Paige Joanna

Bali, Indonesia – Is it worth the hype?

This blog post is pretty delayed as I visiting Bali back in April 2018. With persistent illness after the trip, I never got around to writing up a review. After organising my files ready for the new year I realised how many amazing images we took whilst away. The trip was such a huge life experience so I felt like it was time to write up my experience and share it here. Continue reading to find out more about Bali, and the trip I went on.

I was extremely lucky to be asked on this trip with the brand Dock & Bay. They hosted a competition for a group of international people to join on this big adventure. There ended up being people from all sides of the globe in our group. People from India, Australia, Canada, America, and England! Myself, Sophie and 2 other influencers from America also joined the competition winners. It was an epic journey to get to Bali and a huge group of us, all staying in one villa.

The Journey

Sophie and I are pretty nervous flyers so 20 hours of traveling was quite daunting. We took 2 flights, first to Dubai and had a massive rush to get our connection due to a delay in arriving. Then onto another 9 hour stretch to Bali. The planes from Dubai to Bali are tiny and very cramped but with the help of some good movies, the journey wasn’t too bad.

When you get out of the plane you are hit with the extreme jungle humidity and heat that stayed with us for the remainder of the trip. Taxi queues and pickups are mental, there are people everywhere and shouting. Luckily we had a driver to come and meet us which definitely helped relieve any stress. Once in the car, it was about an hour journey to the villa. 

The Villa

The Villa was both incredible and weird all in one. It certainly was hugely out of my comfort zone. Each bedroom was basically a hut, similar to glamping. The doors were sliding doors so there was a slight gap around them, meaning they weren’t completely closed off to bugs. There were also big curtains which Sophie and I kept tightly shut at all times as we were pretty squeamish about lizards and bugs.

The bathroom was completely open to the elements, with a thatched roof the only protection from rain. All the sides were open and you could hear a little water stream outside. It was beautiful and picturesque but it did mean we were met with geckos every day. This certainly was interesting when taking a shower with them on the wall next to you.

It took some getting used to and the first day was quite challenging. We adapted to our surroundings and it didn’t bother us too much once we got used to it.

The pool

The pool area was the highlight of the villa. It was where everyone would hang out and drink, socialise and play many weird but hilarious games. The group was so much fun and everyone was always ready for a good time.

On one of the days, we had a pool party which was essentially having fun whilst taking photos for the brand. We played on pool floats, ate snacks and sunbathed. That night we had a bbq which was nice. I did get a really bad stomach, otherwise known as Bali belly the following day. This could have been the meat or what they washed the salad with, who knows!

The food

That brings me on to the food. Sadly because of my Crohns Disease, I found the food the most challenging part of being in Bali. We were restricted to what we could eat because what the chefs at the villa cooked us is what we had. Each day consisted of chicken, rice and either a curry or some kind of spiced hot dish. The food in parts was tasty but we ate chicken and Satay every day so it got a little tiring. There was a lot of fresh fruit which was so delicious so that helped.

On the last day after having a bad tummy Sophie and I admittedly sought western food in the main center of Seminyak because we were so hungry. We ordered so much food and could barely stomach a few bits from how much our stomachs had shrunk in a matter of days. Bali is known for fresh produce and perhaps we didn’t see the best of it having food in the villa. If I could experience it again I’d have loved to have tried more places out to eat. All the amazing vegan places I have seen online as well as cool bars and cafes.

The activities

Getting to do some day trips was incredible. The afternoon sun made days really tiring but we all powered through. The first day we hired bikes and rode through the rice paddies which was so cool! My joints played up so I spent most of the trip seeing the views from the van. It was actually nice though as the Balinese guy who was driving gave me a tour and explained what everything was. The people are so friendly! We also visiting 2 different waterfalls on the trip and did an amazing hike. One day we also went to a water park which was super fun.

Bali overall

For me, the experience of Bali was a weird one. I think when the itinerary is planned by someone else you don’t get to see a place how you would choose to. Based on the trip I thought Bali was incredible but felt there was so much we didn’t get to do or see. I would love to go out on a boat, go snorkeling or see more wildlife and animals. I’m glad we got to see rural areas, the rice paddies, and waterfalls as they were beautiful. The food definitely let this trip down and if I go again I’d try lots of delicious restaurants and cafes and a lot of vegan cuisines.

The journey is over 20 hours which is tough but doable. I’m so glad I got to experience such a tranquil and nature rich place. The people are so friendly and I feel like it has so much to give for people traveling and staying for more than 2 weeks. I wouldn’t visit again for a week as it didn’t do the place justice, or warrant traveling that far. Overall incredible experience, not one I would repeat any time soon but the adventure will remain in my memories and I am so grateful I got to experience that side of the world. The people on the trip made it, getting to go with my friend Sophie and meeting some amazing people from all over the world was fantastic. I can understand now why travelers who jet off on their own, meet new people and have incredible life experiences because it really is made by who you meet along the way.