Bali is a picturesque island located in Indonesia; the landscape of the island is mountainous wild jungle in the centre surrounded by golden beaches and crystal clear water on the outer coasts. With jungle spa retreats, wildlife experiences, tropical beaches and pockets of nightlife, it is somewhere I would recommend visiting if you’re into exploring, relaxing and the occasional party.
Time zone – GMT+7
Visa – on arrival
Currency – Indonesian Rupiah
Climate – 25 – 35c all year round. Dry season Apr- Oct. Wet season Nov-Mar.
Best time to visit – April to October in the dry season, Nov-Mar for cheaper rates.
With an exchange rate of 17,000 Rupiah to £1 it’s the first place on earth where I’ve been officially classed a millionaire. Don’t be fooled by the plethora of 0’s Bali is extremely affordable. The Numbeo cost of living index 43 (London is 83).
Places to visit
Kuta – the most commercial area with modern restaurants and bar brands (think Hard Rock Cafe). A nice beach to surf on and the busiest nightlife spot on the island on Legian street.
Seminyak – Double six beach is the centre of Seminyak with beach bars and restaurants along the beach front itself and the surrounding areas. A more relaxing and upmarket vibe than Kuta.
Ubud – situated on the foothills of the Balinese rainforest, Ubud is where you will find jungle spa retreats, yoga classes and wildlife experiences. A insight into the more cultural side of Bali and perfect for explorers.
Gili Islands – a 75 minute boat ride from mainland Bali lie these 3 tiny islands. The Gili’s have some of the best snorkelling spots in the world, perfect to hire a beach hut and explore untouched coastlines. Gili Trawangan has the active nightlife.
Uluwatu – situated on rolling cliffs overlooking the Indian Ocean Uluwatu offers some of the best sunset views on the island.
The Bali Bucket List
- Watch sunrise above the clouds from the top of Mount Batur – setting off at 1am to climb 5,000ft up an active volcano, if nothing else I promise that you will never, ever, forget the moment you see that sun rise above the clouds from the summit!
- Scuba dive in the Indonesian Ocean – for as little as £60 you will be picked up, kitted out and complete 2 dives, Bali is home to some amazing marine life so highly recommended
- Snorkel with wild sea turtles – in the Gili Islands and Uluwatu it’s really easy to head out and see some incredible underwater wildlife on organised trips
- Feed the monkeys at the monkey forest in Ubud – this manned section of the rainforest is £5 to enter and filled to the brim with monkeys! Walk the pathways, view them in their natural habitat and feed them. The monkeys are happy to hop up on your shoulder, just watch out for the big scary ones..
- Wander with the Elephants at the safari park – located in Ubud you can walk with, bathe and feed the elephants along with other wildlife
- Surf – You can do it, even I stood up! For just £10 you can have a 90min surf lesson with all kit included, perfect for absolute beginners
- Swim under a waterfall – There are a number of waterfalls in Bali, I took a dip in the Tegenungen waterfall, you just drive up and dive in! It’s amazingly powerful when you get close.
- Visit Tanah Lot and Uluwatu temples – situated on the sweeping cliffs of the Bali coastline these temples are great to really embrace the Balinese culture and both come with stunning views
- Enjoy a meal & take a dip overlooking the dense jungle – I recommend the Jungle Fish bar & restaurant which has a pool overlooking the jungle accessible to all customers of the venue
- Enjoy one of the traditional Balinese performances over dinner – I recommend Café Lotus in Ubud
- Rise and shine with sunrise yoga overlooking the Jungle – the yoga barn in Ubud comes highly recommended
- Treat yourself to a spa experience at one of the luxury hotels in the rainforest (I recommend Rijasa Agung)
- Eat fine food, drink authentic cocktails and watch the sunset – Double Six beach in Seminyak has lots of great restaurants on the beachfront and after sunset the beanbags come out and there is live music on the beach itself
- Go ‘out out’ – The main nightlife is situated on Legian Street in Kuta, if you’re making it a late on Sky Garden is a huge nightclub with 4 floors including a rooftop terrace
- Day time cocktails – The Potato Head Beach club, KU DE TA and cocoon have well renowned infinity pools, pool parties and sunset views for those seeking a livelier afternoon
- Party on a remote island – head to Gili Trawangan to party it up on a castaway island
- Ubud Rainforest Spa – I recommend the Rijasa Agung hotels, the luxurious rooms (Jacuzzi included in some) overlook the Balinese rainforest, they have every spa treatment imaginable and the infinity pool on a summit overlooking the foothills and river is incredible.
- Ubud Jungle lodge experience – I recommend the Pertiwi Bisma I it has a really cool infinity pool surrounded by dense jungle! You can hear all of the sounds of the wildlife.. one you won’t forget!
- Seminyak – Hotel Horison offers great food, luxury rooms and two great pools for just £15pp per night
- Kuta – I recommend the Citadenes hotel which has an infinity pool with sweeping views of the ocean, the food and drinks are also great
- I cannot recommend climbing mount Batur for sunrise enough, the best thing I did in my time here. You don’t need to be physically fit to do it and the views are incredible!
- Plan extra time in for everything; for a relatively untouched island the traffic in Bali is horrendous. You can hire a scooter to get around quicker, but I just stuck to taxis, they’re inexpensive and a safer option for accident prone people like myself.
- Be careful with excursions, the operators don’t want to lose the money that you’ve paid them even if it means putting you in danger. I got took to scuba dive in choppy conditions with no training, in hindsight.. not cool.
- Some taxi drivers will ask you do you want to keep the meter on or pay a set fee.. say keep the meter on and put the destination in your phone to show that you know where you are going (even if it is just a bluff), otherwise they will drive the longest route possible.
- Embrace the variety and move around the Island. I suggest Seminyak, Ubud and Gili islands to get a mix of beaches, modernity & wildlife.
Sunrise from the summit of Mount Batur (5,500ft above sea level)
Making Friends at the Sacred Monkey Forest
Swim high above the rain forest (Rijasa Agung Hotel)
Jungle meets sea at Kuta Beach