It was time to leave Malaysia and head off on holiday in Bali! We took an Uber and even though we drove for almost an hour it was still pretty cheap. The driver left us at the international terminal of the airport, which doesn’t operate Air Asia flights. We did panic a little bit at this point because we didn’t see our flight at first. One of the staff at the terminal wasn’t too helpful either, telling us we were at the wrong airport!
We worked out that all we needed was a train to get to where we were supposed to be. That was the separate terminal, just for budget airlines. Unfortunately our journey didn’t get better – the terminal was very chaotic and disorganised, so we only reached our gate at the last minute. But we made it!
Flight to Bali
We booked a cheap flight to Bali with Air Asia, the biggest low budget airline in Asia. Our flight took about 3 hours and I was surprised they gave us such a big plane for the short journey. I don’t know the model, but the plane even had business class, so it was better than when we flew with American Airlines to Hawaii for 8 hours.
The flight to Bali was very empty. We were flying when the volcano eruption alert had just gone live, so I think a lot of people cancelled their trip. After we landed in Bali, we took an Uber to our hotel in Ubud. I knew more or less how much the taxi was supposed to cost, but every driver was trying to get my attention, which got annoying pretty quickly. One even kept following us and waited for us to return from a meal in the arrivals lounge.
Where to stay in Ubud
As you probably know, when you choose to holiday in Bali, you get to stay somewhere stunning but relatively budget friendly! It’s such a wonderful place, so we decided to treat ourselves again – a decision made even easier by the fact that doing so wouldn’t cost a fortune! We wanted to stay somewhere with an infinity pool and great views – just like we enjoyed at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.
Our final decision after browsing a lot of options was Black Penny Villas. It took about an hour to get there from the airport. Luckily we didn’t hit any traffic – I’d heard many stories about the traffic jams in Bali! Upon arrival we were welcomed by a nice manager who explained everything to us, told us about the free shuttle to Ubud city centre, free breakfast and some activities we can enjoy during our time in Ubud.
The villa was so beautiful! It had a very romantic vibe so it was perfect for a honeymoon in Bali. The bed was big and comfortable, the bathroom beautiful and partly outdoors, and there was a stunning pool with views over the rice fields. It felt like a dream and I really could have stayed there forever.
What to do in Ubud
When I planned my trip to Bali, I made my priority relaxing. I didn’t make any plans to explore the island because there is so much to see and the five days we had wouldn’t be long enough. Plus, we were already planning to return in future for a much longer stay, so there was no pressure.
The next day, however, I woke up and couldn’t wait to get out and about on holiday in Bali. We enjoyed breakfast in our room, then headed straight out on the shuttle into the centre of Ubud. The town is a pretty touristy place but I loved it. There are lots of shops, restaurants, coffee shops and even pool cocktail bars. But again you could see the volcano effect because it was very quiet, although we liked that.
Day 1 at a palace, temple and the Monkey Forest!
Our first stops were at Ubud Royal Palace, Pura Taman Saraswati Temple and the Monkey Forest. The latter was an interesting place, if a little scary because the monkeys can be dangerous! They jump all over the place and you have to watch your things very carefully – the mischievous monkeys like to steal! The forest itself was pretty amazing as well, with beautiful flora to take in.
Before we left, we decided to get a photo at the Monkey Forest for a souvenir – and we will never forget it! While feeding the monkeys with bananas, one of them scratched my husband! Thankfully there is an emergency point nearby, where you can clean your skin to prevent infection. The visit ended in Ubud hospital to get shots for rabies. Apparently the Ubud monkeys are free from it, but we’d heard different opinions so just to be safe we decided to get them done. You have to receive 4 shots (sometimes 5) on your 1st, 3rd, 10th and 20th days after the accident. Luckily we had pretty good insurance, which covered all the bills. We ended the first day on holiday in Bali with dinner and more exploring.
Day 2 at Nungnung Waterfall, Tirta Empul Water Temple and Tegalalang Rice Terrace
On the second day we really wanted to see the famous Tegalalang Rice Terrace, but having planned to relax the whole time in Bali, we weren’t well prepared. We ended up taking an overpriced hotel tour, which also included stops at three other places.
The first stop was Nungnung Waterfall, which was very beautiful and well worth the many stairs. Waterfalls are one of my favourite things to see while I am travelling so I was very happy standing there, admiring the charms of nature.
The next stop was Tirta Empul Water Temple, where you will find holy water. It is a popular place for both tourists and locals, who visit to clean. After spending time at the temple, we visited a fabulous coffee plantation where our guide explained to us how they make coffee. We got some great samples and bought some coffee to take home.
Our final stop was the famous rice terrace, Tegalalang. They are as stunning as the photos lead you to believe. We took the opportunity to walk around the rice terraces before returning to our hotel to enjoy our final night in Ubud.
Find out what other experiences made my top 10 to try in Bali here – you never know which might be the perfect addition to your trip!
Where to stay in Kuta
For the remaining time we had in Bali, we decided to move on to Kuta. This area is best known for party and beach holidays. We booked Ini Vie Villa, which also had a private pool. It was a nice place to stay, but it was more expensive than our hotel in Ubud.
The pool did not look as great as it did in the photos and the flamingo inflatables we were promised never arrived. To top it all off, when we checked out, they thought we’d taken a towel so we had to wait ages to sort that out before leaving! On a more positive note, the villa was nice and clean with a little kitchen, living room, Jacuzzi and hammock to enjoy.
What to do in Kuta
Kuta isn’t the place to go if you want to get an authentic experience on holiday in Bali. As soon as we left our hotel, English signs and restaurants blaring loud music filled the streets. Kuta is a place where you spend days at the beach and nights out drinking, which is exactly what we did!
The beaches in Kuta and Seminyak were wide and nice, but not as beautiful as others I’ve seen. The area is a big hit with surfers though, and renowned for stunning sunsets too.
When night arrived, we checked out Bali’s party scene, starting in a bar called Paddy’s, where we met other travellers and headed on to a nightclub named Skygarden. The prices were acceptable and I felt pretty safe.
So, despite the first few days of adventures, I did spend most of my time in Bali relaxing. I didn’t hire a private driver to show me the whole island, I didn’t rent a motorbike to explore on my own and I didn’t see the sunrise from the volcano… but I still had an amazing time!
Bali was on my list of dream places to go and I can’t wait to go back for a second time. But for now, I have 10 more places on my travel bucket list – check them out and see how many are on yours too.
Bali looks absolutely amazing! I’m definitely adding this destination to my bucket list. Thanks for sharing!
Truly looks you had an amazing trip. Elegant hotels, a nice stroll in town, waterfalls, seaside, forests, wild animal (I had the chance to see monkeys!), and the beautiful architecture of the Tirta Empul Water Temple. It is more than enough to fill the soul of every traveler. The pictures are simply beautiful!
Hi! Great wtite up of Bali! I did a lot of the same things you did but Your choice of the Black Penny Villas looks great! Putting them in my list for next time!
I loved Kuta! It was less touristy and I had more fun there!
Love your pics!
Ubud is also on my holiday wishlist. Especially after your photos
If I were to go to Bali (which I hope to do soon!), I’d definitely take the relaxing route as well! Ubud seems more my pace than Kuta- plus, that hotel is something out of a dream! Thanks for sharing such a stunning and peaceful trip; you’ve got me wanting to book a trip ASAP!
It looks like you had a great time in Bali! And I just love the look and feel of the pictures as well! I haven’t been there, but when I do, I’ll keep in mind your tips! Thanx so much for sharing 🙂
Wow! Long, informative post! You sold Bali on the photos alone!!!!!! Great shots! The resort looked amazing! Nice read! Thanks!
Despite all that has been said that Bali has become a tourist trap, I am still enamored by it. And you have convinced me that I should at least visit it once. I haven’t fixed my travel plans for this year yet but I will have to go late this year! I will keep this guide handy!
One of my close friends live in Bali. He keeps calling me to say with him. After seeing your pictures, I realize I actually should go asap. Black Penny Villas looks like a good place to stay. Glad that you didn’t face the infamous traffic of Bali.
How fun that you got to tick of Bali of your bucket list! The first hotel looks gorgeous and very romantic! You really choose a great time to visit Bali just right after the volcano warning, you took a risk but nothing really happend! Apart of getting scratch by a monkey. Now having a kid, I try to avoid such places because I know from my own experiences of how unpredictable monkeys can be. Sometime we don’t need to do hundreds of things on vaccation, only a few to really enjoy it!
I was in Bali for my honeymoon so it will always remain a special place. At that time Ubud was starting to come up and while we stayed in Nusa Dua, I loved the vibe of it all. I am in complete awe of the villa you stayed in and that is truly understated luxury at its best with some amazing views too. A really great place to spend a vacation.
Ah, that infinity pool in Ubud looks amazing!! Bali is a big travel oversight for us–it’s such a popular destination, and I think we’d like it, but we’ve never made it out there. The monkey forest looks so cool! I think we’d skip Kuta, though–I never hear much good about it, and it sounds like your experience wasn’t the best, either.
You refreshed my Bali memories. I was in Bali 3 months ago and really loved it. Your pictures are making me miss it more now 🙂
Wow what a perfect romantic place is Bali. You have mentioned all important things to do in Bali. Your romantic stay with stunning views in Ubud is really an exotic one. Nungnung waterfalls is spectacular. Visiting Tirta Empul Water Temple is high on my list due to holy water. Lovely pictures.
Bali is really a beautiful destination, and one I’ve been to 2 times already! Your villa looks beautiful, and so romantic too, I’d like to stay here next time. The Nungnung waterfall is lush, and I don’t remember seeing this the last time!
I’m also planning to see Bali, but for a solo trip, hope that happens soon enough. You’ve presented a different side of Bali, as we have only seen the beaches but this is refreshing, I love Irta Empul Water Temple – that is amazing. Thanks for these amazing recommendations!
Oh gosh, I hear rabies shots really hurt and make you feel awful, how did you manage with that? I’m torn about wanting to go to Bali, I feel like EVERYONE goes there, and of course it’s beautiful… but I’m worried about it being over saturated with tourists. Did you get that feeling at all? I’m also not a party person so your first villa definitely seems nicer to me haha.
I’m envious of the villa pictures! haha! For anyone who visits Bali, staying in a villa is a must and I’m glad you did. That breakfast at the pool is very fancy! They have plenty of waterfalls too, I highly suggest to try whitewater rafting there.
Holiday in Bali drew me in immediately. We love waking up to a view and love the view you had with your bed! Great room! I can’t believe you had to spend some of your trip in the hospital because of the monkeys. I would probably want to feed them to. Hopefully they don’t scratch me. I’ve always wanted to visit a coffee plantation and rice field terrace. Definitely many reasons to go back to Bali.
Your article makes me miss Bali so much! We lived there for two months a couple of years ago and didn’t get a chance to explore Ubud much. Your villa looks amazing and it’s nice that you didn’t hit traffic getting there because traffic in Bali can be crazy! What a crazy experience to have to go to the hospital because of the monkey scratch! I was careful but they (the monkeys) almost stole our bag with our passports when we visited the Monkey Forest!
Oh, I don’t like unnecessary stress before my trip either, but It give you some weird adrenaline. Sometimes I think missing the flight is the worst thing that can happen to me, of course is not. I’m happy you managed to relax enough after all that stress caused in Malaysia. 🙂
Black Penny Villas looks amazing! Wow! The monkey forest would be something I’d just HAVE to do. It looks so fun in your photos. The picture looks great but I hope your husband has recovered fine after the scratch!
This place looks so relaxing, seems like you had a blast too. You also had me at the waterfall. Definitely have to tell my husband we need an anniversary trip here.
I hate Kuta too. Not the place one wants to find anything stunning. I love Ubud, and i loved your narration on day 2. Those are places I have not been to. I loved the place, especially the waterfall and rice fields. I spent my time at Ubud going to a dance performance, meeting Ketut Liyer (‘Eat Pray Love’ Balian) and going the next day to Bratur
The pictures are great, and I am so envious because I had to cancel my own booked Bali holiday in December when the whole volcano mess was happening. The villa in Ubud does look gorgeous, I’d probably pick something similar too! Thanks for sharing, I must make plans to go this year!
You did a good thing that you spent a night in Ubud because I took a daytrip and it just wasn’t enough. I could’ve easily spent another day. You villa looks fantastic, I love that infinity pool. I loved this about Bali – such luxurious places available for such cheap prices! I did not stay in Kuta however, because I found it too crowded and touristy, I preferred staying in Seminyak. I would love to return one day!
Sorry about the scratch but the monkeys are sure mischievous. But your trip Bali is sure an envy to me. I like the way you planned your stay in Bali, it stated chaotic at the airport but ended up being relaxing for you. I also like where you stayed, Ubud. It’s a beautiful place. It’s even weird that Bali isn’t that crowded, can we pay for this peace everyday but without any natural disiater
Ubud has always been in my travel list. It has variety to things to see and experience. The monkey forest is something that I would enjoy a lot I am sure. The colorful streets selling such lovely stuff is awesome. I would love to hop around the various temples and have a lavish stay there. Seems you had a great holiday. Wish you many more. Thanks for sharing