Disappointing Bali – time to plan our 3months in South East Asia

Change of plans in Bali

Afternoon visit to Ubud temple, Bali.
Afternoon visit to Ubud temple, Bali.

We are 5 days into our stay in Bali and our time here has not quite worked out as we thought, but I think it will serve us well in the end. We spent 2 days in Sanur at the Gazebo Beach Hotel.

1 of 2 pools at the Gazebo Beach Hotel, Sanur Bali
1 of 2 pools at the Gazebo Beach Hotel, Sanur Bali

The room and pool here were ok but quite expensive for what it was (£70 per night) and breakfast was  really poor. We had been looking forward to spending a few days on the beach here but in the end we did not go in the water as the beach and the water were both very dirty!

Time out in Ubud

To escape the intense tourism and hustle on the coast we changed plans and went inland to Ubud for 2 days then planned to head onto Gili Air, one of the small island a couple of hours off the coast. As we arrived in  Ubud, we found it just as crowded and full of overpriced tourist shops and restaurants as in Sanur.

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Semanggi cottage Ubud

We stayed in  lovely little guesthouse , Semanggi Cottage, just outside Ubud where we all enjoyed the peaceful surroundings and lack of tourism.

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Inside the Semanggi cottage

The best part was hanging out with the animals and people who lived here, especially Tico the puppy who Ingrid & Scott totally fell in love with.

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Ingrid and Tico
Tico the puppy
Tico the puppy

Fish for lunch in Jimbaran bay

Due to an unexpected high cost and a lot of hassle getting to our next planned stop Gili Air, we decided to cut our losses in the end and find a place by the beach on Bali for our last 5 days. We are now in Jimbaran Happy Villa, where the villas are ok but again the beach is dirty and not very inviting.

Breakfast at Jimbaran Happy villas
Breakfast at Jimbaran Happy villas

As we strolled down on the beach yesterday we found a dead dog in the middle of the beach….no need to say we did not feel like going in the water.

The day was saved when we found the fishing harbour and little fish BBQ hangout by the beach. At least we know we will eat well during our stay here.

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Picking out our lunch at the Jimbaran bay fish market
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Fresh seabass, hammerhead shark, prawns and squid – 2.5 kg for £6
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This place, next to the market charge £4 to cook and serve our fish with rice and vegetables – happy days

Good times in Bali

Don’t get me wrong there are lots of things in Bali we have enjoyed as well such as delicious, cheap food in the local little eateries, beautiful buildings and temples, cute and aggressive monkeys in the monkey forest, amazing flower displays and colourful gardens all surrounded by kind and helpful Balinese people.

Typical statue guarding a house in Bali
Typical statue guarding a house in Bali
Great little Taco bar with 8 seats in Sanur
Great little Taco bar with 8 seats in Sanur
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One of the cheeky monkeys we met in the Sacred Monkey forest in Ubud

Time to reflect and plan our time in South East Asia

Reflecting on my disappointment in Bali I realise that we are now at a stage in our travels where we really want to go beyond the obvious tourism and into a different sort of travel where we can have more genuine experiences.

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In China, we felt more like the exploring travellers we want to be and less like the usual high season weekly tourist we feel like in Bali. There were many Chinese tourists in most places in China as well but it still felt like an adventure for us as the tourism there was not set up especially for us. Perhaps our expectations were also too high after our time in the amazing Perhentian islands, Malaysia and the gorgeous clean beaches of Australia. If we were here to party and chill Im sure our experience would be very different….

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Ingrid updating her diary

Our last 5 days in Bali we will use to get on with schoolwork and to plan our time in South East Asia to find those little hidden gems that will take our breath away and stay with us for a long time. Im thinking a farm stay in Thailand, cruising up the Mekong river in Laos and a family home stay in Vietnam…As I said, the disappointment in Bali will serve us well in planning out our next stage of our trip better…

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