Bali is a literally a dream. I was overwhelmed with all the things to do in Bali and I feel like I haven’t even scraped the surface! I’ve been loading a CRAZY amount of photos to Instagram about my trip because it doesn’t entirely feel real?… It was a perfect 80 degrees, there was lush greenery everywhere I turned, and I was able to play with elephants as they wrestled fruits and veg out of my hands. But it wasn’t all fun and games. We ended up getting stranded in the middle-of-no-where Kuta because of a TERRIBLE AirBnb experience, that was later rectified by the wonderful staff of AirBnb! We didn’t really plan much and instead relied on our “Gorilla Backpacking” method to figure-out what to do; which is so “Vanessa.”
I’m just a woman winging it around the world.
I wanted to collect all of my memories and experiences in one place for you guys to benefit so here are a few tips about the MANY options you have in Bali. Try not to get overwhelmed.
Helpful Hint: Grab literature straight off the plane
When you exit immigration, you’re going to approach a bookshelf of flyers and pamphlets about activities in the area and AGAINST ALL ODDS these are actually super helpful to survey your options. Grab a map too! So you can understand the demographic of the island a bit better.
Here’s a list of things that we did, which led to better (or worse) experiences while we were there.
Seminyak was HAPPENING. There were people zipping around on scooters, plenty of shopping, and bars/restaurants as far as the eye can see! I would suggest this area as a good “home base” for potential accommodation because you can walk everywhere and/or stumble home safely. However, Seminyak is getting “hip with the kids” quickly so prices are going to be higher here. We accidentally dropped 50 USD EACH for lunch after we failed to find out the conversion rate early enough.
It’s 1 USD to every 13,000 Rupiah FYI.
We were pretty keen on seeing animals when we went to Bali and to interact with elephants. We hired a driver for the day who took us to the Bali Zoo where we spent a few hours riding and feeding the elephants. While we didn’t have enough time in our day to enjoy the whole zoo, we did get to see an ape throw bananas/poo at unsuspecting Aussie girls, which was hilarious. After talking to the traumatized girls, they told us that this was their 2nd time coming to the zoo and it was well worth it.
Our driver also took us to the Batukaru Temple for us to get a taste of a 1000 year-old culture. When you enter, you’re given a cultural skirt to wear as a sign of respect. Take the skirt. It’s pretty. Don’t be a dick. Just take it. There are so many temples to choose from on Bali that it will be nearly impossible to hit them all! Pick a few based on your proximity to them. Check out your choices here.
Ubud was, by far, my favorite part of Bali. It was peaceful and quiet and we were able to do free yoga at our hotel/resort. Ubud is notorious for it’s greenery and serenity; and after hopping three countries in one week, I was in desperate need of relaxation. In Ubud, you can enjoy peaceful lunches while looking out onto the rice fields for cheap. It’s definitely not as hectic as Seminyak, but it’s also not as accessible. Be sure you go with someone with the same vacation goals as you… which is absolutely nothing. Your only responsibility in Ubud is to relax.
I wasn’t too sure what to expect from a Fire Show/Dance, but I was not disappointed! There were at least 90 people on stage at all times and the show was based on a Balinese fable. While I don’t know the location of our specific performance (since our hotel sent us there), here’s a list of times and locations for different performances in your area.
Our driver suggested that we go to a waterfall while we were in Bali so we let a complete stranger drive us into the middle of the forest and hoped to go he didn’t murder us. We were correct in this assumption. Our driver dropped us off at a small outdoor cafe on the top of the cliff and we trekked down on our own. There was a train that was easy enough to follow, but once you hit the river, you have to cut across slipper rocks and through the actual water. There’s really no way to get around it (we tried). Fortunately for me, I was wearing my “adventure sandals” and was able to walk through just fine. My friend’s white shoes weren’t so lucky.
Authors Note: There are monkeys in the area! Be sure to protect your things well and DON’T GO NEAR them as they will probably attack you. No joke.
Kuta… Don’t go here.
We made the mistake of booking an AirBnb in South Kuta and arriving at night… to no one. There were no lights. No reception at all. And no food. Basically it was my own personal hell. The owner of our AirBnb didn’t even pick up his phone after I rung him multiple times and we finally got into our villa at 8:30. But that still didn’t solve the issue of food. We managed to convince a couple of completely strangers to let us ride on the back of their scooters to the nearest food location… down the hill… since we thought it would be more dangerous to walk in complete darkness.
Lucky for us we weren’t kidnapped or murdered and we were able to enjoy Brinner (Breakfast for dinner) while searched for hotels to transfer too. The nearest night-life hubs are at the bottom of the hill so don’t plan on heading up the mountains unless you plan on staying there. Alone. With nothing but the Geckos.
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