Taking off is where the excitement lies
Our TravelSIM Insider Laura took off to Bali for Easter, a worldwide traveler, Laura shares with us her tips for a short and sweet Indonesian escape.
An island that should be on every Australian’s bucket list, a mere 5-hour direct flight with Jetstar from Brisbane landed our group of family and friends in Denpasar, Bali to make the most of our Easter long weekend. Travelling and staying connected together with TravelSIM, here is how we spent our time in Indonesia, some travelling tips along the way.
Arrived into Denpasar airport, to an overwhelming crowd of locals at the exit of the arrivals gates, waving signs and yelling out ‘taxi, taxi’ vying for tourists attention for transport. We had organized a driver to take us from the airport to our hotel in Seminyak,– 100,000 IDR each (AUD $10- $15) from the airport to Seminyak. Alternatively Blue Bird branded taxi’s are trust worthy and metered modes of transport.
Checking into The Haven Seminyak, we were greeted with a refreshing drink and scented cold facial towel on arrival. Dropping our bags off we headed straight back out, to the bustling main street. At every turn you will find beauty spas, where you can treat yourself to pampering sessions, for as little as $7AUD for an hour’s massage.
We booked ourselves in for the works, manicures and pedicures before spending the afternoon watching the sunset at La Plancha– one of the HOT, must do places to watch the sunset, sip on a cocktail and eat tapas style food. The seafood there is simply delicious!
Once you find a local driver you trust, anything you need during your stay, they are more than willing to accommodate or find someone that will. A mere $50AUD for a private van and driver took us out early morning for the entire day, through the villages surrounding Ubud. (Approximately 2 hours away from Seminyak).
On our bucket list, was to visit the picturesque, Tegalalang rice terraces and to swing through the jungle on the wooden swing in Uma Pakel. Our driver recommended the swing in Uma Pakel, as it was less touristic than those at the rice field. An entrance fee of 20,000 (IPR) $20 AUD was paid to sample the local coffee, spend time on the swings, sit in the bird nest and a tour guide.
After a short drive we arrived at the rice terraces, we paid an entrance fee of 10,000 RPH ($1 AUD). Plenty of vantage points, these terraces can be viewed, explored and photographed from many angles. With layers of well-maintained, lush greenery, creating an amazing maze pattern on the hill side. I would recommend visiting early morning, to beat the crowds and the extreme tropical heat.
After wandering throughout the maze of the rice fields, we stopped for a refreshing young coconut at Teras Padi café. The perfect place to take a breathe and take in the scenery, this café overlooks the fields and provides another angle for the perfect photo.
Our driver dropped us off at our private villa- ‘Villa Odyssey’, located in another part of Seminyak. We found this, centrally located villa on Airbnb which boasted great reviews, own luxurious pool and even came with daily homemade breakfast for everyone. The review’s did not disappoint and for the 6 of us, it was a cost effective option, allowing privacy and space to all stay together.
Seminyak is well known for it’s beach clubs, with tourists visiting in the afternoon for the sunset and well into the night. We checked into the Cocoon Beach Club, taking advantage of the day beds poolside ordering a sunset drink and share plates. A club with a relaxed beach flair, we cooled off in the pool and listened to great tunes played by a resident DJ.
Shopping, shopping, shopping! Bali is a mecca for the ladies, catering for a variety of budgets and styles from boutique stores to market stalls. The girls decided to go for a spot of shopping, whilst the boys went surfing in Changuu.
One of my favourite stores for unique clothing, was Wanderlust and Laluna, being a beach girl at heart, these stores catered for swimwear and casual clothing. All part of the fun in most Asian countries, is bartering with the local market stall holders, make sure you halve their asking price and barter from there.
Seemingly a daily ritual, we kicked back for the sunset at La Plancha for drinks and tapas. Atmosphere at this beach shack is quite a unique experience, lounging back on the colorful beanbags, underneath the fairy lights and umbrellas on the sand.
With so many places to eat, Seminyak caters for a variety of tastes from traditional Indonesian to Western foods, so you can feel rest assured you will find something to suit your taste buds. Recommended to us was Motel Mexicola, right in the heart of the city – if you like Mexican food this is the place to be, opened for lunch and dinner with live entertainment.
We hired our driver again for the afternoon and into the night, to take us up to Uluwatu approximately 1.5hrs drive away on the peninsula. An iconic destination home to some of Bali’s most scenic villas and homes on the cliff face overlooking the Indian Ocean.
Padang Padang beach was our first stop for a much-needed swim to refresh from the heat. To get down the beach, you need to climb the narrow staircase built in-between the limestone cliff face. Famous for its consistent surf conditions, you can hire stand-up paddleboards or try your luck on a wave.
With its prime position for watching the iconic waves, cliffside, Single Fin is a must for any Indonesian bucket list, it boasts the best Sunday sessions in Uluwatu. Sharing an array of plates from their extensive menu, from our prime balcony position to watch the sunset. We let our hair down on the dance floor well into the night with their resident DJ, soaking up the relaxed atmosphere and crowd.
An early riser, I love waking up early to watch the sunrise, we had hired scooters and zipped across to Changuu’s, Echo Beach – a highly rated surf and yoga destination.
After a beautiful walk and swim at the beach (one of the best ways to start my day), we then stopped off for coffee and croissant at Livingstone Bakery. The atmosphere at Changuu is completely different from the hussle and bustle of Seminyak with more greenery, chilled surf life being. If you are a surfer or yogi this is a must stop destination to spend your time in!
As a group we went brunching at Shelter café, ordering the insta famous Nalu bowls, a healthy way to kick start your day. With superfood bowls of sweet goodness, these were ideal for a refreshing treat on balmy Bali days.
A luxury is having a spa treatment every day for such cheap prices, I took a few hours to myself to spend at one of the many salons to get an avocado hair mask and foot massage at only $10- you would be crazy not to!
Certainly, making the most of sunset sessions, we started at Mrs Sippy Beach Club, the only salt water swimming pool in Bali. Like most of the beach clubs they have their own DJ, extensive food and drink menu.
Moving along to Potato Head Beach Club, just down the street we watched the sunset and took advantage of their infinity pool. A highly rated restaurant, (although a little more expensive than others) was Mozzarella Restaurant and Bar. With its beautiful ambiance and décor it made the perfect last nights dinner for the group. I chose the snapper which was simply divine with a cheeky cocktail!
Another daily ride over to Changuu, I decided to go for a refreshing swim to kickstart our last day. Enjoying our morning ritual we stopped back at Livingstone Bakery for more pastries and espresso.
Our last few hours were spent doing some last-minute market stall bartering. We had a group breakfast out at another recommended spot, close to our villa called Corner House. With a large menu variety I chose the avocado and harrisa on sourdough with a dragonfruit smoothie. Much cheaper than Australian prices at approximately $5-$8 per meal.
Our driver took us back to the airport to check into our flight home, after a jam packed few days. Arriving home again after an amazing time away feeling refreshed and recharged read to start planning the next travel escape!
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