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Sleep ins, drinking hot coffee, leisurely walks, nanna naps. Sounds like a dream when you are a Mum of 2 young kids but this was my reality on the 22nd of February when I headed off on my first Bali solo travel. What a legend hubby is, he loved his time at home with the kids but I think was very pleased to see me walk back in the front door a week later!! Here is my trip diary of my week away and I do warn you if you are a sleep deprived Mum you may find yourself unable to resist the urge to book your own solo holiday. I highly recommend it, makes you appreciate the gorgeous little ones in your life but also that we all need a break at times!! Enjoy x
22nd February 2016
I headed to Bali from Melbourne with Jetstar and enjoyed a few peaceful hours in the Qantas Lounge as hubby had a free pass to use! Gosh this travel business without kids is so easy, a poor Mum was struggling getting all her things through security so I got to hold her cute little boy with his plastered leg while she managed all her gear. Would highly recommend this to anyone travelling without kids to give a helping hand, I know us mums sure do appreciate it!!
Free champagne drank, obligatory Instagram/Facebook posts made and I was off!!
Left 10 minutes late which is great for Jetstar and I love the new Dreamliner. Managed 3 seats to myself as the plane was half full, why does that never happen when the kids are with me?! Watched a couple of movies, drank wine and even had a coffee, my gosh I felt like I was in first class 😉
Landed on time into Bali and quickly through VOA paid $57AUD, thank goodness that is now waivered for Australians on a tourist visa 30 days or less. Bags took about 20 minutes to come out and met my driver Yandira. He was one of my friends drivers and was delightful to chat to for the drive to Ubud. Traffic at 11pm at night was great and took about a hour to arrive at Ubud Tropical Garden. Found this great new small hotel on booking.com for $80aud per night and the room was huge, bed really comfy and I had a gorgeous view from the room. It is close to Monkey Forest and is located on Jl Monkey Forest down the south end. Finally crawled into bed at midnight or 3am Victorian time, woohoo I’m in Bali!!
I have a slight problem when I’m in Bali especially for the first few mornings, I’m always up early!! So much for my longed sleep ins but hey when I’m in Bali I can’t wait to get out and explore, especially with no kids in tow!! I woke at 6am and the hotel grounds were even more beautiful in the daylight. Watching the light change as the sun rose was amazing, the smell of the insence and the gentle warm breeze equals heaven!
I headed up Jl Monkey Forest and stopped in at Watercress and enjoyed a latte and eggs benedict. So yummy and I love that they use Revolver coffee.
A friend was staying nearby so dropped in to say hi which was lovely. We then headed to Penestenan where another friend owns a villa to all catch up. The villa was gorgeous and so relaxing sitting back having chats, drinking pimms and watching the world go by.
After a couple of hours we headed back to Watercress and I had the Moroccan salad for lunch, yummo!! Can you tell I really like Watercress!!
Received a very funny message from hubby about his first night alone at home, pretty much consisted of the 2 year old in a poo filled bath!! Poor hubby! It started raining a bit but was quite lovely to walk in.
I hopped in the pool for a swim and the temperature was very good and I loved relaxing looking over the rice fields. Decided it was time for a nap, oh the joys of no children!! Woke at around 5pm and back to the pool to watch the sunset while enjoying a BLT and fries delivered from Tropical View Cafe.
Tropical View Cafe is linked to the hotel and they had great cheap food. Breakfast was included in the price and was fine and basic. Was so relaxing but eventually decided to head out for dinner. Headed up to Jl Hanoman and found Siam Sally a Thai restaurant. My crispy noodles with chicken was delicious and with the Bintang came to 121,000rp($13aud).
Walked back to the hotel and stopped off for a 30 min foot reflexology, 50,000rp($5.50aud) and well worth it!!
I somehow woke up at 5:30am, must still be in kids mode! Before my morning walk it was so lovely to sit on my balcony meditating while the morning colours slowly changed. I just wish I had a meditation cushion as the ground was quite hard! I decided to head out and do the Campuhan Ridge Walk. I walked out up Jl Hanoman, left at Jl Raya Ubud and joined the Campuhan walk at Warwick Ibah villas. It was such a beautiful time of morning and I only passed a handful of people. Early mornings in Bali are by far my favourite time of day. No tourists, the Balinese getting ready for the day and the quietness and occasional smell from the offerings is magical.
The ridge walk was great but I’m glad I was out early on the walk as it was already hot at 6:30am. I think in cooler weather the kids would handle it well as it’s not steep.
I saw a sign for Jungle Fish and I thought why not I’ll just keep on going! Well 1.5hrs later from my starting point at my hotel I was there! It wasn’t opened yet but they allowed me to walk around and take photos. Lovely spot but lots of stairs back up the top!! Could imagine a very fun day here could be had with the kids but I would be a bit wary with the drop off with the likes of Mason who is a very active 2 year old with no fear!!
For 100,000rp($10.50aud) they drove me back into Ubud, at that stage I would have paid anything as there was no way I was walking all the way back in the heat! I wandered down Jl Monkey Forest and had a Bircher Museli and coffee at Watercress, 96000rp($10aud), so yummy and can you tell I’m addicted!!
Back to the hotel for a swim and was sooo good. My other reason for my trip to Bali was to have meetings with photographers for my new business I was in the process of setting up Through A Local Lens. I’m setting out to help support local Balinese photographers by selling their photographs to clients in Australia and worldwide. I always love beautiful and meaningful souvenirs with photographic works high on my list when I travel. I have found over my last few trips that the only images I could source were from foreign photographers so I decided to set up the business.
My first meeting was at Tropical View Cafe with Dewa Rastama and I’m so happy to have him on board. He takes amazing culture photographs of his local village and was a real pleasure to meet and chat with. After we finished up I headed out to Jl Hanoman to get transport to Sanur as I had a couple of meetings with photographers there. 250000rp($27aud) it cost one way and only took 50 minutes to get there. Sanur was hot!! I had a juice at Puri Santarian on the beach before catching up with Gede and Yudik a couple of very talented young photographers.
Next I walked back through Puri Santarian to the beach front and headed to a gorgeous new cafe on Jl Duyung called Blue Dusk to meet Indi. What a great little spot with AC inside which was a welcome relief from the sweltering heat and their coffee and juices delicious. Will definitely be back here in September when we are back in Sanur with the family. Headed back to Ubud and drove past the Hyatt Sanur which was looking very rundown. Hoping the renovations are completed soon as it’s such a fantastic spot and the gardens amazing. Traffic was not as great on the way back and took 1 hour. Swim in the pool was sooo needed, I had become quite a sweaty Betty!!
I had booked in at 5pm at Venezia Spa which was straight across the road from the hotel. I chose the 1 hr 45 min coffee relaxation package which was a massage, coffee scrub then a soak in the beautiful flower bath while I enjoyed a ginger tea. Was so good and set me back 210000rp($23aud).
Was starving by the time I finished so headed up to Hujan Locale for dinner. I am a huge fan of Will Meyrick’s restaurants, Mamasan in Seminyak is one of my all time favourites! I chose the Bebek Goreng Madura, crispy duck with Sambal mango and salads. It was so yummy and I was so full I couldn’t even manage dessert!! The crispy duck and bintang came to 238000rp($25aud) A slow wander back down Jl Monkey Forest and early to bed, what a huge day!!
Wow finally a sleep in till 7am!! Was so needed after my busy day the day before! Decided to head to the hotel restaurant next door Anumana for a coffee and eggs benedict, was ok but nothing exciting. The breakfast at the Tropical View Cafe, which was included in the room, was ok but not very exciting. They don’t have proper coffee so that’s why I tended to go elsewhere first!
Back to Tropical View Cafe to meet with Sunan one of the very talented photographers signed up to Through A Local Lens.
I then met with Adi, from Evermotion photography, Budi and Wah at Hubud which is a cafe/co working space across the road from my hotel. Was such chilled out space and was great sitting back chatting to the boys about photography, Bali and Budi’s hats 🙂 They have very reliable fast internet so if you are ever in Ubud and need to get work done this is the place to head.
Finished the morning off by relaxing by the pool and then headed up to Watercress for lunch. I had a latte and the chicken burger which was very yummy and I had a chance to catch up with another photographer Yande.
Bit of rain today and was hot so back to the pool!! Booked in for a massage at Cantika Zest Spa, in Penestanan, at 4pm and oh my goodness so good! The massage room was so gorgeous and I could hear the river below. I felt like I was floating in the trees, highly recommended! Massage cost me 150000rp($18aud) for a hour and they also have beautiful handmade products you can purchase. If you are interested in learning to make their products they also hold workshops. This would have to be one of my favourite spas in Ubud, I highly recommend making a booking here as it can get busy!
I caught a taxi back to Jl Hanoman and came across Yasmin Middle Eastern cafe. Gorgeous decor and my Chicken shish kebab was yummy! Very reasonable prices with a bintang and shishkebab costing 124000rp($14aud) Back to the hotel to watch the movie Trainwreck, so funny!!
Thoughts on room at Ubud Tropical Garden:
The room at Ubud Tropical Garden was great to stay in. A couple of small things was there were no lamps or lights on the bed head so was a bit tricky to read in bed and the shower drain was a bit slow. Also the curtains do block out people seeing in but aren’t block out so still quite bright in the room during the day. The Wifi worked pretty well by the pool and in my room. The downstairs rooms are the cheaper ones, I paid about $75aud per night but the upstairs would be more private with a nice balcony over looking the pool. Would highly recommend.
Last morning in Ubud was lovely, walked up Jl Hanoman and stopped in for a coffee at Monsieur Spoon. I had ordered a croissant too but they forgot that. Expensive coffee for Bali and not quite sure I would rate it. Kept wandering up Jl Hanoman past all the beautiful shops.
Seniman coffee was my next stop, right near Hujan Locale. Love this place, coffee was fantastic and they had all different sorts. Avocado and eggs were delicious and well priced.
Stopped in at the charity store across the road and picked up a locally made colouring book for Charlotte. She loves it so much, I wish I had got more! Wandered past some shops and picked up a a dress for 200000rp. Received a text from home that really made me miss everyone so headed back to the hotel for a last swim and chicken satay from Tropical View Cafe.
Gede, Yandiras cousin I think, picked me up at 12pm and we took the more scenic route to Seminyak. He was lovely to chat to and a storm hit as we were driving. Arrived at Casa Kaya Aya at 1:30pm and was given a room next to the pool. The hotel is down a well paved gang behind White Peacock which is located on Jl Kayu Jati close to Grocer and Grind. Now keep in mind this room only cost $40aud a night so great value especially in the position. It has a rooftop bar area but was raining so a no go! I felt a bit claustrophobic in the room as the outside window looked out onto a wall. Tried to have a nap but an angle grinder outside my window wasn’t great!!
Decided to get out and grabbed a taxi and headed to Pison Coffee on Jl Petitenget. I love Pison as you may have noticed from my blog posts from our big family trip in June 2015. I tried the avocado espresso and it did not disappoint! So yummy, the avocado seemed to balance the coffee and ice cream really well. It cost 52000rp($6aud).
Decided that Think Pink Nails would be a great way to help with my dull mood and I was in luck, they could fit me in for a pedicure! It is located on Batu Belig and it never disappoints. Their signature pedicure with polish is 180000rp($20aud) Their driver, for free, took me back around to Jl Cendrawasih as I wanted to check out a couple of other hotels to change to. I had decided that I wanted to be closer to Petitenget with a view outside and a rooftop pool!! I found it at Maxone hotel on Jl Cendrawasih for the huge cost of $32aud per night. I would stay one night where I was as I had already unpacked my stuff but would move at midday the next day. I had used booking.com for both my hotel bookings in Bali and found it a perfect way to have flexibility as it was a pay later deal. They were fine at Casa Kaya Aya and I paid them for the one night. They did have other rooms looking to the outside but I think it was more of the position on my own that wasn’t working for me. The rooms were nice and the beds really comfy. I headed out for dinner at Tiger Palm and the pork belly stir fry was delicious. With a coke and the stir fry with rice it came to 171000rp($18aud) It then started pouring with rain again, it had been raining most of the afternoon, so I grabbed a taxi up to Mamasan for dessert. Love their Creme brûlée and I did some celebrity spotting as Michael Klim was seated not far away!
Today was a fabulous day!! My down mood shifted and I was up early for a morning walk along the beach. I joined the beach at La Lucciola then walked up to W Resort where I walked through to Jl Petitenget. I noticed that Montigo Resort had opened where the Semara Resort was, Charlotte and I stayed their in 2013. Looked really nice, didn’t walk through as I was hot and sweaty! They had only had a soft opening with the official full opening penciled in for June 2016. And the best part they will have a kids club!! I really love this position and was shattered when the Semara closed as there is a definite lack of kids clubs in the area.
After a shower I walked the short distance to Sisterfields for breakfast. Managed to get a seat as I was there at 8:30am as it’s well known to have to wait at this very busy cafe! Eggs benedict with bacon and a latte were so good and set me back 130000rp($14aud)
I jumped in a taxi to Pison Cafe to meet up with Indi again and was lovely sitting back chatting away about life and Bali.
I then headed back to my hotel to pack before moving to Maxone Hotel. It’s definitely not my usual type of hotel but needing something last minute that was cheap and clean was a must! The room was clean, bed comfy and it had a balcony to the outside world. The bathroom could have done with a good thorough clean but WIFI was good which was more important to me. The one problem was that you had to keep logging in all the time, first world problems!
Went for a walk along Jl Petitenget and stopped for lunch at Warung Eny. Oh my goodness the satay was sooo good and I loved watching them cook it over the coconut husks. For a bintang and Sate campur it came to 90000rp($10aud)
Spied Bali Catering Company just across the road so headed over for a chocolate eclair and juice, delicious!! Back to the hotel for a little rest with a very full belly then walked to the beach through the shortcut from Cendrawasih. Vasanti Resort was a few minutes walk from my hotel and I asked to have a look through a room. It looked really nice and the pool access ones even better! This hotel seems to have great rates and I personally like the position. Close enough to walk to Jl Petitenget and the shortcut to the beach means only a 5 minute walk. The gate through the shortcut usually opens about 8am and shuts about 9pm.
Stopped in at Mozaic Beach Club for a swim, drinks and to watch the sunset. 300000rp was the minimum spend for a lounge chair and use of the pool which was easy to spend with a couple of bintangs, Dellinger cocktail and iced tea. They also have gazebos for rent for larger groups. Was lovely and relaxing with the sunset good but not brilliant, better than the rain from the day before!! NOTE: Mozaic Beach Club has since closed, what a pity!!
As the sun was setting I walked along the beach to La Laguna. Hot tip for finding it while walking along the beach, as it’s hard to see, look for the 3 shaped stick stacks that look like bonfires!! I had croquettes and meatballs which were yummy and will definitely be back with the family one day. The walk back to the hotel along the beach took about 20 minutes. Slept really well even though the walls were a bit thin!
Started my Sunday with watching the sunrise from the rooftop of the hotel. Was gorgeous watching the colours change and managed some fantastic photos.
Headed off to Watercress in Batu Belig for breakfast and chose the corn fritters in the set breakfast with fruit salad, juice and coffee. Oh my so good!! All up came to 157000rp($17aud) such great value.
Was so full so headed back to hotel for a rest by the pool. Decided to head to Jl Seminyak for a look around and had a delicious pork belly salad at Bo and Bun followed by a latte at Grain Espresso. Was great to have a look around and get my bearings as we will be back in September to stay at the Courtyard Marriott Seminyak.
I met with another photographer Dwi and his dad Mr Cookie at their family home. I was welcomed in and we sat back chatting and me sweating, sooo hot!!
Back to hotel for an afternoon nap, enjoyed it while it lasted! Weather was quite good, no rain just clouds so after my nap I walked through Potatohead to beach. The new Katamama hotel looked quite different from the outside, would be interesting to see the inside.
Grabbed a Bintang from one of the local vendors as I walked along the beach towards Legian. Love Sunday nights on the beach with all the local families having fun and there was also a ceremony happening as well.
Walked back to Ku De Ta and up to Sea Circus for a drink. Wandered up Jl Petitenget, was going to eat at Saigon St but was quite busy so decided to head up to Lantern. Well I got as far as Pison and decided to stop in as I knew they had AC!! I was sweltering by this stage, I had been walking for 1.5 hrs! Had the Bumbu Roejak which was yummy followed by the avocado espresso for dessert, still as yummy as I remember!! It all came to 115000rp($13aud) Walked home via Circle K for a few supplies for the flight home the next day.
Woke on my last morning to an email from Jetstar saying my 2:30pm flight back to Melbourne had been cancelled. Not ideal and the link they provided me with didn’t work of course so I had to call them which when I got my bill at home cost $25aud!! Anyway they put me on the later 11:30pm flight so I booked another night at Maxone so I could keep my room until I needed to leave for the airport at 9pm.
I needed to meet Sunan in Seminyak so I grabbed a taxi to the Royal Beach Seminyak. After getting the signed agreement from him for Through A Local Lens I headed to the Courtyard Marriott to check it out for our September holiday with our family. I had entered a Honeycombers wesbite competition and had been lucky enough to win 3 nights in a Pool view room, breakfast daily and spa treatments! Such a lovely resort, rooms nice and big and will easily fit a roll away bed for Charlotte and portacot for Mason. Kids club looked great and will organise a babysitter for Mason to join in at a small extra cost. It also had an AC room with a cot for his day sleep. It’s also only a short stroll to the beach.
I walked up to Straw Hut and I was dripping with sweat by the time I arrived, hottest day by far!! I had a swim in their pool and my breakfast of eggs, spinach, mushies and hash browns was yum!! Coffee was not the best, too weak for my liking! All up the breakfast and coffee came to 95000rp($11aud)
Took a taxi to Revolver to meet a friend and we both appreciated the AC. Was lovely chatting away while enjoying both hot and cold coffees!! If you haven’t been to Revolver before it’s a little bit tricky to find. It’s on a gang just off Eat Street behind the store “This is a Love Song” and across the road from the Bali Clinic.
Headed back for a rest at the hotel then popped down to Thai Corner for a Pad Thai and fresh coconut. So yummy!!
Back for a rest while the rain poured down, packed bags and then decided on Barbacoa for my real last dinner!! Never disappoints and I love sitting back admiring the decor. I had corn, pork empanadita, prawn with guacamole and a bintang and it came to 329000rp($35aud)
Trip to the airport was quick and easy in a taxi, about 95000rp($10aud) Check in was quick with the airport so much nicer to use than the old one! I appreciated the joys of wandering through looking at things that I don’t normally get to do with the kids. Flight left on time but was absolutely chockers!! Not a spare seat on the plane and as we were about to fly over Bendigo the plane started circling for 45 minutes as there was fog at Tullamarine airport. So glad the kids weren’t on the flight! Bags took forever to come out and the 3 hr drive home was very long!!
I had such a fantastic week away and for the most part really enjoyed the solo in Bali experience. It was nice to have friends to occasionally catch up with and would say that Ubud is more suited to solo travel than Seminyak. I loved meeting the photographers for my business Through A Local Lens and are very pleased to announce the website can be found at www.throughalocallens.com.
For me Bali and its people never disappoint. The warmth and smiles always make me feel happy. The early morning walks will continue to be one of my favourite things to do as Bali wakes up. Feel free to follow me on Facebook or on Instagram.