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The past month I have been taking a slight break and took time to travel with my family. We decide to head to Bali for some sun and to celebrate my wife’s milestone birthday that is coming up next month.

We flew on Qatar, stopping at Doha for a short stopover. This resulted in total flight time from London to Denpasar of about 18 hours. We had booked an All-Inclusive package at the Melia Bali hotel which is in Nusa Dua. This is in the South East of the island and about 20 minutes from the airport. Built in the ’70s, the area is all about tourists with a high number of 5-star hotels and complexes.

The hotel was stunning. There really is no other way to describe it. Set in over 20 acres of grounds it sits on a calmer reef lagoon beach. We had opted for a lagoon garden view room which meant we had a swim-up pool outside our room. The room was very well kept and presented and was really spacious. The main bed could sleep the three of us with extra room but the living area had a separate bed for my son. The grounds of the hotel are luscious and kept immaculately and this extends within the hotel buildings. Plants and local flowers of vibrant colours are everywhere.

The hotel has 5 restaurants. They all serve a breakfast buffet and so you can choose your morning view. For lunch and dinner they server Ala Carte menus. The food on here is very good but, and this is our only negative comment, the selection is limited. Each menu only really contains a small number of dishes. Only two restaurants really serve anything vegetarian at all. Luckily these were the beach restaurant and the main indoor restaurant. The other problem with these menus was the fact they never change. So over the time we were there it started to feel a little repetitive. The beach restaurant was right on the beach and the setting was fantastic. After dinner, they had a fire pit on the beach and rolled out bean bags and tables for you to sit and drink and listen to the various music.

We had planned to do various trips and see various parts of the island but once there and chilled out we didn’t. The two main things we did was head to Uluwatu temple for sunset one evening and we walked out to the Water Blow.

Uluwatu temple is on the other side of the southern part of of the island and we took a bus across to see it at sunset. The bus drove through many villages and it was really interesting to see “real” Bali. The temple at Uluwatu is located on a clifftop and provides some pretty stunning views. That evening, the temple was being used for worship. So we were able to experience the sights and smells and crowds. The temple itself and the grounds are home to monkeys and you do have to watch your bags, cameras and sunglasses. One guy found this out to his cost as he stood helpless watching a monkey snap his glasses in half. You get to walk around the grounds and the temple and along the cliffs to see various monuments. I enjoyed this and would recommend a trip.

The other place we ventured to was the Water Blow which was about a km’s walk from the hotel. The Blow is formed in the cliffs and when the tides are right waves of several meters blow up through the cliffs and into the air. The Blow is situated in a nice park that is used by the locals and again it was nice to meet them and see a less touristy part of the island.

There is a small shopping mall about a 2km walk from the hotel called The Bali Collection. This was a nice place to walk to early evening and had a good range of shops selling local and international brands. There were a lot of restaurants all with staff trying to attract you but they were not persistent and happily understood “no thanks”.

The rest of the days were spent paddle boarding and cycling, swimming and relaxing. I have wanted to visit Bali since I was a kid in the 90’s reading about it in Surf magazines. While my surfing days are long gone, Bali surpassed my expectations. I would go back tomorrow given the chance. This time I would very much like to stay and travel around the less touristy parts. Saying that, the staff and people we met at the Melia were some of the nicest people I have ever met and made our stay perfect.

If you have places you would recommend or have any questions about our trip then please reach me via twitter or email.