This is the second half of my Bali guide, I thought I would be able to fit it all in one post but as soon as I had finished talking about how we planned the trip and why we chose the hotels I thought it might be best to stop there, and save the details of what we did for another post, and here we are!
As I mentioned in the first post, I didn’t take nearly enough photos while I was in Bali, trying to live in the moment and not spend the whole time taking photos 100% backfired now that I’m writing this 2 years later with barely anything to show! for this reason some of my photos might be taken from the internet, in which case I will state the site I found it on.
So, we have booked the flights, booked a hotel in Kuta, Gili T and then just a little boutique hotel super close to the airport, and now we have touched down in Denpasar airport.
We had already booked our transfer to The Stones Hotel (part of The Marriott’s Autograph Collection) on Expedia, and I’m so glad we did! It made the process to much easier to just jump off the plane, grab our luggage and look for a person holding a sign rather than having to go out and negotiate with taxi drivers, hoping they are going to the right place, charging the right price and going the quickest route, and it only cost us around £10… bargain!
Whenever I book a hotel online in a country I’ve never been to I always feel a little apprehensive that when we get there its going to be a lot further out than described, or that its going to look nothing like the photos. When we pulled up to The Stones Hotel I think both of our mouths just fell open, it is breathtakingly beautiful, the car we were in had to go through a security gate complete with sniffer dogs before it was allowed entry to the hotel grounds, which made us feel so secure knowing that the hotel clearly cared about their guests safety.
The Stones is 100% the most gorgeous hotel I have ever stayed in, it has an amazing pool that is surrounded by the hotel rooms, but some of the walls have been designed to have plants growing out of them from top to bottom so you still feel like you are surrounded by a tropical Bali setting, and not just in the walls of a hotel.
The service from the staff was impeccable, we were welcomed with a refreshing drink which was a much needed pick-me-up after such a long time traveling! We were about an hour early for check in but it took about 2 hours for our room to be ready for us which was unfortunate, but didn’t dampen our impression of the hotel.
The rooms start from deluxe room, deluxe room with pool view, or a deluxe suite. All of the rooms look gorgeous and you wont be disappointed no matter which you go for, we went for deluxe room with a pool view which meant that we had a sheltered balcony connected to the room, facing the pool with an outdoor bath and sofa, it was truly beautiful!
If I can give you one detrimental piece of advice when booking this hotel INCLUDE THE BREAKFAST. There is no better hotel breakfast maybe in the world than this, even if you’re not a morning person or don’t usually eat until lunch, you will book this breakfast if you know whats good for you. I’m talking eggs made to order, fresh pancakes and waffles, fresh fruit, cheese, meats, pastries, omelets, cereal, granola, yogurts, western and asian cooked breakfast choices, freshly squeezed bottled juices and last but not least, ice cream! It is INSANE and will quickly make you forget about any diet or gym schedule you were on before you flew out!
I just can’t fault this hotel, the service was amazing, it was clean, comfy beds, amazing food, relaxing atmosphere and generally 5*.
After checking in we decided to explore the area and do some sun bathing. Outside of the hotel walls Kuta was quite different to how we had imagined, when thinking of Bali we had this vision of huge empty white sand beaches, palm tree’s and blue sea, something like Hawaii. In reality Kuta is slightly less relaxing than this and has definitely capitalized on their tourism, the white sand beach is there, so is the blue sea, and the beaming sunshine.. but the beach is full of vendors trying to sell you everything from surf lessons to ice creams and it can get a little frustrating having to pie them off for the hundredth time while your trying to enjoy a stroll along the beach or get your tan on.
For us we found that once we got a sun lounger to spend a few hours baking we did get a little less hassle from the surf lesson guys and it was easier to shake off the vendors trying to sell us some sort of food or drink, and then when we did need something it was no bother to walk over to a palm tree sure to find someone with a cooler box packed with Sprite and Coke underneath. perfect.
After some sunbathing we had a little wonder around, theres a nice mall along the board walk right opposite the beach and we were both excited to find a Victoria’s Secret, as thats where we were both working at the time! At the end of the beach we found a big turtle statue with signs saying ‘save Bali’s sea turtle’. There was lots of activity and commotion going on so we thought we would take a peek at what was going on.
It turns out that most evenings this sea turtle conservation site lets anyone that is interested release baby turtles back onto the beach so that they can find their way into the sea by following the setting sun. Turtle release is usually done in the middle of the night, as thats when they naturally hatch in the wild. The hatchlings will follow the moon light into the sea – I suppose the conservation site does it at sunset so that they can attract passers by like Amy and I, helping to release more baby turtles at once, generate some donations for themselves and replicate the natural process as best as possible – by following the sun rather than the moon. Obviously I am no expert on this but from what I know this is my best theory!
We were told a bit about the project, allowed to quietly look inside the hatchery, and then we queued up and a volunteer gave us a little baby turtle that hatched the previous day in a shallow tupperware filled with water, to be released on the beach. Everyone stood in a long line a little way back from the tide, and the beach in front of us was cleared entirely. We all crouched down to the sand then after the count of three we all gentle tipped out tupperwear and turtle onto the sand, careful not to touch the turtle unless absolutely necessary to turn it in the right direction. From there we all watched the little turtles find their way forwards following the sun and then fighting their way into the sea where they all happily swam away!
The reason that they have the hatchery is because the sea turtles will come up onto the beach to lay their eggs, but because Kuta beach is so popular with surfing and with the nightlife scene so close by they are often disturbed or their location destroyed, therefore they are relocated for their best chance of survival. You can learn more about this on their site here.
We ordered pizza to our room through room service to round off our first day for a much needed sleep! The next morning we woke up and oh my lordy lord we were SO burnt and blistered it was ridiculous, Amy is very fair and usually has to be careful in the sun as it is, I rarely burn but it even got me bad this time… slap on the wrist for us being so careless in the sun! Lesson 100% learnt.
Because we were so burnt on our second day we stayed by the pool most of the day and ordered lunch to our (shady) sun loungers! We went back out in the evening to meet some friends we knew who were also in Bali, and released turtles for a second time! That evening we went to Sky Garden for an all you can eat and drink buffet and then to a little bar with our friends, but called our evening short on account of being super burnt and uncomfortable (yes, we know, more suncream and less frying ourselves in future).
Third day..still burnt but we are nearly back in action! We again spend the day by the pool, put off by the beach sun and surf school vendors hassling us! Is it just us who feel like the sun is stronger on the beach or is that an actual thing? In the evening we ate at a little restaurant called Fat Chow which we chose based on Trip Advisor reviews and it certainly lived up to its reputation, I can’t even remember what we ate but I remember it being amazing and I will definitely be going there again when I go back to Bali! After dinner we had a walk down to experience the famed Kuta nightlife and lets just say.. it also lived up to reputation! With super cheap drinks and tonnes of 2for1 offers it was always going to end with a scooter ride to a balinese McDonalds… lets face it!
Fourth day and we are fully back in action, yay! We went out after breakfast and found a stand selling round trip fast boat tickets to Gili T including a pick up from the hotel which was amazing and then we decided to visit the Monkey Forest in Ubud, we got there by taxi and it took us about an hour but the sights on the way were gorgeous and interesting so it wasn’t boring by any means!
So we had seen loads of posts on Insta of the monkey forest and really wanted to go, and i’ll say this for it, if you like monkeys and don’t mind knowing they might jump on you at any time then you will love it here, infact go ahead and buy those bananas to feed them. If you are at all a little bit unsure of monkeys or uncomfortable with them being on you do not buy the bananas. We had a really nice day there, sometimes we did get a little freaked out walking very close to monkeys that looked like they were about to pounce but we were smart and didn’t buy the bananas knowing we might feel like this so pat on the back to us! The temple itself and the forest is really beautiful and just walking around it and seeing the monkeys swinging tree to tree was wonderful when you didn’t want to be in the ‘getting climbed on’ area! When we were done here and waiting to meet our driver we ate at a cute little cafe called Three Monkeys which again, I would recommend, it was the perfect rest bite before our journey back.
By the time we got home we were pretty tired and we were checking out the next morning ready for our journey to Gili T, so we decided to eat at the hotel, pack and get a good sleep ready for our exciting trip to the island.
Kuta was great for the central location, the hotel and eateries were really good, and the beach was literally right opposite the hotel – but if you want to be on a beach with no bother from anyone, where it’s quiet and tranquil then this is not the place for you.
Please take a look at Bali, Part 3 to hear all about our experience in Gili T and our last night back on mainland before our flight home!
Love, Chelsea xx
Make sure to comment your thoughts, have you stayed at The Stones Hotel or in Kuta? What did you think? Im wanting to go back soon so please let me know where you would recommend, would you stay somewhere other than Kuta next time?