BALI - MY 30 DAY ITINERARY AND TIPS

11:59:00

I have promised you guys to do posts about my trip to Bali a meekly three weeks ago and being the professional and time-effective blogger that I am, here it is. So let´s start with the basics:

1) Why am I at the other side of the planet for what seems an eternity?
2) What have I been up to for the month, that I spent in Bali? and
3) What are some things I wish I had known before my trip to Bali?

This will be one roundup post, before I´ll do a more in-depth post for each of my stops in Bali and the Gilis, including accommodation, restaurant and activity tips. Seeing the rate of my posting these should be done sometime around 2020.


So first things first: Why am I no longer in good ol´ Germany, but first in Bali and now also in Straya? As some of you, who follow my Instagram may have gathered, the last six months I have been mainly occupied with my Master thesis. This was a period of intense breakdowns, procrastination and snacking, but alas 9 weeks ago I finally handed in my thesis and (fingers crossed) waved goodbye to uni and my student life for the foreseeable future. While I have loved my time in Göttingen, the amazing friends I made and my beautiful apartment, it is not really where I see myself living long-term. Plus there really are no jobs, that I am interested in. My general life plan was always to become a journalist, which for me meant graduating and then (hopefully) doing a traineeship for two years with one of the German public broadcasting agencies, ideally the one in Hamburg. The thing about the application for these jobs is that it takes ages and is intensely work-intensive. So last year I decided to not apply for any of the ones starting in 2018, but to take another gap year.
And since my beautiful Aussie friend had just decided to move to Hamburg after a drink filled night out, at least in my head the logical consequence was to move to Australia to return the favour. And so I cancelled my flat, gym, electricity and internet contract, applied for a work and holiday visa and headed to Melbourne. This means I am still unemployed, but at least on another continent and will spend four months abroad, travelling and working in Australia.
So why the month in Bali? I absolutely LOVED Bali when I went five years ago and always wanted to return. Since Bali is Aussie´s fav holiday destination there are also an intense amount of deals and cheap flights and it was actually cheaper to fly to Bali and then over to Australia. So after this very long introduction and insight into my lifestory, let´s get down to business:


MY BALI ITINERARY

I decided to go to Bali with enough time on my hands to see what I wanted to see, get my diving license and feel fully rested and refreshed from my thesis trauma. For me this meant using the free tourist visa, which is valid for 30 days, completely. My Australian friend was going to join me for the last 10 days and we would fly to Melbourne together, which gave me 20 days to just do whatever I felt like. I knew which places I wanted to hit, but did not really plan when to do what and for how long, which I think is pretty much the best way to do long-term travelling. I hate being trapped in loads of bookings before and realised I do tend to change my mind on the spot and would rather have a little more flexibility. Meeting people you like and joining them on their trip is one of the greatest joys of solo travel. So when I arrived I had only booked three nights in a hostel in Uluwatu and pretty much was winging it from there on out. My trip ended up looking like this:

03.10. - 06.10. Uluwatu
06.10. - 09.10. Nusa Penida
09.10. - 11.10. Nusa Lembongan & Nusa Ceningan
11.10. - 15.10. Canggu
15.10. - 18.10. Ubud
18.10. - 28.10. Gili Trawangan including getting my Open Water (20. - 22.)
28.10. - 01.11. Seminyak

I think I ended up having a very lovely time, but if you have 30 days I would maybe not spend as long on the Gilis (even though they are beyond lovely) and possibly skip or shorten the time I spend in Seminyak to go to the less touristy north and east of Bali.


CRUCIAL TIPS

Taxis

Do not, I repeat do NOT waste your money here. Especially from the airport people will rip you off. Taxis on Bali can be intensely expensive, but they do not need to be. Get the Bluebird App and only use that. They have a taxi meter, they operate on the entire island and their service is great. There are other options such as GO-JEK and Grab, which also offer Scooter rides, but in some areas they are not fully legal and I had issues with getting one from Canggu to Ubud, that would not charge me an extra 200.000 Rp.

Respect

Balinese is an extremely cultural, traditional and religious island. It actually really hurt me to see how many tourists did not respect dress codes for temples or how much little bits of culture, that I so loved such as the little offerings, were missing in very touristy areas. It also shocked me how much Ubud, which I dearly loved five years ago and found very quiet and full of traditional Indonesian experiences and food, felt more like Disney land this time around. I think this goes for every destination, but please please inform yourself at least a little and act according to or at least do not disrespect the local culture. You are a visitor here and you may be here for smoothie bowls and great shots on swings but you can at least see to it, that you do not hurt the environment, culture and life of the people you visit.


Instagram

Now I uploaded about a million pictures of Bali and not gonna lie: I love looking up places to eat and to see on social media. But if you just go on a holiday for the photos you may miss out. Sometimes it is as easy as taking a calculated 10 steps over and you will find places, that are just as or even more beautiful than the pictures you have already seen a million times. Yes I did go to Kelingking beach on Nusa Penida just like about a thousand other people, but just 200 meters from there was another view point, which was completely deserted and in my opinion even prettier. In Uluwatu finding seating for sunset at Single Fin was almost impossible, but just down some stairs was a gorgeous beach, where you had a prettier view completely for free.
So please try to move over at least a couple of steps, do not only follow an itinerary set for you by strangers on an app, but explore for yourself. Have that smoothie bowl and take a hundred pictures, but please also eat at food stands, talk to locals and leave the main street every once in a while. If you already know exactly what your trip will look like from other people´s social media feed maybe just stay at home and look at their pictures. Yes Bali is crazy touristy. Yes it has really changed, but it is also up to us to make more of a trip and it is still an intensely beautiful island, full of culture and stories. We just need to make sure that we listen and look for them.

Dollar bills y´all

Prices in Bali vary drastically. I found the Gilis and Uluwatu to be the cheapest areas I visited, while Seminyak was generally pretty pricey. The beautiful thing about Bali is that you can have a full on backpacking experience in very quirky and lovely hostels and then move over to a beautiful luxury resort. I like a good mix of both and have stayed in hostel rooms for six euros a night without aircon as well as a beautiful bungalow with an outdoor shower, enjoyed a luxurious dinner at Mama San in Seminyak and Nasi Goreng for about 1,50 Euros. During my month I have eaten out every single day for almost all of my meals, except for provided breakfast, went out multiple nights and sometimes invested in a drink a little fancier than the good old Bintangs.  You can easily do Bali on a super small budget if you choose to, but you can also get intense luxury for a comparable small price. My mixture of luxury and budget travels has set me back about 1000 Euro or about 35 Euros a day for accommodation, food and activities. This also includes my Open Water license, which cost 350 Euros for three pool sessions, four sea dives and the theory part.

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Thanks so much for your lovely comments, constructive criticism and suggestions. I will try to answer all of you!

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