top of page
  • Writer's pictureValeria

BALI



Second stop: Bali! Gianluca Gotto is in the middle of all of this too: I read about the beautiful Ubud in his books and, well, he was definitely right. I enjoyed the journey with some Melbourne friends but once in Bali we met many more. We built an awesome group, with people from all over the world sharing our same decision to move to Australia, each of them for a different reason.

Bad premise: out of the 16 days we spent in Bali, 12 days rained like no tomorrow, in a time well far from the rainy season. 16 days in which our teardrops and the rain encountered and blended together.

Anyway, nothing romantic.

So, should we start?


ULUWATU (27th-29th JUNE)

Our first stop was Uluwatu, south of Bali and famous for its beautiful beaches and stunning sunsets. We stayed at the Surfers House Green Bowl, in a 4 beds room (male-only for the guys, female-only for us) with ensuite bathroom we spent 45,03 AUD (27,34 EUR) each. The hostel is small and very quiet (it’s not close to the town centre), dormitories face a little pool. Breakfast is not included but dinner is offered every night at 7.30pm. Whoever’s interested, should tell the reception in the morning before 12pm.

A little note about beds: they are comfortable but the top bed is steeply high I honestly felt a little unsafe because there was not even a protective barrier.

After we left our stuff in the hostel, we had a walk in Uluwatu and stopped at the Ape Club for a beer. We have been lucky because we popped there during the happy house, from 4 to 7pm: we bought 3 beers but we only paid 2. After the happy hour, we went to Padang Padang Beach to watch the sunset. It was amazing. We girls took a dip and it was magical. You really should go! In case you want to enjoy the beach as well, you can also have surf lessons or rent a board by yourself.

To stay on topic, the day after we only had one thing in our mind: surf! Dreamland Beach has been our destination, a recommended beach for beginner surfers (truth-internet: could’ve gone better). The board rent was 100k rupias for 1 hour (9,91 AUD – 6,02 EUR), 150 for 2 hours (14,86 AUD – 9,03 EUR); the individual lesson costed me 500k rupias for 1,5 hours, which was two hours at the end (49,53 AUD – 30,08 EUR). Before this surfing experience I already tried in Melbourne, at Urbnsurf. It’s a big pool with artificial waves, nothing to do with the real one, so Bali was for me a sort of second-first time.

Surf tip: the girl I went to surf with, had a surf camp in Australia, that’s why she rented a board my herself. She told me Bali waves were completely different from waves she experienced in Australia and she had hard times taking any at the right time. Even though you already had surf lessons before (unless you are an expert), I suggest you to have at least one lesson to know Balinese waves better. Teachers are super helpful and patient. The one I had also helped my friend to take some waves 😊

Then, after a 2-hours fight with the ocean and a burned butt, we went back to the hostel, had dinner and went straight to bed, exhausted.


SURE THING. HANDS UP, THOSE OF YOU WHO BELIEVED IT.


We went to the Hatch Club, an interesting club, free entry, with an internal jungle and different music every night. We popped into a techno night. Inside the club you can also play beer pong, table football, pool and videogames. Super gem: there is a tattooer in the club, doing flash tattoos from 400k rupias (39,63 AUD – 24,07 EUR).


Our last day in Uluwatu we visited the Uluwatu Temple.

Unfortunately, we didn’t really have a visit because we lost each other once inside but what we experienced was:

  • a beautiful sunset

  • evil monkeys

Inside the temple, we also watched the Fire Dance. Something unusual and funny, actors also come into the public. The ticket costs 150k rupias (14,86 AUD – 9,03 EUR) and you can buy it once in the temple. I suggest you to buy it as soon as you get to the temple because there are only two shows per day and the amphitheatre is not too big. If you change your mind, you can always re-sell the ticket to the ticket office and get your money back.

Tip: right before the show you will see a queue close to the ticket office. Wait in line as well: it’s common that tickets are slightly more than the effective seats, if you get in line early you will surely grab a seat.


UBUD (29th JUNE – 4th JULY)

Here we are, into the very heart of our trip. Before writing about what we did here, I must tell you HOW CRAZILY I LOVED UBUD.

It’s pleasantly chaotic.
It smells of spices and incense.
People are always smiling, no matter what they are doing.
Food is delicious, of a homey goodness.
It’s beautiful, even when it’s raining.

We stayed at Puji Hostel, a central hostel, made of bungalows and in the middle of a jungle. It has a pool as well. We spent 5 nights in a mixed dorm with 6 beds and an en-suite bathroom and it costed us 67,54 AUD (41,01 EUR) each. Breakfast is included and very simple: a banana pancake with tea or coffee. You can also ask for fruit or eggs with some bread.

Despite the ceaseless rain, this is what we did in Ubud:

  • Pura Dalem Temple: it’s small but definitely worth the visit. The entrance costs 10k rupias (1 AUD – 0,60 EUR) and they have dance shows from Monday to Saturday night. We saw the Legong, Barong and Keris Dance (all-in-one show). The performance was unique: dancers danced with every ounce of their bodies, from their feet toes to their eyes which they moved in a magnetic way, perfectly aligned to the rest of their body.

  • Monkey Forest: a close encounter with our ancestors…to whom we need to pay a little attention. Entering the park, you will find just a few simple instructions, read them carefully. Here are some:

    1. If you have keyrings attached to your backpack and you really loved them, take them off before entering. A monkey stole my little kangaroo keyring, bought at Queen Victoria Market.☹

    2. Same applies for valuables like earrings, necklaces or bracelets. Monkeys are curious and they could may pick it up, hurting you.

    3. No food inside the park.

    4. Keep your backpacks closed with a locker because monkeys know how to open zips, and never take your backpack off your shoulders.

    5. Don’t look the monkeys in their eyes because it’s a sign of aggression to them.

    6. Monkeys themselves are not aggressive, they are just mischievous and thieving. Don’t be scared if they jump on you, they don’t want to hurt you, they are just curious. If you let them do whatever, they will leave you on their own. At that point, it will be you stealing them…some shots!

  • Ubud Market: here you can find everything, it’s huge! I bought a few things, like my sarong: a long fabric piece used by Indonesian men and women as a long skirt. Many Indonesians use it everyday and you can also arrange it as a dress. Bargain! 😉

  • Cremation cerimony: holy ceremony for the Balinese people. The ceremony day is chosen by a Hindy priest (not every day is good for it) and its preparation involves thousands of people. Wooden structures are built up:

    1. the cremation tower: a pagoda-shaped structure with architectural elements symbolizing the Balinese universe

    2. a big animal-shaped structure, which would be the coffin and “transport” for dead bodies. Depending from the gender, chaste and status of the dead, the animal can be a cow, a bull, a lion, a deer or an elephant. During the ceremony, this structure will be set on fire to bring dead souls to paradise.

To participate to the ceremony, you have to wear a sarong with its proper belt and cover your shoulders. Its not a touristic ceremony, those who participate are the deceased families and who volunteered to set it up. We participated thanks to one of our travel mate’s friend. That day was pouring rain for the entire ceremony, we got stuck in the mud but on our way back, us and our scooters enjoyed a beautiful shower.

  • Tirta Empul: this temple is famous for the water purification ceremony. At the temple entrance (50k rupias - 5 AUD – 3 EUR), you can pay a guide (same price as the entrance) who will explain you the entire ritual and take you some photos too.

  • Coffee Plantation Pemulan: after the purification ceremony, we enjoyed a guided tour in this plantation and a tea and coffee free tasting. Here you can also try the most expensive coffee in the world, the Kopi Luwak. We shared a cup which costed us 80k rupias (8 AUD – 4,80 EUR).

  • Tegallalang Rice Terrace: a beautiful rice terrace, rich of photography spots. You can also take a photo on the swings. We came here after a bad downpour: my friend slipped with her butt on the mud and I plunged my foot in a so thick mud that it seemed quicksands!

Yoga

During my Ubud stay, I tool 3 yoga lessons in 2 different schools.

  1. Alchemy Yoga Center: all lessons have a fixed price of 150k rupias each (15 AUD – 9 EUR) together with mat, cube and cushions for the yoga practice. The place is amazing, with a little café inside. The yoga hall is huge and a little dispersive too, I suggest you to sit at the very front so you can follow the teacher at best. Here I had two different lessons: Yin Flow and Earth Class. Yin Flow it’s a slow and simple class, a few same positions are repeated during the entire lesson and it’s perfect for those who never had a yoga class or gets back after a long time. Earth Class has been my second lesson and I loved it, starting from the teacher. A dynamic class with an insanely attentive teacher: right before he started, he welcomed and introduced himself to each student singularly and asked us if we had special physical needs.

  2. Radiantly Active: a school with smaller and simpler halls. I had a Fluid Hatha lesson with an Indian teacher. Without infamy and without praise. Same price of the Alchemy.


Spa

Close by to Puji Hostel there’s Ingrith Spa. Here I had a pedicure with foot peeling for 140k rupias (14 AUD – 8,38 EUR) and a neck, shoulders, head massage for 110k rupias (11 AUD – 6,58 EUR). The pedicure was very well done, the massage had a little too much pressure.


CANGGU (4-6th JULY, 7-10th JULY)

Well, what to say if not…PARTY ON!

The days we spent in Canggu have been in the name of night clubs and noon alarms. We stayed at the Lushy Hostel in an 8-bed dorm with shared bathroom, for two nights, and spent 45,03 AUD (27,34 EUR). This is a party hostel, this means that there is (high volume) music all day long, from noon to midnight. Think carefully before booking nights here, especially if you can’t stand bad noises. Otherwise…earplugs! There are two super cheap laundries nearby and a bunch of great food places. If you are lazy, you can always have food in the hostel. You will be a little outside the town center.

For our second stay, back from Nusa Penida, we stayed at the Somewhere Hostel in a 6 beds dorm with en-suite bathroom, for 3 nights, and spent 59,26 AUD (35,98 EUR). This is a party hostel as well, so my recommendations are the same. Here you are closer to the town center, you can walk to move around.

Big stuff now: where to party on?

  • W Atlas Superclub: this is the biggest club I’ve ever seen. There is a beach club as well, but we hadn’t been there. The night club is enormous, from outside and inside, but also quite dispersive. Free entry for girls, prices for boys are:

    1. 200k rupias (Sunday - Thursday): 20 AUD – 12 EUR

    2. 250k rupias (Friday & Saturday): 25 AUD – 15 EUR

  • La Favela: this club is awarded the first place in our personal ranking. We’ve been here for 4 whole nights because the place itself is beautiful and the music as well. There are different stages to dance in and it’s always crowded with people of all ages. There are open-air zones and…a reproduction of the Rio’s Christ Redeemer! Free entry for everyone.

  • Finns Beach Club: another huge club where you can sip cocktails, comfortable seated in the pool. Inside the pool! If taking a bath doesn’t appeal to you, there are tables right to the front of the ocean. You can also dance facing the DJ: music is good, heavily mixed. Inside the club, towels and lockers are available. The lockers rent requires 500k rupias cash as a deposit, you will have 450k rupias back once cleared the locker. If you are a group, you can also pay for just one because they are quite big: we were 5 and used just one. Free entry for everyone.

These have been our very favourite clubs, that’s why I suggest you to give all of them a change. These are other clubs we’ve been to:

  • The Vault

  • Old Man’s

  • Motel Mexicola

  • Shi Shi


Spa

After 4 big nights in a row, want not to cuddle you with a massage? I’ve been to Carla Spa and with 160k rupias (16 AUD – 9,58 EUR) I gifted myself with a 90 minutes total body massage.


Markets

Around Canggu, we visited two markets:

  1. Seminyak Flea Market: open-air market. I found it cute but I expected it to be way bigger (dams Instagram…). Prices are not that cheap, let’s say “touristic”.

  2. Krisna Oleh: bigger than the Flea and covered. Way cheaper and authentic but you can also find something more Western, like tees and hoodies. There are beautiful sarongs, different from those you can find in other markets.


Canggu Food

Here’s where you can find some good food in Canggu:

  1. Secret Spot: a vegan restaurant. AMAZING! With a huge dessert list!

  2. Crate: the perfect brunch choice, huge portions. Usually crowded.


NUSA PENIDA (6-7th JULY)

This has been the worst part of our trip. We stayed at The Moon Hostel for one night, in a mixed dorm with 8 beds and shared bathroom and paid 13,10 AUD (7,95 EUR).

What did we do? Absolutely nothing ☹

It poured rain since we arrived till the day we left. And we left with a bang: we’ve gone crazy to find a boat to go back to Bali despite the heavy ocean. We risked our life but we’ve been lucky!


UBUD (10-12th JULY)

These last 3 days I’ve been alone in Ubud. I stayed two nights at the In Da Lodge in a mixed 6 beds dorm and I spent 36,72 AUD (22,30 EUR).

After all parties and party hostels I was in the previous days, this hostel relaxed me a lot. It’s surrounded by a green jungle and rooms are beautiful: white and clean. They have en-suite bathroom and it’s all separate: a room for the toilet, one for the shower and an external sink. The only minus was the shower room: there are no hooks to hand clothes, just the door handle.

For my last few days, I chose to go back to Ubud not only because it’s my favourite place in Bali, but also because, for a beautiful coincidence, I had the pleasure to have lunch with Gianluca Gotto, Claudia and the beautiful Asia. Gianluca’s books have been crucial in my last year life choices, meeting him has been extremely moving. The lunch let me know a group of people with incredible stories.



Ubud Food

My favourite food places in Ubud:

  • Rococo Warung: the kitchen closes later compared to other warungs.

  • Tulani Vegetarian Restaurant: just outside the Monkey Forest, here you can have typical vegetarian and vegan Balinese specialties.

  • Ubud Food Festival: we have been lucky enough to assist to this food festival. It was full of free tastings and a lot of plant-based options.

  • Warung Makan Bu Rus: the best warung ever! Big portions and you have to try their satay.

  • Sayuri: a fully vegan restaurant. This has been the restaurant I had lunch with Gianluca Gotto. It’s not exactly cheap but portions are quite big and desserts are AMAZING!


Do you want a friendly advice?

I give you 7.

  1. Rent a scooter: maybe it’s not the safest transportation but it allows you to quickly move around and avoid the crazy traffic jam (Ubud is the worst town for traffic).

  2. Taxi: when you can’t use a scooter, grab a taxi through mobile apps like Grab o Gojek and be aware moving can take you a lot of time. Just to give you an idea: from Ubud to the airport, the day of my departure, it took me more than 2 hours for a 20km ride.

  3. Hostels with unlocked doors: many hostels have unlocked room doors. If this is a problem for you, ask the hostel before booking a room. In Bali everyone speaks English, it would be easy to communicate.

  4. If you like to walk, watch out for holes: sidewalks are often rough or non-existent. If there are holes due to road works, they are not marked, so be aware where you’re stepping.

  5. Be the cash always with you: many hostels don’t accept any credit or debit card and, if so, POS connection if often terrible. For those of you coming from Australia: you will find Commonwealth Bank ATMs to withdraw Indonesian rupias.

  6. Travel insurance. ALWAYS.

  7. Bali Belly: the classic Balinese intoxication. You can contract it through non-purified water or contaminated food. Change of getting it are high, we’ve been lucky…but also careful. Here’s what to pay attention to not to be ruined the holiday from it:

    1. If you can, have a look at the kitchen, especially if you are eating in a warung.

    2. If you order cocktails or smoothies, ask to remove the ice.

    3. If you order raw veggies, always ask which water has been used to wash it.

    4. Be careful with hostel purified water! Check the little beak and the big bottle too, to see the general state of cleanliness.

    5. If you enter a warung and you feel uncomfortable, choose a restaurant. It’s better to spend a little more money than be stucked in the toilet for a week.

    6. For good measure, bring with you pills like Imodium. You can take one before each meal or simply if you feel sick (guys, I am not a doctor or an expert, this is a tip from an indonesian friend).




Useful links


HOSTELS

Surfers House Green Bowl (Uluwatu)

Puji Hostel (Ubud)

Lushy Hostel (Canggu)

The Moon Hostel (Nusa Penida)

Somewhere Hostel (Canggu)

In Da Lodge (Ubud)


CLUBS

W Atlas Superclub (Canggu)

La Favela (Seminyak)

Finns Beach Club (Canggu)

The Vault (Canggu)

Old Man’s (Canggu)

Motel Mexicola (Seminyak/Canggu)

Shi Shi (Seminyak)


RESTAURANTS

Secret Spot (Canggu)

Crate (Canggu)

Ubud Food Festival (Ubud)

Rococo Warung (Ubud)

Tulani Vegetarian Restaurant (Ubud)

Warung Makan Bu Rus (Ubud)

Sayuri Healing Food (Ubud)



YOGA

Alchemy Yoga Center

Radiantly Active

12 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page