Travel Diary: Bali, Indonesia

Bali frees your soul! There’s an experience for everyone. Meditation, yoga, surfing, trekking, delicious food, and amazing beach clubs. Some areas have been influenced heavily by tourism while others remain quite remote and unchanged, yet both have kept their own unique Balinese charm.

After a quick two-hour flight on AirAsia from Singapore, we landed in Bali and it seemed as if everyone was just as excited as us to be there. The airport was crowded, hot and had a line that stretched 2 miles long. I'm usually in a hissy fit when stuck going through immigration but for some reason, I was surprisingly calm as if the tranquility of the country had already begun to seep into my pores when I deplaned. Getting our bags off the carousel was a struggle with many flights arriving around the same time as ours. After about an hour of waiting and two luggage carousels later, we jostled our bags from the rest and searched for the exit for our driver.


Prior to our arrival, I scheduled our pick-up with our Airbnb so that the driver would be waiting for us. If you ever wanted to feel like a celebrity, Bali's airport is the place for you. Picture the doors opening as you walk out, hundreds of people trying to get your attention, holding signs with the names of passengers while shouting the respective companies they are chartering for. After about 10 minutes we were able to connect with our driver and were on our way.

Leaving the airport was an experience with mopeds, cars, and trucks fighting for the limited space of roadway that was available. Despite this hustle and bustle, the traffic seemed more like a ballet than chaos, each commuter zipping and zapping from lanes as if it was a part of a choreographed display. We decided to spend our trip in two different areas in Bali with Ubud being the first stop and Seminyak the second. We commuted the hour and change it took us to reach our villa in Ubud with a quick stop at the currency exchange shop to change some money into local currency. Ubud is known as the cultural hub of Bali, famous for its arts and crafts, the town is also home to many historic temples and building with some predating the 16th century. Hinduism is the major religion in Bali and can be seen with the different flower shrines that decorate the streets. Seminyak is located on Bali's West Coast and is a blend of locals and expatriates who call the town, home. Along the streets are many luxury spas, beach clubs, lively restaurants, high-end shopping centers, and local craft shops to cater to the needs of the many tourists.

Where to Stay:

Accommodation in Ubud:

When we arrived at the Airbnb in Ubud my mouth instantly dropped. We stayed in a treehouse bungalow that was completely made from the Bali plants and overlooked a lush gully that gave the room a very private feel. Our host was very hospitable made sure that we were provided with anything we needed. Free breakfast was provided with the stay and there were options to purchase catered meals for lunch and dinner. We also had the option to purchase in-room massages and classes where you learn to cook traditional Balinese meals.

Transportation: Renting a moped is “the way of life” in Bali. Not only is it often the fastest, but it is also usually the cheapest and most convenient method to get around. Being that I was terrified to get on one in Ubud, I heavily relied on the transportation services that my Airbnb was offering which they offered at a very reasonable price. Like Singapore, Bali also has a similar rideshare network like Uber/Lyft, the most popular being Bluebird and Go-Jek which are great options for getting around. After spending 3 days in Ubud we headed to Seminyak to spend the rest of our trip.


Accommodation in Seminyak:

Now, where else can you find a place where you can walk out to your own private swimming pool, lofted ceilings and spiral staircase? Our Airbnb was recently renovated with a design heavily influenced by traditional Asian 'shophouse' but with a modern twist showing exposed pipes and brick. Located on a private lane just off the main road, we always had our privacy but within walking distance to Seminyak Square and the beach.

Where to Dine:

Where to dine in Ubud:

As I mentioned before, breakfast in Ubud was included with our stay therefore, we only needed to focus on what we were having for lunch and dinner. Here are a few of our favorite options:

· AFC - local fast-food chain

· Nomad - bar

· Kulo - coffee shop

· LOL - bar+restaurant (I STILL dream about the turkey club I had from here)

Indonesian cuisine is world-renowned and the local restaurants provide visitors the opportunity to try some of these tantalizing meals. Their traditional dishes like Nasi Goreng (fried rice) and Mie Goreng (fried noodles) are a must-have on any trip to Bali. After your meal, you can always wash it down with a nice cold Bintang, the local beer.

Where to dine in Seminyak:

Okay, this may sound odd because when you are on vacation you are supposed to explore different food options but I’m here to say that I am the type of person when I find a food spot that I really enjoy I keep going back. In Seminyak, Warung Makan Bu BagusI was that spot for me. I ate here morning, noon, and night and there was NEVER a bad day. I frequented them so much they knew my order by the third time we came in.

Some honorable mentions:

· Warung Mina - bar+restaurant

· GoGo - a local fast-food chain

· Riva Reno - gelato shop

· Ku De Ta - beach club (went here for my birthday both the food+drinks were amazing)

What to do:

If you have a slight shopping addiction like me, there are many shopping markets in Ubud Center so you are free to roam around and check out what the local artisans have to offer. I've heard many people raving about the Airbnb experience so I figured this was the time to test it out. The Airbnb Experiences are activities designed and led by locals who provide guests with unique experiences of a location they wouldn't get with a regular tour or class. Our Airbnb experience included 6 stops:

1. Pura Penataran Agung Lempuyang Gates of Heaven

2. Tirta Gangga (the water garden)

3. Lunch at Warung D’Yoni

4. Tukad Cepung waterfall

5. Luwak Coffee Plantation

6. Kumulilir (swings)

Our driver Putu (who was an amazing guide) picked us up from our Airbnb at 4:30 am sharp and drove us to our first destination. Putu made sure that we were well taken care of along the way and gave us the history of some of the places that we were visiting and even filled in as our cameraman on occasions.


We arrived at the Gates of Heaven just at the crack of dawn, and there was already a line beginning to form. At the start of every day, visitors are awarded a number based on their order of arrival. This determines when you can have your photo taken at the 'gates'. If you want to avoid getting a higher number and a longer wait, I recommend getting there as early as possible. We went from one stop on our experience to the next, each time awestruck by the beauty that Bali landscapes and people had to offer. Of them, my two most memorable moments were our stops at the D’Yoni and the Luwak Coffee Plantation.

D’Yoni doubles as a restaurant and citrus plantation where you can dine on a suspended bridge and gaze at the breathtaking views of the lush forest that surrounds you. Delivering on its promise, I don’t think we would have experienced this restaurant had it not been for our Airbnb experience driver Putu.

Right after lunch, we drove two minutes down the street to Luwak Coffee Plantation. Much like their arts and cuisines, Balinese coffee is a sought after comfort by many worldwide, including the most expensive coffee in the world, Kopi Luwak. I sampled the various blends of coffee they had to offer and I was damn near ready to run a marathon when I was done. Be sure to bring extra cash to purchase some coffee to take home and enjoy. All in all the Airbnb experience was a 10/10 and I highly recommend this tour guide when visiting.

Activities that I did in Ubud using Airbnb experience.

Things to do in Seminyak:

  1. Beaches

  2. Beach Clubs - (Potato Head Beach Club, Mrs. Sippy, Ku De Ta, Cocoon Beach Club, just to name a few)

  3. Shopping - (there are many shops all around Seminyak and including the Seminyak Village mall)

  4. Spas - (if you don’t go to the spa in Bali did you really go to Bali?)

Spa experience:

One of the biggest attractions of Bali is the affordable luxury spa experience. In the U.S getting a decent massage and facial can set you back a few hundred dollars, even on the most budget-friendly experience. So, when I got the chance to get a Lymphatic Drainage with Anti-Cellulite Oil, Organic Body Scrub, and Ultra Deep Cleansing Microdermabrasion Facial all this for about $90USD I didn't hesitate. I picked the Sundari Day Spa and got the Sundari Chitta Suddhi Ritual.

Tattoo:

Yes, I got a tattoo while in Bali. Risky? I know. Fun fact about me the majority of my tattoos were done while traveling. This tattoo holds a special place in my heart it’s the Lucky number 7. I was born on the 7th and I went to Bali for my birthday so I figured why not. The tattoo shop was very clean and the artist was professional. Link to the tattoo shop: Bali Angel Tattoo

What to Pack + Things to Know:

Language: Indonesian, Balinese, and English.


Visa: Coming in from the U.S I was not required to have a visa because I was staying less than 30 days and it was free to enter. Please check visa requirements prior to arriving to be on the safe side.


Currency: $1USD is roughly $13,940.18 IDR. (subject to change)


Credit Cards and ATMs: Skimming is a big thing in Bali so please be aware and try your best to use a reputable bank or an authorized currency exchange service. I used BMC (located throughout many of the towns) to exchange all of my money during my stay. Beware of the little shops that may offer a higher rate than other currency exchange most, because those are typically known for scamming tourists. Most importantly, ALWAYS!!! count your money when making any financial exchanges!


Electricity Plug Adapters: The plugs in Bali are type C and F with a standard voltage is 230V, and the standard frequency is 50Hz. What this means is for anyone traveling from somewhere like the U.S, you need a power plug adapter or voltage converter to use your electronic devices. We were able to purchase a few during our stay but it is best to come prepared.

Bali was such a great experience and I would 100% visit again and again! Let us know in the comments if you’ve been to Bali and what was your favorite experience. If you haven’t been are you excited to visit now?


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