-bedroom villas, perfect for family vacations.
The upstairs master bedroom in the 3-bedroom villa
The downstairs dining and lounge area in the 3-bedroom villa
Beyond the Room
A large beautiful swimming pool surrounded by loungers, umbrellas and lush greenery is my ideal way to relax! Connected by walk-over bridges is the swim-up pool bar with daily drink specials, a waterfall, cave, outdoor chess set and whirlpool.
The resort offers many facilities to make your vacation perfect including a beautiful spa studio with many beauty treatments and a convenient fitness centre.
The couples massage room
There is also laundry and dry cleaning services, a 24-hour on-call doctor, money exchange, a tour desk, meeting room, children's playground, babysitting services, wedding packages, restaurant and bar.
The beautiful grounds would be the perfect location for a destination wedding!
The Lumbung Restaurant offers both Western and international cuisine in a very delightful setting under the big wooden roof alongside the pool. I happened to be there on Barbecue Night where you could pick a selection of fresh fish, sate meat and seafood kebabs to be fan-barbecued directly for you. There was also a large buffet with many choices of sides including soup, rice, bread, vegetables, salads and desserts. A live quartet band was pleasantly playing music and singing which made for a wonderful dinner atmosphere. The food was delicious!
There are even two private dining areas surrounded by lotus ponds if you wish to have a romantic date.
A daily buffet breakfast is also included in the room with a large variety of options to choose from. You can have eggs made to order, fresh pancakes, juices, fruit, cereals, pastries, tea and coffee and further hot and cold food choices. It was an excellent way to start the day!
Location: Jl. Raya Petitenget no. 1000x, Seminyak 80361
Reviews: Certificate of Excellence and 4/5 stars from 1040 reviews on Trip Advisor.
Price: Starts from $100 AUD a night for a Superior room.
I thoroughly enjoyed my stay here. Being surrounded by the lush tropical environment and away from the busy streets was so tranquil. The generous staff were all very friendly and helpful and looked happy to be there. The resort is in a great location, only a 10-minute walk to the beach and to the popular hotspot Potato Head Beach Club or a 5-minute drive to Seminyak Square, and there are plenty of good cafes and shopping in the area. My room was perfectly comfortable and I could have happily stayed there for weeks! With the gorgeous pool, great restaurant, spa and pool bar, Vila Lumbung is the ideal place for a relaxing vacation and would be an excellent choice for every type of traveller from couples looking for a romantic getaway, to friends and big family groups. I highly recommend this resort and would definitely stay again.
If you would like to see a bit more I show around the resort and my room in the second half of this Bali travel vlog for Youtube:
Disclaimer: My stay was complimentary in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are as always my own.
Stepping away from the busy streets up an escalator is the large modern and elegant reception area. The check in process was quick and smooth and I was shown to my room. The hotel is larger than I thought, with over 300 rooms. The downstairs pool is a central feature, with many guests lounging next to it and enjoying the party music coming from the pool bar.
Upon arrival, I was given a voucher for a welcome drink. I took this to the upstairs bar area with many comfortable seats that look over the street below. I saw there was a happy hour on and decided to take advantage of that. They have 2 for 1 cocktails for 100K IDR ($10 AUD) so I ordered two mojitos and enjoyed them while the sun went down.
My deluxe room was located on the second level to the right of the pool. Through the door was the comfortable large King sized bed, a desk and chair workstation with tea and coffee making facilities and a small balcony overlooking the pool below.
The One Legian is conveniently located right next door to Starbucks!
The view from my room's balcony
Opposite the bed was a TV set on the wall and to the right was a small wardrobe with bathrobes, slippers and a small fridge. Unfortunately, the fridge didn't seem to be working properly as it was not cold at all, but as I was only staying for one night I didn't feel the need to complain about it.
The room was fitted with a small bathroom with basic amenities, air conditioning, wifi (although extremely patchy and slow at times), large mirrors, a shoe rack and a safe next to the bed. The bright and spacious room had everything you could need for a comfortable stay.
There are many other types of rooms offered to suit different needs including large family suites and deluxe pool access rooms.
Beyond the Room
The hotel offers an impressive range of facilities to enjoy at your leisure. As well as the main ground pool with plenty of loungers, umbrellas and a convenient bar, there is also an open-air sky pool and bar which unfortunately was closed for renovations during my stay. They also host pool parties up there every weekend.
All throughout the hotel, it is beautifully decorated and well-maintained. I was impressed by the number of cozy spaces they have for guests to relax in.
There is a very nice spa offering many treatments and a mini gym with basic equipment to keep up fitness in a nice air conditioned room with drinking water supplied.
The couples massage room
There is also 24-hour reception, a tourist information and transportation corner, basement parking, meeting rooms and their own restaurant and bar facing the street.
The food at The One Legian was the highlight of my stay! I had dinner at their De Basilico Kitchen and Bar restaurant and ordered the sate campur. While I waited I enjoyed a Bintang and the complimentary bread sticks with dipping sauces. The presentation of my meal was really impressive and it tasted fantastic!
Breakfast is included with the room and there was a wide range of choices available. Set in a wide open upstairs area, it was very pleasant to enjoy. You can have eggs to order how you like, pastries, cereals, fresh juices and fruit, tea and coffee and a selection of many hot and cold choices.
I was also kindly invited for a lunch review at their De Basilico restaurant during my stay. I was given a delicious welcome cocktail 'Red Warrior' to enjoy before my first course was presented.
The first course was a Thai beef salad which tasted so light and fresh and had wonderful zesty flavours.
The main course was a pan-seared chicken breast with pesto rice and a creamy basil sauce. The chicken was so tender and the flavours complimented each other so well.
The dessert course was a layered chocolate cake which tasted like it was straight from Vienna or Paris! The layers were sponge, chocolate and cream with a hint of rum and it was so decadent and divine, the perfect way to end such a fabulous meal.
I was extremely impressed by every single course and honestly blown away by the presentation. Each dish was lovingly prepared and it was a treat for all the senses. The freshness and flavour of each plate made every single bite a pleasure. The chef is highly talented and you can see how passionate he is about his food. Even if you are not staying at The One Legian, I highly recommend visiting this restaurant if you are staying around the area in Bali!
Price: Starts from $40 AUD a night for a Superior Room.
I do believe that this is a great hotel for the price. The rooms and facilities offered are excellent value for money and there are even further great deals on their website including free room upgrades if you stay for a certain number of nights. However, I would recommend this hotel for party-lovers and those looking for budget-friendly luxury who do not mind the noise.
For me personally, I like to be able to relax around the pool or even in my room and I couldn't do that from the afternoon to night. The music blasting from the pool vibrated the walls of my room. The walls also happened to be paper-thin and I heard some very disturbing things coming from the rooms on either side of me that did rather taint my experience. But if you are looking for a good time, a place to sleep that has good amenities while looking for a party, you've come to the right place. Just bring earplugs if you plan on sleeping at all.
The staff are very friendly and helpful and as mentioned, the food is great and it's a great price for what you get. Overall, The One Legian is a great choice for young-at-heart travellers, couples and friends, and as the title suggests - it is a party-goer's paradise!
If you would like to see a bit more I show around the hotel and my room in the first half of this video:
Disclaimer: My stay was complimentary in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are as always my own.
My four best friends and two of their partners from New Zealand met me in Bali and we all had the greatest week ever! We were celebrating a milestone birthday for Angela, plus we all wanted to holiday together again as it had been six months since our last trip to Rarotonga! Here are a few favourites of the million photos I took and snippets of what we got up to in a fun-filled week:
Day One. 17.05.17
My friends arrived and we checked into The Breezes Bali Resort & Spa in the late afternoon. I had stayed there once before during my first visit to Bali and I absolutely love this resort. After being shown to our rooms and a small tour we hopped straight into the inviting pool and took advantage of happy hour! We also joined in the pool bingo game that runs daily at 6 pm which is always a fun time.
In the evening we wandered down the road for dinner at a local favourite Mades Warung. Many of us ordered the Babi Guling, which I recommended to try (as it was their first time to Indonesia), which is a traditional Balinese spit roast pork dish. We also got to watch a bit of Indonesian dancing which is on in the evenings at 8 pm.
At the entrance of The Breezes
I shared a comfortable deluxe twin room with my friend Anita
Beautiful welcome flowers and fresh fruit platter
We had our own private balcony in front of the pool!
Today us girls took a taxi to Legian where we first stopped into Bali Tattoo Studio to book in our tattoos for our last day there. I got a tattoo with them the last time I was in Bali and I highly recommend them. (We booked for our last day as you can't swim with fresh tattoos). We then wandered down the road, past the memorial site where the Bali bombings happened in 2002, to Smart Spa and Salon. Two of us wanted a hair cut and I, again had been there before and recommended them. $16 for a good hair cut, not bad at all considering at home it can be upwards of $60 in most places. Also in the area we had a delicious lunch at Kopi Pot. I had sate lilit which is minced fish on lemongrass sticks that comes on a charcoal grill. So delicious! Also, obligatory Bintangs, of course.
Before returning to The Breezes we popped into Spa Bali which is just down the road from the resort. I got a mani-pedi, because when in Bali - treat yo-self! We then hopped back in the pool and rested for the afternoon. That evening we had dinner at the hotel's own restaurant. We ate there at least four times, the food is always delicious and in-house guests get a 20% discount so it's a very good price too. Afterwards, we had a booking at Frankenstein's which is only a 10-minute walk away. It's a fun monster laboratory themed bar with entertaining cabaret shows on every night, awesome themed drinks (like eyeball martini, 'injection' shots and iv bag cocktails) and good music. It was a very fun night!
The memorial site
Lunch time Bintangs at Kopi Pot
Delicious sate lilit
Amazing cocktails at the swim up pool bar
Fun at Frankensteins
Day Three. 19.05.17
Today was our friend Angela's birthday! We had a fun day planned starting with water sports at Nusa Dua. We booked with a highly rated company called Bali Jetpacks & Water Sports which included transfers. We picked from a wide range of activities including parasailing, banana boating and jet skiing. I got a little seasick, so if you're planning on doing water sports take some sea legs with you! It was a really fun time though and also included in the price was a professional photographer so we got a tonne of photos at the end of it which was such a nice surprise!
After a late lunch we got dressed up for the evening and had celebratory champagne before taxi-ing to Potato Head Beach Club, one of my favourite spots for sunset! It was as always very busy, but we eventually got seats and had a nice cocktail to enjoy the sunset and tropical vibes. We had a reservation at Bambu for dinner, a very nice restaurant just a five-minute walk from there. I love the setting over the water and the food is absolutely delicious.
The Breezes surprised Ange with a birthday breakfast treat!
Today we all had a well-deserved lazy pool day, as we had been quite busy up until then. We enjoyed the 2 for 1 cocktail happy hour special that runs at The Breezes from 11 am - 1 pm and then ventured out for lunch back to the local Mades Warung. We got a bit excited when we saw there was a beer tower on the menu so we all pitched in and shared! 3 litres of delicious. Then a stop for ice cream and more relaxing around the pool and that was the gist of our day!
Not a bad way to start the day at all
Cool street art in Seminyak
The sate dish was my absolute favourite from The Breezes own restaurant
Day Five. 21.05.17
Today we had a second lazy pool day which was again, so nice and relaxing. One of our party had a full-day motorcross tour, but the rest again enjoyed happy hour before venturing out for a walk. This time we went to Seminyak Square and had a nice lunch at Naty's Restaurant. I had my fave, Nasi Goreng and a refreshing Bintang radler. We browsed in one of the coolest shops I've ever been in called Skull, where everything from clothes, bags, accessories and memorabilia are skull themed. I wanted to buy so many things! After a shopping fix we walked home via the beach which was nice to see again. Aaand cue more relaxing!
Lunch at Naty's
Coolest shop ever!
A random figure in front of Seminyak markets
Back to the pool bar!
Day Six. 22.05.17
Today four of the seven of us had a tour booked to climb Mount Batur for sunrise. The rest of us three (including me) decided to see Tanah Lot, a famous temple on the coast that is a rock formation with a Hindu shrine perched on top. We were a little scammed by our taxi driver, but that was bound to happen sometime. Tip: Hire a driver for a fixed price and don't take a taxi, he rigged the meter and tried to charge us 7x more than we should have paid. Never mind, I still really enjoyed seeing it and I was even blessed by a holy Balinese Hindu priest which was a special experience.
A typical breakfast for me from the delicious daily buffet
Today all of us did a full day trip to Ubud. We booked a driver easily through The Breezes tour information centre for 8 hours, but we actually went overtime for 10 hours! We had so many things we wished to see and ran out of time. You definitely need at least two days in Ubud to be able to see everything. But we prioritised and had a great day visiting the Tegalalang rice terraces, Bali Pulina for Luwak coffee tasting, Pura Tirta Empul - a holy water temple and my favourite in Bali.
We had a nice lunch before visiting the Sacred Monkey Forest where most of us had a cheeky monkey on our shoulders for a banana. I love seeing them roam around freely, as they should be. Just watch your belongings! Lastly, we visited the Tegenungan waterfall where we went for a brief dip. It was so great to visit Ubud again and get out of the main touristy hub for the day. Next time I will definitely stay the night there.
Today was sadly our final day. The others did some last minute souvenir shopping before checking out at 12 pm. We all jumped into a taxi back to Legian where we stopped first at Warung Padmasari, another of my favourite local places to eat. Next up it was tattoo time at Bali Tattoo Studio. We all got them done one after the other and it was smooth and painless (for me!). Afterwards, we waited outside with a beer for the boys to return who had gone shopping and one of the tattoo artists joined us playing guitar and singing for us. He was so talented and it was such cool vibes! A great ending to our trip. We then had to say our goodbyes as they were leaving back for New Zealand that night and I had to be off for the next part of my adventure.
Sad to say goodbye to the beautiful Breezes
With our tattoo artists
Aaand one last group shot sporting our new friendship tattoos!
I truly love Bali so much and enjoyed it just as much as ever. I honestly wish I could live there! I love walking down the streets and seeing the colourful Hindu offerings, I love the temples and the smell of incense. I love the flowers everywhere and how lush and green it is. I love the food and mostly how warm and inviting the Balinese people are. I cannot wait to return again for the fourth time, no doubt soon enough!
I can guarantee I will be staying again at The Breezes Bali Resort & Spa, who are outstanding. The resort is absolute perfection and the small touches every day in our rooms, including a different towel animal and personal note, the friendly staff, amazing pools and services, restaurant, cocktails, everything about them is top-notch. I have written a hotel review of them previously on my blog, if you would like more information here is the review.
I also made a video for my YouTube channel of all the fun my friends and I got up to during our week together in Bali:
It was a fantastic week and all of us left with some great memories (and polaroids) that we will treasure forever. Next up will be my Jakarta travel diary which was a lot more challenging than Bali! Coming soon.
My travel adventure around Southeast Asia kicked off to a great start with my first night spent at the wonderful Akmani Legian in Bali, Indonesia.
Centrally located in downtown Legian, a lively upbeat area, walking into The Akmani Legian was a retreat from the hustle and bustle of the busy street. I was warmly greeted at the reception by the friendly staff and offered a welcome drink and refreshing towel. The reception area is elegantly decorated with Balinese artwork and cultural decor. I had my bags taken for me and was shown to my room, whilst taking in the beautiful tropical setting. The large downstairs pool is a grand feature with lush greenery surrounding it (see header image!).
Next to the reception desk in the lobby
My deluxe pool access room was located on the ground floor and it was everything I had imagined. Through the door was the enormous Super King bed (which was very comfortable) opposite a desk, seat and TV set on the wall.
The room was fitted with air conditioning, good wifi, a fridge, tea and coffee, mineral water and a wardrobe with a safe, robes and slippers. To the left was a spacious wooden style bathroom with every toiletry you could possibly wish for.
My favourite feature of the room was the sliding door which leads straight to the pool, it's something I have never had the pleasure of experiencing before and I was very impressed! Your own little balcony comes with a big comfortable lounge seat.
In the morning
Beyond the Room
The hotel offers a wide range of facilities including the large swimming pool with a side children's pool and plenty of umbrellas and loungers to relax on. There is a convenient spa, a gym and a rooftop pool bar which has drink specials, a large area with loungers and sofas, lively music and great sunset views.
Rooftop pool bar area
All lit up at night
There is also 24-hour reception and room service, tour desk information, airport transfers, meeting rooms, wedding packages as well as a popular roadside restaurant at the base of the hotel which I enjoyed dining at. A large daily buffet breakfast is also included in the room. There is a good choice for breakfast, with hot cooked food options, an egg making station, cereals, fresh fruit, pastries, juice, tea and coffee. Set upstairs and outside, it's a very pleasant setting with peaceful music and it's an excellent way to start the day.
Reviews: Certificate of Excellence and 4/5 stars from 876 reviews on Trip Advisor.
Price: Starts from $50 AUD a night for a Classic Room.
My time here was superb. It has everything I would want in a hotel for an enjoyable stay. The staff are fantastic and very helpful. All around the hotel you are warmly greeted with big smiles and a friendly hello. The location is only a five-minute walk to Legian beach or to Ground Zero and the Sky Garden in Kuta if you like to party. There are plenty of convenience stores, shops and good restaurants nearby. It's a very lively area so it really is an oasis amongst its surroundings. With the comfortable rooms, services and tranquil pool all for a very decent price, The Akmani Legian is an excellent choice for couples, families and groups. I would highly recommend this hotel and can't wait to stay again.
If you would like to see a bit more I include a room tour and show around the hotel in a Bali travel vlog for Youtube:
Disclaimer: My stay was complimentary in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are as always my own.
One of my absolute favourite things about exploring a new country and culture is trying the local cuisine. I've had the pleasure of visiting Indonesia's most popular island twice (and will be going back for the third time in May) and I can't get enough of the rich and bold flavours of Indonesian food. I've previously written a Bali Travel Guide & Tips post if you're heading there for the first time yourself and would like more information on Bali. This post is specific to places near Seminyak as that is where I have spent the most time and where the majority of my favourites happen to be. I have only spent two full days in Ubud and less than that in the Canggu, Uluwatu and Nusa Dua areas.
About Balinese food
For visitors, finding Balinese food that's done well isn't always easy. The heavily Westernised southern parts of the island have swapped most of their local eateries for Australian-owned beach bars and fast-food chains. You can be sure to not miss out on your smashed avocado toast or flat white if that's what you're after. There is also a large influence from all across Asia so you can easily find really good Indian, Vietnamese and Thai food for example, as well as plenty of other options such as Italian and Mexican. While there are a few restaurants bringing traditional Balinese flavours into a fine-dining setting, for true authenticity you need to venture beyond the popular tourist haunts and into the traditional warungs (small family-owned restaurants) to explore the local delicacies.
Bali is Indonesia's last remaining Hindu island and its cuisine is unique and laden with ceremonial significance. The spice pastes that form the base of most Balinese dishes- loaded with coriander seed, galangal, turmeric and candlenut- are echoes of India and Java, remnants of the Hindu-Buddhist Majapahit kingdom that ruled the island from the 13th - 16th century.
Pork, chicken, duck and fish take the centre stage, cooked over wood fires, grilled over coconut husks or slow-braised. Being Hindus beef is never or rarely consumed. Fruit and vegetables are usually raw, chopped with coconut in dishes such as lawar, or pan-tossed in coconut milk and stirred through broths and light curries. Rice is almost always the centre of the meal, and you'll be hard-pressed to find a Balinese person who doesn't fire up their plate with some form of sambal (spicy chilli sauce) or fresh chillis.
As I have only visited twice, I am no expert and I am sure there are a hundred delicious places I haven't yet tried. Below, however, are a few places that are absolute gems and I would highly recommend to others, as I have thoroughly enjoyed the food there and each place I have gone back to at least twice. Starting with suggestions of traditional dishes that are a must-try that I personally love, followed by top places to eat and then places to drink- as there are some fabulous spots to enjoy a cocktail or two as well.
Must try foods:
Nasi Goreng One of the most popular Indonesian dishes- Nasi goreng, literally meaning "fried rice" in Indonesian and Malay, is simply a meal including stir fried rice. But it's so much more than a typical rice dish- the flavours are so bold and tasty. I particularly love mine with freshly chopped chillis added. Usually, you can choose it to be stir fried with seafood, chicken or just vegetables. A typical Indonesia meal comes with all sorts of extra accompaniments, as below- prawn crackers and a side of vegetables are very common.
Sate or “satay” are marinated, skewered and grilled meat and served with a spicy or peanut sauce. Bali’s own speciality is sate lilit, made from minced beef, chicken, fish, or pork which is mixed with coconut, coconut milk and a strong blend of vegetables and spices.
It is wrapped rather than skewered around bamboo, sugar cane or lemongrass sticks, then grilled. It is so incredibly delicious and one of my absolute favourites.
Babi guling is a local favourite- a spit-roast pig stuffed with rich traditional spices and vegetable mixes and slowly rolled over a coal fire. Once a communal treat served only during special celebrations and ceremonies, it can now be found widely served at many local warungs specialising in this dish. Served on top of rice, the meat is juicy and tender and the crispy brown skins are prized.
Pepes and Tum
Pepes is an Indonesian Sundanese cooking method using banana leaves as food wrappings. The small package is sewed with thin bamboo sticks at both ends, and either steam-cooked, boiled or grilled. It is most commonly used to prepare fish, chicken, tofu and vegetables. Tum takes on a different form, with the wrapping folded and stitched at one top end, and usually steam-cooked. The banana-leaf wrapping provides a special flavour which is incredibly aromatic and tasty. Below to the right is a grilled Pepes of fish from a Balinese cooking class I did.
As mentioned, there are so many other delicious Balinese and Indonesian dishes, these are just my particular favourites that I would highly suggest others try while in Bali!
Technically in Legian- the area between Seminyak and Kuta, Warung Padmasari is still very close to Seminyak, being only two kilometres away. Friendly and fast service together with all local and traditional Balinese food is the emphasis of this little warung and the prices are unbeatable. There are some great selections on the menu including traditionally fried and grilled chicken with sambal varieties to go with them, as well as spring rolls, samosas and curries. My partner and I ate here three times in a week, it was that good- and the average price for a two-course meal and two beers and water each was literally around $12 AUD all up... we gave them a very good tip!
Another excellent warung we loved was Made's Warung which is located in both Seminyak and Kuta (although in my opinion, the Seminyak location is much bigger and better). We also ate here three or four times over the two trips we've done so far and I'll certainly be going back for the next trip! It's one of the most established warungs on the island and is frequented by the prime minister as well as a global range of clients. The kitchen is enormous and when you see the menu you'll see why- it covers every single taste from traditional Indonesian to Thai, Malaysian and Western and they have dedicated chefs for each. We only went during the day for lunches, but in the evenings they have free shows of Indonesian dance for you to enjoy. In particular, I recommend trying babi guling here, the red and green Thai curries are the best I've had outside of Thailand and a freshly squeezed watermelon juice always goes down a treat on a typical sweltering hot day.
Again in Legian, but still near Seminyak, Kopi Pot "coffee pot" is one worth dining at. Set in lush Balinese gardens, it offers a retreat from the bustling Legian main road. On the menu you can find a selection of tasty dishes from around the country together with international selections if you prefer. Besides having delicious food for a good price, it's also a great place to sip some Balinese coffee or an ice cold Bintang. In particular, I highly recommend the deep-fried spring rolls, the sate lilit (charcoal lemongrass fish skewers) and the tongseng kambing (spicy lamb stew originating from Java). Prepare for flavour explosions in your mouth!
For a special occasion or those wanting a more upscale dining experience, there are plenty of highly impressive restaurants, especially found around the Seminyak area. The following listed below I especially enjoyed the experience of each. The menus offer traditional Indonesian dishes in a fine-dining context as well as fusions of other Asian cuisines. There is a dress code and you have to usually book in advance by at least a couple of days. Each place has a fantastic atmosphere and stunning surroundings, so it is of course, a lot more expensive than you would find at a local warung (but still cheaper than you would find in the likes of Australia and New Zealand). However, for the great service, cleanliness, top quality food and experience, it's worth it and it's always nice to treat yourself if you're away on holiday and to have at least one fancy meal out in my opinion. If you're after that the following are all fantastic options:
Ku De Ta (Also a great cocktail, sunset and nightlife venue). Ginger Moon (One of the top rated restaurants on the whole island). Bambu (Amazing food and service with an incredible ambient setting). Sarong (You have got to try the ginger espresso martini- it's to die for).
One of the most popular spots to catch the sunset with a cool cocktail- the Potato Head Beach Club has fast gained popularity as one of the most happening venues in Seminyak. The signature main venue resembles a stadium, it's home to three restaurants, two bars, an infinity pool and an enormous lawn perfect to view the infamous sunset overlooking the Indian Ocean. Get in early to bag a lounger or beanbag by the pool or head to the second floor with plenty of table and chairs available. Sip on unique cocktails from a coconut husk or a giant shell and sit back, relax and enjoy the tranquil views.
The latest addition to the ‘most unique’ bars in Bali is Frankenstein’s Laboratory, where you can experience the Halloween atmosphere throughout the year- not only in the month of October. Zombies, vampires, monsters, mummies… and humans, all mingle together in this ghoulishly themed spot for fun. It's decorated like a freaky lab and has nightly entertainment by the Dancing Dead Cabaret which is always amusing. It's a whole lot of fun where you can enjoy 'eyeball' martinis, cocktails that come in IV bags, and shots in the form of injections.
Motel Mexicola is a colourful and quirky Mexican bar and restaurant which hosts regular house parties with live Latin music that will transport you ‘south of the border’. There’s a laid-back upstairs area where you can take a cosy seat, sit back, and enjoy the view over the courtyard below. If you're craving a margarita, a lively atmosphere and even a taco or two before (or after) some tequila shots- this place is for you.
This place is especially cool as the venue’s interiors and overall design is like a Gothic cathedral, but with glittery mosaic-like wall decor. Mirror Bali Lounge and Club is a hip place to party on Seminyak’s main Petitenget route. The stained glass windows and towering ceilings along with the laser lighting all add to a fun party vibe to dance the late evenings away to industrial, deep bass, house and hip-hop music. Recommended for party-goers and night owls.
There we have my top places to eat and drink near Seminyak in Bali, and particular foods to try while you're there. I hope you found this post helpful and do let me know in the comments if you have any top places of your own to add- I'd love to read them! Writing this has got me so excited for my next trip to Bali, which I have no doubt will be filled with more new excellent places and delicious dishes to try.
I've been meaning to write this post for quite some time and I finally had a great excuse to get around to it - I'm heading back to Bali for the third time! I've booked a one-way ticket and I'm going with my group of very best friends for a special occasion so I'm super excited.
I absolutely fell in love with Bali the first time I visited. It's a stunningly beautiful island, the culture and people are so lovely, there is so much to do as well as being a perfect place to retreat and relax if that's what you're looking for. Not to mention the shopping, weather and food are all amazing! It's my absolute pleasure to write this Bali travel guide overview and tips for top things to do and be aware of if you're heading there for the first time.
WHEN TO GO?
The first thing to decide is what time of the year to visit. There is no right or wrong answer for this, but May, June and July are generally considered to be the best months in terms of weather. The dry season is May to October with the wet season being November to April. July and August tend to be the peak months where prices will usually go up due to the high volume of tourists, therefore April, May, June and September are good months to aim for. However, I went late November once and the wet season hadn't started as it was late, but it was very very humid. The plane tickets during that time though were extremely cheap!
WHERE TO STAY?
Where to stay depends on what type of holiday you are looking for. The three most popular and main areas to stay in are Seminyak, Kuta and Ubud.
Seminyak, being the more upscale choice of the three, is spilling with high-end boutiques, restaurants, spas and luxury accommodation. This relaxed area is great for couples, families and those wanting to be near the beach, great food and shopping. I personally enjoy staying at The Breezes - a mid-range 4-star resort and spa, which is a bit more affordable that those dreamy beachfront villas!
Kuta is generally popular for the surfers and younger, party-centric crowd. There are a lot of raging nightclubs and has a noisier party atmosphere. I stayed there the second time and didn’t enjoy that area nearly as much. However, there are still plenty of nice beachside accommodation resorts or cheap hostels if that does happen to be your thing. There's a big waterpark in Kuta if you have kids and the beach is a great spot to catch a wave.
Ubud is for those looking for some real peace and quiet away from the touristy areas and shops, loud drinking people and so on. Ubud is often referred to as the heart of Bali. Not only a paradise for yogis, vegetarians and vegans, it is also the island’s cultural and spiritual centre- thanks to the movie Eat, Pray, Love. It's a lot quieter and there are less food choices, but there's still plenty to do and it's where most of the amazing artwork is made.
The Breezes Resort & Spa in Seminyak
From the airport How to get around Bali? The only way I would recommend is by the official Bluebird Taxis (Taksi). Even from the airport. Don't do what I did the first time which was book a package that included hotel transfers. The transfers cost over $50 each way... but we had no idea at the time that price was five times more than what we would pay if we just hopped in a taxi at the airport! It should cost you no more than $10 AUD to Seminyak, which is about a twenty-minute drive away depending on the traffic.
Official Bluebird taxis
Around town There is no shortage of taxis anywhere in Bali and you will know this from the incessant honking they do to let you know their taxi is available (annoying at times until you actually need one!). A short trip from one end of town to the other can take up to half an hour in bad traffic, but it will still cost you less than $4. Always ask beforehand if they will run the meter; only hop in if they say yes (most will). Never accept a fixed price or get into a taxi that is unofficial as they will charge you a lot more.
Day trips You can hire your own personal driver for the day if you want to do a full day trip somewhere. Many taxi drivers will outright ask you if you need one and will offer a fixed price for a certain amount of hours. I have used this method three times and all have been great experiences. Your driver will pick you up from your hotel and take you wherever you wish to go, and if you're not sure - they know plenty of popular hot spots to go to. You get dropped at each place and they wait for you however long you take and then will drive you on to the next place. I have done two day trips north to Ubud and a trip south to Uluwatu and it cost between $30-$50 for 7-10 hours which is an extremely good price. We always gave them a very good tip because their service and friendliness have always made that trip all the more special.
TOP 5 THINGS TO DO
1. Visit the temples
There are so many incredible temples to visit and all are unique and beautiful in their own way. Some favourites well worth visiting include:
Uluwatu Temple - an 11th Century cliffside temple in the south where you can watch a traditional 'Kecak and Fire Dance' sunset show. Entrance fee: 40,000 IDR. Optional show fee: 100,000 IDR.
Pura Tirta Empul - a beautiful and sacred water temple in central Bali said to have holy water with healing properties. (Also pictured as the header image). Entrance fee: 15,000 IDR.
Goa Gajah - or 'Elephant Cave' is a 9th Century archaeological site in Ubud of significant historical value that once served as a sanctuary. Entrance fee: 15,000 IDR.
Tanah Lot - is an ancient Hindu shrine and one of Bali's most important landmarks, famed for its unique offshore setting and stunning sunset backdrops. Entrance fee: 30,000 IDR.
2. Take a day trip to Ubud
If you decide not to stay in Ubud, then you at least have to visit for a full day as there is so much to do there and getting away from that main tourist hub will show you a more authentic side of Bali. About an hour's drive away, here are some top places to visit:
Tegalalang Rice Terraces - this is a must-see in Ubud, famous for its beautiful scenes of vibrant green rice paddies and terraced rice fields. Entrance fee: 10,000 IDR.
Monkey Forest - it's one of those places you have to see once in your lifetime. A nature reserve and Hindu complex, it is filled with monkeys of all sizes roaming freely. You can buy bananas there to feed them if you wish and get a picture with them but watch your things because they will try to steal from you! Entrance fee: 40,000 IDR.
Bali Pulina - there are a number of Luwak coffee plantations you can visit in Bali, but this one is by far my favourite thanks to the incredible scenery of rice paddies you have while you sip on different tea and coffee tastings. The tastings are free but if you are brave enough to try the Luwak coffee itself (also known as cat-poo coffee!) that costs 50,000 IDR.
Tegenungan Waterfall - if hiking through a jungle to a hidden waterfall is your idea of paradise, then this is a beautiful and scenic place to visit and come for a dip. Entrance fee: 15,000 IDR.
Also, as mentioned above, be sure to visit the Goa Gaja and Pura Tirtha Temples while you're in central Bali!
3. Enjoy the beaches
The beaches all along the coastline are very nice and perfect to relax on a lounger, go surfing or do some fun water activities.
Lounging Along Seminyak, Legian and Kuta beach you can find loungers and comfy bean bags with umbrellas dotted everywhere. Pay 50,000 IDR to hire one unlimited for the day and you can enjoy swimming and can purchase and be served cold drinks as you please. You will constantly be hassled by sellers however, so it might not be as relaxing as you’d like it to be and the toilet situation isn't the greatest, but it's still a great activity to watch the surfers as the sun sets.
Watersports If fun and adrenaline-rush activities are your thing - then get stuck into the watersports on offer in either Kuta or Nusa Dua. You can go banana boating, donuting, jet skiing, parasailing and snorkelling just to name a few. Balitobali.com is a company that offers packages, for example you can go parasailing, on a banana boat and jet ski all for 300,000 IDR ($30 AUD) which is an excellent price for so much fun! I haven't been snorkelling myself yet in Bali but here is a good website which shows the best beaches to do that: bali-indonesia.com. I remember looking at snorkelling full day trips and they are still quite pricey- at least $120 USD each. If you're keen to give surfing a go prosurfschool.com has a great reputation. Open year round, they are located at Kuta Beach and teach anyone of all levels from beginners to pros.
Watersports in Nusa Dua
Beach Clubs There are some very nice beach clubs along the coast of Seminyak where you can lounge, enjoy infinity pools, delicious cocktails, food, listen to local DJ's and of course watch the epic sunset with a drink in hand! The most famous in Bali is the Potato Head Beach Club. It's a very popular spot for sunset drinks so arrive early in the afternoon if you want a seat with a good view! Bring your swimwear to enjoy the infinity pool, they have changing rooms and full facilities to use. Cocktails go for $10+ AUD, so not the cheapest but you're paying really for being in an awesome place- it's great to do at least once. Other notable sunset venues include Ku De Ta (also a fine-dining restaurant), and Double-Six Rooftop (atop a luxury hotel).
4. Treat yourself
Spas It's always nice to relax while you're away on holiday, but for me - I tend to still wear myself out as I like to explore everywhere on foot and get out and about every day. I'm not normally one to get my nails done or get a massage or facial (too expensive), but when I discovered in Bali you can really pamper and treat yourself for such a good price - I am all over that! There is no shortage of beautiful spas all over Bali, so there is plenty to choose from. One that I particularly like is Bali Spa, which has stores in both Seminyak and Kuta (both are great). The service is wonderful and the cost even better. A full mani-pedi costs $10 AUD, an hour long facial is also $10 and an hour traditional Balinese massage costs $15, and there is a huge range of treatments and types of massages to choose from. If I were to get all three of these at home it would cost me over $250 - so definitely make the most of it!
Fresh nails done at Bali Spa
Hair & Beauty If you're in need of a haircut and colour or any beauty services then get it done in Bali! A place I went to last time and loved is Smart Salon and Spa in Legian/Kuta. I have been getting blonde foils in my hair for years and I have never had such a good job done on me - I was so pleasantly surprised! The hairdresser was immaculate in his attention to detail and spent so much time on my hair- which turned out perfectly and cost half what I would normally pay ($80 AUD). They also offer plenty of beauty services including makeup, lashes and brows, massages etc so you could make a full day out of it if you wanted to!
Happy with my new hair
Tattoos If you are thinking about getting a tattoo - Bali is renowned for it. There is a tattoo parlour on practically every corner, but do, as always be careful which one you select. Do your research and find a parlour with a great reputation and perfect reviews. One that I can highly recommend is Bali Tattoo Studio which is located in Legian/Kuta. I got my sixth tattoo done with them last July and it was as good as any other I had gotten from my most trusted tattoo artist back at home (except it was half the price!). They are global award-winning artists, highly professional, talented and most importantly perfectly hygienic. As a tip: try to book in for your final day there, as you can't swim with fresh tattoos. You don't want to miss out on the pool in such hot weather!
Loved my tattoo done by Bali Tattoo Studio
5. Food & Shopping
Food Along the same lines of excellent prices - enjoy the delicious food and the shopping too. There is a large range of food options as well as a price range, but if you mostly stick to traditional Balinese food in local places you can eat like a king for little to nothing! Local family-owned restaurants are called Warungs and that is where you will find delicious and well-priced meals. I have written a post on Top Places to Eat & Drink near Seminyak, Bali so check that out for more information. But quickly, one of my favourite places to eat is called Warung Padmasari which always has exceptional local Balinese and you can get a three-course meal and a drink for literally $20 - it's astounding and so yum! I've been there three times for both lunch and dinner.
One of my all-time favourites - nasi goreng and satay skewers
Being quite westernised in Seminyak and Kuta there are a lot of Australian-owned cafes and restaurants as well where you can find any kind of food from Mexican to vegan and there are plenty of Asian food options like Thai and Indian if you get sick of Balinese!
Shopping There is also a variety of shopping you can do from thrifty markets to high-end fashion stores. There are some really amazing art, antique and homeware shops selling locally made goods that go for a decent price. You can pick up plenty of knockoffs in street shops and stalls if that's your thing, from 'Gucci' handbags to 'Nike' runners. Make sure you barter in the streets and don't accept the first price - knock it down by at least a third. If you prefer real labels and designer clothes there are heaps of legit Australian owned surf shops selling Roxy and Billabong for half the price you would pay back in Australia and there are many unique boutique stores in Seminyak that any shopper would love. You can find really nice souvenirs for yourself or gifts all over the place for very cheap prices.
One of my favourite stores in Seminyak- sold only skull things!
HANDY FACTS & TIPS
As of June 2015, 30 more countries were added to the free entry list - New Zealand included. Which means we don't need a visa or to pay the $35 USD fee hooray! (Australia was added in 2016).
Your passport must be valid for at least six months from the day you plan on leaving Indonesia.
The currency is Indonesian Rupiah - 10,000 IRD is around $1 AUD which is easy to remember.
Balinese people are highly religious and practise Balinese Hinduism, which is why there are so many beautiful temples and offerings laid daily on the streets.
Only use bottled water, even to brush your teeth. You can pick up large 1.5-litre bottles for around 50 cents so stock up whenever you get the chance and carry around a refillable smaller bottle during the day.
Bring or buy a sarong, you’ll need it - even males. Whether it’s covering up for a temple visit, using it as a beach cover-up or as a seat cover.
Do stay somewhere with a good pool. It's really hot year round with average temperatures of 32॰C and daily dips are necessary!
Having a place with a pool bar- even better!
You’ll probably experience a case of 'Bali Belly', so bring Imodium. Consider yourself warned! Also be sure to bring panadol, tissues and hand sanitizer.
You can find free wifi in most cafes and restaurants.
The island of Bali looks like a chicken... just a random fact!
You can hire a scooter really cheaply and you don't have to wear a helmet by law - but you'd be mad not to!
Beer and drinks such as coke are very cheap from local stores. The local beer is Bintang which are around $1.50 for a large bottle from the stores, so take a bunch back to your hotel room to drink if you have a nice balcony for example. It’s probably a third of the price at least than buying it from your hotel.
You are also allowed to drink in public places such as walking in the streets and at the beach.
The local people are very friendly but the sellers on the streets and in public places can be very pushy at times. This is their job though so do just ignore them if you aren’t interested and keep walking or just say no thank you.
Both the locals (mostly men) and every second tourist smokes because they are dirt cheap in Bali, so you might get a bit of a shock if you're used to smoke-free zones. It's not surprising to see young boys smoking or children selling cigarettes either.
Do get as much cash out that you think you'll need before you arrive. There are ATMs available but I personally was the subject of credit card fraud the last time I went (and I only used an ATM machine once in a convenience store). Better not risk it!
You're not expected to tip, but it's a nice gesture if you receive a good service. The Balinese people are lowly paid, and yet extremely generous and hospitable.
I highly recommend seeing a cultural performance of traditional Balinese dance. It's a very ancient dance tradition that is beautiful and unique, and is closely connected to religious rituals. Many places offer 'dinner and a show' and they are well worth experiencing at least once.
Balinese dance performed at The Breezes in Seminyak
Once Bali gets under your skin, don't be surprised to find yourself returning again and again. Some Australians holiday there annually; others never return back home (Bali is full of Australian ex-pats). There's something magical, ethereal and beautiful about Bali. Be sure to get out beyond your hotel to find it!
After my fiance and I decided were in much need of a nice and relaxing getaway together, we excitedly booked our first trip to tropical Bali, Indonesia.
The Breezes: First Impressions
Centrally located in Seminyak- the heart of the island's most vibrant holiday scene, arriving at The Breezes Bali Resort & Spa was instantly relaxing. Just a five-minute walk to the golden-sand Seminyak Beach, the flowing sea breezes were lovely in the warm heat. Warmly greeted with big smiles from the reception staff, we had our luggage taken for us and we strolled towards our room taking in the magnificent resort as we went. The wide open and modern lobby opened through to a stunning pool area surrounded by welcoming loungers and a pool bar where holiday-makers were enjoying the late afternoon sun.
Our room was located on the second floor and there is a lift available for those that do not wish to take the stairs. Through the door to our room, we saw our large and modern bathroom to the left, kitted out with all the toiletries you could possibly wish for. Ahead was our very large King bed in a spacious room fitted with a tv, safe, air conditioning, good wifi, plenty of drawer space, a big chair in the corner and a wardrobe with fluffy bathrobes and slippers. My favourite thing about the room was the large balcony leading off it offering two comfortable chairs and a table, with a view overlooking one of the pools and the tennis court above the Beach Restaurant. We saw many fabulous sunsets from the comfort of our balcony enjoying a Bintang (local beer) or two.
Beyond the Room
The resort offers a wide range of facilities including a well-equipped air-conditioned fitness centre, a tennis court, Kid's Corner, Travel Information Centre, a Departure lounge, just to name a few. They have a road-side restaurant and bar called d'Base which is one of Seminyak's popular dining and entertainment venues with nightly live music and performances.
There are two large pools which I found so great. The lagoon-style four-tiered swimming pool has a sandy man-made beach with red and white candy-striped beach loungers and shady umbrellas- which gives it that ultra relaxing feeling and may have been the reason why we didn't even bother going to the real beach except for a quick look and walk along on our first full day there. The second pool, closer to the lobby is surrounded by comfortable white loungers, is deeper in the middle and has a bar attached. Titled 'The Sunken Pool bar' it has a daily fun bingo game with prizes for the winners and pretty good drink specials for beer and their signature cocktails. You can even order casual poolside tapas and snacks if you're feeling peckish.
We arrived on a Friday and discovered the resort puts on a traditional Indonesian buffet feast and dance performance show every Friday evening, so we happily booked this at once. We were excited to try real Indonesian cuisine for the first time as well as experience Balinese culture. From start to finish the atmosphere, attentive staff, food and performance was a highly enjoyable experience. We were greeted with a frangipani flower each and shown to our table which came with insect repellant- a very thoughtful touch! The buffet offered a huge range of mouth-watering Indonesian dishes and I had to stop myself from going up a third time to get more!
While we were enjoying our dinner and dessert we had a glass of included wine and listened to the pleasant live traditional music. We then ordered a bucket of Bintangs which came on ice and watched the Indonesian dance which told a story through performance. It was very captivating and entertaining and encouraged the audience members to get involved. At the end we were invited on to the stage if we wished to get a photo with the actors in their costumes. We were very glad to have booked this dinner as it made for the perfect start to our time in Bali.
The daily breakfast served at The Beach Restaurant was an international buffet with a wide range of both Western and Indonesian cuisine with everything you could want to start your day. Pancakes, croissants, cereal, yogurt, fresh fruit, cooked breakfast options including made-to-order omelettes and eggs how you like, I enjoyed everything with the exception of the coffee which I couldn't quite stomach (I am a coffee snob).
The Spa, located to the right of the lobby is beautifully appointed with private treatment rooms and offer many different pampering treatments. We enjoyed an hour-long Balinese massage in the middle of our stay which included delicious refreshments beforehand. We both highly enjoyed it and left feeling very relaxed and rejuvenated!
On our final day, we booked in for a Balinese cooking class the resort hosts daily. We were taught in a small group by expert chefs how to make many delicious traditional dishes. We donned our aprons and paper hats and learned about the ingredients and helped to prepare and cook each dish. A recipe book was also included with all of the meals and instructions inside which we could take home along with our printed apron. Enjoying the food afterwards was, of course, the best part and it was so delicious and a super fun and interesting experience on the whole.
Every single member of staff we encountered were highly professional, warm and friendly and made our stay that little more special. From the special touches in our room every day after it had been made up- a different towel animal each day and a lovely personal note, to the incredible service when you are poolside. The staff at reception and the information centre were all very helpful in recommending tours and the best places for us to eat, they are more than happy to help you with anything. The greetings and smiles around the resort, the funny pool bar staff, the room service (of which the food was very good!) were all brilliant. We even by a stroke of luck had to stay an extra night due to the nearby volcano erupting and our flight being cancelled... and they accommodated us with no hassle at all. We were very impressed.
Price: The rooms are generally from $150 AUD a night for a superior double room which includes breakfast and free wifi.
Overall it was a truly incredible stay and so pleasant we were very sad to leave- even after 10 nights! The location was excellent with many eateries, bars, the beach and shops in close walking distance. The rooms were clean and the grounds and pools were immaculate and well-maintained, and the staff always went over and beyond. The resort would suit a wide range of people from those wanting a romantic couple getaway, groups of friends and families with children.
A nice comfortable hotel really makes such a difference and the next time we go back to Bali which will probably be in 2017- we will undoubtedly book with The Breezes again and I highly recommend this hotel to anyone wanting to stay in Seminyak. We both thought The Breezes Bali Resort & Spa was sublime and we can't wait to go back!
If you have any questions at all about the hotel or have any other suggestions for fantastic places to stay in Bali then please let me know in the comments below!
This post is not sponsored; it is my genuine thoughts and opinions.