Ok, so I know I only just got back from the USA last month, but I couldn't let that distract me from my annual pilgrimage to Bali for some relaxation and rejuvenation.
My parents are retired these days and every year during winter in Australia they hire out a villa for a couple of months to escape the cold (generally around the July-August period). I usually go over to join them towards the end for a couple of weeks.
One thing I should mention before I get into the details of Bali itself, is how to get over there. Over the years we've flown with just about every airline that travels between Australia and Bali and each have their pros and cons. One airline stands above the rest though and I would highly recommend you book with them if you're thinking of going over.
Garuda Air is the national airline for Indonesia and was recently voted #1 for cabin crew with Skytrax and is #9 for the world's best airlines overall. More importantly though, are volcanoes. It sounds silly, but they matter. So over the years there have been problems with ash clouds spewing into the air from active volcanoes in the region meaning that tonnes of flights get cancelled (you can read about it here). The good thing about Garuda however, is that they're flying in their own national airspace, so they have the option of changing their flight plan and going around the ash. All other airlines are required to stick to their assigned route, and if there's an issue (like an ash cloud) then they have no alternative but to cancel the flight. With Garuda you're pretty much guaranteed to still be able to fly and that's a huge bonus.
We've been going to Bali for many years now and have stayed in just about every place there is, but as my parents have gotten older they've wanted to move away from the hustle and bustle and find somewhere quieter. About four years ago they discovered Sanur on the eastern side of the island and they've been going ever since.
The appeal of Sanur is that it's much slower and quieter than Kuta or Seminyak, but not away from the beach like Ubud. The area is generally frequented by ex-pats (internationals who have moved over to Bali to live), older couples and retirees. Everyone generally gets around on bicycles or on foot, and the traffic is much slower (making it a lot safer for riding). There aren't really any nightclubs nor are there families with kids, so if you're looking for either of those then Seminyak or Kuta will definitely be more your speed. The villa we stay at is a traditional Balinese style and is extremely popular - you can have a look and book it on AirBnB here if you're interested.
What does feature in the area is an absolute abundance of restaurants, with some of the best food in Bali available. Breakfast has always been my favourite meal of the day, and the absolute first thing I want to do is go for my buffet breakfast - it's what I'm dying for each time I arrive! There's nothing better than eating a delicious breakfast right on the beach with a warm breeze, great views and the sound of the ocean. A couple of our favourite places to eat are The Maya Resort (buffet breakfast and their rooftop bar are absolute winners), Soul in a Bowl (brilliant breakfast), and Soul on the Beach (the younger sister restaurant right on the water that's got fantastic food) to name a few.
After breakfast it's back to the villa for some sun and a little bit of writing (I'm attempting to write my first novel). The garden and pool area on one of the sun lounges makes the perfect office. Our villa is stunning and is fully enclosed and private which is perfect. There is also a full staff that comes daily to clean the pool, the gardens and the house (we always leave them a hefty tip at the end of our stay to say thank you).
There are heaps of villas available for rent in Sanur (and most other areas of Bali as well) and they range from extremely modern to traditional Balinese style. We prefer the latter option as it feels much more authentic and like we're truly on holidays. There are air conditioners in each bedroom and the entire place is surrounded by doors that can be opened up to allow the breeze to flow through. Additionally, the bedrooms have separate outdoor ensuites where you shower (and everything else) under the open sky (don't worry though, no-one can see you).
On this particular trip I was lucky that my best friend and her family just happened to be in Bali at the same time as we were, so we arranged an afternoon date at our place which was so much fun. We've been friends since our first day at high school and our parents have been friends for just as long.
Lauren now has a family of here own and they all like to stay in Kuta which has tonnes of stuff for the kids to do. The made the drive out to see us and we had a wonderful afternoon sitting by the pool, drinking cocktails and chatting. At the end of the day it was time for a quick group photo (three generations were present) before they were off. (And no, even though it looks it, I'm not actually growing out of the pot plant!)
One of the other amazing aspects of Sanur is the proximity to Aroma Spa. This place is pure magic and is located right on the beach with both indoor and outdoor treatment areas. Manicures, pedicures and massages can be done outside with the lovely breeze and views of the ocean...
...whilst facials, massages and other treatments can be done in one of their luxurious treatment rooms.
I love my trips to Bali as it's really a chance to just relax and do nothing. Each day is pretty much the same routine - get up, go out for breakfast, come back, swim/eat/read/write for the entire day, maybe go for a walk or head to the spa, at about 5pm we all head in for showers, go out for cocktails, have dinner, come back, watch an episode of some television show we're in the middle of, go to sleep, get up and do it all over again.
It was a great trip filled with manicures, pedicures, facials, cocktails, good food, great friends and of course .......swimming!
Until next time,