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Welcome to MY Bali

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 almost four 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

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.

Places I Fell In Love With

Rice Fields

Tegallalang Rice Terrace is a must. Make sure you get there as early as possible for the most magical morning experience (I recommend to arrive by 7:30 am or even earlier). Wear comfortable shoes if you feel like hiking around and just be mindful of slippery areas – there is quite a bit of mud around. 

For a quieter walk visit Jatiluwih – it’s a bit of a drive from Ubud up north, but totally worth it. The territory is immense and it is absolutely lovely to explore it on foot. 

Mountains – Kintamani

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. 

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.

Uluwatu – Dreamland Beach

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

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

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. Make friends with the locals! They are the most genuine, funny and big-hearted people I ever met in my life. We all cried when I was leaving the village 3 days later.

Cultural Activities

Temples, Palaces and Purification Places

Dive into Bali’s rich culture with visits to “pura” (temple) and “puri” (palace).  Attend a ceremony if you can, especially during full moon in April or October. Additionally, consider Melukat – Water Purification ceremony.

NOTE: respect temple rules; make sure you get a sarong before going to sacred places such as temples to avoid disappointment – as you won’t be allowed to enter.

Primary – Secondary Schools

In case it’s not in your culture – just a heads up to bring some sweets and/or stationery when you come by. Spend some memorable time with kids and teachers and see your heart melt quicker than those chocolate biscuits you brought in the 35 Celsius heat.

Local Market

Arrive no later than 6:30 AM to feel the local spirit. Treat yourself to delicious mangoes, papayas, dragon fruits, etc. All collected from the nearby villages.

Special Tip

Try the special wulung coconut – it’s a rare pink coconut and therefore more expensive, but your kidneys would not know how to thank you for this.

Balinese Dancing Lessons

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.

Cooking/Herbal/Jamu Class

This is not to be missed especially if you are a foodie or into cooking and healthy living in general.

Learn how to make the famous healing drink called Jamu from scratch!

Coffee Plantations

Learn more about coffee, see different types of plants and the whole journey coffee beans go through. Many places offer complimentary coffee and tea degustations when you get a cup of Luwak coffee – the most expensive coffee in the world. It’s very affordable in Indonesia!