During my stay in Bali, even though I did manage to deconnect for more than 48 hours without smartphone & camera, the rest of the time, I admit the Bali scenery was just too picturesque not to capture it in pictures. Which means I have enough source material for a couple of articles here on the blog, Yoohooo !
Eat, Pray, Love
The main goal of this trip was to get some rest, so our exploration pace was rather slow, but if you’re trying to channel the same farniente vibe (with just a dash of visits here and there), my itinerary might give you some good pointers.
In the upcoming weeks, I’ll detail some places we visited on the Island of the Gods. In the meantime, here are some tips to prepare for your trip!
When should I go?
To be completely honest, when we booked our tickets in February, we were planning to go to Japan in June. But after finding out the japanese weather isn’t ideal at this time of the year (and also because Japan isn’t the only great place to visit, haha!) we chose another destination, and opted for Bali.
May to October is the dry season, so it’s pretty optimal.
We stayed from the 16th of June to July 1st : enjoyable weather (around 26°C – when it was 35-40°C in Paris during the June heatwave!), a reasonable number of tourists and pretty interesting hotel and flight rates.
The (long) airplane ride
There is no direct flight to Indonesia from France : you’ll have to endure a layover somewhere and be patient.
I don’t really have any companies to recommend : you need to compare prices, layover times and places etc. We left with Thai Airways – 19 hours total, including a 3 hour layover in Bangkok. In general, I’m not rebuffed by long airplane journeys, since I can sleep just about anywhere, and I love catching up with movies I missed in the theater while on board, but I know the length of the trip can be daunting for some. .
My N°1 tip for this type of long trip is to wear the -oh so glamorous – therapeutic support stockings (available in pharmacies) to prevent arriving with ankles so swollen they look like an elephant one.
Drink lots and lots of water on board, stay away from alcohol, bring a scarf/bandana to fight against the air conditioning, and a toothbrushing kit to make sure the flight attendant doesn’t faint when you answer the “tea or coffee” question!
No form to fill out before you leave.
Luggage-wise, don’t bring your hunting rifle, your Ninja sword, or 500 packs of cigarettes if you want to make sure your 19 hour flight isn’t prolonged by a few hours with the Customs, but knowing you all, you should be fine.
Of course, put all your liquids over 100 ml in transparent plastic bags.
No visa needed for trips under 30 days. A valid passport is all you need.
Vaccines such as HepA and Typhus are recommended but not mandatory (except if you’re planning on spending a back to the wild trip with Bear Grylls (eating cockroaches and drinking murky water). Other vaccines (diphteria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, …) are supposed to be up to date.
Regarding the infamous “turista”, I ate all that was offered, in the hotel and in the street : fruit, skewers, spicy food, I tried everything, and was fine. Is it because I had taken a lot of probiotics before coming? It’s possible it may help.
I didn’t get an anti-malaria treatment, since Bali has been spared by Malaria. So if you’re staying in Bali only, nothing specific to be done there.
Even though I thoroughly lathered myself with mosquito-repellent, day in, day out, I was not spared… (especially in Ubud, they got through the mosquito-net and my pants!) Don’t panic, for my SO didn’t suffer the same fate – I probably served as bait – I might be the ideal prey…
We split our 15 day vacation in 2 : one week near the beaches of Kuta and Canggu, and another week in Ubud. The first destinations are far from wild, so you’ll probably be tired of all the tourists after a while.
Ubud is way calmer and more relaxing. It was my favorite spot by far.
We would have liked to explore the north and east parts of the island, that must be bursting with photo-worthy places, but as I told you, we had opted for a very down-time vacation style. We concentrated our (albeit moderate) efforts on those two destinations and that was perfect for us.
So I won’t be able to give you more info on the other parts of the island, sorry!
Getting around in Bali
I don’t know if it is because Barack Obama was also vacationing in Bali the same time we were there (reinforced security service), but I found it extremely difficult to get around. Don’t be fooled by the short distance, there is a whole lot of traffic to take into account.
In cities like Seminyak or Kuta, walking is pretty stressful : you need to get out of the way of both cars and two-wheelers and walk on tiny sidewalks. (Oddly enough I wasn’t stressed in the same way in Thaïland or Vietnam even though the street atmosphere is pretty similar).
To get from one place to the next, we opted for taxis (BlueBird Taksi are the most reliable – with a meter).
The best option would be to rent a scooter. A good number of tourists choose that solution, but not being familiar with two-wheelers or confident enough to navigate amidst the crazy balinese traffic rules, we opted out.
For long distances and excursions, you can rent a car with a chauffeur for a day, and he’ll take you wherever you want. It’s a well-spread option, and pretty cheap (around 35€ for a day).
Eating in Bali
I was never disappointed in Bali, no matter what I ate. Everything is fresh, well prepared and hearty.
Warungs are tiny family-owned and run restaurants that you’ll find just about everywhere. They serve very traditional food. Indonesian food is pretty spicy (notably satay) but it’s totally bearable.
Prices are cheap (around 2 euros for a street cart meal, like nasi goreng)
In parallel, the vegan/veggie is incredibly varied and of good quality. The Vegan/Yoga/Healthy grains options are a bit more expensive than the warungs but the salad or buddha bowls (all extremely hearthy) are rarely over 6-7 euros.
I’ll be saying more about the balinese gastronomy in my next posts, and sharing some addresses! Stay posted!
So here was my tour of the questions you may be asking yourself if contemplating a trip to Bali. As usual, don’t hesitate to ask additional questions, I’ll do my best to answer. See you soon for the rest of the trip! (English translation by Marine)