Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Sat January 09 2016

Opinion Home | Tales From the Leap

  • Shannon Wolf | January 9, 2016 11:00 PM ET

    Bali: Look Past the Chaos and Embrace the Serenity

    Bali: Look Past the Chaos and Embrace the Serenity

    PHOTO: One of the many stunning temples to explore in Bali. (photos by Shannon Wolf)

    When you think of Bali, your first thought is likely to be something related to “Eat, Pray, Love.” Though the island is famous for its medicine men and holistic healers, there is so much more to experience!

    If you have dreams of going to Bali, you won’t be disappointed upon arrival at Ubud or with the view of the coastline. The island is busy and driving is crazy but if you can look past it, you will be able to discover many hidden gems and serene lands.

    NEED TO KNOW Before Bali:

    • You NEED to have a departure ticket out of Bali in order to enter the country (otherwise you won’t be allowed onto your flight).

    • You get an automatic visa upon arrival for 30 days with no fee. If you’d like to extend, you pay $30 when you arrive at customs for an extra 30 days — this is highly recommended.

    • Everything in Bali is negotiable. Never pay full price.

    • Don’t book anything online. Prices are 10 times higher than in person.

    • Drugs are highly illegal and not worth risking. If you are caught with narcotics or trying to buy, it’s five years jail or execution (no joke).

    Main Airport: Denpasar (DPS)

    Transportation in/around Bali

    There is a big misconception that there is no way to get around Bali besides a taxi or scooter. Sure, a scooter is fun, terrifying and conventional but there ARE other options and various shuttle buses that can take you where you want to go.

    Cheapest Transportation: Scooter Rental: 500k a day ($5 a day)

    Note: For cheaper rental, keep for longer and ask for a discount

    • No license necessary.

    • In Indonesia, you drive on the LEFT hand side.

    • If you’ve never driven before, do a practice drive in an empty street before hitting the road.

    • Always wear a helmet.

    • Always be aware around you. There are basically no rules.

    PHOTO: Grab some friends, your bathing suits and explore the coast on a scooter!

    2nd Cheapest Transportation: Let someone else drive

    If roads are too scary for you, luckily you have options that are cheaper than a taxi.

    • Go Jek (download the app. It’s a scooter pick-up service)

    • Uber

    3rd cheapest Transportation: Shuttle Bus

    More expensive than the above but its convenient and easy especially when traveling to the Gili Islands. 

    Perma Tour

    Area to avoid: Kuta

    If you’re looking for an overabundance of testosterone and out-of-whack hormone levels of children unable to handle their liquor, then go ahead and visit Kuta in Bali, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. I avoided the place like the plague and couldn’t be happier with my choice. Every single other person I know who went instantly regretted it.

    Top Budget Area close to Beach: Jimbaran

    Top Hidden Gem Beach: Nyang Nyang (aka: Magic Beach)

    PHOTO: Bask in the beautiful Bali beaches while soaking up the sun!

    Top Beaches:

    Regardless of your preference, Bali has a beach to suit everyone! From surf to swim you will have an array of options all along the sun-filled coast of Bali!

    • Geger Beach

    • Pantai Kecil Beach

    • Sanur Beach

    • Nyang Nyang

    • Nusa Dua Beach

    • Lembongan Island

    • Senggigi Beach

    • Balangan Beach

    • Impossible Beach

    • Padang Padang Beach

    Visiting Temples:

    For Women: Wear sarong, kebaya or sleeved shirt and scarf around waist. Entrance forbidden for women during menstruation.

    For Men: Wear sarong, headdress, sleeved shirt and “saput” scarf around waist.

    Must Do’s:

    • Watch sunset from the Pura Luhur Uluwatu Temple in South Bali.

    • Eat the best (and cheapest) seafood dinner of your life at Jimbaran Bay.

    • Wander through the outskirts of Ubud and try the incredible street food.

    • Go whitewater rafting on the Ayung.

    • Rent a scooter and explore the coastline of Bali.

    • Hike Mt. Batur for sunrise (300k — equivalent to $30).

    • Treat yourself to a yoga retreat, a Balinese massage or spa treatment in Ubud!

    • Take the famous three-day boat trip to Komodo and surrounding islands. It is worth every penny.

    MAP: A typical route through Bali (however, skip Kuta and head straight to Ubud).

More Bali


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Shannon Wolf Tales From the Leap

Shannon Wolf Shannon Wolf is a freelance photographer and writer, traveling across the globe with an open itinerary and no intent of stopping. Originally from Toronto, Canada, she left behind a fast paced life to truly live and not just exist in an attempt to inspire others to follow their bliss. At age 26, Shannon has visited 20+ countries on four continents around the world. She has travelled overland by chicken-bus and tuk-tuks, hitchhiked by fruit trucks and through islands on horse and buggy. She has slept in the jungles of Nicaragua, on benches in London, secluded hidden beaches and she’s only getting started.
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