Asia Indonesia

Bali: then and now, and why I keep coming back

In August 2010, my three friends and I took off from Amsterdam for a three week holiday in Bali. It was my first ‘far away’ trip to the tropics and I was as excited as I was nervous. I didn’t have the same amount of adventure-filled blood streaming through my veins then as I do now, so we booked an all-in trip for three weeks in the same hotel in Kuta. I know – three weeks in Kuta equals hell to most of us now, but believe it or not, I had an amazing holiday

In exactly one month I’m going back to Bali for the fourth time. It’s an island I can never get enough of, and even though it has changed drastically over the last eight years, I will never ever get bored of Bali. Why, and what has changed you’re asking? Let me tell you in this blog.

Tiny airports and flirty officers
[August 2010] After two flights of in total 17 hours we arrived at a tiny airport in Denpasar. The airport was as basic as you can imagine, with everything made of wood and just a handful of immigration officers sitting behind their desks waiting to stamp excited tourists into the country. When it was my turn, the immigration officer kept staring at my face until the point it became really awkward. He then whispered: “beautiful blue eyes” and kept on staring at me. Well, I can tell you, this has never happened to me during my second and third visit to Bali! The Balinese are so used to tourists right now that a pale skin, blue eyes or ginger hair don’t make them look twice anymore. And that tiny cute airport? Ha – that’s gone! After our visit, Ngurah Airport got a huge make over, and became a big, modern airport.

Kuta… oh boy
I already briefly mentioned it: we stayed in Kuta for three full weeks. Oh lord. Why. Why dear god why. Who in his right mind would ever do that?! Well, we did. Eight years ago, Kuta was already a big, bustling, busy spot, but it was nowhere near the tourist-hell that it is nowadays. We left Kuta three times during our holiday, to go on day trips to places like Ubud and the Nusa Islands. These days, I try to avoid Kuta like the plague. One of the main roads that was once an empty road with just a few hotels is now a busy road with big malls that remind you of America or Australia. Nope, Kuta is definitely not where you want to be.

“Eef, are you sure you still like Bali?”
I know, the way I’m describing present-day Bali probably makes you wonder why I’m going back for a fourth time, but I’ll happily explain. Have you got a few hours? I could go on and on and on and on about the reasons why I LOVE this beautiful Indonesian island so much. I’ll try to name just a few:

-The people and culture: 
Balinese people are some of the friendliest people I have ever encountered on my travels. They are warm, open and so very welcoming. The will do anything to make you feel right at home, and if Thailand is called ‘The Land of Smiles’, I believe Bali deserves the title ‘The Island of Smiles’.

-Food Heavennn!
Indonesian food
is delicious. Okay, not just delicious, it’s fantastic! My favorite is gado gado, and no one can make a peanut sauce like the Indonesians can. But Bali takes food to another level. Hipster cafes with smashed avo and acai bowls are popping up everywhere, and not only does the food look great, it’s a feast for your tastebuds as well.

-Bali has it all
You love watching sunsets on the beach? Go to Bali. You love driving through lush green rice fields on a motorbike? Go to Bali. You love a good party? Go to Bali. You love Asian food? Go to Bali. You love culture and enchanting tempels? Go to Bali. You want to relax and unwind from your busy daily life? Go to Bali. You got the point? Go to Bali.

Yes, like with any Southeast Asian hotspot, Bali isn’t what it used to be eight years ago. But that doesn’t stop me from falling in love with this island more and more each time I visit. Counting down the days until the next time… 27…26…25…24….23……

❤ Eef

…and for those of you curious to see one of the photos taken back in 2010 – here you go. Can you guess which one’s me? ;D

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  • Those Darwin sunsets... 🌅🌴
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Before heading to Australia’s Top End I heard many stories about the renowned Darwinian sunsets, so of course I had to see one myself. After a quick google search on the best sunset spots I headed to the Skycity Casino, located right next to Mindil Beach. Mother Nature put on her best show and spoiled me with these spectacular colors. Wow! 😍
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Tip: if you’re with a plus one, grab a drink at the Skycity infinity pool. It is said the sunset looks even prettier from there. I decided not to watch it from there because I was by myself. I didn’t feel like setting up my tripod and posing in front of other people who were there to enjoy a peaceful sunset, and not to watch a travel blogger do a “live behind the scenes” 😁🤷🏼‍♀️😅.
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Just came back from a great weekend in Central Coast, about 1h30m north from Sydney. Even though the weather was quite unpredictable we had the greatest time 👯‍♀️👯‍♂️ At night I cozily snuggled up in my comfy cabin at @discoveryparks 😌😴 You’ll find this beautiful beach right in front of their Toowoon Bay holiday park! 🙌🏼
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🏳️‍🌈 #MardiGras 2019 kicked off last Sunday at the always fun (and free!) Fair Day. I dropped by at the stand of Australia's Greenest Power Company: @powershopaus. Not only do they celebrate positivity, they also pledge to a greener and more inclusive mother earth. Thanks to Powershop, Mardi Gras’ biggest events for 2019 are now 100% Carbon offset! 🙌🏼
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#powershop #powerforgood #sponsored
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When everyone was celebrating Valentine’s Day, I was celebrating @wayoutbackaus 20th Birthday 🎈Some prefer romantic dinners and candle lights, I prefer chasing waterfalls and swimming holes 😁
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If you’re ever in #Darwin, make sure you check out these Buley rock holes. They don’t only look like paradise, their refreshingly cold water makes it feel like paradise as well 😅 
@AusOutbackNT, you have blown me away! 🙌🏼
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  • I learned two things on my trip with @wayoutbackaus in Australia’s Top End:
-It’s undeniably beautiful 😍.
-it’s undeniably hot 😅
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But luckily these two go hand in hand if you know where to find the best spots. Wayoutback sure does! 😃
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These are the Motor Car Falls in #Kakadu National Park. After an hour walk you arrive at this gorgeous waterfall where you can swim, splash around and cool off 💦 Don’t ask me where the name comes from though... 😁
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  • Okay @AusOutbackNT, I totally understand what the #NTaustralia fuss is all about 😍🙌🏼
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...and I ain’t seen nothing yet! Tomorrow my trip here in the Northern Territory will really start, when @wayoutbackaus will take me on a three day tour and show me all the good the NT has to offer. I can’t wait to explore more and l share all my adventures with you guys 🤗
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