An island destination that made it to the top of my MUST-SEE list with ease. Although Bali is small, it has something to offer for everyone.
You can enjoy wonderful waterfalls, sandy beaches, roam free with monkeys in the forest, learn how to ride some waves at one of the many surfing schools, shop in the bustling & affordable markets, or just relax on a bean bag in the sand with a Bintang (local beer) in hand. Bali is your paradise. Before heading off on a Bali holiday package, I had an image of an “Instagramable” destination but on arrival it was so much more than that with its enriching Bali culture that lays beneath the surface of its gorgeous views and unreal sunsets.
We started off our trip in Ubud the spiritual heart of Bali, which was surrounded with ancient temples filled with a backdrop of lush green forests and rice paddies around almost every corner. You arrive and instantly feel a sense of calm and relaxation which was great after a long flight & an hour and a half drive from the airport. Here you can find many great things to enjoy such as the Monkey Forest which is not to be missed, as long as you take the necessary precautions such as tuck away shiny items on you and keep a safe distance from the monkeys then this is a magical experience. If you’re looking to grab some souvenirs then you should head over to the traditional Ubud market where you can find anything from clothing, jewellery, local art pieces and plenty of little gifts to bring home. For the more adventurous type, the Bali Swings are where you need to be! A real treat for adrenaline junkies, these swings offer their own unique thrill factor whilst you glide over a cliff with immaculate views. There is also the option of just exploring Ubud by foot from your hotel, you may stumble across some true gems as you pass by temples, trails & lovely little Cafes.
After an extraordinary stay at Ubud Wana resort we made our way to Fontana Bali in Kuta, we were pleasantly surprised by this beautiful hotel as we were being welcomed by the friendliest staff I’ve ever come across in my travels. This is when the hustle & bustle begins as you wonder down into the streets of Kuta. At every turn there is an opportunity to buy something however do not be perturbed by the constant amount of sales being thrown your way! You can make your way to the beach where there are plenty of “beach boys” ready to hand you an ice-cold beverage or offer a surfing lesson. We sat down on our bean bag chairs and waited for the sun to set, which let me tell you is a show of beauty put on by nature. The sky lights up with vibrant colours reflecting onto the ocean, perfect time to grab a frame worthy photo. Once the sun has set you can find rows of restaurants for dinner offering a variety of cuisines from local BBQ’s, seafood, Indian, Chinese and American. It is a very vibey atmosphere with live entertainment, traditional dancing and the sound of the ocean in the background as you are right on the beachfront. We also visited Legian which is nestled between Kuta and Seminyak. It was a little less hectic than Kuta, but not as trendy as Seminyak which was one of our favourite spots to enjoy the sunsets. All three beaches across this strip were worth the visit and although they were relatively similar, you still felt a unique difference in each area.
A fantastic experience we included was a tour of the North, a more unexplored part of Bali. With its untouched natural feel and wonderful offerings of majestic waterfalls, Black sand Lovina beach, beautiful and sacred floating temples, views of flowing rivers from high above and never-ending rows of rice paddies. This was a tour that allowed us access to see all the things that aren’t always number one on a tourists list. It showed us the deeper and enriching cultural value that is found in Bali. For those explorers are looking to do something different to normal then this is a fantastic offering.
10 Tips to remember for Bali:
- Ensure you carry cash along with you because if you’re shopping in the markets or eating at local restaurants, they generally only take cash.
- Leave your jeans and heavy jackets at home. Bali is hot all year round so there will be no need for your winter outfits.
- Bali’s heat and humidity call for constant hydration but consider the environment before purchasing another bottled drink. I recommend investing in a stainless-steel water bottle that you can reuse.
- Rent a scooter! It is the easiest mode of transport and cheaper than getting a taxi. If you do not feel comfortable on two wheels, I recommend downloading the ‘Blue Bird’ app for the cheapest rides.
- Eat local! The best place to get authentic Balinese food is at the local restaurants, called Warungs. If you’re on a budget this is the best way to eat great dishes at an affordable price.
- At the local markets, don’t be shy to barter for a better price. You can bargain for many items and services in Bali, but do so respectfully and with a smile on your face. Find a store you like and try get as many items from one place to get the best price.
- Learn some local lingo. ‘Suksma’ was a phrase we learnt from the staff, which means thank you. It’s always helpful to know a few phrases.
- Ensure you are always being environmentally friendly!
- Tipping, this is not necessary, and you won’t be considered rude for not leaving one. However, if you feel the service was excellent, then you can always leave a tip. Be aware that some places do include the service fee, which will be printed at the bottom of your bill.
- Enjoy every moment of your trip and explore and discover as much as possible. Put on your sunblock and get your costumes ready because you’re now ready to go!
Written by: Tyla-Jade Sweet