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Bali Bucket List

Updated: Jul 9, 2023

Taking a trip to Bali, Indonesia was on a lot of people's vision boards this year. After visiting Bali, I completely understand why this destination is so popular. It is a beautiful place with plenty of incredible views. Lots of culture, good vibes, amazing food...there's no debate that we should all have Bali on our travel bucket list.

Getting There:

There are several different routes you can fly to get to Bali. Since Indonesia was the last stop on our Asia trip, it was easy to get to Bali from Thailand. We took a direct flight from Bangkok (BKK) to Denpasar/Bali (DPS). The flight was about 3.5 hours long. You can also get to Bali from Doha, Qatar or Australia on a direct flight. If you're leaving directly from the U.S., there are several options with stopovers, you can choose the best route for your trip here.


Top Things to Do in Bali:


1. Visit the Lempuyang Temple - one of the oldest and most sacred places of worship in Bali, also known as "Heaven's Gate." It is a sight to see and definitely worth visiting. Be sure to arrive early, as you will receive a queue number upon arrival to take your picture in the middle of the iconic "Heaven's Gate." You are called in order based on your queue number and the photographers on site will use your phone to take your picture (have your poses in mind before your number is called). This temple overlooks the famous Mount Agung and it opens at 6:00am. We arrived just before sunrise and it was about a 2 hour drive from our resort in Ubud.

It's a good idea to walk down the stairs to the other side of "Heaven's Gate" to see another view of the Temple (also without the crowd of people waiting to take their pictures).

*Know before you go: there are some pretty strict rules you should be aware of before visiting the Lempuyang Temple. I'll be honest, a few of the rules shocked me a bit. However, this is a sacred place of worship for many Balinese people. Check out the list of rules that you'll see upon entry.

2. Take Pictures in front of Mount Agung - As you leave the Lempuyang Temple, walk down the hill to the other side to see a clear view of the beautiful mountain that sits in between the temple. There are photo opportunities here too, including a Bird's Nest and swing.



3. Go to the Bali Swing Park - There are many different options to spend the day on a swing in Bali. We went to Aloha Ubud Swing and they have multiple swings and a variety of dresses to rent. The total cost was about $50 USD, which includes admission, dress rental, and photos by a professional photographer. You can also rent a flower crown to match your dress and a locker to store your things for about $6 USD. Aloha Ubud has different swings and you can choose the ones you want, based on your comfort level. There are also plenty of cool spots for the perfect photo ops. This was such a fun experience and these photo memories will last a lifetime.

4. Visit the Tegalalang Rice Terrace - it's so perfectly-maintained, it almost doesn't look real. Rice is a staple food across Asia, but especially in Indonesia. The rice farmers work hard daily to ensure that the rice is grown on well-maintained fields. The Tegalalang Rice Terrace is known for the irrigation system called "Subak," which teaches humans to maintain our balance with others, nature, and the Creator.

Fun Fact: This famous rice terrace was featured in the film Eat Pray Love, starring Julia Roberts.

5. Take a Flower Bath - I honestly can't think of a more relaxing combo. Bathing in a tub of fresh flowers was an amazing experience. I think everyone deserves to experience this at least once in their life. I booked mine directly with the resort staff, but there are several options to book a flower bath in Bali. You can choose your design for your bath and it's amazing how the flowers stay in tact after soaking in the bath. If flowers aren't your fancy, you can opt for a citrus bath instead, which includes fresh lemons and limes.

6. Take a Dip in the Waterfalls - Bali has several waterfalls you can go to relax and enjoy nature. The Suwat Waterfall was so refreshing and the views were amazing. The entry fee was about $2 USD and you'll want to bring along some drinking water with you, because it does get hot out there. Wear some good shoes for walking up and down the steep stairs. You can take a dip in the waterfall, jump in, or just sit back and enjoy the views.



 

Accommodations and Tips for Traveling to Bali:

  • The Udaya Resorts & Spa - Rated one of the top resorts to stay at in Bali, also Trip Advisor's most saved hotel. This resort and spa is incredible; as soon as you step foot on the property, you feel the soothing ambiance. The outstanding hospitality and customer service from the resort staff makes you feel right at home. You can book a massage and a flower bath at the spa, or you can opt to have your flower bath (or citrus bath) right in the comfort of your room. There is also yoga every morning and live music at the resort restaurant during the week. The resort has several options for your room view and room layout. We stayed in a pool villa, equipped with a private pool.

The Udaya Resorts and Spa is located in Ubud, the area commonly booked by honeymooners and those looking for more of a relaxing vibe. However, if you are looking to stay in an area with nightlife, I suggest booking a stay at any of the resorts or hotels in Canggu.


  • When in Bali, pack plenty of mosquito repellent (and spray it on yourself often). This is a must, because the mosquitoes are everywhere. The resort even gave us some upon arrival, which seemed to be stronger than the mosquito spray we brought with us from the U.S.

  • Exchange your currency: Indonesian Rupiah is the local currency in Bali. Some places like the resort and the Aloha Ubud Bali Swing Park accepted credit/debit cards, but many of the other tourist attractions only accepted cash for the entry fees. It's also good to have plenty of local currency to spend at the street markets and to tip the photographers who are there to take your pictures at the temples. Download the GlobeConvert app to help you quickly enter the conversions when spending money in Bali, because the currency is increments of thousands (i.e. 25,000 Indonesian Rupiah is equivalent to about $1.70 USD). You can exchange your money at the airport or at local exchange place in the city.


  • Hire a Driver, preferably one who can drive you around for the duration of your stay in Bali. The roads can get congested, with the hundreds of scooters traveling amongst the cars. Most drivers in Bali are experienced and I highly recommend booking with Bali On My Mind Tour & Transfer. Baguz is a fantastic driver, he helped us put together our entire itinerary and he really knows his way around Bali...tell him I sent you. Upon arrival at the Bali airport, you may be overwhelmed by all the drivers standing at arrivals, repeatedly asking you if you need a taxi. This is why it's a good idea to pre-arrange your driver services before arriving in Bali.

You will also need to complete an entry form prior to arrival and you'll need a visa on arrival (VoA). The application for the Bali tourism visa can be completed online prior to arrival, or you can pay for it at the airport before clearing customs.


Know Before you Go...

  • When using the bathroom in Indonesia, water is the cleanser of choice (not toilet paper)...so pack your own when on the go and it's a good idea to bring some flushable wipes too. Squat toilets (you know, the ones where you place your feet on the toilet seat to squat and go) are also common throughout Indonesia, so prepare to use one in some of the remote locations or local stores/shops. Don't worry, the resorts and hotels are fully equipped with the toilets you're used to using.

  • Eating in Bali: Indonesian cuisine typically consists of steamed (or fried) rice, vegetables, and some type of meat (chicken, fish, pork, or beef). Rice is a staple and the locals call it Nasi. Try the Nasi goreng ayam (chicken fried rice), or if you want to try something new, try the Nasi goreng cumin (squid fried rice). Satays, or meat on a skewer, are also a popular menu item. I often went for the chicken satays during my stay in Indonesia. Gado is the perfect dish for everyone, but especially for vegetarians. It is a salad with vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, tofu, jackfruit, and tempeh (made from soybeans) all tossed in a peanut sauce. Since Indonesia is made up of so many islands, it's only right that you try the fish before you go.


If it's not already on there, Bali should be on your bucket list for more reasons than one. There is so much to do and see; you will leave with so many unforgettable memories. Whether you are looking to relax and unplug or if you're looking for a new adventure, Bali is the place to go. I can't wait to go back and experience more of Indonesia soon.


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