After six days in Phuket, Thailand we made it to Bali, Indonesia on Saturday, April 20. I spent my first three days in Bali at a resort in Seminyak with the same girls I went to Thailand with and eventually met up with my friends from Sydney. I was in Indonesia for 9 days total and have complied a complete Bali travel guide for anyone considering visiting (you all should)!
Saturday, April 20: Seminyak
We arrived in Bali early this morning and checked into Puri Saron Resort on Seminyak beach. We spent our day relaxing by the pool and enjoying the local beach. Seminyak is the main tourist hub in Bali, and has become westernized with Australian-inspired boutiques and cafes. There are many resorts and villa options here, making it a great home-base for any trip.
Sunday, April 21: Canggu
Today we took a taxi north to Canggu, a part of Bali known for its shops, cafes, and beaches. We spent the day strolling through the shops and getting pampered at Jet Black Ginger. Since it was Sunday, there was a deal where we could bring a friend to the spa and pay half price. My gel pedicure was $12 USD! This spa also does massages, facials, and hair, so be sure to check it out if you’re in Bali.
Canggu has several organic and vegan cafe options that I recommend trying including The Loft and Crate Cafe. On weekends there is a bazaar located in the downtown that sells homemade goods and treats!
Monday, April 22: Seminyak
We spent today exploring more of Seminyak. This morning we took a BlueBird taxi (uses a meter- very reputable!) to Kynd Community. I’ve seen this vegan cafe all over Instagram and was super excited to try it. They use fruit to spell words in their açaí bowls; mine said “love”. The food itself was beautifully prepared, but wasn’t my favorite. Still worth a visit though!
After some more shopping we made our way to La Plancha beach for happy hour. This beach transforms each evening into a hip & happening bar scene, complete with bean bag chairs, umbrellas, and lights. Their cocktails are delicious and the sunset view from this beach was spot on. I ended up coming here two more times!
Tuesday, April 23: Seminyak
The Sydney crew arrived today! We checked out of the hotel and into Villa Winata. It is very common to rent an entire villa in Bali as they are affordable and so so nice! We got settled into our rooms and got some lunch before returning for an afternoon swim before dinner. We met Wayan, the property’s chef and maid, who was the sweetest woman ever. She made us breakfast each morning and took such good care of us all week. I miss her!
We ate dinner tonight at the Ultimo Italian restaurant. Located near Seminyak Square, this main road has a wide array of shops and restaurants for tourists. We ate around here every night and were never disappointed, but be sure to read reviews before eating anywhere in Bali.
Wednesday, April 24: Ubud
We visited Ubud today! Known as the cultural capital of Bali, it is home to the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, several temples, rice terraces, and waterfalls. From Seminyak, it is only 1.5 hours away. We began our morning at the Bali Swing. There are many swings in Ubud over the terraces, but this is the biggest one, and boy was it fun. I got to swing for 10 minutes, facing both backwards and forwards. It was so thrilling, I felt like a little kid again! After the swing we had a coffee tasting. I am not a huge fan of coffee but ended up purchasing the avocado coffee because it was so different and so good!
From here we drove to the Tegalalang rice terraces, an icon of Ubud. There are more swings here (with better views) and opportunities to hike onto the terraces. The terraces were so muddy and the sun was so strong, but we prevailed and got some awesome photos!
Our next stop was lunch in Ubud and then a visit to Tirta Empul temple. This temple is a national cultural heritage site and is very sacred for the Balinese. We had to wear sarongs inside the temple and participated in a spiritual cleansing ritual in the water. Moving from one fountain to the next, we blessed ourselves with the fresh water and purified our spirits. Doing this amongst devout locals was a really powerful experience.
After changing we got back in the van and drove to the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary. Not going to lie, I was really looking forward to feeding and holding the adorable chimps but these monkeys were RAVENOUS. Oh my gosh! They would see something that they liked and take it right from you. They were running around, swinging above our heads, and fighting each other. I could not wait to get out. It was cool to watch them interact, but their unpredictability really got the best of me.
Thursday, April 25: Nusa Penida Island
Today we took a day trip to Nusa Penida island. I will be writing a separate blog post about Nusa Penida because there is a lot to be said about the island’s attractions, how to best get around, what to expect, etc. I really enjoyed my day on the island and checked a MAJOR item off my bucket list… (stay tuned).
Friday, April 26: Gates of Heaven, Water Palace & Waterfall
This morning our driver, Budhi, picked us up super early (5 am early) and drove two hours to Lempuyang Temple. This temple is also known as the Gates of Heaven and is absolutely stunning. We arrived so early that the temple was pretty much empty. There was drifting morning haze and everything was so still; it was extremely peaceful. By the time we got to the Gates of Heaven there was already a small line forming for photos. We only had to wait about 20 minutes for the shot in front of the gates.
Pro-tip: Arrive early!! Most people have to wait 1-3 hours just for a picture!
After some exploring we got back in the van and drove to the Tirta Gangga Water Palace in eastern Bali. So beautiful! We walked around here and fed the largest coy fish I’ve ever seen! Next up was a visit to a waterfall on the way back to Seminyak. There are so many waterfalls in Bali I highly recommend visiting one for a refreshing swim! We got lunch in Seminyak at Organic Cafe and returned to the villa for an afternoon swim before drinks at La Plancha and dinner.
Saturday, April 27: Potato Head Beach Club
We spent the day at Potato Head Beach Club in Bali. This beach club is actually a resort, but it is common for people to use its amenities for the day. We paid for a cabana and really enjoyed our time here, lounging around and swimming in the infinity pool. There is a swim-up bar in the pool and the food and service is really good. I know a lot of students who’ve gone here, but it was less rowdy than expected. It ended up being a really relaxing day!
Sunday, April 28: Spa Day
This morning Budhi drove us to Calma Spa for a day of pampering! All of us paid for an hour-long massage followed by an hour-long body scrub treatment. Not only were the services the best I’ve ever had, I paid $35 USD TOTAL for two hours of bliss! Unbelievable! If you ever find yourself in Bali take advantage of the affordability and treat yourself!
We enjoyed our last night in Bali on La Plancha beach… no surprise there! Seriously. Come here.
Monday, April 29: Travel Day
This morning we ate our final breakfast in the villa and said our goodbyes to our new friends, Wayan and Budhi.
I highly recommend staying in Villa Winata becuase Wayan is such a gem! The house itself is so beautiful, but Wayan kept it so clean for us and made sure we were comfortable at all times.
I also really recommend Budhi if anyone needs a driver in Bali. You can not taxi everywhere in Bali and Uber is not commonly used. Hiring a private driver for the week is definitely the best way to go, and Budhi’s rates are great. He was willing to take us anywhere we wanted and provided us with great recommendations! He was the best!
Some helpful tips for Bali:
- You use cash everywhere, so take out a lot before your trip to avoid ATM fees. $1 USD is about 14,000 rupiah.
- Don’t drink the tap water it WILL make you sick! This means keep your mouth shut in the shower, use bottled water when brushing your teeth, and avoid uncooked foods that are washed with the water.
- Avoid street food if you want to avoid the infamous Bali Belly. We ate in more westernized restaurants and stayed healthy! I also recommend reading reviews online to choose a restaurant wisely.
- Watch out for the motor scooters, they will hit you! Also, only ride one if you are really confident- traffic is horrendous in Bali.
- It’s really hot in Indonesia! Stay hydrated.
- Hire a driver! It’s an affordable and safe way to see a lot of the island, especially if you are traveling with a group.