Almost every second Australian would have visited Bali at least once in their life-time. I mean it’s right there! Absolutely no reason to not go. This is a travel guide to Bali for your next quick getaway. We chose the most popular, Christmas season to visit on our latest vacay. While 25th December is business-as-usual, 26th happens to be a festival for the Balinese and will affect availability of drivers and accessibility to certain areas. I am unsure if this Balinese festival happens to be date-specific like X-mas or lunar-calendar specific like Diwali, but do check up on it for planning, if you visit during X-mas time.
We began with googling all the places that are a must-visit in Bali, also googled most instagrammable restaurants/cafes/ hotels and places in Bali. I am a sucker for gorgeous architecture of any kind. I quickly ran all the selected places by YouTube to gather an idea of what to expect. This may seem time-consuming but if you are pressed for time, and particular about what you do and do not enjoy, then this is an exercise worth the time and effort.
After we sorted what we liked, I plotted all these spots on google maps. Based on how they were scattered on the map, I planned itinerary for each day. I also quickly checked the distance on google maps between any two consecutive points on my itinerary. This should realistically give you an idea of how many days it would take to cover the essential places/activities on your wish-list.
We skipped hiking and beachy places since we did not have much time and aren’t particularly fond of those.
December in Bali is hot and humid, with rainy days quite often. We were lucky to see the rain in bursts. Most days were a good overcast (we love them for perfect pictures!). Packing summer clothes is essential, and with footwear, save your whites for when clear skies are forecasted. Temples provide sarongs, otherwise, the dress code is pretty casual. Carry hair accessories and be prepared for a lot of ponytail and messy bun days, because the humidity is not for faint-hearted-frizzies.
I packed clothes that I haven’t gotten a chance to wear for quite some time, and introduced some new purchases in the mix.
Since I can’t include pictures from each location in this post, I have to settle for different outfits instead. I will post pictures from all the locations I visited on Instagram. *She says subtly trying to ask people to follow her*
1 guest house in Kuta, 2 hotels in Ubud, including a luxury hotel for the spa-day. I found them on Booking.com and selected them based on price, reviews and pictures. I must say they turned out to be even better in person! Breakfasts at all places was included and was perfect. The hospitality and kindness was the best.
Pro-tip: book spa services or any complimentary services well in advance since things get booked out very fast.
Taxi with a driver is the best way to move around and see the sights that are further than 15-20 km away. Costs roughly AUD $60 for 10 hours and I would highly recommend it. For exploring the city and checking out sights closer to where you live, renting a scooter/bike is the perfect option. Costs AUD $5-7 for 24 hours!
Pro-tip: Try to make sure your driver speaks and understands basic English. We spent first two days with a driver who we simply could not communicate with beyond a few words. We had to find another driver after the first one took us to a completely different spot and in complete opposite direction because he did not understand what we kept telling him all along.
We missed on checking out a few items for that day because he didn’t know to use GPS or to ask for directions. I did not account for communication issues in a foreign land. Trying to fight in monosyllables was even more frustrating than the actual issue! Of course it was hilarious for the bag-carrier* to watch. We switched driver at my friend’s recommendation and that worked out perfectly. Consult your cab-driver for best times to visit places and discuss your complete itinerary right at the start.
My Indian vegetarian taste-buds were not disappointed one bit. Every place has vegetarian options and the food preparation in general is quite flavoursome. Food options are plenty and inexpensive in most places.
Pro-tip: Places such as Omnia DaySpa are extremely pricey to buy food and with terribly limited options for my Veg+Indian palette. They don’t even allow water-bottles inside. Does not stop one from visiting such heavenly places of course, but I would eat something and go to such places.
What I wish could have been done differently
The traffic hours and routes are tricky and can cause change in plans and delays. We would have loved to explore more restaurants and temples but not considering travel time delays made us forego a few spots we had hoped to explore.
No matter where we go and however free my hands are, husband dear ALWAYS carries the bags. As we walk ahead (while he is still complaining), he even takes additional bags from my hands all in the same process!
Where’s the hygge?
I think the hygge here is quite obvious. But for me personally, the additional comfort came from a different vibe than I had experienced before. Having a plan in place and finding good food and good people throughout was true icing.
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