First stop Kuta! Kuta is a great place to start when flying into Denpasar as it’s only a 10 minute drive from the airport. We stayed in Cara Cara Inn which was a pretty impressive hostel! We got a private room with breakfast included for £13 P/P P/N. Just a short walk from all the bars, restaurants and the beach. We went for a walk to see what the place was like. Kuta is very touristy and felt like Australia’s Magaluf, cheap drinks and endless bars. We stayed for 2 nights, spending our second night on the strip in Paddy’s bar. Paddy’s had a good vibe. Happy hour all night on beers got us 2 for 90 rupiah (£5) so fairly cheap.
Traveling in Bali is very simple as your just a short taxi ride from your next stop. We moved onto Seminyak to Socialista hostel, a 10 minute ride from Kuta. Seminyak again felt slightly touristy but a lot less that Kuta. Top tip! The waves and current here are so strong, be so careful when going in the ocean alone at certain times of the afternoon. I found myself being dragged under and out often. We made friends pretty quickly here so spent the night in the hostel playing drinking games and going for a swim.
Top tip! The food in seminyak is by far the best we had our whole trip in Indonesia. The best restaurant I could recommend is Strawberry Fields, the breakfast and burgers are too die for! It’s slightly more pricey than other restaurants but worth every penny.
Pierce and I booked a quad biking excursion in Ubud. We paid £42 each, this included:
•Private hotel pick up & drop off (1 hour)
•The coffee plantation
•2 hours riding on the quads
This was an insane trip, we loved every minute! The quad route was completely off road and could be pretty scary at times but was so thrilling! I will put the link below if you’re interested.
If quad biking doesn’t appeal to you I would definitely advise visiting the coffee plantation anyway. I’m not a lover of coffee however seeing how it was made and learning about the Luwak coffee was very interesting. We were also given an entire board of teas and coffees to try for free, Pierce enjoyed this a lot as a tea and coffee lover.
We chose to spend our remaining 4 days in Seminyak as we enjoyed it so much. For a night out we went to La Favela Top Tip! Bring your ID and dress as smart as possible, Pierce was turned away the first night for having a vest on and only just let in the second as he didn’t have closed toe shoes. I personally think the dress code is unnecessary, there is nothing online to advise you of this and backpackers often don’t have ‘club attire’. To make matters worse the local markets are charging triple for T-shirt’s as they know boys have no choice but to purchase if they want the night out.
After 3 days in Seminyak it was time to head to Canggu for 3 days. We pre booked a surf lesson online for £35 each however the company never got back to us to confirm so we headed down the beach to find another. We ended up getting a 2 hour surf lesson with a lift back to our hostel for just £20 each. The instructors were very good however I was shockingly bad at surfing haha! Pierce did pretty well so he enjoyed the activity but hey at least I can say I surfed in Bali.
We went to Finns bar for a couple of drinks in the evening, this place is unbelievable! When you arrive you will be completely blown away by how big it is and how amazingly it’s presented. Drinks prices are pretty expensive, 150 Rupiah per cocktail but you can get beers for around 60. If you want to visit another insane beach bar in Bali then potato head (Seminyak) is the one, both have swimming pools so bring your swim wear for a late night swim!
Time for 5 days in Ubud. There is a great hippie vibe in Ubud, no where near as crazy as Kuta or Canggu. Although not as busy, there’s still a lot of bars and restaurants to keep you entertained. We found Ubud to be jam packed with activities and things to do in the day. Pierce and I love to stay busy so this was great for us. We rented a scooter as this would be the cheapest way to get around. Bike hire is limited but we just looked up online the closest one to our Hotel, we paid 60 Rupiah for 12 hours.
We drove for around 20 minutes to Tegalalang Rice fields. When we arrived we were shown into a car park and guided into another coffee plantation. At first we were unsure what we would be charged for parking and the coffee testers we were being given, however it was all free. You are not forced into buying any coffee or tea after though Pierce brought the Avocado coffee, it was a lot nicer than it sounds aha. Within the same area they had the typical Bali swing except this was a fraction of the price advertised online. I had previously looked online but was shocked to find them charging $60! I paid £8 ($10) and the view was better than what I had seen online, this is something you’re best to just turn up too rather than pre booking.
After walking around the rice fields taking in the scenery we headed to Tegenungan Waterfall. We paid 20K Rupiah each for entry to the waterfall, there were lots of cool photo stagings that were included in your ticket. A lot of the photo spots were the same as the ones from the rice fields except they were charging 30K to take a photo there. The waterfall was busy but not enough for it to be ruined, we were able to swim in this one which is pretty cool. We took advantage of the photo stagings then headed back on the scooter.
Yoga time 🧘♀ We heard that Yoga is a big thing in Ubud so we thought we’d try it out. We went to Taksu spa and paid 130K each for an hour and a half session. If you haven’t tried Yoga before I would advise the beginners session, we would’ve been rubbish in an advanced session 😂.
Mt Batur! So you can’t come to Bali and not climb the famous Mt Batur. We tried to pre book this online but was shocked by the $50 price, we decided to wait until we arrived in Ubud to book. We ended up booking with a small travel agency that was in the centre of Ubud for just £16 each! A huge difference to the online prices. The package includes the below:
•Pick up from hotel & drop off
•Breakfast (Dont get too excited about the breakfast, it’s no full English)
•Tea/coffee before the climb
The climb was incredibly harder than I expected, I had seen a lot of people complete Mt Batur so presumed it would be a simple climb. 5633 Ft later we reached the summit in time for sun rise.. The view was absolutely incredible. We didn’t time how long it took but I would say it was just over 2 hours to the top and maybe an hour and a half back down. Top tip! Wrap up warm as it’s pretty cold, wear the most comfortable trainers you own and make sure to take plenty of water because you will definitely need it.
Gili T is an hour and a half boat journey from Bali if you choose the fast boat option. Do not book this online as we paid double what the locals were charging, we paid £23 P/P. Top tip! Take travel sickness if you’re bad with motion as the journeys super wavy.
We booked 4 nights through hostel world at Gili Castle, sister hostel of Gili Mansion. There is an event every night at either hostel so it’s good for a solo backpacker to make friends. Pierce completed his PADI Open Water diving course here, I will ask him to write an article and upload that separately if you’re interested.
There are no cars on Gili T, as good as that sounds unfortunately horses are used for transport instead. They are over worked, hot and carrying far too much weight for the size of some of them. Please if you visit Gili T walk or hire a bicycle to get around, these horses look in agony from how hard they are being worked.
The Gili islands are amazing for turtle spotting. I chose to go out on Pierces dive and snorkel, I was charged 150K which is what’s charged for the marine fee. We visited turtle heaven and this is where I see this beautiful creature for the first time.
Day time activities on Gili T consist of snorkelling, hiring bikes to see the island, diving or chilling at the beach.
The night life here was insanely good, most nights we had pre drinks at our hostel before heading to the beach front bars. There are different events on each night, we visited Lava Bar for the rock and roll bingo night which was a lot of fun! There was also Karaoke at the same bar a couple of nights later, Pierce and I braved the stage 🎤 In terms of a club vibe, Jungle is where most people tend to go. Our favourite bar was Jiggys, the music was very good the alcohol was cheap and they hosted beer pong.. what’s not to like!
We enjoyed the night life on Gili T so much we extended our stay by one night, we stayed at ‘Our mates place hostel’. Our mates place was also a great place to mingle and make friends. Gili T quickly became a highlight of our time Indonesia.
After a very boozy 6 days on Gili T we headed to Lombok, Sengiggi. We booked our boat on the day at the port and paid 150K each for the boat and transfer at the other end. These tickets were being sold online for £42, saving us a huge £33 each! If you have limited time travelling Indonesia, I would suggest leaving Lombok out. Lombok isn’t what I would consider a must see, we had the time to relax so we chose to come here however you wouldn’t be missing out by not visiting.
We visited Batu Bolong temple as it was nearby our hotel. This isn’t anything spectacular however it was nice to say we had visited. You make a donation when you arrive, it is up to you how much you donate.
We decided it was time for a treat, a five star treat! We stayed in Bali Nusa Dua Hotel, paying £60 a night. It was worth every penny. The room was flawless, the free buffet breakfast was delicious and the staff were the friendliest people I’ve met! Nusa Dua is mostly resorts, definitely visit if you need some time off of backpacking and a chance to relax in luxury. The hotel operates free shuttles on the hour to the Bali Collection which is a shopping village with restaurants. An added extra is you can rent bicycles for 2 hours a day free of charge, there’s not much to see in Nusa Dua but it was a nice free activity.
After reading online that Nusa Pineda is a must see and you need 3-4 days here we booked to stay for 4 nights. First impressions were ‘what are we going to do here for 4 days’.
We decided to hire a motorbike to visit The T-Rex, Crystal bay beach and Broken beach. The roads were the worst I have seen the entire trip. Huge pot holes, unpaved roads, steep hills and barely enough room for a car. We had around a 45 minute drive to T-Rex rock, we were worried for our safety the entire drive. When we arrived we had to pay 10K for parking then headed up hill to see Kelingking beach. The view was even better than I could’ve imagined, the photos you see online you presume must be edited but the piercing blue sea really does look like that. We had read online how unsafe it was to trek down to Kelingking beach, after seeing the stairs down we decided to leave the trek.
We drove for around 30 minutes more to Crystal Bay beach, the road conditions still bad but better than before. The beach was very busy but was nice to go for a swim and relax. After seeing on the map that roads were even worse heading to broken beach we called it a day and headed back to the hostel.
We returned our motorbike after 1 day as we were not comfortable to carry on driving around this island, we cancelled our remaining 2 nights in Penida and headed back to main land Bali.
When arriving at Sanur pier you will be offered many transfers, these will charge you triple the price. Walk for around 5 minutes to the Dunkin Doughnuts just outside of the pier to get onto the WiFi. Once you’ve got WiFi order a Grab, we were offered a transfer to Seminyak for 300 however we got a Grab for 75.
We loved our time in Indonesia. My favourite 3 locations were Seminyak, Ubud & Gili T. Bali can be very expensive if you’re not careful, we spent way more than we should’ve as backpackers. Keep your wits about you, they are not shy to try and rip you off. Overall we had a great time In Indonesia..We partied hard, swam with turtles for the first time and learnt how to avoid over stay fees 👌🏻