One Month in Bali
If you are thinking of going to Bali or have already planned a trip there then this post is for you! I’ve had so many questions, DM’s and interest over on my Instagram page regarding my Bali trip and so I thought I would do my best to write one big blog post summarising everything – hopefully it’s helpful! If I’ve missed anything leave me a comment or DM me over on Insta! If you don’t know much about Bali and want to get inspired by some travel photography and places we visited – do have a look at my Instagram! Equally I vlogged everything over on my Youtube channel so have a look there too for more behind the scenes!
Everyone has been so kind regarding my travel photos and stories on Instagram saying that my trip looked incredible (thankyou), and it truly was. But one thing I want to just make clear (quick disclaimer!) is that we spent hours and hours planning this trip (probably around something like 15 hours in total) plus we had a decent budget to do the trip, so if you’re after the sort of trip we had you need to bear that in mind. Although hopefully this post will cut down some of the research time! Bali is definitely easily doable on a very tight budget too so don’t be put off if you have limited money to spend on it. The people of Bali are some of the friendliest, most accommodating people I have ever come across (it really puts us Brits to shame!) Plus there is so much culture it’s really interesting to experience, so even if you are on a really tight budget, Bali is worth visiting to experience all of this. Hands down my favourite place I’ve been to so far. We went at the beginning of October to the beginning of November and this really was a fab time to go – weather wise we it was beautiful the whole time! I think we had one day of rain towards the end and many locals told us the weather would start turning in November. It’s also a great time to go due to how quiet it is. Compared with the popular season – July and August – there’s barely anyone around. So regarding my photos, that massively helped getting good shots, if you were to go in July I think you’d struggle to get a waterfall shot on your own! I’ve been asked many questions about transport and logistics and how we took the photos we did – I’ve written about it all below so have a scroll down if that’s what you’re interested in!
Our total spend for the whole trip was around £2,300 each for 30 days. We did everything we dreamed of doing and stayed in some incredible places, however we could have spent even more on accommodation so I would say this was a mid-range price for the trip. You could definitely do it for around £1,500 or you could blow £3,000 or £4,000 if you have it to spare! We also celebrated both of our birthdays in Bali which contributed to a f*ck-the-cost attitude and therefore increased the amount we spent!
Food is cheap, of course if you go to the popular tourist cafes/bars it is slightly more but if you want to do it cheaply at the local places you can eat for around £5/meal. Transport will most likely be your biggest expense. Taxis in Seminyak are very cheap – a couple of quid for a 5 minute drive – everywhere is pretty close by. Then when you get out further away from the cities the prices soar. Try to look for Bluebird taxis or taxis on meters and always agree a price prior to setting off. If you can rent scooters it’s a lot lot cheaper – between £4 and £8 a day. You just need your usual driving license. Lastly in terms of transport, try to book your boats prior to leaving if you are travelling by sea at all. We went from Candidasa to Gili T, Gili T to North Lombok, North Lombok to Nusa Lembongan and then over to Sanur (before getting a taxi across to Uluwatu from there) all by boat. We booked them all online just by Googling and finding the cheapest option! There are 3 or 4 boat companies to choose from.The fast boats are slightly more expensive but worth it as it cuts out hours of travel. You can get your boat tickets whilst you’re there but they will most likely rip you off if you do it that way! Each one was around £15 per person for us and includes your luggage.
Seminyak – Canggu – Ubud – Munduk – Candidasa – Gili T – Sengiggi (Lombok)
– Kuta (Lombok) – Nusa Lembongan – Uluwatu – Jimbaran
We decided to start our trip in Seminyak. I was meeting my friend out there and she happened to be in Seminyak the day we arrived so that was the reason we decided to start here. You could start here, Canggu, Kuta, Uluwatu/Jimbaran as they are all fairly close to the airport. Our trip ended in Jimbaran/Uluwatu which is just south of the airport and so made a complete round trip without any back and forth. I would recommend starting either in Seminyak or Kuta and then following the route we made (without Lombok if you are just wanting to do Bali!) as logistically it makes the most sense.
Another way to travel Bali is to stay put in one or two hotels – I know a few people who have done this and if your trip is shorter it makes sense to do it this way. Bali is so small that you can easily make day trips to pretty much anywhere on the island. If you only had two weeks I would advise staying in Seminyak first then Ubud and then going over to the Gili islands or Nusa islands (or both)! These are good base places which will make it easy to visit everywhere else too. It’s definitely worth staying in Ubud rather than just visiting as it has some incredible hotels on cliff-sides and there is such a chilled out vibe there!
Highlights of each place
Seminyak and Canggu – These are both very similar places, Seminyak the slightly more busy. Both have some of the best coffee shops and pool clubs in bali. The cafes are all so instagrammable and the food is amazing. My faves in terms of cafes were Coffee Cartel, Kynd Community and Holiday in Canggu. For the pool/beach clubs the must-visits are The Lawn in Canguu, Mrs Sippy, and Potato Head.
Ubud – The general vibe in Ubud was my absolute favourite thing. You feel as though you are truly among the Balinese, there are a lot less tourists and everything feels so laid back and chilled. Getting around on scooters is my absolute favourite way to explore and for me personally I always feel at my most content driving around on a scooter in chilled places like this. Of course you can also find the Monkey Forest here and more pool clubs (we went to Jungle fish which was amazing and the spa treatments were so cheap!) It was while we were in Ubud that we did the Mount Batur Sunrise Trek – a major highlight of the trip. We were picked up at 2am (!) but it was worth it to watch that sun rise from above the clouds.
Munduk – Waterfalls! Read my thoughts below on the best ones but personally the waterfall chasing was one of my favourite things about the trip! The hotel we stayed at in Munduk has to be mentioned too – Munduk Menir Villas. I don’t know if I’ve ever stayed somewhere with as good a view/sunset spot!
Candidasa – Honestly, this was probably my least favourite place we visited. It was a good stopover point to get the boat over to the Gili Islands but in my eyes there was nothing too amazing about Candidasa. We visited Sorga Chocolate Factory which was less of a factory and more of a cafe with hot chocolate and the best raw cacao butter spread you’ve ever tasted.
Gili Islands – The Gili islands were an all round incredible experience. From swimming with turtles to completing our PADI Open water Diving course it was 5 unforgettable days. Simply book onto one of the snorkelling trips to swim with turtles over by Gili Meno. We did our PADI’s at a place called Blue Marlin Dive which I can’t recommend enough. Our instructor was lovely, very knowledgeable and patient, but they all seemed very friendly and relaxed. The dive spots were beautiful too and each group was very small so it’s definitely a good place to do it. In terms of the Islands themselves, Gili Air was my favourite – the most beautiful of them all and the beaches were incredible (more on beaches below!) The islands don’t have any cars so everyone cycles or walks – just be prepared to get off your bike and push a lot as the bikes don’t go through the sand and there’s a LOT of sand!
Senggigi, Lombok – The highlight of this place was the resort we stayed in: Katamaran Resort! It had an epic infinity pool spilling over onto the beach, the side is made of glass which of course makes a great photo! They have an all you can eat breakfast which is the most insane breakfast I’ve ever seen – everything you could ever want was on the menu. They also have an all you can eat BBQ twice a week which was just as good. There are lots of black sand beaches around Senggigi which were something a bit different to see too.
Kuta, Lombok – We hired scooters whilst staying here and drove around 15 minutes east down the coast to the most incredible beach called Tanjung Aan. It was the whitest beach with the clearest waters I’ve ever seen. At the time we went there was probably about 10 people there so it was absolute paradise.
Nusa Lembongan – Whilst we stayed on Nusa Lembongan we explored all three of the islands – Lembongan, Ceningan and Penida. Nusa Lembongan and Ceningan were the smaller and my favourite islands. Hiring scooters and driving around exploring the Blue Lagoon, beautiful beaches and cafes was the highlight for me. There’s so much to see on these islands – Broken beach, Atuh beach and treehouse, Klingking beach to name a few. We celebrated our birthdays here and so stayed in the Acala Shri Sedana. A beautiful hotel with an amazing pool and the most accommodating staff, who made us birthday cakes and sang Happy Birthday to us!
Uluwatu – The beaches in Uluwatu are really beautiful. It’s a very touristy place and so not my absolute favourite but watching the sunset from Karang Boma Cliff top was beautiful. There’s a couple of cool shipwrecks to see on Nyang Nyang beach too.
Jimbaran – We were only here for one night but the highlight was AYANA resort where we stayed! It required a shuttle bus to get around the whole place and it was without a doubt the most incredible resort I’ve ever been lucky enough to visit, if you can add this into your itinerary you will definitely not regret splashing out a bit on this one. If not then a visit to Rock Bar is a must. This is one of the bars on the resort but anyone can go with a booking. It’s set right on the cliffs edge and has the most beautiful sunset view.
As I mentioned we spent £800 each on accommodation. We chose to stay in some really insane places and then have a few budget places mixed in between to save on costs. You can still get a really nice Airbnb or villa for £30 (£15 per person) per night. If you are on a mega budget you will even be able to find places for £10 pp a night. I’ve linked each place we stayed below along with the price we paid and what we thought! The prices are for 1 double room.
|Seminyak||Airbnb Villa||£23/night||Very basic room but it had a kitchenette and a nice pool. Also in a great location.|
|Canggu||Pererenan beach Jubilee Suites||£19/night||Basic but clean and a nice pool. You shouldn’t plan on staying here/anywhere near if you aren’t planning on renting a scooter! The taxi’s didn’t seem to know this location and most aren’t willing to use their data to search for it.|
|Ubud||Airbnb||£18/night||This place had a lovely balcony and outdoor kitchenette but bad/non-existant wifi and wasn’t very clean!|
|Ubud||Black Penny Villas||£200/night||We absolutely loved this place, the bed was humongous, the private pool and view were incredible as was the bathroom. Breakfast is included and they offer a floating breakfast for an extra fiver! The service was exceptional too.|
|Ubud||Zen Hideaway #2||£149/night||There are 3 ‘Zen Hideaways’ all next to each other. We only chose this one because #3 was fully booked. This one sleeps 6 and is massive so between a group would be very reasonable! Such a chilled vibe, so unique. Waking up to sunrise and swinging on the private swing was a dream!|
|Munduk||Munduk Menir Villas||£100/night||Another amazing place. The pool is the biggest selling point (Insta pics here and here!) but the rooms are also fab with a hugeee bed, room service free of charge and a great balcony.|
|Candidasa||Hotel Genggong||£70/night||This place was fairly basic so probably not worth the price and laundry was insanely expensive here (most hotels are though!) Breakfast was good and the hotel was situated at the edge of the beach so we watched a beautiful sunset here!|
|Gili T||Jali Resort||£40/night||We quickly found out this place was known for one of the best restaurants on the Island – food was great as was the atmosphere so it’s easy to see why. The room was fairly basic but a great outdoor shower and fab pool. They lend you bicycles for free too. Great for the price!|
|Senggigi||Katamaran||£110/night||I can’t rave about this place enough to be honest! Such good value considering the amazing pool, location, rooms and outdoor bathroom goals! They have an all you can eat BBQ on Wednesdays and Saturdays which I’d highly recommend as well as an all you can eat breakfast with everything you could possibly want on the menu!|
|Kuta Lombok||Lavella Villas||£35/night||We stayed in one of the huts, which was unlike anywhere else we’d stayed. Great location – 5 minute scooter drive to the main strip. You can hire bikes from the resort. Great little place to stay for the price!|
|Nusa Lembongan||Tropical Garden Lodge Lembongan – Airbnb||£27/night||A cute little hut with outdoor shower. Fairly basic but the staff were lovely and helpful. Great pool, the road from the town up to here is extremely bumpy! You’re better off getting a scooter rather than taxi as you can avoid some of the pot holes that way!|
|Nusa Lembongan||The Acala Shri Sedana||£110/night||This is where we stayed for our birthdays – we absolutely loved it here, the pool was a dream; the rooms/bed/bathroom was amazing and the staff here were so lovely.|
|Uluwatu||Dreamsea Bali||£80/night||Okay so this is one of those places which in theory is amazing. The rooms are so unique, the shabby chic décor is super cute and the fact you are literally on the sea is amazing. HOWEVER, it’s so loud you won’t sleep. At. All.
Breakfast was fab though so it’s swings and roundabouts.
|Uluwatu||Mule Malu||£60/night||Uluwatu in general is pretty expensive. It’s known for being the celeb hangout of Bali. It’s also popular for families with children and so prices in general are higher and taxis are extortionate. This place was very basic offering no scooters for hire (and you need one!), no breakfast (every other place we stayed included breakfast) and so for the price it wasn’t our favourite. It did have a nice pool and outdoor bathroom.|
|Jimbaran||AYANA||£220/night||We had to go out with a bang so we stayed at the AYANA resort. This is by far the most insane place I’ve ever stayed in my life! They have a shuttle bus to get you around the resort as it’s so big, there are numerous pools, restaurants, bars etc. The service is unreal. If you were staying at the equivalent in Europe you’d be paying 3 or 4 times the price so it was extremely good value considering!|
I had to include a section just for the waterfalls as they are so incredible but the vast number of them can definitely make it difficult to know which ones to go to. We packed so many in, spread over a few days – if you want to see video of them it’s all over in my Bali Vlog Week 2 on my Youtube channel so go take a peak.
My favourite were:
Sekumpul – This is in my eyes, the most impressive of the waterfalls. It’s by far the biggest (I believe biggest in Bali) and there’s three separate waterfalls.
Aling Aling and Kroya – These are 2 minutes from each other. Kroya waterfall is smooth enough that you can slide down it and there are many cliff jumps you can do here too.
Nung Nung – The spray from this waterfall is so powerfall! I loved this one as you can walk all the way in as it is shallow enough.
Tukad Cepung – This waterfall is down inside a cave. The light leaks down where the water falls which looks beautiful! It’s a lot smaller and so not too powerful – you can stand under it if you wanted!
The beaches in Bali are incredible. However I would say that the most serene, beautiful beaches we saw were in Lombok. So if you’re a fan of beautiful beaches then you should think about heading over to Lombok as well!
As far as beaches in Bali, one of my favourites was Nyang Nyang in Uluwatu, where the shipwrecks are. Head to the far end of this beach (South) if you want to see the shipwrecks rather than the Northern entrance – where the taxi’s will most probably take you!
Of course the Gili Islands are known for their beaches. To find the best head over to Gili Air or Gili Meno, rather than Gili T. Gili Air and Gili Meno have some of the whitest, quietest and cleanest beaches I saw in the whole of Bali – just wander around the island and you’ll find them. The best beaches on Gili T are round by Sunset – a 5 minute bike ride from the main strip.
The Nusa islands had some amazing beaches. They had many which were interesting and different too such as ‘broken beach’ which is where the water has eroded into a cliff edge leaving a circular beach in the middle of rock. Atuh beach and Kelingking beach on Nusa Penida are incredible beaches. There is a little treehouse near by to Atuh beach which gives amazing views of the beach and from the cliff above Kelingking beach you can see the ‘T-rex’ like rock formation. Be warned, if you decide to go down to either of these beaches it is a LONG and very difficult trek down some scarily rickety steps/rocks! Despite wearing a hat and suncream, I left Kelingking with sunstroke after the half hour hike back up!
The best beach we went to was 15 minutes from Kuta, Lombok. A beach called Tanjun Aan beach AKA paradise. Lombok is of course home to Pink Beach. We didn’t go as we ran out of time but if I go back I’ll definitely make the trip!
Some other beaches to research into: Bingin, Suluban, Crystal bay, Karma, Padang Padang.
Something I was asked a lot about was my photos whilst I was away. So here are a few tips for getting the best photos possible:
- Go to places early/later when it’s quieter. This is better in general and way more enjoyable and of course, the less people the easier it is to get a photo. Also Sunrise and sunset lighting always looks the most beautiful in photos.
- Get a good camera/lens! Of course this is obvious but we took all our photos on my Olympus Pen with 12mm lens or the GoPro Hero 5.
- Use lightroom to edit! Especially for underwater shots lightroom will be your savior tool. Use the ‘Clarity’ ‘Dehaze’ and ‘Selective’ tools to make the photo a lot more clear.
- My boyfriend took all my photos, I would take the photo first of him and work out the best angle, change the settings to suit the light etc. then we would swap and show him exactly how I wanted the photo. He could easily copy what I had done and nail the shot without having to go back and forth to get it right.
- When we took photos together we would use my iPhone as a remote or use the custom timer option where you can set a longer timer and take multiple shots at once.
- Go to beautiful places that do the work for you!