If you’re interested in visiting Bali or have already made travel plans to go, this blog post is for you! I’ve gotten so many DM’s, texts, and questions about my trip to Bali, Indonesia so I figured the best way to tackle everyone’s interest is to write this blog post. FYI, this post is plenty lengthy so grab a drink and a snack and let’s take a virtual dive into my trip and how you can plan your trip, too.
To everyone who has been so sweet and celebratory towards the Instagram pics I’ve already posted, “Thank you!” and know that I appreciate you. The trip was just as incredible as it looked, no wait, actually more. It was also very affordable so if you want to visit Bali but don’t have a huge budget, no worries, this place is very kind to your wallet. There’s tons to do out there so hopefully this post will help you save time on choosing which spots are the best spots to visit. Keep in mind, some places are pretty spread out so visiting a couple places in a day can take up a whole day due to the actual activity and travel. I recommend you give yourself at least 10 days to have a full enjoyable trip. Anything less than that will feel way too short.
In fact, when I arrived, I told my driver I was vacationing there for 10 days and he said “That’s it?!” Meanwhile, everyone in the U.S gasped when I said I’d be gone that long lol. Bali is such a beautiful place that gives you an amazing traveling and spiritual experience and despite the nearly 24 hours of travel from America, it’s totally worth it. Yes, it took me a 15 hour flight from NY to Guangzhou China, 3 hour layover there, then 5 hours from China to Denpensar, Bali, Indonesia. Did I mention the travel time is totally worth it! ;-)
Where I stayed
For less than $50/per night I stayed in an AirBnb villa in Ubud, hosted by Mega, and it was everything you see from the photos on the Airbnb site. If you’re interested in booking your next vacation stay with Airbnb use this code for some credit for both of us. The space was modern with a Balinese flare, beautiful sunrise and sunset views of the rice fields viewed from the private pool, outdoor dining area, and bedroom. Even the bathroom with a waterfall-like shower head and stone walls were beautiful. My mornings began with a complimentary breakfast spread of food that I pre-selected the night before or morning of.
The staff at the villa was so sweet, service was fast, and they were so on point with communication. They even provided a Butler phone so I could stay in direct contact with them throughout my stay. A freakin phone for the Butler, so dope, right?!
The villa included a free shuttle service to downtown Ubud and it was definitely put to use. If the shuttle wasn’t used a Taxi was called from the lobby or I bravely rode on the back of a scooter which was fun and also made me question my odds of returning to the villa a few times because the people drive a little cray cray out there (insert nervous laugh*). Transportation was one thing that added up pretty quickly in terms of cost because a few places were outside of the downtown Ubud checkpoint, so keep that in mind for your trip.
The welcoming culture of the Ubud, Bali area and the inviting warm weather made it so exciting to venture around. Although it rained about 8 of the 10 days I was there, aside from the Day of Silence (we’ll get into that later) it only rained for an hour or two before stopping. This made it great to check out so many amazing places and grab some dope shots each day.
Here’s a list of places I visited:
Herb Library is a contemporary, healthy dining venue located at the front entrance of Adiwana resort. The restaurant not only serves purely raw or ‘living’ food, but also offers a rather different, plant-based all day dining menu for Herbivores with sustainably and responsibly sourced fish and chicken options for Omnivores too.
An amazing and massive two-story restaurant and bar, complete with a pool, couches, and peaceful views of the rice paddies. They have a variety of raw dishes, desserts, energizing tonics (delicious), elixirs and vegan foods from their green menu. The staff was super sweet and you can tell they’re all friends at work. It was my friends birthday the day we went so they helped me surprise him and brought out a strawberry cheesecake that said Happy Birthday with his name and we all sang Happy Birthday together.
This spot was a Korean inspired restaurant in downtown Ubud which draws on Korean cultures and heritage for simple flavorful food that brings people together, to create an environment that feels comfortable and inviting with “Family Style” dishes. The restaurant had a great vibe, unique decor, and a menu to suit all types of eaters.
Zest is a cozy vegan place with beautiful views overlooking lush jungles, and a decor of sofas and swings that mixes old Balinese traditional architecture and modern art. All ingredients for the restaurant is delicious and sourced locally as they support organic farmers, local artisans and even our staff grow some of our produce at home! The Chef, Simon Jongenotter, designed the menu, and a cooking class I attended while there (more on that next).
Wow! What an experience this was. The New Earth Cooking School’s mission is to empower people through food and that’s exactly what they’re doing. New Earth School, created by Simon Jongenotter, is in rural Bali, 1.5hours north-west of most major tourist destinations, at the base of Batu Karu mountain. The New Earth School is a place where they experiment with both ancient and revolutionary ways of growing and preparing food in harmony with all living beings.
They have internships and intensives and I was there for a 1-day cooking class, which looking back, might’ve directly influenced the changed trajectory of my whole life. Deep, I know. It was an incredible and unforgettable day of foraging, cooking, connecting, eating, and fun.
We started the morning with 9am tea before walking through their on-site forest garden, which is nearly 2 acres in size. The class all walked barefoot through the mud and watered rice fields in order to learn and connect deeper to the earth. Did I mention we ate some flowers and fruits straight off the tree? Yes, I got to be a rabbit for the day too lol. Once we got deeper into the forest, we nestled in a treehouse together for a short guided meditation practice led by Simon. Eye-opening & heart-opening, for sure. It made me feel so safe and cared for.
Following the meditation, we trekked it back to the kitchen and prepared our meals and shared lunch around the table at 2pm. If you’re ever in Ubud, I highly recommend you indulge in this experience.
What a gorgeous place this was and so Fun! Upon entry you learn about what an actual Luwak is and the “benefits” of having one. Apparently the Luwak is cat and possum mixed breed that helps produce coffee. How, might you ask? Well, the coffee includes partially digested coffee cherries, eaten and defecated by the Luwak or Asian palm civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus). Fermentation occurs as the cherries pass through a civet's intestines, and after being defecated with other fecal matter, they are collected, rinsed off, heated over fire, then grinded up to become coffee beans. Sooo interesting, right? Or perhaps you have some other words you’d like to drop in the comments lol.
Also, I can’t say that I tried it, so although I smelled the beans which had no smell surprisingly, I can’t judge whether or not it’s tasty.
Further into exploring the plantation, they have an amazing swing, pictured below which was both scary as hell and fun. They strapped me into a harness and I went soaring into the air overlooking the rice fields. Afterwards they served some of their delicious teas and coffees to try. My favorite was cinnamon flavored. It was sooo good.
The sanctuary or natural habitat of Balinese long tailed Monkey, lies within the village of Padangtegal. There are nearly 1,000 monkey’s living in this area, which scientifically are called Macaca fascicularis. In English called macaque. They are divided into 7 groups and because of the considerable population, the conflicts between groups of monkey cannot be avoided. Sometimes for a specific reason, such as a bath to the river in the dry season, certain groups must cross the other groups territory.
I witnessed conflict in the sanctuary too when one monkey decided to walk into a group of other monkey’s while holding a big empty rice bag. Let’s just say the other monkey’s felt a bit of FOMO and began to snatch the bag from the other monkey. They tussled and even rolled down the stairs landing right into my friend’s shins nearly knocking him over. Which, once I knew he was alright, was actually funny as hell. They tell you not to stare into their eyes but some of them are kinda cute so it’s hard not to. So try your best not to stare, but enjoy taking a look at them and look at the beautiful views inside the sanctuary instead.
The former royal palace of Tirtagangga (which means water of the Ganges, Hinduism's holy river) features tiered fountains, gardens, and stone sculptures of mythical creatures spouting water into bathing pools. Just outside the palace grounds, the views of the lush rice paddies of northeastern Bali are stunning. It was so peaceful and beautiful there and the ponds were full of friendly koi fish.
The stones in the pond makes you feel like you’re walking on water.
Tegalalang Rice Terrace is one of the famous tourist spots in Bali situated in Tegalalang Village north of Ubud Bali featuring amazing rice terrace views set off of cliffs. You spend a good amount of time walking around taking in the views and taking pictures of course. If you’re lucky you’ll even meet a nice farmer who will let you help out with farming a bit. The scenic views are unmatched and there are various swings throughout the rice terrace that you can enjoy too.
This hidden gem was a unique find. This cascading waterfall that compliments the rays of sun shining from the top is quite a site. The day I went, it was a bit cloudy but the view was still so pretty. You walk through a calf-high filled river and stones passing a jungle-like trail, about 15-minutes long, in order to get to this waterfall. Pay attention to the signs though because you’ll be able to find another waterfall too. (shown below)
Tirta Empul temple is a Hindu Balinese water temple located near the town of Tampaksiring, Bali, Indonesia. The temple compound consists of a petirtaan or bathing structure, famous for its holy spring water, where Balinese Hindus go to for ritual purification. Prior to the day of Silence I took a trip here to purify my mind and pray in preparation for their New Year. I’m dressed below in their garb, that was rented, to remain covered over my bathing suit to enter the bathing structure. It was such a calming experience.
The Lempuyang temple is one of the oldest most sacred temples on the island that consists of 7 temples, each found by ascending trails and steps towards the top of the mountain. At the lowest temple, you’ll find the magical “gateway to heaven,” pictured above. Looking through the gate on a clear day reveals Mount Agung framed within its sides. Beyond the gate, three beautiful nāga-lined staircases lead up to the lowest temple.
The whole complex has been dubbed one of the “six sanctuaries of the world,” considered the most sacred places of worship in Bali. Locals believe one must never complain on the way up. If one complains, they will not make it to the top. We’re also asked to be respectful at all times. This means wearing a sarong while visiting this temple complex, and making sure bare knees and shoulders are not visible. This applies to both men and women.
The sight of this waterfall was so exotic. The rush of water cascading down a rock wall into shallow waters. You have to climb the stones very carefully and crouch down to avoid slipping and falling. It was a bit of a trek to get there after walking down the stairs, you go down to the river through the rocks and it’s so worth it once you arrive.
The yoga barn is like its own sacred paradise. It was created by its founders for the sole purpose of bringing together community and giving back to the island of Bali. Located in the heart of Ubud, Bali's cultural hub, The Yoga Barn is Southeast Asia's full service yoga studio and holistic healing retreat center. I took an Intermediate Level Vinyasa Flow class with Marcus which was amazing. The class was packed and was both spiritually grounding and challenging enough to bust a sweat. Next time I return to Bali I’ll def be visiting again.
Talk about a 5-star award winning resort and spa! Sitting on 10 hectares of lush grounds bordered by paddy fields, this upscale riverside resort is 2 km from Ubud Palace and 5 km from the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary temple complex. It was a great place to escape for a while to experience a tranquil flower bath and recharge my mind and body after taking the yoga class at the Yoga Barn. The epic view overlooking the lush river valley while soaking in the flower bath and snacking on some prepared fruits and juice was a great way to spend my final full day in Bali.
So there you have it! Mind you, this wasn’t all that I wanted to do. There were other destinations I wanted to visit but one can only travel so much in 10 days! Plus, a day of travel was technically lost due to Nyepi which is a Balinese "Day of Silence" that is commemorated every Isakawarsa according to the Balinese calendar, which, “Fun Fact”, their calendar is 420 days long in Bali! It is a Hindu celebration and public holiday in Indonesia, recognized as a day of silence, fasting and meditation for the Balinese. That also meant no internet, transportation, electricity, and business are closed.
What wasn’t closed during this trip was my mind, spirit, and heart. All the walking around had my body feeling open too lol. I said I wanted to travel internationally more this year and for my first trip to do that I must say I’m incredibly pleased. I will definitely be returning again to check off some more excursions and I highly recommend you visit in your lifetime as well. The awakening and increased awareness of self that you experience on a trip like this can change your life.
Which place listed above would you like to visit?
Have you gone to Bali before? What did you do out there that I didn’t mention?
Are you thinking of visiting Bali? How was this blog post helpful in helping you plan your trip?
Have questions? Ask away, I’d be happy to answer them here.
I’d love to hear from you, so comment below.