What’s not to love about Bali

Nicki Harford, a very lucky Infinity Consultant, recently visited Bali to learn more about the destination. This is her story …

Flying there, I didn’t really know what to expect with Garuda. Maybe comfortable for a short nap and a meal, but my expectations were far surpassed. Flying Garuda was up there with my top 5 plane journeys! The seating was comfortable, there were enough movies and TV to entertain my whole flight and And the best part – I paid for my visa ($35 USD but you pay in AUD) at Sydney airport. My visa was then processed on board the flight and I got to smugly strut past the very long line at Denpasar airport.

Bali is just incredible. I was a little confused between all the lovely people chatting to me in restaurants & spas, then all the signs telling me I would be arrested for life if I even looked at a mushroom, while fending off fake taxis (I am pretty sure there are more fake taxis than real ones).

NSW-BALI SEPBut throw this amongst Hindu culture, world-class food, decent enough beaches (hey, I am from Sydney- I can be discerning!), mountains, rice fields, coconut water, farmers, monkeys, elephants, enticing day spas, phenomenal dive sites and resorts with every facility under the sun, the excitement and confusion is just all part of its charm. Bali is for anyone who is keen for a stimulating experience mixed in with relaxation. Confused? Just ride with it!

Ubud, Semiyak, Kuta & Jimbaran are full of world-class restaurants. And they can be relatively cheap compared to Australia. Even the Double-Six in Seminyak has an acclaimed Aussie chef at their Italian restaurant. The food was TO DIE FOR!

The villages around Ubud were just too cool for school. All sorts of loose pants, yoga tops, peace flags and obscure artwork are for sale in the villages, and most of the resorts boasted an early morning, open-aired yoga class run by a Hindu, multi-lingual instructor. Outside of this, the resorts of Ubud were very remote, relaxing and peaceful for anyone who wants a quiet retreat.

There were so many resorts and hotels catering for families. To awesome villas with rooms conversions, to the kids pools, if you select the right hotels, the kidlets can go mental without even seeing a Bintang singlet. Nusa Dua, Legian and Seminyak rocked at this. There’s some great soft adventure outside of Ubud- rafting, trekking, riding, tubing.

Traditional dance & music is aplenty telling stories of the Hindu culture. The Hindu mythology of Bali is just lovely & I was proud to hear that the King of Ubus was married to an Aussie. What’s that? The Queen of Ubud is an Aussie? Move over Princess Mary!

The Triple Thrills Tour by True Balinese Experiences was absolutely unreal and the Vintage VW ride through the villages and rice fields of Ubud was the highlight of my trip!

4wdThe tour consisted of transfers from our hotels, to our activities by Vintage VWs, but with tours through the town, with the roof down, the wind in our hair and our driver bellowing along Mariah Carey ballads. We got to stop at a little coffee plantation which is famous for the coffee that the mongoose eat and then poop out. We had “poopacinos” all round.

We visited the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud which cost about 30,000IDR ($3AUD). This was totally not up my alley at all as I didn’t like the idea of Monkeys jumping on me. However, the rest of the group loved it. Some of the group bought a few bananas to feed the monkeys and had them attached to them the whole time.

The Maya Ubud Resort & Spa hotel has gorgeous mountain & river views, beautifully private with lush beds & spa. I Did an early morning  yoga class & was a third of the way on my “Eat, Pray, Love” journey. The infinity pool  overlooking the bottom of the mountain was devine!

The Alila Ubud is set amongst rice fields, this is how I pictured Ubud in my mind. Some of the rooms and villas had sensational views  over the mountains & rice fields.

Champlung Sari Hotel is located right across the road from the Sacred Monkey Forest and right amongst all the shops and markets.

I absolutely loved the Wapa Di Ume Resort and Spa, and they gave us all villas! The villas had gorgeous pools, baths & a very Balinese feel to it. The property was again on rice fields, and we had a lovely hosted dinner.

The Pullman Legian was very modern, very large and right across the road from Legian beach. It has an awesome rooftop infinity pool which overlooks the beach for unreal sunset watching. All the restaurants and spas on site were 5 star quality.

The The Stones, Legian hotel was SUPER cool. From the crazy decor, to its awesome noodle bar in the restaurant, it is modern 5 star meets artsy. It is a very large hotel, right across the road from Legian beach.

The 101 Legian is located in Kuta and we got to experience all the cool My Time inclusions (My Time chocolate on the bed), and the rooms were modern, clean, with a white and aqua finish. It is a clean, upscale party hotel with awesome hospitality  There is a daily party on the rooftop pool which starts in the afternoon with BBQ buffets you can pay for.

The Maharani, Kuta is located right across from Kuta Beach and is a simple, cheap and clean hotel right in the heart of Kuta. While there is no party on site, you are right in the thick of the madness once you step outside the hotel. The beachview rooms have a goregeous view of Kuta Beach (we were lucky enough to see it at sunset).

The Breezes Bali, Seminyak resort is called “Breezes” for a reason. It totally gets the ocean breeze sweeping through the resort. It had a really laid-back feel to it- beachy, clean.

The Double-Six, Seminyak! What a cool property! I never thought a hotel-style property would be my favourite in Bali, but this property managed to capture my attention. From the reception staff who are decked out in designer uniforms (yes, designer uniforms), to the best-stocked mini-bars in the world, the roof top restaurants and the awesome Italian lunch we had, this property takes the cake for people who really want the modern, fresh and fine. I absolutely loved the plunge pools rooms.

The Fave Hotel, Seminyak was clean, neat and tidy for anyone who wants to experience Seminyak on a budget. It  was super clean, near markets, a short walk to the beach.

The Grand Nikko, Nusa Dua.  Man, this property was huge! So big that I am pretty sure we saw 5 separate weddings going on there at the same time. I can see why this property is so lucrative. The location was to die for. Some of the rooms were built into the cliff and then you take a lift to get down to the restaurants and pools at the bottom. It is right on the beach and the lagoon pool wraps around for ages. We were lucky enough to see the supermoon twinkling over the beach at the Grand Nikko.

The Melia Bali, Nusa Dua was gorgeous. It had a real Balinese feel to it, with gardens out the front of all the rooms, and a zen garden with sand. You can personalise a message for guests in the sand if you like! We saw plenty of “happy birthdays” and “happy anniversaries” which was a nice touch.

The restaurant area was super cool. It felt more like markets with a juice stand in a little tiki-style hut, and outdoor seating under coconut and banyan-type trees. It was located on a lovely

Bali really surpassed my expectations and provided a really multi-faceted experience for me. I literally went from a yogi hippy, to chilling out in the rainforest, to an adventurous rafter, to a crazy

nightclubber with vomit on my shoes, to a finnicky foodie, to tipsy over delicious cocktails by the beach, to rehydrated from a coconut, to a champion bargainer, to someone who was happy to soak
in a bath in my garden villa. What’s not to love about this destination.

Written by Nicki Harford, Manager, Learning & Development