Thanks for checking out my 14-day tour of Bali – it was indeed a trip of a lifetime! Namely, this is how I spent my two weeks. Where I stayed, ate, and what I learned.
When to Visit Bali
In winter, the Balinese celebrate Nyepi. It is the equivalent to New Year’s Eve in the states. However, the dates vary each year.
While it’s a festive celebration, it is also a time of reflection, meditation, and fasting. You’ll be hard-pressed to see the island as calm as during this time.
The Bali Spirit Festival is held yearly in March and April. It’s a key reason to visit Bali in the spring-time. It is known worldwide as a celebration of global music and wellness!
The Bali Arts Festival is a must-see for any art lover on tour in June and July. Parades and art performances are on display at the Denpasar Arts Center.
One of the most common festivals in the summertime is known as the Bali Kite Festival. It celebrates the traditional art of Balinese kite making. These are no ordinary nylon kites!
These kites represent the local Balinese people.
Also, I have to mention Galungan! During this annual festival, the entire island comes together for ten days to celebrate the Balinese gods – all descending to earth.
Day 1 & 2: My Bali Trip Started with Acclimatisation
I arrived in Bali shortly before midnight. I checked in for a night in a friendly, clean & new hostel. It was pretty close to the Pudak Sari Unizou Hostel airport in the Kuta area.
After a good nights sleep, I started my day with a leisurely late breakfast at Sisterfields. The first area I explored was Pura Petitenget (Hindu Temple). This Airbnb is right in front of Seminyak beach. Additionally, the price to enter this temple is 50.000 Indonesian Rupiah (around £2.70), but you can probably negotiate a little discount.
To get there, you have two options I suggest on your tour of Bali:
— You can walk along the streets. However, you will quickly see that EVERYONE tried to stop and ask you if you want a taxi ride. Moreover, it gets rather annoying after a while since you being to feel overwhelmed by these “taxi drivers.” Further, if you do go ahead and take an unofficial street taxi, keep in mind, it may be way more expensive than it needs to be.
— The second option I recommend is to download an app called: GOJEK. This app is the Uber in Indonesia. It is also much cheaper taxis. You can choose to pay the driver in cash or through the app.
A Few Tips
Tip #1: Try to avoid paying for things online. The Balinese lady at the BnB explained some travelers touring Bali have had their credit card details swiped. Worse, money stolen from their bank accounts. Naturally, this might be rare, but just in case, go for the CASH option!
Tip #2: If you are going to visit Bali on your own, it’s important to consider transportation. For example, you can choose to go with a car or motorbike. I want a motorcycle because it’s cheaper, more fun and because it’s very HOT! Keep extra cash as you will need to use it often. Also, ALWAYS CONFIRM THE PRICE BEFORE you go for the ride (check it is the same as shown in the app) with the driver.
Tip #3: If you are going to travel to Indonesia, I recommend exchanging money with TransferWise. You can set up your profile before your tour, then use it on the go. It’s handy, and you can use it everywhere, exchanging any currency in the world. Go, and create your account before your trip to Bali, then you can transfer your money any time. You will find it useful!
Afterward, I recommend heading lunch!
My choice was Mama San, one of Seminyak’s most popular restaurants. It features a warehouse-sized space, complete with photographs hanging from exposed brick walls, and a creative menu with Southeast Asian dishes and a long cocktail list.
Bali is famous for its wellbeing, massage & yoga. For example, whether you’re after a complete detox for the mind, body, and spirit, or merely a quick fix of relaxation, those who visit Bali can happily spend hours (sometimes days) being massaged, scrubbed, perfumed, pampered, bathed and blissed-out.
Sometimes this “detox” happens on the beach, or in a garden, other times in lavish surroundings. I was curious about having a massage in the home of spirituality. And, my lunch, I headed to the highly acclaimed Prana (SPA).
Prana is easily the most lavishly decorated spa in Bali. It offers everything from an hour-long massage to facials and all manner of beauty treatments. How can you not enjoy this!
In the afternoon, and after my excellent ninety-minute massage & spa treatment, I went for a lovely stroll at Seminyak beach. I found myself at a club called KU DE TA. It was full of beautiful people. It’s also a perfect place to catch a drink while watching the sunset.
Tip: be sure to check out Fat Chow if you’re hungry for dinner! Here you will find traditional Balinese food. Also, the staff is incredibly friendly.
My day ended by going to Canggu from Seminyak by taxi. On this leg of my tour of Bali, I stayed for the following three nights!
By this point, I had learned the following phrases:
– TERIMA KASI: Thank you
– SAMA SAMA: You’re welcome
– SALAMA MALAM: Goodnight
Day 3 My Visit to Bali – Kerobokan & Canggu
The next three nights in Canggu were very relaxed. We found a perfect Airbnb. You have to check it out: A villa with a pool next to our room. And, it was located only five minutes from Canggu beach – on foot!
Relaxing in your private pool at your own Airbnb villa is about as good as it gets!
There are many places to eat and explore the village. My top recommendation is Warung Eny, a small, cheap, original Balinese restaurant. But, don’t expect a posh place, this is the opposite: 100% Balinese.
You’ll likely need to get a taxi to get there. Warung Eny expertly cooks at this little open-front warung. It is hard to find behind the plant. Be sure to ask about Eny’s fantastic cooking classes – something everyone on a tour of Bali should consider!
For nightlife, you must check out Old Man’s! It will be difficult deciding where to sit while enjoying your drink at this famous coastal beer garden overlooking Batu Bolong Beach. The self-serve menu loved by surfers and surfer-wannabes: burgers, pizza, fish and chips, salad.
On Wednesday nights, they put on a massive party with great music. This where we spent our first night in Canggu. It was so much fun meeting backpackers from all over in the world!
We also spotted popular Instagrammer in the crowd. We met @doyoutravel and got a fun travel picture together! Friday nights feature live rock and roll, and on Sundays, DJs are also prominent.
Day 4 – Bali Bliss
The next morning, we ate breakfast in one of the cafés on the street. Of course, this is where I started to fall in love on my tour of Bali. They serve delicious, fresh, and healthy breakfast like smashed avocado, eggs, spinach, and fresh juices.
I booked another massage at Amo SPA, which offers excellent treatments. Although, in my opinion, it was not as good as Prana in Seminyak. The Price is around 500,000 Rupiah, which is about £27.
After the spa, we spent a couple of hours walking around the village. We eventually stopped at Deus Ex Machina. It’s a surreal venue amid Canggu’s rice fields which is many things rolled into one. Also, if you’re hungry, it’s a restaurant-café-bar. Alternatively, for shoppers, it’s a fashion label. Likewise, if you’re into the culture, you can say it’s a contemporary art gallery. If you’re into music, you can say it’s a live punk music gig venue (Sunday afternoon). And lastly, if you’re a biker, it’s a custom-made motorcycle shop. Of course, if you want your beard trimmed, it’s also a barber.
Our Last Day in Canggu
Naturally, we had to have a surf lesson at the main beach in Canggu (Batu Bolong Beach). It is perfect for surfing because of its high waves. Although, I noticed it had a rocky beach. It’s also ideal for newbies. You get a surfing lesson here as we did. Alternatively, you could check out Finns Beach, which is all sandy with no rocks and also has perfect waves for surfing. It was a fantastic experience! Our teachers, Bogong & Agil, were such character. We had good vibes and a lot of laughter! The Wave Canggu will take care of you if you’ve never surfed before.
It was time to move on with our Bali tour. We moved on in another direction, towards Ubud (a 40-minute taxi ride from Canggu). While off to explore wilder places, we stopped for a delicious meal in Moana. As you can see, I’ve fallen for the food!
My 5th & 6th Day – Ubud
When you think about what makes Bali different from other beach vacations, it’s the culture, the people, and the beauty – qualities that Ubud matches perfectly.
On our second night, we stayed at an Airbnb called Wijaya Garden in Ubud – it was both a wild and beautiful experience! The host, Wayan Wija (Wayan is a trendy name in Bali, it means the first, you’ll meet many people called with this name on your tour) became our driver: he drove us around the best sights and places of Ubud, explaining the tradition, culture, & beliefs.
You can check out that Airbnb here: Back to Nature. It has a pool, and you will sleep surrounded by animal sounds at night, just AMAZING! Make sure to bring some insect repellent (Ideally with 30-50% DEET) with you for mosquitos, even if the beds come protected with nets.
This Airbnb has a free, excellent breakfast included! It’s also just a short 20 min walk from a beautiful path. Closed off to vehicles, you can shoot outstanding photos here!
We spent our first day chilling in Ubud village, stopping by Hujon Locale. For example, I recommend trying slow-braised lamb curry, or the prawn curry. Don’t forget the drinks!
Wayan, such a nice person as many, if not most Indonesian people are, are kind, helpful, and polite. Moreso, they are ready to help you with any circumstances! Wayan made our life so easy driving us all around Ubud, like a local! We could not ask any better of a tour guide in Bali. The price for the entire day was 700k. See below, our destinations day:
– Coffee Plantation
– Rice Field
For a relaxed tour of this area, I recommend stopping in Ubud for at least three days and two nights. At any rate, it will allow you to visit the above destinations, which are pretty much the best the town has to offer.
My 7th & 8th Day — Gili Trawangan
Gili Trawangan is known by the locals only as Gili T. It boasts trendy cocktail bars, flashy hotels, restaurants and PADI dive schools. Thankfully, the feel remains bohemian, and it is a great place to party. You can enjoy the beautiful ocean and hang out in the local eateries and reggae joints.
Wayan the guy I wrote about earlier, from the Airbnb, even helped us find a cheaper ticket for the boat to Gili T. Surprisingly, he planned everything including the taxi to the harbor for us. Next, we paid a total of 1,800,000 Rp, including a boat to Nusa Penida (and our final destination).
Our boat trip took us from Padangbai to Gili T. Finally, on our way back, we had the driver take us to Sah-noor, another close-by harbor. We then took another boat to Nusa Penida.
I’m sure you can easily find transport in this area as many Indonesian people will ask if you need a ride somewhere! So don’t worry! Just make sure not to get ripped off!
The boat trip was pleasant. We arrived at Gili T in an hour and a half, checked in for two nights at Pondok Santi Estate.
Gili T – Balinese for Time To Party 🙂
Gili T is synonymous for partying. And the nightlife is just incomparable! Tip: you might hear the music from your hotel room or hostel, which can be annoying for some!
You must explore Gili T on your own, for the best experience! The best advice I can offer is to rent a bike as inevitably you’ll need one here. You see, it’s the easiest way to get around and see the island! Don’t forget to try some surfing, snorkeling. Or, try as many activities as you wish. Naturally, if you have more time, don’t hesitate to visit the adjacent islands. In short, they are all beautiful.
My 9th & 10th Day Visiting Bali – Nusa Penida
From Gili T we took the ferry (cost 300k Indonesian Rupiah). We stopped over at Sanur and changed boat to Nusa Penida. Tip: Ask your Airbnb host or the hotel/hostel about local tickets and taxis.
Nusa Penida quickly my favorite stop in Bali. This island offers everything you can expect: wild nature, beaches, beautiful cottages, and excellent restaurants, and cute cottages.
We stayed at Petak Cottage, a new brand hotel that was very clean and organized, and offered a fantastic view from our balcony!
Our second night was at another awesome place:
This last Airbnb was great. They offered a free breakfast, including eggs, fruits, & juices! Additionally, it was tranquil, had a clean swimming pool and a relaxed atmosphere! We loved it.
Visiting Nusa Penida
The host Miko found us two motocross bikes for the day after at an excellent price! Miko was so lovely us. He helped throughout our journey.
The day after, Miko’s friend brought us 2 Kawasaki 750cc KPLX ready to go – we were so excited and prepared for our next adventure!
If you decide to rent a motorbike, Miko’s is the right host for you! Also, Nusa Penida does not have a city center. There are a bunch of things to see and do spread all over the island. As such, you will need to rent a scooter or motorcycle to go around. And this is what we did! As mentioned previously, you can usually rent a motorbike at the Airbnb, hostel or hotel, and they will charge you around 70k – 80k per day. Also, the fuel is cheap. You can find it pretty much everywhere, such as the little shops. It’s also sold usually inside glass bottles.
I would highly recommend a few places here for quick eats, drinks, or just lunch or dinner:
Penida Colada: offers tasty local food and juices and beautiful views of the ocean. Warung Pondok, right next to Penida Colada, offers live bands, and incredibly friendly staff. It was ideal for relaxing while having a drink with friends. And finally, at Sponge Pub, you will also find live music and many other travelers to share stories with.
We met two travelers from the Netherlands at Sponge Pub. They offered tips regarding what to see and do in Nusa Penida – and I’ll tell you more about it in a bit, but before, I have to tell you a story. One of the two I met had gotten bitten by a mosquito. Consequently, she believes she contracted Dengue Fever. Fortunately, after feeling weak and dizzy all day, she quickly went to the hospital for tests. Thankfully, nothing awful happened. Dengue is a rare fever in Indonesia (15 thousand people get it per year). However, it can be dangerous as sometimes you don’t realize or feel any of the typical symptoms. Be careful!
In terms of the main attractions in Nusa Penida, there are four main places:
So, the first tip you need to know, these places ARE NOT easy to reach. Of course, they are NOT impossible! Sure, roads here aren’t perfect, many are very steep and downhill with curves and lots of rocks. We saw many tourists fall on scooters and get injured. It can be dangerous and tricky to go with a motorcycle, but it is well worth it- you need to pay attention. If it is two or more of you, its better to each take a scooter as it’ll be much easier this way.
We enjoyed driving around all these places, riding all the dirt tracks and roads! Also, we checked out a Natural Pool located on the south side of the island. Other little villages were a hit as well!
Nusa Penida offers so many places to see and lots to do. I stayed for two days, and I did quite a lot, but I highly recommend to spend three nights at least. Naturally, I will have to come back.
My Final Days (11-14) on my Trip to Bali – Ulu Watu
Board Riders from around the world flock to the west coast of the Bukit Peninsula. Even if surfing isn’t your thing, the beaches at the base of the cliffs are idyllic. And no tour of Bali is complete without visiting Ulu Watu’s temple – it’s filled with Monkeys!
At our stop in Ulu Watu, our first stop was Pura Luhur Ulu Watu Temple
This famous temple located at the top of a hill on the southwestern tip of the peninsula. You can find the entrance in an arched gateway flanked by statues of Ganesha. Also, the walls are made of coral bricks and covered with intricate carvings. Price: 30k IR.
Top Bali Tip Every Visitor Must know
The Pura Luhur Watu Temple is home to many grey monkeys. And they tricky buggers. Be on the lookout as they will try to steal your sunglasses, handbags, hats, cameras, etc. And if you want some real fun, peel them a banana lol!
After the monkey visit at the temple, we drove around on our scooter to explore the sights. We stopped by a lovely café called: The Loft. There, we had delicious Nachos, and made friends with travelers from Australia and other parts of the world!
Top sights Beaches:
– Balangan Beach;
– Bingin Beach;
– Padang Padang;
Uluwatu is a beautiful peninsula and is very popular for beach clubs. Therefore, I highly recommend spending 1 or 2 days, at least in a beach club/hotel. The one we went to was called: Sundays Beach Club. It’s located in the southern area of Uluwatu. Also, another place for good eats and drinks, not to mention meeting other travelers is a friendly pub called: Single Fin.
I hope you enjoyed my Bali tips and can take something away from my experience and get inspired for your tour! Bali has a place in my heart as a place of magic, and somewhere I will certainly be returning.