After our weekend in Singapore, Ke and I headed to Bali! In total we spent about 6 days in Bali, mostly in Ubud. Bali is HUGE and despite spending 6 days here we only scratched the surface on all of the things you can possibly see and experience. Overall, Bali is probably the most beautiful place I have ever seen. It is full of natural wonders, Hindu temples, and delicious food!
Where to Stay
Bali may seem like a small island but there are a ton of different areas you can stay in depending on what you’re looking for. For beaches, resorts and water activities, the top areas would be Jimbaran, Legion Beach, or Seminyak.
We decided to stay in Ubud, which is more mountainous and has better access to some of the sights below. Afterwards, we headed south to Jimbaran and stayed at a lovely resort that was near the wedding we were attending.
Ubud – The Hanging Gardens of Bali
In Ubud we stayed at a hostel near the center of the city and then stayed one night in the best hotel I have ever been to, the Hanging Gardens of Bali*. The Hanging Gardens of Bali is famous for it’s two story infinity pool. The entire resort is made up of small villas with private pools along the side of hill. We were even upgraded once we arrived and treated to complimentary afternoon tea 😀
Jimbaran – Ayana Resort
After about 4 days in Ubud, we headed to Jimbaran and checked in to RIMBA Jimbaran* which was a resort in the beautiful Ayana Resort area. In Ayana, you have access to gorgeous pools, shopping, and amenities. There is also the Rock Bar, a stunning bar on the side of a cliff that is a must see!
What to See
Below were the main attractions Ke and I set off to see. Bali’s largest industry is tourism so it can be pretty flooded with tourists. Our main goal was to try and find the natural wonders that were a little far from the main tourist areas.
Ulun Danu Bratan Temple
One of the most beautiful temples we saw in Bali was Ulun Danu Bratan Temple. This is definitely a must see. This temple was built in 1663 and sits on the water of Lake Bratan with gorgeous mountains in the distance. Ke and I rented a scooter and drove here from Ubud which was an experience itself.
Bali is filled with dozens of waterfalls throughout the island. You can’t go to Bali and not swim beneath a roaring waterfall in the middle of the mountains. After doing some research, we learned that most people tend to head to Tegenungan waterfall near Ubud, as its very well known and accessible.
We wanted to avoid crowds as well as do a bit of hiking. After more research, we decided to check out Nungnung waterfall, about an hour north of Ubud. We left our hostel around 8:30am and, after climbing down 500 steps, made it to the waterfall around 9:30am. We had it completely to ourselves for almost an hour! It was an incredible experience, I had never been so close to such a large waterfall before!! Definitely a must see if you’re in Bali.
Jatiluwih Rice Terrace
After swimming under Nungnung waterfall, we hopped on our scooter and headed to the Jatiluwih rice terraces, about an hour drive away. Jatiluwih rice terraces are a UNESCO world heritage site and it is absolutely stunning. It’s also a bit out of the way so you can expect very few tourists here.
We drove into the main site after paying a small fee and got to walk around the fields. Afterwards, we grabbed lunch at a restaurant overlooking the valley. It was so beautiful, I felt like I was in a painting the entire time.
Saraswati temple is another stunning temple in the heart of Ubud. While it’s right next to a Starbucks lol it’s definitely a must see especially since its so easy to access.
On the very first night in Bali we got tickets to a traditional dance show normally held at Ubud Palace. It’s very easy to get tickets, simply walk to the palace to purchase them, they are about $10 USD each. We got our seats about an hour before the show started as it’s first come, first serve. This was definitely a treat to see, they are so coordinated even down to their eye movement, it was incredible to witness.
Things to Do
The Monkey Forest is a very popular attraction in Bali. This sanctuary is home to probably hundreds of monkeys, all roaming around. Luckily they are very friendly here unlike other parts of Bali because I am absolutely terrified of monkeys. I definitely did not have the courage to have one sit on my shoulder but I did enjoy myself, especially when seeing the babies playing around.
Mt. Batur Sunrise Hike
One of my favorite activities we did in Bali was hiking Mt Batur to catch the sunrise. It’s a relatively easy hike that rewards you with spectacular views. In order to hike this mountain, you have to hire a guide.
We used this company and had a guide all to ourselves. We were picked up around 2am at our hostel and taken directly to the mountain. We started the hike around 3 am and made it to the top around 6am. It was steep and fast paced due to Ke and our guide, but I was able to keep up haha. We got extremely lucky with the weather. The sky was incredibly clear and we were treated with such a spectacular sunrise. Afterwards, we hiked down and went to a nearby hot spring!
Rent a scooter
Renting a scooter was sooo much fun!!! I must confess, if it wasn’t for Ke I would not have been able to experience this as I would have been way too terrified to drive a scooter. But it was so much fun to ride around Bali and see the local neighborhoods. We planned on getting a personal driver to see all of the sites, which is also a great option and pretty affordable, but decided on renting a scooter and driving ourselves. Despite having an extremely sore butt the next day, this was such a highlight.
As mentioned above, we spent an evening at the Rock Bar, this incredible bar that was built into the side of a cliff, at the Ayana Resort. This place was definitely where people went to party. The entire bar was enormous, the picture below obscures most of it. We grabbed a seat on the cliff, ordered drinks and some delicious food and got to enjoy a beautiful sunset.
Things to Eat
Bali has so many delicious dishes, we definitely did not scratch the surface. We also did not do our due diligence when it came to researching dish names. It was a little difficult knowing exactly what we were ordering, however I can recommend some staples. Below were my favorite restaurants we visited. I recommend trying crispy duck, pork skin dishes, and all of the many rice dishes that include various meats and salads.
We also went to Gianyar night market to experience local food in a non touristy environment. This place was awesome! There were zero tourists and very little people spoke English so we were able to experience the local culture a bit more.
Warung Babi Guling Ibu Oka
Celebrating in Bali
After days of exploring and scooting around Ubud, we headed to the south of Bali to celebrate our friends’ wedding! We planned our entire trip to Singapore and Bali around this very special day. I am so thankful the couple invited us to celebrate with them. It was the most intimate yet spectacular wedding I’ve ever been to.
The event was held a venue on the side of a cliff with gorgeous views of the ocean. They also got extremely lucky with lovely weather as it had rained heavily the day before. The ceremony began in a beautiful, and air conditioned :D, glass chapel. Afterwards we made our way to the reception area where we drank and dined along side the cliff, watched a spectacular fire dance performance, and got to witness the new couple first dance under a fireworks show!
Not Enough Time
There are so many more things to do and see in Bali, a week is barely enough time to fit even a portion of it in. I can’t wait to come back again to explore more of the coastline, go snorkeling, visit more temples and waterfalls, as well as try more food! This was the trip of a lifetime and hopefully I can drag more friends along next time 😀
*This post contains affiliate links to the hotels I stayed at in Bali, which means I receive a commission if you make a purchase using the link.