At a beautiful Bali hideaway, a lack of TV and wifi allows Katie Furze to focus on the sunsets, surf and good food.
Perched on the limestone cliffs of the Bukit Peninsula, Balangan is a rare gem - waves and wonderful views in a relaxed rural setting.
The morning air was moist and cool as we stepped along the pavers, gazing at the tropical haze surrounding us; palms, frangipani, hibiscus and bougainvillea. It was a stark contrast to the drive from the airport down dry winding roads, where coming around a blind bend our driver narrowly missed hitting a dog.
The kids squealed with excitement - what an adventure! I nearly cried out with joy myself but then I remembered it was only just after 7am.
"Shh ... everyone's sleeping," I said, pointing towards the traditional Balinese thatched bungalows on either side. There were just eight - and one of these beauties would be our home for the next four days. We felt like the Swiss Family Robinson.
Then we glimpsed the sparkle of the infinity pool and beyond, the restaurant ... it was just opening for breakfast. Hurray - after that sleepless flight I could have eaten a horse, or at least a banana pancake.
We sat overlooking the pool, watching a dragonfly hovering above the water, while a cool breeze wafted in our direction. Relaxing music emanated from somewhere and a smiling waitress served us luscious fruit juices; our choice of watermelon, pineapple, banana or papaya. This place had to be Paradise.
I should point out, Flower Bud Bungalows is definitely not a flashy resort; in fact it's more like upmarket camping. There's no TV, no room fridge, no room service, no kids' club, limited wifi, and the power supply seemed to be fairly unreliable, but it certainly ticked all the boxes for our family. We found it beautiful, tranquil and friendly.
And once we recovered enough to venture out, we found Balangan had plenty to delight us too.
First of all: the surf. The waves just kept coming in, in clean lines along the beach, day in-day out, consistent and regular (like the weather). No wonder so many surfers rave about this place.
From Flower Bud, the beach is a short ramble down a rocky path. Balangan has cliffs at each end and coarse white sand that appears to be composed of desiccated coral. A reef runs all the way along, making it difficult to swim without booties, but once you make it past the fringe of rock the water is clear and salty.
Warungs line the edge of the beach. They're really just rickety shacks on poles which serve basic food and provide even more basic accommodation. Perfect, if you're young, on a budget and love surfing. Surprisingly, the warungs produce mie goreng and nasi goreng easily as good as we were served at hotels.
That brings me to the second compelling reason to visit Balangan: the sunset. The warungs face west, providing an amazing late afternoon view. Drinking cold beverages and watching the surf from the "Ozy Cafe", I laughed to think how much you'd pay in a restaurant with this outlook in our part of the world.
The third reason we loved Balangan, and this was a biggie for the kids, was the animals. Cows, goats and chickens were everywhere, dogs and cats wandered freely, and we never tired of watching the bats crazily zooming around at twilight.
We were even blessed with night-time visits from frogs and geckos inside our bungalow. When we were woken by a deep guttural croaking, "GEC-KO, GEC-KO", we guessed how the lizard got its name. The nightly chorus featured first the geckos, then the roosters (which seem to have no idea of the time, they just crowed all night), the dogs would start up at 5am, and sometimes there was also a cat fight.
By the second or third night I'd grown accustomed to it and it didn't bother me anymore. All good fun, we thought.
Balangan may not be everybody's cup of tea - there's no shopping, no fine dining, and no night life; it's no Kuta, and certainly no Seminyak. Despite this, or maybe because of this, it was our favourite spot in Bali.
And, after witnessing the development going on in the area and in neighbouring Dreamland, my advice would be to go soon, before it has lost its simple charm.
Getting there: Qantas has daily flights to Sydney and Melbourne and from there flies up to four times daily to Denpasar with partner airlines.