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During the summer of 2017 we spent two weeks on Bali in Indonesia. I had really been looking forward to this trip. And Bali did not disappoint. There was so much to experience and explore, and we probably didn’t do half of what we planned. I really want to go back one day.
In this post you’ll get to read about our stay at Bali. A little bit general facts, pictures from the hotel we stayed at, and a little about what you can do when staying at Bali.
Facts about Bali
Location: Indonesia in South East Asia.
Language: The official language is Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
Time difference: 7 hours ahead of Norway (The country where I’m from)
Currency: Indonesian Rupiah (IDR). Today (February 2019) 1 euro equals about 15 900 IDR.
Bali has good temperatures all year round. The temperature is about 28-29°C throughout the year, with the same temperature in the sea. However, something you must be aware of is rainy season. The best period to go to Bali is from May to October, where July and August has the most rain-free days. But if you go in September or October you’ll get an extra hour of sun every day, and not really much more rain.
If you do go in the rainy season anyways, you’ll probably be fine after all. When it rains it pours for a little while, but then the sun starts shining again. It’s not fun being caught in heavy rain, but it usually doesn’t last very long.
Traveling to Bali
To get to Bali you can fly with KLM. That’s what we did. Then we got to travel from our local airport, Stavanger Airport. The flight had a total of two layovers, one in Amsterdam and one in Singapore. In Singapore it was a short stop, and we boarded the same plane as we landed in. For some passengers this was their final destination, but we also had some new passengers boarding the plane. Therefore we had to go through security before entering the gate.
The duration of the flight is almost 24 hours, depending on how long the layovers are. You might need a few tips on what to bring in your hand luggage for such a long trip? In this post you get 12 tips on what to bring to your next flight.
You don’t need a visa to get to Bali. You’ll get a free visa on arrival that lasts for 30 days. To get this you have to go through immigration, and when doing so it’s wise to have a departure ticket to show if needed. In addition to this you need a passport that is valid 6 months from when you arrive Bali.
How to get around
We mostly walked when going somewhere. This was of course in the local area, so we used other ways to get around if we where going further away from the hotel. To and from the airport we ordered a taxi through the hotel. We had ordered in advance so we had a taxi waiting for us at the airport. This was because we had read a little bit about «dishonest taxi drivers». One thing is that some taxi drivers take detours so you have to pay extra. It’s probably easy to trick tourists who doesn’t know the area. Another thing is that some taxis don’t have a taximeter, and this can be problematic. We learned that «Blue Bird Taxis» are the most honest. Just look for a bird in the taxi sign on top of the car. It can be tricky sometimes to separate the taxis because some taxis imitates Blue Bird Taxis (just without the bird in the sign).
Hire a driver
It is possible to take the bus, rent a car, scooters, or bikes, but we didn’t do that this time. What we did do on the other hand was to hire a driver for a day (10 hours). This was very cheap. The driver can bring you anywhere you want. Our driver spoke English and joined us as a guide at some of the locations. Where he wasn’t our guide he just sat in the car waiting for us until we were ready to go to the next location. He was very nice and also very keen on being a photographer for us (even without asking).
We stayed at the same hotel during our whole stay at Bali. That was at «Holiday Inn Resort Bali Benoa». This is located south in Bali. It was a nice hotel and we enjoyed our two weeks here.
The hotel has a great breakfast buffet with lots of different food. The restaurant where breakfast is served they also serve lunch and dinner throughout the day. In addition to this restaurant the hotel has a beach bar with tasty drinks and some simple dishes. We often had our lunch here because it was right by the pool and the beach. The whole hotel is in fact practically on the beach, so we had a morning beach walk almost every day after breakfast.
If you want to read more about the hotel and what other people think about it, you can read about that here.
A little bit of what you can do in Bali
There is so much to see and do when you’re in Bali, but here is some of the things we saw and did.
Sacred Monkey Forest (Ubud)
We really had been looking forward to visiting the Sacred Monkey Forest. It was fin walking around in the jungle among monkeys who were not afraid of people at all. The monkeys in Sacred Monkey Forest is of the species macaque. This species is widespread in Asia, and in this forest there are over 100 such monkeys.
Several places in the Monkey Forest they sold bananas that you could use to get the perfect photo of you and the monkeys. They showed us how you could get the monkeys up on your shoulders by holding the banana over your head. I chickened out even though I really wanted to try. By the way, it was recommended not to feed or pet the monkeys since they are wild animals after all. Another tip is to not walk around with too many loose objects as the monkeys can grasp whatever it may be, if it looks edible.
To get in to the Monkey Forest you have to pay 40 000 IDR. That’s about 2,50 euros.
Tegenungan Waterfall (Ubud)
There are many great waterfalls in Bali, but we chose this one because we were in the area. When you arrive here you have to buy a ticket for 10 000 IDR. And we also payed a little bit extra to get to the top of the waterfall.
After buying the ticket you can make your way down to the waterfall. Be prepared for lots of steep steps! It’s not that fun making your way up again, but it’s worth it.
Tirta Empul (Gianyar)
Tirta Empul is a temple in Gianyar, about a 30 minute drive from Ubud. The driver we had hired recommended this temple. Here you have to pay for the entrance and for parking. A little bit over 20 000 IDR.
Like in all temples and holy places in Bali it’s important to think about how you dress. In this temple you get to borrow a traditional «kamen» that covers the lower body (see picture below). The temple also has a pool, if I can call it that. That’s for believers who then can take a «cleansing bath».
Tegalalang Rice Terrace (Gianyar)
In Gianyar you will also find Tegalalang Rice Terrace. Here you initially pay 10 000 IDR for your entrance, but you are also encouraged to make donations some places before moving along. Absolutely worth a trip.
Waterblow (Nusa Dua)
Nusa Dua and Waterblow was within walking distance from our hotel. We visited Waterblow twice because we didn’t get to see a proper «waterblow» the first time. A fun thing to see if you are in the area, but I’m not sure if I would have made this attraction a priority if I hadn’t lived nearby.
In Nusa Dua you will also find restaurants, hotels, a mall, and one of the best beaches on the island.
Next time I’m in Bali
Even though I got to see a lot when we were in Bali there’s still some things I would like to experience the next time I’m going. We had planned to see most of these things as well, but it did not turn out that way this time. But then I already have a plan for next time. Here is a short list of some of the things I would like to do next time I’m in Bali.
Visiting the island Nusa Penida is something I really want to do. This is where you find «Broken Beach», which probably is one of the most photographed places in Bali. Just google it for yourself to see how beautiful it looks!
Gili Islands & Lombok
Living in the Gili Islands and Lombok for a couple of days is also something I really want to do. It looks amazing! On these islands you find the best beaches. The beaches in Bali is far from as impressive as these.
Mount Batur/Gunung Batur
Mount Batur is a active volcano and is about 1717 masl. You can join the «sunrise trekking» that is arranged here, a hike up to the volcano to look at the sunrise. In addition to watching the sunrise from the top of the volcano you get served breakfast that the guide makes from the steam of the volcano. If this sounds fun you get picked up at the hotel at 2 AM, and start the hike around 4 AM. Then you reach the summit around 6 AM and get to enjoy the sunrise and breakfast before going back down.
On the way back from the volcano to the hotel it’s possible to visit a Balinese coffee plantation. Here you can taste the world’s most expensive coffee, Kopi Luwak. Kopi Luwak is made by Asian palm civets, a cat-like animal, eating coffee cherries. They only digest the pulp from the berries so the beans come through the digestive system whole. It’s these beans that makes the special taste to the coffee. The beans are cleansed out of the palm civet’s feces, and of course washed before getting burned.
Bali was amazing and I really want to go back one day. Have you ever been there?