• Talia Davis

Left my Heart in Bali

Updated: Dec 10, 2021

I ventured over 10,000 miles from Washington, D.C. to Bali with my best friend in May of 2019. I spent A LOT of time creating an itinerary for this trip and wanted to share some advice, places to go, things to eat, and things I would do differently. Note: We chose to go in May, before peak season so prices were cheaper and attractions were not as crowed. Bali was an amazing experience! It is a huge Island with so much to explore and a lot of diversity in terrain from jungle to beach. The people were so kind and the food was beyond amazing, I still dream about two years later.

Before we get into the itinerary here is a list of things you want to make sure you pack:

  • Charcoal tablets - we took this after days of swimming in the ocean or waterfalls. You can't drink the water there or brush your teeth with it. Many people get "bali belly" which we were so luck that we didn't. but we were very safe and only ate at restaurants that we did research on.

  • Water bottle - you can't drink the water, but can fill at restaurants and hotel with filtered water

  • Sun Screen

  • Bug spray

  • Electrolytes- my personal favorite is Nuun

Bali is hot and humid, but it May is wasn't uncomfortable. We packed a few "nicer" outfits and wedges and next time I could leave those out, they were never touched.

Lots of loose pants and dresses. Also, leave room in your bag to shop. Prices there at most stores are very affordable. Once you get into Canngu its a little more expensive - a lot of Australian influence and more touristy.

Now, buckle up - pour yourself a glass of wine or some ice coffee, grab your notebook and let's get to it!

Travel Day:

We flew from Dulles International to Dubai on Emeriates, which is about a 14 hour flight. We intentionally packed in a carry on so we wouldn't have to pay for checking a bag. Unfortunately, we didn't read the rules close enough so note: Emeraies and many international flights charge if your carry on is over a certain weight, so I would check before packing. We ended up checking our bags, otherwise they would have charged us $75 per bag at the gate.

We were bored within the first 2 hours of the flight. I finished my movie and couldn't believe we still had 12 hours! But the Airline staff was very kind, the food was pretty decent for airline food and no we did not fly business of anything fancy. We packed sheet masks and I highly recommend packing some. Yes, we looked ridiculous, but it felt AMAZING! Yes, there is proof on our Instagram Bali highlight lol

We were about an hour away from landing in Dubai and started freak out that we were going to miss out connecting flight. This lead us to SPRINTING through the Dubai airport, which is not small. We had to go through customs when we landed, which didn't take too long, but they are strict, so be prepared. My friend had dry shampoo taken.

The flight from Dubai to Bali is about 9 hours, so we tried to sleep a lot of it. Before landing we were informed that out bags would arrive the next day since they didn't make it onto our flight. The airline did compensate us about $80, which in Bali goes a very long way.

We landed in Denpasar at about 10:30 pm, went to the Emirates counter, received our money. We arranged a airport shuttle with the Airbnb in Ubud. Ubud is the jungle part of Bali.

We arrived at our Airbnb at 11;30 PM and was greeted with fresh ginger tea. We finally climbed into bed at midnight preparing for our day of adventure. They called it "Cloud Nine" and it really was!

Day One - Ubud Markets and Spa

Jetlag sleep is never great but when we woke up, in paradise! We ordered breakfast. The Airbnb came with breakfast each morning we staid there. To say the food was amazing is an understatement. It was all local from their gardens and farms.

Once we finished our AMAZING breakfast we packed our backpack and went into town that was a short drive up the road. The Airbnb staff had a driver for us and they even gave us a cell phone for us to use to call them when we were ready to get picked up. We still had not received our bags from the airline, so we went on an adventure to look for a bathing suit and an outfit for the day. Bali is known for their flee market style local crafters market. In town we wandered through temples and soaked it all it. Every morning people put out offerings outside of their homes consisting of flower baskets and incense - the whole town smelled amazing! From here we made our way to our spa appointment.

Karsa Spa was something to write home about! In the middle of a rice field and beautiful garden we were brought to individual rooms with a stone tub, outdoor shower and massage table. We received a full body massage, mask and scrub. They brought in fresh hot ginger tea and fresh fruit. Showered and soaked in the flower bath while I enjoyed my treats. I highly recommend this place - and my body thanked me after the 24 hour flight.

After feeling very rejuvenated we decided to walk back through the villages and through the Campuhan Ridge Walk. It was so beautiful with the rice fields glowing with the setting sun. By the time we made it back to the Airbnb we were exhausted. we decided to order take- out from Elephants Thai. The airbnb plated it so beautiful and brought us a bottle of wine. We sat by the pool and were in heaven. When we finished and went back to our room to our delight our bags had arrived!

Day two - Ubud

Jetlag got the best of me and didn't sleep much, but none the less we woke up and got dressed to make it for sunrise at the Tegalalang Rice Terrace, which was not far from the airbnb. It was so beautiful and a fun place to do a little photoshoot.

After, we drove down the road to the definition of a Instagram tourist attraction, but it was so much fun. We were strapped into a giant swing and flitted off into the trees. If you're afraid of heights, might not be best, but it literally felt like I was flying. As silly as it sound, I highly recommend. Also, very happy that we went as early as we did, there was no one else at the park.

We headed back to the airbnb and ordered breakfast. The staff was so nice and offered to take pics for us since we had dresses on. After that we had a lazy afternoon by the pool soaking up the Bali sun and enjoyed some Lemongrass ice coffee (sounds weird, but don't mock it until you try it).

After we were sunned out and I got hungry, we ventured back into town to find some lunch. We ended up at Clear Cafe, and it blew me away! The food, the atmosphere, everything!

For dinner we ventured to Jungle Fish, which is a clubish style place. we missed the party but made our own. We ordered A LOT of food and Rose.

Day Three - travel North, deeper into the jungle

We woke up in paradise again and had breakfast by the pool. We were so sad to leave our airbnb. it was the most magical place, it really was "cloud nine". But there were more adventures to be had.

We hired a driver (through a friend) to drive us the two hours North. NOTE: driving in Bali is unlike anything. To Americans it would seem that there are no rules... this made for a very interesting 2 hour drive. Our driver, Rup, was amazing, and am happy to share his contact with anyone traveling to Bali.

On our way to the hotel we stopped at Handara Gate. This is another iconic Instagram location. It was kind of silly, people literally waited in line to get a photo, but it was pretty and on our way. So why not? Our driver took some great shots for us.

We arrived at the Shanti Natural Panarama Hotel. To say this place was out of a picture book is an understatement. Again we were greeted with fresh iced ginger mint tea. Once settled in our Jungle Tree house we went and laid by the pool and ordered drinks and later went to the hotel for dinner, and drank more Rose.

Day Four - Aling Aling Waterfalls

So the only reason we came all the way up North was because I wanted to go to these waterfalls. We woke up, relatively early in the beautiful jungle. We had breakfast at the hotel, which was included with our room, and so delicious! I would try to put this place on your list, it was like waking up in a dream.

The trail head to the waterfall was not a far walk from the hotel and the hotel staff gave us very clear directions. I was expecting we would have to drive, but I was very happy how close it was. We walked through the little village neighborhoods to get there, it is not a touristy area and felt very safe. Once we got to the the trail head we paid a small fee for a guide to take us through the three waterfalls. He brought life jackets for us so we could jump and do the waterfall slide. It was definitely worth the drive!

When we got back to the hotel we met Rup, our driver, who took us back down to Ubud.

Here we staid at the Akasha Eco Dome. This place was AMAZING (have I said that enough?)!

The eco dome was in the middle of a rice field with a beautiful outdoor shower. This room was on a the property with Akasha Yoga Retreat and restaurant. If you are a light sleeper, this might not be the bests option for you, kind of feels like your camping, so normal nature sounds.

We then ventured back to Jungle Fish which was about a 40 min walk down the road. It was BUMPIN, needless to say, this time we did not miss the party! We laid by the pool that over looked the jungle and got drinks with some friends we ran into from the States.

We had an incredible dinner at Akasha, with guess what? More Rose!

Day Five - To the beach we go!

We woke up relatively early, partially because of the frogs singing in the rice field. We headed into town to take a yoga class at Yoga Barn, which I highly recommend. Even if you're not into yoga it's fun to try, you are in Bali after all. They had all different level of classes, so just do it!

We got back to our Eco Dome, had some breakfast, showered, and checked out.

Rup, came and picked us up and drove us South to Kuta, the beaches!

We checked into our SUPER CUTE airbnb and chilled by the pool with a bottle of Rose (duh).

We headed into town before sunset using an app called GOJEK, which is their version of Uber (Note: this was a great tool to use, but be patient, none of the drivers spoke English) and headed to the Lawn. This place was a FULL vibe! We sat on the beach and watched sunset, and ended up getting dinner and more dinks.

Day Six - Nusa Penida

NOTE: This is the only part of the trip I would have done differently.

We paid for a shuttle to pick us up at our Airbnb, very early in the morning. They brought us to a ferry boat that took us to the Island. The package included to ride to and from the dock and the boat ride both ways. If I go again, I would not do a package and just pay for a ferry ticket, its cheaper. The Ferry dock was wild! Tons of people a little confusing. I had done a lot of reading about it prior so I knew what to expect, I recommend doing the same.

When you get to the Island there will be tons of people haggling to take out on tours. It's perfectly safe but try to negotiate, they will try to over charge you. Luckily we met a nice couple and we decided to share a taxi to take us to a few places on the Island. This was the most terrifying car ride I have ever been in, the roads are VERY broken and narrow.

First stop was Kelingking Beach, the famous dinosaur shaped rock. If you want to make the trek down to the sand, make sure you wear good shoes to do the climb, the stairs are very steep.

Next stop was Crystal Bay, a beautiful beach. The cold lemonade beer never tasted so good.

Note: We went in 2019 and there was A LOT of construction going on, but at the time we went there were very limited restaurants.

We made it back to the dock to catch the ferry back. On the way back the tide is very high and you have to walk through the water to get to shore. Make sure you're not wearing a long dress, you will get soaked!

We were very tired, sunned out, and HANGRY! Once back to the dock we drove directly to Gypsy Kitchen near our airbnb for the most deserving and needed dinner. We decided to walk back to our Airbnb, we got a little lost, but everyone is SO kind and helped us in the right direction. We slept VERY well that night!

Day Seven

We woke up and walked into town (Canggu) to get breakfast, coffee and do a little shopping. Canggu is the cutest surfer town. I would go back and spend a full week there!

We went to breakfast at Clear Cafe -similar to the one in Ubud and just as delicious.

We went back to our Airbnb and got dressed for a beach/pool day party at La Brisa. This was the most mystical vibey place. Pool and lofts set under amazing trees. There was trancey music playing - some people were partying some were just laying out reading. This place was literally magic, and I didn't even get to the food.

We decided to go for a walk along the beach and I finally got my coconut!

We went back to our Airbnb and took an GOJEK to Semenyak. Here we checked into the Colony Hotel, which was our splurge of the trip.

After we checked in we ventured to La Plancha to watch the sunset on the beach. This place was so fun! Big bean bag chairs, fun music, *cue 2chainz,* issa VIBE!

We then walked back toward our hotel and stopped at Lalucciola, the most beautiful Italian restaurant right on the beach. Since we ate at La Plancha we got a bottle of wine and a small pizza to share.

We were walking back to the hotel and we came across The Rose Social, a total tourist trap, but who doesn't love froze? After that we (but more so me) had enough Rose and it as time to take my ass to bed - but not before hopping on the back of a moped for a cute pick. I'll blame in on the Rose.

Day 8 - Last day

Woke up, a little hungover but we had a lot of places we wanted to cover before it was time to leave. First stop, Coffee Cartel. Super yummy cute coffee shop!

Next stop, Kynd Community. The food here was so yummy, such a cute spot, and their shop had great little gifts.

Went back to the hotel to soak up some more sun by the gorgeous pool.

There was a super cool store next to our hotel Kim Soo with furniture, bedding, lighting, everything for your house at a great price! Next time I would pack a suitcase just to bring things home.

After some shopping we made our last stop at Mad Pops, super yummy ice cream place.

We got back to the hotel and showered before we had to head to the airport.

Sun kissed, bellies happy with all the yummy food and full of so many memories, we reluctantly had to leave. Bali, needless to say, you have my heart.

When I go back, one day, there are a few other things I want to do:

  • Tegenungan Waterfall

  • Goa Gajah

  • Sunrise at Mount Batur

  • Would do Nusa P differently

Feel free to reach out if you have any questions!

Be safe and happy dreaming.



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