Welcome to part two of my blog series about Bali! If you didn't see the first one you can read it here. I hope my travel review and guide will give you lots of inspiration if you are planning a trip there yourself!
In total we stayed in four different hotels situated in Uluwatu, Kuta, Seminyak and Ubud. Each hotel we stayed in was completely different in style and price range. My entire holiday cost me around £1250 and that included flights, hotels, transport and spends for 10 days. It's so cheap once you get there, the local currency is Indonesian Rupiah and the exchange rate is around 16.5 Rupiah to the Pound so we were millionaires over there!!
We literally booked our hotels a day or two before we stayed in each through booking.com and the hotels are so cheap per night if you are savvy and look on the right websites.
Uluwatu is a surfers paradise! So many surfers flock to the beaches in Uluwatu which is known for its world-class waves. This area has a much more relaxed and chilled vibe, has some beautiful hidden beaches and a clifftop temple that is perfect to visit at sunset.
Hotel: Ayu Guna Inn
Ayu Guna Inn is well situated and within a short walking distance of Padang Padang beach. The hotel has a pool but has quite basic rooms; they didn't have any hot water, but it didn't really matter as the water wasn't too cold anyway and a cool shower was nice after a hot day sunbathing. The rooms are set within duplex buildings positioned within lovely gardens. Each building has a big arched roof and luckily I got to stay in the top floor with a balcony overlooking the palm tree filled gardens. It was a great experience staying in a hotel like this as it felt really authentic!
Top 3 things to do in Uluwatu
- Green Bowl Beach is a hidden beach at the bottom of 300 steps. This beach has a cave at the back and is surrounded by greenery around the cliff sides. It's more secluded and less busy than some of the other beaches and a great choice for a trip if you fancy a little adventure!
- Uluwatu Temple at sunset is magnificent. At 6pm every evening a Kecak dance is performed adjacent to the cliff side. You do have to arrive early in order to buy tickets to see the dance; we turned up at quarter to 6 and all the tickets had sold out. The views of the cliffs and ocean are amazing and there are lots of monkeys roaming around the temple - be careful because they try to pinch your belongings!
- Visit Single Finn Beach Club on a Sunday - This isn't something we did as we weren't there on a Sunday but everyone we met kept on raving about this place so I thought I best put this in my list of recommendations (based on what other travellers have said!)
Kuta is a much busier area in Bali and is more touristy with lots of restaurants, bars, clubs and shops. I'd say out of all the areas this was my least favourite because it was very similar to any typical tourist hot spot . If you are travelling all the way from the UK to Bali like me then I wouldn't waste my time visiting Kuta because you can have that type of holiday in a much closer destination.
Hotel: Jesen's Inn 2
Jesen's Inn has a lovely private courtyard area with a pretty swimming pool. The hotel room was higher standard than Ayu Guna with hot water, a tv and a more modern design. It was well situated and within a 10-15 minute walk to all the bars, shops and clubs. The downside of this hotel is that there are only 6 sun loungers around the pool, but as it wasn't very busy while we were there, we always managed to get one.
Top 3 things to do in Kuta
- Visit Sky Garden Club. This club has 4 floors with different genres of music on each floor and a super club. For a small price you get a roast dinner and unlimited drinks between 5-9pm. We had such a good night here; we arrived at 6pm and stayed out until 6am!
- Go shopping - there's a really good selection of shops here with an Arts market selling handmade crafts and gifts. I bought a lovely sarong, some incense and a carved mask.
- Eat out - there are lots of restaurants in Kuta, many of them being seafood. You can actually pick the fish/seafood you want to eat as they are all lined up in fish tanks.
Seminyak is Bali's most upmarket resort and is known for its luxury hotels, a lively nightlife scene and premier dining. Resorts like Potato Head and the W Hotel have gained an international following and are great for music and design lovers. We only stayed in Seminyak for 1 night so we didn't venture outside of the hotel; instead we made the most of the hotel facilities.
Hotel: W Hotel
I really wanted to treat myself whilst we were in Bali, so I booked 1 night stay in the W Hotel for us to experience a little bit of luxury! This hotel is AMAZING!!! We arrived early and checked out late so we could make the most of the night stay. I was given a personal tour around the hotel by one of the staff and they told me all about the inspiration behind the design. The hotel has its own music studio and I found out that Martin Jensen was there two weeks before us recording a new track! I'm going to do a separate blog all about the design of the interior because I think it deserves its own post. The hotel rooms are so luxurious with a built-in Bose speaker system playing music as you enter. Here are a few photos and videos from our one night stay.
Ubud was my favourite area that we visited in Bali. It's full of culture, arts, crafts and beautiful nature. If you want more of an adventure then I'd recommend staying in this area as there is so much to see and do. Bali is famous for its arts and crafts and wood carvings; every where you look in Ubud there are beautifully hand carved doors. Now I had a bit of an obsession with doors and I love taking photos of the pretty doors I come across when exploring! This trip just felt so symbolic for me because my house sale had gone through whilst I was away.
When one door closes, another door opens
This hotel was just magical. It was tucked away behind the bustling arts market in Ubud centre and you just wouldn't even guess that something so pretty would be hidden here. The hotel gardens were like a little maze with different levels, wood carvings and greenery around each corner. I just loved staying in this hotel as it was so traditional and each hotel room door was a work of art.
Top 3 things to do in Ubud
- A bike ride day trip around Ubud with Bali Breeze Tours. This trip was the highlight of my entire holiday as we got to experience the real Bali; we explored the local villages, rice paddies and tea plantation, learnt about woodcarving, culture and coffee-making, saw some amazing scenery and met some great people. We started off with breakfast overlooking a breathtaking view of Batur Kintamani Volcano and then we embarked on a 2 hour journey around the winding roads down the mountain. We ended the adventure with lunch and watched a Balinese dance by two lovely local girls.
- Campuhan Ridge Walk. I'd highly recommend doing this walk which takes around an hour each way. I'd do this early in the morning or later in the afternoon when the sun isn't as hot. This walk has some beautiful scenery either side of the ridge and at the end of the walk you can have some food in a cafe which overlooks the rice paddies. On this walk I took my favourite picture of the holiday ( yellow three-tiered umbrellas with gold hearts hanging beneath) which has given me so much inspiration for my interiors projects! There are lovely colourful umbrellas everywhere in Bali.
- Explore the markets. The markets in Ubud are full of life, vibrant colours and beautiful gifts. These markets were right on our doorstep with a mixture of clothes, dream catchers, souvenirs, art, wood carvings and handcrafted items for you to buy.
Stay tuned for part three which is a video of my bike ride around Ubud and part four which is an interview with my traveller friends (filmed in the W Hotel)!
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