Bali Travel Guide

I know, a bit dramatic, but it was painful leaving Bali, because 1. It was such a beautiful experience and 2. one week was not enough time there at all. There's so much to do in Bali and soo many different areas to visit. So in no way is this a holistic travel guide but I just wanted to give you guys a glimpse of what to expect and my recommendations.

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I was really excited to visit Indonesia because it was my first time in Far East Asia. I wanted to make the most of my brief week in Bali.

I started my trip in Nusa Dua, which was fairly close to the Ngurah Rai International Airport. Then drove approximately one and a half hour towards the centre of Bali to spend a few days in Ubud. Ending the week in Kuta/Seminyak, which was again, approximately an hours drive towards the south.

I planned the trip like this from research that I had done and decided that I wanted a resort-styled start to my trip, to get a feel of what Bali was like. Then venture out to Ubud, known as Bali’s cultural heart to experience the rainforest, rice paddies and cultural temples. Finally visiting arguably the most popular part of Bali, which is Seminyak/Kuta known for being lively, filled with tourists and quite stylish. 

Where I wish I went if I had more time:

  • Gili Islands (Gili T/Air) - Beautiful tropical island 
  • Uluwatu - Amazing cliffs and beaches
  • Canggu - semi-rural beach town

How to get around:

  • Scooters - You can get around by hiring a scooter. Just be sure you’re cautious! There’s also the Go-Jek app which is a scooter service, where you can order a ride to get you around. 
  • Ubers/Grab -Uber is controversial in Bali! when I went, I came to find out that Uber was banned in certain areas but the App was still working, being used and was super cheap. As of this year, Uber doesn’t operate and a lot of tourists use the Grab app which is just as cheap and convenient. It is technically legal but you have to be discrete because it is still taboo and you’ll see signs in certain areas and hotels that say ‘NO UBER OR GRAB’. It’s really up to you if you want to support local drivers or use the apps. 
  • Taxi/Drivers -  So if you have a lot of activities and sightseeing to do in one day, you are better off getting a driver for the day or half a day. You can get this at a very good price when you haggle because of the competition for drivers/taxis. Also, don’t haggle in dollars only in local currency.

My Recommendations

Food Spots:

Ubud - Copper Kitchen & Bar: Might be one of the best restaurants I’ve ever been to. Located inside Bisma Eight, a luxury boutique hotel. The restaurant has stunning decor, a peaceful ambience and the staff there were super friendly. Literally could not fault the food, it was delicious. This place is a bit on the pricey side for Bali but still, nothing compared to restaurants of this standard anywhere else in the world.

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Seminyak - Shelter and Nalu Bowls: Perfect breakfast, brunch or lunch spot. The restaurant, Shelter is located upstairs and Nalu Bowls is downstairs. We had brunch at the restaurant but you are allowed to order smoothie Bowls upstairs from Nalu. The smoothie bowl pictured below was soo tasty and fresh. Even though it can be busy, the atmosphere is still calm and relaxing. Just be aware that you’ll get two separate bills if you choose to order food and the smoothie bowls. 

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Excursions:

  • White Water Rafting in Ubud - An experience! You’re literally immersed in the Jungle and get to see the amazing scenery from the Agung River, Bali's largest river.
  • Water Sports In Nusa Dua - Paragliding, Jet Skis and a Boat Ride: So much fun and comes in a package! Remember to Haggle down a lot and be safe 
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  • Explore the Coffee plantation - visiting wasn’t something I necessarily planned on doing, but as a break, our driver thought it would be nice if we stopped here. Me being a hot drink lover, this was the perfect chance to try different coffees and support the local hustle. 
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  • ATV/Quad tour - Scenic opportunity to explore the jungle trails, forests and rice paddies of Ubud.
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  • Go see the elephants but not in a Zoo. It’s overpriced and the enclosures are too small. I did enjoy feeding the elephants and seeing the free animals. BUT there are better ways to see, feed and play with the elephants than going to a Zoo. 
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  • Spend sunset at Jimbaran and have some seafood there as it’s a fishing village. Literally watched the most beautiful sunset on the beach whilst eating fresh fish. Bear in mind that it can get busy.
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Things I didn’t get to do but recommend: 

  • Visit the Bali Swing - Looks like so much fun and a perfect picture opportunity.
  • Go to the Tegenungan Waterfall or the Gitgit Waterfall
  • Be immersed in the culture and visit a Balinese traditional village. You could also use this opportunity to be charitable. Research these villages if you're interested; Trunyan Village, Tenganan, Penglipuran Village, Batu & Bulan Village.

Top Tips

  • The hustle is real - be polite but still be assertive if you don’t want their service or their goods.
  • Make sure you arrange a driver to pick you up from the airport!
  • Health! ensure you have anti-bacteria gels with you all the time and avoid ice in your drinks. To be on the safe side, I carried travel meds with me, even though I’m not usually sensitive to food and drink when I travel. Also if you do end up getting ‘Bali Belly’ I’ve heard coconut water helps soothe it. 
  • Don’t be shy to haggle!
  • The National currency is the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR). Change your money in Bali, you’ll get better rates. 

I hope this quick overview of Bali and my recommendations and tips were useful. I want everyone reading to go, you'll honestly not regret it. 

Finally, my prayers are with those who were affected by a number of earthquakes that hit Bali this month. 

 

Amina Ali