Bali or my very own “Eat, pray, love”
(Part 1. Accommodation tips)
Standing at the immigration point excited as a child. My very own “Eat, pray, love” is just outside that door. I know, I know, what a cliché! Everyone associates Bali with “Eat, pray, love”. But, while Julia Roberts needed to wander through the world one year to do all this, I ate fantastic, prayed and found my inner peace and loved with all my heart all at the same time in Bali.
From the second I saw the movie, I knew I had to get to Bali and pictured it magical. The sad news was that I only had 11 days to wander around the dreamy island and it was extremely hard to decide what not to miss.
You start reading all the info you can find in books and online and you are totally confused. Probably more confused than before. You start counting the days and planning and try to stuff as many things as you can.
At first, I just imagined a beautiful island with crazy waves perfectly crafted for surfing, green rice terraces and Hindu temples in every corner. No, Bali is not just that; don’t let social media misinform you.
Surely, it depends on the kind of traveler you are: if you like to choose a beautiful resort and just relax or you are really infected with the traveler bug and you need to experience as much as you can. You probably already guessed which category suits me. Yes, the second one. So here started my dilemma. I will try to make a list with the best things you can do in Bali so that you can plan your perfect Balinese experience. But first, you need to decide where to stay.
Well, if you are a resort addicted, let me tell you that there is a long list of luxurious hotels to choose from. And the good news is that you don’t even have to pay a fortune for this. You can find luxury at its finest for every budget. You would never get the same conditions in Europe as you can find in Bali for the same amount of money.
Although it may seem like a small island and the distances are around 30-40 km, it will last longer than you think to arrive at your destination because there is an infernal traffic. Hundreds of cars and scooters driving on the other side of the road make it very difficult to visit all the tourist attractions. (I will dedicate a post for transportation and safety in Bali).
So we have two important categories: beach and jungle. Even if you are used to staying in only one hotel all your holiday, I suggest you to make an exception this time and check both categories because the experiences are different and amazing. Imagine yourself today tanning on a beautiful beach and tomorrow sleeping in the middle of the jungle.
On the other side, if you are used to stay in a budget hotel and put the accent on the things you do there, I still recommend choosing at least two parts of the island in order to experience it at its fullest.
- The most well know beach resort and also one of the most expensive is Ayana Resort and Spa in Jimbaran. I didn’t have the chance to visit it this time as I was always on the run and didn’t want to waste any time staying in the resort, but the pictures speak for themselves as you will see. If you book early, the prices start from 230 EUR/night in the low season and could get to 4-500 EUR/night for a double room with resort view.
A cheaper alternative in Jimbaran, but also extremely beautiful is La Joya Biu Biu II which is situated just a few kilometers away from Ayana Resort and Spa. You can find it on http://www.airbnb.com and I truly recommend it. This property is situated on a cliff and offers a breathtaking view of the coast. It is a 7-minute walk from its own private beach and just a 15-minute walk from Balangan Beach. The bungalows come with traditional Indonesian interiors and the pools, Jacuzzi and restaurant complete the perfect atmosphere. Take a stroll in the garden or relax on the beach. As a plus you can’t get a better sunset than this.
If you are a budget traveler, don’t worry for a second. You may find great alternatives of hotels on the beach or near it. For example, if you want to experience surf for the first time, Kuta Beach is the perfect place for a beginner and it offers great deals on accommodation. Fourteen Roses Beach Hotel is one of the many choices located just 3 minutes away from Kuta Beach and the prices start from 25 EUR/night. It is not luxurious, but it offers good value for the money you pay – a clean, spacious room, pool access and even breakfast included in the room rate.
If you are interested in nightlife, you should definitely check out Seminyak Area. Seminyak is Bali’s most fashionable beach, home to among the island’s luxurious resorts and host to a number of fine restaurants and boutiques. Fashion stores and top dining spots with international chefs. However, after sunset a livelier nightlife scene takes over. And guess what? You can find cheap accommodation here as well. Just check out www.booking.com or www.airbnb.com for a great variety of choices depending on your preferences.
One particularly accommodation attracted my attention: Bali Prime Villas – your very own villa with private pool with prices starting from 90 EUR/night in the low season with breakfast included and served in the villa every morning. If you are looking for privacy, this might be your spot.
!Tip: Sunset on Seminyak Beach is one of the most beautiful in Bali. In my next posts I will give you some good tips on locations, both luxurious and budget.
- On the jungle side, the most expensive resort is the luxurious Hanging Gardens of Bali in Ubud which offers villas with a private infinity-edged pool. Its 5-star facilities include a spa, 3 dining options and free internet. Featuring traditional Balinese décor, the villas offer an amazing view of the jungle. The prices start from 500 EUR/night though.
If you book in advance, a cheaper alternative is Alam Ubud Culture Villa and Residence, which totally stole my heart with its spacious villas set on the hillside and modern Balinese décor. The masterpiece is the pool though that offers a great view of the tropical jungle while inspiring calm and peace. The prices start from 120 EUR/night, of course if you book early.
If you are a budget traveler, you may find lots of great alternatives in Ubud on www.booking.com for bungalows and villas with great views and pools facing the jungle or rice terraces. Prices for a good accommodation start at 30 EUR/night.
!Tip: You may even find villas with private pools for as low as 70 Euros! And you should definitely spoil yourself for at least one night with your loved one. For me, Umae Villa made the trick.
- If the traveler bug has bit you as it did to me, I have another gem hidden in the Jatiluwih rice terraces area with a gorgeous mountain view to recommend you. Although it may be tricky to get to the villa, believe me when I say it is totally worth it. I fell in love with the place from the first second even though I had quite a bumpy ride on the scooter at night to get to the middle of nowhere. Not very far from civilization, you find yourself surrounded by the nature and you feel like you are in another world. The view is breathtaking and hard to put into words. Maybe the pictures will inspire you more. The place is called D’wan Tea Mountain Side Villa and for the moment it cannot be booked on www.booking.com, but www.airbnb.com should make the trick. It is a family business which totally gives authenticity to the place. D’wan, the owner is very kind and knows how to treat its guest.
He received us with a cup of green tea by the fireplace. We chose the master suite for 120 EUR/night and I could not have been happier. Imagine a huge room with its own fireplace, a cute baldaquin in the middle of the room and big windows that allow you to watch the sunrise from your bed.
Should I say more? Ah, the bathroom is outside with a big bathtub to spoil yourself. You will eat traditional Balinese food made by D’wan’s wife for dinner. Believe me it is extremely tasty and it costs like 5-6 EUR/person. I forgot to tell you about the beautiful pool with jungle and mountain views.
!Tip 1: arrange a car transfer to this place; don’t make the same mistake as us believing that you can arrive on a scooter!
!Tip 2: if you plan to visit Pura Ulun Danu Beratan Temple, you only have 12 km from here. More tips on my next blog on Bali tourist attractions.
These are my accommodation tips for Bali. But visiting Bali should also include at least one day on the tinny beautiful islands around it: Nusa Lembongan with its sisters Ceningan and Penida or Gili Islands, the most know being Trawangan, Air and Meno. They offer incredible beaches perfect for tanning, snorkeling and scuba diving. It depends of course on the time you have to spend here. All about this paradise islands and many more tips in the next Bali posts. So do not forget to subscribe and follow me on Facebook and Instagram to be the first to get all the travel secrets.
Till next time!
And remember: Life is short and the world is wide…