7 Days and 7 Things to Do in Bali – Exercise Hitlist Style

Earlier in the year my sisters and mother organised a girl’s trip to Bali.  As far as girl’s trips go, Bali has it all especially if you are on a tight budget.  We had seven nights in Bali (four nights in Seminyak and three nights in Ubud) and this is what we got up to.

  1. Shopping, Pampering, and Cocktails at Sunset.

First stop was Potato Head.  If you enter Seminyak into your search engines, chances are Potato Head will pop up as one of the top five attractions for this area.  My younger sister and I arrived half a day ahead of my Mum and older sister who had brought her 15 month old (ie not party animals) so we decided to hit Potato Head for cocktails at sunset to celebrate our first night in Bali! Even better was the fact that I lived on the west coast of Australia,on the same time zone as Bali, therefore in with half a chance of staying awake long enough to keep up with my little sister who was coming from the east coast which was three hours ahead.  Wahooo!

Potato Head

Although we did find it a little pretentious, the cocktails were worth every dollar (~$12AUD), the view fantastic, and the relaxed vibe a perfect start to our holiday.  We didn’t book in for dinner but were very lucky to sneak a table at Lilin and the food was delicious.  All in all, I would recommend that you organise a visit to Potato Head if you are in Seminyak.  Breeze restaurant was another fantastic place to enjoy sunset and cocktails.

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I have to admit that we spent a lot of our time in Seminyak indulging in shopping, massages, facials, and eating well.  As most people would agree, going on holiday often involves a manic period of organising before being able to enjoy the break, and we purposely kept our first few days largely unstructured.  We did book High Tea at Biku as it had come highly recommended and can be difficult to get in to.  I didn’t manage to snap any decent photos so you will just have to take my word for it that the spread for high tea was delicious and plentiful, the coffee was actually pretty good, and it had a great, if quirky atmosphere.  You can also sit for a Tarot Card session included in your high tea experience.

The shopping was pretty great, however that was coming from a person who lives in a little town with one grocery store so I was a little excited (ok I was in heaven) to have so much variety at my fingertips.  There was the main ‘eat’ street, leading off from Seminyak Square, that was scattered with clothing stores, restaurants, beauty and massage shops, and other merchandise.  I loved the shopping here especially as I didn’t have to barter. I’ll just put it out there….I hate bartering!!  If you do want to test your bartering skills I did enjoy the Flea Markets Oberoi that we stumbled across in Seminyak.  I would check out the stores first to get an idea on price, or alternatively work on accepting a deal at about a third of the stall holders first asking price.  I also enjoyed the shopping in Ubud, and due to extra time in Kuta because of flight delays, we also checked out Discovery Shopping Mall and Beachwalk Bali which were great but very similar to shops we had at home.

In terms of pampering, take your pick.  For the most part you can get a nice foot massage, manicure or pedicure, or back massage for $5-$10AUD.  While the cheaper treatments are nice, pay a little more and you will receive a deluxe service that would match any five star spas in Australia for a fraction of the Australian price.  My best find?  A facial at a little random spa at a boutique hotel in Kuta, J Boutique, for ~$18AUD.  My sister and I even tried the fish spa…it took a little getting used to.

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2.  Visit a Temple in Bali

Unfortunately we ran out of time to visit some of the more spectacular temples in Bali, however we did stop at the Taman Ayun Temple on the way to Ubud.  This temple had some amazing architecture and grounds, and we were lucky enough to attend while the locals were preparing for a ceremony which was really interesting to see.

King's Temple

3.  Check out Tegenungan Waterfall

After several days in Seminyak indulging in the finer things in life, it was really nice to get outside and explore.  We hired a driver for the day for ~$50AUD to pick us up from our hotel in Seminyak and take us to a few places on route to Ubud before dropping us at our hotel there.  The Tegenungan Waterfall was one of our stops and it was beautiful.

Waterfall

I laughed at the little cafe built right on the edge with no railings whatsoever.  The steep descent down to the waterfall and the return trip definitely blew the cobwebs off after sitting in the car for several hours in traffic.  It was a great little detour.  There was a small entry fee and you will have to pay for parking too (~$10AUD for all four of us, including parking).

4.  Climb an Active Volcano

Even though I had to wake at 2.30am on holiday, this was a really great experience and I would love to do it again minus the fog and half the people.  I have already written about climbing Mt Batur in an earlier post so click on the link and read all about it.

The view from the top of a volcano

The view from the top of a volcano

5.  Yoga in Ubud

This was one of the activities on my current hitlist as I like trying different classes in different countries.  I really enjoyed this one hour class at the Yoga Barn.

Yoga

My pictures were terrible and didn’t do the venue justice.  It was open decking all the way around with lovely gardens and water features.  The only downside were the mosquitoes!!  There were several spray bottles around the room for patrons to use to keep the local pests away which worked for the most part.  Great class.

6.  Make your own Silver Jewellery

This Jewellery workshop in Ubud was one of my favourite things that we did in Bali.  We debated whether or not to do it because it was 3 hours out of our precious schedule and at $45.00AUD it was one of the more expensive things that we would do in Bali.  It was worth every penny and the time flew.  We opted to go with Chez Monique Jewellery Classes, with the class located in the owner’s traditional housing complex.  It was a lovely atmosphere and great to see his family go about their day to day business while we were in the class.

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We were able to see first hand what was involved in making jewellery, from design choice, to cutting templates, to using different techniques on the silver to get the effect you are after.  I was even able to use some gems that my father had found in my earring design.

Jewellery Workshop

My Mum, younger sister and I all chose something different which was great because we all used different techniques and learnt so much.  My older sister went to the Monkey Forest instead as she didn’t think her toddler would sit for 3 hours.  We all had such a great afternoon and were happy with our finished products.  Such a great keepsake for our girl’s trip.

Finished product

7.  Visit the Rice Terraces in Tegallalang

On our final day in Bali we visited the Rice Terraces in Tegallalang.  It really is amazing and I would definitely recommend visiting these terraces while in Bali.  Make sure you have some small change on you because as you walk through the terraces you will come across several toll booths.  These toll booths charge a small donation to continue in order to help support the local farmers.

So there you have it, 7 Things to Do in Bali in 7 Days.  I’m already planning another trip, what else should be done while in Bali?

 

Climbing an Active Volcano in Bali

Once a year, my two sisters, Mum and I, try and catch up for a girls weekend away.  We try and scratch out the time and money so we can catch up, reconnect, and often have some much needed down time.  Our first trip was to celebrate my Mum’s 50th birthday and we went to Bangkok, Thailand.

 

Over the years, between having kids, moving, living life, we haven’t always managed an exclusive girls trip each year, but we have had memorable trips to the Gold Coast, Palm Cove, Emu Park, and New Zealand.  This year my mum is turning 60 and my little sister turns 30 so we decided it was time for another overseas trip.  Sale fares cropped up for Bali and we spontaneously decided to book the trip well in advance.  This gave me plenty of time to research what trails, hikes, or special attractions that I would like to attempt while staying in Bali.

As you can probably guess if you have been following my blog, I love a good mountain climb, so not surprisingly Mt Batur Sunrise Trek caught my attention.  Trip Advisor had some great reviews of this hike and as it was a 4 hour return trip it wouldn’t take up too much time.  Let’s be honest those wonderful foot massages, cocktails by the pool, not to mention the shopping were all vying for my attention as well!

I managed to convince my little sister to come with me and our trip started with a 2.30am pick up from our Villa just outside of Ubud.  Yes, 2.30 AM pick up, arrrgghh what was I thinking?  It took about 30 minutes driving to arrive at the meeting point in the Kintamani National Park complex where we had a small breakfast of banana crepe and tea or coffee.  We were quickly ushered back into the car for a further 20 minutes before arriving at the base of Mt Batur.  As it was August, it was peak tourism season and the day we hiked there was upwards of 450 people on the mountain.  At just over 1700m above sea level, Mt Batur is not a big mountain so this is a lot of people to have on it at one time.  I have to admit I am really not a fan of hiking with this many people.  There was a lot of waiting before we started and there was a bit of stop and starting during the trek as well.

Before I left Australia, I had been talking to another couple who had just returned from Bali and had completed the Mt Batur trek.  Their advice was to take a head light which left your hands free for the steep part of the track, take a warm jacket for the summit, and they also warned that there were no toilets along the way.  I don’t know about you, but after breakfast, coffee and an early start, my bladder was becoming very demanding.  It was still early in the piece and easy walking, but I was remembering that there were no toilets along the way and we still had 3 more hours of hiking plus waiting time on the top of the mountain.  I figured that I would not be able to enjoy the rest of the trek if I didn’t sneak off for a toilet break under the cover of darkness.  My tips for taking the sneaky, stealth pee: Don’t forget to turn your headlight off;  Try and find a spot that the moonlight won’t reflect off your white backside; And finally, just try to forget that there are 450+ people walking around you and that your face isn’t glowing red in mortification.

For the most part it was quite an easy hike, only the last 45 minutes or so was quite steep.  There are plenty of breaks and due the number of people hiking single file the pace is very steady, therefore achievable for most people with moderate fitness.  It was a lovely clear morning when we started out, it was dark but the stars and moon were bright and there was that lovely morning crispness to the air that I love.  Once we started moving it was a pretty cool sight to see all the twinkling spots of torchlight winding up the mountain.  Now the one thing I had been looking forward to since i woke up at a ridiculous time that morning was a spectacular sunrise.  We reached the top with a little time to spare and sat there shivering in our sweaty shirts, lucky we had a jacket, but I would recommend a dry shirt to change into.  As the sun started to rise, we started to catch glimpses of the view that we had climbed to see, all bathed in a beautiful deep red/orange sky and then tragedy struck in the form of heavy clouds rolling across the mountain……NOOOOOO! Get a load of our eagerly awaited sunrise view……

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Sunrise selfie.  Yep, not too impressed with our sunrise. Haha suckers!!

While the fog was this thick we were seriously doubting whether this trip was worth it.  But then the sun started to rise and the clouds started to clear…..

Looking down at the blackened land, cooled lava from an eruption in 1963 that destroyed a village, was a stark reminder that we had just climbed an active volcano!  In fact it is Bali’s most active volcano with mild eruptions every 10-15 years.  It did make me pause slightly when I did some research prior to the hike that the last eruption was in 2000 and Mt Ruang, in nearby Java, was on the boil.    Our boiled eggs for breakfast had been cooked in the steam from the volcano.  We were standing on a bloody volcano!  C’mon it was a little cool.

It was a pretty great experience and my sister and I were both happy that we did it.  We ended up descending a different path than we climbed.  It was a nice easy walk down, but I would have liked to see the path we had clambered up in the dark.  Oh well, it was not a bad view on the way down regardless.

While this trek is a very commercial enterprise and you could quite easily do it without a guide, I was happy to pay the fee as it creates a lot of employment for locals and I was hopeful that I was paying for their knowledge on the status of this active volcano I was climbing.  The views as we drove back to our accommodation were spectacular and all in all I was really happy with the whole experience and will cross this one off the hitlist!