On the last week of September, Dan and I went to Bali. We said all year that we wanted to go somewhere further afield this year and what's further away than 18 hours by plane?!
We were there for 10 days which really wasn't much time at all. Bali isn't particularly big but you definitely can't squeeze it all into a week and a half. We did manage to stay in four different parts: Sanur in the South of Bali, Nusa Lembongan Island, a 30 min boat ride from Sanur, Gili Trawangan island which is part of Lombok, and finally we finished our trip in Ubud, back on mainland Bali.
All that travelling in a short space of time probably doesn't sound that relaxing and at times it was quite stressful but in fact it felt like we had four mini holidays in one and made for an unforgettable experience.
Sanur was our first pit stop. We picked the area for a few reasons - it was less 'Aussie Magaluf' than Kuta, it was a 30 minute drive from the airport which we knew we'd appreciate after our long journey and it provided a gateway to Nusa Lembongan island which we wanted to travel to next.
Landing in Ngurah Rai airport was a huge relief after an uncomfortable flight from Doha sitting in the middle seat next to a bulky Swedish man for 10 hours. As we walked to the luggage carousel, we were greeted by the smell of incense, which for me added to the exotic-ness and excitement of arriving into Bali. Once we passed through security we headed for the exit where we were hit with the thick, humid air and a chaotic mix of travellers trying to find their way out and cab drivers desperately trying to get your business.
We didn't arrive at the guesthouse until midnight and after little sleep on the plane, we were eager to shower and get straight into bed. Typically, despite not sleeping for 24 hours, I lay there feeling wired and excited for the sun to rise so we could get up and explore.
In the excitement of getting ready for the beach, I forgot to bring my camera so these are some photos from my phone. Hopefully they still do Sanur beach justice!
After a hot and noisy walk through the streets of Sanur to get down to the beach, we were greeted by a beautiful long stretch of sand, endless bright blue skies and the ocean. We strolled along to find a nice sunbathing spot, passing lots of local men and women fishing in the sea. We stopped off at a beach bar with sun loungers and spent the rest of the day baking in the hot sun, hydrating with cold bottles of Bintang and cooling off by dipping our toes into the sea. Unfortunately there were lots of rock and coral so not suitable for swimming really, but we did hobble across to a mini 'island' which had some huts to sit and enjoy the view.
After four hours we walked back to the guesthouse to get ready to come back to the beach for sunset before dinner. Annoyingly we missed sunset but we were able to capture some beautiful shots of the beach at dusk before it got dark. At this time of the day you were able to see Mount Agung, providing a stunning backdrop against the pink skies. It was only day one and we were already blown away by how beautiful Bali was.
Once we'd finally taken enough photos, we wandered further down the beach to find somewhere to eat dinner. We were hoping to eat at this trendy-looking restaurant where the chefs cooked your meal outside on the beach and diners had their own 'pod' type thing to eat on but they were fully booked. It turned out to be blessing in disguise as we walked further down to find a much more romantic setting - candle lit, individual bamboo huts facing the sea.
This was where we got to experience our first Indonesian cuisine. I ordered the Kare Tuna, a tuna steak in a spicy curry sauce with rice, green beans and salad on the side, washed down with a white wine and lychee martini (my favourite!). Dan went for the Nasi Goreng, a common Indonesian dish of fried rice with chicken and egg. We also ordered some chicken satay on the side. This is where we also first noticed how cheap the price of dining in Bali was compared to London - not that that would be difficult! I loved the presentation of our food at this restaurant too, how cute is the little hat on my rice?
After our candlelit dinner on the beach, we felt quite sleepy so planned to have a nightcap at a bar and head back to our guesthouse. However we ended up walking past Casablancas, Sanur's liveliest bar and the night took on a whole new vibe! The bar was packed with locals, expats and holiday makers enjoying the live band. Sadly we got there just as the live music ended but just in time for the cheesy tunes played by the English DJ. After a few cocktails we didn't mind and ended up spending the rest of the night there, joining in on the dancefloor with the rest of the revellers. We also had a lot of fun people-watching the mixed crowd, guessing what everyone's stories were.
It was a short but very sweet stay in Sanur as the next afternoon we headed to the other side of the beach to get on a boat to Nusa Lembongan island. Sanur is a great spot to stop if you're looking for a nice beach, bustling with lots of restaurants and a few bars, yet somewhere not too overcrowded and hectic before you head to your next destination.
I can't wait to show you Nusa Lembongan island in my next post - it was definitely our highlight of the trip!