Bali, Indonesia. The destination that prompted my Southeast Asia adventures did not disappoint.
For those who don’t know the backstory, the Bali Bunch formed in under 12 hours one night last fall. Our ringleader, Dana, was at a silent auction with a client and saw a Bali villa that had sadly not had a single bid. Naturally, she texts 6 of her friends most likely to spontaneously travel and the rest is history.
After Singapore, we made our way to Bali and had two new additions to the Bali Bunch, Kristina and Marlin. We checked into our home base in Seminyak and turned-on vacation mode for the next week. Our trip was filled with a healthy mix of relaxation, partying, and adventure.
If you plan a trip to Bali or want to live vicariously through our adventures, these are the highlights you don’t want to miss!
- Visit the Ayana Resort
This resort is B-E-A-utiful. We celebrated our first day in paradise with a Mexican brunch at Unique where we imbibed in margaritas, wine, and tapas and then lounged on giant, floating pillows in the pool. The vibe was really relaxed and the service was great.
After spending several hours at Unique, we made our way down to the Rock Bar for sunset. We grabbed some cocktails and basked in the beauty of Bali. One thing to note – the Rock Bar gets very crowded at sunset and the restaurant was only seating resort guests. We mentioned we spent the day at Unique and luckily got in, but I would highly recommend getting there early if you don’t enjoy another aspect of the resort before.
- Take advantage of the cheap massages
We stumbled upon the ‘Starbucks of massage parlors’, Carla Spa, on our first day in Bali for a much-needed foot massage after touristing in Singapore. For a mere $5 USD, I got a rewardingly painful 30-min foot & calf massage. Full body, shoulder, and nails were equally as inexpensive and had no price differentiation for “strength” of the massage, unlike in the States. There are literally massage parlors every 100 feet, but if you find a Carla Spa near where you are staying, I highly recommend. Many of us went 5-6 times that week.
- Spend a day at Potato Head Beach Club
I thought the name of this place was a little funny and didn’t sound luxurious at all, but I was wrong. We decided to spend the 4th of July here and show our American pride with RW&B beads, sunglasses, and bandanas. You can rent daybeds by showing up at 9am to reserve them on a first come-first serve basis – the only issue is that the club doesn’t open until 10am so you end up waiting around. The weather was nice though, so we grabbed some coffee around the corner while we waited.
- Go to Ubud for at least a day
Ubud is in the center of the island of Bali. There is so much to do in and around Ubud that two days probably would’ve been better, but we only did a day trip. We started the day at 6am and drove straight up to the Tegallalang rice terraces. It was nice getting there early as it wasn’t yet crowded and the weather was a little cooler. Make sure to bring some small INR bills as some of the rice workers collect tariffs along the route.
Next, we split into two groups. Half went to a spiritual healer and the other half to a coffee plantation. Neither group was disappointed. I went to the coffee plantation where I tried about 15 different coffees and teas, including the infamous Kopi Luwak coffee.
We met back up at Monkey Forest to frolic amongst the monkeys. We made sure to leave everything in the car as the monkeys are known to steal! Although we didn’t witness any monkey theft, we did witness the ‘ferocity’ of the monkeys as they jumped/crawled on people who were feeding them.
We ended the day wandering around Ubud. I even had the chance to meet up with a future MBA classmate for a beer! On our way back to Seminyak, we stopped for a Kecak dance trance show. It was a very interesting experience, to say the least, especially all of the fire dancing.
- Scuba dive with Mantas
This was my second time scuba diving and it was a lot of fun – although the first 10 minutes in the water were quite scary since I had to remember how to breathe properly through the tank. Our instructor wasn’t very sensitive or helpful, but luckily Kristina was there to talk me through it 🙂 We swam around the coral and saw a huge Manta – it was so graceful in the water, but was an animal I definitely wanted to view from afar.
- Stay in a villa
The villa was the reason we ended up in Bali and it did not disappoint. We had plenty of space for the 7 of us and chefs to make us breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We got to enjoy various Balinese dishes, fruits, and juices.
Things I did that I wish I didn’t AND Things I didn’t do that I wish I had:
- Don’t scuba dive the day before flying even if it’s >18 hours from when you fly
- Don’t stay the whole time in one place on the island
- Climb Mount Batur at sunrise and visit the hot springs
- Practice yoga with the hardcore yogis in Ubud or Canggu
- Visit the Gili Islands
- Spend a spa day at Prana Spa
Overall, we had an awesome trip. Although getting to Bali wasn’t quick or cheap, it was well worth it and reasonably priced once there.