The Ultimate Bali Highlights
Thinking of escaping to Bali? So many of you have asked me what itinerary you should do for your trip to Bali and what are the must-sees and must-do’s.
Honestly I thought that a four month trip would make it so much easier to determine how to piece together a shorter ‘highlight trip’ - but spending months getting to know this island only made it more difficult and that much more impossible to squish my favourite spots into a two-week trip.
I was there during rainy season - which I absolutely adored and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. It was less busy and more affordable than high season and I felt that if I didn’t want to be caught up in heavy tourism, it was easy enough not to. It didn’t rain everyday and was definitely sunny and glorious more than it rained.
But WHEN it rains out there, it absolutely pours, floods and pretty much everything stops.
There was only one period of time (during my four months) that it rained more than it didn’t over a two week period - so if you happened to be travelling during that window, it might have washed out a lot of your plans.
Fun Things To Do
Quad biking Ubud
This was booked for January and had been planned for months due to my birthday celebrations. The morning that we woke up, you could hear the roaring torrential downpour outside and my instant thought was to cancel the activity. Our driver had sorted us out a great deal with Green ATV Bali Adventure (who were fab!) and it was the only day that we could do it - so we decided to suck it up and get on the quad bikes. It turned out to be one of the most incredible highlights of my trip and the rain actually made it even more fun. Driving in mud through rice fields, waterfalls and the Balinese jungle whilst my wellies filled with rain was unforgettable and absolutely hilarious.
There are quite a few spots to do the traditional Bali Swing experience and they vary from a few minutes on a pretty swing, to romantic couple tandem swings all the way to full scale production photo shoots. I opted for a regular swing in the Tellangang Rice fields and it cost about £10. I paid a little extra to have a more ‘extreme’ version whereby the guide flung me with so much force and built up so much momentum in his pushing that both of his legs were dangling off the ground - I highly recommend!
Holy water temple
We got really lucky on this day as there happened to be a temple ceremony where the locals celebrated and honoured the dark moon and their ancestors. it was beautiful to watch and parts of the temple were still accessible for tourists. I hired a sarong so that I could do the temple blessing and our guide talked us through the process. It was a truly refreshing and calming experience no matter what your spiritual practices and preferences are.
A spot that I found on Instagram - but the journey was a true Insta vs reality experience! Our driver had some award-winning clutch control and I felt my ears pop multiple times as we climbed up the narrow, mountain-side, jungle road. Where we reached a certain point, there were a group of locals who said that it was another mile or so to get to the top, and from this point we could either do a steep hike, get on the back of one of their scooters or ride in their 4x4. We opted for the the 4x4 option as there were three of us and we paid about £3 each for a return journey. The ride was like a rollercoaster, there was a steep cliff edge on one side and we drive past landslides on the other and the front bonnet of the car was tilted up at a terrifying angle.
But when we reached the top, it was insane! The view is super high up and looks right across at Mount Agung and down onto the most gorgeous, dense jungle and out at the sea. The area has around ‘Instagrammable’ installations if you want to frame the view for a nice picture. But the view alone is more than enough to take your breath away if the sheer height doesn’t.
Cafes and restaurants
The Cave Restaurant
A beautiful cave-turned-restaurant in Uluwatu. It’s a 7 course fine-dining set menu with the option to add on wine-pairing. The food was super fancy and some of it was definitely not my taste (ie foie gras) But the lobster, the teeny-tiny ahi tuna taco, the prime rib were all delicious! In between each course there was a light show projected onto the roof of the cave, it was a super magical evening and you even get the opportunity to explore original parts of the cave during the break.
This was my favourite solo dinner spot. A tiny tapas place that looked out onto the main road that served the creamiest, garlicky, smooth mashed potatoes, delicious and and yummy small plates.
There’s two of these in Bali and the food is super tasty - a concept that I’m not sure would work anywhere else… Lovster is the only place I know that serves generously-stuffed lobster rolls to tipsy tourists at 3am in the morning. It’s open earlier in the day too - but it always fascinated me that it was a late night food spot. The food is beyond tasty!
The upstairs serves as a restaurant until 10pm (I had my birthday meal here). The food and the drinks were tasty, but the venue is what makes this place even more unique. Inspired by Brazil, the venue is quirky with relentless theming and a great vibe. At 10pm the entire venue turns into a nightclub, so if you want to end the party after dinner, be sure to leave before then.
Spas and Self Care Hotspots
I had no idea that I was so obsessed with relaxation and self care until I went to Bali. What instantly became available to me upon arriving on this gorgeous island has now spoiled me for life. I lost count of massages, pedicures, flower baths and plunge pools that I experienced, but of course I have a few favourites that I wanted to share!! All of them offer a range of treatments and are incredibly priced for the quality, attention to detail and duration of the treatments. Tonic Day Spa - This pretty, pink and white palace offers a 3 hour Royal Treatment that includes a full body massage, body scrub, facial and a flower bath for around £42. I left here glowing like Tinkerbell and feeling like I was floating!