Bali, Indonesia

Photos and Text By Melanie McKay

In November of 2014, my boyfriend Simon and I flew across the world (a real feat for me) to spend time in Bali, Indonesia.  It had always seemed like somewhere I’d only go in my dreams, so it was really amazing to actually be there.

The first place most people (including us) arrive is Kuta. Many people love Kuta! If you are looking for a place to party, this is it. It’s super busy, filled with lots of tourists, lots of shopping, and has a vibrant nightlife. The main drag is also focused around a large, beautiful beach.

After a couple nights in Kuta, we decided to head somewhere more low key. We went further up the island to Ubud. It was beautiful and the mood was a lot more relaxed. It’s in the interior of the island, so there is no ocean to go to, but there are giant forests. Hotels and food are all less expensive here as well. We ended up staying in Ubud longer than planned. Some highlights included visiting the sacred monkey forest and checking out the Hanging Gardens Hotel. I definitely recommend spending time there.

We spent one night even further up island, as we had heard of a great dolphin experience in Singaraja. At 5am we met up with our boat guide. He took us (along with several other boats) out into the ocean. As the sun was rising, dolphins started jumping out all around us. There were at least a few hundred of them. They didn’t seem to mind the boats. In fact, they more so seemed to be showing off. Jumping up, doing flips and so on. We followed them for about an hour, before turning back to shore. It was well worth the drive to Singaraja and the 5am wake up.

The last place we went was another island that we had to take a 2 hour fast boat ride to get to. It was by far our favorite place while in Indonesia. We went to the most popular of the Islands, Gili Trawangan, which felt like a topical paradise. There are no cars on Gili, only little horse carts and bicycles for rent. It’s all the sand beaches, snorkeling, diving, lounging and relaxing I was looking for in a tropical getaway. We ate food in cabanas over the ocean. We had fancy dinners with our bare feet in the sand. We rode our bikes around and caught movies playing on screens set up on beaches. And while snorkeling I saw sea turtles for the first time! It was amazing. Both of us kind of wish we had spent our whole trip there.

Reluctantly, we left Gili and then headed home.  I look forward to when I will have the chance to see Bali again!

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All photos above and below (C) 2015 Melanie McKay

Melanie McKay is a freelance photographer living in Victoria on Vancouver Island, B.C.  Be sure to check out more of her photography on her websiteinstagram, and print store.