WRAPPING UP THE HOLIDAY IN KUTA & SEMINYAK
o this is our last week in Bali. Every morning has been a dream and every sunset makes you want to live a million more years. We left beautiful Ulutawu and travelled towards the hustle and bustle of Kuta. I wanted to show the boys where Bali started.
It has been 22 years since I came to Bali with my family for the first time, when Kuta was merely just a village on the beach. The hawkers, the smell of sweet tobacco and the smiling locals when you graced their shops and restaurants with enthusiasm and curiosity is a great experience. Bali was the first places I visited outside Australia; but two decades on, Kuta developed into an enormous commercial area with huge hotels, restaurants, shops and bars. It has hidden jalans (streets) with numerous markets of clothes, shoes, jewellery, handicrafts and quirky treasures. It's busy, loud and frequented by many tourists from all over the world. We stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel right across from Kuta’s famous surf beach. Even though the waves are notorious and there are warning signs to swim between the flags, the beaches are still packed with eager surfers and swimmers. The boys spent all day learning to surf with an instructor, and of course, Aiyla and I enjoyed a bit of a shop. The hotel is great for a bit of fun with the family, water sports, beach volleyball, live music and a kids club packed with activities from dawn to dusk. The pool is a mega oasis with all day cabanas, a beach island in the centre, pool bar and a kids water park. The water is crystal clear and also under shade for those who need a break from the Balinese sun. Getting to eat at the world renowned Jamie’s Italian restaurant was the best thing to have happened. The menu was incredible and we ate there thrice just to make sure we had eaten absolutely everything on the menu.
We visited an old haunt of mine and a very famous restaurant called Poppies, located in Poppies Lane. Poppies was one of the first restaurants in Bali and had been there for over 40 years. If you have been to Bali then you would have heard of it. Food was still as good as it was when I had it for the first time.
Next up was home for me. Peppers Sentosa in Seminyak, which is about 40 minutes north of Kuta along the beach. It's the newer part of Bali which is now well-established. There are fewer markets and more boutiques with air conditioning. Our villa is like home to me as I have been staying there with my parents for years, for my family shares a villa in the compound. Wasim and I had a small wedding ceremony there near the pool at sunset with close friends and family about three-and-a-half years ago. It's always very nostalgic for me. The service is five-star, as the compound is near Bali’s coolest restaurants, where my favourites were the famous Ku De Ta and Merah Putih.
Seminyak boasts healthy eating, good shopping and there are day spas around every corner. People are out running on the beach towards dawn, getting their Zen on with a yoga session, soaking up the sun and sitting around hearing the sounds of the ocean. We enjoyed four beautiful days here and it never seemed long enough.
The boys took a day trip with the famous Agus, our trusted Balinese driver, up to Ubud in central Bali for a six-hour session of white-water rafting. Even though they all had so much fun and adventure, they were all asleep by eight o’clock. Aiyla and I got our mani/pedi done and dined at my favourite vegan restaurant before hitting up a massage by the pool.
As I earlier mentioned, Bali listens to your deepest desires and encourages your dreams. There is something very special about that island and it has to be seen to be believed. Hidden beaches of turquoise waters, beautiful green landscapes, mountains, rainforests, wetlands of rice paddies, historic temples and shrines, five-star hotels and budget huts on a clifftop are all captivating views; Bali has it all. It was such an amazing holiday and I cannot wait to go back next year, but for now it is time to go home.