What Inspired Me to Take This Trip to Bali
I’ve been to Bali 2 times already and plan to go back there again once it welcomes tourists again.
My first trip was kinda romantic with my second half in July-August. The second trip was organized by a fitness coach and blogger in November and was very adventurous. A group of 15 random girls landed together on the island from different parts of the world! We didn’t know each other and it was an amazing experience getting along with people of different backgrounds, being a team player, making new friends, getting to know each other, training together, and exploring the island together.
What I Packed for My Trips
Since I was going on a romantic trip, I took as many summer outfits as I could to take aesthetic pictures for my Instagram, my camera Sony Alfa 6000, and GoPro for underwater adventures.
For the fitness tour, my luggage was mostly packed with sporting clothes and equipment like a mat, weights, rubber bands, and resistance bands. And the second part of the suitcase was filled with warm clothes since the next destination after Bali was Portugal for 1 week, and of course, lots of bikinis for the tropical island!
How I Managed My Hotels and Flights
The approximate preparation time was 2 weeks in advance to book the flight and hotels and to plan the trip itself. On the first trip, booking hotels was not an issue. We preferred to use Agoda, because, in my opinion, they have better deals than Booking.com or we booked directly through the hotels cause it gives you more advantages and benefits, like complimentary spa massage sessions, room upgrades, etc.
On the fitness tour, the hotel was included in the trip package and everything was booked by organizers for the whole group.
Length of My Trip and Some Advice
Both of my trips were around 2 weeks. But to be honest, it’s not enough time to explore the whole island, at least it definitely wasn’t for me! Every day we had excursions, numerous trips to different parts of the island, and to breathtaking photo spots. I even didn’t have time to sunbathe and chill by the pool as I was planning to. We were always on the go.
You need to live there for several months to be able to see and explore as many touristic destinations as possible, along with some non-touristic hidden gems deep in the island. There are a lot of activities to do such as renting a bike, or maybe learning how to ride a bike if you don’t know yet. Bikes are the best option on the island because it saves you a lot of time as there is a lot of traffic on the narrow twisting roads. Sometimes it took us around 4-5 hours to cross the island from one side to the other, being stuck in the traffic. Also, you can use the app Grab, which is like the local version of Uber, valid in the whole of Indonesia. There you can choose any means of transportation, from a regular car/van to a bike lift.
There are travelers from all over the world in Bali!
There are travelers from all over the world in Bali since it’s a destination anyone who likes to travel must visit at least once in their life! You can also meet lots of Australians there since Bali is very close to Australia. There are lots of surfers here who come to surf camps too.
Local people here are very humble, friendly, and hospitable. They’re always smiling and warm. However, the service wasn’t the best in some high-end places. The island’s rules and regulations are also quite strict regarding the residency cases, and when it comes to businesses set up for foreigners.
Some Must Try Food in Bali
Satay - chicken, goat, beef or pork meat skewered on sticks served with different sauces of your choice: sweet, savory, spicy.
Babi Guling - roasted whole pork rolled over the fire seasoned with a mixture of various local spices.
Betutu - the kings’ favorite meal. The whole duck or chicken stuffed with spices is being baked or steamed for 8 hours! Which gives a rich flavor and soft bites.
Tum - minced meat with herbs wrapped in banana leaves, can be used either as the main dish or as a snack.
And of course, the traditional Luwak coffee - the most expensive coffee in the world (700$/kg) - partially digested coffee cherries produced by animal Asian palm civet.
There are also lots of healthy restaurants perfect for vegans and vegetarians, especially on the Ubud site.
My Favorite Memory From This Trip
Mainly it was the overall experience of nature and the vibe you get from the environment itself- the air you breathe, the picturesque landscapes, ocean cliffs, a great contrast of a shore side which is perfect for surfing, and jungles for a calm meditation and yoga practice. The Balinese environment drives you to lead a healthy lifestyle in eating habits and activities, to rise early, go for sports, eat healthily, live healthily and find harmony inside yourself.
Some Ways To Keep Travel Costs Low
This aspect depends on how you estimate your budget.
I would recommend that if you’re coming to Bali for a short term, like a week or two, don’t try to save too much. You should rather enjoy the short time you’re spending in such a wonderful place! 2 weeks wasn’t enough for us to indulge in the whole culture of the island. It’s better to take a local guide who will drive you to the most famous places. Prices are quite affordable in Bali but in the peak tourist season, they might slightly rise. For the guided tours, you can always bargain.
If you stay in Bali longer, it would be cheaper to rent a bike and plan your itinerary yourself. In this case, you would save on transportation. To avoid taking tourist tours, you can research your destination online and go to the sightseeings yourself at your preferable timing without having to depend on a group.
Some Hikes and Sights Not To Be Missed
For a short visit, you should first try to visit all the famous tourist spots such as:
1. Bali is very popular with its sacred temples:
Tanah Lot is perfect for sunset. If you’re lucky you’ll be able to see how local citizens make a pilgrimage there.
Uluwatu Temple is located on a cliff-top above one of the best surf spots.
Tirta Empul Temple where you can join the locals in the cleansing ritual.
2. Hiking to Mount Batur - it’s a volcano, everyone goes there to meet the sunrise. You have to start your trip at night, and hike for about 2-3 h on marked trails for up to 1700 m. Breathtaking views and moments are guaranteed.
3. Monkey Forest in Ubud - you will have a lot of fun with these creatures. Don’t be scared, don’t act aggressively, they might jump on you and it’s better if you treat them with a banana which you can buy there. Take a snap! And keep your small things like glasses, hair accessories away, these pranksters can do unexpected things.
4. Rice terrace and famous swings over the rice fields.
5. Nusa Dua - perfect for underwater activities, parasailing, etc.
6. Penida Island is also very popular for a 1-day visit, it is a neighboring island to Bali.
7. And of course waterfalls! There are so many in Bali! Better to ask locals what’s the best waterfalls because they always open new ones adjusted for a visit.
My Suggestions for People Doing This Trip for the First Time
Try to explore the whole island by staying in different parts of it for a few days. Don’t get stuck to one hotel and one place because it may cost you long hours to travel to various parts of the island. Keep the traffic in mind.
As I mentioned above, Bali has a great combination of different activities. Staying by the shore would allow you to enjoy surfing on waves in Kuta, Seminyak, Canggu, Uluwatu. For a chilled, relaxed vacation perfect for yoga lovers, go to Nusa Dua. For a jungle green experience, stay for a few days in Ubud.
Bali island is endless. Every day explorers find new places untouched by tourists. Who knows maybe one day you’ll find your secret place too while taking a bike and driving in an undefined direction not following the GPS, and you will explore Bali from your view.