To be completely honest, we did not expect to be so intrigued by Bali until we began researching where to stay. Wow did it blow us away how affordable and gorgeous each and every Villa, Hotel, or AirBnB were. Although we travel our fair share, we come across assumptions from time to time and Bali was on our list of assumed overhyped tourist destinations. Well, we were proven wrong and we'll tell you five reasons why it should be on your list too!
But first you have to get there! So This is a Bonus!
We're from America so Bali isn't as reachable as say Mexico, but if you really want to go here and you spend the time to research fares, we landed in Bali for under $750 from Chicago (That's $480 to Singapore and $250 to Bali). So if you are wondering what is a good price to reach Bali we would say $750-$1,000. Check the Google Flights calendar for fares for the next 6 months and you'll see.
Not as expensive as you thought, right?
General Bali Travel Tips:
- Dont forget 14 hour flights and likely two layovers, something we like to call "Extra Adventure Possibilities"! Extend a layover to explore a new city!
- If you're planning to move from place to place, give yourself an extra arrival day to unwind from flights and leave time in case of delays
- Indonesia doesn't require a Visa if you're from America (Big Savings for us!)
- Pre arrange an airport pickup with your hosting villa or hotel
- English is well spoken so you don't have to worry about language barriers
- Food is plentiful and there are vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free options everywhere
I have never been so frustrated in finding accommodations, usually you try to find the most affordable accommodation with the highest possible star rating and you might check out some AirBnB's for comparison. Nope, not for Bali. There are thousands upon thousands of lush, luxurious villas, all with private pools, and gorgeous surroundings that makes it literally IMPOSSIBLE to make a choice. Terrible problem to have! Did we mention they were affordable? UGH!
You also have to make an executive choice of WHERE in Bali to stay as it's a big island. We stayed in Canggu, Nusa Lembongan, and Sanur:
Canggu - hip surfers town
Sanur - centrally located beach town
Ubud - lush jungles, rice fields, yoga & meditation hub
Katu - nightlife, food, and surf
Nusa Lembongan - nearest island, peaceful, affordable, and underwater life
Radian Villa Canggu is where we stayed for $67/night. This was in the mid range of prices so you know you can get by with incredible accommodations for $40/night as well. You can barely get a bunk bed in Munich for that much let alone a private villa. We also rented a scooter from them for $6/day to get ourselves to the beach and back.
In Nusa Lembongan we chose to stay at the place that held our snorkeling tour, D&B Guesthouse. We paid $21/night for a nice basic room with a walk out to a beautiful pool area. Their restaurant was one of the most affordable we've had our entire trip: fresh caught snapper ($4) and octopus salad ($1.75) - is that a deal or what?
Our third accommodation was in Sanur, a centrally located town on Bali island in which you can catch the speed boat ferry to Nusa Lembongan. Because of its convenient location we opted to stay here before leaving back to Singapore. We booked the Akana Boutique Hotel (below) for $68 which was another luxurious treat with a high end half outdoor bathroom, gorgeous pool, and top notch service.
We cannot say enough about the food options in Bali. This was one of the things that drew us to this island when doing research; with it's abundance in fruit, you will surely enjoy colorful smoothies, fruit smoothie bowls, coconuts, and other healthy & delicious options.
The straws in those smoothies are actually natural bamboo! Tempting to bite!
Since our stay was extremely short we can only show you a few of our meals which includes one of the best dishes that I've had through this entire trip - the confit duck salad at Old Man's at Batu Balong Beach in Canggu.
Pictured Right - Shredded confit duck, mango, mint, jicama, red chili, coconut, shallots, peanuts, nuoc cham. Paradise or what?
Surfing - Bali's most popular beaches (that we've mentioned earlier) are actually surf beaches meaning the water is wavy and rough. We spent an entire day at Batu Balong beach in Canggu watching surfers go in and out of the water, catching waves, and some not so fortunate getting tumbled by mother nature. ouch.
I was struggling with the thought of trying out surfing for the first time. How could I leave Bali and NOT take a surfing lesson? The fear of deep water kept overwhelming and the internal struggle continued for hours until the fear of missing out (FOMO) took over and I agreed to face my fears.
I did it. I tried surfing in Bali!
Quite exhausted and overwhelmed by the power of the waves, I can confidently say I caught a few!
Beach Time - you can test your will and see who wins the human vs. nature game:
Or just chill on the beach with coconuts, pups, and get your own set of sandy eyebrows, it's all the rave in Bali!
White water rafting - A great way to gain an alternative perspective on Bali's wildlife.
Snorkeling - The closest snorkeling to Bali is on Nusa Lembongan (at least for us during our short stay on the island). The island is a ferry ride away and has some of the most beautiful and diverse snorkeling we've seen. Our tour with D&B included a spot to swim with Manta Rays but due to extremely choppy waters we could not see them. Guess we'll have to come back!
We truly enjoyed the island of Nusa Lembongan, it was quiet, the water was calm and food significantly cheaper than on Bali. Perhaps 5 days here would be perfect!
Yoga, Meditation, & Relaxation
One of the top things Bali is known for is it's Yoga & Meditation retreats. How can you not tune into nature in these surrounds? If you've read Eat, Pray, Love - Bali is the home place of this book... and movie! They even do eat pray love movie tours to show the locations where it was filmed.
Unfortunately we didn't get a chance to try any yoga during our short stay (I did pack my yoga gear though, just in case!) we could see spending some quality time in Bali aligning those Chakras!
So if you're an experienced or beginner Yogi, this place will welcome you with open arms and heart.
Lush Rainforest (Ubud, & Monkeys!)
There are so many things to do in Bali including hiking Mt. Batur Volcano at sunrise, on the list for next Bali visit, for sure. We opted for a one day tour through Ubud to visit the rice terraces, the Sacred Monkey Forest, and one temple.
Sacred Monkey Forest - located centrally in Ubud, it was so fun! The nature reserve and temple complex is a host to plenty of monkeys. You don't have to look for them, they will find you and jump on top of your shoulders whether you have a banana or not. This was especially fun to experience! Be sure not to bring anything they can snatch, as you see Corey is holding on to his hat for dear life!
Not only is the Sacred forest filled with Monkeys but it has some incredible surroundings, carvings, and sculptures covered in ever so gentle moss.
Rice Terraces - Inside of a large valley, situated are these strategically arranged rice terraces that hold water from the frequent rains. The terraces are privately owned by different families and some owners sit outside the entry to theirs and ask for donations (Required donations of 10-20,000 Rupiah, which is $1-2USD).
We hope you enjoyed the five reasons to visit Bali see that it can be done on a budget. The hype was right and everyone is flocking to Bali to travel and to live because of it's incredible variety of activities and its affordability in the day to day.
Here's what we spent in Bali per person assuming double occupancy :
Flights - Chi>Singapore>Bali $750
Accommodations 3 nights - Total $105
Bike Rental 2 days - $6
Food - $20/day - Total $60
Ferry Transfer $30 one way - Total $60
Snorkeling Trip - $15
Driver to/from airport - Total $30
Hired driver to Ubud - $25
Remember we only spent 4 days, 3 nights in Bali which was very rushed but we nonetheless enjoyed every second of it. We recommend to stay on Bali and it's surrounding islands for at least 6 days which could cost apx $1,400 (adding the extra days of accommodation & food). These are just our estimates based on our costs!
Polina & Corey