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I’ve met very many people who have been disappointed of Bali because they probably expected something different. Perhaps they didn’t do their research well enough beforehand and perhaps they were expecting to find long white sandy beaches with turquoise waters, palm trees that would reach out over the sea in Bali. Well, that’s not the case. Beaches in Bali are not spectacular and if there are, they are most often than not full of tourists. The waters in Bali are slightly bluer than those of the Black Sea, with the exception of the Gili Islands that are about one hour and a half away by boat. Moreover, most of the areas along the coastline have high waves, dangerous for swimmers. Have I discouraged you? Have I ruined the heavenly image you have about Bali?
Good! Because this realm is not mainstream, it isn’t a place you can get to know before you land here, it’s a place which beckons you to discover its beauty without any preconceptions.
The right season: In Bali, the rainy season does its thing from October all the way to March, so the perfect season to go there is in spring and summer, same as back home.
I had the chance to live in Bali over the winter and I cannot say that I disliked it, but you can experience several hours of rain per day. Although, nowadays everything is relative in terms of weather. For example, last year it first rained in January. In December 2016 you could almost swim in the streets.
The choice is yours alone, would you risk it or not? Personally, I always recommend spring, summer and autumn months.
Plane tickets to Denpasar, the island capital, are between 550€ and 850€, depending on the airline, layovers or the period in which they are acquired. In my opinion, the best flight option from Bucharest to Bali is by Qatar Airways. The flight I recommend has one layover in Doha of two hours. The entire journey takes about 17 hours, 5 hours to Doha, 2 hours’ layover and another 9 hours’ flight to Denpasar. Qatar Airways offers quality services and I’ve personally never had anything to complain about. Now and again they have deals for this destination, but you have to be on the lookout. You can check here:http://www.qatarairways.com/ro/en/special-offers.page
I always recommend at least 10 days in Bali. Two weeks or more would be ideal. Bali is an extremely complex destination and differs from one area to another. The Western part of the island is nothing like the South or the Center. I will tell you more about these differences and about accommodation below. Just keep in mind that it would be a pity to fly all this way and stay only within a resort somewhere at the beach, because you will not get to know the true spirit of this island. Ideally it would be to spend 4 days in each of any 3 different locations.
I have never had any vaccine before going to Bali and I’ve never heard anyone around me who has. It is not a requirement entering Indonesia and I don’t believe it is necessary. Bali is a highly touristic area, safe and clean (I don’t mean Singapore and Tokyo-clean).
For the past year, Romanian tourists staying in Indonesia for less than a month receive a free visa upon entering the country. Should you wish to stay more than 30 days, I recommend buying a visa upon arrival, it is about 25 dollars. This visa may be extended for another 30 days. After these 60 day though, you are required to leave the country. You can go to Kuala Lumpur or Singapore and return the next day. This is what is called Visa Run within the expat circles. Should you require more details or contacts to extend your 30 days’ visa, I can offer you more specific details by mail.
Denpasar: is the capital of Bali and it is the town in which you will land. Be careful with the airport taxis, they are very expensive and the drivers are pretty irritating. It’s best to arrange to have a car waiting for you from the hotel or villa where you will be accommodated. Here, in this capital there is a chaos of buildings, cars, scooters, pollution and noise. There aren’t many things to do in this area which is why I recommend to elope to an area destined for tourists or a more secluded one, depending on your wishes. Escape from Denpasar!!!!
Seminyak: is about 40 minutes’ drive away from the airport and is a very posh and cool resort with access to the beach and the ocean. Here you will find countless stores, hotels, bars and restaurants. It is a highly touristic part of Bali but very beautiful in the same time. I would spend 3 days at the most here. My recommendation is to have dinner at sunset at Ku De Ta or Potato Head. Also, shopping is exceptional, though the prices are pretty high and non-negotiable. Enjoy Seminyak!
Kuta: if you’ve done some previous online research, you’re most definitely convinced that this is the resort to go to. Well, it isn’t. it is the worst part of Bali in my opinion. It is an extremely crowded area, sort of like the Romanian seashore ruckus. The only advantage here is that it’s the ideal place should you want to take up surfing: the beach is wide, the waves are small and there are many Balinese instructors willing to help you with this in exchange for a few hundred rupees (negotiable).
Canggu: it’s the area where surfers and expats who want to be near the beach hang out. Everything is a bit more authentic here, but in the same time very tourist-friendly. Here there are gorgeous places where you can surf or have a beer (Old Man’s) or where you can have the best fish at sundown (Echo Beach). It is an area which has everything for everyone. My favorite places here are: Old Man’s, Echo Beach and BuMi Warung.
Seseh: is about 10 minutes’ drive away from Canggu. It is my favorite area in Bali, but it is not touristic at all. For me, this is an advantage, but the downside is that there aren’t many hotels, nor small villas for renting and transport can be done only with a private driver or with a scooter. Although, the sunset from Seseh beach, along with the locals, dogs and hundreds of kites is irreplaceable. Moreover, the sand on the beach is black and shines under the sun and moonlight. In my point of view, it is a gorgeous place, highly appreciated by expats seeking to elope from the chaos of the more touristic areas, yet also want to be close to good restaurants and places where they can spend their Saturday evenings, or any other evening :)). In Seseh I’ve witnessed the most beautiful sunsets, beach rituals and many other special moments alongside people dear to me. And you know what’s interesting? This is the place I stumbled upon when I first arrived in Bali three years ago. Who knew that I would end up spending so much more time in the special place.
Uluwatu: is also an area favored by surfers given the many special beaches (for Bali). You may pick one of the following beaches: Padang-Padang, Dreamland and Balangan. Moreover, in this area is the famous Uluwatu temple, a special place deserving of a visit at sunset. Should you have more days to spend, you can also enjoy the famous sunset view from Ayana Resort while having a cocktail at the Bar on rocks. The entire S-W area is famous for its spectacular sunsets.
Nusa Dua is a 5-star resort area. It is a peninsula managed by the Government where the largest hotels have had the freedom to build huge resorts, but which are a kind of jail which doesn’t allow you to feel anything out of the real Bali. No one is saying that it’s not beautiful, but it depends a lot on the experience you seek.
Gili Islands:are three tiny islands an hour and a half boat ride away from Bali. Here the water is turquoise and the sand is light in color. Everything is different here, you can experience the real island life, no cars, no scooters, just sand, bamboo, beer and people bent on having a good time. Also, it’s one of the most famous diving areas. More details in the article..
Here you will feel the real essence of the island, art, spirituality, luxurious vegetation, rice plantations, waterfalls, genuine people, temples and magic.
Ubud: Ubud is the spiritual and artistic center of the island. Here you will find that Eat. Pray. Love spirit which made this island so famous: the luxurious nature, temples, art, tradition and spirituality. This is the place where you can see the rice growers, the jungle and the everyday life of the Balinese people. This is the place I chose to live for a few months because I fell in love with the superb energy you encounter here, with the countless vegan restaurants, art galleries and yoga studios. There are very many expats in Ubud, but unlike the ones interested in the surfing areas, these are interested in a healthy lifestyle, painting, sculpting, yoga and in the fascinating Balinese rituals. Hotels and resorts in Ubud and in the surrounding area are impressive, all built in the jungle, in vast valleys which flow into the rivers.
Ubud Hanging Gardens:
Bambu Indah, cel mai interesant resort pe care l-am experimentat:
My favorite Temple from Bali, Tirta Empul:
There are countless activities to do in the Ubud area. In this article I’ve decided to offer you some practical information, which is why you can download the free yoga e-book by following this link if you want to find out more about Ubud: UBUD YOGA GUIDE
There are three volcanos on the island and these are the spiritual and astrological landmarks of the Balinese culture. Mount Batur is a volcano of medium difficulty which one can climb, where you can witness the most beautiful sunrise. It is exhausting because in order to catch the sunrise, you have to leave the Ubud area at about 3 in the morning and begin the ascent at 5 o’clock. But it’s worth it.
I recommend you check Air BnB beforehand according to the areas you have in mind. In Bali, the guest-house type accommodation system is very well developed at extraordinary convenient prices.
Personally, I do not recommend resorts because they have blurred out any form of authenticity and you may not truly experience the magic of this island.
Hotel options are endless and beautiful, but a bit more expensive than what you find on Air BnB. For hotels, I recommend using booking.com.
Here is where it gets a bit more complicated. Should you wish to explore freely, ideally it would be to rent a scooter and not depend on taxis or private drivers. You can rent one in every area where you are housed and drive by car only when you need to move your luggage. For example, a one-month rent for a good scooter is 250 lei, while a driver for hire is 150 lei for only one day. If you don’t want to venture, you can find drivers anywhere with whom you can negotiate 500.000 Indonesian rupees for a whole day, meaning 8-9 hours.
Bali is a relatively cheap destination. Accommodation starts out at a few tens of dollars per night while a meal at a good restaurant starts out at about 20 – 30 lei. The local currency is called rupee, meaning 0,00032 lei. The best thing to do is bring American dollars to Indonesia where you can exchange it for rupees. I personally mostly use a card as there are cash machines almost everywhere. Be careful though, in some of the more populated areas there is the risk of having your card duplicated. Although, if you conceal your pin very well while entering it, there should be no problems.
In Bali, Everything is negotiable with the exception of stores (the more up-kept ones) and restaurants. So don’t be afraid to let your negotiating spirit run wild. It will come in hand.
This is my favorite part of the island. You can see how important religion, tradition and rituals are for them as soon as you very first minutes in Bali. In their vision, everything begins with energy and harmony with nature, with the sky and supernatural forces. It is extremely interesting that when you enter this kind of space you are open and you understand their different approach on life and on this reality. People will be willing to guide you, to teach you and to show you a little bit of their customs – you can learn how to make offerings, to pray, to take part in rituals or simply to rejoice the beauty of the gatherings on their celebration of their sacred days.
Everyone dresses extremely light in Bali. Your slippers will be your best friends. Dresses, vaporous cotton pants, shawls, t-shirts or anything you consider comfortable. The hat, sunscreen and mosquito repellent are a must-have. Either way, you can find everything you need there, as well as medication, creams, clothes, anything, and so don’t worry. In temples on the other hand, you have to know that your shoulders should be covered and the lower part of your body should be covered with a sarong – this piece of traditional fabric which you can buy anywhere along the way. But remember: negotiate!
If you’ve felt the calling you most definitely will get there one day and will leave a whole new person, this is how this magical island works. I can only rejoice for you and give you the simplest and most efficient advice: be open!
Should you have more questions or ideas on topics which could be approached to better understand this destination, please leave a comment to this article or directly by e-mail. I will then add the information here.