Welcome to the second installment of Quick Intros. This time we are going back to Bali.
Since the popularity of the movie Eat, Pray, Love in 2010 Bali has become an even more popular and touristy destination. I was there in January 2014 and the increase in demand for luxury hotels and restaurants was already very evident. Half the beachfront was under construction. I would love to go back and see how much the area has changed in just a few years.
The two places most everyone visits in Bali are Ubud (which is where Eat, Pray, Love was set but they mislead you because it is not on the beach). And the second is Kuta and Seminyak, which sit along the beach (Seminyak is a little fancier).
I flew with AirAsia from Singapore to Bali. I stayed in Ubud first and then took a taxi to my hotel in Seminyak. I would spend more time in Ubud unless you are a big beach person. I was there in January but because of the weather the beach wasn’t at its most pristine. It was still very sunny, hot and humid though. Check the weather before you go. The high season is usually July and August.
While I was in Ubud I did a full-day cycling tour with Greenbike Cycling that I loved. In one day I was able to see the rice fields, the famous Tegalalang Rice Terraces, the Mount Batur volcano, and visit a Lewak coffee farm. We also stopped to visit a family and learn about the daily canang sari floral offerings you will see scattered around.
SEE ALSO: My Mountain Biking Adventure in Bali
I stayed at the Cendana Resort & Spa. It was easy to walk into town and had a pool looking over a rice paddie. Ubud is all about relaxation. There are lots of places for yoga and spa time.
The other popular things to do in Ubud are see a Kecak Fire Show, visit the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary and shop. There is a market in town and lots of local shops that vary in price from very cheap to very expensive.
Kuta/Seminyak is mostly a beach vacation spot. There are two beach clubs that everyone goes to, Potatohead and Ku de Ta. They’re kind of scene but it was fun to get a daybed and have a few cocktails in the sun (I think you can reserve one, otherwise there’s sometimes a wait).
SEE ALSO: Hotspots on the Beach in Seminyak, Bali
There are two main streets in the area, one with mostly restaurants and one of shops. You can take cheap taxis everywhere but make sure you ask beforehand how much it will be because they like to overcharge tourists. Ask your hotel what an average price would be. There are also lots of restaurants/bars along the beach as well.
If you are a big shopper, get off the main roads and visit the smaller artisan shops and studios around the area. Snakeskin bags and accessories are pretty popular for souvenirs.
Two of the restaurants I really liked were Chez Gado Gado which overlooked the beach and Grocer & Grind which I think now has several locations in the area.
*The Uluwatu Temple: I didn’t end up going to see this but it is one of the most popular attractions. You can take a taxi or ask your hotel about transportation to the temple.
*Although there were more restaurants in Seminyak/Kuta I ended up liking the food in Ubud a little bit more.
*Spas/Massages: Don’t go to the fancy spa/hotel related massage places. They are NYC prices. There are lots of good cheap places in Ubud and Seminyak/Kuta.
*If Bali is seeming too touristy for you it might be worth looking into the islands nearby that many people say are what Bali used to be like before the tourism boom.