Bali: My 7 day itinerary
I’ve visited over 20 countries so far, some of which I have returned to many times. One place strikes the heart as the most desirable hotspot of 2017 is Bali. Before my travel partner (Jess) and I arrived we envisioned Bali as a blogger heaven with picturesque views, unforeseeable beauty and warm water that beckoned in the tropical sun. We enjoyed the culture experience of Bali but it was a little disappointing as the resorts portrayed Bali tourism through social media platforms and it was not a true reflection of Bali we witnessed in Eat Pray Love.
Unfortunately, we were dreaming of the jam in the donut which are the luxurious resorts in Bali. We were imagining a Bali of long ago. We hadn’t anticipated the environmental disaster that Bali has become and the fact that the roads and everything other than the resorts echoed poverty and ruins.
Overview of our advised itinerary:
Ubud 2 days but 1 day is enough!
Uluwatu: 1 day (Make sure it is a Sunday and that you have your billabong or roxy attire to fit in)
Jimbaron: 1 day
Seminyak: 2 days
Gilli Islands: 2 days
NOTE: If you are stuck for time spend one day in Seminyak. Make sure you do not visit Kuta.
Tips for first time Bali tourists
1. Dress and act modestly when visiting temples.
2. Take off your shoes when entering a house and some shops will require you to do this too (which I found peculiar).
3. Do not step on the offerings at doorsteps and gates which are small fragrant parcels made of palm leaves, incense and flowers. You will see these everywhere.
4.Avoid touching a person’s head. The Balinese believe that the head is the most sacred part of the body.
5. Always use your right hand when taking money off people or giving, the left is thought to be disrespectful. Most Balinese do understand that you are a tourist and won’t comment on this.
Indonesia’s currency is the rupiah and it’s roughly trading at about 9,000 to the USD and fluctuated around 1% during my time there. Coins exist but are not frequently used as many vendors will simply round to the nearest banknote, often in your favor, but occasionally not. Banknotes start at 1000 rupiah and go up from there: 2000 rupiah (a quarter), 5000 rupiah (a half-dollar), 10000 rupiah (a bit over a dollar) 20,000 (a dollar and a quarter) 50,000 (five and half dollars) and 100,000 (11 USD).
While I didn’t see many businesses openly advertising that they accepted US dollars, most will roughly know the exchange rate and will accept US dollars if needed, but don’t expect to get a good rate if you need to use USD in a pinch.
Rather than limit the amount of people that can descend on this small island, Bali has expanded Denpasar International Airport to cram even more holiday revellers into the already tight space. When we arrived in the airport, many tourists were struggling with the same situation; finding a taxi that was not overcharging. When we exited the airport I counted 25 taxi drivers who swarmed around us shouting taxi. It was highly intimidating and not what we visualised.
Budget for 1 week in Bali
Cheapest Bed – Bali Reef Divers, Tulamben – £2.50 per person per night (4 share dorm)
Expensive Bed – La Kiya No I Biu– £60 per person per night (double room)
Most Expensive Bed – Pertiwi Bisma 1 Ubud – £70 per night (double room)
Average nights accommodation (double/twin room) £5-7
Cheapest meal – Indonesian buffet at Warung Indonesia (in Kuta, Bali) – £1
Average Indonesia meal – around £1
Average western meal – around £2
Meal in a more established restaurant/chain (inc drink) – around £3-5
Most guesthouses also have a free breakfast too which is always a budget saver!
Average cost of beer (large Bintang, Circle K) – £1.50
Average cost of beer (large Bintang , restaurant) – £1.75
Favourite place to eat – Warung Indonesia, an absolutely amazing Indonesian Buffett place in between Poppies 1 and 2 and you can have a solid feed and a drink for under £1.50!
My Trip Details
When we arrived in Ubud, I could tell my travel partner was not impressed with the unpleasant scenery during the drive as the true . Many of the streets were covered in rubble, uneven paths, crowed roads, seedy men and no sign of the pininterest dream posts of Bali but what was invisible in the photos, was quite apparent when one drives from the airport to Ubud. We stayed in Ubud for 2 days but this was probably the biggest waste of my trip around the world. I was not a fan of Ubud but our hotel was impeccably flawless. Our room portrayed typical Balinese interior with a massive balcony overlooking an infinity type pool. It was called the Pertiwi Bisma 1. This hotel was central to all tourist activities and more importantly we felt safe. The food in the hotel was delicious. A full pizza cost 4 pound. We had a 3 course meal and a glass of wine here for 14 pound.
Below are some pictures of the affordable central hotel with friendly staff and a fancy pool.
Make sure you book this hotel while you are in Bali or you will miss out!
On our third day, after relaxing in our hotel and making the most of all our accommodation has to offer we paid terenungan waterfall a visit on the way to Uluwatu. We paid the taxi driver 130 IDR to go from Ubud to Uluwatu. Make sure you ask in Pertiwi Bisma 1 the right price for taxis so that you do not get ripped off. The staff here were honest and told us the true prices.
Unfortunately, this is not the case with the taxi drivers in Bali. Terenungan was probably the nicest tourist spot that we found apart from the hotels. It was packed with people and did cost 100,000 IDR (Indonesian Rupiah) to enter but the waterfall itself was beautiful. Be aware that there are 100 or more steps down to this so bring proper footwear, unlike I did. Flip flops were not a good idea.
Day four was a Sunday and we stayed in Uluwatu, mostly to experience the famous surfing hotspot and Single Fin bar which is popular for their Sunday sessions. We watched the sunset at single fin and it was that moment I started to enjoy Bali a bit more. In Uluwatu, we stayed in Mamo hotel as our friend recommended this hotel before we left. It was a bargain and had a real backpackers feel to it, which was enjoyable.
Day five and six: After Uluwatu we made our way to Jimbaran as I had seen pictures of an amazing resort on many blogger Instagram pages. The best part of Bali was the secret hidden resort of La Joya Biu Biu which had a clean sandy private hidden beach. It also has a jacuzzi on a cliff over-looking amazing views. They do charge you to enter the jacuzzi for half an hour but it was so cheap it didn’t bother me. Potatoe Head Beach Club was beautiful which had an infinity pool overlooking a clean beach. These two positive experiences were hotels. The resorts are selling a mirage which the visitor doesn’t find out about until it’s too late. Bali is like a jam donut, cheap, dry and plain on the outside and surprising while tasting the jam which are the resorts.
Day seven: we left Jimbaran and made our way to Kuta as we wanted to ensure we were close to the airport. What we didn’t realise is that even though Kuta does have a Starbucks and a Zara which was heaven the beaches were polluted with bottles and rubbish. The sunset in Kuta was probably the best I saw in all of the 10 countries I have been in. But you can also experience this sunset in Seminyak. In Seminyak we visited the Potatoe Head Beach Club. Honestly, this is one to add to you bucket list. It is full of people seeking a good fun time, the atmosphere is amazing and wild horses could not have stopped me visiting this place. I mean did you really visit Bali if you didn’t go to Potatoe Head Beach Club….don’t be surprised by the amount of security before you entered PHBC. You can stay in Potatoe Head Beach Club for the day if you spend 300k IDR on food and drink. Then you get a large double sunbed. We made sure we were there for 8.30 am as it is such a popular club that the sunbeds are taken before 11am if not sooner. Before I left for Bali I thought PHBC was a hotel and I couldn’t figure out why it was not on trivago or booking. It is a Beach Club with a restaurant and bar inside and outside the pool.
As you can see my suggested itinerary at the beginning is different to the itinerary we experiences. As the saying goes you learn from your mistakes. We were so tired at the end our Bali trip that we decided to skip the Gilli Islands. We made the mistake of staying in Kuta rather than Seminyak but we did end up spending our days in Seminyak.
Overall, I never regret anything and Bali was heaven on earth but I would not return. Firstly, it’s overrated. Secondly, you can find many fabulous resorts anywhere in the world without spending £700 plus to travel on a 14 hour flight solely to experience well-known resorts such as Potatoe Head Beach Club.