All About Bali
I finally made it to Bali, Indonesia!
Ever since I read, “Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia” I’ve been telling anyone that would listen that I wanted to go to Indonesia. The memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert chronicles her quest for balance during a year-long trip. This year, I finally pulled the trigger and went to Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
How To Get There
It took three planes, 21 hours and two days to get to Bali. Hiring a driver is necessary and essential to enjoying your time to the fullest here. Before I arrived, I hired a personal driver, Peter Albert. Peter came highly recommended by other flight attendants. And his rates were inexpensive: $50 for ten hours and $35 for five. Grab is the equivalent of Uber or Lyft in Asia, but many places in Ubud don’t allow it. Drivers are everywhere and not hard to find. Bali is located near the equator and always warm. It has two seasons: dry (April to October) and wet (October to April). The most popular months to visit are December until the 1st week of January. I would recommend visiting April through September.
Note* Remember to wear compression socks when flying long distances. While the risk of developing blood clots on a flight is low, it goes up as travel time increases. Compression socks help increase circulation and reduce the risk of swelling, deep vein thrombosis and clotting on a long flight.
Where to Stay
My home away from home was Batu Agung Villa in Ubud. I found the 15-room boutique hotel on Airbnb. I chose it because of the cost and traditional Balinese architecture. Check out the flowers, foliage, rough cut stone and unpainted wood. They offer a complimentary breakfast, and you can book excursions through the hotel. If you are new to Airbnb please use my link to create your account. When you sign up, you’ll get $40 off your first home booking of $75 or more and $15 towards an experience of $50 or more. Now that we have accommodations covered, let me take you through a journey of my itinerary.
The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary: this is the natural habitat of the Balinese long-tailed monkey. There are about 900 monkeys living in this area. This is also home to three Hindu temples all built around the middle of the 14th century.
Habitat Café: this Pan-Asian eatery has a cool vibe and décor designed with terracotta, wood and bamboo. The menu has a lot of healthy options and it’s close to the monkey sanctuary. I would recommend going during happy hour so you can get the most bang for your buck.
Real Bali Swing: This place understands what tourists want. You can rent a dress. (I did). You can get your picture taken by a professional photographer on a swing or nest. And if you get hungry there’s an all you can eat Balinese buffet. I decided to go on the highest swing, because YOLO. Even though I wore a harness attached to the swing, I was scared the entire time. But the views were amazing.
Pertiwi Quad Adventure: This was one of my favorite things to do in Bali. I got to ride an all-terrain vehicle for two hours. The instructor gives you a helmet and boots and a quick tutorial on how to drive the quad. The track was challenging, but fun. We rode through rice fields, jungles, rivers, and a village. There is also a complimentary buffet. The food was so amazing.
Teba Sari Bali Agrotourism: The world’s most expensive coffee, Kopi Luwak is a Balinese specialty. A single cup runs $35 to $80 and a pound of beans $100 to $600. The coffee beans for this coffee are gathered from luwak’s droppings. This coffee is supposed to be the best because the luwak only eats the ripest coffee fruit and because in the luwak stomach fermentation happens. And if you aren’t a coffee person, they also have an assortment of teas. After I tasted the coffees and teas, I went to their gift shop and purchased souvenirs.
Beji Giriya Waterfall: Stunning waterfall view. Must wear sarong because the area is holy and sacred.
White Water Rafting: I still can’t decide if my favorite thing to do in Bali was white water rafting or ATV’ing. Both were so much fun and lasted two hours. I don’t know how to swim but I felt safe. The Ayung River isn’t very deep and you wear a life jacket. My guide went by the name King Kong. He told us when and how to paddle.
Ceking Rice Terrace: This is a small area but surrounded by places to eat and local shops.
Pura Tirtha Empul (Holy Water Temple): This is a Hindu Balinese water temple. People believe that if you take a dip in the water it will clear your sins. The temple pond has a spring which gives out fresh water regularly. I did not enter the water because I didn’t bring extra clothing or a towel and the water is cold. Now looking back I kind of wish I would have. This temple is very crowded, but serene.
Balinese Cooking Class: This was such an amazing experience for me. The day started with exploring a local market, visiting rice fields to learn how rice grows and lastly…cooking. We cooked a feast and then ate the food.
It’s always a little bittersweet when a trip is coming to an end. I felt more relaxed and inspired being in Bali than I have in a long time. Bali is a place I could see myself living full-time or retiring to. I wish I had more time in Bali and other parts of Indonesia. If you have any questions feel free to email me at email@example.com. Also feel free to let me know where I should go next. I look forward to hearing from you. See more of my Bali trip on my Instagram Highlights: @joyiromuanya.