Updated: July 2018
Back in April, I wrote a post titled ‘The Indonesia Beyond Bali‘, this December I visit Bali for the 20 something time…Ironic eh? You are probably thinking she should check some other places of the list, but I categorise Bali as my second Home and will always try and come here at least once a year! To some Bali is solely a vacation destination, but it has some insanely rich culture waiting to be explored! The welcoming nature of the Balinese, the incredible value for money, the vibrant atmosphere, and the year-round pleasant climate make Bali a popular haven for all types of travellers.
Today, after some requests and many Bali trips, I’m here to share my Bali Travel Guide!
THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT BALI
Getting there: Jetstar often have sale fares to Bali and takes around 5.5 hours from the East Coast of Australia. If you are coming from someone other than Australia I would recommend using Garuda (Indonesian’s owned airline) and searching for your desired dates via Skyscanner.com
On arrival: You will arrive at Denpasar International Airport. Walking out of the airport you may initially feel overwhelmed as there is often a mass of people (usually men) that are waiting to give you transport. I highly advise organising a shuttle with your hotel, alternatively, there is a Taxi rank when you exit to your right that is fixed priced; from memory, it is around 120,000rp to Seminyak area which is about 20-30 mins away depending on traffic.
Population: 4.22 million
Currency: Indonesian Rupiah (Rp)
Exchange Rate: As of 21/12/2016 it was 9,800RP to $1.00 AUD
Language: Bahasa Indonesia, with their own Balinese dialect.
Religion: Religion is a very important part of the culture in Bali. 85% of Balinese are Hindu and around 10% Muslim. The remaining five 5% practice Buddhism or Christianity.
When to visit: July, August and December are classed as the peak season. Dec-March are the wet season. My favourite would be anytime 🙂 During the wet season the prices are down but the rubbish on the beaches rise!
Getting Around: Although Bali ist not huge, there are a lot of locations to visit and several ways you can reach them! Hiring a motorbike is an option – although I am never game. I usually get around by organising a local driver for day trips or for going longer distances. For shorter distances, I either walk or use “Blue Bird” taxis.
Related: 10 Tips for Travelling to Asia
WHERE TO STAY IN BALI
Bali measures around 5,600km, so not too overwhelming in size, but with numerous hotspots, it’s hard to choose where to stay. During our recent 3 week trip, we spent 3 or 4 nights in each location.
A quieter and more relaxed coastal area. Around 30 mins from the airport, it sits on the opposite side of the island to Kuta. A long stretch of beach that offers shallow blue waters. The main street Jalan Tamblingan is home to restaurants, shops and hotels. We stayed at Wirasana Bali on the main street for under $30 a night!
Kuta and Legian
Once the most popular areas of Bali, these neighbouring towns are known as the city centres. They are the busiest and touristy part of Bali. Literally drowning with Restuarant, Shops and Hotels. I usually avoid staying around here, except I found a gorgeous villa on the outskirts of Legian that was just wonderful. Check it out here.
Our Private Pool 2 Bedroom Villa @ Ini Vie Villas
Another beach town but with a cooler edge thanks to the surf scene. The town is surrounded by rice paddies which makes Canggu very beautiful. In town, there’s an array of organic restaurants and cheap gorgeous villas and hotels. Try Bali Dream Villas or Fella Villas via Air BnB for some luxe for less. Or the very cool Chill House if you are a backpacker!
The Pool at Bali Dream Villas, Canggu
I always stay in Seminyak when I come, there are so many cheap gorgeous villas that you can rent long term or stay at for a couple of nights. Although getting busier every time I visit, it has all my favourite cafes that I just love working from! Seminyak has everything including designers boutiques, Bali’s famous beach clubs, Spa’s to fit every price range and fine dining restaurants. Try Alam Bidadari if you are after a Villa or D’djabu if want a budget option!
Related: “Top Seminyak Accommodation for under $200”
Ubud to me is the culture hub of Bali, located about an hour’s north of the airport, up the in mountains. It is surrounded by rice paddies and lush rainforest, making it a breath of fresh air. A lot of people come here to recharge, meditate and take part in yoga classes. The calming atmosphere, amazing restaurants, incredible landscapes and culture make Ubud a must stay location! Our accommodation was absolutely magical. Suarti Boutique Village is located just out of Ubud’s city centre, with impressive gardens, stunning rooms and free daily activities!
Our Gorgeous Room at Suarti Boutique Village
Just around the corner from the airport, Jimbaran is famous for their fresh seafood beach restaurants! The long stretch of beach offers calm waves and fishing boats. We stayed at Watermark Hotel and Spa which is around $150 and has a great selection of facilities including 3 restaurants, gym, two pools and Liang Spa. Jimbaran is also home to a bunch of luxury 5-star resorts like Ayana and the famous Rock Bar.
RELATED: WATERMARK HOTEL AND SPA REVIEW
Rooftop Pool & Bar at Watermark Hotel, Jimbaran
I have never stayed in Nusa Dua, the 5-star resorts always put me off. On our most recent trip, we ventured here for a day trip. It turned out to be our best day. We found a small beach that had pristine water and fell in love. Although Nusa Dua can be very expensive, it’s also extremely beautiful and has an incredibly calming atmosphere! I had a look at Ayodya whilst I was there, as I am planning on staying here next time! Amazing beach front location, colourful bean bags and doesn’t break the bank!
Beach Front Restaurant at Ayodya Hotel, Nusa Dua
WHERE TO EAT IN BALI
Here are my favourites in each place:
Sanur: Grocer and Grind, Little Bird Warung, The Glasshouse, Warung Kecil,
Ubud: Warung Sopa, Kafe, Clear Cafe, Watercress Ubud
Jimbaran: Warung Surabaya, Imadoki
Seminyak: Sisterfields, Kim Soo, Sea Circus, Zucchini Cafe, Bo & Bun, Nebula, Boss Man,
Sashimi, Biku, The Corner House, Batik, Ultimo, Cafe Bali
Kerobokan: Warung Sobat
Nusa Dua: Ayodya
Kuta/Legian: Warung Metta Catering, Sacred Ground, Sang Ria Grill Bali, Zanzibar, Warung Yogya
Canggu: Crate, Betelnut, Avocado Cafe
Chicken Banh Mi and Vietnamese Coffee from Bo & Bun
The Melville Breakfast from Crate Cafe
Nasi Campur from Warung Metta Catering
Fritters from The Corner House
Dumpling and Taco Bowl from Warung Sopa
Related: “Our Top Restaurants in Seminyak”
THINGS YOU SHOULD DO IN BALI
+Climb Mt Batur
Photo credit: www.danflyingsolo.com
+ Take a day trip to the famous Nusa Penida
Nusa Penida is a biggest of the three Nusa islands located off mainland Bali. You can get to Nusa Penida by boat and takes around 20 mins. There are many places to organise a day trip in Bali. There are beautiful waters and beaches to visit but the most iconic reason made famous by Instagram is to see Kelingking point!
+Visit Uluwatu temple and see Kecak Dance
The Kecak Fire Dance is one of Bali’s most iconic art performances, famous for its dominant use of human vocals in place of gamelan instruments to accompany the dance-drama at its core. Your visit to the island won’t be complete without seeing a show, and the best place to do so is at the cliff-top amphitheatre located just south of the Uluwatu Temple on Bali’s southern Bukit peninsula… and at sunset for added drama.
So that’s is our Bali Travel Guide! What is your favourite thing to do in Bali? Comment below xx
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