Wow, Bali was absolutely magical. What a cool island. It’s filled with so much amazing culture and kind souls. The people there are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met.
We visited Bali in late December to early Jan and spent the holidays there. Keep in mind for your visit that Bali is hot and humid all year round, and they only have two seasons: rainy season and non rainy season. Rainy season spans from January to March, although it never rained for a complete day during our trip. It was more a hard downpour for an hour or maybe two at a time then cleared up (and I mean HARD downpour!) Very tropical stormy.
Watch the 3 minute clip below of our amazing Bali trip to get some inspo for your upcoming travel plans!
Over the next month or two I will be sharing detailed travel guides for each area we stayed in, so stay on the lookout for that if you want some tips on what to do, where to eat, where to stay, etc. For now, I’m sharing a little bit about my experience.
Bali is very underdeveloped in most areas outside of Seminyak and Kuta, which are more touristy, but everywhere definitely had a lot of western influences. From yoga, to organic restaurants and smoothie bowls, I was in heaven.
Don’t be afraid to ride the scooters there - it’s a must and pretty much the only way to get around within a specific area. You’ll also likely take scooter taxis there too (Uber even has this option haha!) Joe and I even both rode on the back of one scooter. To be honest, I felt even safer when the local people drove - leave it to the pros if you want!
You can also hire a driver for 250,000 IDR per half day ($17 USD). Our driver, Teja, was the kindest man and gave us great recommendations. We hired him to drive us from the different locations we stayed in. He was always on time and was so patient if we wanted to stop at a place along the way or for lunch. For Teja’s contact info, click here. PS: everyone there uses WhatsApp, so you’ll want to download that in advance.
Figure out how a cell plan as that was crucial in terms of getting around (Google Maps for driving the scooters) and speaking with the villa hosts and drivers (via WhatsApp). You can either call your provider and activate international for $10/day against your current plan, which is what I did, or purchase an Indonesian SIM card once you're there to put in your phone, if your provider/phone allows this.
Everything in Bali is extremely affordable once you get there, so it’s a great place to travel if you’re on a budget. Tons of places require cash, so always make sure you have 10,000 IDR bills on hand. A sit down dinner entree would typically cost below than $7 USD, a Bintang beer would be under $1 USD, and to rent a scooter for the whole day typically costs around $5 USD. And, even for that price, the food there is AMAZING! Eat all the nasi goreng and mie goreng!
As for dress, Bali is extremely casual. I was in my swim suit & a cover up, or yoga gear the majority of the trip. Keep in mind the humidity is a bit shocking, so plan to dress warm (but always carry an umbrella or poncho for when you get caught in the crazy tropical rain!)
Finally, one last tip (no pun intended)... tipping isn’t expected, bartering/negotiating with the local people at markets or while hauling a taxi is expected, so you can easily talk them down and meet in the middle.
Get ready for your trip with these summer travel essentials:
How to Travel Bali in 10-12 Days
ULUWATU - 2 DAYS
2 days is all you need if you decide to stay here. Fly into Denpensar and arrange a driver to take you to Uluwatu, which is about a half hour drive. Uluwatu has a lot of resorts and is upscale for Bali, lots of cool beaches, and famous temples. It’s quiet for sure. Check out my Uluwatu travel guide here.
NUSA LEMBONGAN - 2 DAYS
noos-uh lem-bOng-an, but typically just called Lembongan
2 days is perfect. Hire a driver to Sanur & book Rocky Fast Ferry (30 minute boat ride & they provide transportation from). Lembongan has gorgeous clear water beaches - the best in Bali! It also has wonderful snorkeling and diving. It’s not a very touristy location, which we liked. And it’s a small island, so expect it to be much less developed than places like Seminyak and Kuta. VERY off the beaten path paradise - there aren’t even paved roads! Everyone on the island was so kind and friendly.
UBUD - 3 DAYS
This was my favorite place ever. I wish we spent an extra night here. I’d recommend 4 nights here. Tucked up in the hills, there’s so much lush greenery, organic food, yoga, and beautiful site from waterfalls to rice terraces. I fell in love with Bali here! This actually seemed like a bigger city than the first two destinations. Lots of trendy restaurants and western and shops, without the big crowds. If you’re looking to go out to bars and stuff, do not expect to do this in ubud! There are a few bars, but it’s more of a health & relaxation haven. Click here for my 3 days in Ubud guide.
SEMINYAK - 3 DAYS
I wish we did 2 days here, but it was the perfect spot to celebrate New Years Eve. There’s amazing nightlife. The bars are SO cool. It’s very western influenced, as a lot of the bars, restaurants, beach clubs and coffee shops are Australian owned. Seminyak is very hip & cool, and there’s a break surf break there & at nearby beaches. You can expect cool villas, tons of shopping, amazing (and chic) restaurants, and DJs bumping tunes. I think this would be a perfect way to start your vacation as the rest of Bali is really just relaxation.
More guides to come on each of the locations listed above, so stay tuned! For more tips, including my private driver's contact info, sign up to be emailed the details here.
Next, find out what to do and where to eat in Singapore!