- Introduction: Going diving in the Ring of Fire
- Review: GVK Lounge East Wing, Mumbai
- Review: Jet Airways Mumbai to Singapore, Economy (Airbus A330-200)
- Review: Plaza Premium Lounge Singapore Terminal 1
- Review: Jetstar Asia Singapore to Bali, Economy (Airbus A320)
- Things to keep in mind while visiting Bali
- Where to go if backpacking solo in Bali
- What to eat when in Bali, Indonesia?
- Review: Premier Lounge, Bali
- Review: Hong Kong Airlines Bali to Hong Kong, Economy (Airbus A330)
- Review: Plaza Premium Lounge (West Hall), Hong Kong
- Review: Jet Airways 9W77 Hong Kong to Delhi, Economy (Boeing 777)
- Conclusion: Elevating my backpacking trip
Bali is one of those rare places where you can have a good time regardless of how much money you are willing to spend. You can plan a weekend vacation, staying at St Regis or W hotel, or go backpacking for a couple of weeks like me.
There is so much to do on this island. From trekking enthusiast to beach bums, there is something for everyone. My initial plan was to go diving here in the pristine blue water around Lombok, a short boat ride away from Bali, but after a devastating earthquake, Lombok and surrounding Islands were evacuated.
Things are starting to get better there, and I’ve been told diving activities would resume shortly. If you are keen going diving, make sure to carry a copy of your PADI diving certificate with you. These certificates are issues around the world including India.
Now that diving was out of the picture, what did I do? First, I landed in Uluwatu, surfing country. I took a day-long surf lesson at Padang beach which costed me around IDR 5,00,000. (USD 33 or INR 2400) By the end of it, I could paddle and even managed to stand up on the board for a second or two. The surf shop I went to is called Shark Fin which is one of the more reputed ones in the area.
My evenings were usually centred around socializing and going out. I stayed at a party hostel so as soon the sunset, things went electric. Every night was a party and one night, I hopped onto a party bus. By the end of the night (which ended at 5 AM in the morning), I had a place to crash if I was ever in Munich, Leeds or even Kuwait City.
After a few nights, I headed south to catch a speedboat to Nusa Lembongan. It is a tiny Island near mainland Bali well known for its shallow waters, perfect for snorkelling. This place was gorgeous! Clear blue water and a view to die for. The snorkelling instructor there told me that this was just a glimpse of what you could’ve seen in Lombok.
Next, I headed up north to Ubud to rest and rejuvenate. Ubud is the cultural capital of Bali so it was quite touristy. If you are into yoga and wellness, this is the place to be. I, on the other hand, planned my stay here around having a meal at Ibu Oka. Besides paying homage to one of Antony Bourdain’s favourite eating spots, I went to see our furry kinsmen at the monkey forest. There was an early morning trek to Mt. Batur but I passed on it as I was in no mood to wake up at 2 AM in the morning to go climb a hill.
Now that my batteries were all charged up, I headed back south, this time to Seminyak. I had an option to either go to Kuta or Seminyak but every single person I met advised me to avoid Kuta. This part of the Island is posh, with luxury boutiques and fine dine restaurants, not the ideal place for backpackers. People asked me to go check out Potatohead, but I was in no mood to pay IDR 2,00,000 for a cocktail. At the pod hostel there, I met a bunch of great folks from Canada and the UK and we pretty much partied from sunrise to sunset.
Speaking about partying, the best club, in my opinion, there was La Favela. I’d give Skygarden a miss if I were you as the place is too crowded. I think that’s what happens when you become one of the best nightclubs in the world.
I ended my trip in Canggu, a laid-back surf destination an hour away from Seminyak. All I did for the last few days was lounge around in Beach clubs, sipping Mai Tais and eating fish and chips. A good way to end a fantastic trip.
There’s something so familiar about Bali yet it was so different. For me it’s not the journey or the destination that matters the most, it’s the people. And I ended meeting some amazing folks there. I’m not sure if I would’ve had such a great time if I wasn’t travelling solo. I’m going back there for sure, after all, diving in Lombok hasn’t been checked off the bucket list.
What have been your best experiences travelling in Bali?