I’m going back to Bali this year, to meet my Mom who’s going there for one month during Christmas season.
As some of you know, Bali is somehow my Happy Place. Life feels so good there! I don’t know if I could live there, but a few weeks there every year doesn’t sound too bad, does it?
Since I’ve been there a few times already, I wanted to share my good tips about this beautiful Indonesian Island. I’ve already wrote several articles about it, you can find them here.
First things first:
- If you have a little of that adventurer’s personality, I would advise you not to book everything in advance. I’ve always had change of plans during my various stays, and it’s always for the better. I end up discovering new place, new hotels, new people,…
- Book the first two days or so, just to make sure you have a place when you get there, and you don’t need to start looking for a place when you’re still tired from the travel. I would advise to find a place to stay in Seminyak. It’s very close to the airport (located in Denpasar), has a lot a shops, hotels and restaurant, easy to get around when it’s your first time in Bali.
- When you look for places to stay, you would think that you will find the cheapest places on Airbnb (like you would in Europe). Mistake! I usually find all my guesthouses thanks to Booking.com. Still it’s best to look on both websites. Explore all options 😉
- Download Uber and Go-Jek. 2 phone apps that will make your stay a lot easier. To travel from one city to another, it’s usually a few hours drive. The best is to get a driver, but since Uber arrived, it’s a lot cheaper to travel with them. For smaller distances, try Go-Jek. It’s a driver on a motorbike, that will drive you anywhere you want. Average distances cost me between 1 and 2€. Also, Go-Jek allows you to order about anything. I haven’t tried all the options but you can order food for examples. Since I usually go during the raining season, when it’s raining like crazy at night, it’s feels awesome not to go outside. And you don’t need a credit card, you can pay by cash once your driver meets you.
- Get an indonesian number with internet. There’s wifi in most places, but I always find it very helpful to help me get arround thanks to maps or so. I always stay between 2 or 4 weeks, and it never costs much. Plus, I always think that I don’t really need my belgian number, answering my phone so far from home, with the roaming and so on, would cost me a fortune.
- Change your money in Bali. But find a place that looks “honest” (not a little crappy bamboo house along the road with just a counter in the front). Go someplace that looks like a shop, look how much they announce the rate to be (now it’s about 14.000 indonesian rupiah for 1€), and calculate in advance how much you should get. Once they hand you the money, do not hesitate to count once or even twice if the amount is correct. Sometimes they like to play arround with tourists. But in any case, the exchange rate is better in Bali than if you do it before (in Belgium, France, or anywhere I would guess).
- Rent a motorbike! Best way to discover this island. I wouldn’t say you have to travel from one city to another with your motorbike (unless you have a backpack and really want to). I would say rent it once you know you’re in a city for 2 to… as many days as you like 🙂 Average price they announce everywhere is between 50.000 to 60.000 rupiah per day (that’s about 4€). Cheap you say? Well, if you dare, discuss the price with the renter. If you have a long stay, it helps. I rented mine (december 2016) for 35.000 rph/day and for 2 weeks. I should have said for a month and could have it for 30.000 rph/day (but then I didn’t know if we were travelling to another island or not)
- Speaking or other islands… I strongly recommend you to discover Nusa Lembongan/Ceningan. Or Nusa Penida. Gili seem to look great but will always be a little more busy since they’re more renown. Depends what you’re looking for… If you happen to go to Lembongan, check out Loa Beach, they have a great bungalow right on the beach, and my friend Adis will be pleased to welcome you.
- The food scene is pretty big and becoming more and more exciting… Especially to me! Bali is a paradise for vegan, vegetarian and gluten free food. Either in Ubud (central Bali) or Canggu, there is some kind of hipster-isation (thanks to surfers and yogis) which is really representative in the food scene. Everyday I just get really excited to make some new foodie discoveries. If you want to follow them day to day, check out my instagram @lucievd
(Previous post about Bali’s food scene here)
- As I said just earlier, Bali is heaven for surfers and yogis/yoginis. Canggu is a great spot for surf, just as Uluwatu. I’ve always avoided Uluwatu knowing is crowded with young surfers and parties, and while I’m here I always try to get away from the party scene. I find it more quiet in Canggu. That’s also where I discovered yoga for the very first time (or more precisely, the very first time that I’ve enjoyed it). I’m doing my yoga at the Serenity Eco Guesthouse, which is a place I deeply love since my very first stay there back in 2015. It’s 100 rph/class (around 7-8€) but if you take a 20 class pass (which we did this year with my mom) it’s 1.500.000 rph (which is a tiny more than 5€/class). And each class last 1h30 and is pretty intense. I still go to beginners and find it perfect for me. There are of course a lot of other options. There is also another place I heard great things about, Desa Seni. It’s apparently more professional and a little bit more expensive. You can also find a lot (LOTS) of yoga around Ubud, which is a more spiritual city.
- Where to go? And when? Well for the past 3 years I happen to go to Bali during European winter which is Bali’s summer. It’s the raining season, so prices are a little lower than during our summer (I usually pay around 700€ for my plane ticket). There is some rain to be expected but not everyday, and when it does, it’s for 1 or 2 hours… But when it does… expect really heavy rain 🙂 But again… depends where you are. I always try to stay on the coasts because there are fewer days of rain. During this season it’s raining a lot more in central Bali, like Ubud for example. During our summer, Bali’s winter, days are a little colder (which isn’t a bad thing, right now it’s about 30° everyday, all day long, with lots of humidity).
I like to travel either with Qatar Airlines or Emirates, their planes are really nice and comfy, which is a big plus when you have to stay in a plane for long hours. Also, there’s only one stop (Dubai or Doha), which makes the journey not as long as they were two stops.
- There are a lot of activities to do… but if I had to choose one, I would advise you to do a trekking with Authentik Bali. It’s always my best memories and one of the best part of my trip. Here is the article I wrote after my first experience with Augustin. 3 years later, I’m still a huge fan of his trekkings. It’s always number one or two on my to do list in Bali. This year I’m taking my mom and I’m just so excited about it! Check out more about Authentik Bali on their Facebook Page.
So far this is all I can think of for my best advices. Some other things my come up later and I will just add them to the article. If you can any question, do not hesitate to contact me and ask away. I love to help people around Bali #spreadthelove