20 Feb 213 347km // BALI // INDONESIA
There seems to be two ways to do Bali. You could either get yourself a luxurious villa or a room at one of the the gazillion resorts available, or you can really enjoy the epitome of #BudgetTravel and do Bali on the cheap.
For the most part of our 3-week excursion, we did the latter, and we’re still amazed at how far we managed to go (yes, that was a little punny pun pun) on a low budget.
We hopped around quite a bit, spending a little bit of time at the bottom of the island at Padang Padang, some time in the main city centre of Denpasar, hopping from homestay to homestay in Ubud (that little village featured in Eat Pray Love – the one where Julia Roberts falls in love with Javier Bardem – yes, we practically fell in love all over again here too, it’s that special) and ended our time staying in Canggu (which is essentially a surfer’s paradise).
Sadly, as it was the rainy season, the southern drop-cliff beaches were mostly rained out for us, although that did add to our first-time-on-a-scooter adventure (ticking off number 32 from our Wanderlist, woop!), and Uluwatu Temple was as beautiful as we would imagine it to be (but if you are planning to visit Bali for beautiful sunny beach shots – note to self: don’t visit in Jan & Feb).
The main city was also an experience, leaving us walking through the busy streets in ankle-deep water, stopping at the local warungs (rickety food stalls) using hand signals to get food. We probably overpaid for the two bowls of 2-minute noodles we ended up getting, but the hospitality of the lady who helped us was well worth it. The people are certainly some of the kindest and friendliest that we’ve come across.
We then found ourselves in picturesque (and more tourist-friendly) Ubud, one of the cutest villages we’ve ever stayed in, and so tranquil we have created a verb to describe the sweet act of doing nothing – the Italians call it “Dolce Far Niente” – we call it “Ubuding”.
The little centre of Ubud is basically two main roads running parallel, all filled with incredible cafes, juice bars, and restaurants, serving everything from tropical vegan pizzas and wheatgrass-infused smoothies, to local favorites like Mie Goreng (fried noodles) and Nasi Goreng (fried rice), a market and many bohemian shops selling arts, crafts, and enough yoga attire to make any new-age hippie think of investing in spandex, and beautiful temple-like “homestays” all offering rooms with giant four-post beds, air conditioning and friendly pets (some off the street, some not).
You’ll want to rent a scooter (available from anywhere, really) and make your way around town*, stopping to feed monkeys at the Monkey Forest, take surreal sunrise shots at the nearby Tegalalang Rice Terraces, and get sprayed under the boastful Tegunungan waterfall.
*Side note: if you’ll be riding a scooter anywhere in Bali, familiarize yourself with your hooter. You’ll be using it when going ’round blind corners to warm the oncoming traffic, because that’s just what you do when you scoot in Bali.
If you have the time, make sure you pop past Canggu as well – although we only spent a couple days there (mostly lazing by the pool) we definitely got the surfer’s cult vibes there, and when we return, we’ll be sure to hit the surf and eat at more of the cute little cafes.
Bali, you’re every bit as therapeutic as everyone makes you out to be, and we will no doubt be back to drink more of your juices, to enjoy more time Ubuding, and to invest in your amazing art (if we ever have walls to hang it on).