I’m quite aware that my experience of Bali is quite the contrary to most people’s and it is a rarity to find someone that doesn’t like Bali.
But I am one of those people that does not like it.. at all.
I wanted to share this post, because I think it’s important to share negative travel experiences, as much as positive ones and to ensure that my blog is considered real and truthful.
Although I am in love with travelling, with backpacking and with my life in general at the moment, Bali was a rough experience for me and I am very thankful that I was surrounded by the incredible friends I made, and having the parents that I do.
Undoubtedly, the best part of Bali was meeting the people I met and if you guys are reading this, I love ya! Thank you for keeping me sane!
We landed in Bali around 1am, after our late night flight from Singapore. Because it was so late, we decided to treat ourselves to a little luxury and checked into the Pavilion Hotel, in Kuta for 2 nights. The hotel itself was gorgeous, with fabulous rooms, a gorgeous pool and only £15 a night!
Most people I’ve spoken to agree that Kuta is their least favourite part of Bali, and most people would describe it as the Magaluf of South East Asia. It is very party/nightlife orientated and the main strip comes alive until the early hours of the morning.
Our first day in Bali we spent lounging at the hotel, having the most incredible smoothie bowls in Legian Café, and then watching the sunset on Kuta Beach. For the record, it was a really, really gorgeous sunset.
Our waiter in Legians had mentioned Sky Garden to us, which is the go-to club in Kuta – and we fancied a night out! So glad rags on, we took to the strip..
If you have ever been to Zante/Malia/Ibiza/Magaluf.. The main strip of Kuta is exactly the same. There are promoters everywhere, flashing neon lights, dancers trying to get your attention, and it’s all a bit chaotic. Sky Garden’s cocktails were also £10.. and if I don’t pay £10 for cocktails at home, I was certainly not going to in Bali..
But there are some really wicked clubs though in Kuta, and we spent the night hopping from place to place and ending up in Paddy’s, which is massive!
We left around 4am in a big group and made our way back home. Something I wish I was told before going to Bali, is to watch out for moped bag snatchers, because that’s exactly what happened. 5 mopeds drove past us, one attempting to snatch Sham’s side bag, and one of them successfully snatching mine – phone gone, bruised neck and confidence shattered.
Unfortunately, this is really common in Bali and we met a lot of backpackers that relayed similar stories. I am really relieved it wasn’t my passport, driving license or credit card in my bag that night, like some unfortunate people.
We got out of Kuta pretty sharpish the next day, heading to Seminyak and to one of my favourite hostels. I would highly recommend Capsule Hostel New Seminyak – cool beds, an awesome set up and the place we met friends that I know will be lifelong.
Another massive disappointment for me in Bali was the weather. I imagined gorgeous heat and sunshine every day.. but the reality was grey skies and constant heavy downpour, which prevented us from doing a lot of what I wanted to. Climbing Mt Batur is still on my bucket list, but we were never able to due to it being too wet. Likewise, the infamous Gili islands were off limits as they’d flooded..
One of the highlights of Bali and an absolute must visit was Potato Head Beach Club – Sham and I had the most unbelievable evening chilling beside the pool, having a swim, and drinking gorgeous cocktails! It’s a hotel as well, and I would L O V E to stay there one day!
In Seminyak, we booked a trip to the Uluwatu Temple and Dreamland beach, both of which I’d wanted to visit! The Uluwatu Temple is undeniably gorgeous – we didn’t manage to see the sunset, but we did see the hundreds of monkeys that line the walls of the temple and narrowly avoided having our sunglasses and cameras stolen! (Watch out because they really do steal everything from phones, to glasses and you will quite literally never see them again!)
Dreamland beach unfortunately did not live up to its name in any way. It could’ve been the weather, the time of year, or maybe we were just unlucky, but I’ve never seen a dirtier beach before and I was lucky not to step on the old bit of wood that washed up with rusty nails stuck out of it.. Bit of a shocker!
Our second night in Seminyak was spent getting drunk at the hostel, ripping Mike’s odd Canadian accent, meeting someone (hey Chris!) with a mutual friend to me for the first time, and ultimately heading out to La Favella, the biggest nightclub in the area. The rain was so bad, the puddles reached your ankles..
Pretty soon after we headed to Ubud, which is known as one of the prettier places in Bali, and whilst the weather was no better, we still had a cracking time. Sham, Tash, Luke, Mike and I booked a taxi and a hostel on a whim, and headed there together for 5 days of sh*thead, healthy cafés, more rain and a LOT of laughing. We stayed at In Da Lodge hostel and despite still having a hatred for Bali, I grew closer to this gorgeous group, plus Margo, Justin and An, than I knew was possible in a matter of days. You guys are the best!
If someone asked me to describe Bali, I’d say it’s overpriced, dirty, slightly dangerous and not at all like the paradise you’d expect. Unless you’re paying £200+ per night at one of the best resorts..
Bali was very much an emotional rollercoaster, I spent almost every day crying and by the time we came to leave, it was safe to say we’d all had a bit of a breakdown. But I wouldn’t change my experience for the world and after even more tears, laughter, phone calls home, our little gang hopped on a plane to Australia together.
And my god did we have a bloody blast in Perth, Western Australia.
I have every very intention of returning to Bali eventually, but I think I’d prefer to invest a bit more in a really fancy hotel and a taste of proper paradise. If you’ve ever been to Bali and have great recommendations – I would love to know!
..And if you’re heading to Jakarta, I can put you in touch with my friend, Mike Blanchard, who really raves about it.. 😉