Thinking of Getting a Motorbike/Scooter in Bali: Read this before you do

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Bali certainly doesn't have the heightened chaos of Ha Noi, but it can still fairly intimidating if you've never been on a scooter before. Even if you have, it's best you acquaint yourself with a couple of do's and don'ts before you saddle up. 

Scooters are a great way to get around the island and in particular, short journeys around each location you're visiting, like Canggu. You can of course use Taxi's and they have GoJek app for rides, similar to Uber. Which is cheap. Although I've heard it can take a long time to get one booked.

You'll find most cafes, bars, gyms and restaurants all have decent WiFi so you shouldn't have any trouble getting online. 

Prices for scooter rental in Bali will range from 40,000-70,000 IDR per day. (2- 5 GBP). If you're looking to rent a single scooter for a longer period you can often negotiate a better rate. 

SAFETY TIP

Always wear a helmet and never accept a poor conditioned one. It has to be immaculately presented and well fitted. If they do not have one, do not hire the bike. Move on to find a better place.

DO's 

  • When over taking you must use your horn. Otherwise you run the risk of over riders veering into you. 

  • Keep a look out for wildlife. You'll share the road with more dogs, cows and wildfowl than you thought possible. 

  • Take your driver’s licence with you. You can get a temporary Balinese driving license (tourist driver's license) from the police station in Denpasar within a day (although this is not technically required to hire a scooter). Check with your hotel or ask any of the locals, they will know how you can get there. The cost is usually 22-23 GBP. Bring I.D and your sober face. 

If you have had no experience with riding, you can take a 2 hour training course. (Drop me a comment in the box below if you need any help). Alternatively you can always get your friend or someone from your group to assist you.

GOING FAST

Going fast (although don't) is easy. It's the going slow that is hard and that’s when most accidents happen. So train doing tight corners slowly in a car park until you feel ready to hit the road. 

The main traffic flow is rarely faster than 40km/h. However, 40km/h on a scooter is a different beast to doing 40km/h in the safety of your Ford Fiesta. The main roads are fun and you can (and should) get up to speeds around 60-70km/h. 

You'll find there is a cacophony of horns on the streets. Don't mistake this for London traffic sounds. These horns are to let people know of your presence. If you get beeped it's not out of aggression. 

LASTLY

If you're thinking of upping your fitness levels you can always hire a push bike. The heat is quite something out here so this might not be for you. It's always an option and many people cycle around in Bali due to lack of training/confidence on a motorbike. 

 

Top Places for Brunch in Canggu, Bali

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Back in Bali people. That will be for sure, the name of my next coffee table book. It's my predictive text response for where people ask where I am currently. Admittedly it's been quite the tour. Hopefully my travel tips and Vlogs have been of use for anyone looking to travel to Sydney, Bali, Philippines, Singapore etc. 

Today I'm going to extend my travel advice in Bali, and give you all the best top places for brunch in Canggu. 

CRATE 

It's true what they say about Crate in Canggu, they really do have the fastest internet in town. An amenity not to be underestimated for a travelling blogger looking to upload his vlogs and insta stories. 

You'll look to pay 200k for 2 meals and 2 smoothies. (Just over 10 GBP which is more than digestible, pun intended).  

Great for INSTA photos, everything is presented like it was designed for a fitness magazine supplement. Extra bonus points for free refills (not sure if that was just for me) and for brewing your own brand of coffee. 

MOTION

The most amazing smoothie you'll find in all of Bali can be sourced at Motion cafe. Go for the Banana Gluten free smoothie and pancake and thank me later.

The food is fresh, full of flavour, healthy and always filling! Places for parking the scooter are available. Might sound obvious but not all cafes in Bali offer this. 

ORGANIC CAFE

The air conditioning inside is a God send. Especially for those just coming from a training session. (You may have seen me in boot camp a couple of times on my INSTA stories. I feel like I'm training to take on Drago out here). 

The prices are very reasonable and the location is just a stone's throw away from Batu Belig Beach.

NUDE

Seriously recommend the smashed avocado on toast and ricotta corn fritters. It's great for people watching as you can sit outside and watch the world and his dog go by. 

Healthy and delicious and I found NUDE had the best service of all the cafes in Canggu. Remember to smile people, it doesn't take much. 

OKA'S BAKERY 

I found Oka's Bakery to be the best place for value for money. Generally eating in Canggu is relatively cheap. But if you're traveling on a real budget then this place is the best. Great espresso machine coffee, big portions of food and very delicious sweets like the snow balls. 

Recommend the breakfast wrap. 

LOFT

Some of the best Vegan options in Canngu. Not exclusively Vegan however. I recommend the beetroot hummus, the best I had in Bali. 

It's a very popular spot and good for socialising if you're looking to share stories with fellow surfers, travellers etc. 

 

 

Bali Destination Guide: Seminyak - Gili Islands - Canngu - Ubud - Uluwatu

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Today I'm going to give you a brief destination guide and things to do in Bali. On my trip so far I've managed to cover Seminyak, Gili Islands, Canngu, Ubud and Uluwatu.

My thoughts on SEMINYAK

This is the most touristy part of Bali. I flew into the Ngurah Rai International Airport, also known as Denpasar Airport, which is roughly 10k outside of Seminyak.

If you're wondering where to stay in Bali, I spent a couple of nights in the Legian which you can read about on my blog here.

There are plenty of options, mainly a lot of swanky beach clubs on the beach front and they have been done up nice. Clearly there's been a lot of money invested here in Seminyak over the past decade.

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My only reservations about Seminyak is that it feels very disjointed. It's too hot to walk anywhere and the place is very dispersed with bars and beaches sprawled out. Taxi's to and from is the only way to fly in this place. Like most touristy places I find it lacks a certain character, or soul. 

That said, if you like your creature comforts then find the right spot and drop anchor. Albeit in a hotel or bar along the beach. The beaches are long, white and the waves look like something you'd see from the final act of Point Break.

Next stop I ventured 20 minutes up the coast to Canngu. 

What's it like in Canngu?

The vibe is better in Canngu. My kind of place really. You know when you're feeling right at home when you start searching for prices of local real estate. 

I had the privilege of staying in one of the most amazing hostels. It was owned by a Turkish gentleman, a very kind and gentle soul. There were beers in the fridge and you paid it like an honesty box. 

Even on check in I asked does he want me to pay now? He insisted I pay when I was ready and already a bond was formed. I had a private room which cost me no more than £10-£15 a night. 

The hostel was populated by an assortment of wildlife. Cats, dogs, goats and what not. All seemingly sunning themselves on barker loungers like they owned the place. 

As a bonus I found a great barber nearby a decent cross-fit gym and a tattoo parlour. 

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By means of getting around you'll need a moped. Remember to go slow around corners. Ideally you need to be getting used to a moped before you head out here. It's actually easier to go fast than it is to go slow. Going fast on the straights no problem. Slowly negotiating bends in the rain takes more due diligence

Canngu is filled with creative people, artisans. They have the right kind of crowds in this place. And there's more to Canngu than just the beach bars. The food is great, it's very wellness-focused. You'll find plant food restaurants, smoothie bars etc. Also the bars sell all kind of milk for those that are lactose intolerant. 

From there I ventured down to Uluwatu

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I had a press discount stay at the Six Senses in Uluwatu. An incredibly picturesque and romantic cliff face resort. I have written all about my stay in the resort here

Uluwatu is really a surfers paradise. It's quiet not much to do. It's littered with taxis. Like Seminyak its equally dispersed, but less intense. Lets move on to Ubud. 

The jungle with 1000 temples

You heard me. Ubud can only be described as the jungle with 1000 temples. It is one of the most beautiful, serene and quaint places you'll ever visit.

You'll have an orgy of wellness hotels to choose from. You may have heard of this place through the yoga retreats that are rife here. 

Ubud really is one of the best places to visit in Bali. 

The Gili Islands 

Lastly I just want to touch on the Gili Islands. Made up of three islands, Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. If you want to know where the best place to stay on Gili T is then check out my review of Gilifit hostel on the blog

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In Gili Trawangan the nightlife isn't the best for my money. Still there is plenty of fun to be had, fellow travellers converge and it's a chilled atmosphere. One of the most enjoyable must do things in Gili is the snorkeling. You can scuba dive, hang around and do some work if you have to in the sunset bars. Once you're in the sea you're never more than 10 metres away from a turtle. one even photobombed my photo. 

For cafes check out the Banyan cafe, they do the best smoothies and breakfast bowls in Gili T. To get around you'll have to cycle as there are no cars on the island. 

 

The Six Senses Uluwatu Hotel Review – The Most romantic Hotel in Bali?

The Six Senses Uluwatu, Bali is the sort of cliff face resort that you'd expect to see in an Iron Man film. Tony Stark would probably have this as a holiday home.

This review of the Six Senses Uluwata will possibly be the easiest one yet. As many of you might already find on Trip Advisor, it's hard to find a fault with this luxury hotel.

It's located in Pecatu, in the southernmost tip of Bali. It's a popular hotel for wedding and honeymoon destinations as it's incredibly romantic and quiet.

My Brother and I checked in at the top of the hill. The rest of the resort is peppered throughout the cliff face, populated further with villas, private and communal swimming pools the further you venture down.

The room was designed with luxury and convenience in mind. UK plug sockets and USB sockets dotted everywhere. There was an outdoor shower and the pressure was sensational.

Inside you have a lot of advanced luxury technology. For example the toilet seat lifts up before you even get a chance to think on whether it's a number 1 or number 2.

But the main USP of the room is the infinity pool that's on the terrace. It overlooks the resort and ocean and the vistas of the ocean are staggering. The colours of the sky changes every other minute.

I did notice there was no milk in the room for coffee. But that's me being quite pedantic. Plus, Six Senses Uluwatu is heavily themed around wellness and planet protectionism.

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The breakfast bread had no gluten, they bottle their own water and we had the option of hand picking our vegetables from the resorts organic garden for our morning juice.

There are two restaurants in the property. We gorged on Japanese food one night, grilled prawn lobster and squid. The second night we had the BBQ. The prices are often something that gets flagged for luxury stays like this.

However, I thought for the money (£50 per BBQ) we got great value. We had some amazing food from the restaurant that was sourced locally and tasted phenomenal.

You're also paying for the views. You're paying for the exceptional service. You need to think of this as more than just food. It's a package deal that quite frankly, I won't find anywhere back home.

TIP for the Six Senses Uluwatu

Don't forget to experience their Kundalini massage at Six Senses spa. I had an hour massage and took full advantage of the gym whilst there. Again, some of the equipment and technology they have in this gym I've not even seen back home.

Treat yourself to an amazing experience, you'll not regret it. If you're planning an Asia trip that involves Singapore, be sure to check out my review on the Six Senses Maxwell on my blog.

The Legian Seminyak Bali Hotel Review – Paradise, I’m Home!

Today I'm going to rhapsodise about the incredible Legian Seminyak Bali Hotel. I read some rave reviews about this place before heading out there and I'm here to tell you, they're all true. 

The Legian Bali is a beachfront property facing the Indian Ocean, if you're booking ahead I can recommend asking for my room 132 for some of the most amazing views from the balcony. 

The luxurious accommodation set in landscaped tropical gardens can be found along Seminyak Beach. 

The hotel is heavily centred around wellness which is a growing trend in exotic resorts. My brother has joined me on this tour and we both enjoyed some morning Yoga sessions on the green outside, followed a spin in the cycling studio. 

Top TIP for The Legian Bali

I signed up for the Hommage Package which entitles you to a free facial. The facial was incredibly soothing and my skin was treated to a treatment that used a combination of plant extracts and essential oils. My face was cleansed, exfoliated and massaged leaving it looking bright and feeling rejuvenated. 

After a workout we enjoyed a relaxing couple of hours in the spa, sauna, steam room and the plunge pool which got us down to minus 20. That was followed by a quick swim in the  three-tiered outdoor pool. I know it sounds like I've stole some poor kids ticket from the Make a Wish Foundation. 

The dinner was michelin star-esq! Tuna tartar slices, scallops, marinated chicken finished with wasabi ice cream. 

Location 

As I mentioned you couldn't be any closer to the beach. The Legian Bali is under ten miles away from Ngurah Rai International Airport and airport transfer is available at an additional charge.

You're within walking distance to the local clubs Ku De Ta and Potatohead which keep their lights on until 2am. It's close to Seminyak village and lots of cafes and shopping.

The Seminyak Square Shopping Mall is 450 yards from the accommodation, while Petitenget Temple is 450 yards from the property.

The rooms 

I got my own desk to write this blog, currently listening to the sounds of waves crashing on the beach. I could listen to that all day. The rooms are spaces, the suites are beautifully decorated with natural fibre furniture and flooring against white walls minimally accented by original artwork. 

The open air lobby is gorgeously decorated in rich dark wood and an array of local art. Check-in was efficient and comfortable. You will never encounter a face that isn't smiling.

Conclusion 

I can't fault any part of this hotel. Every member of staff had a smile on their face. Every pillow was fluffed, every single facet in this hotel was a joy to experience. Many thanks to all the staff at The Legian Seminyak Bali Hotel for making this a stay to remember. 

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Is This the Most Instagrammable Hotel in Bali? The Udaya Resort & Spa

If ever there was a hotel designed purely for that perfect Instagram photo, the Udaya Resort and Spa in Ubud is it. This was my final destination on my trip through Indonesia. Without your realising you may have already seen photos of this hotel in your feed or in a distant utopian dream. 

Women will love this place because it looks like something from a Disney film. Guys you'll love it too because your woman will be telling all her mates about this place and it was all your idea! The only downside is she'll be asking you to take her picture every five seconds. Either in a bathtub full of rose petals or of her eating breakfast in the pool on a tray made from floating bamboo. 

Do I get my own pool? 

Only if you book your own private villa and that is naturally, more expensive. Outside of that you will get a perfectly awesome pool that is communal but relaxing enough. 

What's in the Cultural Package? 

Admittedly I booked this package by mistake. However, a lucky accident as it came with a double bed suite, an elongated balcony, more plug sockets than a Bond Villains lair, the shower pressure reminds me that London sucks in general, 2 x spa treatments, a free lunch and dinner and a full one day tour of Bali. Anywhere you want to go! 

How much did it cost? 

£225 all in. A day! But you do get breakfast included (banana pancakes!) and afternoon tea around 2-5pm. There is evening entertainment with dancers and BBQ's. I also splashed out on 2 x 60 minute Balinese massages, but you need to book ahead for those. 

Summary

This is more of a lovers retreat than a backpackers destination. Sadly I was alone at this point of my travels, point so I had to indulge in a candlelight rooftop dinner for one. Naturally the service is something you'd expect from a luxury resort; impeccable. The complimentary yoga sessions were the perfect way to start your day.

 

GiliFit Hostel Review: where Rocky would stay on Gili Trawangan

I heard a lot of mixed reviews about GiliFit in the lead up to my stay. GiliFit is not your 5 star Shangri-La so anyone heading to the only gym on the island of Trawangan, should first manage their expectations. That said, if your expectations on an exotic island of idyllic retreat is to find a place with helpful staff, the basic amenities and a place of character then this is certainly a decent fit. 

Gili Trawangan is the biggest of the Gili islands which can be found nested quaintly off the off the north-western shore of Bali’s neighbour, Lombok. Tourists flock to the Gili islands mainly for the diving of which there are centres on all three islands Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. 

Gili Trawangan is modest, you can walk the 7km shoreline in a matter of hours. One side of the island is more rambunctious, club-heavy, the other more tranquil and less trodden. 

GiliFit is the only gym on the island, or so I thought. There is a new gym that's opened within the busy-quarter. However, as with most modern shiny new things, it lacks the character of its counterparts. 

This gym very much feels like where Rocky would chop some wood and grow a beard, the other is more Drago-driven. 

There’s a cardio studio then the weights studio and also some free-weights outside to use. Sure there may be a little rust on the bars, but it’s part of the charm. I recommend hiring a push bike and doing a lap around the island. 

For just under £20 a night you'll be given all the basic amenities; hot water, a pool, air-conditioning, a bed, and even a tele with English speaking channels. You'll also have access to a personal trainer. Myself and my travel buddy This is Timothy enjoyed a brutal MMA workout with personal trainer Ri. 

Ri was is of Ugandan/South African descent and contorted me into shapes like he was playing a cootie catcher. (That's a deep pull for you kids). On hand are all the necessary supplements to keep you on the healthy train; protein shakes, juices, nutrition bars etc. 

Summary

Yes you'll find plenty of excoriating reviews online of GiliFit, some comparing it to a builders site etc. Some of these are old reviews. I have not received sponsorship nor any special treatment in exchange for this editorial. I was just taken in by the staff, to quote Russell Brand 'the heat of their sweetness could melt ice cones'. 

My advice is embrace the true 'Castway' vibe of this island. Forget about your hair-curlers or having the butler on call to point your toilet paper.

GiliFit is only like 5 minute walk from the main strip on the Eastern side of the island and a 15 minute walk from all the bars and nightclubs. 

The Marriott Courtyard Resort in Seminyak, Bali | Hotel Review

It's time for me to tell you all about Marriott Courtyard Hotel in Seminyak Resort. One of the most amazing places I stayed in whilst traveling around Bali. Normally when I go backpacking I like to source the best deals by spending an hour two door having a walk around the neighbourhood. 

However, on the first night there is nothing like having the added security of getting your head down after a long haul flight and feeling settled. 

Although my stay in the Marriott Courtyard was fleeting, it was nonetheless memorable. To paint the picture for those that have never experienced a trip to Bali, imagine 1000 temples in a middle of a jungle, mixed with boutique hotels, arts and craft stores and some of the best cuisine you're likely to taste. 

Seminyak is probably one of the more touristy areas in Bali, not as hip or upcoming as Canggu. Yet finding a retreat such as the Marriott Courtyard for only £90 a night was just the tonic. 

Where is it exactly?

It's very central. In fact in the very heart of Seminyak. You are an 8 minute walk to the beach and there are even regular shuttle runs if you're really lazy. 

Standard of the hotel? 

Very similar to my experience of Marriott hotels in London. The decor was modern and authentic. The service was all smiles and the breakfast was wild with a wide variety catering for all tastes. I treated myself to eggs benedict and felt like a king. 

Family friendly? 

I get asked this quite a bit by friends when I speak about hotels, and although I'm an empty nester it would be remiss of me not to mention how family friendly this hotel is. 

There's a special kids club and speaking to some of the guests at the time they all remarked at how trustworthy and attentive all the staff were around children. 



Amenities near the hotel

It's worth noting there is a 24hr shop nearby should you require a top-up; food, water, alcohol etc. Ask one of the staff and they'll direct you. You'll also find an ATM within in a short walk from the hotel. 

Fitness Classes

Possibly one of the best array of fitness and wellness classes I've ever experienced at a hotel. Within the resort you'll find regular Yoga sessions, aqua aerobics and I even managed some basic MMA lessons with one of the personal trainers. 

Conclusion

A faultless experience, with everything on a plate. The cleanliness and amenities were outstanding. The location is ideal and you'll never run out of things to do. Ask at the front desk about helicopter rides, elephant safari's, kayaking and mountain biking tours.