- Stay at Park Regis Kuta
- Kuta Beach
- Surf with One Surf Bali Kuta Beach
- Release Baby Sea Turtles with Bali Sea Turtle Society Kuta Beach
- Sky Garden Kuta
- Monkey Forest Ubud
- Luwak Coffee Plantation Ubud
- Sweet Dragonfly by UC Silver & Gold
- Tegallalang Rice Terrace Ubud
- Uluwatu Temple
- Nalu Bowls Uluwatu
- Single Fin Uluwatu
- Suluban Beach Uluwatu
- Rock Bar at Ayana Resort Jimbaron
- Bingin Beach Jimbaron
Landing in Bali felt surreal. Bali is my favorite place I've ever been in my entire life. The only regret I have from visiting this beautiful island is not having more time but I am determined to go back one day. My family was terrified of me visiting Bali and begged me not to go but being the stubborn wanderlust dreamer that I am, everything in me was telling me I needed to go, always trust your instincts. We stayed at Park Regis in Kuta. This hotel is a 5 star review from us and award winning for hospitality from the sweetest concierge I have ever had the pleasure of crossing paths with plus the pool and room are fabulous too. Kuta is the location in Bali to learn how to surf and has primo nightlife as it is the most touristy city in Bali we visited. Our first day we had the luxury of trying both, during the day we went to Kuta Beach where I attempted to surf with One Surf Bali. The owner treated us like queens and we are still friends to this day, if you have any interest in surfing this is the spot. That same day at Kuta beach we each signed up to release a baby sea turtle from Bali Sea Turtle Society, I named mine Bintang after my favorite Bali beer and Nycole named her turtle squishy. I like to think that Bintang and Squishy are somewhere in the giant ocean thriving. Releasing the baby turtles was a miraculous moment, watching hundreds of them run into the water was an experience that left a goofy smile glued to my face for the rest of the day and brings that smile back to my face each time it crosses my mind, priceless. When I say priceless I mean both literally and figuratively as signing up to do this is free they just ask for donations but who doesn't want to support those little guys on their journey to the big blue.
Our nightlife adventure began at Sky Garden where they offer all you can eat and drink (including alcohol) each night for the equivalent of $10 dollars. We enjoyed all you can eat Mexican food on a tuesday but the type of cuisine changes depending on the day of the week. The all you can eat goes from 8pm-10pm and then turns into a huge multiple floor club after where many big name DJ's perform. The ambience here is superb but there are quite a few young tourists that come here since the drinking age is 17 in Bali. Basically it is a cougar's utopia if you are into that. That night at Sky Garden we made friends with many people from all over the world including a group of Germans, a guy from London, a stylist from Amsterdam and a local Indonesian. We all decided to leave together to head to the next bar that we would've never known about had we not been with the local Indonesian. This turned out to be one of my favorite nights out on the town in my entire life since we had all just met and were all from different countries but just simply enjoying each other's company and learning more about one another's countries and cultures while sipping on some cocktails. Pro Tip: Bring an Expandable Waist Pack like this one from Gear Beast to hold your phone and other small important items instead of a purse or wallet. My phone was stolen from my front pocket by 4 men coming up from behind me and holding my arms back gently to slip my phone out. I didn't realize what was happening initially because the Balinese people had been very flirty and since I was grabbed gently I honestly thought they were flirting with me until I walked 30 steps ahead and realized my phone was gone. Of course I was disappointed about my phone but I was more upset about losing the photos from our trip thus far including the one I had just taken with all my new friends from all over the world. Luckily, Nycole and I had been sharing most of our photos in a shared file on our phones throughout our trip when we had wi-fi so not all were lost but we lost a large portion. After talking to some other tourists we realized that phones were getting stolen pretty regularly so they could be resold in the Bali market, please be aware of this. I still highly encourage you to check out the nightlife in Bali but stay in a group and keep your personal belongings extra safe.
After exploring Kuta we decided to spend a day in Ubud and a day in Uluwatu to be able to get the full Bali experience. We hailed a taxi in Kuta and asked him if he would be willing to be our driver for the next two days. He agreed and he only charged us the equivalent of $50 for both days but we tipped him the equivalent of $50 in the Indonesia Rupiah currency. Pro Tip: Use a regular taxi and not a shuttle or chauffeur from a resort as they will charge double if not triple the taxi price. The first day trip to Ubud was an hour drive each way and our first excursion was the Monkey Forest. In this monkey covered jungle you walk through beautiful tropical scenery and have the opportunity to purchase bananas to feed the monkeys. If you have bananas the monkeys will come to you and go bananas! Hold the banana above your head and they will climb you like a tree. I should warn you that the large monkeys are more aggressive and will rip the bananas right out of your hands. We wanted to feed the cute little baby monkeys but they are more shy and tend to get chased off by the larger monkeys. If you don't have your rabies shots I would suggest not getting bananas. However, if you do have your rabies shots then go for it, it was an unforgettable experience.
Next we drove to the Luwak Coffee Plantation where we were able to hold a baby Luwak named Snoopy. The Luwak is an animal that kind of looks like a cross of a cat and a skunk. It produces the most expensive coffee in the world by eating it and then pooping it out which is then sterilized and turned into coffee. I am personally not a coffee drinker but they also have amazing tea options such as lychee. The last adventure of the day was at the Tegallalang Rice Terrace and this place is an absolute must on a Bali bucket list! I legitimately felt like Tarzan, flying on vines thru the jungle with the most magnificent views. Pro Tip: Pack an extra set of clothes for this day as the rice terraces can be very muddy when it rains. The day we went a torrential down pour occurred as we hiked in the rice which ended up ruining the dress I was wearing and I had to buy a new one off of a street vendor to avoid ruining our taxi's upholstery. However, I really didn't mind the mud ruining my dress since it brought me the nostalgia of being a kid again by creating my own mud slides and mud baths. Sometimes you just have to learn to dance or in my case slide down the slopes of mud in the rain.
Uluwatu was calling our names the next day. This was approximately a 30 minute drive each way from our hotel in Kuta. Uluwatu is what dreams are made of. Our first destination of the day trip was the Uluwatu Temple which sits on a cliff over looking the vast Indian Ocean. I felt like Rose in Titanic with my arms stretched out to the side as I stood on the edge of the temple with the salty wind caressing my cheeks. Guided tours are available but I found it more entertaining to get lost in my own world of exploration here. Pro Tip: Certain attire is required to enter the temple that is available at the entrance. I wore my elephant pants with a black tank top and then added the orange sash to my outfit at the entrance which made me feel like princess Jasmine and I was loving it. Beware of the wild monkeys here too, I had one climb up my back and take my sunglasses right off my face then I watched as it ran off with them and snapped them in half. I also witnessed an elderly Chinese lady have her pink croc shoe ripped right off her foot and stolen by one of those little rascals. For your safety please keep all hands, feet and belongings in the upright and locked position for the duration of the temple tour.
Single Fin was our next Uluwatu location which is where we discovered Nalu Bowls and OHHH MYYY GERRDDD these are the most delicious fresh fruit bowls I've ever tasted! Single Fin is like a mini town on the side of a cliff that has bars, restaurants and shops all the way down to the water. I learned from the local Balinese people that Sunday is the day to go to single fin since it is the only day most people have off which means Sunday Funday at its finest, cheers to that. Pro Tip: Come prepared to sing Bob Marley as everyone here seems to listen to him all day everyday, cue the island vibes mon. Also near Single Fin we found Suluban Beach. This beach is a hidden gem, it is a cave that then opens up to the most glorious beach seascape. Then bonus for the ladies, it is filled with Australian hercules like surfers. Walking through this cave onto the beach seemed like the gates of heaven had just opened up and it was raining attractive aussie surfer men, hallelujah! I thought my imagination was running wild until I felt a drop of water land on my face from the cave above me which brought me back from my daydream just to realize I wasn't daydreaming. If I could describe my version of heaven Suluban beach with all these surfers is it. Never quit your daydream, always make it a reality.
Our last night in Bali before we had to start the journey back home landed us at Rock Bar at the Ayana Resort Bali near Uluwatu during an absolutely stunning sunset that looked like the sky was a painting of fiery pink gold and blue. We lounged in a daybed and ordered fruity tropical drinks to celebrate our grand expedition of Thailand and Bali. If we could afford this hotel we would've stayed there as long as possible, the attention to detail and the infinity pools were to die for. Then they had a custom DJ booth carved into the side of the rock that overlooks the ocean, umm yes please! Found my magic kingdom that I just want to fly back to everyday on my magic carpet. We definitely were not ready to go home and honestly contemplated if we could stay longer or just move there permanently. If it wasn't for my sweet dog waiting at home for me I may have never left this wonderful island. I have never experienced more of a warm welcome than I did from the Thai and Balinese people and for this I am forever grateful as I will remember this trip like it was yesterday for the rest of my life. A couple months before we left for this adventure my heart was completely broken, a kind of sickness and pain that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy but I truly believe that Bali and traveling has healing powers. It reminds you that your hurt can one day be your power. If you have any interest in Thailand or Bali my best advice is to just go as the memories and experiences make you as wealthy as the richest upper east siders...XOXO The Wanderlust Girls