Chasing The Sun - Bali
Off-season travel is my favourite. As soon as September rolls around I want to have somewhere else to be. The cheap air fares, cheaper accommodation (and child-free resorts) have meant that I've been to some pretty amazing places in the past few years. One of the few benefits of being unattached and without obligations!
This year, I escaped to Bali for a week of sun, sea and culture. Think Spain except with temples, volcanoes and waterfalls. OK, maybe not Spain - but I was definitely going for a chilled out, beachy vibe. Who knew that Bali was located just three short hours away from Australia? Not a lot of people from my side of the world (I asked a lot of them). Definitely not me when I boarded my first plane - of five - a few weeks ago to take me to the faraway island. By the time I got home again I was left wondering if all the sky time was worth it.
Although it wasn't entirely what I expected (where is?), I really did love my little week on the island. It may not have been the idyllic, middle of nowhere retreat I thought it was going to be, Bali was a lot of fun. I'd never have thought I could be partying in bars with live bands one night, chilling at the beach the next day, and exploring temples and tiny towns the next. Perfect combo, right?
Anyway, here are my five reasons for visiting Bali:
1. The Culture
There is literally so much to see on this flippin' island. I spent a day in a car going here, there and everywhere and only saw the teeniest bit of what there is on offer. I went to see a traditional Balinese theatre show (which thanks to the travel sickness pills I took I tripped balls through), and went on to Celuk Silver Village. Anyone with a weakness for silver jewellery will either love or hate this place, depending on whether you have money to spend or not! The day also included a visit to the famous Mount Agung - which became super active just after we left - and a delicious lunch with a view followed by a visit to the rice fields. Heads up on the rice fields though - pay the locals on each level if you want to go down. I watched so many people saunter on down through so many farmers' lands, and they were too polite to say anything! It was an activity packed day that I conked out after, but I wanted to squeeze as much in as possible!
2. The Coffee
Another stop on the Epic Day Out was the Luwak Coffee Plantation. I know, as if I could fit anything else in! I didn't even know Bali was known for coffee, but plantations are easy to find and the locals love a little visit. The coffee and tea tasting we did was so diverse, with so many different flavours that it perked us up for the rest of our journey. We sat at the top of a cliff, with a view over the plantation and all the greenery Bali had to offer. Then the Kopi Luwak was rolled out. Yup, the most expensive coffee in the world is made from beans that have been eaten and pooped out by an Asian Palm Civet, a cute little cat like animal. I hate to say it (mostly because it was poo-coffee), but it was delicious! I even bought a few packs of coffee and tea in the little shop to bring home (and it was a huge hit). Basically anywhere you go in Bali has the cutest little artisanal coffee shops. No Starbucks here!
My favourite place for coffee? Check out the Coffee Cartel, a cool little shop with the cutest pink cups and flowers on the side! We went here a few times as it was near our hotel and loved it. Now I regret not trying the food - it looked amazing too!
3. The Food
The food in Bali was a huuuuuuge surprise for me. Thanks to my stomach issues, I tend to eat as clean and simple as I possibly can. Travelling can be difficult for me, since I hate to be the awkward person who can't eat most of the things on the menu. But in Bali, I had none of those problems.
Everything is fresh, local and made there and then. Apart from some meat, which I'm not a huge fan of anyway. Healthy eaters can have a field day in Bali - acai bowls, fruit platters, satay skewers and smoothies are everywhere. And so pretty you just want to take photos of all of it. A huge favourite of mine was Cafe Organic in Canggu. Their avocado on toast with all of the extras is something I will be dreaming about until next time I touch down on the island. Also, you know if I'm buying the t shirt the staff are wearing (and a cute tote bag) then I like a place!
4. The Sunsets
Let's face it, I'm not likely to see any amazing sunrises any time soon. They're definitely out there, I'm just far too much of a night owl to be awake at that time in the morning.
Sunsets, on the other hand, I've seen a lot of. And I'm lucky enough to say I've seen some pretty amazing sunsets in some beautiful places. I thought I'd never see one as pretty as Santorini. As far as I was concerned, I'd peaked on my sunset game.
They weren't even on my radar when I went to Bali, and how stupid of me that was! This particular sunset, taken in a cute little beach bar, will forever be in my top 5.
5. The Shops
Who would have thought?? On random corners, dark streets and hidden away little nooks and crannies are the artisans of Bali, selling everything from clothes, to jewellery, to doughnuts (yup - doughnuts). Bali has so many boutique shops and creators all doing their own quirky thing. An extra suitcase would be a handy thing to have for all the things you need to bring back. And that's before you even make it to the traditional Balinese markets! Seriously though, if you get a chance to gorge yourself in Dough Darlings...do it!