I had a chance to visit Bali for the first time in July with my two close friends, Dew and Noi. Dew wanted to celebrate her birthday in a different place this year. After discussing a number of options, we chose Bali.
All of us live in Phuket, Thailand, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Asia. Why would we want to visit Bali which is probably not much different than Phuket? I haven’t been to another Asian country for a very long long time. Japan was my last holiday in Asia, about 10 years ago, as I preferred to travel to other continents when I was younger.
The reason that we choose Bali was because it not too far from Phuket as one of us could only get about a week off work. One of us visited to Bali many years ago and said many positive things, e.g. that the cost of living in Bali is much lower than in Phuket. Therefore, we didn’t hesitate to go choose Bali. I looked forward to learn what is different between Bali and Phuket apart from the religion. Buddhism is the religion of Thailand but the predominant religion of Balinese is Hinduism.
Here is our 6 days adventure in Bali.
14 July 2018 – Where to stay in Seminyak
We departed from Phuket airport at 13:40 and stopped over in KL, Malaysia a few hours and arrived in Bali around 21:00. Our driver was waiting outside the arrival terminal with a big smile. The airport transfer cost IDR 300,000 or USD 20 for about 30 minutes drive from the airport to our accommodation in Seminyak. I booked a lovely 2 bedroom house with a private swimming pool via Airbnb and it cost USD 100 per night or about USD 35 per person per night which was quite good value for money.
Here are some photos of our cosy Balinese home where we stayed for 3 nights. What I loved most about this place is the location in a quiet residential area but not far from tourist attractions. Only 10 mins by car to Seminyak beach where all things seem to happen.
15 July 2018
We hired the same driver who picked us at the airport for our day tour today. His fee was IDR 500,000 or about USD 35 for about 8 hours of driving and waiting. I could not believe how cheap it was! In Phuket it would cost about USD 80-100 for the same duration. I would highly recommend hiring a driver in Bali as it was good value and much less stress.
We made our journey around midday to the Uluwatu Temple where they have a lot of naughty monkeys who love to steal all your belongings. I almost lost my $300 brand new Ray Ban sunglasses! Fortunately, the staff helped to get it back from the most naughty (clever) monkeys I’ve ever seen in my whole life! I put my sunglasses on my head to take a photo for my friend and the monkey came behind me and took it from my head! I just found another one different thing between Bali and Phuket was that monkeys in Phuket are better behaved than monkeys in Bali! Lol
We did not have much chance to take a nice photo with the view as there were so many tourists there. We were planning to come early in the morning but, because of rain, everyone came to the temple at the same time, unfortunately!
In my personal opinion, this place is not very spacial as we did not see as much of the temple as I expected, a lot of landscaping and of course a lot of monkeys! The view from the temple is probably the most beautiful to see as it located right next to the ocean.
Before arriving at the temple we stopped at the coffee plantation to try Balinese coffee. I’m not a coffee expert but I did enjoy deep fried bananas that were served with our coffee!
After the temple we made our way to Dreamland beach to refresh ourselves with a cocktail along with beautiful sunset.
After the sunset in Dreamland beach we went for dinner at Jimbaran beach which is famous for seafood dinner on the beach. I have read many good reviews on Trip Advisor about this place. However, we were very disappointed with the restaurant that was recommended by the driver. The food was average, the service was like in a fast food restaurant, overpriced and very crowded with Chinese tourists and, of course, noisy! Before going there, I had imagined a relaxing dinner on the beach after a long day but it was the opposite. The day would have ended better if we went to a local trendy restaurant in town after our nice cocktail with sunset in Dreamland beach.
The night didn’t end there! After paying millions of IDR for a disappointing dinner, we came home to watch the World Cup final and Noi cooked noodles for us!
16 July 2018
We had a lazy morning after a late night watching the World Cup final. We planned to spend all the afternoon on Seminyak beach and do some shopping on Jl. Kayu Aya Rd. There were a lot of local Balinese and Aussie designer boutique shops. If you want to buy some fashionable quality clothes you should visit this area. We spent a few hours shopping without buying anything!
Around 6 pm we left the beach and went to the Potato Head Beach Club, one of the most trendy beach clubs in Bali. Good food, good drinks and relaxing atmosphere – I can highly recommend this place after a long day but do take with you a few million IDR!
After the beach club we returned to the villa to get ready to have a hard night at La Favela Bali, one the most unique clubs I have seen so far, especially the decoration of the club. We loved it and of course bring with you several millions IDR!
We left the club around 2 am and we felt like we needed spicy papaya salad. So where do you get papaya salad at 3 am in Bali?! Well the 2 drunks, Dew and Noi, found papayas that grow beside the street a few meters from the villa. Noi wanted to pick them since day 1 when we arrived but she was not brave enough to pick them without having some alcohol in her blood!
17 July 2018
We checked out from Seminyak at 10 am and our next destination was Ubud. We hired the same driver to take us around before checking in to our next accommodation in Ubud at the end of the day.
We headed to Tegenungan Waterfall after we checked out from Seminyak. The waterfall was very beautiful and it would be a shame to come such a long way just to look at the waterfall but to not swim – yeah, shame on the 3 hungover Thai girls!
After the hard night we really could’t face the camera!
After the waterfall we did some swings nearby.
After that we went for lunch at Sawah Indah Resto, a local restaurant that was recommended by the driver. The food was good and the location of the restaurant was great, next to a rice field.
After lunch we went to Ubud town, had a coffee at Starbucks and did a little bit of walking around the town centre. We visited some temples and did shopping in the Ubud Traditional Art Market. If you want to buy something in this market, I recommend to ask for at least 50% off from those sellers first. They always ask how much you want to offer, then don’t be scare to offer, they would not kill you and just keep smiling! I have learned that the price of those products can go much lower than their asking price. After some fun negotiation with those sellers we checked in to the hotel around 5 pm.
This is our accommodation for the last 2 nights in Bali. I booked this 2 bedroom house with private swimming pool via Airbnb. The location is only 5 mins by car from the centre of Ubud. The place is managed like a hotel. They have front desk to check in and the rental included breakfast and staff. I did not know before I booked it that they manage like a hotel as I prefer to stay in a private property where they offer better amenities and where it feels more like home. Comparing the two places we stayed, we all agreed that we loved the house in Seminyak more than the one in Ubud as we love to feel at home!
18 July 2018
Today we did a day tour of the Tegalalang Rice Terrace, Tirta Empul Temple and Pura Besakih Temple. We started our day tour around 10 am and our first stop was the Tegalalang Rice Terrace. We were so unlucky that visit the place at the wrong time as there was no rice in the fields!
After the disappointment of the Rice Terrace we went to the Tirta Empul Temple. I loved this place as it was the first temple that I could really see a Hindu temple plus six pack!
After a quick, cheap and tasty street lunch in the parking lot we headed to our last destination of the day, the Pura Besakih Temple. This temple was the highlight of the day. You must do it when you visit Ubud. The temple is located on the far east Bali in the village of Besakih and on the slopes of Mount Agung, the active volcano. We hoped to see the volcano from the temple but, unfortunately, the sky was not so clear. And I’m not sure if the sky was clear we would be able to see the volcano from the temple or not as the temple is located only 3,000 feet slopes of Mount Agung. After we left the temple we were hungry and we ate and bought some food to take away. However, they were overpriced. You should not be buying or eating anything around the temple.
19 July 2018
Our last day in Bali had arrived and we needed to check out from the hotel at 10 am to head to the airport. However, I did my intensive tour on the last day by waking up at 5 am to see sunrise at the Campuhan Ridge Walk. Only Dew wanted to join me as Noi seemed to enjoy sleeping. We arrived too early where we have to start the walk so we walked in the dark all the way to the end of 2 km with our phone flashlight! During the journey Dew asked me if this is safe to walk? How the hell would I know? I answered to her that of course it safe! When we were walking in the dark all the dogs along the way were saying hello not in a friendly way! We almost stepped on dog shit as it was too dark to see. We were a bit scared but needed to keep walking as we really really wanted a coffee in a place that I planned to visit but they were not open.
When we started to walk back the day light had arrived and we were worrying that we will not catch the sunrise at the view point on time so we had to walk faster! Go Go Go! The sunrise was not especially spectacular as it was a bit cloudy.
We had such a very unique and hilarious experience of watching the sunrise that nobody has ever experienced like us, I said to Dew at the end of walking and I did not hear a response from her! Lol
I could not let the morning end like this. On the way to the hotel I saw the morning market along the road in Ubud centre so I told the driver to take me there after I dropped Dew at the hotel. It was a very colourful market and enjoyable to see locals sellers and buyers. Everyone talked to me in Indonesian language as I may have looked like one. I only smiled at them. I bought some local breakfast, sweet and fruit from the market to eat at the hotel. It was a very delicious and cheap breakfast. I’m glad that I decided to visit the market.
I came to the conclusion that Bali has such a very strong culture and religion of Hindu. When Phuket is a mixed of religion e.g. Thai-Chinese, Muslim and Buddhism. Bali has a lot of beautiful nature, e.g. volcano, waterfall and a lot people living in rural areas whilst Phuket is much more developed and urban with not much other attractions apart from beautiful beaches, the ocean, islands and most people live a modern lifestyle.
If you are planning to visit South East Asia, Phuket and Bali need to be on your list.
Hope you enjoy reading!