Bali: Monkeys, street food, and many many Bintang

I apologise in advance for the sheer length of this post plus the fact that it's pretty damn photo heavy!! Sorry!! R, x

Oh Bali. Five days of extreme heat and humidity, cheap food, many Bintang, and a lot of fun with the most incredible people I've met on my travels. My original plan when arriving to Australia was that I was going to fly out to Sydney just before Australia Day. Well, Australia Day has been and gone (well and truly been and gone) and I can say that I was most definitely not in Sydney. Fremantle and Pirates Backpackers put on the best show for the day, an awesome game of football, free booze, a huge waterfight, and a lot of fun. Anyway, digressing as per...

The group of Scots that I wiggled my way into (adopted English person right here!) were heading off to Bali after booking an amazing deal on Groupon. I was invited along, changed all of my flights, moved my flight from Perth to Sydney so that I could join their roadtrip adventure across the Nullarbor (something I will never regret doing, it was the most incredible thing I've ever done in my life), and then we were off. A holiday during a holiday. Who'd have thought?!

Bali was one of those little trips that made me fully content with life and desperately miss the culture of a foreign country as opposed to the life I'd been living in Australia up to that point. As soon as we arrived at Densapar Airport and saw the queue for immigration I knew I was back in a less developed country and you know what - I bloody loved it. Memories came flooding back over the time I had to pass through immigration at Bangkok's airport and it took between 2-3 hours. This was a little quicker thankfully, we were all hungry, a little grumpy, and just so excited to get to the villa.

Leaving the airport I made my first mistake, stumbling over an exposed bar and falling head first onto the floor. Thankfully my hands broke my fall, unfortunately a 20kg bag ended up smacking into the back of my neck. One sore neck, one chipped toenail, and one broken pair of sunglasses later we were on our way to paradise.

Whizzing down the bustling roads was incredible fun, I felt like I was in familiar territory- a lot reminded me of Thailand, yet at the same time there was a completely different air about it (since we were in Indonesia I guess that comes to no surprise!) Bikes upon bikes weaved in and out of the traffic, three/four people piled onto the back, from the young (and I mean very young, babies in fact) to the elderly. It didn't come as a shock to me, I'd seen it all before but I'd forgotten that the girls travelling with us hadn't seen it.

Arriving at the villa - Legian Villas in the Seminyak region of Bali - we threw our bags down, chose our rooms, and admired the beauty of the place. It was incredible!

Figuring we needed some food and some alcohol we went to the first restaurant we found (which ended up being awesome) called Cafe Seminyak. The food was incredible and our first taste of how cheap Bali was going to be compared to the price of the Australian lifestyle. Between us I think we ordered an incredible variety of meals - some steaks, Mi or Nasi Goreng, curries, and then the crazy platter of practically everything - various curries, pickles, hot dishes, cold dishes, skewers, chicken, prawn, everything. It was incredible and for the price you couldn't fault it.

Leaving there we were on the hunt for alcohol (wasn't as cheap as we had expected, at least it wasn't as cheap as what I'd experienced in Thailand!) but we got a crate of Bintang (of course) and a cheaper one called Bali Hi (Bali Low, couldn't resist sorry). We'd spotted a few little bars along the way too so off we went in to celebrate our arrival into paradise for five days. Cheap cocktails galore we enjoyed a few drinks (except for the dreaded 'Zombie', that was violently alcoholic) and a wee shot of tequila much to my delight - not!! Still, it started the night off excellently and we all returned back to the villa, the pool, and proceeded to get very drunk into the night. Bliss!

The next day was one for exploring but the heat was almost unbearable. The humidity choked us as we walked from the villa towards Kuta, so much that we stopped in Legian on the way for more cheap cocktails and an impromptu shisha pipe or two. The bar we stopped at seemed like a little sideline from a relatively posh restaurant. They were a little slow bringing out the pipes and the cocktails but my margarita was delicious!

We walked and walked, bought many Bintang and 100% genuine fake Ray Bans, two pairs I bought after popping the lens out of mine when I fell. Two pairs. How many do I have now?! Nada.

The days seem to merge into one really. We ate a lot of street food, in particularly the chicken satay sticks (you got 10 sticks for approximately $2) and little bags of rice and noodles wrapped in a bag. Some came plain, some came with chicken, some came with miscellaneous meat, and some came doused in chillies... For the record these were less than a dollar each, probably about 60c. You can't go wrong with that. We saw quite a few temples from the outside, and we drank an awful lot of alcohol...

One of the most memorable days for me had to be when we went to Ubud. It also happened to be the day that one of my pairs of sunglasses met their demise after I left them in the back of a taxi. Typical.

I'd heard a lot about Ubud before. A lot of people (and articles for that matter) say that Ubud was placed firmly on the map after Liz Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love) visited and later Julia Roberts in the film adaptation. A lot of other blogs or travel articles say that Ubud is full of solo women travellers in their 40s travelling to 'find themselves' in a way mimicking Liz's adventure herself. We only really visited the Monkey Forest and, after a little walk into the more built up area, a cafe and then bar, but I didn't see what those other articles had been saying. Anyway...

Monkey Forest was the highlight for me. Monkeys in their hundreds, temples, forests, it made me a very happy lass. I'd missed my temples and, whilst we didn't actually go IN the Hindu temple in the middle of the forest it was so lovely to see them again. The main temple was ran by donations in return for full rental of the typical Balinese dress. I think it was only a small fee, maybe a few Australian dollars worth of rupee but we just didn't have it.

You'll come across many 'reviews' of Monkey Forest saying how these are savage wild animals, trained pickpockets, and the like, well I have to disagree. Yes, they're wild animals but respect them at a distance and you'll be fine. These are extremely intelligent and inquisitive animals, they'll smell if you have food on you and they will hunt it out until they can find it..... Just keep that in mind. I had a bag on my shoulder and DSLR around my neck and had no problems with monkeys trying to steal my things. I did, however, get a little baby sat on my shoulder eating a banana. That was a highlight and something I definitely won't forget in a hurry.

Leaving the monkey forest a few of us took a little detour, a little adventure past the rice fields, more monkeys, and homes. Being around lunch time the smells radiating from these houses was incredible, exotic spices and herbs making our stomachs rumble. We kept walking down the dirt path until we realised we could be doing this for a long time, so turned back to join the others after passing more monkeys. These probably a little less used to human contact.

The rains started shortly after, very hot intense rain that soaked you to the bone. We had two options, keep walking and find a busier street, or dive into one of the first restaurants we come across, eat, and then wait for the rain to pass. Naturally we went for the second option and, although the rain hadn't subsided at all we braved it to find somewhere to drink afterwards.... Did someone say 2 for 1 cocktails?! Naturally we went inside.

For the next few days/nights we were in complete relax mode it seemed. We had a few wild nights (okay, most nights were wild) and then a few days exploring. I went to Legian beach with the boys to check it out, have a little wander down, and see what we could find. We ended up being approached several times for people to take our photo - an odd occurrence but quite sweet at the same time, and was a nice little high to end on.

I think we all took something home from Bali - except for the dreaded Bali belly, less said of that the better - but it was definitely time to come home. Over indulgence on food, alcohol, and Bali's other little things had started to take its toll.... Here's to the next little adventure!!



  1. Oh my goodness, I have never wanted to hop on a plane more after reading this!
    Where did you stay in Bali?? Where did you find the villa?
    Me and Ben were thinking about going in September :)

  2. Aww honey, do it :) It was something I didn't think I'd ever do as I was trying to keep to budget but definitely no regrets... it was one of the best weeks of my life.We actually stayed at the Legian Villas in Seminyak, it wasn't too far from Legian and Kuta which wasn't to my taste personally but it wasn't as bad as everyone makes out ;) there are much nicer places though. The villa was on groupon, I can't take credit for it - the girls found it.
    Hope you're well lovely, big loves xX



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