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.