This journal was written as a physical diary by me during my gap year. I am typing this up to share my gap year experience. At the beginning of travels I was 22. I travelled with a friend (Kieren) and anybody else involved will be introduced during the journal. For more details, check here.

For the Bali part of the trip, we decided to do Bali Intro 12-day adventure. Find more information here. This has changed slightly since 2017 and no longer goes to Kuta.

Welcome to Part One of my Gap Year Travel Journal! Today, we visit Bali!

30th September 2017

We flew from Newcastle to Dubai (approx. 7 hours) then had an 8 hour stopover in Dubai. We landed after midnight local time so couldn’t really explore Dubai too much. However, we wanted to leave to airport so we got a taxi to a 24-hour shisha cafe (Shisha Cafe and Lounge) to get shisha and pizza.

(a) Pre-travel photo showing us and all our luggage for the year taken at Newcastle Airport, UK. (b) Plane ticket from Newcastle to Dubai.

1st October 2017

We flew from Dubai to Bali (appox. 9 hours). When we arrived, we were picked up at the airport by a driver (we get one through Intro Travel) and were taken to Kuta. It was pretty late (after 11pm) but we headed straight out for a few drinks. To attract tourists, pretty much all the bars were blasting the Despacito remix ft. Justin Bieber.

(a) Plane ticket from Dubai to Bali. (b) Away we go!

2nd October 2017

Due to jetlag, I slept in until 12pm and I couldn’t believe it when I woke up. I wandered up the main street of Kuta looking for something to eat and found a great place where I had pineapple juice and fried rice. There are so many shops around and it’s a very hectic street!

The accommodation we are in is lovely – it’s called Bendesa Accomodation. It has a lovely pool, which is located almost directly outside of the hotel room. Today, we met the rest of our Intro Travel group, and our tour guide Alicia, and they all seem lovely! We just chilled by the pool for most of the day and got to know everyone. In the evening, we went for a meal and cocktails. The local cocktails are incredibly strong! Kieren got very drunk and decided to play guitar with the Balinese band (of course)*.

(a) Bendesa Accomodation, Kuta. (b) View from the patio of the room to the pool.

*Kieren is a musician.

3rd October 2017

This morning I was very hungover – those local drinks are an absolute nightmare! At first, I literally thought that I wouldn’t be able to do the activities for the day so I missed the morning briefing. Luckily, I was feeling much better by the time we were supposed to head out.

We visited Uluwatu Temple, which is a Balinese Sea Temple. It was incredibly beautiful. A monkey stole my Ray Bans – I had to wait it out but finally got them back! There’s a specific guy – I’ll call him the monkey guy – who you pay to get back your belongings from the monkeys. Surely he’s trained them to steal stuff so he gets paid to get it back? He was no help though. The monkey bit off the rubber parts and bent the arms pretty badly. He eventually got bored and wandered off without them, which is when I managed to steal them back. I managed to fix them but they now have monkey bite marks…

(a) Uluwatu Temple. (b) Leaflet with information about the temple. (c) View from the temple.

The next stop was Padang Padang Beach – wow, this had incredibly clear waters and it was so beautiful! Then onto Single Fin bar and restaurant to watch the sunset over the sea. So beautiful!

(a) Sunset view from Single Fin Bar. (b) Padang Padang Beach.

Once back in Kuta, we headed out for the night to Sky Garden, which is the biggest nightclub in Bali. This was so fun, although incredibly hot!

Having fun in Sky Garden.

4th October 2017

This morning, we left Kuta and headed to Canggu. We moved to FRii Bali Echo Beach Hotel – so amazing! We have a ground floor room with the patio doors opening directly into the pool!

During the day we learnt to surf at Canggu beach with Mojo Surf. I even managed to stand a few times!

(a) Getting ready to try surfing, Canggu. (b) FRii Bali Echo Beach Hotel. (c) Canggu beach. (d) Drawing from journal showing local beer (Bintang).

We had lunch on the rooftop of the hotel then chilled in the pool for a few hours. In the evening we went to the beach for a beer then headed to a local restaurant for food.

We came back and chilled in the room with our feet dangling in the pool!

5th October 2017

This morning we went to Pura Ulun Danu Bratan Temple, a buddhist and hindu temple, and saw the Full Moon Ceremony. There was lots of music then a chicken and duck were thrown into the sea (they lived)!

(a) Tickets to get into Pura Ulun Danu Bratan Temple. (b) Full Moon Ceremony at Pura Ulun Danu Bratan Temple. (c)(d) Lovina Rice Paddies.

The next stop was Lovina Rice Paddy, where we saw all the rice then had a buffet lunch overlooking the rice paddies.

In the afternoon, we went to swim in a waterfall (not entirely sure where this was) – so beautiful but so cold! We then tried some Luwak coffee, which is the most expensive coffee in the world. Basically a luwak (kind of like a cat) eats coffee cherries, digest it and then poop it out… Honestly, it was pretty good.

(a) Waterfall (location unknown). (b) Intro Travel group at the waterfall.

Finally, we drove to our new accommodation for the night. This is a beautiful villa with an infinity pool and amazing views!

The night was so fun – campfire and lots of games! Kieren won the box game (which is incredibly considering he’s 6ft 5in).

(a) Infinity pool of the Bali Intro villa in Lovina. (b) Diagram from journal showing height different between the box and Kieren. (c) Bali Intro villa in Lovina.

Check out the next instalment here.