Bali and the beaches are beautiful, really-really beautiful! The sunsets are incredible and the people are kind. But when we write these posts we want to open with you and tell you the truth about the experience we had. Please see the disclaimer below.
Disclaimer: We are going to tell you the things we did like about Bali but it’s not one of those places that we would go back to anytime soon. It’s overrated, the food isn’t good, it’s on the dirty side (beaches have trash all over), and overrun with tourists heading to the same destinations and attractions as you (you will sit in traffic no matter where you go). Our first encounter with Bali was meeting the taxi drivers fighting for your attention at the airport. After a 22 hour flight from Oslo, that was the last thing we wanted to deal with. To prevent this, arrange a transfer with your hotel because once the taxi drivers see that you already have a ride, they will leave you alone to chase down the next tourist. Uber isn’t allowed to go to the airport so plan accordingly. But there are parts of our stay that we really enjoyed, so we will tell you about those in this post.
Once we got settled in, we loved the hospitality and service of the Balinese people. We were right on the beach in Nusa Dua but due to all the motorized boats and activities in the water, it wasn’t good for swimming. We liked the quietness of the area so we spent our days lounging by the pool and reading.
One of the days we rented a scooter (not for the faint of heart) and went down to the Uluwatu area. We visited the Sacred Cliff and some cafes around that area. If we were to come back to Bali, we would stay in this area. The beaches are beautiful and the water is filled with surfers and the vibe feels like you are somewhere in southern California.
The 2nd half of our stay was in Legian Beach and we really enjoyed it. It was close enough to all the restaurants and shops. The beach is huge and we got to watch some pretty incredible sunsets (disclaimer: beaches in Bali are pretty littered). We found cafes that we would keep going back to for their smoothie bowls and yummy salads. Our friends from the States met us here so we had a blast running around with them. You can hire a cab for the day, about $50, and he will take you anywhere you want to go.
We also had the opportunity to rent a car for the day and headed to the Ubud area. Our first stop was the monkey forest! We bought some bananas and were quickly attacked by the monkeys which was a lot of fun. If you want to avoid the attack simply put the bananas in your pockets. We then headed to the beautiful rice terraces, which even though they are full of tourists, they are an incredible sight to see! It is certainly worth the effort to get out to Ubud for a few days if you can.
Things to do in Bali:
- visit Sacred Cliff, there is a temple that is perched on the cliff overlooking the ocean. Be careful with the monkeys because they are known to steal sunglasses and other valuables
- Visit the rice fields. We went to the most popular one, Tegalalang Rice Terrace. They are so beautiful and green! The pictures that you see of them do no do them justice.
- Monkey Forest. It’s a cool experience to see all the monkeys jumping around and eat bananas from your hands. Just be cautious when you are there because they can attack especially when you have bananas.
- Visit the old village of Penglipuran. It’s well preserved traditional village that is open to tourists. We really enjoyed our visit there.
- There are more temples and waterfalls you can visit but we were crushed on time and the traffic can get pretty bad during the day.
Where to eat in Bali:
- Borough Cafe
- La Plancha
- Try the Luwak coffee at Paulina Coffee Plantations
- Eat the corn on the cob made by the street vendors
- Paradise Dynasty, delicious Japanese food
- Crumb and Coaster for delicious smoothie bowls
Where to stay in Bali:
We split our stay in Bali between two areas, Nusa Dua and Legian Beach. The different areas of Bali cater to your preference and what you want out of your stay in Bali. We wanted to be close to the “busy” areas but quiet enough for us to be able to sleep at night. Here are the different areas:
Nusa Dua- more of a quiet resort area with many fancy chain hotels. We stayed at Sadara Hotel. It was a good value.
Sanur- close to the ferry that goes the the Nusa Islands. Kid friendly and quieter than Kuta
Uluwatu- beautiful area situated on a cliff that is known for its great surf spots
Canggu- hipster area that’s up and coming, great place for sunsets
Legian- north of Kuta, south of Seminyak. Quieter than Kuta but close enough to all the restaurants and shopping. We stayed at Bali Niksoma Resort and it was amazing. The service there is top notch and the rooms are large and modern.
Kuta- loud and crowded “party central”
Seminyak- quieter than Kuta but still has plenty to do. A bit more luxurious than Kuta too
Ubud- beautiful jungle area with more of a laid back feel although it has gotten very busy
Amed- great area to relax, swim and dive
Jimbaran- south of Kuta, has luxury resorts with chill vibe
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