We arrived in Bali after dark. I was so exhausted from the wedding that, despite my slight (read: large) anticipation of the 18 hour flight, I barely noticed it! I slept the entire 6 hours to Dohar airport in Qatar, where we switched flights, and spent the next 10 hours (practically) watching back to back episodes of ‘Once Upon A Time’ and eating everything that came past me. When we arrived at the airport, I felt completely disgusting and gross and was horrified to find that a middle aged man called Mick had accidentally taken my suitcase, leaving me with his (admittedly identical looking) suitcase filled with old man jeans and slippers. Excellent start!
Despite the lack of suitcase we found our transfer (in a sea of excitedly over keen taxi drivers at the airport) and made our way through the traffic to our hotel in Legian.
Legian is a coastal resort, perched between the cheap traveller mecca of Kuta and the more upmarket Seminyak. Our resort, the Bali Mandira, was a tranquil escape, an oasis of calm from the loud, bustling, busy streets outside. We arrived at reception, gulped our complimentary welcome drinks with relief, and were shown to our room.
|Looked better than it tasted!|
|Swans mate for life, don't you know!|
We had a deluxe cottage for our stay and they decked it out in true honeymoon style, which was really lovely to arrive to (although I felt guilty for sweeping all those beautiful petals into the bin!) It had a wide, white washed open room, with a bed so huge that they clearly assumed just married couples would really prefer to be as far away from each other as possible. It led into a bathroom with an outdoor shower which was my favourite thing about the room. I immediately leapt in the shower (despite having no clothes to change into!)- is there anything, after a long haul flight, that feels better than a shower in the open air? If there is, I’m yet to find it. And when I (eventually) hauled myself out, Mick had turned up with my suitcase, and the hotel had turned up with room service. First night saved.We ran outside into the heat and went up to look at the pool, filled with butterflies at the thought of the weeks to come.
We spent the first week, and the end of the second one, exploring Legian and Seminyak and what they had to offer (I have to admit we didn’t venture into Kuta. ‘Magaluf for Australians’ just didn’t really appeal). Bali is one of those places that is just so beautiful – everywhere you look is another elaborate temple, exquisite artwork, little offerings left to the gods. It’s a Buddhist country and I think that’s reflected in everybody’s incredibly chilled out attitude – they’re all very friendly, but it does mean the service can be a little hit and miss!
|Skewers and satay sauce|
|Marinated pork burger|
As we were pretty tired we spent a lot of time chilling out in the beautiful grounds of our stunning hotel, with it’s beach pool and in-pool loungers (the best idea EVER).
|Me, probably feeling the happiest I've ever been|
We’d spend the morning by the pool (we only made it to breakfast twice, due to jet lag and, admittedly, laziness). The pool was beautiful, complete with a beach area, slides, and a pool bar!
We spent the morning there, sunning and reading, then would have a big lunch at the pool bar followed by spending the afternoon on the beach.
The beaches in Bali weren’t the most beautiful I’ve ever seen but the waves were a site to behold, and watching the locals surfing was so impressive. My husband (!) gave it a good go, but I stuck to body boarding and wave jumping!
|There he goes!|
The sunsets weren't bad either.
Sometimes we'd come back to the pool before the sun set, for drinks in the pool bar.
In the evenings we’d take an outdoor shower...
|Our gorgeous outdoor shower|
...then get changed and then go to the little bar outside our hotel, which was our favourite, before wandering along to one of the many restaurants.
|A drink in our favourite bar|
Legian was quite a family orientated area and the one thing I would say is that everything shut quite early – if you turned up after half past 8 for dinner you could feel the waiters rolling their eyes! But despite that, we hadn’t exactly come for the party atmosphere and we were perfectly content. The food itself was incredible – so many amazing dishes, all served with satay sauce – how can you go wrong with that?!
It would’ve been easy to stay there forever, in a happy haze between pool and lounger (which, right now, in late October London, it’s hard to believe exists) but we did manage to sneak some culture in too. We went to a traditional Balinese dinner and had our photo taken with the dancers ‘for good luck’, which was lovely.
|Flower for good luck|
I would thoroughly recommend the Bali Mandira if you’re looking for either a family stay or a chilled out holiday for a couple. Legian is great – make sure you bring money with you, because none of the ATMs work and all the ‘Exchange Centres’ are full of rip off merchants, but other than that, it’s an amazing place and I would recommend Bali to anyone!