And so the honeymoon blues begin. We’ve been home a couple of days and although I’m glad we’re back in the land of great healthcare and free-flowing tap water which isn’t going to give you a dodgy tum, I am missing the glorious island of Bali!
After a week in Ubud, we jumped into a taxi and headed across to the popular town of Kuta, frequented by many an Australian – we felt like we were in Australia with the amount of Aussies around and joked that we wouldn’t need to go there one day! We stayed at the Maharani Beach Hotel which was just across the street from the famous beach frequented by surfers due to the epic waves. It was okay, but not anywhere near the luxury of the Pertiwi Bisma 2 hotel we’d stayed at in Ubud. The WiFi was shockingly bad in the room which was a pain in the arse when I wanted to keep up with my blog and socials – but it was a bit of a blessing in disguise as it meant I wasn’t glued to my phone the whole time (although it would have come in handy on the final day when Aaron was really poorly and we couldn’t leave the room).
Wednesday & Thursday
It was a stark difference in culture to the more Balinese world of Ubud, Kuta has been Westernised a lot and was full of life – we didn’t realise before booking how it was such a huge party destination for a lot of Aussies. Our hotel was luckily not in the main hub of the chaos, so the rock bar across the street didn’t bother us too much when the live bands toned it down after 10.30pm – the main noise was from the traffic on the main road outside the front of the hotel where it’s normal for cars to beep their horns to alert others they were overtaking (although a lot of the time it wasn’t obvious why they were honking away). We spent the majority of our time on the beach where Aaron decided to take up a new hobby of surfing (all the gear, no idea lol) and we guzzled the delicious local beer, lemon flavoured Bintang (definitely give it a try if you’re anywhere in Indonesia!) whilst soaking up the sun.
One tip I definitely want to share is about where you exchange your money – on the first day in Kuta we decided to change up £200 and got conned out of about £50 because the guy wasn’t an authorised money changer (the equivalent to a Bureau de Change you find elsewhere – Indonesia says it as it is lol). He got Aaron to count out the money, then took it back and re-counted it, which seemed a bit odd, but managed to pocket around 1 million IDR that we didn’t notice until later on in the day when it was too late to go back and challenge him. If the exchange rate seems to good to be true, it probably is – so make sure to get a receipt!
If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen that we managed to meet up with one of my blogger friends Eunike (make sure to follow her on Instagram for some major travel envy @eu.tropicalist) who lives in Jakarta and regularly travels to Bali with her work. I was over the moon that we finally got to meet after chatting back and forth for the best part of a year – it’s not often that you meet someone online in real life so we were so excited when she strolled into the Kuta Beachwalk Shopping centre – suitcase in tow! We walked along Kuta beach the night she arrived (we were all knackered after – especially as Eunike had spent most of the day travelling bless her!) and sat down for a drink on some bean bags on the beach, Aaron and I had a beer whilst Eunike sipped on a huge coconut (she bloody loves them lol).
The following night, we headed over to a very Instagrammable restaurant in Seminyak called Sea Circus – Aaron and Eunike had the chicken tacos (she’d NEVER HAD TACOS BEFORE!) while I opted for a jerk chicken with broccoli and carrots – we all LOVED the food, so much so that I didn’t manage to catch any pictures! Eunike was as beautiful a person in real life as she is online and I’m so happy that we had the chance to meet, chat about everything from her love of coconuts to her only finding out about the UK after watching Harry Potter when she was younger! I can’t wait until she can travel to London so we can meet up again and I can show her some of the great places we have here!
Saturday & Sunday
Because a lot of the Indonesian islands are predominantly Muslim, towards the last few days of our trip Kuta was swarmed by holidaymakers coming to celebrate the end of Ramadan, which made the traffic ten times worse than it already was. We didn’t want to venture elsewhere as it would have taken an age to get anywhere, but we were quite happy to stay around the Kuta area and ended up walking around, exploring some of the best rated restaurants from TripAdvisor, hitting up the amazing shops in the Kuta Beachwalk shopping centre and the markets. I picked up a gorgeous burgundy coloured bag from Kate Spade shortly after the news of her death was announced – I’d never shopped there before and knew I needed to have a look after hearing about her devastating passing. It might sound silly, but I wanted to go in to appreciate the brand that she’d established and show my support. It just goes to show that no matter how your life may look to the outside world, mental health can affect everyone.
On the Saturday night, we took a quick stroll down the road to the Hard Rock Cafe and had some dinner – it was a nice meal, but nowhere near as delicious as the London one! I went to pick up a t-shirt but had forgotten my purse, so ended up going back to pick one up. Did you even go if you didn’t get a souvenir?!
The rest of the time we spent on the beach, Aaron took up a new love of surfing as mentioned earlier, so I laid there catching rays (running into the sea when I got too hot/needed a wee – there was no way I was subjecting myself to the unknown horrors of the communal toilets after the shocking scene I’d seen in the toilets at the airport) and reading, whilst Aaron taught himself to surf, before getting a lesson from one of the locals. He was actually pretty good in the end and absolutely loved it – I enjoyed watching him learn as it was a laugh when he would topple over, but great when he kept with it and managed to keep with the wave for a while.
For dinner on Sunday night, we popped into a local restaurant that served spaghetti bolegnaise (Aaron rightly said that mine was a lot nicer – he’s a great husband 😉) and had faster WiFi than we were used to, we didn’t stay too long and had a wonder around the department store trying to find a clear glass ashtray – Aaron picked up a cockroach with the one we had in the room and panicked when it touched him, so accidentally threw it out of the window. It was bloody hilarious and definitely one of the highlights of our trip for me 😂
On the Monday, we decided to head over to the water-park Waterbom Bali which was a brilliant day – Aaron loves going to the water-parks when we go away and is always running around like a loon, getting buzzed by the enormous slides and thrill factor of it all. I’m terrified of heights, so some of the slides were a no-go for me (no matter how much Aaron pleaded with me!) and I took a while to get myself up the masses of stairs around the park, to slide back down to the ground again (heights + fear of stairs = Gaby being a bit of a mess), but it was a great day which ended soon after we were playing water-volleyball with an Aussie family. The pool was a bit too deep for little old me and I spent most of the time dunked under the water, trying to bat the ball back over the net, but it made it all the more funnier and such fun.
Dinner was pretty shit (I left the Kafe Betawi in the Beachwalk shopping centre a shitty review on TripAdvisor) and everywhere was mobbed, so we had an early night and headed back to the room.
Tuesday was a pure beach day – we laid out in it for most of the day, getting conned into buying things from the locals on the beach and enjoying the glorious weather. Aaron decided he wanted one of the bamboo weaved hats to take home and wear into work for a laugh, so I was giggling away as he laid there donning his new, outrageous hat. We had a chat with a couple of the ladies (Martini who we’d been buying our drinks from and Mama Sue that managed to con us out of a fiver for some beaded and leather woven bracelets – Mama Sue had already cornered me a couple of days before telling me I was a sexy lady and “don’t worry, be SEXY!” as she wrapped my ankles in beads and asked for 200,000 IDR which is about £11!)
Hoping to have a better experience with dinner, Aaron really fancied a burrito so I went onto TripAdvisor and found the Havana Club which was just a short walk down the quieter street we were staying on. It’s safe to say that our faith in the food had been restored after a delicious meal, great entertainment and a obligatory frozen strawberry daquari.
Wednesday & Thursday
Unfortunately, Aaron started to feel really poorly on the Tuesday evening, so we spent our final full day holed up in the hotel room binge-watching Fresh Meat (with a lot of stop and starts due to the shitty WiFi) on Netflix – he’d managed to pick up some kind of virus and was burning up, had a really sore throat, no appetite and was just completely drained. It was a shame as we both really wanted to spend the last full day catching some more sun, but his health is more important – he said he could sit in the shade whilst I sat in the sun, but I knew there was no way I could make him sit outside in the heat when he was feeling as shit as he was.
On our last day, we paid for a late check out and stayed in the room until 2pm before heading downstairs to check out and eat a late lunch before we were picked up and taken to the airport. I made Aaron eat some plain rice and a few chips as he hadn’t been eating anything and I knew he needed to have something inside of him to get him through the long flight home.
Other than Aaron getting poorly, we had an amazing time and would definitely recommend a trip to Kuta if you like a bit of buzz!