My Bali, Indonesia travel guide is finally here – what to do, where to stay and eat!
If you love the sun and warmth and being in paradise, Bali is a very popular travel destination and one you need to place on your bucket list. My travel guide will give you travel tips plus lots of visual on where to stay, what to do and where to eat.
Before we start, make sure to read up on my BALI TRAVEL ESSENTIALS blog post where I talk about what to bring for your stay in Bali. It has everything from mandatory travel essentials to beauty, accessories and tech products.
TIPS AND WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW WHEN YOU’RE IN BALI, INDONESIA
GENERAL THINGS TO KNOW
• Bali is very safe, just be smart. You need to be cautious on the streets at night for drunks (mostly tourists) and vehicles as most streets are not lit up.
• Data plans are expensive so use wifi at cafes/restaurants and hotel internet.
• Tips and taxes are usually included in meals. But we still left a couple dollars on top of that. If the bill doesn’t show service/gratuity then it is not included.
• Tourist areas are more pricey than others but it’s still very affordable. But I would still check prices. I went to a mini mart for a late night chocolate craving and 3 bars came to 7USD. The mini bar at the villa had them for a dollar each.
TAXIS AND GETTING AROUND BALI
Tourist areas like Seminyak and Denpasar have the widely available Blue Bird taxis. They do not take credit cards, only cash and are metered. Insist on the meter being on at all times. Sometimes a meter is left off and you will have to negotiate pricing. In the quieter villages like Ubud, the taxis are run locally and you need to negotiate pricing. So if you are staying further away from the airport, I would recommend asking the hotel for car service (they almost all provide it) or ask your private driver if you hire one. They may charge a bit more but you set a pick-up time, they know the fastest routes, and you do not have to negotiate rates. From Ubud to Denpasar airport we had a car service for about $40 CAD (thats a 1.5 hour drive). Taxis may be a bit cheaper but they negotiate mainly because they cannot pickup a customer on the way back and after all is said and done, it’s still a ridiculously cheap ride.
HIRE A PRIVATE DRIVER
Taxis are cheap but if you are planning your own excursions and taking half to full day trips then I would highly advise on hiring a private driver. We used Good Bali Driver and I highly recommend them. For a 10 hour day, you pay approximately $50-75CAD depending on what you want to do and how far you want to go. Make sure you ask them for a quote ahead of time and give them your very detailed itinerary. They’re very accommodating and will basically drive you anywhere.
• Take power adapters for Europe/Asia plugs. The plug has the 2 round pegs.
• Make sure all your items are dual voltage. Most of the world works on 240V but North America and some asian countries use 120V.
• Most electronics and small appliances like hair curlers/straighteners are now dual voltage (meaning you can manually select which voltage to use or it will automatically switch once it’s plugged in) in these cases only an adapter is needed.
• If you don’t have dual voltage you will need to buy a converter/transformer to change the electric current to the correct voltage. I strongly suggest against this. It will work but you cannot often leave it plugged in for long (even when turned off). It can blow a fuse, or damage the appliance.
• If it’s a must bring (like a hair curler in my case) then you should ask yourself if you plan on travelling to a 240V country again (eg. France, Italy, UK, Hong Kong, India, Thailand). Again most of the world is 240V. If so then I would go buy a cheap dual voltage curler to bring on all your travels. Now you will only need to buy adapters which are only a couple of dollars.
WHERE TO STAY IN BALI, INDONESIA
If you follow my blog and my instagram, you have already read up on where I stayed while I was in Bali. I stayed in Seminyak and Ubud, the more popular and touristy areas of Bali. They have western prices which makes it more expensive to live. However, I do not regret it for one second. I am a city girl at heart and love eating at cute cafe’s and staying at amazing resorts.
In Seminyak, I stayed at Hu’u Villas. You can read my HU’U VILLAS blog post here. The post contains visuals and my opinion on why it’s a top choice to stay in Seminyak (*AHEM* private pool).
In Ubud, I stayed at Wapa Di Ume. You can read up on my stay at WAPA DI UME RESORT & SPA here. It gives a great overview on what it was like living in a tropical paradise.
WHAT TO DO IN BALI, INDONESIA
We didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into when we explored some areas of Bali. I do warn you, some of these adventures are dangerous. But I wouldn’t do anything different. I’m glad we got to explore and hiring a private driver is the smartest thing you can do in order to get to these places.
1. CHASE WATERFALLS
Aling Aling Waterfall – we travelled about 3.5 hours from Seminyak to arrive in the Sambangan village where many waterfalls are located. You will need to pay a fee to visit these waterfalls and this price includes a local guide. It’s about $25CAD per person for the “medium hike”. Trust me, you cannot do it without the guide. They know the terrain and it’s not easy to navigate through. It’s actually damn hard! Safety first! However, this particular waterfall was the easiest to get to.
The view from Aling Aling was absolutely breathtaking. Wearing Mossman dress.
Secret Garden Blue Lagoon – is not much of a waterfall, but is a hidden gem.
In the same area as Aling Aling, you will need to climb up a mountain, then down the mountain then cross a river (there is no bridge by the way) in order to arrive at the Secret Garden. IT WAS INSANE. So proud of us though!
Did I mention you also need to go back the way you came? The village people did not warn us how dangerous this trek was. Also keep in mind, it rained on us twice as we were hiking to the Secret Garden. It rained HARD. Luckily there were little sheltered areas where we could wait out the rain. But it made the trek more dangerous as the ground was muddy and slippery and made the hike twice as hard. Was it worth it? If you love adventure, absolutely. If you don’t like to get down and dirty, don’t even try. HAHA.
Tegenungan Waterfall is another beautiful waterfall, but has become very popular and crowded. Again, you will need to pay a small fee to see it from the bottom. If you want to go to the top, another small fee is required. I do recommend going to the top as it is less crowded and makes for better picture taking. Wearing ASbyDF Sequined Kimono.
Kanto Lampo Waterfall was one of the easiest waterfalls to reach. It’s only steps down from the parking lot and such a site for sore eyes. Beautiful aesthetics and no crowds! A small fee is required to enter.
Tibumana Waterfall is the last waterfall we visited and is a short and easy hike from the parking lot. You pay a small fee, and there was only one other small group of friends when we arrived. No crowds make for great pictures. Wearing SWF Boutique Dress.
2. ADVENTURE TO THE HIDDEN CANYON
The Beji Guwang Hidden Canyon was the first adventure we had when we arrived in Bali. Bali was in its rainy season, so the water levels were quite high and dangerous. Again, no one warned us how dangerous it was to get through this canyon. We had to walk through the river and climb rocks in our bare feet. It was like walking on glass.
If you are going to do the Beji Guwang hike, make sure you bring water shoes. You will also need to hire a guide for safety. It’s about $20CAD per person and highly recommended. If you don’t hire one, you will wash away into the waves and probably get hurt in the process. Wearing Free People Kimono.
So proud we hiked through all 3 of the Beji Guwang canyons. Some people can’t even get through the first. It’s much harder than it looks.
After the last part of the canyon, we trekked through their rice paddy fields to get to the starting point. It was beautiful.
3. BE A TOURIST AND DO TOURISTY THINGS
If you love to find out more about the culture of the Balinese people, these places are as touristy and popular as they get.
Tegallalang Rice fields is spectacular and free! There are many rice paddies in Bali, but this one takes the cake. Get there early to avoid the crowds. We made it there for 8:30am and soon after more tourists started arriving.
Frolicking in Tegallalang in my Magali Pascal dress.
The Tirta Empul Holy Water Palace is a temple complex and holy mountain spring where many would bathe and pray. There is a small entrance fee and you will need to wear one of their sarongs (or bring your own) before heading into the temple.
The Sacred Monkey Forest was pretty fun! It’s a $4CAD fee per person to come face to face with so many monkeys. We bought some bananas and fed them too. It could get a bit scary because they charge at you to grab the bananas. So be careful!
The one thing I learned is that most homes have their own temple for prayer. I just love the attention to detail in the architecture.
4. HEAD TO THE BEACH FOR A SUNSET STROLL
There are many beautiful beaches in Bali so it was hard to choose which beach to visit since our time was limited.
Melasti Beach is more known to the locals rather than tourists, which I love.
We made it just in time for the gorgeous sunset at Melasti Beach.
5. HEAD TO THE SPA FOR THE DAY
After all the adventures we had we really needed a day just to relax and unwind. A day at the spa was just what we needed.
Fivelements Spa & Resort was nothing short of amazing and is about a 30 minute drive from our Wapa Di Ume hotel in Ubud. If you are staying in the Ubud area, they will do pick up and drop off service – so convenient!
But first, can we talk about how beautiful the Fivelements resort grounds are? There is also the option to stay here. I wish I had more time, I would have loved to stay here for a couple of days. It feels very tranquil like you are one with nature.
At Fivelements the hubby and I did the couples ritual spa treatment with body massage and exfoliation, a bathing ritual and a vegan dinner at the end. Truly an amazing and relaxing experience. I highly recommend coming here. Not only is it gorgeous but the service and spa treatment were probably the best I’ve ever had.
So much photo ops at Fivelements. Wearing Storets Romper.
WHERE TO EAT IN BALI, INDONESIA
I love little cute cafe’s with aesthetic interior, and healthy yummy food. There is so much choice in Bali, and I can’t say these are the best places to dine, but I can say that I enjoyed them very much. If you love to Instagram, then these places are most definitely Instagram friendly.
1. Cafe Organic, Seminyak
2. Expat Roasters, Seminyak
3. Nalu Bowls, Seminyak
4. Revolver Espresso, Seminyak
5. Sea Circus, Seminyak
6. Sisterfields Cafe, Seminyak
7. Seavuplay, Seminyak (for nightlife)
8. Mr. Wayan at Wapa Di Ume, Ubud
9. Watercress Cafe, Ubud
Thanks for reading through this extra long travel guide. I hope you enjoyed my Bali travel guide and was able to find some inspiration for your next adventure in Bali! Feel free to leave a comment and tell me if you enjoyed this post and/or have anything to add. Until next time!
Photography by Lawrence Ahn
MY BALI OUTFITS:
Mossman Black/White Striped Off the Shoulder Dress
Albion Fit Bathing Suits
Everything But Water White & Colorful Pom Pom Tunic
Rosefield Pink/Rosegold Watch
ASbyDF Sequined Kimono Jacket
SWF Boutique Navy Blue Print Off the Shoulder Maxi Dress
Free People Shimmer Kimono in Gunmetal
Magali Pascal Marcelle Dress in Cream
Storets White and Pearl Romper
Soludos Flat Sandals
Lack of Color Straw Hat
Zara Pink Bag