Bali : The Island Of The Gods

In Bali, Travel Guides
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A temple in Nusa PenidaHello Everyone!

A month ago I arrived in Bali, yes this island paradise where the sky is so blue and the rice fields so green they always look photoshopped. But let’s be serious, I came here to work. I’m a student in a French business school and I took a gap year to do some internships and maybe discover what I want to do with my life… apart from travelling. So I’m doing an internship in a really nice startup called Bedforest which provides all kind of accommodation all over Indonesia and gives back part of its commissions to local NGOs. So that’s it for the “why” I’m in Bali.

Luckily for me, my workdays are quite flexible and I still can have long weekends to discover this amazing island.

My First Impression Of Bali

I love it.

Taking a bath in one of Ubud's many temples

Bali is a wonderful place to visit or to live in. I was, and still am, surprised by the kindness of local people. They really live up to their reputation. Many times I found myself lost and people would come to rescue me without even having to call for help. By the way, having a GPS on your phone can REALLY save you a lot of troubles in Bali because most of the places don’t have real addresses. Knowing their geolocalisation is the best way not to get lost.

Bali has a lot to offer : beautiful landscapes, nice beaches, good food, great people and hundreds of things to do! If you’re homesick you can find almost every food products you want (french food is what I usually miss the most when I travel 😉 ). There’s even an Alsatian shop! And you’ll meet people from all over Indonesia and the world. Bali is an incredible melting pot.

How To Travel In Bali?

My advice: rent a scooter! Yes it might seem scary at first if you’ve never drove one before, but I promise it’s super easy and you’ll be an expert in no time. But please, wear a helmet! Too many tourists and locals skip this basic safety measure, don’t imitate them. I agree it’s great to feel the wind blowing through your hair but the risk is not worth it.

The jungle in Ubud

At first I thought about renting a bicycle… It’s more eco-friendly than a scooter and it’s a good way to do free exercise. But let’s face it, Bali is way too hot for biking. And since there are no bicycle path anywhere, I feel safer on a scooter.

Renting a car isn’t a good idea and I would recommend you to avoid it if you can. In fact, I was surprised by Bali’s intense traffic. Traffic jams might be the island’s only flaw. But at least on a scooter you’re not stuck between cars and you can usually get out of minor traffic jams much faster. And if, like me, you don’t want to breathe exhaust gases, buy a mask for the rush hour traffic. You can find some in every pharmacies.

I also like travelling with a scooter because it makes me feel more connected to the country. Let me explain myself. In a car, you can’t appreciate as much the landscapes as when you’re on a scooter. With a scooter you can easily stop everywhere you want to admire the view or take pictures or look at the kites that populate the sky here. And it let you enjoy Bali’s sounds and smells! Many times I stopped to listen to gamelan rehearsals. It is the traditional Indonesian ensemble music and it still is an important part in the local culture. And being able to smell the sate (the local skewers) and other dishes that are cooked on the roadsides is part of the Balinese experience.

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Waterblow, Bali

Where To Stay In Bali?

Actually I realized that distances are quite small in Bali. So whether you choose to stay in Jimbaran (on the Bukit peninsula in the South of Bali), Canggu or Ubud, you’ll still be able to go everywhere in Bali in less than a few hours. Personally I live in Kerobokan and really like it. It’s less than 15min away

from Canggu (thanks to an amazing shortcut trough the rice fields), Petitenget or Seminyak. It’s not too far from Kuta if I want to party there but far enough to avoid most of the tourist crowds. Not that I don’t like tourists, I’m often one myself, but too many of them can quickly get on my nerves.

To find an accommodation you can explore the numerous Facebook groups like Canggu Housing and Accommodation group or Bali House for rent. Among all the ads for yearly rental, you can find the best deals in Bali. For short-term vacation rental you can also have a look on Bedforest site, which offers both hotel online booking and peer-to-peer accommodations.

A sacred pool in Ubud

What To Do In Bali?

Well… so many things that it’s impossible to detail them here! Scuba diving, hiking, tanning, exploring, snorkeling, relaxing, surfing… The list is too long and there are too many beautiful places. Tanah Lot (go there before 8am!), Uluwatu, Green Bowl Beach, Mount Batur, Pemuteran… But I will give more details about these places in my next articles.

Basic Knowledge of Bahasa Indonesia

Speaking English is of course enough to communicate with most of the people you’ll meet in Bali. But knowing a few words in Bahasa Indonesia can really help you improve your relationships with Indonesian people. And help you get out of difficult situations, like being lost… And it can make a huge difference when negotiating prices! And it is really easy so NO EXCUSE!

Survival Kit :

Good morning (before 11am) : Selamat pagi
Good day (11am to 3pm) : Selamat siang
Good afternoon (3pm to sunset) : Selamat sore
Good evening : Selamat malam
Good night : Selamat tidur
Goodbye : Sampai jumpa
See you soon : Sampai jumpa lagi
See you tomorrow : Sampai jumpa besok
How are you ? : Apa kabar?
I’m good/not so good : Baik/Kurang baik
My name is … : Nama saya …
Excuse me : Permisi
Thanks : Terima kasih (Ma kasih)
You’re welcome : Sama sama
Where : Dimana
When : Ketika
I want to eat : Mau makan (pronounced “maou” makan)
Would you like to eat something? : Mau makan? (everything is in the intonation)
Enjoy your meal: Selamat makan

Numbers :

1 : satu
2 : dua
3 : tiga
4 : empat
5 : lima
6 : enam
7 : tujuh
8 : delapan
9 : sembilan
10 : sepuluh
11 : sebelas

For the numbers from 11 to 19, use word “belas” behind the single numbers i.e the number 12 is dua belas.

20 : dua puluh (for your information, ”puluh” means tens, like the “ty” in twenty)
30 : tiga puluh
40 : empat puluh)
21 : dua puluh satu (Super easy, just add single numbers behind dua puluh)
22 : dua puluh dua… And so on…

tens : puluh
hundreds : ratus
thousands : ribu
millions : juta

So for example : 1 675 895 is “Satu juta enam ratus tujuh puluh lima ribu delapan ratus sembilan puluh lima”

 

Thanks for reading and sampai jumpa lagi!

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Bali, the Island of the Gods

In Bali, Travel Guides

Bali, the island of the Gods

Since I was a kid my only dream was to travel to Indonesia. I remember the day I told my mother: “Once I get to see Borobudur, Prambanan and Bali I swear I’ll reach the nirvana.”

So was it. This year me and my mother bought two airplane tickets for Bali.

Things you need to know about the island

  • BE AWARE AT MONEY CHANGERS, THEY CAN STEAL!!!
  • If you are afraid of dogs don’t go to Bali: there are lots of wild dogs on the streets
  • Do not think that something is cheap, you can find yourself without money in a week
  • In the temples you must not show your knees
  • If you want to eat cheap, good and typical balinese food eat in a Warung: tax free, homemade street restaurant
  • Balinese people are very kind, they like to talk about their culture
  • Respect their religion
  • You have to see the Barong dance: a typical balinese dance
  • Please: visit the batik factory, you will not be disappointed
  • The day lasts exactly 12 hours, from 6AM until 6PM, so if you want to do things, wake up early!
  • Bintang beer, best beer in Bali so far

Kuta

Kuta was the first village we visited in Bali, since it was the closest to the airport. We stayed in a hotel whose name I can not remember, and it was awful. Be aware if you book a hotel via internet, they could put fake pictures of the hotel on the site.

In Kuta you can see lots of surfers, australians, tourists and shops, since it is one of the most touristic places in Indonesia.

You can book some surf lessons, where they teach you to surf or some tricks to be better at it, you should try too!

We stayed in Kuta for the first few nights and last few days, but there was nothing that really caught our attention.

The Beach

Ubud, the heart of the island

Some things I will never forget in my life are the people walking around with a frangipane flower in their hair, the incense, the way people behave and help you, their rituals.

I instantly fell in love with that village: the rice fields, the hindu temples, the market, people, atmosphere.

Bali Ricefields

The differences between Kuta and Ubud are that Ubud is a more typical village, where you can chill, go out for a run, drink a cocktail watching the rice fields, and Kuta is the typical sea village: nightclubs, parties, beer, beach, surf. They lost their connection with the nature, this is why I like Ubud more: because of the nature and essence.

Have you seen the movie with Julia Roberts “Eat, Pray, Love”? If you feel adventurous you can go visit Wayan’s place, and if you want she will tell you about your future and will give you strong advices for your health.

In Ubud you can find vegan, balinese, mexican, italian, healthy food bars and restaurants.

We booked our stay via AirBnb, and stayed in the Taman Sari guest house, which is near the centre and also cheap-ish.

Best places to eat or drink

  • When I took a yoga class at Radiantly Alive (which I highly recommend if you are a newbie or not), during the break I went to Bali Buda, a café in front of Radiantly Alive. If you want healthy/organic, vegan food this is the right place to visit.
  • Abe Do : organic warung, tax free
  • Anomali Coffee: a coffee bar in the city centre, the prices are reasonable
  • Bali Lotus: a restaurant/café in the middle of the city, you can watch the birds play while you drink your coffee, inside there is a garden with lotus flowers and a temple. It’s more expensive than Anomali coffee
  • Near Jimbaran there is a fish market, where you can buy fresh fish, and a warung nearby where you give them the fish you’d bought and they grill it for you.
  • Not quite a place to eat but a must: Luwak coffee.
  • If you want to eat typical balinese food go eat in a Warung: it will not be the clearest place to eat in but it is very good and cheap for sure.
  • Not really in Ubud, but around the Tegalalang rice terraces there is a warung-restaurant, where you can eat and admire the rice terraces.

In Ubud you can book a tour of the island, since it is pretty hard to reach some sites by yourself. If you want some adrenaline you should totally rent a scooter.

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Temples and villages you HAVE to see

•Pura Bratan, the lake temple. We had the chance to attend a ritual of their.

Pura Bratan, the lake temple

•Penglipuran Village, one of the first balinese villages, near you can walk through the bamboo forest

•Pura Besakih, the mother temple: a site with multiple temples

A temple in the mother temple, the biggest temples site in Bali

•Volcano Batur

•Pura Tirta Empul, the sacred water temple

•Uluwatu temple, also known as the monkey temple. There you can see lots of monkeys

•Tanah Lot, the most known temple in Bali. We went there in the evening and saw the sunset. It was the most beautiful sunset of my life: all the colours… it was like a fairytale.

Tanah Lot in the evening

•Petulu village: every summer you can see hundreds of birds

•Monkey forest: the forest where most of the Ubud monkeys live. Caution: they are the best thieves EVER.

Hindu ritual in front of the temple

Bali Bali Bali Bali Bali

We stayed in Bali for three weeks. The last few days, we decided to go visit the island of Jawa. I really wanted to see the Prambanan and Borobudur temples.

If you book a flight from Bali to another Indonesian island, it will be absolutely be cheaper if you go to the airport and book there. We payed 30eur/person.

So, if you ask me if I liked Bali… I will tell you absolutely yes!

Bali is the island for everyone, if you want to chill or party you can take a cab and for a very cheap price you can go from one side to the other side of the island. I would not recommend going to the beach, since it can be windy and the water is cold, and the currents of the water can drag you underwater.

Since Bali is near Australia, if you feel adventurous you can buy a plane ticket to Australia, and even for a cheap price.
If you like spicy food or are a vegetarian you can easily eat Indonesian food, because it is full of fruits and spices. They also have a very good coffee and tea.

As I said before, we stayed there for two weeks, and since the food and everything was cheap-ish, you really have to know how to use money, because if you go to a change bureau and change, for example, 100euros, you will happen to have in your hands 1.000.000 rupias; and this is why you have to be aware of these bureaus: since the indonesian rupiah are very similiar to each other, people can fool you and give you less money than you asked to.

With no doubt, my vacation in Bali was one of the bestest, I have never had so much fun and never saw so many things without getting bored. I had the chance to talk to balinese people, to know their culture and to fall in love with the island over and over again.

I will never forget the mornings: children going to school by scooter, dogs barking all night, that frangipane smell, the people smiling at you and saying hi, asking how are you doing… the Ubud market: the earlier you go, the cheapest.
Bali is a hindu island, you have to respect the animals, the people and things, because if you do not, Karma will do it’s job.

What can I say… If you want to have fun, know people or simply go to Asia I will tell you to go to Bali, you will not regret it.

Agnese

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