Bali is a place so famous and many are enchanted just hearing about it from a friend. Paradise, is there such thing on earth? Well, because it has kept its reputation as paradise island, it is never lacking of tourists at any season of the year – 2 seasons (rainy and hot) to be exact. How many are aware that Bali is an island in Indonesia? And that Indonesia has ~17k islands! You did not read that wrong, we have that many islands.
Without doubt you can find many detailed information on Bali attractions online, here I will list some of my favorites, hopefully in an understandable flow. I recommend NOT LESS than 1 week if you would like to experience Bali. And some people drag that to a year, and I’ve seen people so in love with Bali they decided to move from Europe. Oh Bali!
- You will land in Denpasar, a city that has a worsening traffic lately. When you get out from the international terminal, the taxi drivers will swarm at you offering ride for a fixed Rp200k ($20) for closer destination, and probably Rp 500k ($50) for Ubud. Getting a cab outside the gate will be cheaper, or if you use Uber/Grab be discreet as things can get violent if the airport cab finds out. If you are adventurous, the local app to call motorbike ride is called “Gojek”.
- If you are into malls, stay near Jl Kartika Sari. There are budding AirBnB places near Lippo Mall and Discovery mall (and WaterBoom is walking distance). For a Kuta beach vibe I once stayed at Jalan Melasti, with some promo you could get 3 star hotel rooms at Rp 300k ($30). I heard from a driver that Poppies Lane has affordable accommodation for backpackers. We local use this app called “Traveloka” to compare prices.
- If you are traveling as a group I recommend renting a villa for 4-5, Seminyak area is well known for that. This area is rather upscale compared to Kuta or Legian, if you walk by you will notice more classy cafes and shopping places. Stay about 2-3 days to enjoy nearby attractions reachable by bike/car: Uluwatu, Tanah Lot, beaches like Padang-padang, Pandawa, Dreamland, Nusa Dua, Jimbaran for that (overpriced, I think) sunset dinner etc. Also, I’ve heard good things about Nusa Lembongan/ Nusa Penida islands if you dive!
- If you love looking at the sea from up high, stay at resorts in Uluwatu area. You will be up the cliff looking at waves crashing against a rock. A friend on mine had a magical wedding at this resort called “The Edge” Uluwatu and I could not get the view out of my head.
- If you’d like to move away from beaches, Ubud is another popular area to stay at. I went some years back with 2 friends so we rented a villa (too) deep inside Ubud and enjoyed the paddy field scenery. It can be harder to get out if villa is located too far in, and people usually just enjoy Ubud for what Ubud has. The monkey forest here is popular too.
- Those are cool, but I think going north via the mountainous area is an adventure. You get to stop at scenic lunch spots and have your meal facing a mountain 🙂
- Continue the journey up north and stop at this pretty lake with pagoda called Bedugul. It’s cooling and nice up there, it drives the car-sickness away.
- Proceed driving north to Singaraja district. There is a magical black-sand beach called Lovina, where dolphins come out to dance early in the morning. I stayed overnight and at 5am the next morning rode the boat to see dolphins!! It was an interesting experience, the wooden boat was small but was engine-empowered. In the middle of the sea the machine suddenly acted up but thankfully the guide managed to restart it after some time. The boat holds 3 people sitting in a row and for each person the seat was as narrow as a bike seat.
- You can come back to the city to shop at art markets like Sukawati. For this one, you need to haggle 1/3 of the offered price…or try going very early. I usually go to Krishna stores for souvenirs, it’s fixed price there.
- Before you go, try Balinese massage! I love it and couldn’t get enough. Did not fancy the fish spa though.
Those aside, the next time I visit, I’d like to hike up Mount Batur. There is a higher mountain, Mount Agung for the fit ones but I heard the path is crazy hard and undeveloped – not in my list at the moment.
Let me know if you have other fun places in Bali to share!
- You can spend $30 a day or $300 a day on accommodation – Bali has them all
- Same with food, there are mixed rice (nasi campur) is local warung (street vendors) selling for Rp 15k ($1.5) or restaurant food that costs a bomb. The average price for a meal in a shopping mall is Rp 35k ($3.5)
- To move around comfortably, I suggest renting a car with driver for 8 hours – it costs about Rp 500k ($50). I see alot of tourists with bikes, this is the cheaper option.
- As always, don’t carry too much cash. Go to the ATM if you need more.