Bali, Indonesia was at the top of my list on what first country I wanted to see first in Asia.
For most of us, it is too and trust me when I saw Bali.. it really is out of this world in beauty. Beautiful island, unique black sand beaches, incredible surf spots and to my surprise everyone/most people do speak english here!
Like any other place, no where is perfect. Something to remember about an island beyond transportation but roads wise. There is 1 lane for each side for all the island. To get from the airport to our hotel (59.8 km) took almost 3 hours. One way. There are so many parts to Bali, surfing/beaches on the West side of Bali (which is where I stayed).
I would recommend staying in 2-3 different parts of Bali for a trip, unless you are at one of the incredible resorts that is pretty center. If you are staying at one of the most popular/instagramable places- look far in advance for reservations as Bali is so cheap and getting to be a big travel spot.
There is so much to this island of Bali. Its best to stay differently in all parts- I would recommend Beaches part, center (Ubud) and then a complete other side of Bali (I have some amazing recommendations below!)
To the center which is Ubud- the Monkey Forest is and easily the best shopping iv’e ever done on a trip! I went on this trip with less than a 25 pounds. I planned for a lot of home decor shopping, and wow, (everything for SOOO cheap). I ended up with over 70 pounds on the way back.
PLAN to shop here. Especially if you love asian unique culture pieces. Hand carved, hand made, Like truly incredible pieces here and made with such love.
REMINDER: You can ALWAYS bargain. Do not be afraid as they know Ubud is such a travel hub, they can take advantage of people. Do not let anyone see you counting or have a wad of cash. If they know you have it or look it, they will take a bit more advantage (I was clearly a prime target and I bargains A LOT still!)
There is amazing t-shirt/crop top places that print yoga logos and to this day still my favorite yogi clothes- very cheap!! BARGAIN. BARGAIN. Also, it’s worth bringing back glass- carry it on the way back home. An incredible piece I got from Bali was maybe $40USD and I finally found it here 4+yrs later (says from Bali for over $200+USD).
This is my favorite shopping district of any trip. Tea, clothes, home decor, even jewelry is very cheap here. Plan for extra space in your luggage, you won’t regret it!
There is amazing night life in Kuta and a fun beach town. And you heard me correctly above, everyone including locals speak english because so many Australia tourists over the years so it was extremely easy to talk to people. I went off by myself in some parts of this trip including into town and felt very safe and completely fine. Just ensure to get your drivers phone number AND say what time to meet back at exact spot incase a phone dies.
I was not able to hit these spots of Bali as it was so long to get from one destination to another/not enough time! These spots look out of this world…
Bukit West & Uluwatu For crazy dramatic cliffs & beautiful beaches.
Nusa Lembongan & Nusa Dua
Gili Islands (Put more than 4+ days aside for this)
Monkey Forest has endless photograph spots. Be mindful what time of day you go and season, this was October and planned this in the beginning of the trip due to the rain off and on.
Photograph with a monkey, have every item off of you including hand sanitizes and phones-they are QUICK and stole a handful of tourists stuff without them even knowing.
This was a yoga retreat and planned with meals which made this trip very easy and not a worry in the world. I stayed at Pondok Pitaya Hotel & Surfing/Yoga. This was on the west part of the island and ideal for surfers, the waves are incredible, black sand beaches and the yoga studio looks out to the ocean every class.
Recommendations: If you stay in Bali, depending on what parts you want to do- you need easily 10+ days, even 12+ in Bali. I went for 7 days and it wasn’t enough especially if you are coming from very far!
**Pack all stomach medications, nauseous, pain reliever, sleep meds, Pedialyte the multi powder packets (trust me on this!!), even a first aid kit.
I brought a lot of this and used just about everything. Prepare yourself!! You DO NOT want to try to get medications in Asia, as nothing is really in english and its very difficult to find places that carry this other than the airport (tropic area wise)
Other random things to bring:
Bali Power Adapter-Bali mostly uses 230v/50 hz plugs with round pins. Rain coat, as it will likely tropical rain shower time to time. Mosquito spray (NEED), reef safe sunscreen(s), hats as the sun is very strong. Sarongs (some Hindu temples require that men wear one to enter). Small back pack for easy day trips.
Food wise: Admiringly enough, I went pretty simple for this trip food wise- nothing too crazy. As my hotel provided 3 meals a day! Do not drink the water and I do include watermelon juice in there as its 99% water. Note: After the trip I was extremely sick and found out it was from something water related.
Every single person I have talked to who has been to Bali ends up very sick there or afterwards- do not let sickness go by because this can do a lot of damage to intestines even off just water-is a third world country.
Flights: I only write this because it was a pretty intensive travel. Pack everything thats easily accessible for you especially on flight including medications, a blanket because its so long of a travel. LAX to Bali, 1 stop in between was about 25 hours there and over 27 hours back of just flying.
Best time of year to travel: May, June & July. If you surf, May-October. Rainy season is October-April.
Vaccines: Hepatitis A, Typhoid (do the pill, highly suggest the pill -Iv’e been told the most awful side effects if you did a shot vaccine), maybe Cholera or ETEC.