Why I Keep Returning to Bali

I’ve written here before about Bali and its delicious food, so it’s no surprise that I still love visiting this beautiful Indonesian island.

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Since moving to Asia, I’ve been going back here at least once a year. If you’ve never been before, I’d like to share with you some tips and places to check out. Enjoy!


It’s a Vegan Paradise

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There’s a reason why vegans, yogis, and health nuts keep coming back to Bali: the delicious food! Vegan options are available everywhere, and food is fresh, healthy, and delicious. Eat smoothie bowls, coconuts, fresh juices, and raw desserts to your heart’s content. Even non-vegan restaurants will have vegan options, especially in Ubud, which is a vegan hub.

Places to check out:

Paradiso Cinema

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This all-vegan cinema is located inside the Down to Earth marketplace in Ubud. Tickets are only 50 000 IDR and they show various films all day. You can order from their extensive vegan menu, and the food will be brought right up to your seat. You ticket price is subtracted from the cost of the food — score!

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Paradiso Ubud, Jalan Goutama Selatan, Ubud

Fivelements

The luxury resort is the ultimate luxury vegan getaway. Offering wellness packages, retreats, spa treatments, and vegan cooking classes, this is an eco-friendly destination perfect for a special occasion (note: it’s not cheap!)

visit Fivelements’ website

Sage

One of my favourite vegan restaurants, especially for brunch. They have a delicious tofu omelette, amazing veggie burgers, and yummy desserts which change daily.

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Sage,Β Jl. Nyuh Bulan no. 1,Β Ubud

Nalu Bowls

A instagram-worthy smoothie bowl bar, with delicious ingredients and beautiful colours. Perfect on your walk to Seminyak beach.

Multiple locations in Seminyak, Uluwatu, and Canggu


It’s Beautiful

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Places to check out:

Tegalalang Rice Terrace

Get an amazing panoramic view of this vibrant, green, popular spot. You can walk around the terraces whilst sipping a fresh coconut. It’s perfect for those amazing vacation shots. There is an official entrance where you have to pay to enter, but also a viewpoint from the opposite side where the locals go (and it’s free!)

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Temples

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Bali has tons of temples, especially since Hinduism is the main religion on the island. Some have holy water which you can bathe in; some are located in volcanic lakes; and some are located on the shore, with beautiful sunsets. Don’t miss Gunung Kawi Temple, Ulun Danu Baratan Temple, or Tanah Lot for breathtaking photos and memorable experiences. Don’t forget to show respect when visiting temples: follow the suggested dress code and speak quietly.

Campuhan Ridge Walk

If you’re staying in the rice terraces outside of Ubud, the easiest and most beautiful way to enter the city is through this ridge walk, which takes about 20-30 minutes. It offers picturesque views of rice terraces and the jungle. It’s a great place to go for an early morning run before it gets too hot.

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C a m p u h a n R i d g e W a l k Photo by Photo location : starts near Ibah Hotel, Ubud, Bali Campuhan Ridge Walk is a free and easy nature trek popular for runners among visitors of Ubud area. You can walk and see the green nature on all sides or run together with your friends! The hike lets you enjoy cool, fresh air with its 9 km hill track It is also popularly known as "Bukit Cinta" Hashtag your photos with us to get featured! 😬😰 😷😏πŸ˜₯ πŸ˜˜πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜… #trip #wanderlust #mytravelgram #paradise #traveller #traveltheworld #pesonaindonesia #travelphoto #worldplaces #ubud #blogger_de #indotravellers #instavacation #thebalibible #balilife #nusadua #indonesiabagus #balibible #sanur #jimbaran #jalan2men #jalan2terus #thebaliguideline #kompasnusantara #baliholiday #balicili #aircrew #wonderfullombok #buleleng #balitour 😬😡 😡😌 πŸ˜€πŸ˜‚πŸ˜ πŸ˜πŸ‘Ώ

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It’s Easy to Navigate

Tips:

Rent a scooter or a bicycle

Scooters and petrol are notoriously cheap to rent and will allow you to see all the amazing parts of the island. Be aware, however, that there are some scooter scams where places will take your passport as collateral, and when you return the bike, insist you created damage and demand that you pay a ridiculous amount of money to get your passport back. A way around this is to rent from your hotel, take photos of your bike before you get on, or make photocopies of your passport instead of giving them the physical one.

If you’re a little timid, rent a bicycle!

Take a ferry to the Gili Islands

The Gili Islands are not to be missed! Although not technically part of Bali, these 3 tiny islands are a short ferry ride away, and offer everything from party nights, tranquil beaches, and amazing spots for snorkelling.

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Scuba Dive in Nusa Penida

My first time scuba diving was at Manta Point, where dozens of manta rays frequent. They are such beautiful creatures to swim with under the water. Keep your eyes out for turtles and other colourful fish too!

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It’s Affordable

Tips:

Try local foodΒ 

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As I’ve mentioned before, it’s always better to eat local foods wherever you are, and Bali is no exception. Local food is more affordable, more environmentally-friendly, and more delicious! Most restaurants are quite cheap, but if you’re really on a budget, try fresh fruits from fruit stalls or local snacks likeΒ tahu isi (deep fried tofu stuffed with veggies) and tempeh (fermented soy beans).

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Siang semua πŸ€— Makan siang aqu pake ini ajah ah yg tahu pasti tahu kalo ini tahu yaaa tahu isi aka tahu bunting *alamak sape yah yg ngebuntingin ini tahu πŸ˜‚ Coba tanya sama si mak @yue_cooking biasanya dy tahu πŸ˜‚ . . . Ini buatnya pake jurus kira2 Tahu Isi Sayuran Bahan : 10-15 bh Tahu Pong Goreng 2 bh Wortel diparut 5 lbr Kol diiris tipis 100 gr Touge 1 btg Daun Seledri 3 bh Bawang Merah dihaluskan 2 siung Bawang Putih dihaluskan Kaldu jamur, Gula dan Lada secukupnya Bahan Pelapis : Saya pakai tepung bakwan tinggal kasih air sedikit sampai adonan kental (jangan encer ya) Caranya : Siapkan tahu belah bagian atas. Tumis bumbu halus.. Masukkan sayur2an.. Beri kaldu jamur, gula dan lada secukupnya. Test rasa. Isi sayuran ke dalam tahu.. Lalu celupkan tahu kedalam adonan tepung.. Goreng sampai berwarna kecoklatan (garing). Angkat siap dimakan 😊 #tahuisisayuran #tahuisi #tahubunting

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Stay in a hostel, homestay, or eco-cottage with breakfast

You can never go wrong with stocking up on the breakfast buffet! If you’re smart, you might even be able to make some sandwiches or take some snacks to last you through lunch, too.

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Don’t book transportation through your hotel

Hotels usually charge ridiculous prices for airport pickup or to hire a private car. Private drivers are available all over Bali (if you don’t want to rent a scooter), and some will even drive you around all day for a few hundred thousand IDR. Try to find taxi drivers through tour booths where you’re staying that. You might even be able to haggle a lower price.

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Hiring a private car is a good way to see most of the island in a day, and make it in time to watch the sunset at Tanah Lot.


It Has it All

Beaches / Surfing

Take a surfing lesson in Canggu, visit the black sand beaches in Lovina, or relax at the crytal clear waters of Gili Trawangan. Keep in mind that some of the busier beaches will charge you an arm and a leg for a beach chair and/or umbrella, so bring your own.

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Nature

Hike up a volcano to watch the sunrise. Stay in an eco-cottage and play with goats while eating breakfast. Visit the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud. See a giant waterfall. Explore the jungle. Snorkel or scuba dive with sea turtles. Bali has it all!

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Suggestions:

1) Don’t go to Kuta

I personally do not like this place, although I’m sure quite a lot of travellers do! Kuta is a loud, crowded, party spot with chain restaurants and touristy shops. Kuta beach, although large, is dirty and full of tourists. To me, this isn’t the real Bali.

2) If you take a taxi, make sure the meter is turned on

Jess and I had an incident in Seminyak where we got into a car, started chatting, and didn’t notice that the taxi meter hadn’t been turned on. When we asked the driver, he said, “It’s a special day (holiday), so it’s a fixed price.” He tried to charge us 300 000 RP even though we had gone to the same spot before and paid only 80 000. He locked the doors of the taxi and started yelling at us and demanding more money before we got out. We took another taxi that day and there was no “special day” rule.

3) Be aware that you may get food poisoning

We were only meant to stay one night in Padangbai before catching the ferry the next day, but we ended up staying quite longer than expected. We got food poisoning from eating a tempeh burger, and let’s just say I’ve never been so violently ill in my entire life. It was so bad that we physically couldn’t vacate our rooms when the hotel manager told us we had to leave — our friend had to carry us down the stairs. It took me several days to recover from this and it wasn’t fun! Try to eat cooked foods instead of raw foods, and choose restaurants that look well-established and clean.

4) The ferry rides are not enjoyable

As someone who doesn’t normally get sea sick, I still found the ferry rides quite rocky. If you’re prone to sea sickness, stock up on travel sickness pills. Although the ferry journeys are generally safe, there have been fatal accidents in the past few years.

5) Respect the local customs

Once you leave Bali, the rest of Indonesia is a Muslim nation. The Gili Islands are no exception. Although these are beach islands filled with tourists, you’ll see signs telling beachgoers to cover up when walking around the town. If you don’t want to be woken up at 5am by prayers, then stay far away from the mosques. And most importantly, don’t break the local laws — especially shoplifting. Tourists who have been found stealing have been taken on a “walk of shame” and paraded through the streets to atone for their acts.

6) You may witness animal abuse

This is especially obvious on Gili Trawangan, which doesn’t allow cars but allows horse-drawn carriages. Although animal rights activists have been trying to stop this for years, it still persists. The carriages have one horse which can pull entire families of people with all their luggage in the hot sun. Be aware of places that have exotic animals for “pets” and never spend money on animal entertainment.


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Bali is an amazing place. Although it’s become a tourist hotspot in recent years, it still maintains its natural beauty and distinct culture. Get yourself there soon and enjoy relaxation, delicious food, and breathtaking nature.

kayla

2 thoughts on “Why I Keep Returning to Bali

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