BALI TRAVEL DIARY
“Our canopy bed looked out onto the view of a sun lounge and infinity pool that hung over the cliff top. It was worth a million bucks. “
@brookestyless x @theasia.collective
Day 1 : PEPPERS SEMINYAK
- Prices start at approx. 468US$/night. BOOK NOW!
The Blue Bird cab just fit through the little tight streets filled with local shops on both sides. Peering out between traffic and the rush of tourists I knew we were in the heart of Seminyak. Jackson and I pointed out all the “instagram” cafés that would fill your news feed with lush food you would drool over from the comfort of your bed back home. Before I could look back onto the road we had already turned into PEPPERS, SEMINYAK driveway and my tummy knew how great this was going to be just walking distance to the must-do cafes. Greeted by smiles and a cold iced tea, my breath was taken at the beautiful lobby. Orchids hung from old driftwood trees that surrounded the pool that was filled with a waterfall. The beautiful sound of it filling echoed through to the restaurant facing it. Guests sat around enjoying a fresh breakfast that smelt of maple syrup and local fruits. I was so taken it with its beauty that I hadn’t realized Jackson had already had us checked in and bags packed onto a golf buggy to take us to our room. A quick drive up a hill we passed villas surrounded by scenic trimmed gardens. We stopped at number 25 and was greeted by a large metal door. The young balinese worker lead us inside as we followed him over a plant filled pond that lead into a magical villa.
I couldn’t believe that Jackson and I had such a space to ourselves. A small lap pool in the middle of surrounding rooms was shaded by frangipani trees that bloomed with flowers. It sat with a Bali hut, big enough to fit a small town in, had freshly rolled towels inviting me in for a swim. The butler opened up the wooden bi-fold doors into the living room that assembled with a dining room and full kitchen. He then led us to the other bedsrooms that surrounded the pool. Three I counted. He asked if we were expecting more guests to join, then to his shock I let him know it was just Jackson and I. We joked that we had a room for each night till we decided to take the furthest room from the entrance. We placed our bags into a natural lit room that lied a canopy king sized bed draped with white curtains. To our right led a hall way with dressing cupboards on both sides, to an outdoor bathroom. Black rocks and green palms lined a freestanding tub and bamboo shower. Hidden behind a well size mirror that would be a dream for any girl and her makeup stood another shower for those who feel like a little more privacy. After many thanks to our butler we were left to entertain ourselves with six showers, five sofas, 3 beds, two people and one pool.
Given into the humidity and the beauty of the pool a quick dip that led to a few hours kept us cool from the lunchtime sun. With no hesitation we then had to try our bamboo shower before walking into town to shop.
Only 100m away from the edge of Peppers driveway stood the god of Instagram cafes SEA CIRCUS. Its beautiful coloured walls captured our attention for a perfect Instagram post opportunity. We then followed the road down to the beach that had sand of the colour black and white umbrellas and chairs that could be rented from a local. The sun began to set and we made our way back to Peppers. We popped into their local “k – circle” or to us “7-11” to find some international goodies that we could try back at the villa. A total of $1.90 Australian got us a full bag of treats! When I popped them into the kitchen I stumbled across a box of complimentary brownies that looked absolutely mouth watering. Triple J, brownies, a bag of foreign sweets and the company of a loved one made a complete treasure to a magical setting of the villa in PEPPERS, SEMINYAK.
I’m a pretty early bird when it comes to waking up. I’m always up before Jackson and when I’m up, I’m up. When there is a 2-hour difference between Bali and Australia and my 6am wakeups became 4am. I can’t say I complained about this, everything was so silent. What’s not a holiday with out some down time and relaxation of sinking into the covers a little more and enjoying the light starting to peep through the frangipani trees. As the sun began to rise so did the heat and a morning dip in the pool was calling for me. By the time I got out Jackson was up and ready for breakfast at LANEWAY, which was located in the lobby at Peppers.
Fresh fruit of all colours, morning cooked bread and pastries, and strong coffees greeted us in the lobby’s restaurant. I knew from the day before encounter that I was dreaming of French toast with maple syrup. When our tummies couldn’t carry anymore we made our way back to the villa to laze around the pool with a floatie. The sun began to rise above us making it a little too hot for my pale Aussie skin to handle. I retreated to SPA AT PEPPERS with Jackson for an hour of pure relaxation. Another driftwood tree with handing orchids sat in the middle of the waiting room, the smell of lavender body oil roamed the area. The smell seemed to drift from a flight of stairs that lead to the massage rooms. The staircase of floating stairs was pressed against a wall made of mirror that illuminated the room with its magic. The ladies were so comforting and I was so comfortable that it was too easy to book in another session. We walked back out into the lobby and the smell of the Laneway’s lunch had our tummies rumbling again. Satay chicken skewers and spring rolls were just some of the many lush foods we could squeeze in before heading back to the pool for another swim. Before we knew it the sun was down and the comfort of the villa didn’t want us to leave again for the day. Room service and a Disney movie by the pool was how we ended our second night in Seminyak.
It was a super hot day, not even my urban decay all nighter setting spray could help me. We decided to adventure out onto the streets after another breakfast stop at Laneway. This time a little further, I’ve seen a lot of beach clubs on instagram and I was dying to check some out for myself. We finally came across POTATO HEAD and definitely understood what all the fuss was about. The top building was made of recycled windows that curved around the structure of it; it was a piece of art in itself. The pool looked out along the beach facing towards where the sun would set. Along the pool rested beach beds filled with people.
Pina Coladas in coconuts and urban music kept us busy for a whole day around the pool bar. We watched the sky turn pink and the sun get bigger as it set over the Indian Ocean. Up stairs was a small Indonesian restaurant that I was dying to try, and it was worth every cent. If you travel to bali and don’t try traditional food you are missing out on a taste bud experience. A ten minute walk back to Peppers followed by a night swim under the stars as we watched the storm clounds set over and cool off the humid day.
Day 4 : VILLA LUA
- Prices start at approx. 54US$ for a 1-bedroom. BOOK NOW!
It was our last morning in Peppers and we wanted to make the most of it. Early swims then a quick repack of our bags before we headed back to the lobby for breakfast. Fresh eggs were my pick of the day and it definitely wasn’t a disappointment. We quickly ate our fresh fruits and morning squeezed juices so we could fit in another swim before checking out. PEPPERS, SEMINYAK was magical, there was something about it that made you feel like an island fairy that could laze around the pool all day. I really didn’t want to leave but there was so much more to my holiday ahead of me.
We packed our bags tightly into another blue bird taxi and made our way to Canggu. The traffic was a little heavy but gave us the time to see the streets we didn’t already walk. Once we passed the outskirts of Seminyak rice paddy fields begun to fill in the gaps between the houses and shops. Our driver didn’t know the area to well, so it was a first for all of us to find the villa. We had to make a few stops to ask some locals if we were in the right direction. As we passed down the main street we begun to see popular shops placed between local markets. Canggu had seemed to be an old surfing town for the common local, now starting to become a new hot spot for tourists. Between two little cafes ran a narrow road down towards the rice fields where our villa sat. It had a big blue metal gate and gold letters that read VILLA LUA.
Little white stepping-stones lead into a small square dip pool with a crochet hammock and sun lounge. Facing the pool was a rustic outdoor kitchen with chairs made of tree stumps that reminded me of childhood fairytales. Three little rooms surrounded the area and we were lucky enough to have the moon room. Its bamboo made bed hung with white curtains sat in the middle of the room with a woven round rug. Fiddle leaf plants and wooden benches and chairs were place around the gypsy room. By the time we looked around it was almost sundown and we felt the need to explore the few surrounding streets.
Those who have already been to Bali know how crazy the traffic is, and we were not prepared to learn how to drive in busy Seminyak but Canggu seemed like the perfect place to start. Jackson was brave enough to hire a scooter and I was braver for getting on the back with him. We followed the main road towards the beach where we found the very popular Old Mans surf bar which I soon recognized from a few Instagram posts from some of my favorite accounts. We watched the sun set with a cold cola then headed back to VILLA LUA for the night.
Im waking up a little later, 4ams are turning it to a 6am start. The sun is already starting to rise by the time I’m out of bed. Today we were adventuring north to Ubud, to see a few must do sight sees. Our driver Kutut (yes we did the Rhonda and Kutut TV ad with him..) did a full day trip with us up to see the monkey forest, waterfalls and the elephants. It was about an hours drive from Canggu but it was worth it. After magical encounters with animals we headed back to our villa for the late afternoon. Jackson then dragged me back onto the scooter for a ride to find some cheap dinner. It was time I finally got to try to Nasi Goreng and we picked 2 up from a local restaurant for under $6 Australian dollars for both. We sat across from a farm field and watched baby calfs run between their mother’s feet during the sunset. Our dinner was cut short as the rain began to poor and we still had to ride the scooter home. A long five-minute drive left us dripping wet and home for the night as the lightning began to crack above us.
The sky cleared over night and left a humid day ahead of us. We didn’t have much planned but Jackson was ready to jump back on the bike as soon as we were up. We enjoyed the break of the hot sun as the cool breeze brushed past us while riding down the main strips to find new spots to see. Breakfast was calling and the smells from LITTLE FLINDERS café had us curious of their trendsetting menu. Coconut waters, acai bowls and fruit platters refreshed us for a full day in the sun. After another long ride past the rice fields we stumbled across FINNS BEACH BAR and we knew straight away that this a hit spot. We were there for the sunset and it had never been so beautiful anywhere else. A few cocktails and shared nachos kept us going around the pool bar before another ride home to bed.
Day 7 : THE UNGASAN
- Prices start at approx. 436US$ for a suite. BOOK NOW!
Like every other morning I’m up before Jackson and packing my bags for the next location. This is where Jackson and I differ, I like to be organised and ready before hand so I don’t stress myself anymore than I need. Jackson on the other hand leaves things to the last minute, I know, men. So I find myself picking up and putting together his things for him to put away. The morning is already starting to get hot and I hop into the plunge pool to cool off while I wait for Jackson to be ready.
After a bribe of shouting him a massage from the local store I finally get him up and ready for the day. After a deep tissue massage we stop again at Little Flinders to fill our tummies to head off to Uluwatu. Kutut had offered to help us to our next location and cranked up Justin Beiber on our journey down south. After a few laughs and traffic jams we passed Seminyak again and stopped for lunch at the beautiful Frestro bar. Jackson and I aren’t big on getting new things on the menu, we like to stay safe, but I’m so glad that the team at FRESTRO RESTAURANT convinced us to try some of their well-known dishes and they were beyond incredible. Flavors burst in my mouth that I’ve never experienced before and before we knew it we were three courses and four cocktails down. We dragged our Santa bellies out and into Kutut’s van to continue our travels to our next hotel.
When we pulled up, the cliff top cut into the Indian Ocean showing the beautiful horizon. Stairs wrapped around the lobby pool trailing down to the beach club. Our butler greeted us and thanked us for choosing THE UNGASAN cliff top resort and we were so amazed to be here. We took a quick buggy ride up to see our villa and every second longer I fell more in love. The butler opened up the wooden doors to a hall way followed with fishponds on both sides. Off to both sides were doors to other villas but we continued to follow him down the path. We passed a lounge room that looked onto an infinity pool that draped down onto greenery. We went through doors that opened onto a bar and dining space and he let us know our villa was past the public area. At the edge of the cliff top sat a villa that looked over the ocean and I couldn’t believe this was ours.
Our butler reminded us that he was here for any services, and then left us at our new retreat for Jackson and I to enjoy. I turned to see the look on Jackson’s face with absolute shock at how spoilt we were for being here and the way his face lit up said everything. Our canopy bed looked out onto the view of a sun lounge and infinity pool that hung over the cliff top. It was worth a million bucks. We sat looking over the cliff top holding each other, enjoying the best things in life as the sun turned the sky pink over beautiful Uluwatu.
I’ve definitely slept in today. 8am Bali time, that’s 10am at home. The sun was already hot so we decided to hang around the pool before heading into the lobby restaurant for breakfast. The pool is by far my favourite part of this place. It looks over the beach club below as people snorkel on the close reef. Waves set over one another in the near distance looking straight out towards the direction of home.
We walk past the different villas and down to the restaurant that looks over the cliff top. Fresh fruit and breads fill us before a load of mouth-watering waffles. The humidity starts to grow and we adventure down to SUNDAYS BEACH CLUB to check it out. It’s just as beautiful as it is from the view of our villa. The water is crystal blue and the sand is as white as the umbrella shades. Between the water and sun we stayed relaxed at Sundays Beach Club till their sundown bon fires and enjoyed dinner with the company of other guests.
It was our full last day in Bali and we wanted to take in as much sun before we headed back home the following afternoon. I don’t usually tan but something about the island sun and a little help of Bali Body had my pale skin turn a little brown, and I loved it. Sunbaking by our pool with room service and good tunes drifted away our day. Before sundown we headed our way back down to SUNDAYS BEACH CLUB to see the reef. The tides were perfect and it was so easy for us to go for an enjoyable snorkel just infront of the beach club. I wasn’t expecting to see the fish so big and Jackson and I adored diving down to meet the friendly fish for the rest of the afternoon. This part of Bali was honestly paradise. It was so beautiful in itself that you could happily stay for a week and enjoy it.
It finally comes to an end but the adventure definitely hasn’t stopped. The lovely staff at THE UNGASAN cliff top resort help to organise and quick trip of a lifetime. A 5am start before checking out, to do a half-day trip to see the rescued elephants. For those who don’t already know, aside from dogs, elephants are my all time favorite animals and what I had planned with them today was going to fill my dreams. An hour drive back up north we found ourselves at the Elephant Safari Rescue Park. We walked in to see elephants roaming around the park and I had butterflies racing around my body. Firstly we helped bathe the elephants for their morning bath, scrubbing them with brushes and hosing them off to prepare them for their day in the retreat. Then with the help of rescuers we bareback rode them into the wash pool where we swam with them. I have never experienced anything like it in my life. To know all these beautiful creatures were rescued and are now rebreeding to sustain their existence in Indonesia warmed my heart. After spending most of the morning admiring these babies is was time to head home. We picked up our bags from THE UNGASAN and said or last goodbye to the amazing staff that looked after us for the past few days before heading to the airport.
I fell in love with the culture and pureness of Bali. How beautifully it treats each individual. The way it opens your eyes to the world you have in front of you, and I’m hungry to see more.
This Bali Travel Diary was written by @brookestyless in collaboration with @theasia.collective