It was Vanessas dream to come to Bali and I quite fancied it too. Bali is a beautiful island which is far more varied than you can imagine.
Near, well connected to Kuta is Legian. We stayed in a lovely hotel at a crazy price. It proved a great place to base ourselves as we explored. Bali is as much about relaxing as it is surf. Legian etc is all about the surf. Every big brand has a shop and surf school here. Rip Curl, Quiksilver etc. With good reason. Even someone who knows nothing about surfing can tell how amazing it is. Perfect barrels and big but not scary big ( for the most part) waves. It's great fun to body board too. Only problem with being a world class surf destination a few hours from one of the biggest surf countries in the world, Australia is Kuta is epicly touristy. It's Australias Costa del Sol and it shows. You can walk for hours and see nothing but t shirt, surf, and trinket shops. Still, its a lot of fun.
In the north is the complete opposite. Empty beaches and laid back attitude. We did a fantastic, if unbelievably early dolphin trip. We had a small private boat and sailed out following the dolphins. We then had breakfast on the water while watching the sunrise. Nice.
We also got to see a lot of rural Bali via a private car tour of east Bali. Having never seen a volcano before I was blown away by mount gurung and the way it cones out of the flat surroundings. It would be a fantastic climb.
Ubud is the historic capital of Bali and it shows due to its huge amount of temples. There is also a fantastic Monkey Forest. Hilarity mixes with fear as you watch the greedy gits steal, pillage and seemingly rape each other.
The main reason we went to Ubud though was to stay in the fantastic Elephant Safari Park and Lodge. We joined such names as David Beckham, Dolph Lungren, Jean Claude Van Damme, Julia Roberts, Steve Irwin and Tony Blair as park visitors. The highlight being getting picked up from your room by your Elephant Chauffeur. Fantastic.
The last few days we have relaxed in Kuta, bar a couple of free nights out, whilst also taking in a lovely trip to Balagan beach. The surf was crazy and it was really exciting to see near pros at work. We also went to Uluwatu to watch a monkey infested sunset. Funny moments included watching monkeys steal then chew on glasses. A potentially expensive trip to the temple.
Overall Bali was different to what I expected but still fantastic. It's a varied and interesting island.