The Ultimate Bali Guide

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Right when I got to Bali I was with a friend for two weeks which was amazing traveling all over the island exploring with her. Then I was kinda scared knowing I would be be traveling for 6 weeks for the first time by myself but staying in hostels you meet so many amazing people that you become instant friends with. You meet them and 20 minutes later you’re having dinner together and you still haven’t even exchanged names. Then you have people to go to the next spot with you. I think everyone needs to travel alone at least one time in their life. Thanks sis for leaving me stranded, forcing me to travel by myself while you’re working, now I get to go back to Bali later in the year to experience it again but next time with you.

Bali visa– You don’t need to worry about getting a visa before leaving for Bali. You will fill out a form on the plane and turn it in upon arrival. The visa cost is $35US and lasts for 30 days. If you want to stay an extra 30 days you can extend it once you’re in the country. You can go to immigration 3 days in a row to get it extended but it’s easier to just get someone to do it for you. There are lots of agents all over that you can pay to do the process for you. Normally it’s at a travel agency type place and they are all over Kuta and the main areas. All you have to do is go to immigration one day to get your picture taken and finger printed. You shouldn’t pay more then 700,000 rupiahs, which is around $60US for someone to do it for you. If you wish to stay even longer then 60 days you would have to do a visa run. Most people hop on a plane and go to Singapore for a couple hours or so and come back and just get a new 30 day visa. Check out my next post to find out what to do if you’re stuff gets lost or stolen.

Bali is an amazing place with so much culture and so much to do. In one day you could go to the beach, visit a temple, go to a beach club, hang out with monkeys, go shopping, visit a neighboring island, go white water rafting, surf, get a cheap massage, listen to a live band, go to a night market, the list goes on.

Each city has so much to offer.

Ubud

Ubud is up in the mountains about an hour from the main beachy touristy areas. This is where you can find the iconic rice patty fields. It’s very peaceful and known for their yoga and healthy vegan and vegetarian restaurants. There are really affordable hostels and guesthouse all over Bali. In Ubud we stayed at Bening Bungalows. The rooms just have one or two beds with your own bathroom and even a mini fridge and cooking area. They give you free breakfast which you can enjoy on your patio with this amazing view of rice patty fields.

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If you love monkeys like I do, go to the Monkey Forest. It only costs a few dollars to get in and you can also buy bananas to feed the monkeys.

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If you’re in Ubud you have to go to Cantika Spa to get a massage. It’s $17 for an hour massage or facial. They have a few different locations but there is one conveniently located near Sari Organik restaurant. So, get a massage then get lunch after. The restaurant is a short hike through the rice patty fields. They use the freshest ingredients grown right near the restaurant. You can even pick your own vegetables if you want.

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Holy water temple is only a 20 minute drive from the main area of Ubud and is definitely worth the experience. We payed a guy a few dollars and he provided us with our sarongs and told us everything about the Hindu religion and what to properly do in the water to cleanse ourselves.
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KAFE

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Earth cafe, vegetarian

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Clear cafe

West Bali/ North of Canggu

Check out Tanah Lot Temple on the west side, not too far from Canggu. It has really pretty architecture and greenery and has perfect views of the water.

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Tanah Lot Temple

Go on a Luwak Coffee tour. It’s the rarest coffee in the world and it’s made in Indonesia. These little animals eat coffee berries but the actual coffee bean doesn’t digest in their body, so when they poop it out they clean the coffee beans, roast them and make really good coffee from it.

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Canggu

Canggu is about 30 minutes North of Kuta and less touristy. They have echo beach which is good for surfing and a couple good restaurants right up against the sand. It has a cute little downtown area with shops, healthy cafes, and a good beauty spa to get massages and facials. Check out Deus ex Machina for some good parties especially on Sunday night. Even if you don’t go to party at night they have a restuarant opened all day, a clothing store, a motorcycle shop, and a small art gallery.

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Canteen Cafe

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Golddust Beauty Lounge

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Watercress Cafe

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Putu Guesthouse 2

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Milk & Madu

Seminyak

I loved Seminyak for its beach clubs with swim up bars, great restaurants, and shopping. There are a ton of restaurants with bean bags on the sand where you can order food and drinks while listening to live music. There isn’t a great selection of hostels there, so it’s better to stay in Kuta if you’re on a budget. If you’re with a  group or a family, there are lots of nice hotels and resorts to stay at.

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Champlung Bar

Potato Head Beachclub was the best pool to watch a sunset. You can reserve a bed near the pool for the day with a minimum tab of about $45 so it’s really easy to spend that if you’re with a few people. It also has an American restaurant and an Indonesian restaurant. The food is a little expensive for Bali but really good and worth it. They have bands that play sometimes with the stage set up on the sand right up against the pool.

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Potato Heads Beach Club

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Sea Circus

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La Favela restaurant and nightclub

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W Resort Hotel

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Grocer & Grind

Motel Mexicola was my favorite restaurants in Seminyak. From the atmosphere, the food, and the tequila shots you feel like you’re in Mexico. Get one of the cocktails served in a coconut. It was the perfect place to celebrate a birthday.

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Motel Mexicola

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Courtyard at the Marriot

Kuta

Most people say to avoid Kuta because of it’s crazy club scene filled with tourists and and all of the clothing stall vendors begging you to buy things from them. I actually didn’t mind it because of its central location, cheap Warungs (Indonesian restaurants), the best massages, affordable accommodations walking distance to the beach, and cheap buffets with all you can eat and drink. Go to Spring Bali massage to get the best hour long Balinese massage for under $10. Also go to Alleycats, a good little dive bar for cheap drinks and a good mix of locals and tourists.

I mostly stayed at Warung Coco Poppies 2 which is more like a bed and breakfast instead of a hostel. It’s $11 a night and includes a big breakfast of fruit, an omelette and toast, banana pancakes, or noodles with a fried egg.

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Warung coco poppies 2

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If you’re hanging out on Kuta Beach you have to find the people selling food for less then a dollar for lunch. You can grab a drink from one of the locals who have chairs and umbrellas set up along the whole strip. They all also offer surf lessons or surf board rentals.

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Getting bombarded by the locals selling things

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Henna

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Go to Warung Indonesia where you can find the cheapest Bintangs, the best local food, and really good fresh juices. Go to Sky Garden for endless western food that changes every night and unlimited beer from 5-6pm for $5.

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View from Sky Garden

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Warung Indonesia

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Tubes bar

Bukit Peninsula– the smaller area on the south side of Bali which is more spread out so it’s easier to get around on motorbikes if you’re not staying somewhere right on the sand. The whole peninsula is filled with beautiful beaches, tons of surfers and cliff side resorts and restaurants.  Most of the beaches require a big trek down stairs to reach the sand. The homestays right on the sand are little more pricey if you want air conditioning and wifi and are hard to find on the Internet. You have to go down a bunch of steps to get to the beach and ask if they have any openings in person. That’s why I would just suggest staying on top of the cliff and just going down there during the day to go to the beach or eat at one of the homestays overlooking the ocean without having to carry down all of your luggage to the bottom.

Jimbaran

You have to check out Rock Bar at the Ayana Resort. The bar is set up right on the water and you have to get elevated down the cliff to get there. Make sure you get there before it opens to get in line because they don’t take reservations but let in the guests who are staying there before everyone else and you don’t want to miss the sunset.

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Bingin

Check out Kelly’s Warung for fresh organic breakfast bowls, smoothies, salads, and sandwiches overlooking the water. Also go to the cashew tree restaurant which is the same owner, so they have the same food but it’s not next to the water. It’s a big location where they have live bands and good drinks and tacos on Thursday nights. Bingin is quiet but that’s going to be your most happening place with a mix of locals and surfers.

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Padang Padang

In between Bingin and Uluwatu beach, Padang Padang is a really pretty beach and you’ll find monkeys going down the path to the sand. It’s a good place to find a homestay because of the location right in the middle of all the main spots. You just need a motorbike to get around as everything is kind of spread out.

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Uluwatu

Uluwatu is filled with cliff side cafes overlooking the water. You have to go to Single Fin to watch the sunset and surfers or go on a Sunday night for its busy surfer crowd. Also, there is Uluwatu Temple right above the cliff near the bottom of the peninsula with amazing views.

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Single Fin

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Uluwatu Temple

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Sanur

Located on the east side of Bali is Sanur. I didn’t spend a lot of time in Sanur but they had a really cool black sand beach and good night markets with local food..

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Nusa Lembongan

Take a boat to Nusa Lembongan or even Nusa Penida from Sanur for a more relaxing vibe.

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Gili Trawangan

You can’t go to Bali without going to the Gili Islands. The Gilis are three little islands off of Lombok Island which is right next to Bali. Gili Trawangan also known as Gili T, is the most developed of the islands with hostels and bars on one side and really nice resorts around the whole rest of the island. Gili Meno and Gili Air are the two other Islands next to it but are a lot more quiet and relaxing. They are all known for their amazing sea life so people go there to get their scuba diving certification. The beaches are a lot prettier then a lot of the Bali beaches with white sand and clear blue water. There are no cars or motorbikes on the the island so you either ride a bike or ride on a horse drawn carriage. The island is tiny so if you rent a bike for just a couple dollars a day, you can circle the whole island in an hour. You can also go horseback riding, snorkeling, take a cooking class, or day tour to Lombok island.

Gili Backpackers is the perfect hostel for meeting people. They have a pool, bar, rock climbing wall, and free breakfast.

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Gili Backpackers

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The sunsets on Gili T are amazing and you have go to the swings in the water at the Ombok Sunset Resort for pictures.

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Lombok

Take a boat ride over to Lombok from Gili T to hike to the waterfalls.

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