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BALI - Indonesia

Hello everyone,

I must admit, this is the longest time that I stayed without updating the blog, but I'm working on a posting schedule so I can keep a good frequency. Of course, the time was also limited from my side and I just can't comprehend how 2 months had gone by since my trip to Bali, and because of that, I'd like to give you a little insight on how things went over there.

We parted somewhere mid-December of last year ( 2023), on the 17th to be more precise.

We have been saving for a long time for this trip and after a very busy holiday season at work, I for once, was looking forward on some peace and quiet.

Sadly, the trip has started off quite badly, with a 7h delay, thus making us miss our connexion flight in Doha. And because Qatar Airways wasn't very helpful on the ground in Doha, it was pure hell waiting for the morning flight to Bali.

The trip was booked through TUI Belgium, a disgrace of a traveling company. I always had problems with them, but this really "sealed the deal", but I'll get into that further on.

Having arrived on the 18th very late in the evening, we immediately went to sleep. We had a cute hotel, Taksu, but to be honest, the only thing that I liked about this hotel was the staff.

The hotel itself is in a desperate need of renovation, from a leaking air conditioner, tape around the sink sewage to a very limited pool sitting area.. But it's close to a nearby beach so that's ok. We also took the shuttle to the hotel's "beach club" ( not at all a beach club, more like a spot on another beach, where you pay about 7€ to go, have a sun-bed and have a shuttle back ). But I don't recommend doing this and rather rent a scooter to get around as Bali itself is super safe. We did not have any problems with police, theft or anything else.

If you want to rent a car, that's rather tricky, because the roads are very narrow and it's not very safe to go around the island, unless you'd hire a car and a local driver. Same thing for the scooter, you can also hire a local driver if your driving skills aren't very good.

Anyway, getting back to the area where we stayed. Taksu Hotel is located in Sanur, The nearby beach is cute, but not wow. Still, if you want to just lay in the sun for a couple of days, it's a nice option.

Each time I travel far, I need about 1-2 days to recover so some extra hours of sleep on the beach were very welcome.

Bali itself is very welcoming, the people are fantastic, kind and smiling. I really think that I would go back there some day, even though I have a policy of "one time " ( I don't tend to go twice in the same spot).

Also, the food is very good and very affordable. For what you'd normally pay in a Brussels restaurant, you have a literally a gastronomic experience in Bali. Since the island is close to Australia, you'll find a lot of a good meat there. If you'd like to know some some nice restaurant adresses, don't hesitate to DM me on Instagram.

Sadly, we had the terrible inspiration to book 2 trips with TUI, where I would like to add that booking through their website is cheaper than booking with the TUI agent on site. Which, all in all, is evidently more expensive than booking with local tour guides. So just to point out that. The only reason that we did the booking through the TUI agent on site is that she had offered us a "deal" to have our return from an island nearby in another day ( thing that we could have done it ourselves, but you know how it is when you're in a new place and don't really know anything).

So we went to Nusa Penida with the idea to go snorkelling and see the mantas ( that we did not see even one, although the marine life is very diverse:), but also enjoy some time on this beautiful island where we enjoyed ourselves for 3 whole days.

It was a dazzling experience, amplified by our scooter expeditions, breathtaking sceneries and a fabulous stay at Pramana Natura - Nusa Penida.

This hotel is definitely a stunning place to stay at, and I have dedicated a separate blog article, with a dedicated entry in my Hotels around the World section, where I showcase the most beautiful establishments to stay at when traveling to different countries/ regions.

We rented a scooter and saw a lot of amazing places in Nusa Penida like: Tembeling Beach, Kelingking Beach ( watch out for the monkeys), Pantai Atuh - amazing beach, but make sure to climb down the good side where the stairs are; we went down to a fairly abrupt and rather unsafe side) & also enjoy a good lunch on the beach at Cemara Beach.

Little memo: Cemara Beach is also located next to the port where you can cross over to Bali or other points like Gili Islands ( which I would have loved to visit as well, but did not have the time). Renting a scooter is possible from the local people. I would recommend taking the ferry yourself Bali - Nusa Penida as it will cost you less and there is no danger whatsoever.

Cemara Beach

Cemara Beach lunch

Kelingking Beach

Pantai Atuh

In the meantime, Christmas arrived and we were already back on Bali island. Just for the memo: Bali is a region in Indonesia, including Bali island and the nearby islands Nusa Lembongan, and Nusa Ceningan to the southeast.

We enjoyed a quiet Christmas and went also for some spa experience. There are a lot of spas in Bali and might I say, the cost is very low and the services are perfect. I'll list some spas at the end of the article so you know what I recommend.

Leah Leha Spa

On December 27th, part of the package "deal" we had with TUI, we went on a jeep tour. This time it was very pleasant to be honest. Everything went smoothly and we visited some spots along the way like :

Tukad Cepung Waterfall - a must-see in my opinion. You can take some fantastic photos there, but make sure to go in the morning to avoid peak hours.

Tukad Cepung Waterfall

Afterwards, we visited a local village and then went to another part of Bali island, more to the North-East, where we visited Batur volcano mountain and had lunch in a beautiful place, overlooking the volcano-mountain , as well as Lake Batur.

Lake Batur

Volcano Mountain Batur

Mount Batur

We also visited a blacksmith and saw how he works with different materials. Being raised by my grandfather who also used to make tools to work the fields, this was nothing new, but it was nice to discover and just pay a visit to hard working man and his family.


Andrew did also a visit at a pretty bizarre temple in Abung Songan - part of the tour.


Wanting to quit Sanur, we rented out a scooter yet again, but this time on the busy island of Bali and went towards Ubud to discover new sceneries. We arrived shortly after at Avalon Castle and Spa, where we were set to stay for a couple of nights. The hotel itself is such a cool idea, developed by an American who set base years back and him and his balinese wife ( and two sons) run everything, making it a family business which I always support.

From here, we went and visited the famous rice fields of Bali, where we admired the continuous work of balinese farmers, their attention to detail and took home some yummy rice :). Since the Ubud area is quite popular for different crafts, I recommend stopping by the local shops and get yourself some awesome souvenirs made of wood, stone or other natural materials. We took some wood carvings, some wood bowls and a beautiful mini stone with a lotus flower that we will install in our renovated bathroom !



In the Apuan region you'll find several waterfalls and we visited the most famous one,


- which is basically the whole Instagram vs Reality type of situation - definitely don't recommend going there. Instead, keep an eye out on the road for other hidden jewels and you'll find some amazing waterfalls that will take your breath away !

Sadly, we took the decision to visit Monkey Forest in Ubud, which was a complete waste of time and money .. plus, the monkey are super agressive, so you'll need to be very careful not to be attacked by the little monsters. As a person who loves animals in general, I had a constant feeling of anxiety while in the park. I think that the monkeys are also very annoyed by human presence, so I guess they will also make your visit kinda scary. I couldn't wait to get out of there !


We came back to Sanur to celebrate the New Year and enjoyed the last days of sun before coming back to gloomy Belgium.

Sadly, our last day was spoilt due to TUI's internal communication. The TUI agent picked us up 5 HOURS before the usual pick-up time claiming that the roads were closed and that we needed to be early at the airport. She did not even had the decency to check in the morning if indeed we'll need to part the hotel so soon in order to be at a given time at the airport. So we ended up staying 10 hours in the airport .. it was a dreadful experience for which TUI didn't even call after to apologise or anything else.

I don't think I'm going to book with them anymore. I had other problems in the past, nothing major, but this was the final straw.

Anyway, I'd certainly recommend Bali. It's a fantastic destination and a pure bliss for those in search of a relaxed & safe vacation, but also for the adventurous type.

Some addresses that I'd like to share with you.

For food:

Warung Yakiniku - for all you can eat Japanese beef with on the barbecue

Puerta 26 - The restaurant that is just next to Taksu Sanur - for good aged beefsteak ( a bit more expensive price wise, but definitely worth the experience) table

Brazilian Aussie BBQ Sanur - varieties of Brazilian and Australian meat with an all includive buffet

L'Osteria - Pizza & Cucina - for italian food, especially pizza. To be honest, I ate better pizza in Bali than in Italy.

In Nusa Penida, I'd definitely recommend the hotel's restaurant : Acropora Bar & Restaurant

Spa addresses:

  • Leha Leha Spa

  • Atri Putri Hotel Spa

I really hope you liked my (very) long review on the trip that I did in Bali.

Thank you for passing by the blog and I hope I'll be back soon with more articles :)



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