We made the grave mistake of starting our journey in Kuta. (Even though we we’re warned about drunk tourists and being harassed like crazy by the vendors, we thought it would be nice to stay close to the airport.) We would be tired when we arrived and didn’t want to still travel a whole distance to where we would stay.
The moment we arrived in Bali, we were overrun by Taxi drivers wanting to charge insane fees. They really were quite aggressive too. We had been using Uber and Grab (the Asian equivalent of Uber) frequently in Kuala Lumpur so thought we could just do the same here. This was unfortunately not the case. The taxi associations had made it nearly impossible to be picked up at the airport with Uber or Grab. We had to walk outside the airport and call an Uber from there. Its is well worth reading up on how to avoid Bali scams to ensure you have the best holiday ever.
Respite in Canggu
Ok. So still not quite what we had expected but we already felt the relief of the madness of Kuta when we moved to Canggu. This is more of a surfer beach town and has an incredible hotel / pool / beach resort called “The W” where you can spend some time in luxury if you order at least a drink or two.
Here we started to feel much better about coming to Bali. We could immediately feel the pace slowing down. The harassment from the local vendors had gotten infinitely better.
This is us at the “Old Man’s” beach bar in Canggu. It’s super relaxed out and gets really busy at night with surfing tourists and backpackers from all over the world. Spain, France, US, Australia and South Africa. Anywhere you can think of, you’ll find them there.
You can really enjoy the sunsets from here and the beach is really beautiful. The relaxed vibe will make anyone feel chilled.
We Headed Inland to Ubud
Only once we arrived in Ubud, did the whole idea of Eat Pray Love, really set in. It’s completely different from Kuta and even Canggu with a much more peaceful atmosphere. It was also a good 3 degrees cooler and this was a very welcome change.
All the local shops where very health conscious and served the most elaborate vegan and vegetarian meals you could think of.
You can eat almost anywhere in Ubud for really cheap while enjoying the wonderful surroundings. A bit of rain is just what’s needed to cool down and feel like you’re in a film about you and only you.
Tegalalang Rice Terraces
Drone heaven! We had our minds blown by the incredible landscape with contour lines that seem to map the world around you in a picturesque wonderland.
We launched the drone and flew for hours over the magnificent world below. You could get lost here for days if you didn’t have to leave. In fact, I know of some homestay visitors who stayed much much longer than expected.
By the way. There is almost nothing safer for children than running around in the grass jumping from step to step down the terraces.
Tirta Empul Temple
There is a very special place in central Bali. Locals would queue to bathe in the Holy Water of the two pools saying a prayer at each individual fountain.
It was a truly special experience. There were tourists in the water too. (Some with significantly less respect for the process.) This thankfully didn’t detract from the whole experience and it was an absolute highlight of our adventure.
If you’re planning to go to Bali for the first time. Stear clear of Kuta (unless you want to visit Water Bom) and head straight to the inland. People are much friendlier and less inclined to take advantage of tourists. If you do want to go to the beach, rather go the tourist area in Nusa Dua. (You enter a gated area where the guards ensure that you’re not harassed by local vendors.)
Other that Nusa Dua and the surrounding beaches like Uluwatu or Sundays Beach Club, you should stay away from the more popular beaches and head much further East or West to the lesser known beaches.
Get The Inside Scoop
There is so much to do and see in Bali. Should you be planning a trip, do your homework so you can make the most of your time there. If you are setting out to find bliss, planning to check Kopi Luwak Coffee off your bucket list or want to explore Bali’s nearby islands, then check out the adventures and travels of Patti Morrow who shares her awesome insights of Indonesia.
For full time travellers and digital nomads looking to travel on after soaking up all Bali has to offer, Australia is a short trip away. Check out this article by The Blizzard of Oz for Australia Visa Information & Resources.