Before coming to Bali, we had a feeling we’d like it but we could have never imagined just how much we’d feel at home here and would never want to leave. We had seen so many pictures and heard different opinions on the island and we’re so glad we made the decision to come see for ourselves. In 2017, we spent just about two months exploring Bali and its surrounding islands and after heading out to Cambodia, Laos and Thailand, we just couldn’t stay away and decided to come back for another month before starting our working holiday visas in Australia.
Many people (us included!) imagine Bali as being a small, tropical, sparsely populated and underdeveloped island. As soon as you step onto the island, you realize just how far from reality that is. With a population of over 4 million, Bali holds a mixture of small local villages and huge shopping centers, with crazy traffic sprawling the streets and Hindu temples at every corner.
No matter how many pictures of Bali you’ve seen before arriving, the Island of Gods is sure to surprise you in more ways than one. We’ve read many times about people finding Bali to be “too touristy” and although we can see why some people find this to be, we do think there are still so many untouched places to discover and plenty of ways to avoid the crowds!
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It’s hard to explain exactly what draws us to this place and what makes it so hard to leave, but sometimes you just get a feeling about a place and it suddenly feels like home. Here are a few reasons why we fell in love with Bali!
Chasing waterfalls is one of our favorite ways to spend a day. Before getting to Bali, we already had a list of waterfalls to check out and after spending three months here, we still find out about falls we didn’t know about! Imagine the feeling you get after waking up before the sun, driving hours on winding roads, trekking into the lush green forest and finally setting your eyes the most impressive waterfall you’ve ever seen. That feeling just doesn’t get old! If you’re wondering about which waterfalls are musts during your time in Bali, we’ve listed all our favorites here!
Even after spending three months on this magical island, we cannot get over how kind the local people are. Everywhere we go we are greeted with the warmest smiles and people who will go out of their way to lend a helping hand. We have never during our travels met such warm and welcoming people than the Balinese.
Bali is truly a foodie’s paradise. The amount of hip cafes and restaurants is almost overwhelming. And don’t even get us started on the fruits! We love heading to one of the many fruit stands that line the streets and buying very tropical fruit you can imagine! When we’re not out exploring the sights, you can usually find us eating up a storm in one of the countless restaurants in Bali. Because we were based in Canggu for most of our stay, this is the area we got to know the most. Stay tuned for our guide to Canggu’s best eats coming up shortly and you’ll see why we couldn’t stay away for long!
Bali sunsets are a sight that just never gets old. We’ve seen some of our most memorable sunsets ever on the island. Whether it be with a beer in hand and live music at Batu Bolong beach in Canggu, over looking the cliffs in Uluwatu, wandering the rice fields in Ubud or sitting at the beach in Nusa Penida, every sunset here has something magical about it.
Everywhere you turn, there are incredible sights to be seen. To us, Bali is a perfect mixture of mountains, rice fields, waterfalls and beaches. We are both naturally drawn to mountains and that’s where we feel most at home, but we also love escaping the cold Canadian winter and the beach just never gets old.
Most people tend to think that travelling through Bali is more expensive than the rest of Southeast Asia. We found this to be generally untrue. Because of the high level of competition, accommodation prices on Bali are actually quite reasonable. Starting at around 200K IDR/night, you can get a very comfortable private room for two people in Canggu, complete with hot shower, pool and beautiful views of the rice fields! Scooter rentals go for around 60K per day and are definitely the best way to get around the island. Most activities that we enjoy are free or very cheap, which means the biggest part of our budget is allocated to food (& this is far from a bad thing). Although it’s easy to get caught up in the ultra hip cafes and bars, there are tons of delicious local options to be found everywhere. You can easily get a good meal for around 25K IDR per person at many a Warung and it’s a great way to spend some time with the locals!
The outdoor activities are endless!
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing vacation or an adventure filled getaway, there’s something in Bali for everyone! After spending almost three months in Bali, there are still so many things we haven’t had the chance to do. The island is perfectly located between Java and Lombok, making it easy to head to one of these neighbouring islands that have so much to offer for a few days and come back. There are also popular smaller islands like the Gilis or Nusas that are just a short boat ride away and make for perfect getaways. Our favorite getaway near Bali is definitely Nusa Penida, which we dedicated a whole separate article to here! With the amount of temples, volcanoes, waterfalls, shops, beaches and cafés, it is virtually impossible to get bored during your time here.
So what are you waiting for?! In case you need any more convincing, check out our Instagram account (@mapping.along) for much more photo inspiration of our time in Bali!
Let us know in the comments what your thoughts are on Bali!