It’s been exactly 7 months since i got back from my trip to Bali. But trust me, the memories I have of that trip still lingers in my head to this day. I can remember each detail of my Balinese vacation-turned-spiritual-journey just like it was yesterday.
Since coming back from the journey, people have been asking me for details about my trip. From the budget to directions on how to get there, transportation, accommodations and whatnot.
I’d love to share to everyone my experience(except that near-death experience I had) rather than my trip details but then I realized that I could very well just show you the way to this enchanting island so that you guys can experience it for yourselves too.
$1 = PhP43 = IDR9,000
From now on we’ll be talking in terms of Indonesian Rupiah(IDR) for expenses made after the airfares…
I always make it a point to travel on a budget. Make every trip as inexpensive as I possibly can. Like most of my trips, this one’s unplanned. A major mistake on my part because I know spontaneous trips and budget trips can never go together. I’m not gonna lie and I’m not gonna give you the exact digits but let’s just say I didn’t go over 30,000 pesos(about $700). Not bad for a 5-day trip.
How to Get There?
Half of my budget went down to my airfare. I know I could’ve shaved about $100 off the plane tickets if only I booked them months earlier. But what the heck, no regrets, it was worth every single penny.
As with my airline of choice? I didn’t have any. I went straight to booking the cheapest ones I found online. I ended up taking 2 different Singapore-based budget airlines.
Here are my airlines:
Cebu – Singapore ————– Cebu Pacific
Singapore – Denpasar(Bali) — Jetstar
Denpasar(Bali) – Singapore — AirAsia
Singapore – Cebu ————— Cebu Pacific
Like in most airports, you can never expect metered taxis right outside the airport entrance/exits. Since, I was on a relatively tight budget, I went on to ask around on the cheapest way to get to Kuta, where I was headed. I walked about 200 meters to the area where the metered taxis are, where I met Kat and Kelly, 2 Australian backpackers also headed for Kuta. They were hesitant at first, probably because I had the profile of a local but then we agreed to share the taxi. When we got to our destination, the meter read 20,000 Rupiah(Rp) and we ended up paying about 6,000 each.
Where to Stay?
The moment I got to Kuta at around 12 noon, my excitement took me straight to the beach but then I realized that I didn’t even have a place to stay yet so I started strolling up and down Jalan Poppies 1 and Poppies 2 looking for the cheapest, most decent room I can find. There are a lot of choices in the area but the cheapest ones are usually the Homestays. For those of you who don’t know, Homestay is renting a spare room from a local family’s home.
Where I Stayed: Sekar Bali Homestay
Location: Jalan Poppies 1, Kuta; About 7-10min walk to Kuta Beach and a 5-minute walk to Jalan Legian(where most bars and night clubs are)
Price: Approximately IDR100,000/night after intense haggling
Features: 2 Beds, Cold Shower, Ceiling Fan
Where to Dine?
Everytime I travel, I always make it a point to try as much of the local delicacies as I can. In other words, I just wanna eat what the locals eat and dine where they dine. These places are usually the cheapest, most delicious ones. Don’t forget, when travelling, food is a big part of the experience. Some of these restaurants don’t even have a name but hey, the food’s just as good that it’s making my taste buds tingle as I’m writing this.
Where I Usually Dined: Warung Pama
Location: About 5min walk to Legian, and literally a few steps away from where I stayed.
Price Range: IDR10,000-15,ooo
Food Choices: Too many to mention. Ranging from European, Chinese and Indonesian cuisine.
With tourists flocking around like ants on a melted candy bar, your transportation choices are endless. From taxis to shuttle buses to mini vans or even locals to drive you around in motor bikes or even bicycles. Whatever fits your style, it’s your choice. Mine, of course, was the cheapest one I could find – Renting myself a Motorbike. This was on the day I decided to go to Ubud and explore a different side of Bali. And this too, was when I had that near-death experience. I’m not gonna go into details but let’s just say that this was the very 1st time I drove a motorbike. Talk about guts!
My Mode of Transportation:
Advantage: It is easier to get oriented to the place when you go on foot.
Price: Approx. IDR50,000/24hrs + Gas(Approx.IDR4,000/Litre)
Advantage: Unlike pre-planned tours, you own your time and you can go where you wanna go. Side Trips are always exciting. Get lost! literally
Where to Go and What to see?
We all know that Bali is known for its beautiful beaches and perfect barrelling waves for surfing. There’s more to Bali than just beaches. Before leaving for Bali, I had a list of places to visit. Take note of the word “had”. Here are some sights worth visiting.
This is where most tourists flock to lay in the sand all day and get that tan and then to shop and party all night in the night clubs of Jalan Legian.
The cultural center of Bali. If you wanna immerse in the Balinese culture and talk to people who come from generations of Balinese families, then this is the place to be.
Note: Remember to respect tradition. Temples are holy and everyone is required to wear a Sarong(piece of cloth to wrap the legs) and Selendang(Temple Scarf) around your waist. You can rent these for about IDR10,000 in temple the entrance.
Quick Tip: On your first temple visit, hire a guide for about IDR30,000. This’ll give you a heads up on their beliefs and what you need to know about the religion.
3. Tampak Siring Temple
Also known as The Holy Spring Temple. One of the most majestic temples in Bali. A place of purification. The water from this holy spring is believed to purify your soul from all the bad influences in life.
This is the best place to get a panoramic view of the beautiful Mt. Batur which is a very active volcano and Lake Batur. Take your time to marvel on this magnificent view.
Quick Tip: When taking the motorbike to Kintamani, prepare about IDR100,000. Why? Let’s just say cops are always ready to pull over foreign-looking riders with no international driver’s license. Maybe a few more Rupiahs can get you through without all the hassle.
5. Ketut Liyer
I know, I know…You’ve all been waiting for this part. Everyone who has read the book “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert would know who he is. I’ve never read this book but I’ve seen the movie and I must say he was very well portrayed in the movie. He has a few teeth left, his english is quite difficult to understand and he smiles a lot. His place is located in Pengosekan, a small village in Ubud. Oh and by the way, a session with this medecine-man-turned-celebrity isn’t cheap at all. It’ll cost you IDR250,000.
Quick Tip: You might have read bad reviews about him being a hoax and telling everyone else exactly the same thing. I’d say this is partly true. You can actually skip this part of the trip or take this off your itinerary. It’s not a lot to miss out on.
What was the best thing you did in Bali?
Do you really wanna know the answer to that question? Okay if you insist. My answer is “the best thing that I ever did in Bali was to throw away that list”. Remember when I told you to take note of the word “had”? Yes, I had a list of places to visit in Bali but as soon as i stepped outside Denpasar Airport, I threw it away thinking “Why would I let a piece of paper dictate the outcome of my trip?”. Sometimes it pays to get lost and just let your adventurer’s instinct guide you.
Imagine if I kept that list and followed it every step of the way for 5 whole days? I didn’t have Kintamani on that list or the side trip to The Hidden Gems – Gili Air, Gili Meno and Gili Trawangan. Imagine what I could’ve missed.(Post about this “Side Trip” coming soon.)
Check out my trip to the Gili Islands. Click this link. Side Trip: Gili Trawangan