Today’s a Thursday & it only means one thing folks – it’s time for another Throwback Thursday Treat! I know I just posted a throwback entry a while ago, but let’s make this day special. We’ll go to 2 places, just today! We’ve been to Ho Chi Minh City 🇻🇳, Taipei 🇹🇼, El Nido (twice) 🇵🇭, Koh Lipe 🇹🇭 & Siem Reap 🇰🇭. Today, I will take you to a paradise somewhere below the equator – BALI, INDONESIA! 🇮🇩
Bali is Indonesia’s most famous island. It is a place known for its forested mountains, iconic rice paddies, scenic beaches, beautiful temples & accommodating people. The place caters to all kinds of travelers – from backpackers, luxurious tourists, business travelers to families. I was told by a local that Bali is the favorite vacation place of Aussies, with the island being near to Australia.
N9 Bali team~
Last April 2015, my friends & I went to Bali for a ‘longer weekend’ trip. We went to the south of the island to see the beaches & up to the center north for the rice paddies & temples. Let us look back how the trip went, what were the places we visited & enjoyed in Bali.
Kuala Lumpur Stopover 🇲🇾
Random photo taken during our flight to Kuala Lumpur 😍
There were no affordable direct flights to Bali that leave on a Wednesday so we decided to have a 1-night stopover in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It was one of our friend’s first out of the country trip; so seeing a glimpse of another place (aside from Bali) was favorable. We took Cebu Pacific Air‘s afternoon flight to Kuala Lumpur. We had less than 24-hours in Kuala Lumpur so we only managed to see the following places:
Jalan Alor (for dinner)
Bukit Bintang (for lunch)
We had lunch in Ippudo Ramen in Pavilion Mall, Bukit Bintang (no photo of the shopping district – sorry!)
Kuala Lumpur Accommodation
We had 1 night in Kuala Lumpur so we stayed in a new (that time) & affordable boutique hotel named Izumi Hotel Bukit Bintang. From the name itself, it is located in Bukit Bintang – Kuala Lumpur’s shopping district (less than 5-minutes walk to the shopping street). We paid around ₱2,600+ for a family room (accommodates 4 people). The rate includes free Wi-Fi, 4 bottles of water + coffee & tea, 2 spacious double beds, hot & cold shower & buffet Malaysian food breakfast. It is also located close to the city subway & monorail system.
I don’t have photos of the hotel (I don’t take photos of places I stay with way back) but you can head over to their website to know more about the rates & facilities. If you are to ask me, I will stay again in this hotel when I go back to Kuala Lumpur.
En route to Bali
At KLIA2, waiting for our flight to Denpasar (Bali)
After 24 > hours in Kuala Lumpur, we went back to Kuala Lumpur International Airport Terminal 2 & boarded our late afternoon flight to Denpasar (Bali). This time, we flew with Air Asia. The flight took around 3 hours.
We booked a 3-night stay in Ida Hotel Bali. It is a boutique hotel located in the inner streets of Kuta – far from the busy night life. We got ourselves a deluxe family bungalow with features 2 queen-sized Balinese carved poster beds, a private balcony & a private outside bathroom & shower. The room costs $80 per night & includes a free buffet breakfast, free WiFi & access to the hotel’s swimming pool & jacuzzi.
Ida Hotel Bali’s swimming pool – the guest’s view while having breakfast
I didn’t take photos of the hotel room & facilities, but you can head over to their website to see how they look like.
Going Around The Island
Bali does not have an organized public transportation system. They do not have a subway / train system. There are buses which only run a limited number of times a day. The main modes of transportation around the island are either by motorbike or by car. We opted to hire a car (+petrol) with a driver for $35 over 10 hours.
Rice paddies everywhere in Bali 🌱
You can also take taxis to the different places but make sure to have the meter on or else you might get scammed. I personally think hiring a car with a driver is the best option when in Bali – at least you do not have to worry about the costs.
Places Visited in Bali
Here are the places & temples we visited in our 2.5 days of going around the island:
Tanjung Benoa Beach
Aside from having the 5-star resort hotels like Sofitel Bali, Melia Bali, Conrad Bali & The Westin Resort Bali, this Nusa Dua beach is also popular for marine recreational activities. There are a number of companies that offer parasailing, flying fish & banana boat rides, jet ski, wake boarding & glass bottom boat rides. You can also book underwater activities here like scuba diving & sea walking.
We went there before lunch time so we only tried parasailing. We paid less than $20 for each.
Previously known as the Secret Beach in South Kuta, Pantai Pandawa or “Pandawa Beach” is a known surf spot for advanced surfers. The beach was used to be hidden behind a hill; but access has recently been made easier for all people by constructing a road to the beach.
Bali is famous for its coffee industry. People who drink coffee (FYI – I don’t) say that the coffee produced in Bali has a unique rich taste. Alongside with Java, Sulawesi & Sumatra islands, Bali is famous for civet coffee (locally known as kopi luwak). Coffee cherries are eaten & digested by palm civets. These digested particles are then cleaned & processed into luwak coffee beans.
We visited a coffee plantation somewhere near Uluwatu Temple. The staff showed us the different types of coffee & tea that they grow in the plantation. They even showed us how the civet coffee beans are made. We were also given the chance to try all the flavors of coffee & tea grown on the plantation. This coffee & tea tasting activity is for free. Visitors are not obliged to buy products before leaving the plantation.
Pantai Padang Padang
Apart from being another surf spot in South Kuta, this beach is known as ‘the beach from the movie Eat Pray Love.’ The beach stretch isn’t that long so the place tends to be crowded most of the time. If you want to have it for yourself, make sure to go there early in the morning.
Pura Luhur Uluwatu
Commonly known as the Uluwatu Temple, this iconic Balinese sea temple is believed to be one of the six spiritual pillars. Its location, 70 m about sea level in a steep cliff, lives up to the loose translation of the temple’s name, “something divine to end the land.”
This temple is famous for stunning sunset views. Make sure to secure your spot early because a lot people come here for the sunset. You can also watch the cultural Kecak fire dance performance for a fee.
Waterbom Bali is the world’s second best waterpark & the number 1 in Asia according to Tripadvisor. The waterpark has several rides & attractions the guests can enjoy. My favorites were Climax, Pipeline & Green Vipers. We also enjoyed the Super Bowl & the Lazy River.
We paid around 450,00 IDR (that time) & doesn’t include meals, gazebo & lockers. I just checked the Waterbom website & found that the entrance fee now is 520,000 IDR per person plus there are 4 new rides (these were under construction during our visit).
Kuta Beach is Bali’s most famous & commercial beach area. People go here to lay down in the sand & relax, to learn some basic surfing lessons & to watch the sunset. After enjoying Waterbom, we decided to spend the afternoon here – to watch the sunset & also to have early dinner. Too bad the sunset wasn’t that stunning during our visit.
Pura Tanah Lot
Located northwest of Kuta, Tanah Lot Temple is a rock formation / Hindu temple that is found off the Bali main island. The formation stands the big waves that crashes the main island. Just like the Uluwatu Temple, this temple is also famous of its beautiful sunset backgrounds.
We visited this temple in the morning on our way to Ubud, but there were still a lot of people visiting. Be careful when walking around the beach area, waves can really be big.
Our driver brought us to this temple (forgot the name, I’m sorry) in Ubud. It was located somewhere between Tanah Lot Temple & Ubud center. We had to wear sarong when we entered the temple as a sign of respect to the Hindu gods.
Ubud Monkey Forest
The Ubud Monkey Forest is a monkey sanctuary & also a temple complex in the heart of Ubud. The forest has playful monkeys wandering freely around the sanctuary. It also has interesting forest trails & ancient temples.
Entrance fee to the monkey forest is 15,000 IDR per person. We went to this sanctuary right before we headed to our Ubud accommodation for our last night in Bali.
Last Night In Bali
My friends & I decided to get a 2-bedroom villa in Ubud for our last night in Bali. Exploring around places for consecutive days can really be exhausting; so we thought of just relaxing on our last night, right before going back to Manila.
We stayed in Villa D’Uma – a 2-bedroom villa with private outdoor pool (with sunbeds) & semi-outdoor bathrooms (with bath tubs). Located in the middle of rice paddies, the villa is a 5-minute drive from the Ubud center & the Ubud Monkey Forest.
Aside from the semi-outdoor bathroom, each bedroom features a cable TV, spacious bed & sofa. The villa also has a private kitchen (complete with kitchenware & tableware), dining area, private garden & a yoga area.
It basically has everything you need. Wayan & his team made sure our we had a great time. They prepared our breakfast (omelette, pancakes, toast, fruits, etc.) the following day at our requested time.
Overall, we enjoyed our stay in Villa D’Uma. We paid 2,230,000 IDR (around ₱9,000) for 1 night but it was all worth it! I’d love to go back to Villa D’Uma in the future. It’s definitely a hidden gem in Ubud!
A few days in Bali are not enough to explore everything the island has to offer. There are just so much to see & do in the island. We were lucky we’ve been to the usual touristic spots during our visit. I recommend staying for a week or two if you can. I loved Bali up to the point I went back for 6 days a few weeks ago. Watch out for my upcoming posts about my recent trip. I can assure you I’ve been to unique & more beautiful places this time. 😉
Sunrise from my airplane seat – taken during our flight back to Manila 😍
Have you been to Bali? Which place / temple did you enjoy the most? Feel free to share your experiences to me & to all the readers by posting a comment below. You can also send an email to email@example.com. Drop me a message on Facebook, drop a comment on Instagram or send me a tweet on Twitter.
Thank you for reading & see you in the next Throwback Thursday Treat – we might just go to another country / city! ✈️
PS. All photos above were shot using my HTC One M8 & HTC Re.