Bali has a special place in my heart; I cannot emphasise enough how amazing this place really is. I have put together 15 things that you must do, if you decide to visit Bali!
1. Eat amazing food!
Personally, Ubud was the highlight of my trip. Ubud is the heart and soul of Balinese culture, with so many beautiful sights to see, so much to do, but most importantly, FOOD. Ubud is home to numerous amazing restaurants that cater to Vegans and Vegetarians, as well as meat lovers. I really love how accessible healthy food is in Ubud, something I struggle with when eating out in England. My top two favourite restaurants for breakfast were Alchemy for delicious fruit bowls and Atman Kafe for hot alternatives. There are several restaurants that are commonly recommended in Ubud but personally I preferred to eat in smaller or family owned restaurants, as the food tended to be made with a little more love and you tend to get more for your money. Don’t be afraid to try somewhere new!
2. Eat Nasi Goreng!
Since we are already on my favourite topic of food, let’s discuss Nasi Goreng. It is an Indonesian signature dish, which consists of fried rice, usually made with prawns or chicken, chilli, vegetables and complimented with a fried egg on top. This dish is so tasty! Balinese locals tend to eat this dish for breakfast, which I found a little strange at first, but after a few days of being in Bali, I started to eat Nasi Goreng for breakfast too, like a true local! You can also get a noodle version of this dish, which is called Mie Goreng.
3. Stay in the jungle!
Instead of staying right in the hustle and bustle of Ubud centre, we stayed in a suite located in Sayan, about a 10minute bike ride away. This place was truly a hidden gem, with the most beautiful, breathtaking view of the tropical jungle. As you can see in the pictures, we had a tree house overlooking this view; I’ve never experienced anything quite like it. We found this suite on airbnb, sceptical at first as we had never used airbnb before, but we couldn’t have been happier with it. If you have never used airbnb before, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can get you a discount on your first airbnb experience.
4. Rent a scooter!
For those who don’t like scooters, I am sorry, this is pretty vital. We saved so much money renting a scooter and saved a lot of hassle from having to barter with taxi men, who can sometimes rip you off. Where we stayed was quite secluded and so without a scooter, we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do as much as we did. Having a scooter gave us free will to get up and go wherever and whenever we wanted to.
5. Visit the Sacred monkey forest!
This is just something that you must experience! However, don’t let the cute faces of these monkeys fool you, they are very mischievous and will steal your items if you have not safely put them away! I had the delight of a cheeky monkey pulling my top down whilst I was feeding him a banana, and no, I wasn’t wearing a bra! Embarrassing indeed.
If you want to watch my monkey forest experience, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wn0aeFIFW6k&t=219s
6. Visit Tegalalang rice terrace!
This is another must-do whilst staying in Ubud. Tegalalang rice terrace is absolutely beautiful! The best view of the rice terrace is along the road, where there are also small restaurants and art stalls. If you would like to go into the rice terrace, be prepared for hundreds of steps, unfortunately I had to learn the hard way. I had breakfast at one of the small restaurants, with the most amazing view of the rice terrace, and here is where I had the best pancake I had tasted during my stay in Bali!
If you would like to see my Tegalalang rice terrace experience, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2VmgP5L7tM
7. Experience an Open-air massage!
For my boyfriends birthday, I treated him to a spa experience at Tjampuhan spa, Ubud. This place exceeded my expectations. The location was perfect, hidden away in a secret location, surrounded by tropical greenery and overlooking a beautiful river valley. We had an open air couples massage composed of several traditional Balinese treatments, followed by a romantic soak in a flower bath. They played soft and gentle background music to compliment the soothing sounds of the river Oos, which was so relaxing; it was hard not to fall asleep! Facilities also included hot and cold spring water jacuzzi’s within stone grotto’s, a sauna and steam room. We were also provided with herbal teas, which were delicious and the option to stay for lunch. I would highly recommend this unique and magical experience, I would definitely love to revisit some day!
If you would like to watch my experience at Tjampuhan spa, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MdnMy6YHHs
8. Visit a waterfall!
It was such a satisfying feeling to ride an hour across Bali, climb down thousands of steps to reach what was one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. Although at the time, we could have visited a waterfall closer to where we were staying, we wanted to find one that wasn’t full of tourists. I would highly recommend you do the same, and set off early to have a better chance of having the whole waterfall to yourselves!
9. See Mount Batur!
This photo was actually taken 3 years ago at my prior visit to Bali, but I couldn’t miss this one out! A bike ride through Kintamani is still one of my most amazing experiences to date. We started of with breakfast with the most incredible view of Mount Batur. You can actually climb the volcano to catch the sunrise, however this excursion starts early, at around 4am. This is something that I would definitely consider on my next visit to Bali.
10. Take a boat to the Gili Islands!
If I’m honest, I don’t think much of the beaches in Bali. From my experience they are either mostly suitable for surfers, or are full of people hassling you every minute to buy something. If you are looking for a beautiful white sandy beach to relax on, get yourself over to the Gili islands. The whole island has no motorised vehicles; you get around via foot, bicycle or horse taxi, which I think is great! Gili Island consists of Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. I stayed in Gili Trawangan, and favoured the Sunset beach side of the island, where you can also find the sunset swings in the sea. We stayed in these cute hut villas, perfectly located in the middle of Gili T. A lot of people try to do a day trip to Gili but personally I do not think this is long enough to get the full experience. We stayed for 4 nights, which if I could, I would have stayed an extra night. If you do visit Gili, I highly recommend you hiring a bicycle and riding around the whole island, it is great fun!
11. Drink Bintang!
I am not usually a beer drinker but I was hooked on this drink, lemon flavour was my favourite! Before visiting Bali, people do tend to warn about drinks being watered down with dangerous substances and so bottled drinks such as Bintang seemed to be the safest option (and tastiest option).
12. Experience Sunset at Uluwatu Temple!
If there were any reason to stay in the region of Jimbaran or South Kuta, it would be to visit this beautiful place. I loved this temple so much that it was my second visit here. Bali has several temples, but Uluwatu is special as it is located on a cliff, overlooking the Indian Ocean. Do be careful as it is also home to the monkeys, and as explained earlier, they can be mischievous. If you visit Uluwatu temple, be sure to watch the Kecak fire dancers, this experience is truly magical.
13. Eat at Cashew tree bingin!
This restaurant was about the only amazing thing about staying in Bingin, the food was so delicious! I was hooked on their chicken burgers, it’s something I cannot explain, you need to go there and try it for yourself! Their fresh juice was also great. However, when you decide to order a juice that is named “digestion juice”, this is not a joke, you will be running to the toilet before you know it. I would highly recommend this restaurant.
14. Talk to the locals!
I have come across some of the most loveliest and down to earth individuals whilst on my travels through Bali. I have learnt so much from speaking to the locals and have met some individuals that I will never forget. Travelling is about broadening your mind and interacting with people of all walks of life.
What’s more, you should buy from local businesses. By doing so, you may be helping a man feed his family for a week. There are many lovely art stalls, perfect for buying gifts for your family and friends back home. I would recommend giving Ubud Art Market a visit.
15. Never miss a sunset!
Don’t ever! Watching the sun go down is one of my favourite things to do, period. Gili Trawangan was my favourite place to do so, with their cute bars and restaurants situated on the beach, it was just perfect. My boyfriend and I would grab a beanbag (and a Bintang of course), and just take life in whilst watching the sun go down. Priceless.
If you decide on travelling to Bali, you can thank me later!
Have a safe journey and enjoy every moment! Love always, G x