We booked our Bali trip a year in advance so by the time we were to take the trip we were excited and looking forward to it! While I was excited about the trip, I was also a bit worried & nervous. In the back of my mind I was worried that Bali had been over hyped like the Amalfi Coast in Italy. I didn’t want to experience the same kind of letdown. What if we travel across the world to a place that looks incredible on Pinterest but not really the same in real life.
Let me just say I was blown away by Bali. Bali was incredible in every way! So, I had a complete opposite experience with Bali compared to Italy’s Amalfi Coast. Bali is even more beautiful and amazing than what you see in pictures. Pictures don’t do Bali justice. It’s one of those places that you must see! Put it on your bucket list if it’s not already there. So, here are the activities and how our days went while there. (7 days there, 10 days with traveling).
The hardest part of the trip is getting to Bali, we left on Wednesday and arrived in Bali Friday afternoon- around 4pm-5pm. Ground transportation in Bali is cheap. I recommend booking transportation from the Airport to your resort through your hotel. Most nicer hotels and resorts offer this service. The AYANA Resort and Spa offered two different services. Van service which could require a wait and travel with a small group ($35) and private Limo service ($55). The Limo service we experienced was exceptional. An AYANA Resort representative met us as soon as we exited the Customs and Immigration area and escorted us directly to a running airconditioned Mercedes. They immediately provided us with bottles of water and damp towels to refresh ourselves. The drive from the airport to our resort was approximately 20 minutes. The communication between the driver and the resort team was exceptional. When we pulled up to the main entrance, we were greeted by a staff of 5 who welcomed us by name. We were immediately escorted to reception where, except for a signature, our check-in was already complete. When we checked in, we made reservation for dinner that evening, but we didn’t make it. We were so exhausted from traveling that we took a shower and crashed on the bed. We slept for 11 hours straight and woke up the next morning around 4am.
Here is how our bedroom looked
Since we woke up at 4 am and couldn’t go back to sleep we decided to dress up and go explore our resort and then go to breakfast as soon as they opened. AYANA Resort and Spa is a massive resort, you practically must have a map to get oriented, so if you are a person that likes to stay at the resort and not really get out, you would love this place. There are plenty of things to do on the property and it’s also a perfect place to bring kids. The Staff is extremely kind and polite. I never experienced the level of kindness and service I experienced at the AYANA Resort. Every employee act like the resort is theirs. They are very grateful that we chose to stay on their resort They go above and beyond to accommodate you. They would want to speak English with you since that’s their best way of practicing it. You can truly feel their gratitude & appreciation for the work they have, and the service & organization is truly top notch.
So, the first day we spent relaxing by the pool & exploring the resort and that evening we had dinner at the famous Rock Bar.Keep in mind that you must get a reservation at that restaurant one or two days prior.We also stopped by our concierge service to schedule tours of all the things we wanted to do while there.
We used first and last day to relax at the resort and all the days in between we used for doing different types of activities outside of the property. We would wake up early, be gone for a whole day and then come back at the resort around dinner time. There are approximately 19 unique restaurants on the property, so every night we would pick a different one. They were all good. On day two my husband took the day to go SCUBA Diving and I did a tour to see a local village.
Here some of the off resort activities we did highly recommend.
It took us approximately 4 hours to drive to Sekumpul Waterfalls and then 45 minutes trek down the mountain to get to the base of the actual waterfalls. There are 7 waterfalls all roughly 265’ (80 Meters) high. The hike back up to the care took approximately 60 minutes. Totally worth it in our opinions, especially if you are up for an adventure. Bring extra dry cloths, towels, and bathing suits. When you reach the base of the waterfalls it’s like being in a very cold shower. You will get soaking wet. These waterfalls are not as touristy due to their remote location. There are tourists but mostly backpackers. We had a private driver and a tour guide that took us wherever we wanted for the whole day (from 7:00am to 6:00pm) – for only $110. We thought that was very reasonable for a whole day and we felt secure – not risking a chance to get lost or whatever could happen in a country we were not necessarily familiar with culture, language and driving (they drive on the right side).
Activities with Elephants
This was probably my favorite activity. Hanging out with elephants was so much fun. We went to Mason Elephant Park & Lodge. They’ve rescued 27 elephants from government camps in Sumatra. These elephants have bred and added 4 new baby elephants. Elephants have their daily routine and things they do every day so according to their schedule they’ve made activities for us humans so we’re able to interact with them. The first activity is eating breakfast and swimming with elephants, second is bathing elephants, third is feeding elephants with their snacks, forth is taking them for exercise, you can also watch their training and tricks they perform. Elephants are extremely smart animals. After those activities they have their own time until dinner time where you can have a date night with elephants.
Rare opportunity to see endless rice pads with a rich green color, that’s harvested the old fashioned way. We also did the famous Bali swing, because if we didn’t, it would be like, “did we actually went to Bali?”
Taman Ayun Temple
We visited Taman Ayun Temple that translates as ‘beautiful garden’. This temple is one of the most beautiful temples of Bali. The Taman Ayun temple is in a park with trees and ponds, near the village of Mengwi in the south of Bali at about 8 km southwest of Ubud and 18 km northwest of Denpasar.
Pura Taman Saraswati Temple & Ubud
The Pura Taman Saraswati is a beautiful water temple in central Ubud, accessible from the Jalan Kajeng side street off the main road of Jalan Raya Ubud, just behind Café Lotus. The temple is a great stopover along your leisure walks through Ubud town, we also walk thru Ubud and did some souvenir shopping. Ubud is very touristy and crowded but still a good place to stop by and explore for few hours.
We stopped by Monkey Forest where you can find thousands monkeys everywhere. They are friendly and usually minding their own business. I would recommend not to make eye contact with mom monkeys with their babies because they consider eye contact with humans threating. Also have your water bottle inside your bag, as well as sunglasses, earrings, scarfs, etc. Anything shinny or colorful that could easily be taken away, because the monkeys think of it as a fruit and easily still it away. Overall the Monkey Forest was a fun experience. I recommend it if you are visiting Bali.
Kecak and Fire Dance
Wednesday evening we went on Kecak and Fire Dance. Kecak is the most unique Balinese dance. It is not accompanied by orchestra/gamelan but by a choir of seventy men. It has its origin in an old ritual dance – “Sanghyang” or Trance dance. In the sanghyang dance a person in a state of trance communicates with the deities or ancestors. Using the dancers as a medium, the deities or ancestors convey their wishes. It was a cool experience and sunset was beautiful.
Day at the Resort
Our last day we decided to stay at the resort and relax before our trip back home and it was also Valentine’s Day. I started with a yoga class at 6:30am. Following the class, I met my husband at breakfast. We took our time to enjoy it. Ayana Resort offers multiple pools. My husband’s favorite pool was the Cliff Pool, which is very pretty and cool. However, in order to truly enjoy it you must show up early (8:30am-9:00am) to get a spot (spots are limited). This is also before all the aspiring Instagram models start showing up to perform photo shoots. Don’t get me wrong, I love pictures and I take a lot of them, but trust me, never have I seen that amount of posing and picture taking than at that pool. My favorite pool where we enjoyed spending time from 9:00 am up to 3:00pm was the River Pool or as I like to call it Digital Detox Pool, and you can guess why. Before you enter that pool, it’s required to leave phones, cameras, lap tops, etc. in a locker so you can truly enjoy your time. I loved that, mostly because I am on the phone for personal/business most of the time. It’s a true digital detox. They provide board games that you can play, and no one is on the phone which is truly relaxing. After we enjoyed the pool, we made reservations for the couple massage at their spa, which was incredible and so relaxing. We finished it off with a Valentine’s Day Dinner at their DAVA Steak & Seafood.
Hope you enjoyed reading this blog post!
This post is no way sponsored by Ayana Resort & Spa Bali.