This is part one of my Bali adventure. Bali is an island with many different subregions. Since we stayed mostly in two different regions of the island I created a second post which you can read here.
I had been dying to go to Bali for years. I finally got the chance to go when my best friend planned a trip to Indonesia after graduating from Engineering school and invited me on the Bali portion.
Two things you should know before your trip:
- Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months prior to your trip.
- You must have a return ticket booked. They will ask for confirmation at check-in.
We flew through Dubai and Spent one night at the Armani Hotel there. I didn’t spend enough time in Dubai to write anything about it, but our hotel was incredible. The sleek ultramodern design made me feel like I time-traveled to the future. I’m looking forward to exploring this fascinating city sometime in the future.
The next morning we woke up at 4 am (due to jet lag), hit the hotel gym and then flew to Denpasar, the capital of Bali. We spent the first portion of our trip in Ubud, which was about an hour drive from the airport. Ubud is regarded as the cultural center of Bali, with many artist workshops and galleries. We went during their rainy season (October-March), but made the best of it by trying out restaurants and spa treatments on stormy days.
What to expect:
- Dress casual, and wear comfortable shoes for exploring. You probably won’t need heels, as everything is pretty laid-back.
- Wear mosquito repellent. Your hotel should supply some for you.
- This is the jungle part of Bali, so the only time you will need a bikini here is at the pool.
- Cabs are extremely cheap (like $2 USD to get across town), which is the best way to get around. They have Uber here as well. Many people drive mopeds, but they are very unsafe. If you happen to stay at The Viceroy ask for Dwi as your driver. He will look after you and knows the best places to go.
- Make sure to exchange your cash for rupiahs either at the airport or at one of the money exchange centers in town. They don’t accept USD.
Where to stay:
- The Viceroy– A luxury hotel chain with bungalows nestled on a hill overlooking a valley of palm trees. Outstanding service, and spectacular views.
- Amandari– Aman is a luxury hotel chain. We didn’t stay here, but we did stay at the Aman hotel in Manggis (Amankila) so I can vouch that this is an excellent hotel.
- AirBnb– You can rent a villa on AirBnb. My friend stayed at this one and highly suggests it.
- Monkey Forest– A forest with three temples and hundreds of monkeys. Buy bananas and they will grab them right out of your hand.
- Holy Water Temple– Beautiful Hindu temple about an hour drive from Ubud. You can get in the holy water with koi swimming around you. You are required to cover your shoulders and wear a sarong.
- Spa or massage– You can get really good cheap massages (around $10/hour). Try Bali Botanica Spa. We did the feminine treatment at the spa at The Viceroy. It starts with a foot soak, and scrub in lime water followed by a massage and body scrub. They also have a steam room and a hot tub overlooking the palm trees.
- Shopping– There are so many great art shops to check out. Everything is dirt cheap, and be sure to bargain with them. Roam the main street of Jalan Raya and the rows of shops along Jalan Monkey Forest.
- Bridges– Romantic riverside restaurant. Casual fine-dining and wine bar.
- Mozaic– The most upscale restaurant in Ubud. Unique tasting menu of French/Balinese cuisine.
- Alchemy– Natural market, and healthy vegetarian spot with juices and elixirs.