I’ve been the first time in Asia this year, and I had no clue what to expect. Will I like it? Will I feel comfortable? How will I react on a place that’s apparently so different from the cultures I’ve seen so far? Well, I took my first Asian trip to Indonesia, and I have to say that all the worries and questions were erased within minutes after I left the airport.
It clearly was going to be completely different from what I’ve seen before, but I liked the idea of being in a country where I could take myself to new limits. Even if I tried to inform myself before heading to Bali, there still was some feeling about the unknown. I like this sort of mistery. It makes me curious, and it confirms to my little bohemian soul that I was born and made for travelling. Period.
Maybe some of you guys are never been to Bali before. Maybe you’re planning a trip or you’re dreaming to go one day in the future. So I tried to put together a mini guide for beginners, according to what I’ve experience in my month there. I’d like to share my top 4 list of the places you should absolutely visit on your first trip to Indonesia.
Seminyak is located very close to big town Kuta, and it’s the perfect first stopover after landing in Bali. You’ll have the perfect combination of beach, shopping, resorts, local food, fancy club and lounges. Seminyak is known for being a bit more ‘cosmopolitan’, even if it has an Indonesian touch for sure. We rented a villa: it’s a great way to start the Bali experience. Try to live local, I think you’ve seen enough resorts while being in an all inclusive vacation 🙂 Make your mind arrive in this wonderful place: go to the beach, relax and enjoy some sunset drinks and tapas at La Plancha. I loved hanging here until late and have a good walk back home. We didn’t really need any sort of transportation here, we explored everything by walking and it was perfect. You can book your centrally located villa via Airbnb.
The Canggu area is known for being much smaller than Kuta or Seminyak. You’ll enjoy some great view over the ricefields from almost every part of town you reside. Canggu is also well known for being a famous surfer spot: if you stop for a couple of minutes at the Batu Bolong or legendary Echo Beach you’ll discover a lot of waveriders in the ocean. They say it’s an awesome spot to learn surfing too. For what I’ve heard, Kimia should be one of the best local schools. In the evening, don’t play lazy! Everyone is on for happy hour (starting at 5pm) at Old Man’s just on Batu Bolong Beach. This place is supercosy and has some live bands playing a couple of times a week. It was my favourite bar in the evenings, you should totally check it out.
Food Tip: If you’re looking for some places to eat, try the very balinese warung just next to the Kirana Hotel (just follow the main road up from Batu Bolong Beach, it’s like 15 min by walk), for the best Mi Goreng and Nasi Goreng I’ve had in Canggu. If you like fresh & organic food, then you’re place to be is the Crate Cafe, very hip and very very yum!
3. The Gili Islands
The Gili Islands are part of Lombok, and a little piece of paradise. You’ll have all the turquoise water you want and it’s an awesome playground for snorkelers like me. There is an island for every type so here’s you’re choice: Gili Air is the quiet and romantic one, I’ll reccomend it if you’re on a honeymoon or you might don’t want it loud. Personally, I my choice was Gili Trawangan, because you’ll have a combination of everything: beachfront bars, quiet residences in the inner side of the island, good choice of food and yoga retreats. You can read more about Gili T on my post here: you’ll get tons of infos and I guess you’ll be surprised on how cool this little island is.
Ubud is a magical, spirtual place. You should consider it for a couple of days for shutting your mind down a bit. There’s no beach here but plenty of other things to do. Enjoy your stay in one of the gorgeous temple residences located in the little side streets, mine was at Tungeh Inn (PS: Outdoor Bathroom!). If you’ll stay here, you win. Despite the fresh breakfast you’ll have served on your room’s patio, you’ll have two amazing yoga studios nearby, also perfect for beginners. In addition, you should enjoy some food at Bali Buda: this place became very famous and serves great vegan & vegetarian dishes (visit their shop nearby!). Another hint is the Earth Cafe. If you’re on for a trip, go and visit one of the rice fields, it’s a lifetime experience. The monkey forest is another must do here. You’ll experience these lovely creatures running free and jumping on you, if you’re lucky, no kidding!
Taxis & Drivers: If you plan to hit Seminyak first, make sure to bargain your taxi ride to RP 150 000. Not more. Even if it seems impossible and you have to discuss for a while, that’s the price for the ride. After that, hire yourself a driver! If you really plan to visit Ubud, Canggu, Seminyak and everything in that area, let me know. I will let you have the number of my driver Nyoman. He’s super flexible and all you need is to Whatsapp him. 😉
Health Issues: The first day being in Bali maybe will hit your stomach a bit harder. Make sure to have medication with you against stomach and diarrehal issues (ew, I know). Sometimes you just have to get used to it first. I didn’t have a lot of problems though. Don’t ever, ever drink tab water, use a bottle even to brush your teeth.
Security: If you don’t have a safe, take your money with you. It’s better, trust me.
Shopping: My insider tipp is the amazing Blood & Bone in Canggu (just close to Batu Bolong Beach) and the stores on Gili T and Seminyak.
Beauty: Enjoy the massages and pedicures at Goldust Beauty Lounge in Canggu or in the tons of places in Seminyak – you’ll get addicted!
Temple Visit: Tanah Lot is totally worth to see especially at sunset. You’ll enjoy the views and the pictures you’ll bring home are unique.
I certainly lost my heart in Bali and can’t wait to go back. I really hope you’ll get yours lost too because it’s a wonderful place on earth.
Happy Travels ❤