About a week ago I was luckily enough to travel to Bali for vacation with my family. My siblings and I planned to arrive in Bali a couple days earlier than my parents, so we ventured to the closest island to Bali called Nusa Lembongan. After a couple days there, we all met up in Canggu where we rented a villa for the rest of our stay in Bali. With the villa, we were able to rent a driver for the day which we found essential in getting around the island and visiting other cities.
In booking our travels we didn’t realize it fell on a Hindu celebration called Nyepi, also known as Balinese “Day of Silence”, where we were not allowed to leave our villa and were required to turn off all lights post dinner. It was definitely a cool experience to see, as the day before the “Day of Silence”, we saw many “ogoh-ogoh” (demonic statues made of richly painted bamboo and styrofoam that symbolizes negative elements or malevolent spirits) on the streets which were then paraded around the village and then burned the night before “Day of Silence”.
I would say majority of places took Indonesian Rupiah, so take that currency out if you have enough time. If not there were quite a few places on the island that would exchange USD or CAD to Rupiah, just be warned the rate will be off slightly so you’ll loose 1 or 2 dollars when you exchange $100 USD/CAN to Rupiah.
Overall I would HIGHLY recommend Bali to anyone debating to travel there. I can see now why this island has been labelled with ‘Eat. Pray. Love.’. As the food was so healthy yet very affordable, the Balinese people were extremely religious which we saw through the many temples in Bali and the daily offerings outside their houses, and the gorgeous landscape of beaches, mountains, and terraces were beautiful backdrops to fall in love with and never want to leave the island!
2 Week itinerary:
Toronto –> Taipei –> Bali [Flight]
3 days: Bali <–> Nusa Lembongan [Rocky Fast Cruises – 1/2 hour each way]
1 day: Candikuning
1 day: SILENT DAY
1 day: Ubud
1 day: Mount Batur Hike & Jimbaran Beach
1 day: Ubud
2 days: Canggu
Bali -> Taipei -> Vancouver -> Toronto [Flight]
[TO DO]: check out Devil’s Tears! We got slightly lost when looking for this spot, but it was definitely worth the wander in 40 degree heat. We also checked out Mushroom Bay and Dream Beach. I found Mushroom Bay was a bit dirty, but Dream Beach was definitely a quiet spot perfect for suntanning. To get around we paid locals to scooter us around, but you can easily rent out a scooter or a bike for the day to explore the island on your own.
[TO EAT]: Bali Eco Deli was my favourite breakfast spot on Nusa Lembongan. The cafe was all about being eco friendly and initiating recycling systems on the island. Their fruit bowls were only $3 and coffees at $2! They also had delicious salads on their menu, but we didn’t have time to try it out. When we wandered to Devil’s Tears we made sure to stop for lunch at Sandy Bay Beach Club and it did not disappoint! They also have a pool that overlooks the water and is free for patrons to use. Another great spot we hit up for breakfast was Pisang-Pisang. This spot has a bunch of fresh juice potions, but if you go for breakfast make sure to order the banana pancakes with honey, they were so good we ordered a second serving!
[O DO]: This is where we rented a Villa for our stay in Bali. If you’re renting a villa make sure it has a pool! Even it being the ‘rainy season’, it was extremely humid and felt like 40 to 45 degrees during the peak of the day so it was great to have a pool to cool down in. There’s a bunch of amazing cafes in this town and also a beach to check out! We also were able to grab a 8:00 am yoga class nearby which overlooked the rice paddies. I can understand why they call it hot yoga, as at 8:00 am it was already 30 degrees outside!!
[TO EAT]: The amount of amazing cafes in this town were endless! Here are some of my favourites and the key things I loved about them: Hungry Bird (best coffee we had – make sure to try the iced coffee smoothie, I had 1 every day possible!), Sprout (best fruit smoothie bowls – also try the oatmeal cookie, its massive and delicious!, Cinta Cafe (best view overlooking rice paddies – the mashed avocado with poached eggs were to die for!), Betelnut Cafe (best fruit slushies – I got the pineapple, mango, passion fruit smoothie which was very refreshing and massive!), Ruko Cafe (best vanilla pancakes – it comes with a berry compote and whip cream, also the dragon fruit smoothie bowl is another great pick). Another great spot for food is Poke Poke Canggu, which serves a traditional Hawaiian dish of tuna sashimi cubes mixed with salad, rice or a mix of both and a pick of a sauce. I would eat this every day if I could!! Bintang is the local beer in Bali, you’ll see the markets littered with tank tops with this logo. I think everyday I had some type of Nasi Goreng (Balinese fried rice) or Mie Goreng (Balinese fried noodles) during lunch or dinner, you definitely can’t go wrong with those local dishes! :)
[TO DO]: Pura Ulun Danu Bratan was the first temple we visited located up in the mountains. It was a super peaceful place to visit and a unique temple to see built in the water. Our next stop on the way back was at Candi Kuning Traditional Market where you could buy any spice or tropical fruit you wanted! We also stopped by Jatiluwih Rice Terrace for photos, as they are less crowded than the Tegalalang Rice Terraces in Ubud.
[TO DO]: We separated Ubud into 2 days, the first day we did a lot of the touristy things and the second day we spent majority of the time shopping at the markets. The temples we picked to visit were Goa Gajah Temple and Tirta Empul Temple. Both temples give you a free sarong to wear, so don’t worry about purchasing one! Tirta Empul temple was a cool experience given the Nyepi holiday, as many Balinese locals were at the temple this day bathing in the water and even carrying jugs of the water out of the temple. We also stopped by Bali Pulina, a coffee plantation with that explains the process of the Luwak coffee (where the Luwak cats eat coffee beans and poop them out) and an opportunity to purcahse a cup to try. They also offer you a free sampling of coffee and teas in which you can relax in their cafe and overlook some great views of rice paddies and greenery. Definitely stop by Ubud Markets to pick up some souvenirs and gifts for others! We bought some unique wooden carved animals/fruits and silk scarfs. Like most markets you can bargain here, but I found the prices were a couple dollars more than most Asian markets I’ve been to. I also found some cool graffiti while walking the shops in Ubud and had to stop to take a quick photo. :)
[TO DO]: Do the hike!! We woke up at about 1:30 am and left the villa at 2:00 am to arrive at the base of the mountain at 3:30 am to start the hike up Mount Batur. We read a bunch of reviews to understand what to wear for the hike. Even though everyone said it was cold, we looked at the weather and realized cold = 18 degrees which is really pre Summer weather for Canada, so we wore shorts and tank tops which we did not regret. As once you start hiking your body warms up a lot, but make sure to bring a light jacket for when you arrive to the top of the mountain, as your body will cool down and it’ll feel chilly at the top. Most tour groups give you a flash light for your hike up in the dark. It was really cool to see flashes of lights ahead of you going up the mountain. Overall it wasn’t an easy hike, but it wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be based on all of the review I had read. It took us about 2 hours to get to the top and boy was it worth the hike to see the sun rise over the clouds and mountains! There were also a bunch of monkeys at the top, so be warned as they’re aggressive and might try to take your food. The way down was probably scarier, as the rocks would shift below your feet if you didn’t step on the right ones. I wore running shoes and they worked fine, but I wouldn’t advise on wearing flip flops for this climb.
[TO EAT]: Our tour was suppose to include breakfast at the top but we ended up not having anything. Make sure to bring some type of trail mix if you don’t have a breakfast waiting for you at the top! Definitely bring a bottle of water, as you’ll need it on your way up to the top.
[TO DO]: Catch the beautiful sunset!
[TO EAT]: We made sure to eat a seafood dinner here while catching the sun set. All the restaurants set up tables and chairs directly on the beach so you can enjoy the view from outside.