Updated: Apr 17
Oh my gosh, I can't believe how long it has taken me to get round to writing this blog about my trip to Bali in 2019. I started to write during the 3rd lockdown in the UK during the Covid-19 Pandemic and completely forgot about it. More than 2 1/2 years onwards, I am currently travelling and working in Sri Lanka. Since November 2021, when the world opened back up, I have been teaching yoga while travelling in Sri Lanka. As the journey continues lets look back on my last solo trip I went on before Covid 19 hit the world.
It's taken me a while to get round to writing the blog, but to also edit the video footage from my trip, so I hope you enjoy the watching the vlogs as much as I do. I really enjoy making them and are such a lovely memento to have to watch back and remember all the thoughts and feelings I was having during that moment in time.
In August 2019 I went on a solo travel holiday to Bali to take time for myself, to explore and experience new things as well as take time to do the things that I love; fitness, yoga and surfing. Since I had been to Bali the previous year by myself yet signed up for a CrossFit camp and yoga retreat (read about that trip here) I already knew the ins and out of the Island so felt more confident about booking and exploring more of the island by myself. The wonders of the internet makes this very easy.
I started my trip in Uluwatu, right down in the south of the island. A great place for surfers and some really beautiful beaches. My hotel Sal Secret Spot was located near Bingin Beach and was a lovely place to relax by the pool and have breakfast alfresco. Being located here meant I could also walk to Bali Training Centre each day for fitness classes. I had seen Bali Training Centre on Instagram before my trip and really wanted to check them out. It was a great facility to meet other tourists also interested in health and fitness. I made a couple of friends during class who I could go and hang out with and explore Uluwatu with during my time in this part of the island.
Classes at Bali Training Centre are mostly HIIT/circuit based. The whole class and all the exercises are written out on a whiteboard so you know what exercise is next. The class would consist of lots (I mean LOTS as well) of different stations and exercises and we would only do 1 maybe 2 rounds with no break to make up the 45 minutes. Sometimes you would get up to 30 people in these classes so there was a great atmosphere and buzz during class. The instructors are friendly and motivating. There are no barbells at Bali Training Centre, so classes are kept to a more fitness approach with no Olympic lifting involved. I quite liked the change while I was there. They also ran Thai Boxing style classes and group HIIT toning classes with resistant bands too.
Attached to Bali Training Centre is a great open aired cafe/restaurant called The Cashew Tree, a great place to grab some post workout brunch, coconut water or a smoothie. I came here many times for a drink or dinner. There is lots of choice for whether you're looking for something healthy or a bit more indulgent and only a 10 minute walk from my hotel. Bingin Beach was a lovely place to be located, the actual beach was really nice with lots of places you can eat on the beach in the evening, including fresh seafood.
During my stay in Uluwatu, I also went to an Ashtanga yoga class at The Yoga Rescue. The Shala and the location where the yoga takes place looked pretty new as I was the only person who had booked onto Ashtanga class. This was great however, as I basically had a 1-2-1 Ashtanga primary series class with the teacher. She was able to guide me through the series and adjust me when needed. While exploring one of the beaches in Uluwatu, I was climbing the copious amount of steps back up to the main road (this is quite common at the beaches in Uluwatu, due to the terrain and cliffs, so get ready to feel the leg burn in the heat) where I stumbled upon a Yoga School. Outside Sannya’s Yoga Academy there was a sign advertising Sound Healing sessions and I popped in to enquire. I was greeted and asked about the sound healing, then I was invited to go into the school and to meet the teachers and the students! It was such a lovely welcoming experience. The teachers invited me to come back later on in the day to participate in the students final exam which was such a fun and definitely an unexpected experience I was up for. The yoga school was so beautiful and peaceful, the gardens created such a tranquil place to be in, plus the Shala upstairs was a beautiful place to take practice in. The school was a hatha yoga school and it was really interesting to explore more about hatha yoga and be a participant in the students exam. I took part in a student, Sophie's exam, who was from China. She was so sweet and excellent and adjustments (physical adjustments seem like such a distant memory since Covid 19) Overall it so nice to connect with like-minded aspiring yoga teachers and such a unexpected positive experience, what a way to spend an afternoon.
This time while visiting Uluwatu, I actually went to the Kecak Fire Dance at Uluwatu Temple. In 2018, I went to visit the temple however did not have time to see the fire dance at sunset. I remember getting to the temple and being the only tourist trying to get tickets for the performance there. Most tourists book their ticket with their driver or with a local guide who queue to get tickets for their clients, while they stand back and watch the chaos. I remember being in the mid of the all the local men and a nice guide offered to buy my ticket for me. Handing the man the money; a risk worth taking, I got myself a ticket. I would recommend to not do it this way and maybe getting your ticket beforehand with a guide to prevent the chaos.
The Kecak fire dance tells the tale of Ramayana. My favorite part is when Hanuman the mischievous monkey god turns up, but there are a lot of interesting and funny parts during the ceremony. The chanting by the Indonesian performers in hypnotic and something I have never experienced before.
From Uluwatu, I travelled up towards the North of Bali with the guide I used last time I was in Bali, Leo (Leo, Bali driver) . It was really lovely to reconnect with Leo and to go on more adventures with him and catch up with how he was over the year. On the way up to the North of Bali we stopped at the Balinese Temples, Taman Ayun and Ulun Danu Beratan. Later we went to visit Gitgit waterfall. It was late in the afternoon and a perfect time to go visit the waterfall as there were no other people visiting. Leo mentioned the waterfall does get quite busy, so it was great to see it while quiet and to be able to take in all of its nature. Afterwards I arrived at my hotel in Lovina on the beach front at night time where I spent one night before meeting Leo for my next day of sightseeing.
The next morning, I had a lovely walk along the beach in Lovina, the sea was very peaceful here compared to the South West coast of Bali. Lovina is famous for dolphin watching, however I have done many dolphin watching tours so was not interested in this. Leo picked me up and we visited the Buddhist Monastery Brahmavihara-Arama, I went swimming in the Banjar hot spring and then to visit the Volcano Batur. In between Leo took me for lunch. Other times Leo has taken me for lunch during our trips to more touristic places, however I said to him I was happy to eat lunch in a Warung, the local cafes. He took me to a place he usually goes to for lunch for traditional Balinese vegetarian food and fish. He asked me if I could eat hot, and I can eat hot, however I forgot this was local Balinese hot! I remember sitting there almost crying from the spice with Leo asking if the food was too hot for me, with me answering 'No' in a very British way.
After this day of sightseeing Leo dropped me off at my next destination which was Seminyak. People had told me mixed things about Seminyak, however I wanted to stay a couple of days here to experience it for myself. There was an outdoor gym nearby called Empire Fit Club which I wanted to also check out (Now Wefitness Bali)
Empire Fit Club ran a mixture of functional fitness classes which I took part in. Using a variety of equipment such as battle ropes, rowing machines, treadmill, barbells, slam balls and rig for a mixture of different exercises. They also had an obstacle course and ran yoga classes. I really enjoyed taking a couple of classes here where I got to work on and try some different movements, from Olympic lifting, to gymnastics to functional movements on the obstacle course.
Seminyak as a place was very busy and had a very different vibe to the other places I had been in Bali. It had more of a city feeling and had more shops, restaurants and bars. Along the beach were many beach clubs. While I mostly came for a holiday to chase fitness, yoga, surf, healthy food and some culture, many people in Seminyak are here just for a holiday.
In Seminyak there was a great vegan café that I had seen on Instagram that I really wanted to go try called Kynd Cafe. I had some really great meals in Kynd Cafe and the vegan ice cream is amazing. This is where I met Leanne who I sat next to on my first visit to the Cafe. We started talking and had many other meet ups in Seminyak. Leanne was visiting her boyfriend (a local who actually works in Kynd Cafe) from Australia. She used to live in England but her parents moved to Australia. She runs an online business helping people with emotional eating, which was super interesting. We also went for a floating brunch at Cabina Bali which again is something I had seen on Instagram. It was lovely to share it with someone who was likeminded and to find out more about each others attitudes towards a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
After Seminyak, I went back to Canngu, where I spent most of my time in Bali in 2018. I stayed back at the surf and yoga retreat, The Chillhouse (which has now been taken over by different owners). It was really lovely to come back to this place and to take yoga classes again with Danielle. While I was in Bali last time, I had the revaluation during her class that I wanted to take my 200 hour Yoga Teacher training. Coming back to this environment now as a Yoga Teacher was quite fulfilling. The Chillhouse have beautiful rooms and is tucked away from the busyness of Bali, also the breakfast is some of the best breakfasts I've had while travelling abroad. Plus the yoga classes are great.
In one year I really noticed how much Canngu had changed. It had become a lot more developed and more busy. More cafes, hotels and restaurants had popped up, meaning less rice fields now exist there. Also a couple more beach clubs have opened. It wasn't as busy as Seminyak, but I did feel like it had lost a bit of its charm from when I visited last time.
While in Canngu, I spent my last couple of days in Bali surfing and taking some CrossFit classes back at S2S CrossFit and one class at CrossFit Wanderlust. I love both CrossFit boxes for different reasons. At CrossFit Wanderlust, the box is big and there are many tourists taking part in class. You really feel part of a team and you are in it together with the amount of people and the coaches are nice. At S2S CrossFit since I had been the year before, when I arrived for my class, I was greeted by many familiar faces with them asking they were wondering when I'd be coming back as they had seen on my Instagram that I was in Bali. S2S is much smaller but I love how they make you feel seen and included as an individual. With a smaller group you get to know everyone in class and really work together throughout your workout. Both times at S2S CrossFit, I made friends with other classmates where we hang out together after class, which when travelling can be really nice.
While I was in Canggu and Seminyak, I met up with my friend Astrid who I met on my 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training in Goa. Astrid is originally from Indonesia and lives in Bali. She showed me where she was living in Umalas (north Canngu) and where she was teaching yoga. We hung out together with Leanne at the beach in Seminyak as well as going to La Brisa, a new beach club in for my last night in Canggu.
So that was my 2 week holiday in Bali full of fitness, surf, yoga, culture, food and friends. While I sit here writing this during my 5th month in Sri Lanka in a café outdoors, it has been great to look back on this adventure. Adventures like this are the stepping stones that took me on this journey to where I am now, travelling in Sri Lanka, working and teaching online and wherever my footsteps take me. Sometimes it is awesome to look back, reminisces and take note of the good times you have had. To have gratitude for how far you've come, where you are now and the exciting adventures you are in control of to come ahead. Make your own happiness, live out your dreams and lets lead happy, healthy fulfilling lives.