fbpx

Bali has a mixed reputation among travellers, probably due to the many mainly negative media stories that come out of the area. While it was never on Belinda Glindemann’s travel wish list, she was delighted to discover a gem.

 

I’m going to admit straight up that Bali has never been on my travel bucket list. For years, I’d associated the tourist hotspot with drunken hooligan travellers, drink spikings, drug taking and terrorism. But it was a chance opportunity recently, on the back of rave reviews by a growing number of our well-travelled friends, that saw hubby and I on a spontaneous kid-free Indonesian adventure.

 

Now there are a few key words in that last sentence. When is “adventure” ever a bad thing in the mundane routine of life? And being “spontaneous” is always exciting. Oh, and “kid-free”, well, nuff said. Parenting can be a tiring 24-7 job and when you juggle that commitment with running a business, some level of employment, extended family and friends, renovating and/or whatever else life holds for you, it’s usually your relationship with your partner that can fall off the radar. We are lucky to have the most amazing support network around us so when I floated the idea of a much-needed kid-free break it was met with positivity and enthusiasm. Phew. Hubby and I were on our way…

 

IMG_0029Our Balinese home base for the break was a villa in Seminyak. Not only did the villa option offer us space to stretch out in a beautiful private tropical garden setting, but our own private pool (that stretched the length of our villa) screamed relaxation from all vantage points – even when we weren’t actually floating around in it to cool off from the tropical heat. Seminyak, as the research and recommendations proved, was the perfect back drop for a kid-free getaway. Hip, vibrant restaurants and happening nightlife collided with relaxing and tranquil daytime beachside surrounds. Zen sanctuaries of Indonesian culture collided with crazy busy streets filled with crazy busy scooter drivers, who have little regard for traffic etiquette and were inclined to use pedestrian footpaths when the bitumen got too congested #youvebeenwarned. And everything was so cheap. We ate ourselves crazy. Roughly $20AUD covered a more-food-than-two-people-could-eat lunch. It was hard to finish a $40AUD dinner for two most nights. Cocktails were just a few dollars and massages were the equivalent to about $6AUD/hour. Yes, SIX DOLLARS! So, making our most concerted effort to support the local Seminyak economy (as you do), we managed to squeeze in at least one hour-long massage every day. I worked out that, collectively, for the two of us, the cost of our daily full body massage ritual for the entire kid-free break was less than what I’d pay for one facial here in Australia! Relaxation, much?

 

Hubby will tell you that I’m always bang up for a chinwag with the locals wherever we travel in the world. People stories are my thing – especially when experiencing different cultures. There is so much greater learning to be had by simply taking the time to listen. In Bali, you can easily get around on foot, via one of the myriad local taxis or, for those who are wanting to tour a little bit, a personal driver is your best bet.

 

IMG_8157_havenWe were lucky to meet a driver named Ketut Udi (yes! I met a real-life Ketut in Bali) and wow, did I talk that man’s ear off. In the two days we spent with Udi, we saw some truly picturesque sights and were treated to some great ‘insider’ tips on where to find cheap and delicious food and where to buy silver jewellery direct from the silversmiths, for example. But it was during our car rides, the chats with Udi about Balinese life and culture were what have remained with me. The people of Bali are so happy and so humble. Udi, for example, survives on an income of roughly $10AUD per day – to drive tourists around for 12 hours. And he was diligently saving for his upcoming wedding with plans to also build a family home one day. He took us through local villages where women were blissfully washing the family’s clothing in the roadside streams while their kids played happily with their basic toys alongside. Not an iPad, smartphone or gaming device to be seen. Udi took us to beaches where we drank Bintangs while getting our feet massaged for a few dollars by the most joyful old women (with the most knarled knuckles and masculine hands I’d ever seen on a female!). They were all simple quiet people, living simple quiet lives with not much more than their happiness to keep them going. I took home a load of lessons from these beautiful and truly thankful people, and it made me cast a critical eye over our own hustle-bustle lifestyle, living-large in Australia with our house full of ‘things’.

 

I think the greatest testimony for any holiday is whether or not you’d go back and do it all again. For Bali, I’d have to say that, yes, we will return one day. Ironically, while we took away so much from our kid-free break, I’m actually keen to take the kids with us next time to give them the opportunity to explore and experience this eye-opening place and its humble people and their simple happy lives.

 

HOT TIPS FOR YOUR BALI BREAK…

  • A Balinese day always ends by the beach. Sunset is sacred – especially for tourists. Beachside bars are the place to be and Ku De Ta was our fave chilled out afternoon-cum-dinner setting.
  • Don’t miss the opportunity to have a lychee martini at Hog Wild in Seminyak but beware the dancing hostesses who will want you up and dancing too!
  • A sunset seafood feast is a MUST-DO at Jimbaran Bay. Think masses of restaurant furniture set up along a huge stretch of beach, candlelit dining, sand between your toes under your table and more fresh seafood than you can eat. Magical memories.
  • Travellers to Bali simply must tick Potato Head Beach Club off their list. Even just for the Instagram content. Uber cool setting.
  • For cheap and cheerful eating spots around Seminyak try Biku and Bonita Bali.
  • Beware the un-signed, somewhat dodgy cash exchange offices among the ‘proper’ ones. Fast-handed merchants prey on tourists. YouTube it. We were almost caught.
  • Make sure you delve into the culture of Bali – take in a batik or weaving demonstration, and seek out the working silversmiths.
  • For the adventurers, you can ride elephants, take quad bike tours through stunning countryside, parasail – the list is endless.

 

Belinda Glindemann

Belinda Glindemann  

Belinda knew she was destined for a career in communications and publishing from the age of 11 when her Year 6 teacher introduced her to poster projects and glitter pens. She completed her journalism cadetship in the Whitsundays and went on to hold various newspaper and magazine editor roles across Brisbane in a media career spanning more than a decade. When Belinda's not writing for haven, she runs her own PR agency, kid-wrangles two young daughters and drinks way too much sweet tea.