Location: Indonesia Type: 1 week trip; island vacation Suitable for children: yes
I used to associate January with snow and ice, cold weather and hot drinks, grumpy mood and short days. Not anymore. For me January from now on is an endless sky, breathtaking sunsets, hot days and nights, blue waves and sandy beaches, tropical forests and happy smiling people. The reason is Bali – a living and breathing postcard. We’ve traveled to the beautiful and evergreen island of Indonesia in the begging of January, when the raining season was supposed to be in full motion but we’ve had the perfect weather. And the best time.
It`s one of the 17 500 islands of Indonesia, famous for its beaches, perfect for surfing or just soaking up in the sun. But Bali is so much more with its tropical forests and creatures, stunning Hindu temples and fascinating culture.
You’ll be presented with various options to tour around the island when you arrive, so better don’t book your trips in advance. Just check what is worth to see (almost everything) and book a driver when you settle down in your hotel or hostel. That’s what we’ve done and it was the best decision.
We found accommodation trough Airbnb and stayed at Maya village in Kuta – a dеcent place, not far from Kuta beach, with a very friendly staff and a nice bar. The staff organized a driver to pick us from the airport and we’ve booked the same driver for our tours. We’ve paid 500 000 idr for a whole day trip for 5 people (which is less than 50 usd), but everywhere in the streets people will be offering to drive you anywhere, may be for even less money.
If you are staying in Kuta like us, be prepared for lots of people, noises, smells and a very active nightlife. Also watch where you are going because scooters are everywhere – that is the main mean of transportation for the locals and most streets are very narrow.
Around the island
We’ve visited some very interesting places during our stay in Bali which we can recommend and we’ll mention some more, that we haven’t got the time to check.
Uluwatu temple is one of the six temples believed to be Bali’s spiritual pillars. Perched on top of a 70 meter high cliff, it offers a magnificent view of the Indian ocean.
Here you can witness a spectacular sunset and also you can watch the famous Kecak dance, performed daily. The unique Balinese dance is not accompanied by any orchestra but by a choir of seventy men.
Monkey forest, Ubud will offer you an unique glimpse in the life of its inhabitants. But be careful – the monkeys are notorious for stealing so keep your valuable items secure.
Tegalalang rice fields will definitely impress you with this beautiful view.
Kintamani volcano is really stunning and in fact an active volcano. We’ve had a lunch at a restaurant with direct view to the volcano and lake Batur for 130 000 idr per person for all-you-can-eat buffet. This was one of the best places to try the local food.
Holy Spring Water Temple is where Balinese Hindus go to for ritual purification. You can walk around the temple and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
We’ve stopped at a coffee plantation on our way back home during one of our trips and we’ve tried the famous Luwak coffee. We’ve also met a civet and some other interesting creatures.
Waterbom is the third best waterpark in the world and the first in all of Asia according to TripAdvisor. You can stay a whole day here, enjoying the different attractions. The entrance fee is 490 000 idr per person.
And the beaches…
Padang padang beach
Blue point beach
You can also check the Tenah Lot Temple and Tegenungan waterfall, climb mount Batur and walk around Ubud – Bali’s artistic hearth and home of many art galleries and craft shops. And last but not least – treat yourself with a day of spa and massage and enjoy your stay in Bali to the fullest.
Things to consider before visiting Bali
- In Bali the weather is hot year-round, so don’t pack anything besides your summer clothes, swimsuits and flip-flops.
- You may have to check many ATMs before you find the one suitable with you card.
- Don’t forget to take a repellent with you – the risk of catching malaria or dengue is low but nevertheless it’s better to be careful.
- Keep in mind that the local dishes are spicy and don’t purchase food from the streets. Choose a nice restaurant and try the local food there – like nasi goreng (fried rice) with chicken or seafood.
On the streets, in front of homes and warungs (restaurants), beaches and almost everywhere you will see small bowls, full with flowers and fruits. The locals prepare them every morning and they represent a blessing and a gift for the Hindu gods. So pay attention and don’t stamp down the bowls – nobody will make a remark but it wouldn’t be polite.
The locals are more than friendly and polite. They will offer to drive you wherever you wish by car or scooter, they will try to sell you almost everything (you can bargain all day for all kind of stuff on the markets) and the smile will never leave their faces.