“Bali is Perth. Bali is life.” – The Urban List
Whilst I recognise that the foundation of this little blog of mine was to embrace all things Aussie lifestyle based – according to The Urban List, and well, just about every West Aussie I’ve ever met, you’re not a real Perthian unless you’ve been to Bali at least once in your lifetime.
Growing up in Britain, travelling to Bali was always seen as such a desirable, luxurious and exotic choice of vacay. When I say this here in Perth, people laugh. Here in Aussie, Bali is very much regarded as a cheeky, convenient getaway for some Bintang, massages and delicious eats. On reflection, it’s not really that much different to how I see talking about my extensive travels in and around Europe – Italy, Greece, Spain, France, Germany, Scandinavia, Swizerland… All incredible places, but all so close to home in Britain that they were never quite ‘exotic’ or I suppose ‘long-haul’. I guess the grass is always greener, huh?
I was told by most of my Aussie friends that I would either love Bali, or hate it. And guess what? I loved it. It was so like some of the places I’ve travelled around Europe it was insane – a combination of Spain, Turkey, Tunisia and definitely Thailand.
I travelled to Bali with my best mate of twenty-three years, Laysha who was visiting me in Perth from the UK. We thought we’d break up her stay over here with a few nights away in Bali. So, we booked the honeymoon villa at… (okay okay, now I see why a newish friend of mine recently confessed that she thought I preferred girls to guys. I don’t – although I’d probably have more luck in love because boys are stupid) – where was I? Oh yes… we booked the honeymoon villa at the Sanyas Suites in Seminyak and it was just divine! We had an entire villa to ourselves, with a stunning pool, massive living area, huge bedrooms and a outdoor bathroom. Each morning breakfast would be laid out on our dining table, covered in delicious fruit platters, pastries, omelettes, juices and coffee. And it didn’t cost the earth either!
We were there for five full days and we managed to cram-pack in a lot of adventure, massages and cocktail-giggles. The cherry on top? The guys at Popcherry helped get me vacay-ready by styling some of the cute pieces I wore on this trip. Look out for my fave Boho Getaway Playsuit in this Bali Edit blog (the first of two), which I wore to meet elephants and visit the rice fields – even in the humid heat, it kept me cool and covered up from the fierce sunshine.
It was a truly amazing trip. Me being me, I took about 6,723,914 photos, so its taken me a while to edit them all. After covering off the first three days, I realised I had about eighty pictures and so have decided to edit a duo of blogs. This is the first!
Welcome to my Balinese diary…
We actually arrived at our accommodation fairly late, and after we’d both finished running around the villa (picture the Home Alone scene where Kevin is running around cause he’s all alone without his family… got it? Hmm), jumping into our private pool and vaguely unpacking, we didn’t actually sleep until the early hours. So we slept in – its been SO LONG since I did that! I’m always up at like 6:30am weekdays, 7am weekends – so when I do take vacay, it’s like my body switches off and just goes into recharge mode. It felt good. Just look at that four poster and those fabulous high ceilings! Gorgeous. We’d ordered brekkie in the night before, so were treated to the entire Sanyas spread because we’d ordered literally everything in excitement the night before.
Whilst I’d like to say we then explored and got all cultured, we actually walked about ten minutes on Seminyak beach before sprinting up the steps to The W and setting up a tab at The Woo Bar. Twenty minutes later and we were cocktail-cultured alright, with fluffy heads and rosy cheeks. Our fave cocktails? Lemongrass Ginger Collins, Champagne & Strawberry Martini, Espresso Martini and Mo-Gin-To. We loved the vibe there that much, we decided to book a sunset bed for our final day.
Next up, we went for 2hr body scrubs and massages at Re Day Spa. Feeling all floaty and delightful, we nipped over to MoFo Kitchen for fruit bowls and juices before heading back to the villa for a quick swim and to get ready for dinner.
Before I left Perth, I had so many amazing recommendations given to me – enough for at least ten trips! Carla and Nicole though, you girls were amazing. Thank you so much to Carla for the restaurant recommendation we took on our first night out – the unique MAMA San, founded by Street-food chef Will Meyrick. It was AMAZING. We made the mistake of not booking, but we luckily managed to swipe a table after a few cocktails at the bar – and oh, was it worth the wait!
We started with yummy DIY sugarcane prawn rice paper rolls, seasoned with kaffir lime and sweet chilli – perfectly accompanied with Mint Champagne (I KNOW! My new favourite type of bubbles). Next up were the mains; Duck red curry with lychee, basil pea and apple eggplant; and Pad Thai rice noodles with egg peanuts, dried shrimp and pickled beansprouts. Goddamn divine. Too full to eat any more, we drank Pinot Gris and Frangelico until the bar was closing, our vision became hazy and our lipstick had completely slid off. The waitress was a dreadful photographer, but the squiffiness of the below photo from the restaurant is perhaps sentiment to our sobriety that evening. Bloody brilliant night.
Now, I’ve known Laysha a long time. We’ve been on a lot of holidays together and made a lot of memories. One thing we don’t have much of however, are things in common. We’ve always laughed that ‘opposites attract’ is in fact the motto for our ridiculously-awesome friendship, because well, we really do have very little in common.
Every holiday we’ve ever been on, Laysha grants me a shopping day pass – one set day where we will do all our shopping, bartering, markets, etc. After that, unless I get her pissed, there’s no hope in hell of being able to go shopping again. I’ve never known a woman to hate shopping as much as she does. So, loving shopping as much as I do, I woke her up at 7am for our (my) day of shopping. She was not impressed.
We kicked off the day with Bee pollen Juices at The Earth Cafe & Market (another cute recommendation from Carla) before pottering down Jl. Kayu Aya checking out little boutiques. I bought the most gorgeous brown and tan fringed leather bags from Queens Art, a tiny little boutique tucked away at the back of of Jl. Kay Aya Flea Market – you have to go see all their amazing leather goods if you ever get the chance. I’ve not stopped using my fringed bags since getting back from Bali! We grabbed lunch (banana crepes count as lunch, right?) and juices at The Junction before setting off to Krishna Oleg-Oleh market on Sunset Road where I picked up a stunning dreamcatcher for above my bed, and a cute maxi dress.
We then went for divine foot massages before snacks and happy hour cocktails (do you like Piña Coladas? Yes, yes I do) at Luna Rooftop Bar and a night in at the villa. We had an epic day trip planned the next day, plus it was seriously stormy-stormy outside, so we snuggled up on the sofa with some vino watching the storms – and I even took an indulgent 30 minute outdoor shower in the electrical rain storm, just because I could.
We had a very early start as we had booked a driver for the day to take us to do some real Bali sightseeing. We each had several things we wanted to see on our trip – Laysha wanted to see Elephants and waterfalls, and I wanted to visit Tegalalang Rice Terraces and some Temples.
We left the Villa at 8am and headed off to find elephants. I actually had no idea that elephants weren’t native to Bali – and therefore the only way to see them was to see them in captivity, essentially serving the tourism industry. I really did have my reservations about doing this, and made it clear to Laysha that if the elephants weren’t being cared for properly, or if they were being exploited by doing tricks or shows, that I really wouldn’t feel comfortable being there.
The Elephant Park in Bakas was located about 90mins drive from Seminyak and is one of the more established animal sanctuaries in Bali. We were taken for fresh juices before walking up through the luscious green sanctuary, past women practising their prayer rituals and through tropical forests rife with all kinds of wildlife from wild birds, to actual wild monkeys swinging through the trees. We were taken up to a viewing platform and before I could believe my eyes, the elephants arrived… Our gentle giant was called Tony and he was gorgeous. His skin was as tough as dried mud and the hairs on his head were bristly, like dried grass poking out of the earth. And he had the longest eyelashes ever! He loved watermelon and apples and was an inquisitive little (big?) thing!
Each elephant had a human, and Tony’s was called Andy. Andy told us everything about Tony-Macaroni as he affectionately called him, as we were taken around the sanctuary. We saw where the elephants lived, where they played, learnt how much they ate (and ate well, which isn’t cheap to maintain) and also given a real insight into how much these gentle giants were cared for. It was the biggest relief. I wasn’t too keen on riding Tony, but it was an absolute dream for Laysha – and admittedly, once I saw that these animals were being well cared for, it was kind of cool, although I don’t know whether I’d do it again. I gave Tony a little kiss after the ride to say thanks before he strutted off with his buddy, trunk in tail, to go and frolick in the pool and squirt some water. He appeared to be a happy little soul and it was a very, very magical thing to be able to interact with such an incredible creature.
It was then about 40mins drive to the iconic Tegalalang Rice Terraces, located in the artistic centre of Ubud. This is a place I’ve always wanted to visit – the beautiful scenes of these rice paddies set on a cliff have dominated my Instagram feed and TV documentaries since moving to Aussie. To actually visit these pristine paddies was amazing, made even more special by seeing some of the farmers working in the fields. I absolitely love all the colours in these pictures – it’s so amazing how in some shots the paddies are a crazy, vibrant lush green and in others a golden sage – the weather was so overcast but the brightness intensity seemed to change every few minutes!
On the route down to the paddies, I was doing my picture taking thing of all the arty street stalls. You’ll see a gorgeous mismatched patchwork quilt below – I photographed this on arrival, and bought it on the way back. My talented mom has quilted for years and to see the insane detail that went into this was just incredible – especially given it cost me under $20. Getting it stuffed in my bag as ‘hand luggage’ was tricky, but it’s now thrown over my sofa and I adore it. Especially because of its synonymousness with this spectacular Tegalalang trip…
Stay tuned for Pt II of The Bali Edit coming soon…
FEATURED: Popcherry Boho Getaway Playsuit – $79.99
PHOTOGRAPHED BY: Katie Rebekah Osborne, Laysha Alick