In my self care post, Reset, I mentioned how a few trips softened my free-fall into my new world. Bali has been on my bucket list for such a long time, and with my newfound freedom, I felt this was the absolute best time to cross it off the list! I mean, who knows if I'll ever have that kind of free time again, right? So I booked my ticket and in two weeks, I was off.
Visiting Bali was one of the most relaxing and rejuvenating experiences I've had in my life. From the people to the food and culture, it was an incredible experience. I think what made the trip even better was that I traveled alone and was truly able to reconnect with myself and focus on me. For those who have asked, I highly recommend traveling alone at least once in your life, before you have kids and get married. It's such a unique experience. Just like you would in the states, it's still important to travel smart and make good decisions to keep yourself safe no matter where you are. I personally did not go to bars or clubs, did not do any heavy drinking and was in my room by dark unless I was on hotel/resort property.
While planning the trip (or any trip) it's important to me that travel time is used efficiently. When you start planning your trip you'll notice there are many different areas/beaches to choose from. Do your research and select your places based on what exactly you want to do and see. I chose Ubud, Uluwatu and Canggu to have a mix of relaxation/meditation, beach/resort, and also shopping options. Since these are spread out, I visited them in the following order based on airport location: (1) Ubud, (2) Uluwatu, (3) Canggu. I spent about 2-3 nights in each place.
Appetizer, Meal, Beer/Cocktail + Bottled Water = $10 USD
1 ½ hour massage: $38 USD
Accomodations: $100 USD/night
do + see
I highly recommend you hire a driver. The average price is about $45/day for unlimited places and stops with no time limit. This was my experience and I can't say enough how amazing my driver was! I do not want to post his personal cell here but if you'd like, you can contact me and I will connect you once you have your trip planned and booked. He was incredible and made my travel routes for me based on the most efficient use of time to hit the most locations. He even told me about places I knew nothing about. He was referred to me by a college friend and truly made my trip better than it would have been. Another reason to hire a driver is that Uber is frowned upon in many areas. Some places will not allow Uber drop off or pickup and even have signs posted urging you to use caution - like the tension between NYC Taxis and Uber, the same goes in Bali with local drivers trying to make a living. It's best not to rock the boat and offend anyone to avoid the confrontation.
There are so many - visit as many as you can and read up on the meaning of each one. We'd be here all day if I wrote about my experience and a description for each one because I was just blown away but I'll link locations so you can do your own research.
Gorgeous sea temple.
A beautiful spiritual experience if you open your heart and mind to what's around you. People from all over the world come here to pray and observe others in prayer. There are many rules upon entering that to be respectful of the property and worshippers, you should abide. One of them being that you should wear a wrap around your waist with a sash. They have them at the entrance if you don't have your own, and you must have one on to enter the water to pray. As a woman, it is strictly prohibited to enter certain areas of the grounds if you are menstruating - you can read more about this when you arrive or online before you go - use your best judgment.
I came unprepared and did not have a change of clothes to enter the water but I did put my hands in and say a prayer. For me, this was still a great experience as it was so powerful being in an environment of such respect and peace. If you have the chance, fully get in the water - it's said to be a transformative cleansing experience.
Mount Agung recently erupted so I'm not sure how the trekking excursions are these days but you do not need to hike to enjoy these beautiful sites. My driver took me to a mountain top restaurant directly across from the volcanoes boasting incredible views. Unfortunately, I do not know the name but here's a photo - the drivers share similar routes so I'm sure if you explain it they'll know exactly where to take you. There are also hot springs at the bottom that you can enjoy but I wanted to spend my time seeing other places.
Beautiful waterfall for swimming or just taking in the beauty! Better bring some water because there are 20 million stairs to get to the bottom and back up to the top. Phew, talk about a workout!!
Proceed with caution! If you're following me on Instagram, then you already know about my monkey drama. Long story short I was bitten while minding my own business (I did not feed the monkeys or bother them) and it was a whole thing ending in $2000+ USD worth of shots and thinking I was going to die from rabies for about 3 months until my blood was tested by the CDC. Nbd. Speaking of shots, get ALL of your vaccinations before going so you don't have to worry.
Amazing and friendly staff, but that's everywhere in Bali. Seriously, I've never traveled somewhere where literally everyone is SO nice and truly wants to take care of you and make sure you have a pleasant experience. It goes beyond a simple "Good Morning" and "Hello", they ask questions about your family, how are you feeling, everything, without a motive (looking at you scammers). And when I had my monkey fiasco, it was one of the staff members who escorted me to the ER, and stayed the entire time until I was ready to return. How nice?! This was my first motorbike experience - I thought to myself, if I don't die from the monkey bite it'll be from this helmetless motorbike ride (do not ride without a helmet, people). Anyways, Cinta is a quaint Inn in a great location - I walked everywhere and had many peaceful nights in my room, monkey free.
Right next to the spa in Ubud, you can hop over for a meal after! I don't eat duck but the ambience here is very tranquil and there's plenty on the menu to choose from.
The famous rice terraces you see in all of the Bali photos. Beautiful place - definitely wear flats, lots of walking and climbing.
You know I love my cooking classes! I got lucky and had a private lesson all to myself since I booked on a Monday morning, last minute. I had an absolutely amazing time taking this class - of course, it was way too much food but I had leftovers with me for dinner. I learned to make traditional dishes that I can't wait to practice back home. The kitchen was outdoors and besides the occasional lizard running around (eek!) it was so peaceful and relaxing. Best of all, they create a menu based on your preferences which means all of my dishes were vegetarian friendly!
Gorgeous place to find beautiful handmade items. Put your negotiating pants on but also remember this is the livelihood of the artisans and they have families who rely on these sales. The exchange rate is already extremely low so even before you bargain, you're getting a great deal.
The best spa experience I've ever had! I booked a full 1 1/2 hour full body massage which came with a full body exfoliation and 30 minute floral bath. Something like this in the states would cost HUNDREDS of dollars however, I wouldn't even know where to go to find a comparable experience.
You're greeted with tea and escorted to your private spa room which is partly outdoors, because Bali, and given time to change into your paper undies. After a few minutes your masseuse enters and begins your treatment. For the first hour, you'll receive your massage and exfoliation. Next is 30 minutes to relax alone, listen to the birds chirp and soak in the floral bath - something I've never done before this but highly recommend!
Honeymooner's paradise or if you're traveling solo like me, still paradise.
An absolutely gorgeous boutique hotel on a cliff overlooking Padang Padang Beach. Sunrises and sunsets to die for! This hotel is also eco-friendly and one of the largest wood projects in the world. I stumbled upon this place by accident fleeing from an unpleasant Airbnb experience and I'm SO glad I did. Staying here was one of the highlights of my trip and I'm so grateful for the experience from the staff to the views, I couldn't have asked for anything more.
Pantai Labuan Sait - Padang Padang Beach
Beautiful but small, this beach is a must-see because it's the beach from Eat Pray Love! Besides it being in one of my favorite movies, it's a gorgeous beach. Be careful on the way down though, there are monkeys and snakes, in the rock walls.
Canggu, to me, is like the surfer, hipster town. Very young posh places with fun DJ's and cool boutique shops.
Owned by a French Canadian couple, Vassani Stay is an absolute gem and excellent choice for accomodations in Bali. I couldn't have asked for a better location, owners and temporary space to call home. I rented one of the lofts with the upstairs bedroom and downstairs patio, kitchen and lounge space. Vassani Stay was recommended to me by a former coworker who lives in Bali and it did not disappoint! They also can arrange transportation for you which came in handy when I wanted to travel to the nearby Seminyak for shopping or needed to get to the airport. As mentioned on their site, the beach is a 5 minute walk, if that.
Driver: Komang Bali Transport Service
087 861 050 056
Attached to Vassani Stay, a great place to grab a bite to eat, drink or read a book. They played mostly old-school hip-hop and current rap, like Future.
Other recommendations in Canggu:
Jl. Kayu Gendana No. 2A Br. Taman Kerobokan, Kelod. Badung 80361 Bali
I could seriously go on and on and on about Bali, it's people, and my experience, but this blog post would never end so this is part 1! I'll be sharing a Vlog and if there's anything else you want to know, let me know in the comments below!