Luxury on a shoestring in Bali

The Gilli Islands is a secluded getaway off the typical tourist trail.
The Gilli Islands is a secluded getaway off the typical tourist trail.

IF YOU think Bali is filled with bogans in Bintang singlets, think again. My partner and I recently spent two weeks there and it was the most luxurious and relaxing time we've ever had.


Our trip to Bali started with six days in Seminyak. We were pleasantly greeted by our driver at the airport. Supra has been a driver for 10 years and his English was good. He even came shopping with me a couple of times so I got the "local prices". We would have been lost without him.

I was blown away by our Seminyak resort. We were greeted with an iced tea and cool face towel. The Royal Beach Resort is on the beach. I wouldn't call it fancy but it was perfect for us - two-for-one cocktails, live music, large pool and day beds.


The best acai bowl in Seminyak.
The best acai bowl in Seminyak.

Day two started off with me joining a water aerobics class - very Bridget Jones. It was a good way to make some friends and have a laugh. Bali is all about doing something different. Guys, don't think the manicures and pampering are just for girls. There's no judgment in this place. The next couple of days involved a lot of shopping. I sniffed out department stores at the Beachwalk Mall in Kuta. Ladies, it's a must visit. There are also lots of stalls outside and in Kuta square if you're looking for sunglasses and handbags.

On the food front, wow, there were many hip cafes and restaurants. One cocktail arrived in a sea shell. Bali knows tourism - rooftop bars, beach clubs, anything you want. I had the best acai bowl I've ever had in Seminyak. I suggest not getting a buffet breakfast so you can explore the cafes.


Gilli Islands

After our six days in Seminyak we decided to go on an adventure to the Gilli Islands. Our driver picked us up and dropped us at Padang Bai. From there we were crammed on to a boat like sardines for about two hours. But it was worth it.

The unique thing about the Gilli Islands is there are no cars or motorbikes. The only form of transport is by horse and cart or bicycle. We hired a bike for three days and explored Gili Trawangan, the largest of three islands.

On our bike ride I came across a hammock and swing in the ocean. It was like heaven on earth, such a relaxing experience to be lying over water.


Next stop, Uluwatu. The white sun wrapped around the island like salt on a margarita glass. The resort was, without a doubt, the most gitzy place I had stayed. Anantara Uluwatu is built on a cliff and has two infinity pools overlooking the ocean. Our ocean suite room was bigger than our three-bedroom apartment at home. We spent the next three days exploring the buffet breakfast and watching the surfers from our infinity pool.


An infinity pool beside the ocean at Anantara Uluwatu.
An infinity pool beside the ocean at Anantara Uluwatu.

Our resort had its own private beach with an elevator so it was very easy to get to and from the pool.

I would definitely put Bali on your bucket list. You can live like royalty over there and it won't break the bank.


A pool at Anantara Uluwatu.
A pool at Anantara Uluwatu.


1. Find an English-speaking driver

2. Ku De Ta

3. El Kabron

4. Shop at Beachwalk Mall, Kuta (Zara and H&M)

5. Seminyak rooftop bars are a must-do (Moonlight or Double Six)

6. Potato Head beach club

7. Sisterfields acai bowl

8. Finns Beach Club Canggu

Topics:  bali general-seniors-news luxury travel travel-international

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

EXCLUSIVE: Juanes, the Latin heartthrob coming to Bluesfest

ON STAGE: Juanes performs at the 2018 MusiCares Person of the Year tribute honoring Fleetwood Mac at Radio City Music Hall on in New York.

He has sold 15 million records and won 20 Latin Grammys

Helping out our Younger Heroes

HEROES: Damien Schofield with some of the attendees at the most recent Younger Heroes camp at Mount Warning

Yonger Heroes score bank award.

These Vampires live on jazz

MUSICIAN: Alex Boneham.

The Australian Music Prize nominated jazz-world band play this week

Local Partners