New Years Eve in Bali

For as long as I can remember I have wanted to ring in the new year by the sea.

To watch the final sunset of the year dip into the waves, to feel the warm breeze against salty skin and raise a cold glass in thanks and anticipation.

And this year I finally did it!

Swimsuit // Star print skirt

My boyfriend and I travelled back to the island of Bali, a place I’d fallen in love with years before.

On my last visit the girls and I did our best to see every inch of the place, touring it from top to bottom and staying in a new place every other night.

This time we went for a more relaxed approach. Opting to stay in one villa in Uluwatu.

Uluwatu is the peninsula that sticks out of the very south of Bali.

Largely un-developed, it’s a mass of mountains, jungle and wild beaches.

The surfing crowd flock here and it has a real “topless and barefoot” vibe going on.

I booked one of the Uluwatu Surf Villas on the west coast. A collection of thatched, local style villas and bungalows on the cliff edge.

We made “The Bungalow” (a misnomer as it’s one of the few villas with 2 floors) our home.

Far away from prying eyes, utterly peaceful in a little patch of jungle, complete with it’s own sizeable pool!

Polkadot bikini

Just the sort of place we needed to wind down at the end of a busy year.

Swimsuit

The gardens look out over the sea, with an unparalleled private view of the sunset every night.

And there’s a great yoga studio where you can join the sunrise session any time you like.

Cold coconuts included.

Yoga gear

Not far away, just a few minutes up the coast, we found Blue Point.

A ramshackle collection of little eateries, bars and surf shops.

Skirt // Bikini // Bag

Be sure to head there one morning for a smoothie, an acaii bowl or a coconut.

Pull up a seat at the bar and watch the surfers below do their thing.

It is of course worth remembering that Christmas/New Years is peak rainy season!

We would wake up some mornings to the most intense rainstorms we’ve ever experienced. Raindrops the size of grapes pelting down from the heavens, pattering on the thatch roof and wooden deck outside.

I’m the sort of person who loves meditation tapes and “nature sounds” CDs so I was on cloud nine.

We’d run out into the rain, dance in it, swim in it, kiss in it, and run back inside to stretch out on the bed and read our books – surrounded by the never ending sound of rain.

(Press play on the video below with your speakers on loud)

Pluviophile : a lover of rain; someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days 🙌🏼💦🍃

A video posted by Rosie (@rosielondoner) on

If you’ve never danced in tropical rain, put it firmly on your bucket list.

The weather forecasts are utterly useless, the app pretty much showed rain all week. But in fact it generally just rains for a couple of hours (sometimes less) and then you get glorious sunshine for the rest of the day.

Which is fun because it makes you appreciate it more than you might otherwise.

And there’s no better way to appreciate a sunny day, than by going to the beach!

What used to be Finn’s Beach Club (a place I raved about on my last trip!) is now Sunday’s Beach club.

“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

The place is exactly the same as it ever was.

You take the open-air-rickety-elevator down the cliffside, walking the rest of the way down cobbled steps as monkeys skip around your feet.

Onto soft white sand edging turquoise blue sea.

Along with a cracking little restaurant and bar overlooking it all.

You pay an entrance fee (not much) but you get it as credit at the restaurant, so really you’re saving money by having lunch there!

Be sure to bag a beanbag and a parasol and you can easily while away a day here.

They’ll bring you drinks and snacks and if you wait for sunset you can sit around a bonfire making smores.

Just be sure to load up on sunscreen, with the sea breeze blowing you won’t notice how unbelievably strong the sun is and you’ll burn before you know it.

Taking a good hat wouldn’t go amiss either.

Swimsuit // Hat // Sunnies

The foodie scene has changed and evolved significantly since my last visit.

The Instagram generation has taken over and the island is now littered with pretty little spots where you can find all the Aussie breakfast favourites – avocado toast is now king in Bali.

Seminyak and Uluwatu are now particularly hot restaurant wise.

You can spend a lazy morning at home…

Wake up slowly…

…and stroll in almost any direction to bump into a spot flogging acaii bowls and iced lattes.

Sunnies // Clutch

These particular beauties came from Drifter Surf Shop, where you can eat in the garden out back.

Surrounded by dangerous local tigers.

Who are particularly lethal to handbags.

The temples in Bali are incredible places.

I mean truly jaw droppingly special.

In fact much of Bali feels spiritual and almost buzzes with the most incredible energy. Perhaps it’s just down to the people, but it really does feel magic.

We visited Uluwatu Water Temple shortly after a rain storm.

The air thick with rising steam as the temperatures climbed up into the 40s.

We wandered the grounds, taking in the sights and playing with some of the cheekier inhabitants.

Dress // Basket

Monkeys live in all of the Balinese temples.

Like all wild animals, some are calmer than others.

Don’t try and feed them (unless you’re at the Monkey Temple in Ubud where they’re used to it), don’t wear jangly earrings, flash sunglasses or much jewellery. They’re cheeky buggers and they can tell who’s afraid, so they’ll whip your stuff away before you can shriek “there’s a monkey on my head!”

But honestly if you keep a respectful distance (ie. don’t try to take selfies with them) they’re pretty cool.

Getting used to the heat and humidity is really all down to acceptance.

Once you accept that it’s hotter than any spa’s steam room, you can adapt. Move more slowly, wear loose, cotton clothing (you have to wear the sarongs given to you as you enter temples) and seek out the shade.

All of Bali feels spiritual.

Every home has a shrine to their ancestors, every day the locals make offerings to the spirits (you’ll see them on the floor everywhere – little palm leaf baskets with flowers, food, incense and coins – try not to step on them).

It’s pretty incredible to see their devotion.

Even places where you wouldn’t expect it.

We fell in love with a fancy hotel restaurant on the south coast called The Warung at Alilia.

Somewhere you can book a private birdcage hanging over the sea for supper.

Swimsuit // Star print skirt // Sandals

The passion fruit margaritas rival any back home and the Indonesian food is some of the best I’ve ever had.

What drew us to Uluwatu was the relative wilderness.

Far less developed than Kuta or Seminyak, it hides the occasional 5* resort but other than that things feel pretty wild an unbelievably authentic.

Thomas beach is a little known spot on the Uluwatu Coastline.

Which is surprising because it’s next to Padang Padang beach, known locally as “Julia Roberts” beach because they shot some of Eat Pray Love there, and it’s been overrun with tourists ever since!

Thomas beach is the most gorgeous stretch of soft white sand, ungroomed, unmaintained and wonderfully imperfect.

There are two restaurant/bars here and two rival parasol places where you can rent a bed for the day.

Rent a parasol from the guy furthest along the beach, Mary will take care of you and hook you up with some big ol’ coconuts.

Pay 50k for each bed, which works out at about £3 and you’ll live like a king for the day.

Swimsuit // Shorts // Hat // Bangles

Walk back along the beach to the first restaurant you find.

The noodles are ok here, but the watermelon juice is excellent (ask for it with no sugar – a good rule of thumb for ordering juice in Asia anyway).

Get some fresh lime squeezed in there and you have a couple’a winners for less than a couple’a quid!

Life at the villa was pretty spectacular.

Every morning we’d be woken up with fresh fruit, Balinese coffee (rocket fuel) and the chef would set to work whipping up scrambled eggs and banana pancakes.

We’d trundle down the private stone steps to the sea.

(I only got attacked by a very cross monkey once, and was rescued by a local fisherman.)

Down to the smooth rocks and tide pools.

There’s no restaurant at the villas, so you order takeaway from the local restaurants and the bellboys race off on their mopeds to pick it up for you.

We essentially lived on nasi goreng (fried rice with chicken and satay sauce) and mie goreng (the same but with noodles) for lunch and dinner most days.

Getting very fat and happy indeed.

Occasionally we’d pop over to Blue Point for something different, my personal favourite being the poke bowls.

And Paletas Wey.

Gypsy dress // Moonstone ring // Bangles

I’m aware that this post is waffling on somewhat, so I’ll stop now!

All in all it was a truly incredible trip. Maybe my best ever.

We relaxed fully and came home feeling like brand new humans.

I still have a million Bali recommendations for you, so maybe a “Bali Bucketlist” post of things to do would be a good idea?

I’ll try and put one together for tomorrow!

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  • Emma F

    Bali is well and truly on my travel lust-list now! It sounds like you had an incredible time, and the food looks absolutely delicious. I would love to see more blog posts on Bali if you can! x

    http://www.emmajayne.me

  • Sarah

    Please post a Bali bucket list, off there later in the year so would be super handy 🙂

  • Rach

    It seriously looks incredible there! The view is amazing and serene!

    http://www.rdsobsessions.com

  • I hope you were careful of the tiger! It looked hungry!

  • Absolutely breathtakingly beautiful … Always a vision of beauty! 🙂

    ❤LA BIJOUX BELLA❤ | BY MIA | A Creative Lifestyle Blog

  • Love this post Rosie – what a fabulous trip and Bali is firmly on my bucket list so a round up of your top tips would be fabulous!

    http://www.caribbeansnowflake.com

  • Incredible pictures throughout this post Rosy! I was really hoping to hear about your stay after seeing your instagram posts. Looks so totally amazing and definitely providing some good travel inspo. Please do write a piece about your best Bali tips and advice! Julie x

    http://www.jafinthebox.wordpress.com

  • Peppermint Dolly

    Ughhhhhhh you are killing me Rosie!! This all looks and sounds incredible!! Glad you guys had such fun!

    Rebecca
    xx
    http://www.peppermintdolly.com

  • Annie

    Rosie, what an incredible trip! Bali looks amazing even in the rainy season. We visited Thailand during their rainy season and were so worried it was going to rain the entire time but it’s the same as Bali. Rains for a short period of time and then the sky opens up and it’s absolutely beautiful. I can’t wait to read the Bali bucket list and add it to my own bucket list!

    -Annie
    http://www.discoveringyourhappy.com

  • Was it busy when you went over new year? Also as it’s their “rainy season” was it cheaper than other destinations? I’m thinking of doing this for the next new year.

  • Such a great post – I feel like I was there and it has me itching to plan my next vacation. 🙂

  • Roxanne

    This was such a beautiful post! All the pictures are draw dropping and you seem like a really nice person 🙂

  • Joules

    This trip looks like a dream! Bali is definitely on my list of places to travel, and I like the idea of going more rural like you did!

    Style by Joules

  • Chelsea Norman

    Such a beautiful post! Is it hard to get there? Do you have to fly into one of the larger airports? Clearly I am adding it to my bucket list 😉

  • hallie

    going to bali for my honeymoon in may! would LOVE to see your bali bucketlist!!!! xoxo

  • This is one of my favorite posts you’v ever written! Can you please elaborate on the attacking monkey/kind fisherman story? That sounds hilarious. 😀

    http://www.thewritingtraveler.com

  • Oh my! How lovely! I love the pics of the monkeys (I know they are so naughty) and the little kitten! Bali is definitely on my bucket list of places to visit. Your star print dress and yoga gear? WOW!!!

  • Courtney Cartier

    WOW Rosie! This is a dream! The kitten kinda took it overboard for me. 🙂 I need to keep this in my back pocket. Honeymoon destination perhaps?

  • Karen F

    That is my dream vacation.It must of been very hard to leave and go home.

  • Loved this post Rose, it sounds absolutely incredible and your days sounded like perfection. I’ve just got back from the PhillipInes and this has made me miss the beach life too much alreaady.

    Mel x

    mediamarmalade.com

  • Beautiful pictures. Bali is so on my list.
    http://www.thevagabondwayfarer.com

  • What an idyllic place, gorgeous. x
    http://www.gleeoflife.eu

  • Your star print dress is so pretty! It’s an amazing trip. I always spend NYE with family but I’d wouldn’t mind going on a exotic trip for a change 🙂

    http://www.memoriesofthepacific.com

  • This post seriously makes me want to quit my job and travel the world!
    Natasha x

  • Ace

    Easily one of your better posts. I had to comment to mention the improvement. To the point, informative, cute pictures (cat!) intermixed with informative ones, no repetitive pictures, and not drawn out. Keep it up! Bali looks beautiful.

  • I’ve wanted to visit Bali for ages since reading Liz Gilbert, but it looks beautifully spiritual, relaxing, and tranquil – I need to straighten up and book a trip!

    Lauren x
    Britton Loves | Lifestyle Beauty Wellbeing

  • This looks amazing! I wanna go to Bali now! 🙂

    http://www.champagne-lifestyle.com

  • Beautiful post, I really enjoyed reading it!! I’ve been in Bali a couple of years ago & now I really would like to go back after seeing all your beautiful pics!! 😉
    xx
    Umberta
    http://thesecretlifeofanactress.com/

  • I’m trying to work out how I can afford to get to Bali this year. This post has made me even more deteremined to make it happen!

    lottiekerr.blogspot.co.uk

  • THE most beautiful place to spend New Year, it looks like you had an incredible time! <3

    http://victorialouisekblogs.blogspot.co.uk/

    Victoria

    X

  • It looks absolutely amazing! And I kind of want that kitten, oh my goshhh!

    poppyrkay.blogspot.co.uk

  • lana

    Love, love Bali. We went there for our mini honeymoon last year (http://www.thestylishvoyager.com/72-hour-guide-bali-eat-laugh-swim/) and this year will go back to celebrate my and hubby’s 40th birthdays. Will be chilling for almost 2 weeks in our villa and will def check out Uluwatu this time.

    http://www.thestylishvoyager.com

  • Caroline

    Wonderful insight, Rosie! I ordered the moonstone ring from your lovely Mother and wear it everyday! 🙂

  • What an incredible getaway! Bali’s definitely on my bucket list!

  • Wow, your NYE looks like it was utterly heavenly! Bali is at the very top of my must visit list!

    Rosie x

    http://www.thecrewchef.wordpress.com

  • This looks like my kind of New Year’s Eve!

    xx Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes