Bali Travel Guide
Bali is a magical island. When you think of Bali, you think exotic dances, spirituality, beautiful sunsets, pristine water, temples, batik and handicrafts. Bali is a cultural and spiritual place that needs to be experienced in order to see the true beauty inside and out. Though I only spent 3 days here, I was fortunate to experience some of the most beautiful scenery the island has to offer. Even with sudden downpours, I was charmed by Bali’s picturesque sandy beaches, temples, and lush rice terraces. You can’t forget those rambunctious monkeys either! Bali is a place where you need to seek out the hidden gems of beauty, and when you find it, it is so worthwhile. Aside from Bali’s serene natural beauty, the Balinese people truly make it beautiful. The locals were all so kind, generous, and welcoming. Come join me in exploring the beautiful Bali.
First thing you need to do when planning a trip to Bali is find a private driver in Bali. It’s not the safest to explore Bali by taxi or on your own as some may scam you or overcharge rates. Plus, the personal drivers are very affordable and will take you anywhere you would like for the entire day. It’s like having a private driver and mini personal guide for your entire trip. I highly recommend Bali Made Tour, they were very professional, punctual, and polite. Our driver picked us up from the airport and different drivers accompanied us throughout our entire stay to different sights and even helped take a few pictures. Shoot them an email and they will help customize your own itinerary.
Website: Bali Made Tour | Tripadvisor
Cost: On average a full day tour (8 hours) will be around $50, a good deal.
How to determine where to stay in Bali? Most people can stay in Nusa Dua for its 4-5 star resorts offering dazzling new levels of comfort and sophistication or in Ubud, to experience the “real” Bali and its local crafts and culture. Each area is so different so determine what type of trip you would like.
I was fortunate to stay in the beautiful Conrad Bali Hotel in Nusa Dua. This was the incredible view from our balcony.
The hotel’s own private beach and view!
The beach huts are a winner in my book! However, paradise doesn’t come cheap. You need to pay up to lounge in these bad boys.
Serene views of the calm waters.
The beautiful Wedding Chapel inside the resort
The best way to have breakfast with a view! The breakfast buffet was incredible every morning from standard breakfast offerings to local dishes (curries, noodles, soups) along with fruits and freshly squeezed juices. Perfect way to start my morning with a full tummy!
Location: Jalan Pratama 168 | Tanjung Benoa, Nusa Dua, Bali 80363, Indonesia
Website: Tripadvisor | Website
Overall, Conrad Bali was a top notch experience with its luxurious resort and great customer service. Their Jiwa spa is beautiful as well if you want to wind down after a long day. You definitely feel safe since you have to enter through a security gate when driving into the hotel. Since it is a resort, you definitely feel secluded from experiencing the real Bali and it will take minimum 45 minutes in traffic to get to other areas.
Padang Padang Beach
Padang Padang Beach is small little beach with crystal blue warm water. It is a nice short hike down winding through a local temple and stairs through a crevice in a giant rock. It seems like it is not so secret anymore as it is crowded with young surfers, beach vendors, and families.
Happy for a beautiful day on the beach!
Location: Jl. Labuhan Sait, Pecatu | Bali 80361, Indonesia
Is it a must see? Probably not. If it’s on the way, definitely check it out. Or if you want to join all the surfers, this is the place to catch some good waves. Otherwise, stick to your resort’s beach for more space and privacy.
I’m generally not a huge fan of temples, but one thing Bali wins in are their temples by the ocean with breathtaking panoramic cliffside views.
Can you spot the temple? Even with minimal sun, the sunset view is amazing. You can come at sunset to watch the traditional Kecak and Fire Dance which consists of dozens of men chanting ryhthmically while beating their chests, clapping their hands, and stomping their feet. Beware of the naughty monkeys and hold on to your belongings!
Location: Jl. Raya Uluwatu | Kuta Selatan, Pecatu, Bali, Indonesia
One of the top touristy temples to visit despite how small the temple looks. The views by the ocean are worth stopping by, try to come during sunset.
Tanah Lot Temple
Tanah Lot is an iconic and unique temple with amazing scenic views surrounding the ocean.
A quick zen moment before a swarm of tourists arrived.
The temple sits on top of a large rock which has been shaped by the ocean tide.
Unreal backdrop with the clear blue sea water.
Location: Desa Beraban | Kecamatan Kediri |Bali Indonesia
Tanah Lot Temple is quite a sight to see. Yes, it’s touristy but with great reason. It is a serene experience listening to the waves crashing against the rocks by the ocean. Try to come for sunrise or sunset, just be prepared to deal with big tour groups.
Ah, the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary! Aren’t these cheeky, little monkeys so cute? Ha, don’t let these innocent looking creatures fool you! These smart and sneaky monkeys roam freely throughout the sanctuary where some monkeys are trying to show who is boss while others act as if they are in Hunger Games, fighting for bananas and corn. So watch out and hold on to those cameras and phones tightly. This beautiful forest is nestled away in the city of Ubud.
Baby monkey with mama eating corn!
A local sells little bananas at the entrance if you want to feed them. Perfect photo op but beware, they will climb and beg you ruthlessly! They’re still pretty darn cute.
Location: Monkey Forest Road, Padangtegal Ubud | Padangtegal, Ubud, Bali 80571, Indonesia
Website: Tripadvisor | Monkey Forest
Overall, it was a fun experience with possibly the most monkey interaction you will encounter all at once. The small entrance fee was well worth a visit. However, I do read a lot of horror stories about people’s stuff getting stolen or tourists getting bitten so please be careful and alert and you will be fine.
Tegalalang Rice Terrace
No visit to Bali is complete without visiting the beautiful rice terraces in Ubud. The magnificent views provides a serene and peaceful view at top.
Panoramic view of the rice terrace. There is a cute cafe overlooking over the terrace at the top for epic views.
Frolicking in the drizzling rain in awe of this beauty.
Location: Tegalalang and Ubud, Ubud, Bali 80517, Indonesia
The rice terraces are a little out of the way from Ubud, but worth a stop for a lovely picture and view. Due to the rain that day, we had to skip our stop to see the active volcano Mount Batur since it was all foggy. Bummer! It should have amazing views up there with the lake on a good day, try even going for an early hike for sunrise.
Our last stop in Ubud was coffee tasting at OKA Agriculture and to try Bali’s famous Civet Coffee or “Kopi Luwak.” They will serve you free samples ranging from coffee ginseng, ginger tea, bali coffee, lemon grass tea, pure Bali cocoa, rosela tea, and coconut coffee. Each had unique flavors but my favorite was the coconut coffee. Smooth and creamy!
Now you’re probably wondering, why would I go all the way to a plantation out in Bali just to sample coffee? This isn’t just any ordinary coffee. Kopi Luwak or Civet Coffee – is one of the most expensive coffees out there. How expensive can coffee get? Apparently $30-$100 for a cup in the states. Luckily, it’s around $5 a cup here. The high prices are because of the unique origin of these beans. Kopi Luwak coffee comes from beans that civets (a cat like mammal) poop out. The civets eat coffee cherries and the beans are left intact all the way through the digestion system. Supposedly the enzymes inside their stomach extracts the bitterness from the coffee, making the coffee smooth. Luckily, it was delicious and did not taste like cat poop. Weirdest thing I’ve ever drank? Perhaps, but it is definitely more for the novelty of saying you tried that “poop coffee.”
They sell fresh exotic fruits and there was a whole store selling different coffee flavors from your tasting in bean or powder form. They also have different beauty products using coffee, chocolate, or aloe vera. Great souvenirs to bring back! However, once I got back and tried the coffee powder, it tasted very watered down so my advice would be to stick to the coffee beans.
Must do: Get a Massage!
Ahhhh yes, I have to save the best for last. Sweet, sweet massages. It is magical, relaxing, and dirt cheap. Massages can range as cheap as $10 and up depending where you go and what you get done. Go treat yoself to a flower bath soak, a body scrub, and the epic four hand massage! Yes, that means two people massage you at a choreographed pace, it was euphoric. You won’t get cheap prices anywhere close to this in the states and most spas will offer free pick up/ drop off service for convenience. Just make sure you pick a place and see what they offer near you. Here are a few places near Nusa Dua I was able to get my spa on, all great experiences.
Nusa Dua: Jari Menari | Rumah Spa | Sekar Jagat
Now go treat yoself, and get your spa on.
Bali was both a beautiful and adventurous experience. Once you get out of your comfort zone, you won’t “bali-eve” the many adventures you’ll have!