Oh boy – I definitely have mixed feelings about Bali.
This summer my bestfriend and I went on our first ever trip to asia and started it with a five day stay in Ubud on paradise island Bali. I have to admit, when you step foot on the Asian continent for the first time after traveling only in Europe and North America you will definitely have to deal with a slight cultural shock. And I also have to admit that I see things different now, after staying in that country for three weeks rather than in the beginning of the stay.
So here we go, here is my experience with Bali:
Like I said, we started our trip in Ubud, in the middle of the island, since we wanted to start in a “less touristy” place to have all the cultural experiences we could get. It turned out that traveling in the end of August would mean T O N S of tourists on the island. So first advise, which we also got from all the locals: Never visit Bali in August or September! We stayed in a super cheap hotel in Ubud called MaxOneHotel for 100€ for 4 nights for two people. I have to admit: it was super humid in the rooms and I wasn’t a big fan of the breakfast. But if you are looking for an affordable place in the middle of the city, this hotel is perfect. Next time we would probably choose a homestay away from the main streets to get in touch with the locals. 🙂
What is great about Indonesia is that food and transportation is super cheap! But you have to get used to bargaining a lot, which was super tough for since I have never done it before and we also didn’t know how much things in Indonesia really were. Also get used to be treated like a walking wallet since you are from Europe, which was also one thing which really bothered me. Hearing that locals would maybe pay one third of what you paid for a cap ride or a sarong kind of “hurt” since we felt kind of used. But next time I know what to expect and who to trust and that it is not rude do some tough bargaining.
During our days in Ubud, we wandered through the streets of Ubud, finding some unexpected, quiet rice terraces, had massages for about 4€, went to the monkey forest and tried some of the restaurants and cafes (which were great!). My absolute favorite cafe in Ubud was the Habitat right next to the Hubud, an office space for digital nomads (yup, definitely a dream job of mine). The Habitat serves great smoothie bowls, matcha lattes and everything what makes millennial hipster hearts happy.
One day we hired a cap driver for about 40€ a day, who would drive us to the rice terrace Tegalalang (which were stunning and not crowded since we went in the morning), to a temple, a coffee plantation, to a view point to see mount Batur and back to the hotel. Most of those things I probably wouldn’t do on a second visit, since they are all reeeeally touristy, but were nice as a start of our first ever asia trip. We also did a sunset cruise with Black Pearls Jimbaran Bay, which was one of my favorite experiences on our trip! You can find the post about it right here.
The last day before we returned to Germany we came back to Bali for one last night, this time staying in the Jimbaran Bay area close to the airport. Our hotel this time was the La Joya Il Biu-Biu, a beautiful hotel complex on a hill, directly at the beach. The food was great and so was the view! The only thing which bothered us a lot was a wedding shoot on the day we left, with about 10 people, all of them not caring about disturbing our breakfast. But other than that, it was totally recommendable!
More about our Asia adventure will soon be posted in my Lombok blogpost <3