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Bali Travel Guide

Posted on April 14 2018

Bali Travel Guide

 

My girlfriend and I finally decided to take a long overdue trip to Bali, Indonesia. A birthday gift to ourselves you could say. Naturally I wanted to share my experience with you and give you some great advice that could help you in the future!

The first thing you have to think about when planning your trip to Bali, is obviously how to get there! Bali, which is an island in Indonesia is located in southeast Asia. It’s pretty damn far from most of the western world. We started our journey from Miami. The only thing that stood in our way of our dream destination was 11,753 miles.

 

Easy enough huh.

 

We flew from Miami to Los Angeles, and then from there on to Hong Kong, followed by our last flight to Denpasar. When traveling to Bali, you’ll be flying into Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS).

 

Bali has a dry season (May to September). And a wet season (October to April). Deciding when to travel to Bali is a crucial factor that should not be considered lightly. We decided to travel to Bali in late March/beginning of April. And the weather was great for the most part. Naturally the island will be busier throughout the dry season. Which is why I would recommend you beat the crowds and visit Bali right before high season begins.

 

When deciding on what to pack for Bali just make sure you bring plenty of shorts, shirts and tank tops. Forget closed shoes and jeans. You won’t need em’.

 

Power outlets in Indonesia are the same ones as in Europe. The round ones that have two pins.

 

Indonesia has some of the strictest drug laws in the world so be sure to NOT bring any illegal substances with you. I’m going to say this again. DO NOT bring any drugs with you. Don’t even think about asking anyone either. It’s not worth it. Keep a close eye on your luggage, and if you are checking anything in for the flight, be sure to lock the bag.

 

Be prepared to spend a good amount of time at the airport waiting to clear customs. It took us over an hour to exit the airport after landing. And if you’re spending less than 30 days in Bali you won’t need a tourist visa.

Before actually arriving in Bali, you’ll have to decide on where to stay. There’s plenty of options to choose from. The airport is located in Denpasar, which is the very south of the island.

I would recommend you stay in multiple locations while in Bali. There’s so much to see, so much to do, so much to experience. To fully enjoy it you have to stay for at least 7-10 days. Anything less is inadequate. By far.

Stay in Ubud for a few days to soak in all of Bali’s culture and explore the north of the island. A great hotel to consider is Alaya Resort and Spa. We stayed there and it was ABSOLUTELY amazing. Trust me, you won’t regret it.


Another location to check out is Canggu and Seminyak. Those two spots are located on the west coast of the island and are considered top locations for surfing and nightlife. This is where you’ll find the hipster shops and vegan restaurants. The organic yogurt bars. The golden tanned surfers who ride 8ft waves like it’s their job. You know, the ones with Australian accents.

 

From the airport you can use Uber to get to your hotel, but don’t count on it during your stay in Bali. Uber is officially banned in most of the island but the app itself will work and you’ll be able to call a driver.

Once you leave the airport, you’re going to be attacked by dozens of taxi drivers. And they can be quite aggressive. Ignore them and just keep walking to the designated meetup spot you and your driver arranged. DO NOT let anyone see your uber app on your phone and don’t even mention the word.

Those taxi drivers don’t take to kindly to anyone using Uber. Communicate with your driver through WhatsApp.

If you decide to take a taxi, be sure to negotiate. Always negotiate. Those taxi drivers will try rip you off. I’m telling you now, be prepared to walk away.

During your stay in Bali, you’ll going to need a driver. I have some great contact. If you’re planning a trip, be sure to email me and I’ll give you their info.

 

When staying in Ubud, you should plan a visit to Mason Elephants Sanctuary where you can wash and feed elephants. You’ll even be able to take a bath with them. Be sure to book your reservation before getting there. It's a resort but you do not need to actually stay there in order to meet the elephants. 

Another thing to see is Ubud’s Monkey Forest. Here you can feed monkeys and watch them in their natural habitat.

 

We hired a personal driver for a day and he took us all the way up north to the Sekumpul Waterfall. BY FAR the most beautiful waterfall we saw in Bali.

I urge you to visit. It takes hours to get there and I’m not going to lie; making it down to that waterfall is a pain in the ass. But it is so worth it, I promise.

 

After our driver took us to Sekumpul, we made our way to Git Git waterfall, which isn’t too far from Sekumpul. This one is another phenomenal waterfall to check out.

After visiting Git Git waterfall, we made a quick stop at a coffee plantation called Baturiti Garden. Like many other places in Bali, this farm is family owned and here you get a nice little history on coffee from all around the world and of course local Bali coffee. It’s any coffee lover’s dream spot. They’ll let you try all kinds of coffee, whether its vanilla, caramel, even ginger and of course the world famous Kopi Luwak coffee, aka ‘monkey poop coffee’.

 

SPOILER ALERT: Contrary to popular believe, Kopi Luwak isn’t made from monkey poop. Check out Baturiti Garden to find out what animal helps produce the most expensive coffee in the world.

 

 

 

After that quick coffee fix you can easily make your way down to Ulun Danu Temple. The 385-year-old water temple is used for offerings ceremony to the Balinese water, lake and river goddess Dewi Danu.

 

 

 

Overall, those four places to visit will take you about 6 hours. You can hire my driver for 750.000 IDR. Which comes out to around $54.

You will not be able to do daytrips with Uber or other local taxis.

After spending 4 days in Ubud we made our way down to Canggu. The resort we stayed in while being in Canggu was not good. I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s called Kalapa Resort and Spa. I gave a detailed review on Expedia explaining why I wasn’t satisfied. You can do much better. In Canggu you want to stay as close to the beach as possible.

Regardless of our resort, we still had an amazing time. In Canggu you’ll be able to rent surf boards, take lessons for around 350.000 IDR, work on your tan and so much more. Echo beach is great for surfing and simply relaxing.

Some of the best beach clubs are in Canggu and Seminyak. While there, be sure to check out Finns Beach Club. An absolute must.


While staying in Canggu another nice day trip would be driving down to Uluwatu Temple and afterwards cooling down at Green Bowl Beach. Those two locations are further down south the island. Green Bowl Beach is not a very known beach. And that’s a good thing. Its’ hard to get to but sure worth the struggle.

Our driver took us to these spots for 500.000 IDR (around $36). A trip like that will take you about 5-6 hours.

Remember, I’m just giving you examples of daytrips. Build your own, make sure whatever destination you want to see are in the same vicinity so you don’t spend all day in the car. Be practical, but be different and unique.

A lot of the drivers will try and pursue you to change your plans and recommend their own “better” places to visit. Don’t listen to them. You don’t want to do what everyone else is doing. You don’t want the typical tourist itinerary.

 

Another thing I would like to address is the whole ‘renting a scooter’ situation. You’ll see scooters everywhere in Bali. It’s the most widespread form of transportation. So naturally you’ll be inclined to try and rent one for a day or two and make your way around town that way. Be very mindful! Driving in Bali is no joke, as I found out firsthand. It is custom to drive on the left side. There really aren’t any stop lights, signs, or any form of traffic regulation for that matter. You literally just go and hope no one drives into you. These people drive crazy as hell.

My girlfriend and I rented a scooter and within 10 minutes, we got stopped by local police at a traffic control point. Guess what they were trying to do?

 

These schmucks really tried to shake us down for money. They claimed that we broke two laws; that we drove without a helmet and that we didn’t have an international driver license.

This all happened while dozens of people were driving on the street without helmets, without shoes, shit, you’d see 12-year-old kids drive around in scooters. But you want to pull us over?

Of course we stood out like a sore thumb. The cops knew we weren’t from there and thought they could scare us into giving them money.

Did it work you may wonder? Absolutely not. We told them to just write us a ticket and that we’d take it up with the courts. And suddenly they were okay with just giving us a ‘warning’. Yea right buddy.

So I hope this illustrates the severe police corruption that is plaguing Indonesia.

Don’t let them intimidate you. If they threaten to give you a ticket then take the ticket. They won’t actually give you a ticket. They just want your money.

Don’t let anyone have access to your belongings either. If the police wants to search your bag or what not, be sure to be right there with them. Don’t leave your bag out of sight.    

 

 

Overall Bali is safe and most people are very open and welcoming. You can tell that a lot of those people don't really have much of anything but they are genuinely happy. It’s a great place to visit and I would definitely encourage you to plan a trip.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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