Bali is an incredible little island that has so much to offer to all types of travellers, whether you are on a honeymoon vacation, solo trip finding yourself, backpacking or family getaway.
Flights depend on where you are coming from so of course prices will vary, however, once you are in the island, everything is reasonably cheap.
So, you want to visit Bali but don’t really know where to start?…no worries! Over the past 5 years I have visited Bali 4 times (and I’m very tented to book an express getaway again soon). Every time I visit ‘the island of the temples’ I try to have a different holiday focus just so I can fully experience the things I like, what I’m curious to try and to get to experience the culture a little better. In saying that, I have got together some tips for you for when you plan your visit to Bali
As any other holiday, you need to have clear what type of holiday you are looking for and what your budget is. If you are like me and just want to do it all (because… why not?!), then continue reading.
Bali by area
Before I visit Bali for the first time, I didn’t really know what to expect. I just knew from people I know that the place is crowded and cheap. Well… they can say that but in my opinion Bali is more than that.
This is the main area and the one you’ll hear most about. Looking for party? This is the place.
The area is covered in bars, restaurants and nightclubs. So if you are interested in doing a tour or visit a landmark, you can book tours and taxis easily, however, it is more likely that they are a little out of the area.
Kuta and Legian are the places to go on a ‘food’ adventure, trying bars, night clubs or doing some shopping. It is also a popular place for surfers.
To me, this is a better option that Kuta and the reason is because the area looks cleaner, not as crazy busy as Kuta and the location is great in case you want to go to restaurants and bar located in Kuta-Legian. The area offers restaurants, cafes and bars. It is a good place to stay with family or friends.
As all the other areas, it is easy to book tours, transport or a day at a spa.
This is the quiet part of the Island. You get nicer hotels and a very peaceful beach. There are some local markets you can visit where you can find all types of souvenirs. If you want to go out for a meal there are no many options, so you might like to take a cab and visit one of the other areas. Unless of course you are staying on a big resort where you get most of the meals and entertainment.
My very favourite! If I could, I would spend half of year in this place. The vibe in Ubud is so relax even when you still get the busy streets and shopping areas. The area has so many cafes and little restaurants that offer organic and raw foods, this is the place where you can walk, walk and walk. The landscape is great as you get to see so much vegetation, including the rice paddies. Ubud is the place to practice yoga and meditation, if this sounds like you, visit The Yoga Barn.
The streets in Ubud are beautiful, you can truly appreciate the Indonesian architecture and visit many different temples, all of them within minutes of distance.
You can also find bars here but to be honest, not as many as in the areas mentioned before.
Luckily for any traveller visiting Denpasar, most of the money in the island comes from tourism, therefore, there are heaps of accommodation options to suit every budget. You can pay from $8aud to $$$$ a night, the average price per night for a good hotel with breakfast and wifi included is $20aud but as mentioned, you can spend as much or as little as you want.
If you have your driver’s licence, then you could hire a scooter which is the most popular way of travelling for Indonesians. In my opinion, this is a mad option as the traffic and way of driving is a bit crayzy but there are lots of tourist on scooters so if you feel brave enough (and have travel insurance) then good luck my friend.
The best option to move around Bali, I think, is hiring a driver for the day. They normally charge between $6 & $8 per hour and ask for a minimum of 5 hours to be booked. Now, 5 hours mights sound like a long time, but is not in Bali, and after making a few stops you will be glad you have a driver for the day.
There are also taxis, which have a meter reader…hmmm…it always works out more expensive than having your own driver.
As Mexican, food is a huge deal for me, so every time I visit a new place the first thing I am interesting in trying is the food. Well, Bali has loads of restaurants that serve beautiful Indonesian dishes. For a first time visitor, you shouldn’t forget to try Chicken Satay and Nasi Goerng, delicious! and the very famous balinese Babi Guling (roast pork)…mmm, mmm, mmm!
Even that most of the food you find in Bali is of course Indonesian, there is a huge range of cousin, western, Mexican, Italian, French…you name it!
Again, you can spend a couple of dollars for a big meal or go for an expensive treat. The prices can start at $4aud per meal and $1aud per drinks, although if you want alcoholic drinks you need to throw a few dollars extras. If you have a small budget, a good idea is to try to eat in a Warung (local) restaurant, they’re everywhere and prices for a full meal are so cheap and it is almost guaranteed that flavours are fantastic.
Drinks & Night Out
Denpasar doesn’t have the best reputation when it comes to alcohol. The bars along the main streets are known for not serving the best quality of alcohol. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a try; I say go and try a couple of drinks here and there and judge for yourself.
Things to do
Pamper yourself – one thing that is never left out in my list. Bali has so many spas you can visit and as all the other things, the price range vary. The good thing is that you don’t need to look hard to find a spa, seriously, they are everywhere (#winning).
Take a tour – water rafting, coffee making, volcano trekking, elephant ride, boat ride to Gili Islands, Indonesian dance, surf lessons and many other water sports. why not trying diving? one of the most popular activities of the island.
Get cultural – Bali culture is beautiful to get to know. You can visit temples, sacred spots, museums, etc. As everywhere you travel, one of the best ways to get more culturally aware is to talk the locals and Balinese people make this so easy because of they warmth.
Learn something new – You can take multiple classes in Bali, such as painting, cooking, jewelry making.
Shopping – The streets are covered in souvenirs shops where you can also get clothes, phone accessories and sunnies; however, this is not the only place to get some retail therapy, there are a few shopping centres too like Kuta Beachwalk and Discovery.
Do something different – Bali is known for being a place where people go to heal themselves, to do so, you can take a yoga and meditation retreat or visit many of their popular healers.
Traveling with kiddies? Pay a visit to Waterbom Park or Bali Zoo
For being a small place, Bali has so much to offer to every visitor that it makes it hard to say goodbye to.