Having just spent close to two weeks in beautiful Bali I have picked up a handful of tips, tricks and recommendations for this amazing country. When you’re planning your next trip there give these a go…
A common misconception is that when you come to Bali you should just stay in the southern areas such as Seminyak, Canggu and Uluwatu. Although these are beautiful, there is so much more to see. I recommend instead spending a few nights in different places to ensure you get the most of your time in the country. Seminyak is the busy central hub of Bali crammed with shops, beaches and cafes. Uluwatu has gorgeous temples and luxury hotels. Canggu has a relaxed surfer vibe with beach bars, sun drenched cafes and big waves. However, don’t forget to head north to more quiet areas such as Ubud and Lovina. Ubud is surrounded by picturesque rice paddies and is a haven for laid-back yogis and healthy foodies. Lovina is quiet, relaxed and has beautiful temples and hot springs within close reach. Finally, ensure you don’t miss out on the gorgeous nearby Gilli islands for relaxation, snorkelling and scuba diving and of course Lombok to climb the famous Mount Rinjani.
Go On An Adventure
There is no better place to go on an adventure than in Bali. I highly recommend hiking up Mount Batur in the middle of the night (with a guide and some torches!) to watch the sunrise over the island. It honestly takes your breath away. If climbing mountains isn’t your jam, then there are tonnes of other awesome actives available from cycling through the beautiful rice paddies in Ubud to surfing the waves of Canggu, white water rafting in the mountains to aerial obstacle courses in the forests. There is something for everyone and you’re guaranteed to get an adrenalin rush!
Head to A Beach Club
Bali has an abundance of gorgeous beaches which are scattered with incredible bars and clubs. Some of the most popular spots are Potato Head in Seminyak and The Lawn in Canggu. Here you can relax with a cocktail in hand, watch the sunset, dip in the sea and meet lots of like minded people.
Transport in Bali can be questionable at times. You can easily rent a motorbike or moped without a licence, which I didn’t do for safety reasons. The next most popular way to travel is using local taxi services. The cheapest and safest way to do this is to use the blue cars labeled “bluebird taxis” and to request that they use the meter. Beware of other taxi operators who wont use meters and will instead over charge you significantly for a ridiculously short trip. They will try and take advantage of you, so keep your wits about you.
The two main forms of accommodation on Bali are villas and hotels, although some lovely BnB’s do exist for very cheap prices. If you want independence and the ability to cook your own food then go for a villa, which are often pretty cheap and come with their own pool. However, if you’re looking for a hotel then I highly recommend Tugu Hotel in Canggu. It is a small boutique hotel which is the definition of authentic and is bursting at the seams with Balinese culture and traditions. The rooms are gorgeous, not to mention huge. The service is incredible and the surroundings are stunning, including hanging walkways and jungle-esque paths between the rooms. My favourite feature of the hotel is that you can eat breakfast anywhere. I chose to have mine on a luxurious beach front four poster bed covered in cushions, overlooking the sunrise. The view was incredible, not to mention the banana pancakes I was devouring!
Be A Culture Vulture
Bali is full to the brim with culture. Just walking down a local street will show you that, as you see the women doing their daily offerings and religious sculptures on every corner. Wherever you are staying in Bali, I guarantee you that there will be as selection of beautiful temples nearby. Be sure to explore them. I also recommend taking some time to delve into the local villages and see how the people live. Bali is still a developing country, which we can often lose sight of from our 5 star resorts. It is important to give yourself a reality check.
…In the huge cafe and coffee culture! There are an abundance of incredible espresso bars ands coffee shops which you can pop into for a quick caffeine hit. If you’re more into green juices and kale then you won’t struggle to find a cafe serving up wholesome delicious food. For my top recommendations head to my Bali Healthy Cafe Guide and Video. However, don’t forget to try the authentic local Balinese food too. They serve up some damn delicious curries and coconut chicken!
Tourism can be a positive and negative thing. Its rapid development in Indonesia has lead to some less ethical tourist attractions springing up. I urge you to try and remain wise in your decisions and avoid supporting elephant rides, animal based experiences and even zoo’s. These often rely on animal abuse and poor treatment. Also, avoid supporting the Indonesian Luwak coffee plantations. This method of coffee development is cruel to the Luwaks which are force fed the beans (don’t believe them when they tell you they “roam free and choose the best beans” – it is a lie!).
Photos: Denis Plesca