Travel has always been a part of my life.
As a child, I grew up on family camping trips. Later, we traveled because we moved a lot. It wasn’t until my sophomore year in college that I started traveling internationally though.
My first trip outside of the U.S. was to Nicaragua, to visit one of my college buddies. He’s Colombian and his family lives in Nicaragua. I spent spring break exploring Managua, Granada, and Catarina with him.
After that trip, I was infected, by the travel bug that so many of us know.
Six years later, and I’ve added Tanzania, Zanzibar, and now Bali to my list of countries I’ve visited. And while my list is still relatively short compared to some of my other travel companions, I’m excited by my experiences and what the future holds for my adventures.
But first, let me tell you why you must go to Bali if you have the chance.
Out of all of the places I’ve been, including the locations where I actually knew somebody, Bali was the most welcoming, relaxing and beautiful locations.
A little wanderlust, and an overworked woman.
Back in November, when I booked my flight to Bali, I had every intention of going at it alone. I can admit that I was feeling a little bit left out, with my beau in Bolivia with a friend, and me sitting at home in my snowy apartment. I just wanted to go somewhere. So I hopped on Skyscanner, the app I use to track flights, and found a ticket for under $900. Amazingly enough, I had that much in my savings account. I spent all of 24 hours thinking about it, before booking the ticket.
Bali has been at the top of my travel list for a few years. It might sound cliche, but ever since watching Eat, Pray, Love, I’ve dreamt of the culture and vibrancy that the island offers.
I legit cried when I confirmed my ticket. Tears of joy, mostly.
A bottle of wine can solidify a friendship.
A few days later, I was invited over to a friend’s house to have some wine and snacks, with another local creative. I’d just booked my ticket and we wasted no time in commiserating over the workaholic life of being a creative freelancer.
Before we knew it, the first bottle of wine was gone, and they were pining over trips they wanted to take. Part of me wanted to take my trip alone, but part of me desperately wanted someone to share it with. So loosened by two glasses of wine, I invited them to come with me.
Mind you, I hadn’t known them very long – I’d just met one that night! But we quickly realized that we had a great vibe together.
It took a few more weeks of talking logistics and them asking me over and over if it was really ok that they tagged along. But eventually, tickets were booked and passports were bought. And before we knew it, February was here and we were on the longest flight I have been on to the other side of the world.
Everything it’s cracked up to be – and then some.
We spent seven days total wandering around Bali, and booking our AirBnBs for only a few nights at a time. Our plane got in at 5pm, so we stayed in Kuta for the first night. Only a few minutes outside of Denpasar, it was very city like and busy. So the next day we found a cab and headed inland.
The majority of our trip was spent in Ubud. We stayed at two different AirBNB’s, both of which I would highly recommend. The first was about a half hour walk outside of downtown, but was close to the most welcoming little family-run restaurant. They served the most amazing barbeque. I’m still craving that chicken.
Our second villa was closer to town, but on the other side, nearer the rice patties. In fact, our villa overlooked several of the terraces, which we could see out every window. That was our favorite location, and by far the most relaxing. We had only a 15 minutes walk into town, it was situated in a quiet location but had restaurants and kiosks close by if we needed anything.
Some other fun things we saw/did while in Ubud:
- Visited the Sacred Monkey Forest
- Attended the large cremation ceremony at the Ubud Royal Palace
- Attended a Kecak Fire Dance
- Made friends with many of the dogs and cats
- Wandered into a garden dedicated to Sri
While we were more than happy with Ubud, we still felt like there was most of the island to explore. Based on some recommendations from a friend, we took a ride to Padang Bai, and hopped a fast boat over to the island.
Out of the entire trip, this is the one choice we immediately regretted. The island is just a serious party island. The island is covered is clubs and bars, with a few resorts sitting on the only nice beaches. The rest of the island is pretty dirty and has a lot of pollution from the ocean tides that doesn’t cleaned up. So even though we’d paid for two nights, we only stayed one before heading back to the Bali.
Our last few nights we stayed in Sanur. Another urban area of Bali, but still a little slower than Kuta. Sanur let us get our beach and ocean fix without dealing with all of the surfers or pollution. We were able to eat at a few nice restaurants and get the rest of our souvenir shopping in before catching the very long flight home.
An annual event.
Every trip is going to have its moments, but I couldn’t have been more pleased with the time I spent in Bali. And I was pleasantly surprised to have found such agreeable travel buddies. As an introvert, I was worried we’d spend more time trying to please each other than really enjoying ourselves. But because Bali was so safe and welcoming, we never felt that we had to always travel together. If someone was feeling worn out, we knew they could walk home without being bothered.
And because of how relaxed and amazing we all felt, we’ve talked about turning it into an annual trip. Those plans haven’t been put into full effect yet, but I have no doubt they will. Only this time we’ll stay long and perhaps even make it a working trip.