Bali, home to over four million people, is the main arrival point for those coming to Indonesia. This beautiful island is much larger than I thought before I went (nearly 6,000 square kms), and has everything from postcard beaches on the coastline to volcanic mountains in the forests. It can be a place to party (particularly in the capital, Denpasar, where you will certainly meet an Aussie or two) or to relax, with yoga and meditation retreats available to match any budget.
We went to Bali to relax ahead of our big move to Oz, so skipped the main party places and headed straight for a hidden gem just north of Ubud.
Depending on where you’re coming from, Indonesia can be an expensive place to get to. The good news is that once you’re there things can be ridiculously cheap. Enjoy looking at the private serviced villas you can stay in for the cost of a budget room in somewhere like London or New York.
Things to do in Bali
We enjoyed the incredible accommodation and wonderful hospitality we received where we stayed. It was so good we actually didn’t see much else of Bali! We did make it to Goa Lawah, an 11th century temple which is one of Bali’s most important. It was interesting and impressive, and opposite a black(!) sandy beach, but if you aren’t a fan of bats then maybe visit a different place…
All of the other activities – including tours, a traditional cooking class, and quad biking – were organised through our hosts.
Where to stay in Bali
Candra Loka Villa – a small, wonderful, family owned place not far from Ubud. It was incredibly peaceful and unbelievably good value for money (GBP 40 per night). Candra Loka Villa is inside a Balinese family compound, which means you can learn all about the social customs and culture of Bali. You get four poster beds, a free standing bath, your own private pool, breakfast cooked freshly every morning, air conditioning, mosquito nets – everything you could need to have a relaxing and luxurious stay.
Our hosts (Nyoman and his family) organised a cooking class for us, driving tours, and quad biking. Massages and other treatments are also available, as well as jewellery making classes and free trips into Ubud.
Nothing was too much to ask – for example we did a short trip away from the villa and returned before our flight out of Bali, and Nyoman was more than happy to store our luggage for us and refused to accept an additional payment.
Getting to and getting around Bali
The airport is in Bali’s capital, Denpasar. Getting around all depends on where you are going, but most places we looked at booking offered airport pick ups.
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