Saturday, 24 November 2018

Uluwatu area, Bali, Indonesia

I arrived home today from an incredible nine days of adventure in Indonesia with my wife Emily. Before visiting Bali and Gili Air in Indonesia, we had a three-night short trip/layover in Hong Kong, which I'll blog about separately soon. We flew with Cathay Pacific; they were an average airline and nothing particularly stood out as being great or bad, except the food which was by far the worst we've had on any airline. That's a first world problem if ever I heard one!!

We usually find ground transport on arrival at an airport, however thankfully we decided to arrange a taxi via our hotel before we arrived at Denpasar Airport in Bali. After clearing customs and appearing with our luggage in the arrivals hall, the number of 'transport service' individuals and companies vying for your business is quite overwhelming. We were pleased to spot our driver with a placard with our names on it straight away, and we travelled in his car to our hotel, best part of an hour away. 

uluwatu hotel
Perfect pool at BoHo Bingin Beach 

The hotel we booked was called BoHo Bingin Beach and was an absolutely perfect place and location to start our time in Bali. The hotel grounds and pool were beautifully laid out and spacious, and it was a very relaxing place to stay for two nights. Our trip started in the middle of November, which is when the rainy season is starting in Bali and tourist numbers area lower. We were lucky enough to experience very little rain during our trip (except sometimes hearing it at night) and we benefited from pretty much everywhere we went not being busy. 

bali hotel
BoHo Bingin Beach 

bali hotel pool
BoHo Bingin Beach 

bali pretty hotel
Emily at BoHo Bingin Beach 

bali animals
The neighbours at BoHo Bingin Beach!

The BoHo staff were very friendly and gave us recommendations of good beaches to go to and things to do in the area. A few minutes walk from the hotel is a stunning beach called Bingin Beach. As with the other beaches in the area, the beach is accessed via steep and winding steps, and your energetic journey down to and up from the beach are rewarded with quiet and absolutely beautiful sand and sea. Shortly after we arrived at BoHo, we headed down to Bingin Beach and caught a breathtaking sunset, which was the perfect way to end a relatively long day of traveling. After dinner in a little restaurant on the beach, our phone torches were needed to navigate our way back up the steep and winding steps to the hotel.

bali sunset
Sunset at Bingin Beach, Bali 

bali beach
Busy Instagramming the sunset at Bingin Beach, Bali 

The next morning, after a delicious breakfast at a huge ornate dining table at BoHo, we got a taxi to the Uluwatu Temple, which is the main tourist spot in the area. Uluwatu is a very scenic Balinese Hindu Temple, situated on a cliff face and home to many cheeky (and terrifying) monkeys. As anyone who has traveled in Asia will likely know, monkeys are not the cute cuddly little creatures we are led to think they are, rather somewhat scary and mischievous little things that should be given a wide berth. We paid a small entry fee to the temple and were given sarongs to wear, in order to be dressed appropriately to enter. We declined the offer of a paid guide, whom many tourists opt for, to keep the monkeys at bay. We enjoyed our self guided tour for the best part of an hour, with beautiful sea views from the steep cliff.

uluwatu temple
Uluwatu Temple, Bali

temples in bali
Uluwatu Temple, Bali

After another short taxi ride a few minutes down the road, we stopped near Thomas Beach in Padang Padang. One of the top rated cafes in the area is called Suka Espresso, which was bustling with tourists and served great food.  From there, we wandered for a few minutes down a stoney track to a set of steep steps that took us down to Thomas Beach, which was recommended to us by BoHo as being the best in the area for swimming. The beach was very quiet and we enjoyed an afternoon of swimming in the sea and eating local food. 

uluwatu food
Suka Espresso near Thomas Beach, Padang Padang, Bali 

That night we booked a table ahead at the Cashew Tree, which is a bustling spot a few minutes walk from BoHo. Our trusty Lonely Planet travel guide describes this as 'the place to be' in the area, and by chance it hosts live music every Thursday. Despite the musician being incredibly talented, the cover songs were somewhat slow (e.g. Radiohead!!) and unfortunately not the upbeat sing and dance-along songs we had hoped for. Still, it was a great place to chill, eat great food and drink a few Bintang beers. 

If you're visiting Bali and wondering which areas to stay, I cannot recommend this area highly enough. Later in our trip, we had a wonderful time in Ubud and Gili Air, which I will blog about soon, but we are so glad that stumbled across the Uluwatu area when planning our itinerary.

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