Bali… The Island of Gods. This place is so dreamy.
We booked a one-way ticket here in 2017! Doing Bali on a budget is very doable as it’s a very affordable country. We decided to book a few unique, beautiful Airbnbs here and there in each city for about $40-$60. The other nights we chose to stay in hostels for as little as $10 a night. The last week was spent in a CoWorking Villa! In total, we spent about $300 on accommodation for a month and $250 each on food- which is absolutely incredible!
In the 30 days that were spent in Bali, we traveled to Ubud, Canggu, Uluwatu, and Nusa Penida! All were so different but we loved every single place.
Bali’s beating heart and culture hub- Ubud! A jungle haven full of rice fields, monkeys, yoga, and local artisans.
Where to stay:
Booking.com and Airbnb!!! These are our favorite way to travel. Airbnb and Booking.com are so unique and give you more of a local experience + they can be as inexpensive as you wish. We found this yoga bungalow in the middle of the jungle for $30 a night. We stayed here for 4 days as soon as we arrived to Bali and it was so serene and beautiful.
Things to do in Ubud:
- Sacred Monkey Forest
The famous forest is another crowd pleaser with over 600 cute monkeys, 186 species of trees in 12.5 acres of forest and housing three holy temples. When traveling to the monkey forest, if you park at the back entrance (not the main parking lot) you get free parking 😉 The cost to enter the forest is IDR 50.000- such a great price to play with some monkeys! Although seemingly cute, be aware of possible monkey theft and don’t walk around with loose, shiny, or colorful items. The monkeys will gladly take your sunglasses and keep them for themselves. Even hiding everything in your bag can sometimes not be enough as one monkey jumped on our backpack and went straight to the zippers to find the goodies inside! They are super smart so don’t try to outsmart them.
2. Ubud Traditional Art Market
3. Tegalalang Rice Terrace
4. Tirta Empul Holy Water Temple
5. Campuhan Ridge Walk
6. Yoga Studios: The Yoga Barn, Radiantly Alive, Ubud Yoga House, Taksu Yoga
Uluwatu is a little slice of heaven on the south-western tip of the Bukit Peninsula of Bali, about an hour south of Canggu. It’s a surf town filled with sunshine, limestone cliffs, and crystal clear blue water! It’s also has world class surfing so if you’re a surfer- this is your place.
We used our 4 days spent in Uluwatu to mainly relax by the beach and give ourselves a break from the hustle n bustle of city life. We stayed at this cute little Airbnb for $13 a night on a farm that was surrounded by cows, chickens, ducks, cats, and dogs. It was walking distance from Impossible Beach- which is the least crowded beach in all of Uluwatu. And we experienced our first earthquake here! It was a 5.2 that hit south of Bali but we we’re a bit shaken up when we woke up one morning to our bed shaking. Fortunalely, all was okay and there was no damage. Uluwatu is the perfect place for a little getaway. And if you’re looking for some fun, head to Single Fin on a Sunday.
If you like acai bowls, I recommend checking out Nalu Bowls! They were Bali’s first smoothie bowl shack on the island and they offer fresh local ingredients. Prices range from IDR 60.000-85.000.
If you’re looking for a cool surf cafe to hang out at, Drifter is where it’s at! They do free movie nights every Wednesday. Synchronistically enough, the week we were there, they played a movie called “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” which is a New Zealand movie and we’re actually headed to New Zealand right after Bali! This place has super good vibes and a bomb tofu scramble for breakfast.
Don’t forget to check out the Uluwatu Temple! Uluwatu Temple, or Pura Luhur Uluwatu, one of six key temples believed to be Bali’s spiritual pillars, is renowned for its magnificent location, perched on top of a steep cliff approximately 70 metres above sea level. The views are absolutely incredible. And you get to hang out with more monkeys!
If you’re feeling thirsty, head over to Ulu Cliffhouse. This hot new beach club has multiple floors on the side of a cliff overlooking the coast of Uluwatu. It is absolutely MAGICAL and has the best drinks! Don’t forget to bring your swimsuit! PS- Their straws aren’t plastic! They’re from a local company in Bali called Avani and actually made from cornstarch! Saving the planet one straw at a time 🙂
Nusa Penida is an island southeast of Bali island, Indonesia known for it’s amazing landscapes, snorkeling, and diving. Nusa Penida is only about a 50 minute boat ride from Bali- so it’s not too far and worth the trek!
We were stayed
We booked this amazing off-grid hut on the cliff overlooking Thousand Islands. The Airbnb was around $40 for one night and doesn’t include wifi, a proper bathroom, or any other amenities. It’s basically just a bed with a blanket inside of a hut- but the experience was worth every penny. It took us 3 hours from the boat dock to find this sucker because they have no address or actual location for it, they just tell you to go to “Atuh Beach.” If you rent a scooter like we did, be prepared for many broken roads and bumpy rides. After we finally arrived, we drank Bintangs until the sun disappeared into the limestone cliffs. We fell asleep to the sound of waves crashing and Alan Watts on our speaker. At 6am, we woke up to the sun illuminating the sky and watched the most majestic sunrise we’ve ever seen. The sun came up perfectly over the horizon and we sat there in awe as it was one of the most special moments I’ve ever experienced.
These islands are near Bali and easily accessible by ferry! You can hop on a speed boat in Sanur.
- Nusa Lembongan
- Nusa Penida
- Gili Islands
BEST PIECES OF ADVICE!
Here are some useful tips and tricks that may help you along the way:
- Exchange your money as soon as you land at the airport. It’s safe and efficient!
- If you’re not careful and use sketchy ATMs on the side of the street, you have a chance of getting your bank account hacked. Use ATMs with a big bank.
- BRING PROBIOTICS! We bought a 30-day pack of probiotics to take every day to keep our guts healthy (according to Hippocrates, all disease begins in the gut) and we never got “Bali belly!” We truly believe probiotics are what saved us from getting sick.
- Getting a local SIM card can be great if you don’t want to rely on your hotel, bar, or restaurant for Wifi. They’re super affordable (only cost me about $12 US for data for the whole month).
- Do NOT drink the tap water- that’s just asking to get Bali belly. Don’t brush your teeth with it either – better not to risk it. This brings me to our next point…
- Bring a reusable water bottle!! Or else you’ll be buying plastic water bottles every day! Good for the environment and your bank account!
- Pack mosquito/bug spray! They’re vicious here.
- Rent a scooter! It’s the cheapest and easiest way to get around. There’s a ton of traffic so having a scooter allows you to easily dodge the cars in traffic.
- Scooter advice: Wear a helmet, the roads are dangerous. Put your valuables and purse under the seat so no one can snatch them off you and take them. Beep the horn when going around sketchy corners or just to let someone know you’re coming. Always use a turn signal. When parking lots trying to get you to pay for parking, go about a street or two over and park for free.
- If you don’t have a scooter or another ride, download Go Jek. It’s their cheap version of Uber but a motorcycle version. Go Jek also delivers food which is super convenient. Don’t forget to tip the driver!
- While Terima Kasih means thank you in Indonesian, Suksma means thank you in Balinese, and they really seem to appreciate that extra touch. Warung means restaurant.
- When touring the temples, dress appropriately. Cover your upper body- no midriff or shoulders showing. If you’re wearing shorts, grab a sarong and tie it around your lower body. Don’t enter a temple if you’re bleeding (while menstruating). Be conscious of your surroundings. If there’s a ceremony going on, keep your voice low. Take off your shoes. Pay due respect, you’re in a holy place.
- Take toilet paper everywhere- most toilets have none. Don’t flush them down the toilet though! The water pipe system in Bali can’t handle toilet paper. There’s usually a little trash can right by that you can dump it in.
- Remember to say “no straw” at restaurants and cafes so we can help save the environment. There’s no need for a plastic straw. Most places are up-to-date with the plastic epidemic and offer metal or bamboo straws but the local spots still use plastic.
- Learn how to barter as it can make or break your budget. You can bargain with almost everything in Bali starting from car rides to clothes to gas and souvenirs on the street. You can sometimes get things at the market down to half or 1/3 the original price.
- Do try Nasi/Mie Goerang and be sure that you try the traditional Balinese breakfast at least once during your stay. The local food is yummy and pretty cheap!
- Download Google Maps offline. You can mark your favorite spots and it also works offline (without WiFi or phone service). It’s the best!
- Enjoy every single part of the experience. Surrender and stay humble.
We hope this helps you in planning your trip to Bali!
Let us know if you have any questions and have so much fun 🙂