Holiday and family shoot with friends in Bali | Personal blog post


A few weeks ago, I went on holiday to Bali with one of my closest friends, Natascha, (whom I’ve known since we were in junior school), her husband and children.  This was my second trip to Bali, and I had been longing to go back since I was first there several years ago.  If you missed my previous Bali blog posts, click here, and here and here!  We spent about two weeks together, then they headed off back to South Africa, and I stayed on in Ubud to do yoga and meditation. I’ll be writing about that experience, as well as travel tips in the follow-up blog post. I took photos of them as we travelled, so their casual family shoot was spread out over two weeks!

I arrived a few hours before them as we were on different flights, and it was pretty late, so I only got to see them the following morning.  But waking up early in Bali, with the familiar smells, the sounds of geckos and frogs (in the bedroom and outside in the garden!), the warm air and that holiday feeling, was nothing short of bliss. It’s pretty easy to get around Bali, and we opted for getting a driver on most days on the mainland. We just told them where we wanted to go for the day, and generally booked one for 6 hours.  Prices were always negotiated,  but to give you a rough idea, it cost between $25 and $40 for the day.

The first place we stayed at in Uluwatu on the South Western tip was lovely, but when booking a place (we used be sure to check with the owners that you get what is offered online.  So for example, we booked a stunning place, but when we arrived, we were told that we couldn’t access two of the swimming pools as they were private.  So we had to share a small pool with several other cottages.  We were a bit more inland, so getting anywhere, even for a meal, meant we had to organise a taxi.  Looking back, we would rather have spent our time on Gili Meno or Gili Air.

We kept a positive attitude but then decided to check out of that place earlier and head to Kuta, which is in the south. Kuta was a former fishing village and now caters predominantly to tourism.  It’s bustling with shops, restaurants, massage parlours and a huge market next to the beach, and is one of the more vibey places to visit. One to two days is sufficient.

We did a day trip to Seminyak, which is more upmarket with boutique shops, classier restaurants and a more easy-going feel.  Relax on the beach, or take a wander to the Seminyak market, and then along the main road leading to Seminyak Village (a market and shopping area).  The markets in Seminyak offer clothing that is far better quality than at the Kuta markets, so the pricing is quite a bit more.

Our next stop was Ubud, which has always been one of my favourite places in Bali.  It’s really easy to get around on foot, as everything flows and leads out from the main road.  We stayed at a lovely place called Puri Suksma, with views of the lush green rice paddies.  Each room had an ensuite, and the rooms lead to a huge, sparkly blue swimming pool.  We spent quite a lot of time hanging out by the pool, reading and swimming and would stroll into town to enjoy the shops and restaurants.  There is also a restaurant called ‘Cafe Pemulan” right next door to where we stayed, and it has great food and a hang-out area by the pool. Two fun things to do in Ubud is to visit ‘Monkey Forest’ and ‘Alas Arum coffee plantation’. The monkeys are a lot tamer than from what I remember and happily sit cleaning each other while looking on nonchalantly at the people photographing them.  At the coffee plantation, we all braved the ‘bali swings’.  I was terrified, would still recommend the experience, as the view over the rice paddies is incredible (and you’re safely strapped into the swing!).

Next, we headed to the Gili Islands.  The best thing to do is find a kiosk in town advertising ‘adventures’ and ‘trips’.  A ticket included collection from our accommodation in a mini-bus to the harbour and a ‘fast boat’ to Gili Trawangan, we connected to another boat to Gili Meno, where we would be staying.  Tickets were about $20 return, which we also negotiated, as there were 5 of us.

We stayed for 5 days at ‘maoMeno’ on Gili Meno, which you can find on as they currently don’t have a website.  It was a short walk to the stunning beaches.  Gili Meno is a very quiet island with not much happening on it. So it was perfect for us wanting to relax, snorkel, swim and read and have lazy afternoons snoozing.  The population is close to 500 people, and the island is really safe to just wander around. We did a day trip to Gili Air, which is a short 15-minute boat ride from Gili Meno.  Gili Air is a bit more lively, with more vibey restaurants and things going on.  The boat ride we had back to the mainland was terrifying, and not a great end to our ‘family holiday’.  We had huge waves crashing against the boat, and some people were seasick.  We all got off the boat relieved to be alive, with knees wobbling.  But would we do it again? Absolutely yes!  My mini-bus had the engine running and was waiting to whiz me back to Ubud, and Natascha and family were heading back to the airport, so we had hurried hugs goodbye.  I highly recommend Bali for a family holiday, or if you’re travelling solo or with a partner. The Balinese are wonderful, warm people, and are Hindu, so believe in Karma.

Next up on my blog:  Tips on Bali

Above: I have no idea who this girl is, I just loved the red against the green!

Above: Natascha and I on Gili Meno – thanks John!


One Response to “Holiday and family shoot with friends in Bali | Personal blog post”

  1. Lisa-Marie 07/08/2018 at 9:57 pm

    stunning photos Monica !

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