At the end of last year I went to Bali for the first time, from December 23 to 30. It was also my first time in Indonesia for the record! I wanted to share with you some of the things I did which I can now recommend, in no particular order!
1. Visit Ubud, the Cultural Nerve Center of Bali
I think that coming to Bali has to be accompanied with visiting the cultural nerve center of Bali, located in the town of Ubud! This small town was indeed packed with tourists but also with temples at every street corner, and some of the best restaurants I tried for the whole week! One simply cannot come to Bali without coming to Ubud, and seeing some of its sights 🙂 – At Ubud, 2hr-drive from Denpasar / exploring is free.
2. Visit The Sacred Monkey Forest
I went to this jungle forest packed with wild monkeys everywhere and it was the best thing! Yes there were baby monkeys 🙂 – At Ubud, 2hr-drive from Denpasar / entry: 2$.
This definitely was a highlight of my stay in Ubud, because I’d rarely had the chance before to get so close to monkeys, especially wild monkeys. Even if you’re afraid of monkeys don’t worry: they rarely climb people, and if they do it would be because you brought food with you (which they can smell from the other side of the forest).
I took some beautiful pictures there, green was everywhere!
3. See a Traditional Balinese Dance Show
This definitely was a highlight of my stay again: I went to see a traditional Balinese dance show, which I believe is held every night, at 7 p.m., in the center of Ubud, at the Palace.
Despite the many many (many!!!) flying insects everywhere due to the humidity and the lights, the show is absolutely beautiful and the music enchanting.
If you’d like to be bewitched into Balinese culture, this show is for you! – At Ubud, 2hr-drive from Denpasar / entry: 5$.
4. Go And See Various Temples
Crazy fact: Bali counts around 20,000 temples.
During my stay I went to see many temples – they are literally everywhere on the island! Each of them has something unique, so I’d say they’re always worth exploring.
I had the chance of going to Bali during the week of celebrations for the new year which is called Galungan 🙂 The whole island is on vacation, and decorations fill the streets and the temples: the main decorations, called Penjor, were very high bamboo sticks hanging above the streets. – Find more info here.
Visiting the temples is always free, but as the most famous ones are dispatched everywhere on the island, therefore accessing them is not always easy. You can either go by taxi (always ask the reception of your hotel) or scooter. – more info below.
You can find a list of the most famous temples here!
5. Witness A Religious Ceremony
In Balinese tradition, Galungan is the time of year when the ancestral spirits visit the Earth. For that occasion, the Balinese people gather in temples almost every day to bring offerings and pray altogether. – Find more info here.
The atmosphere created by the celebrations was truly awesome. It had a very authentic vibe, which was missing from the island otherwise, since it is overflowing from tourists. I strongly recommend going to Bali around this time of the year!
You can find a list of the most famous temples here!
6. Go to a Spa And Get A Balinese Massage
Going to a Spa is just part of the Balinese experience: you have to get at least one massage. Why? 2 reasons: it is so cheap you won’t believe it’s real, and the Balinese traditional massages are the best! The masseurs (generally female) carry just the right amount of pressure, although you can also ask for less or more pressure.
The beauty treatments are just amazing too, whether it be getting a manicure/pedicure, hair removal or a skin treatment, I assure you this will be a highlight during your stay! I did the best avocado hair treatment ever, which left my hair feeling sooooooo sleek I could not believe it. – 2 to 3 hours at a Spa / around 30$.
7. Make Friends!
People on this island are some of the friendliest I’ve encountered. They smile all the time, they are happy to live, and they laugh a lot!
As soon as you get used to the indonesian accent, you’re up to go. Everyone speaks English 🙂
This picture was taken right after I climbed down Mount Batur, the most famous volcano of the island. I befriended my guide, the girl at my right, who I taught a bit of french since she was asking 🙂
On her left is the very friendly and funny driver I had to take me to Mount Batur, who also wanted to be on the picture, looking fab’ with his sunglasses!
8. Climb A Volcano
Warning: if you’re afraid of heights like me, do not attempt this.
It was my first time climbing a volcano, and my first time going on a trek altogether.
Mount Batur is the second active volcano of Bali, the first one being Mount Agung which apparently you can’t climb anymore.
Climbing up Mount Batur is all fine since you do it during the night: however climbing down is a whole other matter! You don’t realise how far up you’ve gone until the sun comes out in the morning and you actually see the extremely steep slopes on both sides of the path (lacking barriers…)!
Hopefully I had a guide (which you’re obligated to have anyway if you want to climb) and she helped me go down when my legs wouldn’t support me anymore due to the fear.
However, I’m proud to have done it and I still encourage you to do it! – 2am to 7am / 10$ / ask your hotel reception for a ride there during the night.
9. Take Some Of The Most Beautiful Pictures Ever
Bali is of course one of the most instagrammable place of all time 🙂 Pictures speak for themselves, beauty stroke me everywhere I looked and of course I couldn’t resist!
Be aware that everyone wants his/her picture, and sometimes the sights are crowded of people who are here just to get their Instagram shot! Try not to get annoyed by it, it’s all part of the experience. 🙂
10. Relax And Enjoy Your Time There
Bali is known for its relaxing atmosphere, its yoga retreats and its magical sights.
If there’s one place where you can forget everything and actually relax and enjoy the present, it’s there. Take time to breathe, you will not regret it.
Hotels are cheap in Bali. You can get a 3-star hotel for 20$ a night. Spend some time on the internet beforehand to check the best deals.
Getting around in Bali is pretty easy. You can either book taxis at your hotel reception (to avoid getting ripped off by taxi drivers in the streets) or renting a scooter for a day or a few days in a row. Any way, it will cost you around 10$ a day to go everywhere you like.
Balinese food is amazing although it is very much the same everywhere. You can get very big meals for around 5$ per day.
Activities can be pricy: it really depends on what you want to do and how big in a group you are. You will usually spend around 20$ a day for any kind of activities, per person.
This concludes my blog post on my stay in Bali, and if you want to know more, you can go and watch the vlogs I did while I was there! Here is the first part, and the second part 🙂 Do subscribe to my YouTube channel if you liked them!
aka The French Hat