Bali has to be the one place that I am almost sure my soul belongs. There is something in the air that I can’t quite put into words. Beautiful landscapes from jungle sprinkled with rice paddys, palms and roadside sculptors to hidden white sandy beaches shaped like dinosaurs and some super trendy cafe culture, beachside towns. There is something for everyone in Bali, whether you’re keen on having a serious unplugged retreat filled with yoga, massages and a whole lot of zen or you feel you’d rather spend the day surfing your face off or scootering to tucked away spots that not even Siri can help you find. Bali has it all, you just have to know where to look!
Some Basic Info
- Currency – Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) Everything is labeled in 1000s. You may see IDR: 50 on a menu, but that would mean it’s 50 000 which is about R 50 give or take. Its best to not take Rands over as you will not find a place to exchange them, most other currencies are fine. If you have a credit card you can draw up to R2500 per day at an ATM. Carry cash when you are there for shopping and try swipe at restaurants. There is a service charge on swiping.
- Language – Most Balinese are bilingual if not trilingual (Indonesian, Balinese, English) Its best to learn basic greetings as the locals love it when people make an effort with their mother tongue!
- Best way to get around – A scooter if you are experienced, Bluebird Taxi (try the app) or Go Jek. You will not be able to get an Uber due to local taxi violence. If you find a driver who you feel safe with, it’s best to take his contact details and arrange transfers with him directly. Be sure to agree on a rate BEFORE you start your trip. If you are renting a scooter you will need a copy of your passport.
- Booking Accommodation – We use the Agoda App for all our accommodation.
- Top Cellular provider – Telkomsel. Be sure to have a copy of your passport when you buy your sim.
- Trusted Supermarkets – Circle K Mart, Coco Supermarket.
- Drinking-Water – Don’t ever drink tap water in Bali. Bali Belly is not your friend.
- Alcohol – Drinks are quite expensive in Bali but most people get around this by buying drinks at the local supermarkets and having one or two cocktails when out.
- Warungs – Cheaper local restaurants around Bali making local food. Tripadvisor will let you know the top-rated ones in your area, they are so worth the try!
- Plugs – Type C and F. The standard voltage is 230 V, and the standard frequency is 50Hz. 2 point plugs for the South Africans.
- Safety – Bali is super safe if you use your common sense. Drugs are illegal and the law is taken very seriously. You can get up to 20 years for being found in possession of level 1 drugs such as weed, cocaine, and heroin. Just don’t do it.
- Best time to visit – May – October.
- Flights from South Africa – Between R 8000 – R 11 000 Return
- Accommodation Per night – R 350
- Food per meal – R 50 – R 100 depending on restaurant or warung
- Scooter daily rental – R 60 / R70 + R 10 for a litre of petrol
- Transfers via taxi from the airport to major cities – R 300/R400
- Surfboards – R 60 per day
- Massage – R150 – R 250 for an hour full body massage
Seminyak is located quite near to the Airport and should be a considered stopover on your way out to the furthermost parts of the island. This has to be one of my favourites simply because of the buzz! Do your shopping here and take some time to visit all the wonderful restaurants!
- The Vibe – Vibey city on the beach.
- Access – 30 mins from the airport.
- Highlights – Beach clubs with bottomless cocktails, lots of spas, shops, and restaurants.
- Lowlights – The roads can be quite congested.
- Best For – Shopping!
- Accommodation We Booked – The Dash Hotel, our FAVOURITE!
- Where to Eat While There – Clean Canteen, Kynd Community, Ginger Moon & the local Warungs, Seminyak Ramen Factory.
- Top Activities – DoubleSix Beach, Mrs. Sippy, Potatohead Beach Club, Ku De Ta.
- Some Tips – Do not rent a scooter here if you are not comfortable on one. The roads are busy!
Eat, Pray, Love vibes here folks. Its honestly one of the most beautiful parts of Bali and a firm favorite if you are a yogi or an adventurer. Some mind blowing rice terraces mixed with dense forests and lots of yoga studios will keep you Zen AF on your trip.
- The Vibe – Jungle, nature and yogi paradise.
- Access – 1:30 hours from the airport.
- Highlights – Beautiful rice terraces & temples.
- Lowlights – Quite busy with tourists.
- Best For – Day trips to temples & waterfalls, yoga, spa’s & shopping.
- Accommodation We Booked – OM Ham Retreat & Resort.
- Where to Eat While There – Melting Wok Warung, Warung Pondok Madu, Yoga Barn.
- Top Activities – Tegallalang Rice Terrace, Yoga Barn, Monkey Forest, Ubud Market, Surrounding Waterfalls & Temples, Cooking Schools, Jungle Fish Hotel pool day.
- Some Tips – Do not rent a scooter here if you are not comfortable on one. The roads are busy.
This has to be the trendiest part of Bali. A little beach town filled with beautiful people and beautiful food. Everyone makes it to the beach for sunset each day and the surf here is great for beginners. There is a great night vibe here for those who are looking for a few latenight drinks and a dance.
- The Vibe – Hipster beach.
- Access – 1:45 hours from the airport.
- Highlights – Laidback vibe.
- Lowlights – Slightly more expensive.
- Best For – Surfing & Relaxing.
- Accommodation We Booked – Amelle Villas & Residence.
- Where to Eat While There – Bro Resto, Shady Shack, Crate, Ji Japanese Restaurant, The Avo Factory, Bettlenut, Peleton.
- Top Activities – Sunset at Old Man’s every day, Surfing, Get a tattoo at Dream Ink, Visit the Anchor night market.
- Some Tips – Make sure you try Crate for breakfast but go early as you will not easily find a seat after 9:30.
This is surf paradise. Beautiful cliffs, magnificent sunsets and waves that see surfers from all over the world flocking to this spot. Probably the most chilled out of the spots I have visited in Bali and well worth the visit!
- The Vibe – Surfing Paradise.
- Access – 1 hour from the airport.
- Highlights – Surfing and beaches.
- Lowlights – Not sure I can think of one!
- Best For – Surfing & Relaxing.
- Where to Eat While There – Cashew Tree, Single Fin, Suka Espresso.
- Top Activities – Surfing at Padang Padang, beaching at Padang Padang, Concerts on the beach, Uluwatu Temple, Sunset at Single Fin.
- Some Tips – Rent a scooter here for easy access. It’s very relaxed and safe enough to learn.
The Gili Islands
This little cluster of islands off of Bali are a must if you are keen for some tropical island time. Made up of 3 islands, Gili Air, Gili T and Gili Meno, the Gili islands have something for everyone. Gili Air is laid back and bautiful. Gili T is more of a party island, its Indonesias Kho Phangan if you will. Gili Meno is VERY laid back and you could probably walk around the entire island in 2 hours.
- The Vibe – Tropical Paradise!
- Access – You will take a ferry from either Sanur or Padang Bai. Use a fast boat company which will collect you from your hotel. Book a return ticket but DO NOT include transfer back to your next hotel as they take a good 4/5 hours to drop everyone off and will try to get more money out of you to do a private taxi. Rather book your taxi home separately to avoid paying double the amount needed.
- Highlights – Beautiful clear blue water and white sand beaches.
- Lowlights – The Nest statue snorkeling spot is incredibly crowded after 9am.
- Best For – snorkeling, swimming and island life.
- Where We Stayed – Salim Cottage & Raja Bar
- Top Activities – Do a day trip around the islands for snorkeling and swimming with the turtles. I suggest booking a private boat as these tours get very crowded. It is well worth the price with all gear included.
- Some Tips – No scooters here, only bicycles.
I hope you enjoy your experience in this beautiful country. The people are incredibly special and will go the extra mile for you without expecting anything in return. Be respectful, be kind and leave Bali the way you would like to find her in the future.