Last November, my best friend and I decided to check one thing off of our bucket lists. We wanted to take a trip together, just the two of us. She has a (slight) obsession with every and anything Asia, and I had been wanting to experience all that Bali has to offer ever since I saw one of my favorite Youtube bloggers travel there on a solo adventure. And so one day, at 3 o'clock in the morning (don't ask), I booked our flights, and it was settled. We were going to Bali, Indonesia.
Bali is one of those destinations where you have to see it to believe it. It is truly a one of a kind experience, and once there, it was no surprise to me that Bali is a yogis paradise. Even for those of us that can barely even manage to hold a proper Navasana pose, it is a haven where you just want to meditate and be in the present moment, taking it all in. And if you're like me and go craaazy over a magnificent view, you'll be sure to fall in love with Bali too
Where to stay: Being a budget traveler/broke college student, I love Air BnB. I found the perfect one that was located within a villa. Two adults for five nights came to a total of $289. What I loved about this place was how friendly and helpful the staff were, the serenity of it, and the fact that they arrange airport pick up for you. Which brings me to my next point.
Getting around: They have contacts for great drivers that will chaffier you around for a very reasonable price. Our driver for the week was a very friendly man named Eka. He took us everywhere, had great recommendations, and waited for us at each stop so we never had to worry about finding him when we were ready to leave. Find his Facebook page and contact info as well as the link to our AirBnB below.
Now to the fun stuff. Here are 10 things to do in Bali:
1. Visit Uluwatu Temple
Perched above the gorgeous Indian Ocean, this is a must do in Bali. Uluwatu temple is one of the six key temples of Bali's spiritual pillars. Because it's a spiritual monument, modesty is enforced. Don't worry about bringing "modest" clothes though. Upon entrance, you will be provided with a sarong for a small fee.
2. Tour a coffee Plantation
Throughout Bali, you will see many coffee plantations or farms. These are usually ran by entire families who offer free tours where you get to see how they get and roast the beans, as well as sample many different flavors. They have great tea for sample and sale too. At the end of the tour, you have a chance to purchase coffees and teas in their shop. Oh, by the way, they harvest the beans from the poop of a mongoose.
3. Visit Padang Padang Beach
This isn't the beach to go for a long swim. Nor is it the beach where you will see crystal blue waters. But I would not pass up a visit here. It has a certain beauty that can't be described.
4. See a traditional Balinese show
Seeing a Balinese show is a must if you want to learn about and experience Balinese culture. Dance is an integral part of Balinese people and starts from a very young age. It is deeply rooted in the Hindu religion and is based off of a prayer to the gods. Many of the dances portray stories of myths and cultures and although the specific movements are intricate and have specific meaning, they are not necessarily related to the plot of the story. For example, the lowness of walking signifies closeness with nature. Even the eye movements and position of the hands and fingers are super detailed.
5. Visit the Bali Zoo
Now normally, I feel guilty about going to zoos and circuses and anything where innocent animals are held captive. BUT what I liked about the Bali zoo is that even though the animals are not free in the wild, they aren't nearly as caged up as the zoos I'm used to in the U.S. I loved how interactive we could be with these beautiful creatures.
6. Have lunch at Bebek Teba Sari
Again, if you appreciate great scenery and a beautiful atmosphere, you will fall in love with this gem. Our driver recommended this place to us following our trip to the zoo. You get to eat in these little huts right on the water where you'll watch pretty coy fish swim below you while you eat. Not to mention, the serene view of the vibrant green paddies. I literally felt like I was in a storybook! Honestly, pictures do not do it justice.
Ash trying to get a cute "meditation pic" lol.
7. Visit Tegenungan Waterfall
This waterfall is truly beautiful- but beware, it is kind of scary getting to the swimming hole/actual waterfall part as you have to walk over sharp rocks and water beneath you. It's definitely a touristy area and there is a small entrance fee, but I definitely think it's worth it. We didn't bring our swimsuits, but lots of locals and tourists alike were enjoying a swim in the cool water. Perfect for the hot Bali weather.
8. Skinny Dip in a Hot spring
Ok obviously, you should skinny dip at your own risk- side note: We ended up getting stalked basically by these young boys (maybe 10-12 years old). They definitely thought it was hilarious that we were stranded and naked while they all stood around giggling and pointing. Anyhow, it was peaceful and as cliche as it sounds, I truly felt "at one with nature" while here. The hot spring we visited was called Asri Hot Springs. What I liked about going to this one rather than one of the super touristy ones is that we were right there with the locals, doing what local people do. Apparently, this is a place where some may come to bathe. I also loved that they had several different"bath houses" in addition to the outdoor springs.
9. Roam through a rice paddy
Our driver took us to Jati Lui Rice paddy. We ate at a restaurant that overlooked it which was convenient. The restaurant was buffet style- honestly not the best food we had in Bali, but again, the view made up for that. Even though it was a gloomy and rainy day, I felt like I was in a storybook while walking through the paddy.I know some rice paddies offer bike tours through the fields and should I return to Bali, I will definitely opt for that option.
10. Have a relaxing day in with an in-house massage
Traveling is great. Buuuttt sometimes you need a vacation from your vacation, With all the walking around, sight seeing, and late nights, nothing says relaxation like a massage- especially when you don't even have to leave your villa to do so. The staff at our villa called and arranged for two women to come to our rooms and give us a massage by the pool. IT. WAS. HEAVENLY. I'm pretty sure I fell asleep, that's how relaxed I was. The best part? It was TEN DOLLARS. Ten. Do it, trust me.
All in all, Bali is probably my MOST favorite destination to date. I truly felt like I was in paradise. I cannot wait to return here again someday.