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BALI – SANGAT BAGUS
Surf, snorkel, scuba dive, experience local culture, see temples, chill by the beach, have private pool-parties, see monkeys, bicycle through rice fields, swim in waterfalls, hike a mountain and do yoga. That’s only a fraction of all the amazing things you can do and experience in Bali. Traveling in general is a great way of meeting new amazing people, seeing amazing places and learn amazing things about yourself and the people you’re traveling with. Whether it’s for a week, a month or a year you’ll return from your trip with so many unforgettable experiences. For all you reading this thinking about going to Bali, traveling anywhere else in the world or just needing the last bit of push that’ll make you book your trip I simply say go for it. Drop what you’re doing, book flights, get up, put some cool shades on and off you go. That’s all what it takes! (Well besides a VISA and some vaccinations.)
My balinese surf instructors taught me this phrase, ”sangat bagus” which basically means very good in english. Sangat bagus is the perfect way to describe Bali and the laid-back lifestyle there. Bali really is a destination for everybody and it’s really up to yourself what kind of experience or adventure you’re seeking. During my month there I met families traveling with infants, small children and teenagers, I met retired couples, couples on honeymoons, backpackers from all over the world, people traveling alone and friends traveling in big groups, people who’d just became friends and not to forget about the lovely locals. The good thing about Bali is that it’s small and it’s easy to get around there. You can find a taxi anywhere but the easiest and fastest way to get to places is by far a scooter. That way you can go where you want to when you want to without having to rely on anyone. Sure, the traffic can be hectic, but give it a few days and you’ll get used to it. Renting a scooter is both cheap and handy and you can always buy a map if you don’t feel like getting lost, but the locals will gladly guide you too when asking for directions. The international driving license is a huge advantage and probably even is a requirement. Not that I encourage you to do anything illegal, but I’d say your fine without the driving license too, as long as you’re wearing a helmet. And in case you do get stopped by the police, money is always the answer, just hand them money and you’re good to go. Speaking of money the local currency is Indonesian Rupiah. The biggest note is 100000 IDR, which is the equivalence of approximately 7€/8USD. So if you ever wondered what it feels like being a millionaire Bali is the place to go.
If you fully want to experience Bali I’d say the best way to do it is by traveling around seeing different places, the places have such a different vibe and they almost feel like different countries. I myself spent 4 weeks there and still felt that I didn’t get to see all the places I wanted or planned to, so don’t worry about getting bored.
The local balinese or Indonesian food is both delicious and cheap. You should be prepared to eat a lot of rice, banana pancakes for breakfast and drink a lot of Bintang. Bintang is the local beer and I’m telling you, best beer ever. The heat simply makes you crave this ice cold delicious refreshment. The basic balinese dish is called Nasi goereng which simply is fried rice with vegetables and chicken or sometimes seafood, with a fried egg on top. Mie goereng is the same but with fried noodles. You’d be expecting to pay anything from 15000 IDR (1€!) to 75000 IDR for these dishes, depending on the restaurant. The local street kitchens or restaurants are called Warung and usually serve the best local food. After a night out partying this is the perfect place to grab food from, but if you feel like having a cheeseburger from McDonald’s instead that’s no problem either, you just give them a call and they’ll deliver your burger home for you!
Now don’t be worried, there’s loads of healthy food at hands too. The raw and slow food scene is big in Bali, there’s loads of restaurants specializing in salads, vegetarian food and delicious smoothies and juices. These restaurants can be found in the surfer cities or yoga places such as Canggu, Ubud and Uluwatu.
If you’re looking for crazy parties, huge clubs and pool-parties until the crack of dawn you’ll find it in places like Kuta and Seminyak and the island Gili Trawangan. If partying is the only thing you’re planning on doing though I’d say you’re better of going to Magaluf, Rhodos or Ayia Napa. You’ll save both the money, effort and time flying across the world because let’s be honest; the clubs are all the same. But once you’re in Bali you should definitely experience the nightlife once or twice or head for a beach party to enjoy a couple of Bintangs in a beanbag.
The downside with Bali is the growing tourism, pickpockets and the constant feeling of being fooled. The biggest cities in Bali are full packed
with tourists, but you can still find some nice quiet spots on the island if you want to experience the real deal. As a result from the growing tourism the number of pickpockets and people doing other types of sketchy business is constantly increasing, and even though most of the locals are extremely friendly and welcoming you have to remember to watch your back. They will try to rip you off in different ways and you’ll be paying tourist prices at most places. Other than that I consider Bali to be quite a safe place, but if you’re that kind of person who trouble just finds you’re not going to be able to avoid that in Bali either.
My three favorite places in Bali are Ubud, Canggu and Nusa Lembongan. Ubud is the cultural centre and heart of Bali. The place is packed with yogis, slow food places and cozy markets. Not to mention the Ubud Monkey forest and the rice field terraces that surround Ubud. If you happen to be a fan of the book eat, pray & love you actually can go see Wayan and Ketut there if you’re persistent enough to find them. Canggu is a smaller city which I just happened to end up in (and I’m so glad I did). This is the home of the famous Echo beach, well known amongst pro surfers, and the chilled restaurant/bar/hang out place called Old Man’s. Nusa Lembongan is an alternative for the islands Gili Meno and Gili Air (which I didn’t have time to visit) and is closer to Bali, 45 minutes by a speedboat from the harbor of Sanur. No traffic, no schedules, no nothing. Just relaxing by the beach sipping on a coconut, doesn’t sound too bad eh? All these places have accommodation for various price ranges so whether you want to stay in a cheaper home stay or hostel or prefer a fancy hotel I’m sure you’ll find something you’ll like. There’s of course so many other absolutely amazing places to visit in Bali and the islands close by, but these were the ones I enjoyed myself the most. The nature in these parts of Asia is unreal, the amount of places to discover is endless and Bali has the most gorgeous sunsets I’ve ever seen in my life.
When was the last time you stood on a cliff watching the mesmerizing sunset, having the sea breeze play with you hair while your skin being all salty and sun-kissed? I’m telling you. Go!