Welcome to Bali
Are you ready to experience the epitome of Indonesian culture?
The mere mention of Bali evokes thoughts of a paradise. It’s more than a place; it’s a mood, an aspiration, a tropical state of mind. Called the Island of Gods here almost everything has spiritual meaning.
On Bali you can lose yourself in the chaos of Night or the sybaritic pleasures of south, surf wild beaches in the south or just hang out on calmer East. The middle of Bali is dominated by the dramatic volcanoes of the central mountains and hillside temples.
Ubud is the heart of Bali, a place where the culture of the island is most accessible, and it shares the island’s most beautiful rice fields and ancient monuments with east and west Bali.
4 USD = 50000 IDR
The currency is the Indonesian rupiah and you spend here as a millionaire.
Time zone is UTC+08:00.
Official language is Indonesian. Indonesia uses metric system (kilograms, centimeters, °C)
DPS – Denpasar International Airport
Located in south is 40 km far from Ubud the Heart of Bali.
Dial exit code then 62, then area code and the local number. For local calls within Bali, start with the area code (with the initial 0).
Things to do
The island of Bali is covered in temples. There are at least three to every city and they are considered to be the best-known attractions. The most prominent temples are the nine directional temples and The Mother Temple.
Bali’s “mother temple”, the largest and most holy temple in Bali, is over 900 metres up the slopes of Agung mountain. Other holy temples are placed on each of the 8 directions.
Most famous among this is Pura Luhur Uluwatu in the South West, location is quiet dramatic, perched on the edge of a high cliff with a beautiful sunset view. The only directional as well a Sea Temple.
There are couple of others most clicked, Tirta-Empul famous for Holy water and the Lake Temple Pura Ulun Danu Bratan.
Bali also has a set of “sea temples” which were founded to honour the sea gods. These sea temples are found (mostly) on the Western coast of Bali and were intended to be within sight of each other (which requires bionic-man eyesight).
Most famous is Pura Tanah Lot , this temple is situated about 50m from the shore. Unfortunately it is forbidden, but at low tide you could walk to the temple without getting you feet wet. It’s a better idea to go there during the day when all the hawkers are still asleep or doing something else and the roads to the temple are still accessible.
Travel Advise -There is a dressing code for entering a temple; knees and, for women, shoulders should be covered. If you like to enter one be sure to wear a sarong and sash – yellow waist band – and observe all signs regarding temple rules.
Most of the good hikes are there where nature is still more or less in control which means up in the mountains. Somewhat more physical challenging but the upside is that its usually a lot cooler and you have the views.
Agung | Batur | Abang
Batur mountain, locally known as Gunung Batur, is a small stratovolcano located in north-central Bali. Major eruptions have occurred in 1917, 1926 and 1963, the same year as Agung’s major eruption, making Batur Bali’s most active volcano. The volcano, with a hight of 1717m, consists of a main cone with three summit craters: this is by far the easiest climb – hike.
Travel Advise -For this climb you need to have good shoes, warm cloths, flash light preferably one on ones head because you need both hands climbing this mountain, small back-pack with drinks and snacks and a good physical condition!
Jatiluwih rice terraces pretty much cover the region of the namesake upland village in West Bali, most famous for its landscapes that are both dramatic and truly exotic. The site is one of the island’s must-see natural panoramas on par with Mount Batur and the caldera of Kintamani.
The cool highlands and the breathtaking scenery of this village at the foot of Mount Batukaru makes for wonderful photo opportunities, and serves as a soothing retreat away from the island’s crowded south.
Once a UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site candidate, Jatiluwih rice terraces comprises over 600Ha of rice fields that follow the flowing hillside topography of the Batukaru mountain range. These are well-maintained by a traditional water management cooperative known as ‘subak’, which dates back to the 9th century.
One of the top ten things to see in Bali and front and center in every guidebook, these rice terraces are stunning. They give new meaning to the word green. They crawl up the sides of the hills like steps leading you towards the sky. And like so much of Bali, the terraces are equally as empty as beautiful.
Except for a few people from nearby resorts, you won’t see anybody here. Plus, there’s even fewer people walking through the rice fields. It’s just you and nature. There are no tours, no tourist buses, not even a regular public bus. To get here, you hire a driver, drive here yourself.
You’ll get to explore different parts of the terraces, jump over rivers, and even sit down to a nice lunch in the terraces.
Fun Fact – The area might not be easy to get to, but if you really want to see Bali as it is outside the tourist areas, make the effort to spend a few days here. You’ll find some cheap guesthouses in the villages and get to explore real, everyday, tout-free Bali.
What to Eat | Where to Eat | How to Party
Consisting of spit-roast pig stuffed with rich traditional spices and vegetable mixes such as cassava leaves, slowly ‘rolled’ over a coal fire. The crisp brown skins are prized, while the meat is a tender and juicy treat.
Traditional mix containing fine chopped meat, vegetables, grated coconut and spices. Sometimes, and in some areas, prepared using fresh blood mixed with the meat and spices to strengthen the flavour.
Pre-steamed rice stir-fried with a combination of meats and vegetables, ranging from scrambled eggs, diced beef, strips of chicken, shrimp, anchovies, lamb, crab, green peas, onions, shallots and a blend of sweet soy sauce and hot chili sauce.
Duck stuffed with traditional spices, wrapped in banana leaves, then enveloped tight in banana trunk bark before it’s baked or buried in a coal fire for 6 to 7 hours.
Bali’s take on satay, the classic meat-on-a-stick dish found across the Indonesian archipelago, is minced meat pounded in a mortar and pestle with young grated coconut and a bumbu, or spice mixture, that varies according to region.
Choose to dine by the roadside or by the river – delicious variety of homemade dishes, with different specials everyday. Murni’s has attracted a number of high profile clientele over the years.
Try – Sweet Sour Shrimp
The whole menu here is almost entirely dedicated to the duck; for a fun dining experience traditional bamboo pondoks [raised huts with a long table and cushions] that look out over the rice fields.
Try –Bebek Betutu
Naughty Nuri’s Warung and Grill
Their tasty BBQ sauce is lathered on the ribs before they are grilled to perfection on the BBQ… our mouths are watering already!
Try – Pork Ribs
Arrrrriba! If you fancy a taco, burrito, enchilada, fajita or quesadilla then head here! Everything is made from scratch [and contains no MSG or preservatives], and tastes finger-licking good!
Try – Everything
Ibu Oka Warung
If you want to eat the best crackling you will ever have, then head to Ibu Oka Warung! This little shanty cafe, opposite Ubud Palace, is an Ubud institution that draws both locals and food lovers from around the world
Try – Babi Guling (suckling Pig)
Pull up a pew at this super-cool new speakeasy and enjoy some of the best cocktails you’ll find anywhere, thanks to resident alchemist Raka. 40-seater bar area is dripping with a cool late-night atmosphere and the drinks are simply sensational works of art.
Location – Jl Dewi Sita
The Laughing Buddha
One of the liveliest bars in town, go-to spot if you’re looking for good fun, live music and of course, delish drinks. The whole place is usually up and grooving to the nightly live bands who always raise the roof.
Location – Monkey Forest Road
Designed to hark back to the traditional Batavian café culture of years gone by, the quietly refined downstairs bar is a great spot to settle into cocktail hour. Lazy jazz spills out of the speakers and perfectly complements the original drink creations.
Location – Jl Sri Wedari
Toting “easy food, stiff drinks, failed marriages, bad app ideas. Your new island sinkhole awaits”, this funky downtown bar doesn’t take itself too seriously. Their regular Sunday Soul Sessions. You won’t want to miss their multi-day happy hours either.
Location -Monkey Forest Road
Open all day for casual grazing, comes alive after dark with a buzzy international vibe. It’s one of the only places in town where you can dance the night away into the wee hours.
Location – Monkey Forest Road
Bali’s tourism all began with this sport, and it’s an all-time favourite. Bali has a collection of great surf spots, mostly around the southern coasts and the Bukit Peninsula.
One of Bali’s most popular traditional dances, makes use of fire and dance to present riveting stories to the audience. Sometimes, the performer is in so deep a trance that he can even kick hot charcoal without scalding his feet!
Now’s the chance to feel like Superman. The newest watersport out there, has made flying a reality for man you can be propelled to as high as 15 metres!
Bali Marine & Safari Park
With over 60 species of wild animals, exciting animal and cultural shows, highlight of the night is the safari! You will be perfectly safe in a cage as you spend 20 minutes journeying through the African Savannah
How to get around
Ojek are the local motorbike taxi. They are the best way of getting around if the traffic is bad and you know where you are going. Ojek do not have a meter so you must work on a set price before getting on an bike.
Most legitimate ojek drivers will be wearing a fluro vest and we suggest using these guys.
Fares are negotiable, but about 30,000Rp for 5km is fairly standard. This is just a rough idea of price though some of them might ask for more, it then depends on your bargaining skills.
Be safe and a good passenger. Being a good passenger on the bike is also key to your safety. These guys drive for a living
Taxi’s are the best way for getting around in you local area. If you can try get a bali Taxi or blue bird Taxi.
Make sure the taxi uses the meter, quite often they will “forget” and then you will be left negotiating the price which could be much higher. Make sure the driver knows where he is going.Try and have small money if you can most drivers wont have a lot of change. Check you haven’t left anything in the taxi before you get out
If the driver is being inconsiderate take down his taxi number you’ll soon see a change in attitude.
You can find a rental motor or motor rental at random spots in Ubud. The rental fee is usually IDR 50,000 per day, excluding gas.
You could find it on your own or have the staff wherever you’re staying to arrange it for you. You might see people riding without one since the law is weak in the country and it does feel cool (literally) when wind is blowing your hair on a moving scooter. But we strongly recommend you to wear the helmet.
Be 100% aware of your surrounding (listen not only look). Use your horn, it is not considered rude ( in bali no one looks in the review, but if use your horn they will know your there).
When it comes to doing day trips they are a lot better than Taxi’s because they end up cheaper and you can stop where ever you like. Most private drivers will know their way around the island better than a taxi driver . When you get a private driver you pay for driver, car and petrol. The min you pay for a day 350 thousand (roughly $40) a day, most charge around 500thousand (roughly $60 for an 8 hr period.
You will need to arrange a day in advance on where you want to go and if there’s any places of interest you would like to stop on the way or ask them if they know of any places.
Health & Wellness
Travel is incredibly fun but also very random and chaotic. A fitness routine can be the one absolute in your life — a way to maintain structure and consistency and not lose focus, no matter where you are. It’s this structure that actually makes the rest of the travel adventure more fun and rewarding.
For us, fitness is super important. We prioritise it and make it part of our daily schedule.
Here’s how you can implement it during our travels.
Movement Matters Bali
Premier Pilates Studio offer a unique blend of mind body exercises, integrated bodywork and teacher training to help you to reclaim your core.
Massa Fitness Centre
Ubud Yoga Centre
Vigorous flow class, a hot sweaty class, a relaxing Slow session.They make it easy, accessible and fun for you as you set off on your yoga journey.
Taman Hati Yoga
Tranquil yoga and meditation ashram blends specialized vinyasa sequencing, a unique system of skeletal alignment principles, guided meditative practices.
- First thing you notice coming to Bali is the strong influence Hindu religion has on the society of these island people.
- In the beginning Balinese culture was strongly influenced by Indian and Chinese culture.
- Around the 1st century AD the Hindu culture became very important.
- The Hindu Majapahit Empire on eastern Java founded a colony on Bali in 1343.
- When the empire declined, there was an exodus of intellectuals, artists, priests and musicians from Java to Bali in the 15th century.
- Around 900 AD the complex irrigation system, Subak, was developed to grow rice.
- Ubud comes from the Balinese word ‘Ubad’ which literally translates to medicine.
- Rightly so, Ubud is known for it’s mysticism and is supposedly rich in healing powers.
- According to legends, it is believed that as far as the 8th century, royal families from far and wide would send their ill here to Ubud in order to be healed.
- Even today, as people travel from across the world in the hope of curing what they are ailed with.
- Balinese Hinduism is a combination of Buddhism, Animism and local traditions.
- People believe that the Goddesses and Gods are everywhere and in everything.
- Offerings play a significant role as they appease the spirits and thus bring prosperity and good health to the family.
- Every day small offering trays, ‘canang sari’, containing symbolic food, flowers, cigarettes and money, are respectfully put on shrines, in temples, in front of houses and shops, and at dangerous crossroads.
- There is a belief here that gods and godesses are alive in the elements of nature and the spirit world and human world are always interacting with one another.
- The people of Ubud are open and generous and welcome foreigners into their local religious sanctuary. Ubud truly is paradise in every sense of the word.
Few things to keep in mind
- Dressing and acting modestly is advised while you are here. Balinese locals are conservative people.
- A sarong and a temple scarf are mandatory for both men and women before entering a Balinese temple.
- Public displays of affection are frowned upon so it is better to avoid them.
- Do not use your left hand to give anything or to touch anything.
- Using your index finger to point or beckon is not a good idea. Use your palm facing down; make a downward instead.
- Do not lose your temper.
- Don’t touch anyone’s head as the Balinese believe people’s souls rest inside their heads so even children for that matter – don’t touch their heads.
- Don’t deliberately step on a canang sari (offering) on the street. These are offered to the Creator by the locals first thing in the morning.
- Don’t enter a temple if you’re menstruating – this is an age old custom most South Asian societies follow and here in Bali, it is even applicable if you have a bleeding wound or running sore.
- Don’t interrupt a religious procession.
- Tipping is not customary but it is appreciated.
Language – Indonesian
kamar mandi (WC)
Local language is Balinese but as nearly every Balinese speaker speaks Indonesian as well, and many are even reasonably competent in English. Nevertheless, attempting to speak their language will almost certainly please the locals.
Indonesian is very easy to pronounce: it has one of the most phonetic writing systems in the world, with only a small number of simple consonants and relatively few vowel sounds. One peculiarity of the spelling is the lack of a separate sign to denote the schwa. It is written as an ‘e’, which can sometimes be confusing.
In Indonesia, spelling reforms in 1947 and 1972 have officially eliminated several vestiges of Dutch in the otherwise very phonetic spelling, and the writing system is now nearly identical to Bahasa Malaysia. However, the older forms remain in use to some extent (especially in names) and have been noted in parenthesis below.
Stress usually falls on the second-to-last syllable, so in two-syllable words the first syllable is stressed.
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