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Bali

Welcome to ‘my’ Bali

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Bali’s allure lies not only in its incredible nature but also in the captivating atmosphere crafted by its locals. With a belief that powerful deities inhabit the mountains, lakes, and rivers, Bali is a canvas of daily offerings, elaborate ceremonies, and colourful festivals. I spent over two months exploring this paradise destination, affectionately nicknamed The Island of Gods and I’m excited to share some of my observations for: 

 

 

 

a) Consideration: If you’re contemplating Bali for your next trip and wondering if it’s worth it (the answer is YES!).

b) Inspiration: Find ideas for how to allocate your time based on your interests.

c) Encouragement: Explore local life instead of conducting an “Instagram tour.”

d) Tips: Reduce headaches when dealing with foreign nuances.

NOTE: By no means is this a to-do list; in fact, I insist you don’t make one! That’s the beauty of travel – discovery. Use the below to get started and enjoy the journey.

 

 

Bali Essentials: Insights and Tips

 
 
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Safety and Local Wisdom:

  • Bali stands out as one of the safest places in the world, offering peace of mind to solo travellers.
  • Stay in Guest Houses, as opposed to hotels as they are excellent for getting a glimpse of the daily life of the locals. The only downside: don’t be mad at roosters potentially starting the day as early at 3am.
  • Consider local tour operators upon arrival rather than booking online – better prices and personalised experiences. 
  • Skip crowded areas like Kuta and Denpasar for a more authentic exploration.

 

The places I fell in love with in Bali

 
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Ubud – The Heart of Bali

Ubud’s charm is undeniable. Surrounded by rice fields and frangipani trees, with tons of cosy places to explore, and locals that never stop smiling.

Interestingly, the name ‘Ubud’ comes from word ‘Ubad’ which in Balinese translates to ‘medicine’, as historically the area was rich in medicinal plants and herbs in this region. And it certainly gives healing vibes.
 

Caution: Ubud captures hearts and alters itineraries (I ended up staying there much longer than planned).

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Rice Fields

Tegallalang Rise Terrace is a must. Also for a quieter walk visit Jatiluwih – it’s a bit of a drive from Ubud up north, but totally worth it. 

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NOTE: Visit early morning for an authentic experience, as locals start their day at sunrise.

Mountains – Kintamani

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Three-quarters of the island are embraced by volcanic mountains, including the sacred Mt. Agung. Though climbing it is now restricted, there are numerous alternative adventures, such as a sunrise trek up Mt. Batur. Opt for a night trip or a night stay to witness the sunrise. f I you choose to conquer Mt. Batur on a sunrise trek, expect to be part of the ant caravan at 5 am.

I would also highly recommend staying in Kintamani for night for an immersive journey. There are plenty of places with unbeatable views to the mountains. Once there also visit Ritatkala Café – probably the best coffee I had in my life! The food is amazing too, and I will let pictures do the justice for the view. 

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Uluwatu – Dreamland Beach

Dreamland beach lives up to its name. Out of all the beaches in Uluwatu this is definitely my favourite.

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Great for surfers but I would leave with a question mark for swimming, as waves are unpredictable. 

If you see a fisherman – go and talk to him. That ended up being the highlight of my visit. Gede was kind enough to lend me the rod and I managed to catch a small fish.

Note: Uluwatu offers contrasting experiences to Ubud, with construction everywhere, day and night.

 

 

 

North Bali

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The north part of the island is famous with divers, but there are plenty of other fish in the sea to see (all punts intended). If you set on a trip to north, take a warm jacket. Embrace a temperature drop and possibly some rain.

The famous Pura Ulun Danu Bratan that is printed in the local money is definitely worth a visit. 

 

 

 

Tabanan Villages

Explore unique and lesser-known villages for an authentic experience. Ideal for bike rides (not motorbike).

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Cultural Activities

Temples, Palaces and Purification Places – dive into Bali’s rich culture with visits to “pura” (temples) and “puri” (palaces). Attend a ceremony if you can, especially during full moon in April and October. NOTE: respect temple rules; partake in cleansing rituals for a cultural embrace.

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Primary/secondary schools: bring sweets or stationery as a gesture, spend some memorable time with kids and teachers and it will be a memory you will cherish forever.

 

 

 

Local market (go a s a local no later than 6:30 am and buy yourself some best tasting mangoes you’ve tried in your life for less than 50 cents and treat yourself to a whole coconut – don’t get me started o the coconut water benefits.

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Special tip: ask for wulung coconut – it’s a rare pink coconut and therefore more expensive, but your kidneys would not know how to thank you for this.

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Balinese dancing lessons –

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fun to watch but even more fun to try! Though the movements look rather simple it’s incredibly challenging to perform them correctly and to coordinate with the eye movement on top of that. I laughed my lungs out.

 

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Cooking/Herbal/Jamu Class: this is not to be missed especially if you are a foodie or in general into cooking and healthy living.

 

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Coffee Plantation – tea and coffee degustation is amazing. In many places they offer it free of charge if you also get a cup of Luwak coffee, the most expensive coffee in the world? It’s very affordable in Indonesia!

 

 

 

Yoga Schools: choose authenticity; explore schools like such as Ubud Yoga Centre in the jungle.

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Smart Tips for the Bali Explorer

Health and Essentials:

  • Stock up on Geluga from local supermarkets at a better price. 
  • Prepare for mosquitoes; bring repellents and post-mosquito remedies.

Transportation Hacks:

  • Negotiate directly with drivers instead of using Grab at the airport.
  • Utilise ATMs for better currency rates, especially at the airport.

Anti-Mosquito Measures:

  • Prepare for mosquito encounters; bring repellent and post-mosquito remedies.

Massages:

  • Enjoy a massage but be cautious about quality. Cheap doesn’t always mean good.

Bargaining in the Market:

  • Must-do, but find a balance; don’t go too low as you will find that everything is already much cheaper than the price you would normally pay at your home country.

Language and Communication:

  • Overcome language barriers with local, memorise a few words such as ‘thank you’ – “trikomasi” in Bahasa Indonesia and “suksma” in Balinese.

 

Conclusion: Beyond the Instagram Tour

As we explore Bali’s myriad facets, let’s remember that this journey isn’t a checklist; it’s an open invitation to explore, experience, and embrace the Island of Gods with curiosity and wit. Let’s trade the “Instagram tour” for genuine encounters and create stories that transcend the ordinary.

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