We spent our final two days of our holiday in Jimbaran, Bali; just 15 minutes south of the airport. I had heard good reviews from coworkers about Jimbaran and wanted to try to see as much of Bali as possible during our short trip. Unfortunately, Jimbaran did not come close to our expectations and was the least enjoyable part of our trip. Allow me to explain..
Regardless of how cliche it now is, we couldn’t pass on the opportunity to visit Padang Padang Beach; where the filming for Eat Pray Love’s beach scene took place. We were looking forward to seeing whether this beach lived up to how it was portrayed in the movie.
After leaving the Gili Islands, we went back to Ubud for one night as we didn’t get a chance to do the Mount Batur Sunrise Trek when we were there earlier. I love hiking and didn’t want to miss what was to be an incredible hike up during the night (which I had never done before) in order to see the sun rise up behind the massive mountains of Agung and Rinjani on Lombok.
Gili Trawangan is a great island getaway from Bali without being completely cut-off from the world. Gili T is actually a lot more developed than I had initially thought – there are numerous funky cafes selling rather expensive coffee, unique clothing shops, boutique hotels that charge you to spend a day on their beach, and a fast-developing party scene. If you’re looking for a more quiet, relaxed, and rustic island trip, you should consider going to one of the other two Gili Islands: Gili Meno or Gili Air.
You just can’t leave without having seen the sunsets and night markets in Gili Trawangan. The views from the western side of the island are breath-taking (a great way to end the day biking around the island!). After you’ve finished watching the sunset, head on over to the night market to enjoy some hearty, local grub that is better (not to mention extremely cheap) than any of the tourist restaurants on the island!
Spending some time bumming out on the beach on Gili T is a great escape from the fast-paced lifestyle of Bali, but if you’re like me, laying around every single day can become a bit boring. Thankfully, renting bicycles in Gili Trawangan costs next to nothing – we paid about $3 CDN to have our bikes for the entire day and there are bike racks in front of most shops on the main strip to park your bike for a few hours while you enjoy a refreshing beverage. Or two.
After spending three nights in Kuta, I was ready to leave the craziness behind and head to Ubud. From all the hype that I had heard from others about Ubud, I was really excited to spend some time there. Afterall, Eat, Pray, Love had portrayed this area as a haven for soul-searchers and those wanting to escape their big-city routine life. Though I found Ubud to be much more enjoyable than Kuta, there were a few things that surprised me. And not in the jumping up and down sorta way.
One thing I’ve noticed when travelling is that pending your destination, the name of your accommodations change; hostel, pension house, guesthouse, and so forth. In Ubud, most places were referred to as “homestays” and it is quite a fitting name, as the accommodations were very home-y, alluring, and comfortable.
When someone mentions Bali, what are the first thoughts or images that come to mind? For me it was serenity, beauty, Balinese architecture, culture, and so forth. If that is in fact what you’re looking for, you should scratch Kuta off your list. However, if you’re looking for any and every possible souvenir to bring home, shopping galore, lots of Australians, and are ready to party like you’re back in first year university, this is definitely the place for you.