In the depths of the Ubud Monkey Forest in the uplands of Bali, I was tentatively making friends with the locals. Perching on my arm, the fuzzy grey creature finished his snack then leapt to the floor by my boyfriend’s feet leaving little muddy footprints behind on my shirt.
With crumbling ruins, mossy statues and ancient temples overgrown with trees and vines, the forest looks like the set of an Indiana Jones movie. But with extra monkeys. There are minimal walls to keep the remarkably tame primates within, but with bananas and corn on tap, why would they leave?
Saying goodbye, we set off in search of lunch and took a car to Rock Bar, an hour away on Bali’s southwest coast. Getting around the island is cheap and easy – you can hire a driver for about £8 an hour.
As the name suggests, the open-air Rock Bar is built on many levels into the side of a cliff, the sea lapping beneath the margaritas and martinis. It serves up the best sunset in Bali, along with a mean plate of black cod.
Dinner done and dusted, we pootled north along the coastal road to our first hotel, The Oberoi Bali in Seminyak.
Set overlooking a white sandy beach and the rolling surf of the Indian Ocean, despite being in a busy tourist area, the five-star hotel grounds are peaceful and quiet. Rooms take the form of low-rise traditional thatched huts, some with private pools.
But tear yourself away from your room, as mango sorbet and cold towels scented with frangipani are served under purple-tasselled umbrellas around the pretty stone pool area.
By the beach steps you’ll find a small turtle sanctuary, where hotel staff keep day-old babies rescued from the sand until they’re strong enough to be released into the sea.
The next morning we spent body boarding in the surf (boards are free for guests to use), followed by a short walk along the shore to Potato Head Beach Club, the place to be seen in Seminyak.
Book a bed (or turn up early) and there is no better place to while away the hours: recline on the plush cushions, order a lemongrass-infused gin Kookaburra cocktail at the swim-up bar and cool off in the turquoise infinity pool.
And if you’re peckish, refuel with tasty fried prawn dumplings from upstairs restaurant Kaum.
Nursing slightly sore heads from one too many Kookaburras, the next day we set off for the Tegalalang Rice Terraces in Ubud.
Carved out of the earth like a staircase for mythical giants, the sprawling rice paddies line the valley in vibrant shades of green. It’s a breathtaking sight and was quite a workout as we hiked down one side and up the other along a narrow path.
Ready for some relaxation, we checked into One Eleven, a luxury adults-only villa complex in the heart of Seminyak.
With a sleek Japanese design, the villas are minimal, swathed in various shades of grey with clean lines and artfully placed palm trees. The star of the show is the long navy blue-tiled pool, complete with a large inflatable flamingo.
As we tucked into our private in-room seafood barbecue that evening, everyday life certainly seemed a long way away.