I can't believe I DIDN'T want to come to Bali. After the book and movie Eat, Pray, Love and hearing about single Western women going on luxurious yoga retreats to decompress from their unsustainable lifestyles - Bali just felt a little cliche. But, I admit, I misjudged by a long shot.
Bali is one of the most gentle, almost whimsical places I've ever been. I keep comparing it to Hawaii, but it is not like Hawaii. It is raw, full of Indonesian culture, food, language, and architecture. My favorite thing is the people both local and visitors. Local Balinese, smile, all the time - they make eye contact with you & that's enough to make you feel at ease & welcome. They also take pride in everything they do, the guy sweeping the steps is going to make sure those are the best swept steps that ever existed & the chef, he's going to make sure you love your meal & have you try the traditional jackfruit papaya he's cooking for his guests. The visitors to Bali have become some of the quickest friends I've made, very international, adventurous, light-hearted, and all well-traveled. No one here is taking 1 week get-aways, most travelers are taking one month to one year here in Indonesia & other islands to dive, surf, and explore.
EAT in ubud
SOMA :: Vegan, where Cafe Gratitude in Venice Beach must have gotten their inspiration.
BAMBU INDA :: This an entire hotel made of bamboo, but the restaurant is killer. It is hard to find...ask directions.
Seminyak: I DIDN'T VISIT BUT I WASN'T KEEN ON THE SOUND OF IT - A LITTLE UPPITY WITH BOUTIQUES AND YOGA PANTS.
Ubud: BEAUTIFUL INLAND CITY, SLIGHTLY TOURISTY BUT WITH AMAZING BOHEMIAN VIBE & IN THE JUNGLE FEELING.
Kuta Beach: More low-spending travelers, surfers, CRAZY nightlife.
CANGGU: YOUNG SURFERS TOWN, MUCH MORE MELLOW THAN KUTA AREAS. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.
Nusa Dua: Honeymooners, family friendly, resorty.
Denpasar: BUSY CITY WITH LOADS OF POLLUTION.
Stay where I stayed. I started North and worked my way South.
things you need to know:
don't step on the offerings
In the photo above are "the offerings" this is a religious practice that gives gifts to the gods - Balinese will do this everyday and put them all over the place, do your best to not step or drive over them.
You can't drink the water
Drink bottled water only. Bottled water is cheap and many hotels and resorts provide complimentary water. It's advisable not to have ice in your drinks either, unless it's a reputable hotel, restaurant or bar. Better be safe than suffer Bali belly, which unfortunately does happen.
Rent a motorbike
The easiest mode of transportation is by motorbike. It is cheap, $6/day in most cities. Remember to stay on the left side of the road & be careful! The laws are, their are no laws. I have yet to see a traffic signal.
Where to find a gas station is always a concern, when you’re driving in a foreign country. In Bali, major cities have gas stations, but you won’t find many of them in the countryside. No worries. The roadside bottles with the yellow liquid (you’ll find many to be in Absolut vodka bottles) are petrol and they’re cheap to buy to fill your tank.
30 DAY VISA
I kept reading I had to pay $25 for a 30-day travel VISA, but I did not have to pay anything for staying 30 days in Bali. If you plan to stay longer, yes you will need a VISA.
CANGGU :: BEGINNER - INTERMEDIATE
ULUWATU :: INTERMEDIATE-EXPERT
PADANG-PADANG :: EXPERT
This is a place where Hinduism and Buddhism meet, it is best if women dress modestly. It was very relaxed in beach towns with bikinis etc. but put some clothes on when you leave please.