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. 

 

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.