This post might seem a little bit disjointed because it’s about the first two days of our trip and the last two days since we flew in and out of Denpasar airport in Kuta. The first two days were a bit of a blur since we were still heavily jet lagged and exhausted from the worlds longest flights but we tried to cram as much as we could into the time we had there. Kuta is the party capital of Bali and a great jumping off point for other destinations on the island. While it can get a little crazy, there are tons of shops and cafes and long sandy beaches to choose from.
On our first full day in Kuta we only had two goals: find me a hat and spend as much time as we could on the beach. We set out in the heat of the day in the general direction of the beach and before long we found ourselves stumbling onto the wide and sandy stretch of Seminyak beach. After a quick stroll down the beach we grabbed a coconut for me and a bottle of Bintang for Jonathan and set up camp on a sun lounger.
The waves at this beach were enormous and I couldn’t bring myself to go much farther than the edge of the water. I’ve had a few bad experiences with large waves knocking me over and ripping off my bikini top and sunglasses so now I steer clear of them. Jonathan is much braver than me and always goes right up to where the waves are breaking to body surf.
I found my hat on the way back from the beach at one of the many surf shops. I wasn’t expecting to encounter any good shopping in Bali, but there are actually tons of really nice shops full of beachy boho buys in Kuta and Seminyak. After a quick shower we made our way out into the fading light for dinner al fresco at an Italian restaurant. The food was excellent but by this time jet lag was starting to sink in and I felt like I was going to pass out in my gnocchi. We made a quick exit and headed back to the apartment as all the party people were starting their night. We were in bed by 7 that night which worked out just fine for us since the next morning we had to be up early to catch our ferry to the Gili islands.
Back in Kuta after our time on the Gili islands, Lovina, and Ubud we decided to start our last day with a swim at Seminyak beach. We made the 10 minute walk to the beach as the city was waking up around us and spent a few hours splashing around in the waves and trying to pretend that our vacation wouldn’t be coming to an end that night. Our flight was leaving at midnight and we had to be out of the apartment at noon. We decided to hire a driver for our last day to take us around to some of the spots we hadn’t seen yet and then deposit us at the airport at the end of the day. This worked out perfectly because we were able to keep all our bags in the car while sightseeing and the whole day with a driver only cost us about $50 CAD.
Our first stop that day was Tanah Lot. This 16th century temple is built on a rock in the sea and is only accessible at low tide. The temple honours Dewa Baruna, the god of the sea. Legend has it that if an unmarried couple visits this temple together they will break up!
The next stop on our tour was the cliff side temple of Uluwatu. This was the most beautiful temple we visited in Bali. It was much quieter and less touristy than the other temples we visited and the view from the cliffs with the sea crashing below was unforgettable. The only drawback about our time there was that it was unbelievably hot and humid. It probably didn’t help that we had to wear long sarongs over our shorts…
Our last stop on the tour was at Jimbaran beach for dinner. I recognized the name of the area from the guidebook and our driver recommended it to us because it was close to the airport and a great place to take in the sunset. However, once we got there it felt like a total tourist trap. Our driver deposited us at a restaurant, promising that this place had the best prices, and before we knew it we were being ushered out to a table on the sand. Granted, this was a beautiful place to watch the sunset. Unfortunately it was a seafood restaurant with a set menu, and a very expensive one at that. Meals started at 900,000 IDR which seems kind of crazy considering we’d spent 50,000 IDR on lunch for two. Anyway, I don’t eat seafood and Jonathan felt like it was a risky choice considering we were about to spend the next 30 hours in transit so we settled on a plate of french fries and a club soda while we watched the sunset. Turns out Jonathan made a good decision passing on the seafood because as we were on our way out one of the guys who was sitting at the table in front of us ran to the little outdoor sink for hand washing and threw up (loudly) in it. Talk about dodging a bullet! So when it comes to dining at Jimbaran beach I recommend choosing your restaurant in advance so you don’t end up being sucked into a tourist trap like we were and maybe skip the seafood if you’re about to get on an international flight. Just in case!
As usual, I’ve got some recommendations for Kuta and Seminyak below:
Ultimo restaurant serves delicious Italian cuisine in a romantic setting. All of their pastas and sauces are handmade. If you can, get a table on the patio.
Zula Bali serves all organic, vegetarian, and non-GMO food. I loved this place and made us eat there several times!
Pizza Lovers Seminyak was down the street from our apartment and we ate there a ton. We actually ate a lot of pizza in Bali because I was paranoid about getting sick and this place was by far the best. It seems to be really popular with expats who want a break from Indonesian food and has a really fun atmosphere.
Whale and Co. Coffee was next door to our Airbnb in Seminyak. It’s a fairly simple place with a small menu but their coffee was strong and really good!
Kuta Beach is the place to be if you’re looking for white sand and surf. It is the original surfer destination on Bali and is a little less commercial than Seminyak beach. Head south along the shore to find Legian beach for peace and quiet.
Potato Head Beach Club in Seminyak is a great place for a sunset cocktail. They have a large, vegetarian friendly menu and you get to use the beautiful beach front pool.
That’s it for our time in Kuta and Seminyak. Next week is all about our time on the Gili islands so check back if you’re into white sand beaches and crystal clear water. But first, I want to hear from you! Are you brave in the face of enormous waves like Jonathan or do you play it safe on the shore like me? Have you ever lost your bikini top in the surf? This has happened to me twice. I think I’m cursed!