Pullman Legian

Like most West Australians I have made countless trips to Bali. Each time a new hotel and new experience. Unlike any other trip, this was one with the number one priority of luxury and relaxation. Staying at the Pullman Legian was a no brainer.

We arrived to a grand foyer of absolute luxury. A shiny marble floor, large wicker lounges which were occupied by waiting guests and an open space overlooking a tropical garden being set up for the evening meal. Almost every night of the week there is a theme night offered to the guests on the lawn which is between the kids pool and the day spa, enveloped by the towering hotel rooms which make you feel as though you are in your own private oasis. That night, it was the seafood buffet; followed by a BBQ buffet; then a kids movie night on the lawn with giant beanbags and popcorn, and finally an Italian buffet. The event I have been preparing for my whole life.

17972272_1971441623089175_8213440823153249036_o

The hotel is quite large so it can be quite difficult to remember your room number but no matter where you are located there is a wonderful view. Ours overlooked a small garden with giant palm trees and hammocks, I mentally reserved which one I would be spending my time in. What I loved most about the hotel is all the secret and wonderful spots to relax with a book, some music or anything else you desired. One such other place was the rooftop pool. Set directly above the reception, towering over the resort was the infinity pool. The ocean to the left and mountains to the right, complete with a bar and sun loungers the resort became a place you didn’t want to leave.

17972276_1969569723276365_4394417360544790615_o

The welcoming atmosphere of the staff, hotel and facilities (did I mention that there is a small mini mart within the resort?) makes it accommodating to families, couples, singles and devout bookworms like myself.

The 3 places for the best view in Singapore

I have always been someone who likes to do, see and experience as much as I can in life and this philosophy is strengthened when on holidays. I’m a Teacher so I don’t earn a large amount of money so often when I travel I have made quite a few sacrifices to get there (especially because I always have to travel during school holidays which is twice as expensive). So why not make the most of it when you are there? I have been told that I have a “childish enthusiasm” for life, meaning I am curious and inquisitorial, throwing myself into it full throttle. I really believe you get out of it what you put into it. This attitude is how I found the 3 places for the best views in Singapore.

1. Marina Bay Sands SkyPark Observation Deck

http://www.marinabaysands.com/sands-skypark.html

Here you will get a fantastic view of Gardens by the Bay which is right next door, Marina Bay, Singapore Flyer and Singapore Strait scattered with ships, unfortunately the Infinity Pool is not included as it is only available to guests.

Screen Shot 2015-10-03 at 9.31.57 am  Screen Shot 2015-10-03 at 9.30.33 am

The prices is $23 per adult and $17 for children, however, access to the SkyPark is free for guests and if you have a reservation for one of the restaurants (ĆE LA VI, Flight Bar and Lounge or Sky on 57) you also should get free access to the SkyPark (please confirm this upon making a reservation). Be prepared though that these restaurants require a minimum spend, around $80 per person.

Screen Shot 2015-10-03 at 9.30.17 am    Screen Shot 2015-10-03 at 9.29.39 am  Screen Shot 2015-10-03 at 9.28.25 am

2. Singapore Flyer

http://www.singaporeflyer.com

Almost like every other country that has a giant ferris wheel, the best views are on the clearest of days. We were lucky to impulsively decide to jump on and have views that enabled us to see as far as Indonesia. Taller than the London Eye the Singapore Flyer provides views that are truly spectacular and well worth waiting for a clear day.

Screen Shot 2015-10-03 at 9.31.33 am  Screen Shot 2015-10-03 at 9.31.21 am

Prices vary depending on the experience so best to check the website, but if you buy an open top bus ticket they will give you a discount.

http://www.city-sightseeing.com/tours/singapore/singapore.htm

Screen Shot 2015-10-03 at 9.29.58 am  Screen Shot 2015-10-03 at 9.29.03 am  Screen Shot 2015-10-03 at 9.28.42 am

3. Singapore Cable Car

https://www.faberpeaksingapore.com/singapore-cable-car/sky-network

This one is probably my favourite as it also gives you free access to Sentosa Island. Open from 8:45am -10pm (with last boarding at 9:30pm) and given the monorail into Sentosa is $4 per person it is the perfect way to combine an activity, sightseeing and a theme park in Sentosa Island, as most parks are open 10am – 7pm.

Screen Shot 2015-10-03 at 9.30.58 am  Screen Shot 2015-10-03 at 9.30.48 am

For the Mount Faber line and Sentosa Island line it is $29 per adult and $18 per child, and well worth combing the two lines for the bonus views of the main island. For an extra $10 you can get unlimited rides for the day.

Screen Shot 2015-10-03 at 10.24.14 am  Screen Shot 2015-10-03 at 9.29.23 am

So there you have it, I have decided to let the pictures speak for themselves. If you have any more questions feel free to email me at berlinstormblog@gmail.com

Enjoy x

Sinapore: A photographer’s paradise

The thing that surprised me the most about Singapore was first the heat, but then it’s beauty. I had been to the airport for transit many times before, and had a one-night stop over on the way back from our honeymoon, but that was a night time arrival and lunch time departure so we didn’t have much time to see anything at all. This time we had a full 8 days to explore Singapore for all its glory, and it did not disappoint.

When our plane landed in Singapore the stranger sitting next me on the plane asked how long we were staying, to which when I responded 8 days he scoffed and wished me luck, he didn’t think there was enough to do to warrant 8 days in this small nation city. Boy was he wrong! My itinerary was completely full and I still had a few things that I didn’t have time to do. For a relatively small country, there is a myriad of things to keep tourists entertained.

That being said, nothing is cheap. I personally believe that the whole country lives by the principle “nothing in this world is free” as virtually every activity we did, came at a price. Now I normally love telling my readers about all the wonderful things you can do on your holiday for free or extremely cheap but I’m sorry to report that in Singapore, this is almost impossible…almost!

Singapore is often referred to as ‘the city in the garden’ and they sure do appreciate the beauty of the rainforest and place importance on conserving the environment (a huge tick in my book). So naturally almost every garden that saturates Singapore is completely free to enter.

Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 9.01.10 am

Gardens by the Bay is the beautiful neighbour of Marina Bay Sands. Entry to this large, beautiful garden is free and is a photographer’s dream with beautiful greenery everywhere you turn. There are various lakes and walkways that you are free to meander to your hearts desire and it is very easy to spend a couple of hours exploring and not even realise. It is the individual conservatories such as the Flower Dome and Cloud Dome, which you will then be expected to pay an entry fee. I didn’t visit any of the Conservatories or pay for any attractions in Gardens by the Bay, I was, however, happy to spend a few hours exploring and taking in the beautiful view of Marina Bay Sands, the bay inundated with ships, and the Singapore Flyer. The best way to access Gardens by the Bay is by the footbridge in Marina Bay Sands just simply follow the signs.

http://www.gardensbythebay.com.sg/en/home.html

Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 8.32.58 am

Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 8.59.46 am  Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 9.00.27 am

Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 9.00.47 am

Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 9.02.06 am

Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 9.02.20 am

Another garden to visit is Singapore’s Botanical Garden, a UNESCO World Heritage sight. Entry into the Botanical Garden is free and comes complete with comprehensive footpaths and various areas to admire and explore. Within the Botanical Gardens there is various smaller gardens, which require an entry fee. We visited the National Orchid Garden, which cost $5 and was worth every cent.

https://www.sbg.org.sg

Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 9.02.37 am

An important note: Both Gardens are quite large and Singapore is very humid and hot so please pack plenty of water as there is not always a place available to buy water.

10 rules of Singapore vistors need to know

Singapore can be a daunting place to visit. Knowing they have harsh laws and even harsher penalties can deter potential visitors and although, yes the laws a strict, unless you plan to break any you really have nothing to worry about. Singapore is a beautiful, clean and exceptionally safe city and this is all due to its harsh laws.

1. Don’t litter

The first thing you will notice about Singapore is the swealtering heat, the second is how remarkedly clean not only the streets are, but absolutely everything is. The Singaporean government would like to keep it this way. Anyone caught littering can be fined $1000 for the first conviction and $5000 for repeat offences, as well as community labour. There are plenty of bins situated around the city so no excuses!

2. You need a pescription for Gum

In order to promote #1 and keep those streets squeaky clean it is forbidden to sell or import gum. If one requires gum they must obtain a pescription from a Doctor. Travellers may bring no more than 2 packets into the country but be sure to dispose of properly. Mints are the safest/best option.

3. Flush the toilet

Conservationists that follow the old adage “if its yellow let it mellow” will need to break habit as public toilets undergo random checks by police and if anyone not clearing a public toilet for the next patron will face the same fine as littering.

4. Smoking

Smokers, don’t panic. It is legal to smoke in Singapore, however, many restrictions apply to where. You cannot smoke in an enclosed or undercover areas or any building that has air conditioning. You will see locals standing close the road on the footpath smoking next to bins. Although it is not necessary to be stationary whilst smoking, hug the edge of the path and ENSURE you extinguish and dispose of the butt in the bin or face another heavy fine. Throwing you cigarette butt on the ground comes under a special form of littering

5. Pornography 

Pornography is illegal under morality laws, you won’t find it, even on google.

6. Drinking

Unlike Australia, alcohol is able to be purchased in convenience stores. Last purchase is permitted at 10:30 pm and anytime after that needs to be in a licensed bar.

7. Drugs

Possession or consumption of cannabis can earn you up to 10 years in prison or a $20,000 fine. Importing or exporting results in the death penalty. Best to stay clean.

8. No eating or drinking on the MRT

This includes water, water bottles are permitted on the train system, however, need to be unopened for the duration of the ride. This is not only to keep the train clean but passengers safe from slipping on liquids.

9. Don’t Jaywalk

No matter how much of a hurry you are in, wait. Police covertly monitor crossings and issue $15 fines for first offenders. Singaporeans are strict observors of the ruls and you will notice this more so at the crossings.

10. No PDA’s

“Outrage of Modesty” laws prohibits unwanted touching, violent or sexual, and criminalises homosexuality with a 2 year prison sentence. Best to avoid public displays of affection in general, even for heterosexual couples. Also don’t touch anyone’s head, the head is sacred.

Remember when you are in a foreign country you are subject to follow their laws at all times whether you are aware of or believe in the necessity of them. Capital punishment is widely used, in fact canes can be purchasdd in nearly all grocery stores for 50c. Be a global, smart, respectful traveller and stay safe!

Bali’s hidden gem

When my alarm went off at a startling 1am I instantly regretted my decision to see Bali for all it’s glory. I had, what seemed like in the moment, stupidly signed up to climb a live volcano in the dead of the night, arriving at the peak in time for a beautiful sunset. I booked the Mt Batur climb through Bali Trekking tour http://www.balitrekkingtour.com/ and was greeted with the familiar Balinese smile in my hotel reception at 1:30am. It took 2 hours to get to the the base of the mountain and accompanied by a guide from the tour company and a local guide we set off on our exciting adventure. We started in the natural forest on the Balinese mountain, surrounded by houses, farms and temples. This was the easiest and most calming part of the climb. We left the blanket of the forest and started our ascent on the natural rock formation of the mountain.

IMG_9463

Mt Batur is an active volcano which had its last eruption in 2000, wiping out an entire village and its residents. At the peak the enormous crater created by this eruption is visible and one becomes aware at just how powerful mother nature is. When you climb Mt Batur you are climbing a powerful formation that both creates and destroys life in an instant. Locals know that they are living on a ticking time bomb but the incredibly fertile soil is worth the risk. You become very in touch with nature with each grueling step and struggle that you overcome. The climb is not the easiest. You will need to have a reasonable level of fitness. I have hiked many mountains, volcanoes and canyons in my life and I can honestly say this was the hardest. That being said, when you finally make it to the top and are able to take in the breathtaking panoramic views of Lombok island, Mt Agung (the tallest mountain in Bali), Lake Batur, the destructive crater and Bali Sea, the 1am wake up doesn’t seem so bad anymore. It is in that moment that you realise just how small we really are.

IMG_9841

We made it to the peak in an hour and a half, however, we waited around in the cold for roughly an hour before the sun even began to rise so you have the luxury to take your time if need be. Because the mountain is active the local guide digs into the dirt and cooks a breakfast of steamed eggs and banana, and the steam is a welcome relief from the freezing wind rolling in from the Sea. When you are ready you start your descent, for me this was just as difficult as the climb, if not more. From the peak until you reach the forest it is a steep decline, part volcanic ash which makes you almost ski down the side of the mountain, the other part steep rock that is coupled with gravel. The guides are there to help, so don’t be afraid to reach out for a helping hand. They are happy to oblige.

IMG_9464  IMG_9842

To say that you are exhausted when you finally make it to the bottom is an understatement. There is not a single word to describe the tiredness your body feels, and nothing can prepare your legs for the soreness that follows for days afterwards. Although, every step that I successfully made put a smile on my face, an experience not undertaken every day that is truly a once in a lifetime adventure that needs to be high on your list of things to do when you visit Bali. The plus side is you have 2 hours to nap in the car ride back (depending on where you stay) and you return to your hotel around lunchtime which gives you the whole day to do nothing but relax, which is the greatest thing to do in Bali after all.

Tips:

  • Eat some breakfast and have some coffee to keep yourself awake it is a long drive to the mountain and an equally long climb to the top. It was roughly 4-5 hours before we even got our breakfast so I am glad that I packed my backpack with a lots of snacks.
  • No need to weigh your bags down with water. The company provided a bottle on arrival at the base of the mountain and the opportunity to buy drinks is available at the top. In fact, someone hikes all the way up with you just in the hopes that you will buy a drink from them, you feel so compelled to do so. Besides you don’t want to drink too much that you need to go to the bathroom, there is absolutely no toilets anywhere.
  • Take money to buy the drink from the companion, they quickly trek back down in the hopes to catch another group to follow up to the top. You will also want to tip the guides and driver. We tipped them 100,000 rupiah (roughly $10AUD) each.
  • Take a jacket, believe me take a jacket! Take a very warm jacket. At the summit before the sun rose it was the coldest I had ever been in my life.
  • If you feel a bit unsure about making this trek then investing in hiking boots and poles will definitely put you at ease. There were times both in the climb and descent that I struggled. It was steep and and very raw in the formation of the path. At times is was unsteady and slippery but every time I needed help the guide reached out his hand to help me. Every time.

http://www.balitrekkingtour.com/mount-batur-trekking/

Enjoy!

Bali restaurants that don’t disappoint

Last weekend was my birthday (yay), and it was also a long weekend in Western Australia (double yay). So my husband decided to treat me to an extended weekend in Bali because he’s amazing and I have been working my little butt off lately. It was a well deserved 5 day break from the rat race. Those 5 days were intended to be very relaxing with nothing but eating, drinking and poolside reading occuring, throw in some exploring and adventure and you have my entire trip. Bali often gets a bad reputation, news reports of people becoming ill and even dying from the food and alcohol seemed almost a common thread last year. I know people who are fearful of visiting Bali because of this.

So I have compiled a list of my favourite restaurants in Kuta and surrounding areas that are tried and tested, so mush so I make an effort to visit as many of them as I can whenever I am in Bali. In no particular order.

Kitchenette– I have written about this place before, and for good reason. The restaurant is set up in a vintage kitchenette style with home-made style offerings on the menu. You can build your own salad or pick from their sandwich, pasta, omelette or crepe selection. Be sure to try their home made lemonade and lychee iced tea served in mason jars. Open 9am-11pm most days. http://www.ismaya.com/micro/read/kitchenette

Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 5.33.49 pm

Ultimo and Rumours– Probably the BEST restaurants in Bali. I have grouped them together because they are owned by the same group and are situated very close together, a few buildings separating them. Ultimo will deliver speedy, tasty, cheap Italian food that will leave you incredibly satisfied. Be sure to make a booking (last booking at 9pm). Open 4pm until late. http://balinesia.co.id/indexbali.asp

Rosso Vivo– Another Italian restaurant (no prizes for guessing my favourite type of food). The Head Chef is Italian so he has a pretty good idea of what he is doing. No word of a lie I CRAVE their Greek salad and Bruschetta, It’s THAT good. Lunch specials will get you a decent meal for roughly $5-10 AUD. Open 7am until late. http://www.kutaseaviewhotel.com/bali-restaurant/

Frankenstein’s Laboratory- This is comparable to Dracula’s on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. Except this is a bit more interactive. Realistic, gruesome face painting is offered and cocktails come in IV bags to share, or drink on your own. There are 3 shows with your dinner at 8:30, 9:30 and 10:30. Open 5pm-12pm. http://www.frankensteinslaboratory.net/

Rock Bar– You won’t exactly get a sit down meal in this place but what you will get is one of the most spectacular views as you watch the sunset over the ocean. As the name suggest the Rock Bar is situated on the rocks, over the ocean. A range of finger food is offered as well as a fully stocked bar. Be sure to get there early to secure the best spot (the sun sets around 6pm). Open 4pm- 1am. http://ayanaresort.com/rockbarbali/

Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 5.34.03 pm

Shelter Cafe- My friend told me about this place because our first hotel didn’t have breakfast with our accommodation, being vegetarians we never find enough value for money in a buffet anyway. I forgot about this place until our last night. By then we had moved hotels which had breakfast included so I had two breakfasts that day and am so glad I did. We first stopped at Nalu bowls which is a part of and directly below Shelter Cafe, we placed our order for the Nalu bowl (a mix of super healthy, awesome ingredients blended together to make a smoothie like ice cream, all topped with home made granola and bananas) and then headed upstairs for some coffee, a table and a view. This place not only had a delicious and healthy breakfast, good coffee, and soy milk, it had an awesome atmosphere. Open 7:30- 5pm. However, the Nalu bowls sell out quite quickly so best to get there early. http://www.sheltercafebali.com/ It can be a little difficult to find. We followed the directions given on the Nalu bowls website  http://www.nalubowls.com/   If you jump in a cab and get them to take you to Queen’s Tandoor in Seminyak, then look for the sign pointing you down the lane.

Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 5.33.34 pm

Enjoy x

The Maldives for honeymooners and couples

Whether you are on your honeymoon or just a couple in search of a romantic getaway I am sure that the Maldives is high on your list of places you would like to visit, if not then put it in there dammit because its downright amazing!

As you learnt from my previous post I had the pleasure of staying at Anantara Dhigu for our honeymoon last December. You will also know that Dhigu is a “family friendly” resort island (which we were not aware of when we booked the accommodation). In fact we were not aware that there was another island offering accommodation whatsoever, last time I use a travel agent that’s for sure! The other island was made aware to us on our arrival, we were simply told that we were free to use its facilities, be it the pool, bar, restaurants and the like. It wasn’t until we started a conversation with another couple also on their honeymoon that we found out that Veli is a couples only resort island,       that’s right my friends…NO KIDS! Just you, your loved one and the sweet sound of peace. I was somewhat outraged at the discovery of this piece of information, how could my travel agent who knew it was our honeymoon fail to inform us of an island MADE for honeymooners/couples. Also there was quite a large bunch of kids roughhousing in the pool, screaming, singing and making all sorts of noise continually for hours without the reprimand from their parents whom were in a very close proximity. Our nice relaxing, peaceful and romantic honeymoon had been extirpated by this family and I was not happy.

Safe to say, we jumped straight on the pontoon that ferries guests between the islands at regular intervals over to Veli to check it out, they also have an infinity pool overlooking the ocean, albeit half the size of Dhigu, and we were told the sunset was a must see, we were not lied to. The bar served the same menu and there was a pool table to learn, play or, in my case, lose on. On offer is a Japanese restaurant which has available a chef to cook and serve your food at your table. You do need to turn up at you scheduled time for this however, because as they say the show does go on. There is also a spectacular Thai restaurant over the ocean, on the jetty between Veli and the private island (there are 4 islands in total) which you can also book out for lunch/dinner for 2.

IMG_6976    IMG_6977

IMG_6993

In my readers best interest I thought I better go the extra mile and check out the rooms, that way I could make a truly informed decision about which island is better. Our over the water villa at Dhigu was larger, more luxurious and romantic. The water surrounded us was crystal clear and shallow which made swimming and activities a breeze. The villas at Veli (all of them are over the water) were smaller, lacking in privacy and girt by a lot of coral. Both islands had the option of upgrading to villas that had private pools on the deck, Veli, on the other hand, had select villas where you had a private Butler on hand.

IMG_6978

IMG_7096

All in all, my above comment about the noise at the pool was merely nothing in the whole scheme of things, we had plenty of places to escape to, our villa being one of them which was quiet, tranquil and remarkable all in one, we also had a number of activities to do on Dhigu also, many of which if you stayed at Veli you would have to boat over to Dhigu to do anyway. My vote is Dhigu, the rooms are much better and everything you need is on that island anyway, plus you have the option to go over to Veli and enjoy their facilities whenever you wish. The opposite is also true should you decide to stay at Veli instead.

IMG_6995

The Maldives for families and water enthusiasts

It seems fitting that today being the last day of 2014 I write about one of the most significant and important trips of my life…my honeymoon. When I booked this trip to the Maldives I was in between teaching contracts and we were living off one income. It is safe to say we definitely could not afford it but I was determined to have my Honeymoon, even if it was only for a week. Luckily once I returned to work the trip was much less stressful trying to pay off, and we even had enough money gifted to us at our wedding to upgrade to an over the water villa. Booking early also gave us the advantage of incredible discounts. We managed to save 50% off our room costs paying only $1000 a night for that villa instead of the regular $2000.

IMG_6833

To say that the Maldives is paradise feels inadequate as it is more than that, but due to a lack of an appropriate adjective paradise will suffice. Any place that has an airport island is OK in my books. The photos that you see, whether mine or someone else’s, are not photshopped…it really is that blue. The water ranges from a turquoise so clear you could read a book through it, to a darker blue in the sporadic deep spots. One could walk out 500m in the ocean with the water only touching their waist. There are a number of islands that make up the Maldives, the one I had the pleasure of spending my honeymoon at was Anantara Dhigu, half an hour south of the capital Malé, and boy did they deliver.

IMG_7081  IMG_6731

First things first though a few important things you should know about the Maldives. It is completely forbidden to bring in any alcohol whatsoever, so that bottle of wine you plan on smuggling is best left at home. It is virtually cashless as most hotels own/run the entire island so all you need to do is sign the cheque for every purchase and pay the final bill at the end. Which leads me to probably the most important bit, EVERY SINGLE ITEM (yes every individual item) has a service charge AND tax added to it. So make sure there is plenty of room on your credit card before you go. You can pay the final bill with cash though and although all major currencies are accepted, US dollars is the preferred currency.

Anantara Dhigu is a 5 star resort, it is expensive to stay here, as all places in the Maldives are, but you actually get a hell of a lot for your money. There are two resort islands in this particular atoll, Veli and Dhigu. The latter is more family oriented and has a lot of activities to keep the kids entertained ranging from sporting activities such as Volleyball, bocce, giant chess, table tennis and a crèche. The island also has free bikes situated all over the island for you to explore with.

IMG_6818

Dhigu has a spectacular and well equipped pool and bar with playing cards and board games. We also discovered some of the best shisha here too.

IMG_6737      IMG_6753

Along with all this they run cooking classes and many water activities ranging from the free kayak guests can borrow for up to 2 hours per day, free snorkelling gear (not to mention an island dedicated entirely to snorkelling equipped with an ocean pool, bar, hammocks and lounges), to stand up paddle boarding, kite surfing, parasailing and fishing trips. On the east side of the island is an ocean swing set, on the west (adjacent to the pool) is an ocean hammock.

IMG_7094

I think it is well know how much kids love the water, get them in a pool and often you will have a hard time getting them out. Luckily the infinity pool is built on the sunset side of the island which offers for a spectacular view shared with loved ones and a few drinks. Happy hour is from 5-8pm and the Paradise mojito is to die for, you can thank me later.

IMG_6917   IMG_7095

http://dhigu-maldives.anantara.com

Bali or Thailand

Both are so similar and both are so cheap so how do you decide which country to travel to? Never fear I have done the research for you. Thailand was the first overseas trip I went on with my fiancé. I took him there as a birthday gift when he was 21, so it will always hold a special place in my heart because of this, however, both countries have their positives and negatives, it all depends on what you want out of your holiday.

IMG_5055 IMG_5854

Food- I am a big lover of Thai food and certainly overindulged on it the entire time I was there, and boy is the Thai food in Thailand out of this world. You will not want to eat it ever again unless you are eating fresh Thai food in Thailand. On the other hand, every restaurant that I ate at in Bali blew me away, the price, the taste and the service was exceptional. It tasted like I was eating fresh, real food. See my previous post for a few recommended restaurants or send me a message and I can suggest some more.

IMG_0742 IMG_0778

Accommodation- Our Hotel in Phuket, Patong Merlin, was just fantastic. 4 swimming pools and large rooms with a mountain of food at the Breakfast Buffet. The staff also spoke excellent English. I am yet to find a Hotel in Bali that truly blows me away but I know there is certainly an abundance of them, if you are willing to pay the hefty price. Both countries are home to luxurious tropical island resorts, it all comes down to a matter of budget but at the end of the day The Best Western in Kuta Beach, Bali is the best budget hotel I have experienced so far. See previous post to find out more about this hotel.

http://www.merlinphuket.com/patongmerlin/

http://www.bwkutabeach.com

The Spa treatments- Both countries are on par cost wise but I found in Bali I got a lot more “sweet jesus this is amazing” moments for my money. Again see previous post for my favourite Spa recommendation in Bali.

The streets- In Phuket there is a very distinct sewer smell that you cannot escape no matter where you are and it is something you do have to prepare yourself for and deal with. It is certainly a lot cleaner in Bali. The market stalls in Thailand are very expensive and the people more aggressive and reluctant to haggle. Bali has better quality clothing, albeit 85% for females, at a much cheaper price. You can average around $4 Australian per item. It is safe to say that battling the street markets in either country can become tiresome and only handled in small doses.

Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 9.30.55 AM

Activities- I found there was a lot more activities on offer in Thailand. We had a very full on schedule in Thailand and found very little leisure time because of this. Bali is great for surfing and if you are an active person either country will offer you something to do whether it be surfing, hiking a volcano or kayaking in the Adaman Sea. Both countries offer family activities such as Elephant riding and Waterparks. There seemed to be a lot of issues or concerns about renting scooters or jet skis in Thailand and I did not get this impression in Bali, although I rode a scooter with a driver to avoid any problems.

So there you go, it probably didn’t help much as both are so similar, but in a nutshell. Bali has cheaper hotels, markets stalls and drinks. Thailand has cheaper food and a bigger range of activities. For me if you had to choose between the two I would tell you to choose Thailand because visiting Phi Phi Island is something you NEED to do in life, or it cannot be truly complete.

 

Bali’s best

After a few hards days relaxing I have compiled a short list of Bali’s best.

Accommodation- I used my $50 agoda.co voucher to reduce my accommodation cost at Best Western Kuta Beach to $177 for 4 nights. The rooms are modern and clean, albeit small. The breakfast buffet offers an extensive selection of Asian food with a small amount of Continental choices, although the egg station is good and the staff are friendly and helpful. The beds are extremely comfortable and even though located in an alleyway with a few bars it is not too noisy if you request the fourth floor. The hotel has a rooftop pool and bar which offers semi panoramic views of Kuta Beach. For budget accommodation there really are no complaints.

http://www.bwkutabeach.com

http://www.agoda.com

Image   Image

Relax- Bali has many spa’s to offer its travellers and it is one of the reasons why people keep on coming back. There is one Spa in particular that I keep going back to because as they say “when you are on to a good thing, stick to it”. Smart Beauty and Wellbeing Centre on Jalan Pantai Kuta is a good thing. I always try and book in with Sari if her hours permit but otherwise the staff are all fantastic and speak varying degrees of english. They always remember you and greet you with a smile. I find their prices reasonable, although slightly more expensive than some salons you really do get what you pay for, especially in Bali.

http://smartspa-bali.com

Food- Whenever I travel to Bali not only do I look forward to relaxing but I also look forward to not having to cook. Again when it comes to food, and especially in Bali, I am willing to pay that little bit more for quality and piece of mind. Two stand out restaurants so far have been Kitchenette at Bali Beachwalk and Ultimo’s in Seminyak. Kitchenette is a rustic style kitchen which sells healthy, hearty and delicious meals. You can build your own salad or eat one of the many delicious meals off their menu. They offer delicious crepes with amazing flavour combinations that would give all the restaurants in Paris a run for their money.

http://www.ismaya.com/micro/read/kitchenette

As someone who see’s themselves as an Italian in a past life I can honestly say that the food at Ultimo’s is some of the best Italian food that I have ever eaten, my mouth is watering just thinking about their mushroom gnocchi. I suggest booking a table as this restaurant is always full spite its large seating capacity

http://balinesia.co.id

It would not be a trip to Bali without a trip to Potato Head in Seminyak. Pool bar, infinity pool on the ocean, cocktails, French and Balinese restaurants, these photos speak for themselves.

http://www.ptthead.com

Image  Image

Image

 

Happy travels (or should I say eating)