During the middle of the semester, we had a week-long break. Like any good exchange student, I went to BALIIIIIIIII like omg like. *cue teenage screams
We spent a total of seven days in Bali and three on the Gili Islands. Here’s what we did, I hope it gives a good overview of stuff to do if you’re thinking of traveling to this destination. All prices are in Singapore dollahs.
Flight: round trip $260
Accomodation: Air Bnb $575, split seven ways ended up being $82
Transport: There are two main methods of getting around. You can rent a scooter that is around $7 a day, or hire a driver who will drive you anywhere you want for the entire day for a fixed price. Getting a scooter is fun and good for short distances, but some roads get congested and narrow, so I can’t say that it’s the safest option. Also, it rained a lot while we were there so scooting wasn’t always convenient.
Tip on getting a driver: We randomly met our driver when we were walking down a street to get food and he saw that we looked lost, stopping his car to ask us if we needed help. Then he gave us a lift to the restaurant and his business card in case we needed a driver during our trip. But go to the center of a crowded area, and you will definitely come across a group of drivers that are waiting for customers. Don't be shy to bargain! Depending on how many places you want to go and how far they are, budget around $60-80 a day. Split four ways, this is a pretty decent price.
• We took the scooters and attempted a drive up to Tanah Lot, the famous temple that is propped on its own peninsula surrounded by water. Due to traffic and losing a group member on the way, we didn’t make it haha. But don’t worry, we found our lost friend safe and sound. Wifi can be found pretty easily at cafes, so getting in touch is not a problem.
• Potato head beach club. This is one of “it” beach clubs in Seminyak. It was pretty casual, not overly pretentious and not overly crowded. Good place to chill and watch the sunset. But eat before because the food is pretty expeez for being in Indonesia.
• Surfing on Seminyak beach. This is the perfect place to catch mild waves if you are a beginner. This was my first time, and I took a one-hour private lesson for $20. It was super fun and not as impossible as I expected. Ten out of ten would do it again.
• Açai bowl at Nalu. They have one location in Seminyak downtown, and one in Ubud I think. Pretty good, but $8… do it for the gram?
• Brunch at Corner House café in Seminyak. This is the said restaurant that said future driver kindly gave us a lift to. This place is basically LA in Bali. Avo toast, waiter with a man bun, the whole nine.
• Uluwatu Temple. We took an uber to this temple. They have nightly shows of a tranditional dance but we arrived fashionably late to catch it. There are lots of monkeys and lots of tourists (interchangeable terms btw). The view is fantastic as the temple is perched on a cliff.
• Single Fin bar. This bar is around the vicinity of Uluwatu. Also a fun party spot after watching the sunset. I’ve never been to Australia, but I imagine that this comes close. Lots of aussies partying. Sunsets and parties, are you catching onto the theme yet?
This day we hired the driver for the entire day for $60.
• Tegalalang Rice field. This is the most “instagrammed” rice field in Bali, thanks to Tuula Vintage. Luckily we had a few minutes to enjoy the view before it started downpouring. Do bring an umbrella or rain poncho at all times!
• Ubud monkey sanctuary. Okay, the monkeys look way cuter on pictures. Some of them are intimidating, and they give zero f****. Fair warning. After the initial excitement and laughs, I was like soooo over the monkeys lol. But the nature in the park itself is worth seeing.
• Ubud temple. This is in the center of the Ubud town.
• Lunch at Café Lotus. Sitting on the floor with low tables, in an open air setting that overlooks a pond filled with lotus flowers and a temple. They have both Indonesian and Western food menus.
• Dinner at Trattoria, an Italian restaurant in downtown Seminyak. I got the squid ink pasta. V good, around $10.
• Back massage for $12. Seriously, take advantage of the affordable massages. Treat yo’ self.
• Sunrise hike up Mount Batur. We woke up around 3AM to meet our driver and headed to the northern part of the island. In total was $30 each for the driver and hiking guide. The hike itself was not too challenging and took around 3 hours to reach the peak. The sunrise is glorious. Our guide was kind enough to take us down the long way that edges along the crater of the dormant volcano. Take this route when going down!
• Luwak coffee plantation. We tried the tasting sampler of this novel coffee, better known as the cat poop coffee. Maybe my palate is not sophisticated enough, but I’ll stick to my latte. But definitely go and try this.
• Holy Spring Temple. This is the temple is unique because you can bathe to symbolically purify your soul. (right up JP sears' alley) That’s the extent of my knowledge.
• Dinner at Sakanaya, a Japanese place off a main road in Seminyak. Good food, fresh fish. Whole sashimi platter for under $15.
• Ferry to Gili Islands $50 for round trip taxi and ferry. The drive to the ferry terminal from Seminyak is around two hours, and the ferry ride is one hour. It’s quite a trip considering how close it is.
• Check in to hostel on Gili T called “My mate’s place.” Around $20 a night.
• rent a bike for $7 a day. This is the only method of transport on the Gilis as no motorized vehicles are allowed. The islands are TINY, only like 2 km in circumference.
The Gili islands are MUCH MORE chilled than Bali. This is really the island life, and you can enjoy a mix of lazy beach bumming during the day and partying at night.
• Brunch at Kayu Café. More acai. (is it AH-SIGH or AH-SAH-YEE?)
• Snorkeling and spear fishing all day for $16. Yes duuuude, we successfully spotted a sea turtle. And yes, one of our friends actually caught a fish with the spear. The water around Gili is as they say "crystal clear."
• Dinner at Scallywags, a seafood restaurant along the beach. But of course, half the table got huge lamb shanks.. *sigh Europeans SMH.
• Chill day on Ombak beach. This is where those swings are. Swing and snap away. The beach itself is not too crowded and the water is warm, like a pleasant bath.
• Bike around the island. Get lost in the small roads and explore cute shops along the way.
• Ferry back to Bali in the morning
• Most of our friends flew back to Singapore this day, so it was just me and my roomie that stayed back. This is when we decided that getting a haircut would be a smart idea. So we walked into one of those random salons and yeah… it’s actually hilarious how I sat still and didn’t even think it was that bad at first.
• Shopping around for a random array of gifts and souvenirs. In retrospect, Bali is not the best place to shop in southeast Asia. If you are traveling other countries, I recommend Vietnam and Thailand as the best places for souvenir shopping.
• Dinner at Ku De Ta, another beach club.
• I hired a driver for the day, with a ride to the airport after the tour for $40.
• Nusa Dua water blow. This part of the island is rocky and the water is exceptionally blue. Like Elsa's eyes or something.
• Suluban beach. This was my favorite beach in all of Bali. Walk down steep stone steps to reach the water, where the waves come crashing in between the cliffs. It’s beautiful. When there is low tide, you can walk over to the other side of the cliffs towards a tanning-friendly beach. This is surfer brah’s dream.
• Suarga Resort on Padang Padang beach. The final sunset + infinity pool location of this trip. This resort was quiet for a change, perfect way to end a trip with a lazy nap before flying back to Singapore.
Boom, there you have it.