Bali, Indonesia – Flying in.
We arrived in Denpasar at 8:00 AM after two days of traveling. I flew out of San Fransisco for around $450. We found our Air BNB’s address after purchasing SIM cards at the airport. It costs less than $10 to purchase a SIM card, and I definitely suggest doing so. The Airbnb was in Kuta, an adorable shopping and beach town. We took a taxi to the air bnb, and ended up on the beach shortly after! Before we knew it, we were convinced to go surfing by some local instructors. After successfully doing some first time surfing, we went shopping, then back to the Airbnb. To end the day, we headed back to the beach for the sunset.
It was absolutely breath taking.
We traveled by taxi again from Kuta to Ubud. Our Airbnb was gorgeous. Our first couple of days consisted of shopping, eating, and wandering the streets of Monkey Forest Road. Shopping and staying in Bali is very cheap! We bough A LOT of clothes for less than $3-5 a piece. Massages are also very affordable, and help recover you from the traveling. I got a foot massage and a full body massage while staying in Ubud, it was amazing! Ubud is not located next to a beach, so make sure to get an Airbnb with a pool. It made our time very enjoyable at all our accomidations. None of our accommodations cost more than $40.
After we had finished our shopping we decided to take day trips to temples, rice fields, and waterfalls. Our guide, Artana, was incredible. We hired him through the Airbnb app. The app has many affordable guide options. We booked two tours in a row, each lasting a day long.
The first tour took us to taste coffee and tea, visit a temple, swing on the Bali swing, and to a rice terrace. Coffee and tea tasting was something I didn’t have on my to do list, but it is one of my favorite memories while in Bali! We went to Lumbung Sari House Of Luwak Coffee. I absolutely love tea, so it was incredible tasting all their amazing locally grown flavors. I ended up purchasing a packet of tea, chocolates, and incense. There are lots of local items to take home including coffee made from Luwak poop – haha! It didn’t taste terrible, my friends even said they liked it!
The Water Temple is where we headed next. People get in the water to be blessed here. There are pools with fish inside, and views all around. There is some shopping outside the temple as well. When you enter temples be sure to have a sarong and/or scarf.
After the temple we had dinner at the location of the Bali Swing. Here, you can get harnessed up and swing over the jungle of palm trees and rice terraces. It is such a rush! It was pouring rain while our group went, but it made it even more of a crazy experience.
The next day of tours covered the famous Lempuyang Temple, a monkey forest, and a gorgeous cave waterfall. These Airbnb tours are extremely affordable. We paid about $50 total for one, and even less for another! It makes the tours less stressful, as Artana covered all of our entrance fees, and even some of the meals! It was so amazing getting to know him as well. He showed us his daughter dancing to traditional Balinese music, and answered all our questions about his culture. He made our experience truly incredible.
The Lemuyang Temple is well known for its Instagramability, but you’ll have to visit to discover the true secret of this place. I won’t give it away, but if you’re chasing it from Instagram, you will more than likely be fooled! Other than the famous photo, the temple is amazing. Views will blow your mind, and the intricate details covering every inch of the building. Be sure to get there early, the clouds cover the mountain usually before late morning. Waking up is worth it too. Traveling the roads through the forest will showcase glowing midst through the tree gaps. The entire island will take your breath away with its beauty. Locals also are also very beautiful to watch. Some days are worship days, and they will be dressed in vibrant dresses. Others you will see them work on a farm, harvest crop, and load wagons.
The waterfall we saw was probably the most incredible waterfall I had ever seen. It is located inside a cave, and drops down the cave walls! It is called Tukad Cepung Waterfall, Bangli. At the top there are a couple shops and snack booths. Artana got us some fried bananas to try, and they were super tasty! This brings me to Bali belly. None of us got sick off the bananas (I don’t think,) but it is important to be careful of what you consume. The water is not drinkable. This includes ice in drinks, brushing your teeth, and anything in-between. I personally did not get sick, but many people do. Read up on what not to eat to avoid a day in the bathroom with Bali belly.
Hiking to Tukad Cepung Waterfall feels incredible in the hot air. You will wade through knee high water through the cave for a majority of the hike – it is so refreshing! Once you get to the waterfall, there is usually a bit of a line to get to the very end. It is becoming a main tourist destination, so be sure to pack out what you pack in, and be kind to others while waiting. When it is your turn, take the most epic rinse of your life in the falls. It will make you feel so alive!
After cooling off at a waterfall we went to the Sangeh Monkey Forest. This is something that needs to be on everyone’s bucket list! Even if you think you’re afraid of monkeys, these ones are trained to be respectful. Other forests are not like this, and you may hear of peoples jewelry getting stolen. Sangeh is lesser traveled, and safer than others.
we had monkeys crawling up our bodies, using our clothes and hair as their rope. The experience is priceless! Don’t look them in the eyes though…
Off to Nusa Penida
We booked a round trip ticket to another Indonesian island called Nusa Penida, not far from Bali. Our Airbnb owner organized the trip itself, and was able to charge us for a ride to the boat, and riding the boat itself to the next island. I recommended always asking your Airbnb owner/manager if they have deals on rides to places. We saved money a couple of different instances by utilizing our Airbnb’s service.
After the bumpy ride to Nusa Penida we checked into our new Airbnb. I think we may have used Airbnb the entire trip, but it was worth it! Bali is the more developed of the two countries. There are not many shops or places to eat as in a town like Ubud. Nusa Penida is a place to relax on the beach, snorkel or scuba dive, and do some hiking. Our favorite hike was down to Kelingking Beach. The view of the ocean is endless, and it is pretty insane seeing the cliffs sticking up through the vibrant blue water.
We also went snorkeling at a few different locations off of the coast. We booked this with our Airbnb owner, and saved money compared to using the app. Snorkeling was another favorite moment of the trip. We saw colorful fish and coral through the clear water. It was an amazing experience, and our local guides were extremely friendly per usual.
Bali is an extremely affordable country to visit, their currency is Indonesian rupiah. You will be spending thousands of rupiah, but only a few US dollars. Meals are cheaper, as most South East Asian countries are. Be sure to tip locals, one dollar to us means a lot to them. They are the kindest people you’ll encounter. In total, I spent about $1,000 including plane tickets. We stayed for two weeks, and bought many souvenirs. It is an excellent destination to choose if you are trying to save money, and learn about other cultures.
Follow me on Instagram to see my adventures:
Check out my talented friend’s video of our trip to see all our experiences wrapped up in a few minutes: