Is Bali Really an Island Paradise?
When a family member announced we were going to Bali for eight nights in December 2020, I was honestly quite surprised. When I thought of Bali, I pictured reckless driving, night clubs, people selling illegal substances, drunk Australian tourists and dark and scary alleyways. Australian media outlets portray Bali as a dangerous and cheap holiday destination and when I told friends that I was going to Bali for a week I wasn’t surprised when I got asked “Why would you want to go there?”
When I learnt that 5 million tourists flock to Bali each year, I was surprised because surely drunkenness, pollution, low safety standards and illegal activities would not appeal to families and young people when looking for a holiday destination. Within 24 hours of arriving in Bali I knew that the media is very wrong in the way they portray the Indonesian Island.
Our first destination was Ubud. Ubud is a city set amongst lush, green plantation and I felt like I had stepped straight onto the set of Tarzan or King Kong. It was truly a jungle paradise.
We stayed at Anahata Villas and Spa Resort, which is probably the most beautiful resort I have ever stayed at. We stayed in a three storey villa, with our own private plunge pool which overlooked the tranquil Ubud forest. Words can’t explain the peacefulness and serenity I felt while staying there. I have never felt as relaxed as I was while lounging in our pool and listening to the sounds of nature, while watching the mist settle over the jungle. The resort also had a main pool which was beautiful, and a river which you could trek to. The staff there were wonderful, and we were greeted with a smile and a hello everywhere we went. A variety of local delicacies as well as western style food was served for breakfast. I attended a complimentary yoga class one morning, which was one of the highlights of my holiday.
The city of Ubud was magical. I visited Ubud Monkey Forest and had a lot of fun getting up close with cheeky monkeys in their natural habitat. Tegenungan Waterfall was definitely a highlight of my holiday. The climb to the bottom and back was so enjoyable, with lots of instagrammable photo spots. We swam at the waterfall, which was extremely beautiful and refreshing. So serene! One night we went to Lotus Cafe for dinner, which unbeknownst to people passing by, looks on to the beautiful Lotus Temple. Having dinner while watching the sunset over the temple was a very special experience. Other highlights of Ubud were visiting the Water Temples, the incredible viewpoint of Mt Batu an active volcano and the Bali Swing which was so much fun and would definitely appeal to my fellow dare devils! After spending four days in Ubud, we continued our journey to Seminyak.
Seminyak is home to luxury beach clubs and resorts, incredible food, and excellent shopping. We stayed at Mutiara Bali Boutique Resort and Villas, which was in central Seminyak. We had a fantastic, spacious villa with a beautiful private pool. There was a restaurant onsite which had delicious food, and there was also a beautiful main pool. We were served breakfast at our villa every morning, and were treated like royalty! I had a lot of fun exploring Seminyak and its hidden gems.
We did a day trip to the island of Nusa Penida, a 40 minute boat ride from Seminyak, which has picturesque beaches and amazing snorkelling. Driving on the island was definitely an adventure, but the views and the snorkelling was totally worth the head banging and shrieking when coming face to face with another vehicle on the edge of a cliff. We took a boat from Champagne bay and went to numerous swimming spots which we had all to ourselves. I have never seen so many colourful fish before in my life!
Back in the city, we went to Revolver Cafe every day, which had delicious coffee and drinks as well as meals. It is famous for its ambience and its money tables. We did a lot of shopping and put our haggling skills to the test! We scored so many bargains and great items of clothing, accessories as well as souvenirs. A fantastic restaurant we went to was La Fevola. The restaurant by day, and nightclub/disco by night is not only famous for its exquisite meals, but its three storey venue which is a tourist attraction itself. There were so many rooms to explore, and I truly felt like I was in a Fevola in Brazil.
Bali is not only special for its beautiful attractions, but its people and the culture. We made a friend for life while we were in Bali. Moly, our friend and my ‘Bali brother’ took us around Bali, and we had so much fun with him. Everyone we met, was such a joy to be around, so loving and generous. The people really added to our trip and helped make it the unforgettable holiday that it was.
We spent our final day in Bali at Finn’s Beach Club and it was an amazing day. Finn’s is a luxury beach club which attracts up to 10,000 tourists a day with its 4 infinity pools, night surfing, a Dj and a dance floor, and five amazing restaurants specialising in different cuisines. It is a hotspot for wannabe instagram influencers, families and people from all walks of life. I had a blast there. I watched the famous Seminyak sunset from the pool overlooking the beach which was magical. I danced on the dance floor with tourists from all over the world, and I ate a five star meal. I can’t think of a better way to say goodbye to Bali, an island that will forever have my heart.
© 2020 Tiarna Georghiou