What a stunning evening it was. The sky was ablaze with evening clouds that looked like orange sugar fairy floss drifting away in plumes of fire. It was a warm evening, the smell of seafood cooking over charcoals wafted through the air and the ocean gently lapped the shore. I was sitting at a restaurant right on the sand at Jimbaran Bay, the south end of Bali. Once again contemplating my wonderful holiday at one of my favorite locations Bali. The weather in Bali is generally warm. The mercury usually fluctuates 29- 30 and 31-31 degree Celsius. Bali has mainly two seasons, wet season is October to March and the summer which stretches from April to September. The two sets of months that have favorable weather and lower costs are generally during the months of April and May and October and November where it rarely rains during the day but often at night. This is also a cheaper times to go for the more budget conscious traveller. Bali without a doubt at any time of year has always been an enjoyable holiday for me. I have now been several times in the last 12 years. For those of you that went over 15 years ago believe me when I say Bali has changed dramatically! Once upon a time, it was known mainly for a cheap surfing trip with massages on the beach and cheap market stalls to shop at. Now it is known as a very affordable holiday with just about everything you would desire to do. From beautiful surfing locations, accommodation to suit everyone’s budget whether it be minimal to total luxury. High quality cuisine of any culture can be found in the array of different restaurants, cafe’s and bars. Every month a new restaurant seems to pop up. Attention to outstanding fit out design in architecture and inside finishes, along with a high quality of tantalising fresh food has become paramount to their success. The list of things you can do is almost endless :-
- Just relaxing at your Resort or Villa
- Lying on a beach
- Visiting Marine and Wildlife Parks
- Seeing Temples and Rice paddies
- Shopping at top quality department stores and small air-conditioned high fashion boutiques that line the streets
- Numerous Spa houses or small salons that offer every type of body or face treatment along with cosmetic anti-ageing treatments and cosmetic surgery
- Endless list of good places to eat or enjoy a drink any time of day or evening
- Buy or have your own jewellery custom-made
- Buying textiles and fabrics; having fabric and leather clothing custom-made to your own design within a couple of days
- You can walk, motorbike around, hire your own driver or use taxis
Being a single lady and travelling also on my own has never been a concern for me while travelling in Bali. I am fortunate that I have a good friend that lives in Bali at her own Villa in the Bali Court Hotel. but I have also been on other occasions and stayed at different resorts. On my last trip to Bali, my friend that lives there broke her ankle so she was bedridden so I had to venture out alone. At first I was thinking what will I do. I was a little nervous to travel around by myself. But I wasn’t going to waste my hard earned holiday sitting around in the villa. I found that I loved doing my own thing in Bali and became increasingly confident travelling around on my own. I also made several new wonderful new friends along the way. I will say that for any woman going to Bali it is important to plan your time there well so as to reap the benefits of such a unique holiday. This is an overview of my last trip and how I planned it over a few days just to give you some idea of what you can do. Packing tips you would already know but just in case:
- Pack light as you will be shopping. Bring an empty bag to fill!
- Pack power adaptor and your own hair care products. If you have coloured hair you know why I say this. Cheap products produce a poor result. Even brining your own brush and hair serums so the hairdressers can use it to dry and style your hair
- Pack Stomach cramp tablets like Buscopan, Imodium, and some Gastrolyt. Remember always drink bottled water even when brushing teeth – you don’t want Bali Belly!!
- Comfortable walking shoes like Merrells sandals or supportive sneakers that breath. Flip flops are fine just here and there but useless for a long day of walking and shopping
- Bushman’s cream or similar mosquito repellent. You don’t want to get bitten and possibly get Dengue fever
- Your favorite hat and sunblock but you can, of course, buy all this there especially in the big Bintang Chemist, very cheap. You can even buy antibiotics over the counter without prescriptions if you get sick. Let’s be positive though you are going to have a great holiday and not get sick!
DAY ONE Keep in mind that the arrival tax at Denpasar has now gone up from $25 US dollars to $35 US dollars and departure tax is now 200,000 Rp approx. $20AUS. In Australia we pay arrival tax at Sydney Airport for Bali and Immigration check your details and passport on the plane but of course if you forget you still can pay on arrival but you will queue longer. On arrival at Denpasar Airport in the early afternoon I bought a taxi voucher outside to take me to Legian where my friend lives, it was only 60,000 Rupiah which is around $6 AUS. It’s important to buy your taxi voucher at the airport booth outside and this is what you pay the driver with. I arrived at my friends Villa which happened to be on the top floor of a Hotel so it was almost impossible for her to leave at all with broken ankles. So after a catch up chat I went down to cool off and swim at the Villa pool. It’s a great spot the Bali Court Hotel which is just a short walk off Jl Legian into Jl Wekudarra. You can walk or taxi everywhere from here as it’s so central. Then I took off to have a massage at a nearby shop salon for an hour of bliss for 100,000 rupiahs, approx 10 AUS just heaven. Feeling so relaxed I opted to eat on my own at one of the cafes along Legian Beach which serves delicious fresh seafood
I love seafood of any kind and this is just my starter which was around 60,000 Rp $6 AUS! So fresh and delicious and plenty of free WiFi access so I could pass the time checking emails and updating my family and friends of my safe arrival. This cafe as with most in Bali had free WiFi which allowed me to not feel uncomfortable dining alone as I could update my family and friends of my safe arrival on my iPhone and check my emails. I had a great seat at a table out front facing the beach to watch the sunset and busy beach lane way thronged with holidaymakers on their way to dinner. After dinner, I couldn’t help but buy a couple of cheap cool Bali dresses and my favorite loose Bali long pants as most of the shops are open until 10 pm at night. Then it was a chat again with my friend who was propped up in bed on her laptop on Skype or facebook keeping connected with her family and friends from all around the world. DAY TWO Next morning I set off for an early walk along the beach front to find a cafe for breakfast. So many were out early walking, jogging, exercising. It was great to see even if it was already getting very warm. I arrived at Ku de Ta and ordered a delicious Lychee ice mocktail to cool off. After having a rest I left by taxi and was dropped at a nearby local market area and bought some great dresses for 35,000 Rp each. You just couldn’t buy the fabric and have it made cheaper. I always wonder how they make any money and they actually do enjoy you to barter with them. I found a rule of whatever their starting or morning price is you halve then quarter it and start from there. The shop sellers will laugh at you for starting so low but often you will come to a good middle price quite often a lot lower than their first asking price. But some people that don’t know Bali will not even think to barter so they will be the ones the Shop sellers will be having a good belly laugh at after they leave! The rest of my first day was spent pouring over countless small fashion boutiques that line the streets of Legian and Seminyak. I walked the whole way which was very hot. Most of the boutiques have air conditioning so it is a welcome relief when you enter. This is a prime importance for the shopkeepers to keep the buyers inside their shops in hope of a sale. My need for coffee could be felt with a dense headache at my temples. Even in such heat, I craved a coffee so I stumbled upon just by chance in the backstreets of Seminyak the popular Revolver Cafe – Jl. Kayu Aya No. 3 (Gang 51), Seminyak. I ordered a coconut water to rehydrate followed by a superb coffee The cafe was full of all types of people, young to old enjoying their caffeine fix as well as great food. I was delighted at my find. After that I wandered along Seminyak and bought some gorgeous white gold and sterling silver jewellery in a small designer jewellery store. My friend that lives in Bali also has her own Jeweller that will come and visit her to see a design she wants and make either an original piece or exact copy of anything she likes. I arrived back at the Villa quite late but craving Sushi. My friend had been busy with visits from her close friends that also lived in Bali and still wasn’t able to move. I took off again to Ryoshi House of Jazz Japanese. The food is very fresh and often they have live music in the evenings. It is always full of travellers especially Japanese so you just know its good! DAY THREE I was determined to order some Tailor made leather garments so I walked around in Jl Padma Utara to Mira Leather and took a photo with me of what I wanted. You can have a gorgeous leather jacket made just from a photograph or pick from a design in their shop. Two – four days later its ready for around 900,000 Rp, around $90 AUS. After my order, I took off to do more shopping at the Discovery Mall Department store which has just about everything you can think of. The newest large department store is Beachwalk which opened in 2012 After another full on day shopping I took a short taxi back to the Villa dropped off the purchases and took off for a pedicure and to have my hair washed and styled. Again you can have a 1hr pedicure the best you have ever had for around 100,000 Rp the shampoo and blow dry also only around 60,000 Rp and in the Bali heat and humidity, it’s almost stupid not to pay for someone else to do your hair. I had timed it well as I had made some new friends at the Villa pool and we were all going out for Sunset drinks starting at the W Hotel they had two cocktails for 125,000 Rp and it was a perfect place to watch the Sunset before heading off to Dinner.
After cocktails, we headed off to Mama San, click here for Mama San website and to see the menu and gallery
The food was a taste sensations, asian fusion bliss! Upstairs there was even a young man waiting to give you a hand towel to freshen up with after coming out of the washroom. After dinner, we went on to check out La Favela to have dessert and drinks – click here for their website Here is their opening night video so you can get an idea of how it looks. Such a cool unusual venue, once again a spectacular menu. I only had time this trip to have dessert that evening but have heard great reviews about their South American Peruvian Cuisine
DAY FOUR Another friend that lives in Bali called my friend to say he would take me out for breakfast to La Lucciola so off I went on the back of his motorbike which is a great way to get around Bali fast as the traffic can be intense. This is a photo of the weekday traffic one time when I had to drive my friend’s car to take her to a Doctor!! Oh my I nearly had a heart attack! It was stopped like this for an hour! Okay so back to breakfast at La Lucciola, a great location once again for breakfast, lunch or dinner at Jalan Petitenget Then we decided to check out a New Hotel called Lv8 Bali Resort with a beach club, Fantastic spot to relax and chill by the Pool after a party night in Bali , ‘Vue Beach Club’ from memory I think we paid min 100,000 Rp to use the lounges by the pool all day. Heaven! Click here for the website Vue Beach Club
I made yet another new friend at the pool, she owned her own Children’s wear shop Clara Mia and did all her own designs too. So many interesting people to meet. Traveling on your own challenges you and makes you open to meeting new people that generally you never would if you were traveling with a friend or as a couple. After a very enjoyable day lounging and swimming we jumped on the motorbike and enjoyed a scenic route back to the Villa There is so much to see in Bali that I can’t cover it all in this one article but it truly is beautiful. I was so fortunate that day to enjoy these places on the back of a motorbike. Once back at the Villa a quick shower dressed in a nice Bali sun dress downing a few Champagnes waiting for another friend of my friend to turn up to go to dinner with a group of ladies I met at the Villa pool. This time we were heading to Metis for $5 cocktails and complimentary Canapes. Check out their website to see more Metis After drinks we went to Merah Putih restaurant, wow I loved this place and once again mouth watering delicious food! click here for their website Merah Putih
We were having such a great night that we decided to go for after dinner drinks at Ku de ta, click here for website KU DE TA BALI another great location to chill out to DJ Tunes and sip delicious cocktails.
Phew, what day am I up to!! You can see how busy you can get and this isn’t even seeing the usual places like Temples, Marine and Wildlife parks and Ubud or the fact there are so many stunning beach locaitons to be found too. Ideally, you can either go on Tours to see all of those attractions or hire your own driver for around 300,000 Rp a day around $30AUS, so cheap and you can go in air conditioned comfort and he will wait and take you where ever you please. DAY FIVE Up early off for a walk and another breakfast before jumping in a taxi and heading to Alta Moda, fabric store, click here for Alta Moda Fabric store website this has 3 floors of so many beautiful fabrics, just about any type of fabric you want and they also have tailors there to measure you up and make an outfit if you choose to bring your own pattern or an original dress or suit that you can have copied. Dream land for those who love to make their own original outfits. Straight from there to some more shopping then to an appointment at Cocoon Medical Spa for some cosmetic anti-aging treatments like Botox or fillers. You can have all sorts of treatments done professionally and safely in Bali at least half the price you pay in Australia. Quite a few older people I know have even had face lifts there. It has certainly moved up in medical field in leaps and bounds keeping up with places like Thailand that were originally well known for good quality cosmetic and dental surgery at a very reasonable cost. Click here for Cocoon Medical Spa website after a few pricks of Botox and a nice Iced Tea I jumped in a taxi to do a bit more shopping as you do in Bali, its shop until you drop! Arriving back at the Villa once again with just enough time to shower and put on a new outfit to head off for drinks and dinner this time at Potato Head Pool Bar Potato Head website Followed by dinner at Motel Mexicola – Motel Mexicola Restaurant Bar website, such a wonderful array of Mexican tasting plates, it was quite a unique place, the owner personally came out to welcome you.
After this we all ended up at Champagne Bar which has lots of you tube music videos playing and quite the party atmosphere for us mid 30s to 50s age group. DAY SIX Feeling quite weary from all the fun but loving every minute. Up early drop by the Tailor pick up a myleather jacket made to fit perfectly and also grab a couple of leather handbags not forgetting at least 10 pairs of leather sandals from different shops along the way. You really must remember pack so light coming over and bring an empty suitcase to fill with your new purchases otherwise you will be hit up for a hefty extra baggage allowance fee. Today was also a day that you just felt you needed a full 2hr body treatment – a full body and foot scrub, full one hour body massage, one hour facial, half hour head massage and hair moisturizing treatment wrap finished off with a wash and blow dry all for the price of 250,000 Rp!! $25 AUS, you feel so guilty to enjoy 3hrs of heaven that you end up tipping them another 100,000 Rp as its so amazing. Any small street salon can offer you this or you can go to the more expensive up market spas at the resorts or to well known Bodyworks Body works website link or the shorter a bit more costly but still cheap by our standards with very special strong massages at Jari Menari where only men give you the massage! Jari Menari website link . After feeling like you will float away into the sky you head home to get ready to head off again with your driver to Ayana Resort , about 30mins drive from Legian. You walk through the resort gardens and down the cliff lift to Rock Bar for sunset drinks
After yet another amazing sunset we went to Jimbaran Bay where the beach is covered with Seafood barbecue restaurants. You can choose your fresh fish and they will cook a delicious charcoal barbecue which is served with vegetables and rice There really is just so many restaurants in Bali that you can’t see them all in one trip this is why you must go back often so you can discover each one. I could go on for several days of more adventures in Bali but this is just a taster of what you can do and it’s not only just for ladies, yes we get the added bonus of amazing shopping but for the men if they don’t want to shop they can chill by the pool , have massages or learn to surf. You need at least 10 days to 2 weeks to see Bali and all it has to offer. Its a holiday that can be tailored to suit whatever you desire to do. Make sure you pay Bali a visit sometime soon. I promise if done right it’s a holiday you won’t regret and you will be sad to leave!