You have 5 days away from work, a need to completely check out and switch off, a tight budget, and pretty much little to no time to organise. Where are you going?
That’s the thought process that landed us two roundtrip tickets to Bali.
The normal thing to do is book accomodation around Seminyak, Kuta, or Canggu so that’s exactly where the accomodation search started. Hours upon hours of looking at photos of villas in the party hub of Bali led us to no definitive decision. Then it happened. The stars aligned. Ubud. That was the solution and just the spot to meet the criteria we wanted for this getaway.
Accomodation booked. Flights booked. The rest we left to the flow of the island.
1 month before the trip, we started to check out the Bali weather forecast and guess what we found? Wet season. S***. One week out, the ever so reliable weather forecast predicted 80-100% chance of rain every.single.day. February, wet season. Perfect. We toyed with the idea of cancelling, but needed the break more than ever. As it turned out, we were greeted by rain when we arrived, but that was it! The sun here has that close to the equator type feel, bring your sunscreen!
Touchdown at Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport in mid February. Quick tip for you: you want internet while waiting for your bags? Sure there is internet here, but after connecting, you’ll be asked to choose your language. Don’t choose English, the connection is a no-go. Keep it on the local language and voila, internet! Oh, on the way out, you’ll likely see a crowd of people that appear to be locals trying to sell you things you shouldn’t have. It’s in your best interest not to make eye contact as they will take it as a bite.
Bali blew our expectations out of the water. Short and sweet, here are some of Bali’s best as we see it:
Places to stay:
1. Udhiana Ubud Resort (Ubud):located just a few minutes drive outside of Ubud centre, this resort has 20 private villas and is situated in the heart on the slopes of the Petanu River Valley. Each villa is fitted with a private pool that looks out on the serenity of the jungle. This resort offers massages, cooking classes, a restaurant, room service, and a large common pool. Soon to come to this resort is an area dedicated to Yoga! This is the resort where we stayed and we found it completely affordable, especially for the level of service you’ll receive during your stay. Without us even telling them, a knock on our door the night of Nancy’s birthday revealed the beautiful staff singing happy birthday with a cake made by the resort chef.
We didn’t stay the night at the next resorts, so we can’t comment on the accomodation, but only the amenities.
2. Hanging Gardens of Bali (Payangan): this is one of those places that was on our bucket list for a very long time! The outdoor infinity pools are highly prevalent on some of the best bloggers’ Instagram feeds. Although this was a little outside of the budget for accomodation, we decided to take a day trip to visit the pool and spa. It’s hard to track down the pricing, but as of February 2017, you can only get access to the pool if you purchase a package at the front desk. The all day pool and 1 hour massage or 3 course meal cost a little over IDR 3,000,000 per person (around $300 AUD + tax). Out of all of the massages we had during our trip, none came close to the massage at this resort’s spa. You’ll be riverside and amongst the wildlife leaving your soul completely in a state of zen.
3. La Joya II Biu-Biu (Jimbaran): If you are after a seaside escape, let this be your resort of choice. This was another Instagram find with a picturesque jacuzzi situated so that you feel like you are literally hanging off the side of a cliff. For IDR 100,000 for 1/2 hour, this is a must while visiting this resort. This resort offers a Spa, Yoga pavilion, and restaurant. If there is a downside to this resort, it’s the location in relation to a bigger town/city. It’s a tricky drive to get to this one as the roads are small and winding, so make sure you have a reliable driver!
4. Ayana Resort (Jimbaran): This resort will leave you speechless! 11 swimming pools. 17 dining options. A killer spa. 78 luxury pool villas. If you have the money, this is the place to spend it!
Food and Drinks
Eat local when possible. The local cuisine is fresh and largely rice based. This should help you out a bit:
- Nasi = Rice
- Mie= Noodle
- Goreng = Fried
- Campur = small portions of a number of dishes
One of our favourite local restaurants near Ubud was Puspa’s Warung. For most of our meals, we relied on the culinary expertise of our driver as he took us to multiple delicious local restaurants. We are still in sticker shock by the low pricing of the meals we ate. Tipping is always appropriate at local spots.
Drink as many fresh young coconuts as you can. The pre-packaged store bought cartons of coconut water has nothing on these bad boys!
When dining at a resort or major restaurant, you’ll be charged a 21% tax. All the more reason to eat local!
Rock Bar at Ayana Resort is THE place to be for sunset drinks. Although part of the bar is only accessible for resort guests, the area for other visitors is absolutely spectacular!
Other things we enjoyed:
- Ubud Monkey Forest
- Yoga Barn
- Tegallalang markets
- Rice Fields
- Elephant Cave
- Tegenungan Waterfall
- Uluwatu Temple
We also visited Potato Head Beach Club after multiple recommendations from friends, and although it wasn’t our gig, you might want to look into it if that’s your scene.
Getting around Bali is tricky. The roads are congested, small, and busy. A trip that should take 20 minutes can take you upwards of an hour or more. You can hire a scooter for the day, but be prepared to step your game up. We chose to hire a driver which costs around IDR 500,000 for the entire day. He kept us safe, laughing, and full! If you want contact details for the driver we used, please reach out as we are happy to help!
Now, it’s time to book tickets to our next destination! Bali, you are one of a kind!
-Linds and Nance