I started getting asked frequently by people where they should go and what they should do when visiting Bali after a solo trip I took there in the winter of 2014. So I’ve created this outline of what I did and my recommendations. Wether you are trying to plan a trip there yourself, or are just curious what Bali has to offer, I hope this helps!
Spend time in Ubud
I LOVED the center of Bali, Ubud, way more then the touristy beaches like Kuta. Ubud really gives you that “Bali” lush jungle feel. Here you can visit the Monkey Forest where you can see and feed monkeys. There are also numerous places to do yoga in Ubud such as the Yoga Barn.
A gorgeous temple on the coast in Bali that some would argue to be the most beautiful place there.
Get a GOOD Driver
One thing I didn’t realize is that it takes hours to get around Bali because the traffic is SO terrible. So it is very common and almost necessary to hire a driver/tour guide for some of the days there to take you around to places not near your hotel, like some of the water fall. I had a few bad experiences with drivers that my hotel would call for me so I did some research and found an amazing company – www.bebalinesetour.com and my driver was Wayan Suyra. He was seriously the best and made my trip! I told him the kinds of things I wanted to do and what I wanted to see and he created a personal day long tour specific to me. The day price is very reasonable and valuable for what you get in return. They can also pick up/drop off from airport which is about 1.5 hours to Ubud.
Jatiluwih Rice Terrace
You have to visit the iconic Jatiluwih Rice terrace. It is a giant green cascading rice field that is free to go down into and walk around as well. The perfect Bali photo opp!
Coffee plantation tour/tasting
Bali is known for their excellent coffee and tea production, and there is a particular buzz around luwak coffee. People will tell you it is coffee beans made from luwak poo BUT after visiting Coffee Break coffee plantation, I learned that that little fact is not quit true 😉 It was great to see how the whole process is done and I got to take home some excellent coffee and flavored teas after getting to sample them all!
Sunrise hike of Mt. Batur Volcano
If you are adventurous and semi athletic, I would do the Sunrise hike of Mt. Batur, it was easily one of my favorite activities in Bali. You can arrange this from your hostel/hotel or any booking agency around Bali. They will arrange a car to pick you up from your accommodations around 2:30 am, where you will then stop by a coffee plantation for some crepes and coffee. Then you head off to the mountain where they provide a flash light and guide for your group who will guide you to the top. Once at the top, you will see monkeys and watch the sunrise and they cook a small breakfast for you up there as well using the heat from the volcano! It was gorgeous.
The awesome driver that I previously mentioned recommended this waterfall hike to me and it was amazing! You can arrange for a ride here as it is kind in the middle of no where in Bali (at least it seemed that way to me) and you just follow signs from the start of the trail until you get to the waterfall. The hike it’s self was easy and enjoyable and I crossed paths several times with local women carrying baskets of laundry balanced on their heads. The waterfall was beautiful and very refreshing. I would ideally wear water shoes if you have them because the rocks can be a little hard to walk on. I also was glad I had a pancho with me because it rained a bit on the way there and I used it to cover my backpack from getting wet.
Simanyak & Kuta Beach
I made my way down to the beach after spending a few days in Ubud. I visited Kuta Beach first which is very popular in the backpacker scene. I personally wasn’t a huge fan. I got overwhelmingly bombarded by sales people left and right, it made it very hard to relax or get any personal space. I did really enjoy watching the sunset from the beach here and I took a surf lesson from Pro Surf School Bali that was awesome! I also made my way over to Seminyak which is the more upscale beach area with nice restaurants and lounges. I had dinner here and it was nice, but very american to be honest, which is not what I was looking for. I had originally planned to stay longer down by the beaches but decided to make my way back to Ubud for my last few nights in Bali, it had a much more magical vibe to me.
I didn’t have enough time on my short trip to make my way over to Gili Islands but I heard they were great if you have time! You can arrange a boat/ferry ride over the small islands from Bali.
Riding around locally on a vespa/moped is ideal….but kind of dangerous (at least for a girl!) . I was by myself so I didn’t do that. Some friends of mine who where there as a couple, rented them and had a few small accidents with some bumps and bruises. Traffic and the roads there are so bad that it was scary to me personally, but if you are up for it, it is a great way to truly explore! The weather in November was humid and warm and it sprinkled a little. I live in Las Vegas though so it wasn’t hot to me compared to the heat I’m used to! You can do Bali very cheap or expensive, they have it all so it is really up to you. I spent most nights in hostels, which are super affordable and comfortable and then a few nights at nicer hotels which were so over the top amazing for not that much more!