Here, we will share about how to choose where to stay in Bali, areas to check out, things to do and things not to do.
Where to stay in Bali
- Kuta is a place you want to go to party. It is extremely touristy (Hard Rock is in Kuta, so) and chock-a-block with dingy bars for getting high and out. I once stayed in this area and had to catch an early morning flight back home; my cab had to traverse alleys full of passed out/throwing up people with a local girl on their arm. Having said that, Kuta has the least expensive hotels to stay.
- Ubud is full of beautiful temples, buildings, palaces and road-side shops selling local art However, it also has a load of tourists who are fans of “Eat, Pray, Love”. So I would suggest visiting Ubud for a day instead of setting base there. Recommend for seeing a lot of Bali over a weekend as it is close to a lot of places.
- Nusa Dua is the area I have enjoyed staying in the most. Most hotels are by the beach – regardless of the price. The beach is cleaner here than in most other places and water activities are. The area is quieter, but not far from party destinations. You could rent a scooter or get a cab to go see other places and spend some quiet time walking on the beach. Recommend for both romantic and family holidays.
Areas to check out in Bali
Bingin: Check out Bingin instead of Uluwatu or Padang. It is a small town, easy to walk around and explore the town, and great food available. Check out Wipeout Bar and Seabourn for food.
Tegalalang Rice Terrace: This place was beautiful, however, beware scammers on the street claiming you need a ticket to enter. You do not. They accept donations among the walking paths once inside. There will be an adorable group of children trying to sell postcards for a high price and they would not take no for an answer. They will follow you all around. Just ignore them.
Ubud: If you prefer culture and heritage, head to Ubud. Hindu temples (Bali is 90% Hindus, even if Indonesia is majority muslim), sidewalk flowers, incense offerings, but in a clean and friendly environment. No beggars, no touts. Art, yoga, meditation and body work places all about for those seeking spiritual growth. Great coffee and food everywhere.
Sacred Monkey Forest: Pay attention to the rules as you enter and keep your belongings close. The monkeys will steal everything, your bag, water bottle, food, etc. They can also be quite aggressive, so keep your belongings close to you. The scenery inside is incredible and to be that close to so monkey monkeys was a great experience.
Lempuyang Temple (The Gates of Heaven): Arrive early (before 6am) to get nice pictures taken. You will have to wear a sarong to cover your legs. This place is gorgeous and it looks over Mt Agung.
Ubud Waterfalls: Visit Tukad Cepung, Tibumana, Goa Rang Rang, and Kanto Lampo waterfalls. Each one offered something unique. If there is only one to choose from, visit Kanto Lampo. The waterfall is stunning and the photo opportunities are great. Be sure have Live Photos on your iPhone turned on and to play around with the ‘Long Exposure’ feature!
Things to do in Bali
- Ayung river white water rafting. This was absolutely mindblowing. There is no other natural scenery quite as spectacular as the rainforest covered cliffs and waterfalls that surround the river.
- Cycling around the island. Hire some mountain bikes for a day’s ride into the country. Really peaceful and a welcome break from the tourist attractions. The best bit was passing through a village just after a school finished for the day. Cycling along with loads of really excited kids on their bikes and mopeds weaving in and out of traffic. It was hectic but really fun.
- Visit Bali Sea Turtle Society on Kuta beach. Everyday at 4.30pm, they give a small talk about sea turtles and the work that they do, followed by a walk down to the sea to release the baby sea turtles that hatched that day (usually between 50 and 1000 turtles!). It’s fun, educational and completely free.
- Go to Tanah Lot in the evening, you may skip the sunset-dinner as it is very touristy. Or you could try it and enjoy being a tourist.
- Visit Mount Batur, the volcano. Experience gorgeous scenery so different from rest of Bali.
- Walk around and check a lot of local art stores before buying anything. Also, haggle.
- Eat at Warungs that have jute stools on low tables instead of the regular furniture.
Things not to do in Bali
- Do not step on or disturb the little plates full of flowers, rice etc. that locals put outside their homes and shops. You are welcome to take pictures though.
- While you will see many people high on drugs of some nature or the other in Kuta, do not try to get anything in or out of the country. They take this rule seriously.
- While visiting temples, wear trousers/skirts that cover your legs fully and carry a scarf/stole if you are wearing sleeveless clothes. If you do not, you will be asked to drape a colorful wrap around your waist but for a price of a few $$.
Trevellers is my way to change the world. Through my stories, tips and lessons learnt, I truly hope to inspire you to get out of your comfort zone, see the world and see who you truly are. Travel is more than just taking a selfie. Travel is an adventure, where you can truly become who you are, give you the time to reflect and grow to become the person you’ve always wanted to be.