THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO BALI ॐ
Wow where do I even start?!
Bali... The Island of Gods. This place is so dreamy.
I booked a one-way ticket! Bali has been on my list for the longest time ever since I saw gorgeous pictures on Instagram a few years ago! I've heard Bali is a magical island full of yoga, yummy vegan food, and beautiful nature. And boy, was everyone right. I spent the last month living on this sacred island so I'm excited to share my experience to make your Bali trip a little easier!
Baliiiii'n on a budget. So doing Bali on a budget is however easy you make it! It's a very affordable country. My partner, Harrison, and I managed to save some money on this trip by being smart about our spending. We decided to book a few unique, beautiful Airbnb's here and there in each city for about $40-$60. The other nights we chose to stay in hostels from as little as $10 a night. The last week was spent in a CoWorking Villa! Total we spent about $300 on accommodation for a month and $250 each on food- which is absolutely incredible! I'll write a separate blog post with more details on how to travel on a budget!
In the 30 days that was spent in Bali, we traveled to Ubud, Canggu, Uluwatu, and Nusa Penida! All were so different but we loved every single place.
Bali's beating heart and culture hub- Ubud! A jungle haven full of rice fields, monkeys, yoga, and local artisans.
WHERE TO STAY:
Booking.com and Airbnb!!! They are my favorite way to travel. Airbnb and Booking.com are so unique and give you more of a local experience + they can be as inexpensive as you wish. We found this yoga bungalow in the middle of the jungle for $30 a night. We stayed here for 4 days as soon as we arrived to Bali and it was so serene and beautiful.
THINGS TO DO:
Sacred Monkey Forest
The famous forest is another crowd pleaser with over 600 cute monkeys, 186 species of trees in 12.5 acres of forest and housing three holy temples. When traveling to the monkey forest, if you park at the back entrance (not the main parking lot) you get free parking ;) The cost to enter the forest is IDR 50.000- such a great price to play with some monkeys! Although seemingly cute, be aware of possible monkey theft and don’t walk around with loose, shiny, or colorful items. The monkeys will gladly take your sunglasses and keep them for themselves. Even hiding everything in your bag can sometimes not be enough as one monkey jumped on our backpack and went straight to the zippers to find the goodies inside! They are super smart so don't try to outsmart them.
Ubud Traditional Art Market
Tegalalang Rice Terrace
Tirta Empul Holy Water Temple
Campuhan Ridge Walk
Yoga Studios: The Yoga Barn, Radiantly Alive, Ubud Yoga House, Taksu Yoga
MY FAVORITE CAFE IN UBUD:
Seeds of Life
Food for vitality. Seeds of Life is my favorite restaurant in Ubud! It's fully raw vegan and absolutely mouth watering. They source the best local produce! They also have access to spring water which is filtered through a UV filter for extra precaution against bali belly. The water is also used to wash the produce! My personal favorite section on the menu is the "tonic bar" full of Ayurvedic herbal teas and magical smoothies.
A definite must try if you're in town!
Other Yummy Cafes in Ubud:
Alchemy, La Pacha Mama, Veggie Karma ($4 all you can eat vegan buffet), Kafe, Sayuri Healing Food Cafe, Sage, Wulan Vegetarian Warung.
Ubud is a very special place! After spending almost a week here, we were craving the beach and packed our bags to head south west!
Canggu is a surfers paradise located on the South West Coast of Bali. It's got a little bit of everything- including some fun nightlife.
Canggu is broken up into two sides with the "shortcut" splitting the two. The sides are split by a paved road and knowing this road will save you 10-20 minutes when driving. A lot of times people will say on the other side – this is just the other side of Canggu that is connected by this paved (not so walking friendly) walking path.
Canggu is known for all the happenin' things! It's not as cultural but definitely a fun scene.
Skate jams on Thursday nights at Pretty Poison. Come here to get your drink on and watch people skate!
Live music at Deus Cafe on Tuesdays
Chill with your girlfriends at the Lawn and take some Instagram pictures at their bohemian style beach club while soaking in some vitamin D. The best place for sunset!
Get your surf on at Batu Belong, Echo, or Berawa Beach
Eat at cute hipster cafes
Crate Cafe, The Avocado Factory, Cafe Organic, Sizzlewraps, Cafe Vida, The Loft, Oka's Bakery, Poke Poke, The Shady Shack, Peloton Supershop, Nalu Bowls, Kynd Community
Pick up some natural toiletries or groceries from Bali Buda
Old Man's on the beach is always a poppin' place place to grab a Bintang and watch the surfers
Cruise around the farmers market on Sunday's at Samadi. A happening vibrant local market, with music, laughter, good food and fresh produce. Perfect way to spend a Sunday!
MY FAVORITE MUNCHIE SPOTS IN CANGGU:
WHERE I STAYED:
Some coliving spaces are mostly focused around work, surf camps are completely focused around fun, and hostels are mainly for partying. Coworksurf finds the middle ground by encouraging productivity, community and collaboration as well as fun activities like surfing and exploring the beautiful surrounding areas with an amazing crew of like minded individuals. It is a coliving/working villa with creatives from all over the world. This is the perfect place to stay if you're a digital nomad! This place also has the best and fastest internet on the island which I was super grateful for. It allows you to get work done while also relaxing and enjoying your trip. I loved meeting fellow travelers from all over the world. From game nights, BBQ's, family outings, yoga, nerd sessions on our computers, endless smoothies, coffee, pool days, laughs, and music- the good vibes never stopped. This place gave me lifelong friendships and memories that I'll always cherish. Coworksurf is now a home away from home for me. I HIGHLY recommend this place if you're traveling to Canggu! Follow them on Instagram @coworksurf !!!
ALSO CHECK OUT:
Zero Waste Bali
This is one of my favorite stores in Canggu! This store is AMAZING. You bring your own containers, mesh bags or jars to fill to help reduce the plastic waste problem. Not only are they making the world a better place, they're making your body a better place to live as well! They have the biggest selection of superfoods I've seen since being in Canggu and they also have cool things such as menstrual cups, bamboo toothbrushes, and metal lunchboxes. The prices are also pretty decent! Your choices can make a difference :)
Check them out on instagram @zerowastebali
Canggu is by far my favorite town in Bali!
Uluwatu is a little slice of heaven on the south-western tip of the Bukit Peninsula of Bali, about an hour south of Canggu. It's a surf town filled with sunshine, limestone cliffs, and crystal clear blue water! It's also has world class surfing so if you're a surfer- this is your place.
We used our 4 days spent in Uluwatu to mainly relax by the beach and give ourselves a break from the hustle n bustle of city life. We stayed at this cute little Airbnb for $13 a night on a farm that was surrounded by cows, chickens, ducks, cats, and dogs. It was walking distance from Impossible Beach- which is the least crowded beach in all of Uluwatu. And we experienced our first earthquake here! It was a 5.2 that hit south of Bali but we we're a bit shaken up when we woke up one morning to our bed shaking. Fortunalely, all was okay and there was no damage. Uluwatu is the perfect place for a little getaway. And if you're looking for some fun, head to Single Fin on a Sunday.
If you like acai bowls, I recommend checking out Nalu Bowls! They were Bali's first smoothie bowl shack on the island and they offer fresh local ingredients. Prices range from IDR 60.000-85.000.
If you're looking for a cool surf cafe to hang out at, Drifter is where it's at! They do free movie nights every Wednesday. Synchronistically enough, the week we were there, they played a movie called "Hunt for the Wilderpeople" which is a New Zealand movie and we're actually headed to New Zealand right after Bali! This place has super good vibes and a bomb tofu scramble for breakfast.
Don't forget to check out the Uluwatu Temple! Uluwatu Temple, or Pura Luhur Uluwatu, one of six key temples believed to be Bali's spiritual pillars, is renowned for its magnificent location, perched on top of a steep cliff approximately 70 metres above sea level. The views are absolutely incredible. And you get to hang out with more monkeys!
If you're feeling thirsty, head over to Ulu Cliffhouse. This hot new beach club has multiple floors on the side of a cliff overlooking the coast of Uluwatu. It is absolutely MAGICAL and has the best drinks! Don't forget to bring your swimsuit!
PS- Their straws aren't plastic! They're from a local company in Bali called Avani and actually made from cornstarch! Saving the planet one straw at a time :)
Nusa Penida is an island southeast of Bali island, Indonesia known for it's amazing landscapes, snorkeling, and diving. Nusa Penida is only about a 50 minute boat ride from Bali- so it's not too far and worth the trek!
WHERE I STAYED
Harrison and I booked this amazing off-grid hut on the cliff overlooking Thousand Islands. The Airbnb was around $40 for one night and doesn't include wifi, a proper bathroom, or any other amenities. It's basically just a bed with a blanket inside of a hut- but the experience was worth every penny. It took us 3 hours from the boat dock to find this sucker because they have no address or actual location for it, they just tell you to go to "Atuh Beach." If you rent a scooter like we did, be prepared for many broken roads and bumpy rides. After we finally arrived, we drank Bintangs until the sun disappeared into the limestone cliffs. We fell asleep to the sound of waves crashing and Alan Watts on our speaker. At 6am, we woke up to the sun illuminating the sky and watched the most majestic sunrise I've ever seen. The sun came up perfectly over the horizon and we sat there in awe as it was one of the most special moments I've ever experienced.
These islands are near Bali and easily accessible by ferry! You can hop on a speed boat in Sanur.
As I travel more and more, something that I am really passionate about is placing value on the people and the places that I encounter. My hope is that my experiences can bring light and awareness not only to amazing places, but also to amazing people and organizations around the world that are making a difference! I am finding that travel has this brilliant way of opening my heart and connecting me more to humanity and nature. We are all One.
BEST PIECES OF ADVICE!
Here are some useful tips and tricks that may help you along the way:
Exchange your money as soon as you land at the airport. It's safe and efficient!
If you're not careful and use sketchy ATM's on the side of the street, you have a chance of getting your bank account hacked. Use ATM's with a big bank.
BRING PROBIOTICS! I bought a 30-day pack of probiotics to take everyday to keep my gut healthy (according to Hippocrates, all disease begins in the gut) and I never got bali belly! I truly believe probiotics is what saved me.
Getting a local SIM card can be great if you don’t want to rely on your hotel, bar or restaurant for Wifi. They're super affordable (only cost me about $12 US for data for the whole month).
Do NOT drink the tap water- that's just asking to get bali belly. Don't brush your teeth with it either - better not to risk it. Which brings me to my next point...
Bring a re-usable water bottle!! Or else you'll be buying plastic water bottles every day! Good for the environment and your bank account!
Pack mosquito/bug spray! They're viscous here.
Rent a scooter! It's the cheapest and easiest way to get around. There's a ton of traffic so having a scooter allows you to easily dodge the cars in traffic.
Scooter advice: Wear a helmet, the roads are dangerous. Put your valuables and purse under the seat so no one can snatch it off you and take it. Beep the horn when going around sketchy corners or just to let someone know you're coming. Always use a turn signal. When parking lots try to get you to pay for parking, go about a street or two over and park for free.
If you don't have a scooter or another ride, download Go Jek. It's their cheap version of Uber but motorcycle version. Go Jek alo delivers food which is super convenient. Don't forget to tip the driver!
While Terima Kasih means thank you in Indonesian, Suksma means thank you in balinese, and they really seem to appreciate that extra touch. Warung means restaurant.
When touring the temples, dress appropriately. Cover your upper body- no midriff or shoulders showing. If you're wearing shorts, grab a sarong and tie it around your lower body. Don't enter a temple if you're bleeding (while menstruating). Be conscious of your surroundings. If there's a ceremony going on, keep your voice low. Take off your shoes. Pay due respect, you're in a holy place.
Take toilet paper everywhere- most toilets have none. Don't flush them down the toilet though! The water pipe system in Bali cant handle toilet paper. There's usually a little trash can right by that you can dump it in.
Remember to say "no straw" at restaurants and cafes so we can help save the environment. There's no need for a plastic straw. Most places are up-to-date with the plastic epidemic and offer metal or bamboo straws but the local spots still use plastic.
Learn how to barter as it can make or break your budget. You can bargain with almost everything in Bali starting from car rides to clothes to gas and souvenirs on the street. You can sometimes get things at the market down to half or 1/3 the original price.
Do try Nasi/Mie Goerang and be sure that you try the traditional Balinese breakfast at least once during your stay. The local food is yummy and pretty cheap! I order a vegan version of the Mie Goerang and it's deeeelicious :)
Download Google Maps. You can mark your favorite spots and it also works offline. It's the best!
Enjoy every single part of the experience. Surrender and stay humble.