Have you ever just felt stuck in a bubble of reality? Caught up on the little things: someone eating too loud, the bad weather…whatever it is.

We spend so much of our energy focusing on things we have very little control over, instead of focusing and what we want and working for it.

Not to get into the boring detail of it, but I was having a bad day, it felt like things just weren’t going my way and my mind was focused on everything negative going on around me BUT I am not complaining. This made me make the best decision of my life!

That night I was sitting on the edge of my bed, scrolling through Facebook (as you do) feeling sorry for myself, when an ad for an 18 day trip to Bali popped up at the side, I do normally ignore these but I was intrigued. I clicked in and straight away I knew this was it. Call me impulsive, but I didn’t think twice, I got my bank card out and put the deposit down (lucky it was just after pay day!) All jokes aside, I didn’t look back.

Call it fate or call it good advertising, I don’t care!

I had been debating for months whether to go travelling in the summer when uni finished or to save up and go when I graduated. Considering I couldn’t convince ONE friend to come with me, I was a bit apprehensive of booking alone but I did just that. A few months later, after talking about it so much I had managed to convince one of my friends to book on with me and that’s where our adventure began!

The trip included 18 days travelling around Bali everything planned to a T! We didn’t have to worry about doing research as The Bali Adventure had done all the dirty work for us. All we had to do was show up on the 2nd of August. With the itchy travel feet I had, I also managed to persuade my friend to book a week in Malaysia before Bali as well. Bonus!

After months of saving and excitement, we packed our bags and went.

After an extremely long and tiring flight we arrived in Kuala Lumpur. With Indonesia having the largest Muslim population in the world, this was a huge culture shock. We clearly stood out from the crowd!

We spent our time in Malaysia exploring the beautiful Kuala Lumpur (KL) visiting the famous Petronas Twin Tours, Suria KLCC Shopping Complex and my favourite of all and the best area for bargain hunters…China Town. TIP: If you want to buy something in China Town, get ready to haggle – It is offensive if you don’t! Hate to admit it but…we decided to eat in an Irish Restaurant almost every day we were there, not so cultured…

A week on, exploring of KL done, now time to catch the flight to Bali. I cannot even describe how excited I was! The flight was only 2 hours but felt like FOREVER!

This is where the real adventure began!
We started off in South Kuta, where we stayed in The Hidden Valley hotel, our first destination. We got checked in and Day 1 was spent exploring the area, chilling by the pool and meeting our new friends that we were spending the next 18 days with! The next day we started with a welcome breakfast and we got the choice of a group yoga session or chilling by the pool…with a few too many drinks the night before I choose chilling by the pool! In the afternoon we had a group surf lesson in one of the most famous surf destinations of Bali, I think I managed to stand up on the board a total of 2 or 3 times…I’m not going to be a pro any time soon! That afternoon we headed to the Uluwatu Temple to watch the sunset alongside a traditional Balinese Kecak Fire Dance, I have never seen anything like it in my life, if you ever go, you have to see!

The next few days we spent visiting the spiritural Batuan temple, followed by an afternoon at the absolutely stunning Tegenungan Waterfall and an evening tour of Bali Zoo…WOW! We caught a rare glimpse of the animal kingdom and how they live when darkness falls (I even caught an Orangutang trying to pick pocket me!)

We explored the monkey forest sanctuary (the monkeys are cute but very scary!) the Tegalalang Rice Terrace and took in the beautiful sites around us. We started travelling across to the West of the Island to Bratan Lake, stopping of at the picturesque Ulundanu Bratan Temple and the Gitgit waterfall for a dip on our way to Lovina where we spent the next few days. A 5am start and we got to see the dolphins at sunrise on a traditional outrigger boat and for all you coffee lovers, we got to taste the world’s most expensive coffee produced from the Luwak animal. Another early start and we began to trek an active volcano, Mount Batur…a once in a lifetime experience!

Lastly, we spent a few days on my favourite island…Gili Trawangan, also known as Gili T…all I can say is look at it for yourself.

If you haven’t been to Bali…you are missing out! With The Bali Adventure we were able to travel in luxury, with a backpacker’s budget and made some amazing friends for life, some even planning to come over to Ireland for St Patricks day!

If Bali isn’t on your bucket list, stick it on!

To see a full itinerary, click here

Christine Murtagh is a final year BSc student in Communication, Advertising and Marketing at Ulster University. Find her on Twitter @Cmurtagh95, and Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/christine-murtagh-413409b9/