last year we checked a major travel destination off our bucket list by traveling across the world to BALI! bali is an island of indonesia. the whole province is made up by a few additional just-as-stunning islands (which we sadly didn’t have time to visit this trip) and overall bali is pretty small but spread out and vast in terms of scenery and even getting from one place to the other. i would love to document our two-week journey & share it with the world to hopefully encourage others to visit this magical place at least once in their lifetime. it was a life-changing experience to say the least…we will be back for sure.
we ventured 9,785 miles to an island i only ever dreamed of. this destination felt so out-of-reach and far-fetched before, but when dek & i moved to the states and he was going to apply for american citizenship i teased him that he could thank me by taking me to bali…and he did! it is much more difficult to be granted an indonesian visa with an israeli passport so with his american passport we celebrated & booked it for two weeks. we made it a priority to set aside money each month to save for the trip. the flights were the most expensive part at around $1,100 roundtrip per person, but once we got to bali everything was cheap and very affordable. the entire trip ended up costing us about $5,000 and that includes everything from insurance, flights, shopping, lodging, experiences, etc.
the travel was no small feat. total travel time including layovers (& we chose the shortest, cheapest flight we could find!) was about ~32 hours. we left from dallas and stopped in seattle, then taipei and then finally on to bali. we knew what we were getting into, but it never makes long travel like that any easier.
in order to see a good variety of the island we broke our trip into 3 different parts of the country, staying at different airbnb‘s in each place. we chose to book all of our stays through them first of all for ease and convenience and also because we have never had issues with them before and all of the places we booked had great reviews. we wanted to spend the majority of our time near the water, but we were intrigued by ubud and knew we need to taste that culture and see this unique city.
we landed in densapar at the ngurah rai international airport in the mid-afternoon & took a cab down to south kuta because we wanted to kick off the trip with some of the most amazing beaches we saw and read about online. we spent 4 nights in the area of ungasan at this villa. this area is a bit remote, at least where we stayed which is considered centrally located, there were no places to walk to, i mean you technically could walk to somewhere to eat and the beach but it would probably take you 30 minutes. if you venture to this area of bali i would recommend you rent a scooter. before we went, we knew we would want to rent one, and we got kinda freaked out by all the rumors online that you need motorbike insurance and that the cops are out to get tourists on motorbikes, etc. but we had no problems renting one or getting pulled over. i attempted to drive one day and deferred back to dekel, it was more fun to hold on & squeeze him, looking out and pinching myself at where we were. after frolicking around some of the most insane beaches i’ve ever seen with my eyes, we moved on to the second leg of our trip, which was in ubud. we originally booked this place but had an unexpected ant infestation so stayed there 1 night and moved down the street to this place that we booked in person for the rest of our stay – it was an awesome location and room. we made our stay in ubud the longest leg of our trip at 5 nights & even wished we had more time at the end. it was really ubud that changed something inside of me. as cliche as it sounds, this place and it’s magic touched my soul and i felt like i discovered a deeper piece of myself coming back from there (more on this in an upcoming dedicated ubud post). to wrap up our travels, we went back beachside and relaxed in bugie, but beautiful seminyak for 3 nights at this entire private villa. we made no plans, had no itinerary besides posting up at potatohead beach club for a whole day and getting foot massages and reading our books.
stay tuned for in-depth posts and reviews of all 3 of the different locations, i would love to share some of my favorite photos and more helpful travel information 🙂
tips for before your visit bali:
1. pack extra sunscreen
we ran out because we only brought 1 bottle with us thinking we would just buy more but it’s sooo expensive it killed us that we didn’t just bring more from home. here (in dallas, tx) you can get an 8-ounce bottle for about $10 and it was triple that price in bali…and we checked multiple places like grocery stores, pharmacies, etc.
3. travel insurance
we used this tool to compare, find and choose the best coverage for us. i tend to always get stomach sick when we travel (scroll a few photos down in this post to see me with an IV on koh phi phi, i’m telling you it’s inevitable) and we like knowing we would be taken care of abroad without extra costs, if need be.
2. less is more
this should be translated in every way, in terms of packing, wearing makeup, jewelry, stress, clothing (ha!). just bring less stuff than you think you will need. it’s a casual, laid-back island and seeing how the locals live is a reminder to take it easy and soak it all in. it’s also inevitable that you will soak up that sun, it’s so hot that jewelry just becomes unnecessary and your face just melts off. i really learned to embrace my inner boheme and go-with-the-flow, embody my frizzy natural hair and my makeup-free face most days. if you think you will want a special dress or something for a planned photo shoot, bring it in a bag until you get to your location because you will sweat in it.
4. bring comfortable shoes
you are going to be walk for miles so just come prepared to hit that ground in comfort. also, if you are going to be repelling, hiking, rafting, zip-lining or doing any other physical activities, just check ahead what shoes would be best to wear. we went white water rafting and both only had flip flops to take with us versus water shoes which would have been much better.
5. power bank
this is the exact one we have and used throughout the whole trip because you use your phone so much throughout the day and you don’t want to be dependant on an outlet. it can charge your phone x6 or your ipad x2.
i will be posting about the 3 different parts of our trip (south kuta, ubud, seminyak) separately so i can go into more colorful detail for each, so stay tuned. and if you have any questions about my trip in particular or would like any suggestions or advice in general about traveling internationally or bali, please reach out – i would love to hear from you! tomorrow I will be sharing 5 tips on creating a travel scrapbook from your next trip so check back for that, too.
*inkbox world tattoo that lasted about a week on the trip. makes me want it permanently*
the bluest of waters in south kuta
the greenest of rice fields around ubud
since dek & i both are so driven by travel, i keep an ever-growing bucket list as motivation in the office 🙂 we’re planning to check another one off this year by going to costa rica at the end of february – can’t wait to share our plans with you guys!
*see detailed south kuta post here
thank you for reading!