THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN BALI FOR FIRST TIMERS

THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN BALI FOR FIRST TIMERS

What comes to my mind when I hear the word Bali is huge waves, pro surfers, healthy bowls, coffee, temples, cliff views, sunset and friendly people. Recently, I was able to visit Bali, an island located south of Indonesia with one of my college best friends after luckily snagging a low airfare from a domestic airline. Bali is a destination in Southeast Asia that I’ve been wanting to visit for the longest time ever since I’ve seen the movies Eat, Pray, Love and Ride. What makes me want to visit this place, even more, is the endless and colorful posts by travelers on my Instagram feed. Well…finally, hello Bali!

I don’t know but it felt like I was meant to see Bali. One afternoon, while I was browsing Cebu Pacific’s website and checking flight destinations, I entered Bali which is unusual because I know the price is going to be beyond my budget. Usually, a roundtrip ticket to Bali from Manila costs Php20,000 which is around $500. My eyes couldn’t believe what was on screen! Php4,700 ($100) Manila to Bali, roundtrip? Damn. Text blast to everyone. Who wants to come? 2 minutes later and only one of my friends has confirmed. Booking. I couldn’t let this pass. Hah! Booked. I can’t wait!

If you haven’t heard of The Bali Bible, it’s basically…Bali’s…bible. Everything you need to know about Bali. That’s where we mainly based our itinerary.

Here are our recommended top ten things to do in order to enjoy the Best of Bali.

1. VISIT TEMPLES

There are many beautiful temples in Bali but according to our guide there are five most famous temples and we were able to visit three of them which is Tanah Lot, Uluwatu, and  Ulun Danu Bratan. Each has its own unique location and view.

The photo below was taken during sunset in Tanah Lot. The place was beautiful but it gets really jam packed during sunset.

sunset-tanah-lot-temple-bali

2. EAT AUTHENTIC INDONESIAN CUISINE

You’ll likely see a lot of ‘Warung’ in Bali which usually points out to a local Balinese cafe or restaurant. Right after landing in Bali and checking-in in our hotel in Seminyak, we immediately hailed a cab and went to Warung Nia. We found the restaurant from a food blog on Instagram. The restaurant is located in a food court like setting inside the flea market. We had their delicious mixed seafood and natural iced tea. What a great way to start our Bali adventure!

authentic_balinese_food_warung

3. COFFEE TASTING AT COFFEE PLANTATION IN UBUD

During our day tour in Ubud, we requested our guide to bring us to Coffee Plantation. We wanted to try a cup of Bali’s specialty coffee ‘Kopi Luwak’ also known as the most expensive coffee in the world when weighed per gram. The coffee and tea tasting were free of charge which includes about 8 different cups of hot drinks but doesn’t include Kopi Luwak. If you want to try Kopi Luwak, you will have to pay for an extra IDR50,000. Kopi Luwak is a strong coffee but low in caffeine. One cup without sugar didn’t taste strong. It was smooth and the aroma smells so good. Tasting Kopi Luwak definitely convinced me to buy 1 pack as a gift for my dad. Other drinks tasted great as well. There were lemon detox tea, ginger tea, coconut coffee, vanilla coffee and different kinds of hot chocolate. All are available for sale at the coffee shop in the Coffee Plantation.

coffee_plantation_bali

4. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE LOW PRICED HOTELS

We stayed in two different hotels during our trip in Bali.

The first photo is in Seminyak Lagoon All Suites which is located near Seminyak center. We had a spacious room with kitchen, small living room, bathroom with rain shower and access to the lagoon pool which was really convenient. The hotel has complete amenities. The free breakfast was great so as their customer service. All for $45/night for double occupancy. This budget friendly hotel definitely exceeded our expectations.

cheap_hotel_bali

Our second hotel was La Joya Biu-Biu that we found at AirBnb. It is located on top of a cliff with an infinity pool. Every corner of this hotel is instagram worthy. If I was to rate it, I would give four stars out of five. Our eco-lodge had a medieval interior and a beautiful comfortable bed with curtains where we got tangled a couple of times while trying to get out. This hotel definitely made us feel we’re in a different time and place. Price is around $90/night for double occupancy including breakfast but room is good for up to 5 people.

beautiful_la-joya_hotel_bali

5. NOURISH YOUR BODY WITH HEALTHY EATS & DRINKS

It’s easy to live a healthy lifestyle when in Bali as organic cafes and restaurants can be found just about anywhere. In our two hotels, both welcomed us with fresh natural fruit drinks. All our dining experiences were excellent. The vegetable side dish was always fresh and tasty so are the newly caught seafood. Nalu Bowls, a cafe that serves delicious smoothie bowls also has few branches around Bali. We tried their branch in Single Fin and I finished my healthy bowl of goodness while my friend was only halfway through hers. So delicious!

healthy_drink_balinalu-bowls-single-fin-bali

6. ENJOY THE CLIFF VIEWS

Bali is a place that has the best of both worlds. You can stay in Seminyak for an urban feel or head on to the countryside Ubud to have a great view of the terraces or maybe in Nusa Dua or Jimbaran area for breathtaking cliff views just like this.

uluwatu_temple_bali

la_joya_sunset_bali

7. ENJOY THE BALI WAVES

There are a lot of choices on where to enjoy the waves. In Seminyak, there is the colorful Double Six beach where you can choose to watch the sunset while sitting on a beanbag with an umbrella and a Bintang beer. There are also surfing lessons lined up along Seminyak’s long stretch of beach.

There are also beach clubs such as the famous Potato Head Beach Club, Single Fin and more which requires an entrance fee with consumables. You can also visit the famous Padang-Padang beach in Nusa Dua where the beach scene from the movie ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ took place. Don’t get confused. Any beach is great!

jimbaran_bay_bali

la-plancha_seminyak_bali

8. PLAY WITH THE MONKEYS AT SACRED MONKEY FOREST

Sacred Monkey Forest is one of the must visit places in Bali. It was included in our private day tour in Ubud. Aside from the playful monkeys, the enclosed forest itself was alluring. The temperature inside the park differs since there are a lot of trees and a stream which provides a cool breeze making you feel like you’re inside an air-conditioned room. Friendly monkeys are scattered everywhere. You can buy a bunch of banana for IDR10,000 and monkey guide will help you attract monkeys. One monkey even climbed on top of my head just to get his prize, a banana. It was a very fun monkey encounter and I recommend it to anyone visiting Bali. But of course, always be cautious and follow the rules to have a pleasant experience.

sacred_monkey_forest_ubud_bali

9. PALM READING BY NYOMAN LATRA

This must be the most ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ experience we’ve had in Bali. For IDR250,000, you can have your palm read by Nyoman Latra. The son of the famous palm reader Ketut Liyer who read the palms of Hollywood actress Julia Roberts. The palm reading took place in their family’s beautiful home. Everything he said was full of positivity which can definitely make one look forward in the future. Who wouldn’t get excited? Honestly, I did for the experience. If you decide to have your palm read, I suggest using whatever the reader say as motivation. Don’t fully rely on it. I still believe that we are the ones in charge of creating our own destiny, that whatever we have and wherever we are, it’s because of the decisions and actions we made.

ketut_liyer_nyoman_latra

10. RELAX AND JUST SOAK UP THE BALI ATMOSPHERE

Need I say more?

seminyak_hotels_bali

After spending few days on the island and trying to visit many places as much as we could. It is just not possible. I know we missed a lot of things. There are so many beautiful villas and hotels to try, themed restaurants and cafes, fun activities, and beautiful beaches and attractions left undiscovered. That being said, I will definitely be back not just once or twice but lotta time.

TLV Tips:

  • Book flight in advance, try to score a promo fare by signing up for airline newsletter.
  • Compare hotels or villas before booking. I use TripAdvisor, Agoda, Booking, and AirBnB.
  • Read actual reviews from TripAdvisor and blogs.
  • Do what feels good to you.
  • Spending more time in few places is better and more memorable than trying to compress everything in a limited amount of time.

If you’ve been in Bali, please do let me know your suggested things to do by leaving a comment below. What are the things I forgot to mention? I’d love to know!

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3 Comments

  1. October 17, 2016 / 5:13 pm

    Awesome choices of hotels! Just stayed at Seminyak lagoon as well last month and totally love it. 🙂

    Did you eat some seafood?? Or the famous pork satay? You gotta eat them next time.. hehe

    • October 18, 2016 / 12:18 am

      Hi Erwin! Seminyak lagoon was definitely a bang for the buck right?

      We did eat seafood but only once. Noooo I didn’t know about pork satay! I have to come back. haha

      • October 18, 2016 / 3:49 am

        I know rightt! XD

        Oh.. that’s too badd.. well then yeah you need to go back hahah.. looking forward for the next story! 🙂

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