We’ve heard so many beautiful stories about Bali from our family and friends that we had to go and see for ourselves. It turned out to be one of our best trip’s ever. Although the streets in places like Ubud or Seminyak can be a little bit crazy and overwhelming, there is always some kind of tranquility and peace breathing through everything the local people do. There is always that friendly smile on their faces and it doesn’t matter if they are burning incense, cooking or working in the rice field, they always look calm and easy going.
Bali is mostly Hindu and as part of their daily ritual, they lay out offerings to the Gods. Those offerings are put in little “boats” made of banana leave’s and vary from beautiful flowers, rice, fruit, cigarettes and pretty much anything you could think off. What they all have in common is that they are very beautiful and you can see that the person preparing them has put quite some effort in making them. After prayers, the offerings are put in the street in front of the house. Watch out while walking. It’s not that you’ll be sent to Hindu hell if you step on one of them, it’s just a shame to destroy such beauty.
When you arrive at Denpasar airport you’ll probably need transport to your first accommodation. My advice is to arrange the pick up with your hotel while booking from home. Most of the time they are not offering this during the booking procedure but it’s a good idea to email the host and ask for possibilities. Most of the time it’s cheaper and after a long flight it’s good to know that someone is waiting for you at the airport who knows where you need to be and who’m you do not need to pay since it’s all been arranged by your host. If you choose to go with the flow and grab a cab at the airport there are enough options of course. Just be prepared that a lot of drivers will approach you and that can be a bit overwhelming. They will also try to take your bag and carry it for you, with the intention that you travel with them of course. The taxi’s are cheap in Bali but in order to avoid misunderstandings and disappointments it’s good to negotiate about the price in advance. If you like to move around like a local then you can try a scooter. It can seem a little scary at first but the best advice I can give you is to go with the flow and keep a constant speed. All the other drivers will navigate around you. It’s incredible.
Places to stay
Although there is no need to book your hotel, hostel, villa etc. in advance, we still did that. Even in the highest of all seasons there will be enough room’s to choose from. So if you don’t mind where your staying I suggest you just book the first few nights and book everything else when you get there. This way you’ll be able to stay in places longer if you like them or shorter if it’s not your thing. So why did we book everything in advance then? Well, we had a clear idea which places we wanted to visit and knew how many days we wanted to spend there. Aside from that we had a few recommendations from friends about some not-to-be-missed hotels and villas. Since we really wanted to make sure we had a certain accommodation for a certain amount of time we made sure everything was booked in advance. So, long story short, we really liked to book everything beforehand but you certainly don’t have to. If you have a smartphone, iPad or laptop you should be able to book everything quick and easy. If you’re more adventurous try and ask the local people to help you with your next accommodation. Everybody knows somebody in Bali and they’ll be glad to help you out. Here’s a list of places we stayed and loved:
Where to eat
When it comes to food I’m into exploring and just daring to try a new place that Tripadvisor still hasn’t discovered. However, there are always a few little treasures that one should share with the rest of the world. Know that it’s always good to see where the local’s are eating and basically that should be your choice too. It never disappoints. In Bali I have discovered that a place visited mostly by tourists can still be really really good. Who’s Who? in Ubud is that kind of place. Hidden in a small alley, with excellent food and the kindest service. The Melting Wok Warung in Ubud is a small restaurant with daily specials, good curry’s, fresh lemonade and friendly staff. We also tried a cooking class at Bennu House in Ubud and that was a lovely experience.There was one lady who brought all the ingredients to the Villa and prepared a feast while explaining all the steps and let me participate as much as I wanted. The costs were 10,- p.p. I loved the experience and would highly recommend it. If you’re looking for a nice lunch and dinner with a marvelous view of the rice field then you should go to Sardine in Seminyak. The place is quite sophisticated and for Bali standards a bit pricy but totally worth the visit.
Aside from all the temples, rice fields and other well-known things to do while in Bali I would highly recommend climbing the Mount Batur. It was the best experience. We arranged everything with the staff of the Bennu House in Ubud where we were staying and we got picked up by a driver at 2:00 in the morning. After a 1,5 hour drive we arrived at a checkpoint where they served us coffee and fresh pancakes. We had a small group of six people and we were lucky that all of us had the same level of fitness so we could keep the same pace while climbing. It’s a two hours climb and you should make sure to bring some water an some light snacks. It can get cold in the mountains at night so make sure to have a warm sweater with you, although you’ll get quite warm from the climbing. I’m convinced that everybody can climb the mountain but for some it will be a more challenging experience. Make sure you have comfortable shoes. I only had my flip flops and bought a pair of Timberlands for the occasion. Because the shoes were new my feet were covered in blisters, so make sure you have better options. Although my feet were killing me it was totally worth it. We arrived on the top just twenty minutes before sunrise. They served us some hot tea, bread and a boiled egg. The atmosphere on the mountain with the rising sun was magical. Make sure to keep your belongings safe since there are a lot of cute, but kleptomaniac monkeys at the top.