After a stressful stopover in Brisbane, Australia we could finally see lots of islands from the aeroplane and was excited to land in Bali. We booked an Airbnb apartment with a swimming pool and 2 bedrooms near Uluwatu for £21/night.
Soon after arriving and checking the wifi connection we realised that the wifi connection was extremely slow and it wasn’t going to be enough for us for teaching English online. We were staying in this house for 2 weeks so we were planning to work quite a lot but fortunately, we were able to get a local sim card which provided 4G internet most of the time except one day when I had to cancel all my lessons. Although it was so awesome to jump into our own swimming pool to cool ourselves down after being out in the heat all day.
There wasn’t much around the house, not even shops but luckily there were grab and uber cars around and Nick found an app (Go-jek) and we were able to order food to our house at any time we wanted and it was very cheap.
What did we do in Bali?
According to googlemaps, Dreamland beach was the nearest beach to us so we wanted to have a relaxing day on the beach. The grab driver took us to the actual Dreamland beach, we were very confused as he was driving for ages. We realised that Google maps has it wrong, it has the wrong location for Dreamland beach. We were dropped off close to the beach but you can only get there by a shuttle bus, it was a very hot day so we were stressing out and did not want to walk. But to our luck, a lovely Balinese youth gave us a ride to the beach on his bike, it turns out googlemaps had Balangan Beach down as Dreamland Beach this is where the confusion came from.
The beach was beautiful, it was very wild and wasn’t really for swimming but we were able to take the views in and relax a bit. When we arrived at our Airbnb house and jumped into the pool for a swim, I realised that my back was stinging a lot and found some sort of a bite on it. I couldn’t sleep at night, felt sick and headachy and confused and I was getting worse in the morning. Our host took us to a 24 hours clinic and I was told that I had a severe allergic reaction to a rove beetle, was given lots of medicine etc… I had to take some time off work, it took a long time to recover.
GWK Cultural Park
After a few days of resting, we went to the Bali Culture Park that was near us (GWK) thinking that it was near us so it will be an easy activity to do only to realise that I felt extremely dizzy and lightheaded and had a very strong headache after a few minutes of being there. We did watch a cultural dance performance which was pretty awesome. This park is building is one of the largest statues in the whole world, you can see this statue even from a very far distance from other parts of Bali too.
As we haven’t done shopping for a long time because clothes are expensive in Australia and in New Zealand so we needed to update our wardrobe. We found some amazing shops near Kuta and were able to buy lots of cheap bargains. I was so happy as the style of clothes that were being sold were the kind of clothes that I would be hunting for back in England and would struggle to find especially for as cheap as we bought them for.
We were also looking for swimming costumes but apparently, Bali doesn’t make swimming costumes only bad quality ones and the ones that are being sold are just as expensive as they would be in the West.
After shopping, we walked to the beach and took some photos of a temple that was near the beach.
We were in Kuta 3 times, once we went to try surfing for the first time ever, we booked our surf lesson through Airbnb experiences. The traffic is horrible in Bali especially by the airport so we were an hour late to our lesson. Surfing is not very easy and I was pretty rubbish at it until the last half an hour when I managed to stand on the board. Nick picked it up quicker than me and he loved surfing, I think it might be one of his favourite sea activities but then we had someone helping us constantly so who knows whether we would be able to surf if we tried to by ourselves.
We also experienced what the hospital was like in Kuta when I was referred to an ear specialist to confirm whether we were allowed to go on our rescheduled flight. It wasn’t any different to a hospital in England where we would have to wait for hours to be seen except that here we had to pay for our appointment.
Easter in Bali
We went to Hillsong Bali twice while our stay in the Airbnb accommodation. The church was full of Balinese people to our surprise as you would expect that most people would be Hindus on the island. The sermon was in Indonesian but they did have a translation service. We went to the church on Good Friday and it was completely packed even though they had two services and there were hardly any foreigners there. We sang some worship songs while being in a grab car on the way to the church. We also had a conversation about Christianity and Islam with another grab driver who just wanted to share his concerns about Islam and yes he was a Muslim.
We booked a driver to drive us around Bali, this was cheaper than booking a tour so here are some of the places that we visited in a day.
Tegallalang Rice Terrace
First we were taken to a tourist place where you can pay to go on large swings over the rice terrace, apparently this is a stop for most tours, we just wanted to see the rice terrace and wasn’t after swings so we left after seeing the palm civet and heard about what they use them for, they make coffee using their poo, I don’t like coffee so we did not try it but apparently this is a very expensive coffee.
Tegallalang Rice Terrace is beautiful although it’s full of tourists, you can walk around the terrace and even have your pictures taken with some locals if you like. There are lots of markets nearby where you can buy some cheap bargains, this is where I bought my new hat. As it was a very hot day, we didn’t walk around for long.
This is an active volcano, last time it erupted was 1994 but there is another volcano in Bali that only erupted in 2017. Although house prices are very cheap nearby, I wouldn’t want to live at the bottom of a volcano, how scary would that be.
We had lunch here and bought lunch for our driver as well. If you book a tour, you can climb this volcano in the very early morning and see the sunrise from the top of the hill. We have never really seen a volcano before so this was a great experience.
This waterfall looked quite different from other waterfalls that we have seen, it had a huge flow of water even though we weren’t there in rainy season. Again after a few photos, we left the waterfall. Bali is truly a tourist place, there are thousands of tourists everywhere except if you leave the island and go to an island nearby.
Nusa Cenigan Island
After chatting with our friend who has been to Bali, she suggested that we had to leave Bali and go to the nearby islands where we could swim with manta rays. So we managed to find an Airbnb accommodation in a hotel and took the ferry across we were dropped off by a yellow bridge and picked up on motorbikes. We were asked if we wanted to ride the motorbike with two of us on one motorbike. We did not feel comfortable with that so we we had luggage plus 2 people on both motorbikes.
It was so worth it staying on this island only 45 minutes ferry ride away from Bali. Just from 10 minutes walk from our accommodation, there were spectacular views everywhere, there were less people and everything seemed a lot more chilled than in Bali. I imagine this is what Bali used to be like 20 years ago before it was crowded with tourists and traffic.
We booked a snorkelling trip and unfortunately, the sea was so wild that it wasn’t the best snorkelling experience. Our driver had no safety precautions whatsoever and didn’t even offer a life jacket until I lost my snorkelling kit and freaked out in the sea and felt like I might drown any minute, Nick gave up in the sea after a few minutes and got back on the boat. I did see manta rays but the whole experience wasn’t actually worth it, once we looked into it there are actually quite a few incidences around Bali due to the dangerous water.
The internet connection was very slow in the island which wasn’t very helpful for my online teaching, we did have a 4G local sim card but unfortunately there was no 4G signal one day as there were issues around the area.
We were dropped off at Nusa Penida by a hotel staff member by boat and rented a motorbike for the day. Nusa Penida is not built up and the roads are literally the worst you could find. Riding on the motorbike was horrendous but we did see some amazing view which made up for the pain of it all although I would not recommend it to anyone maybe in 10 years, they might have better roads by then.
Nusa Penida is very beautiful with breathtaking views, we even saw 2 wedding couples who were getting their photos taken there. In the crazy heat and with the horrible roads, I am not sure if I would want my photos to be taken there in spite of the amazing views, they just looked sweaty and tired.
Broken Beach and Angels Billabong
The beautiful broken beach was an effort to bike to the roads were horrible and made for a painful bumpy journey. The area is stunning broken beach was created by the top of the cave falling into the sea, thus creating this archway. The Billabong was full of people but looked amazing but as we were getting close to the end of the day we decided to head back as we had a long bumpy ride back which was 10 times worse than the journey there.
We managed to make our way back to the drop off point and felt relieved that we could get off our motorbikes.
Belmond Jimbaran Bali
The best days in our lives after our wedding day in Mexico of course, we were staying in a 5-star hotel with our private pool deluxe villa in exchange for travel writing for 2 nights for Arrivedo.
We not only had this villa but a sunset cruise and a 3-course lunch was also complimentary. You can read more about our experience in Nick’s travel guide. Our stay here was like a dream come true, the highlight of our trip since we left England in September.
We stayed for one night in Ubud and hired a driver for another day. We went to the monkey temple where we saw thousands of monkeys and one of them bit my hand after landing on me, I didn’t give him any treats. Nick loves monkeys so he bought some bananas to feed them. There were lots of children around as well and some were screaming, some crying.
We had new wedding rings created which we picked up, we bought it in a silver factory. When we bought our wedding rings back 3 years ago, we bought the cheapest we could find in England and they weren’t good quality for sure. These rings were at a similar price but were a lot better quality and looked so much better, we are planning to ask a church leader to pray our new rings and our marriage in Kuala Lumpur.
On the way to our new hotel stay, we stopped in Tanah Lot which is a temple on the sea.
Dash Hotel, Seminyak
We were going to stay in this hotel for 4 nights in exchange for travel writing but we were given an extra 3 nights complimentary stay after we had to reschedule our flight to Malaysia to the doctor’s orders. If you would like to read more about Dash hotel and what we did there, you can read Nick’s travel guide…
At the beginning of our stay, I started having really bad ear aches, was dizzy, couldn’t eat and had a temperature. After another doctor visit, we were told that I had an ear infection and it was not going to be safe to fly to Malaysia in 3 days so we had to cancel our flight, was given antibiotics and eardrops and rebooked our flight from Wednesday to Saturday.
Dash hotel was so generous and have offered us to stay for extra 3 nights for free. I was feeling better by Friday but still had a pretty bad earache and my ears were completely blocked so we went back to the doctor to check if it was going to be safe to fly. From here, we were referred to an ear specialist in the hospital where we had to wait for hours before I was seen. The ear specialist gave some more medicine and ear drops to help, they gave us the official, yes to fly but prepared us that flying will be painful as my infection wasn’t completely gone so I was given more painkillers.
Flying was horrible and I was in so much pain and I couldn’t walk after we got off the flight but I survived the flight although my infection was flared up for a few days afterwards. Stay away from flying if you can if you have an ear infection.
We didn’t do much while staying in Dash hotel for 7 nights except resting and we did walk to Seminyak beach which was only 10 minutes walk away from us and even saw the sunset there which was beautiful although Jimbaran beach wins the best sunset in Bali.
We took a short trip to Nusa Dua as we were originally going to stay there before Dash offered us the extra stay. We rented electric bikes and whizzed around the beach area to experience the beauty of this beach resort. Most of the beaches were lined with 5-star resorts but were able to ride around and spend the afternoon visiting some nice parts and then headed back to the hotel in Seminyak.
In summary, we weren’t very lucky with our stay in Bali but can see why it’s a haven for backpackers and expats. As there are so many digital nomads living there, we expected to have a good internet connection, however, this was not the case only in the touristic areas such as Kuta, Seminyak and Jimbaran. I have never had to cancel lessons before Bali since September. I was also ill for most of our time in Bali. Bali is awesome for cheap bargains, cheap food and cheap massages which I took an advantage of many times and has some beautiful places that you can visit. We recommend the islands nearby if you don’t work online.
Bali Video Check it out
Check out the Arrivedo Guide for Dash Hotel and Belmond Jimbaran