Travel is such a beautiful expression of life. It opens our eyes to experiences we never knew existed and it brings us closer to people we may have never met or friends and family who travel with us. I know this firsthand through my travels. In July 2015, I met my mate, Tahseen (Tas) in Las Vegas, NV at Drai’s Beach Club. Tas is from Bangladesh, but lives in London, United Kingdom. At the pool party, we spoke for a short time, but both of us recognized something good in the other — which lead to us exchanging social media details. Ten months later, I took my first trip to Amsterdam and London for holiday (vacation) and Tas showed me all around during my time in London. We bonded as friends and have been good mates every since. In late February 2019, Tas was telling me about his upcoming fourth trip to Bali, Indonesia and invited me to join. The issue was, it was only about two weeks before I would need to leave. He kept telling me how amazing Bali was and how he couldn’t get enough of going there — this along with two major factors stuck out to me. First, Bali was already on my travel list and going with friends was appealing. Second, I wasn’t working at that moment — and I had the flexibility to make it happen. Count me in I told him!
Bali greets you with open hearted energy and an exotic buzz. At the same time, it’s calm and peaceful — it bridges the two worlds so well that you’ll find it easy to find euphoria in whatever form you’re looking for. In the main cities of Seminyak, Kuta, Canggu, and Ubud there are many beaches, incredible beach clubs, amazing sunsets and endless rice terraces. Not to mention, spiritual awakenings, yoga retreats and areas throbbing with nightlife. The best and easiest way to get around is a motorbike (scooter). Traffic races nonstop probably unlike anything you’re used to. It’s a place where even an unplanned drive into the lush interior may crack open your mind.
I arrived in Bali on March 3, 2019. The rainy season in Bali is from November to April. My mate was staying for an entire month, but I was staying for nine days — enough time for me to really explore this magical place, but still want more. Three of the those nine days were going to be spent in Gili Trawangan (Gili T), an island just east of Bali. We’ll talk about that experience in another post.
After arriving at Ngurah Rai International airport (DPS), my private taxi driver from Suntransfers was awaiting me with a big smile and sign with my name on it. I recommend their service because it’s very well priced ($14 USD one-way) and takes the hassle out of arriving and getting to your hotel in such a heavy traffic city. The ride to the hotel immediately makes it clear that traffic in Bali for cars would drive you insane — a motorbike was the way to go. I booked a two night hotel stay at the 4-star Daun Bali Seminyak hotel. I’m a member of hotels.com and happened to have a free night available to use. For the first night, I paid $46 USD (including taxes) for a premium room with king size bed. The second night, I upgraded to a suite with city view for only $18 USD — it was my first suite ever.
Daun Bali was a fine hotel, but the location in Seminyak isn’t great for walking to activities and restaurants, but not far at all on a motorbike — you can cheaply ($4-$5 USD per day, but cheaper if you rent for a week) rent a motorbike through the hotel.
Before meeting my mate and his friends (who became my homies as well) who were coming into Indonesia on the island of Gili Trawangan (Gili T) on March 6th — I had time to do what I do best, explore Bali solo for a few days. Of course I had a list of places I wanted to check out.
Fun Activities and Places To See
There are many divine places to go, exquisite atmospheres to experience while in Bali — and there is no way you can cover them all in one trip. However, I do want to share some standout places, experiences, and moments that I found noteworthy. Hopefully my experiences will give you a good starting point when you go…. or remind you of beautiful times when you were there. This is not all-inclusive since I don’t list the great variety of nightlife options, but know it’s very much there.
Single Fin Bali
Close your eyes, hear the sounds of the waves coming off Uluwatu beach. Picture being on a patio perched high above on the Uluwatu surf break known to surfers around the world. After having a delicious lunch and a cocktail, you walk to your right and there is a magical infinity pool surrounded by umbrellas that shield the sun off you while you lay out and take in the dazzling view. The DJ plays music, there are many interesting people from different parts of the world having a fantastic time. You dive in the pool to cool off and make friends. You are in pure bliss and wondering why you should leave this place no matter what you had planned for the day. That’s Single Fin — at least it was for me. Don’t miss this beach bar on your visit and be sure to watch the sunset here — you’ll remember it for life.
Part of traveling is experiencing new cultures and I was excited to visit the Uluwatu Temple. You come for the culture, but you get hooked on the views. The Uluwatu Temple is a Balinese Hindu sea temple perched high on a cliff that provides picturesque ocean views. The temple is inhabited by monkeys, so be sure to watch your belongings as you walk and take pictures. Located very close to Single Fin, so try to hit both in the same day.
It’s honestly difficult to put into words how magnificent Mrs Sippy is. Aesthetically, it’s so pleasing to the eye with its beautiful large salt water pool (largest in Bali) with a diving board, rustic sandstone walls, polished cement floors, eye-popping flowers surrounding the pool (see picture below), and sleek eatery serving seafood, steak, and mouth-watering cocktails. Oh, did I mention, it’s home to the most glamorous pool parties, music festivals, and located in the heart of Seminyak. This relaxed tropical ambiance is a must for your trip to Bali — thank me later.
A very well known beach club that is known for great times, amazing vibes and stunning sunsets. Potato Head has three restaurants, three bars, an amazing infinity pool and large lawn to hang with friends, all overlooking the Indian ocean. It’s so lush and exotic that you can’t help but have a great time here. Come to have drinks, swim in the pool, look at the ocean and meet new people.
So I was telling the guys, I know a place we need to check out. My mate, who is the veteran when it comes to Bali looks a bit hesitant because I think he had a place in mind, but goes along with my choose. When we arrived at this colorful, vibrant, trendy Mexican restaurant with unique food and great drinks, he gave me that look — dude you know what the hell you are talking about. Motel Mexicola is an awesome vibe and should not be missed even if you don’t love mexican food.
If you want to put your motorbike to work and see some sights while doing it, then visiting Tanah Lot should be on your list. Tanah Lot is a rock formation off the Indonesian island of Bali that is a great tourist spot due to the spectacular photo opportunities and the local market there. You can find unique souvenirs for friends and family and help locals at the same time.
Ubud is located in the uplands of Bali and has a completely different vibe. You will quickly see it’s nothing like the major cities in Bali I listed previously. This is the place you come to recharge, relax, reflect, and build with someone or by yourself. You can center yourself here and shut your mind off to the outside world in a way you just can’t in most places. You will find the rice paddies, surrounding rainforest, sacred Hindu temples, local crafts and all of Ubud to offer a spiritual awakening that is welcoming. Some of the places I was able to visit in my short time in Ubud were memorable. No visit to Ubud is complete without a visit to the Sacred Monkey forest Sanctuary (pictured below). Additionally, it’s worth a stop to the local Ubud Art Market for some of the most unique crafts and arts you’ll find in all of Bali. If you are looking to see one of the coolest infinity pools anywhere, then stop by the Hanging Gardens of Bali hotel. I did not stay there, but stopped for lunch and to take pics (see below). A hotel surrounding by nothing but forest. Trust me, it’s quite spectacular once there.
As always, I hope I’ve given anyone who reads my blog some reasons to visit these wonderful countries/cities. Bali is no different, it’s so much to see, explore and do while there. Certainly one of those beautiful places you will have endless pictures upon your return. Not to mention, the cost is quite inexpensive coming from most other countries — you can really enjoy yourself in Bali even if you don’t have a big budget. I certainly couldn’t share all there is to do, but know you won’t be disappointed. I’ll definitely go back in the future and explore even more. In closing… More Travel, More Life!