Chickitas do Bali
Lets get real here for a second, travelling with your girlfriends is one of the coolest experiences one can ever have. I mean exploring new places, sipping rose by the pool, ordering too many espresso martinis, meeting the “most” interesting characters, and indulging in one too many bin tangs….it doesn’t get much better. Bali has always been a place I’ve dreamed about and when I knew I was coming to Australia, I knew Bali had to happen. Between van life, living in 6 different homes in 5 months, more van life, trip planning, working, experiencing all of Melbourne and just life itself, I was not sure if there was going to be time to do Bali right. But when my girlfriend from back home who now lives in Whistler suggested we meet up in Bali since we hadn’t seen each other in 7 months, the wheels started turning EVEN MORE. She suggested it would be a perfect meet up point considering she no longer lives in Toronto. Like how could I pass that opportunity up! I knew Bali was going to be a dream…..I mean a dream becoming a reality. It was definitely a chaotic time! From planning van life on the West Coast, to travelling with no service, to coming home for literally 5 days and flying back out to Bali, it was chaos, but oh my goodness, it was amazing and so so worth it. Anticipation is one of the most delicious feelings. It really is. The excitement that comes with looking forward to something is an incredible feeling and we thrive on it, we eat it up, we wait, we countdown, we predict, we plan and we run on that anticipation. The adventure, the excitement, the reunion, the unknown. I was so excited. I was meeting up with one of my best friends from home & then I got even luckier finding out one of my other best friends was coming too! We’ve travelled to Banff & Whistler together but never this far! We knew it was going to be epic. And epic it was indeed. Bali was the most incredible girls trip & I couldn’t imagine a more beautiful destination to meet up, reconnect and let loose with my best friends than in Bali. We spent 10 days soaking up the lifestyle, scenery and experiences of Bali with the perfect balance of luxury, glampacking, backpacking and “roughing” it.
I’ve decided to give you a personalized “Chickitas do Bali” list of our favourite cafes, tours, places to stay, beach clubs, sunset bars & tips based on where we stayed and what we learned from the locals. Bali is a beautiful, charming, cultured, very special place. I hope this list helps you get inspired and plan your very own “Chickitas do Bali” aka a girls trip, or a solo trip or romantic getaway. Bali has it all. Whatever you are looking for, you will find it here.
The Fairmont- We spent 3 days and 2 nights at the Fairmont in Sanur. Let me tell you, this place was pure luxury. Like okay bye, we will never experience this kind of treatment again in our lives. It was a splurge for sure, but luckily my friends hooked us up, so there was no way we could pass up this experience. We were by far the youngest people there, and I think people looked at us thinking we were either escorts or movie stars or something because we definitely did not fit in with the other older clientele. From sipping cocktails in coconuts, ordering nachos poolside, enjoying the famous Fairmont buffet breakfasts and yoga in the morning, we soaked up each and every minute of luxury at the Fairmont. Our room was a dream and the 4 of us comfortably slept in a King Size bed. But honestly, the bathroom alone was 8 stars and I could honestly live in the bathroom. Just look at the photos, and swoon. Not only was the bathroom and king size bed luxurious enough, we even got a garden view terrace where we would wake up, sip coffee and have an in room dining man (server) prepare breakfast for us. Yupppp, quite a change from van life. If you are looking for a honeymoon destination, this place is legit luxury. Everyone asked us why we did not stay at the Fairmont for the whole trip, and honestly as safe and luxurious and relaxing as it was for 4 girls in their 20’s reuniting after 7 months, Bali was meant to be an adventure and we wanted to truly explore as much as possible. Starting at the Fairmont was a perfect way for us to catch up, relax, catch up on jet lag, splurge, safely enjoy cocktails and truly rejuvenate, before really becoming backpackers in Bali. So if you are in Sanur and can work it into your budget, stay at the Fairmont.
The Gili Islands are made up of three islands- Gili Trawangan (known as the party island), Gili Air (known as the backpacker, more relaxed island) and Gili Meno (known as the honeymooner island).
Do not expect the luxury and high end lifestyle like you get in Seminyak. But you can find some beautiful villas to stay in, but in a different atmosphere than Seminyak.
There are no scooters or motorbikes on the island which is such a refreshing change from the crazy Bali roads filled with motorbikes being ridden by families of 5….absolute mayhem. Seriously, it is terrifying.
Instead you have the option to walk, bike or take a horse (aka the island Ferrari). We had the pleasure of taking advantage of all 3 methods of transport and let me tell you our ‘island ferrari’ was priceless!
Gili T is known as a party island and everyone says “oh man how much did you party? Where did you go?” To be honest, we didn’t and that is exactly what we wanted. We were not here to party, but if you are….you are in luck, there is no shortage of bars and parties! Just don’t think you can only go to this island if you are a partier.
SNORKEL, SNORKEL, SNORKEL!!!- I snorkeled a bit, but to be honest now that I’ve dived, I much prefer diving and think that next time I’m in Bali, I’ll book a dive. Therefore, I suggest you DIVE!
Gili Getaway- is the only fast boat that offers a direct transport service to and from Bali and Gili Trawangan without stopping in Padang Bai, Nusa Lembongan or Sengiggi. We paid a bit more for this boat but that included transfers to and from our hotel/ hostels and a return trip from Serangan Harbour to Gili T and back. We had done a lot of research about the fast boats that go to Gili and we picked this company because it had the best reviews and had safe guidelines and procedures when it came to how many people could be on the boat, seating arrangements etc. We were very impressed with the crew members providing us with water, cold towels and sunscreen. Would definitely recommend!
Gili Yoga- Nothing beats a 7:30 am yoga class, instructed by a beautiful blonde, tall and young Aussie. We loved starting our morning off with some yoga, followed by acai bowls and chilled cappuccinos at Banyan Tree. Ps; our girl crush on the yoga instructor continued as we saw her go straight from yoga class, into her scuba diving gear and hop in a boat! ($10 for a class)
Banyan Tree- Enjoy acai bowls and their amazing salad bar. Sit outside and take advantage of the gorgeous ocean views, and even the free wifi if needed. Located right off the main strip near where the boats come in.
Massages- Get massages anywhere and everywhere ($10 by the beach) & even get risky and get the little fishy massages on your feet ($5). Trust me you’ll have one too many laughs. It is the weirdest feeling, but a must try!
Rent bikes- For 4 bucks you can rent bikes for the day and bike around the island in less than 3 hours. DO IT! It was so worth it. Enjoy the party side of the island and the sunset more chill side of the island. Take in the hostel partying lifestyle and the luxury villa lifestyle. But don’t expect good quality bikes….these things are wobbly little thangs.
Ombak Swing-This is a must…you can’t go to Gili T and miss the Ombak swing. Rent bikes, bike to the sunset side of the island, grab a bean bag and cocktails at one of the many beautiful oceanside bars and get the obligatory photo on the swing.
The Exhile-Great vibes, enjoyed very cheap food, bin tangs and amazing views.
The night market- This market is near the boat dock on the party/ main side of the island. It is a really cool place, filled with culture and amazing energy. Good mix of travellers and locals.
CORN- GET ROASTED CORN! The street corn is amazing and you get to have the cutest conversations with the locals.
Gili Castle- Very clean, friendly hostel in a great location. A good balance between partying and having noise policies in effect. However, don’t say I didn’t warn you…the temple right next door makes A LOT of noise at 4:30 am every morning for 15 minutes.
I was so excited to get to Ubud. Eat, Pray, Love portrayed this area as the haven for soul-searchers and those wanting to escape their city life, their everyday routine. To me this is Bali’s cultural heart. Rice Paddies, spiritual awakenings, yoga, soul searching and fortune telling men coming together in one beautiful place.
Puji Hostel- very cute hostel, clean, great location and with the sweetest owners…& cheap (less than $10 a night). The pool overlooked the rice fields & our room was called ‘Magic’…I mean….so Ubud!
Café Yayan- breakfast here was recommended by a local and was extremely cheap, yummy, had great portions and the nicest staff. Must go!
The Sacred Monkey Forest- A MUST DO! We loved spending a few days exploring Ubud and enjoying a few ‘cheeky’ hours in the monkey forest. For 4 bucks you can’t go wrong! But if you opt out of this experience you can still see monkeys on the road right in front of the forest (for free). Exploring the monkey forest is a blast! The monkeys can be a bit aggressive so tips include: do not look them in the eyes, only let them come on you if you are near one of the workers who know how to signal to the monkeys what to do, and have nothing in the open that they can take (cell phones, water bottles, sunglasses, etc).
Explore the streets & Pasar Seni markets – Just roam the streets of Ubud. Ubud is honestly so breath taking and serene. You can’t help but feel in awe, refreshed and rejuvenated. So, explore the streets, wander the food market in the wee hours of the morning and the art market in the afternoon. Buy too many elephant pants, tribal sarongs/ beach blankets, crotchet tips and bin tangs. Take in the beauty of this sacred place.
Cooking class- Take a cooking class. Do it, just go! I can’t cook, and I loved this day! I think it was one of my favourite days while in Bali. Take the cooking class at Kampung Villa for $25 dollars which gives you a 5 hour morning/early afternoon. You get to explore the market with a local, learn about their spices, special Balinese sauces and traditional dishes, breakfast is included, and than you begin chopping and organizing the lunch. It was so worth it! And we had like 8 poritions! SOOOOO GOOD!
Yoga Barn- What a set up. This is a must see kind of thing. We took a yoga class here and explored the grounds which includes multiple yoga rooms, rice fields, a juice bar, restaurant, spa, and a shop. Wow, it is very interesting. We were happy we tried it, but felt like it was a one time thing. ($13 per class)
The Pirate- go here for dinner, amazing, chilled out vibes and really good food. I really recommend this place for a more chilled, relaxed vibe, with traditional Balinese food.
Hike Mount Batur- This is a must. This hike is a more “doable” one, compared to Mount Agung or the trek on Lombok. We hiked up to Mount Batur super early. You are up at 1 am ad start the climb up at 4 am, making it for sunrise at about 6:30 am. This was an incredible experience and I would recommend this hike to anyone who does not have enough time to do the more complicated treks that sometimes take days. I couldn’t not snag a hot chocolate up at the top served by the cutest Balinese man. It is a moment that can’t be forgotten. Do this hike and you’ll be back down by 10 am.
Tegalalang Rice Fields- Absolutely beautiful!!!! This place is breathtaking and you have the option to view them from the road or you can take the many steps down to go explore them yourself (I recommend this way)! It’s free to get in but donations are encouraged to get around and through different areas within the fields.
**Tip- Hire a private driver. We were recommended one from a friend here in Australia and he was incredible. E-mail me if you would like more information, but here is his page. Gusti was a highlight of our trip, treating us so well, putting up with our silly antics and taking us around Bali. All for $50.00 a day, gas, mileage and any spots you want are included!
Tanah Lot- This temple is out of this world. Holy Moly …literally! Go here and explore the outskirts as well as going down, through the water to get blessed. Stunning ocean views. This is on the way from Ubud to Seminyak.
A beach town situated in South Bali, Seminyak sits north of Legian and offers a more luxurious experience and higher-end restaurants and bars. The atmosphere and vibes in Seminyak is a much more sophisticated feel than neighbouring Kuta and Legian. Seminyak is named one of the top shopping destinations in South East Asia. You will be surrounded by Australians on vacation, by BEAUTIFUL and I mean beautiful shops and boutiques, no shortage of fun, chilled cafes, beach clubs, high end restaurants and plenty of bars and nightlife.
Potato Head- Most vacationers in Bali, especially the many tourists and vacationers from Australia will be found sipping cocktails at beach clubs in Bali. And you pay a hefty price for those dang cocktails, so be ready to splurge. We enjoyed Potato Head and it was beautiful, glamorous and felt like a much more chilled vegas pool party. Other favourites and recommendations we’ve received were Ku De Ta, and Finn’s beach clubs.
Motel Mexicola- This place has got it going on. From the décor, to the staff, the vibe they have presented and the never ending party. Wow, I love this place. Us girls ate this shit up. The vibe they offer was so on point. We enjoyed some bin tangs, a few dances, and chips with guacamole. What’s not to love.
Revolver Coffee- Best coffee in Bali! Asked for a chilled cappuccino and thank me later. Seriously think of me while you sip it. I would fly back tomorrow morning just for this coffee.
Sister Fields- Aussie owned café by a hip 30 year old couple from Melbourne. The vibes were very Melbourne and I loved it. Great coffee, and incredibly yummy and delicious acai bowls.
Ku De Ta- Great views of the ocean, but would not recommend their breakfast. Very small portions at a hefty price.
Umaku Hostel- Very cute hostel, close to the main street. Cheap and clean! I think our favourite hostel of the trip. It has a restaurant beside it with super cheap food, but note this hostel is definitely not a party hostel!
Seminyak Beach- FOR BEAN BAGS @ SUNSET! Enjoy & indulge at La Plancha…they are famous for their ribs.
Rock Bar (in Uluwatu)- THIS IS AN ABSOLUTE MUST. We hired our private driver for the day to take us around Uluwatu (only about 45 mins outside of Seminyak). I cannot rave about this place anymore. It’s like head over heels, fall in love, and never go back. This bar is located at Ayana Resort and is quite pricey ($15-$20 a drink) but the panoramic ocean views make it oh so worth it. I mean us girls were swooning. AND THE SUNSET……By far my favourite sunset in Bali was witnessed at Rock Bar with my best friends, sipping oh so fancy cocktails. I mean…come on. Go, go, go …splurge, dress up and feel like a legit celebrity for an evening. Oh and the service was also out of this world.
Single Fin (Uluwatu)- incredible cliff bar with gorgeous ocean views and sunsets. Do yourself a favour, go and indulge in this super rad bar, get the fish tacos and/or a Nalu Bowl and bliss the heck out.
Padang Padang Beach- Otherwise known as the beach from Eat Pray Love. It is beautiful! But very very busy and does not really live up to its expectations.
Uluwatu Temple- A gorgeous spot and is a water temple. When you arrive they give you sarongs to wear which is a super cool experience. The views are stunning here. Immerse yourself into the culture.
Our trip involved: mainly Eating, a little Praying and a whole lot of Loving. I hope this overview of our experience and favourite places helps you plan your own Bali adventure, because I promise you it is an adventure and a place not to be missed.
Bali, you will see me again soon.