Bali, Indonesia is a multi-religion city that it is well-known for the many, many temples that it homes to cater to both its locals and tourists who want to have a feel and witness Balinese Hinduism first-hand.
Aside from religion, Bali has become a living postcard for those who love to soak under the sun — particularly Europeans! Making this awesome paradise are the many stretch of white sand beaches, and tropical creatures that are there to give its visitor an experience!
Moving on, I had been wanting to visit Bali since I saw how beautiful the scenic views are, and how pristine their waters can be. So, early March of this year I searched if there are “cheap” and affordable flights to Bali this summer, and luckily via Cebu Pacific, I was able to book for two to Bali (round trip) at Php 11,000 with add-on baggage! 🙂
After booking, the challenging yet exciting part of a trip (for me, at least) — planning! I love researching for the things to do, places to go, must eats, and even the do’s and don’ts in a place I am going to visit.
My travel must haves are the following:
- power bank
- pocket wifi via Klook (Book here)
- easy to carry bag (for my everyday essential)
- a small pouch for the passport, wires, money
- universal adapter
- proper set of clothes
*Consider getting an Indonesian sim card as most of the services or contact numbers are not available via data supported apps (viber, whatsapp, etc.)
The things I first look up at when I research on the place:
- means of transportation in the country/city
- how much does a meal cost x the number of days I’ll be there
- places to see, or visit and the things that can be done in the area. (This way, you can properly schedule or at least plan out/outline how your stay will be scheduled and maximized with you not getting too stressed out)
Like any other, I read a bunch — I mean it, A BUNCH of blog write-ups, and even those photo diaries on Facebook’s DIY Travel Philippines to know where to go. There are a lot of Filipino legit travel blogs that give good advise: The Poor Traveler , The Pinay Solo Backpacker, Travel Happy, among others. Unlike the places I’ve been to, Bali is different because:
They have a different means of transportation. Most cities I’ve been to uses subways as the top transportation to get around the city. So, the challenge is finding the cheapest and most convenient way to get to the places you have on your list. The choices I found for Bali are the following:
- Perama Bus: this is a shuttle bus service that will take you to the main spots around Bali.
- Kura Kura Bus: it is a public shuttle service; best to book your tickets online or in advance, that way you relieve yourself from the stress of lining up. They also offer tap cards (like the octopus, easy, and Beep cards). One thing though, they say that it waits to have a full capacity before moving along — so if you are considering this, make sure to make time in your itinerary! 😉
- Motorbike and Vespas: This helps to slide within the traffic, and get you to some temples quicker than a hike. It is one of the most used transportation within islands and cities. Everyone in Bali rides a motorbike, and we did too (learned on the spot in Canggu); prices range from 60,000 IDR to 80,000 IDR per 25 hours, with full petrol. Your accommodation can help arrange this for you as well.
- Tour/Private Car: Hiring a private tour, or joining a tour is also one way to make sure you get to visit all the must-see spots in Bali, and do everything that you must experience to complete your visit. They are literally everywhere in the city, you can haggle on the price and they’ll give in — just be firm and make sue you have a reasonable price to offer. This is also good for groups, as this will allow you to DIY your itinerary. You can book via Klook, or chances are your accommodation can help arrange for you. There are also A LOT of establishments that offer tours, so it is not going to be a problem if you prefer having a private service.
- Taxi: You have to learn how to haggle, because most of the taxis now are private cars that offer services. We almost did not see any Blue Bird taxis in Ubud, but spotted some at the airport.
- Grab: At first, I was not that sure if Grab is working in the area, but when we checked the app, there are prices shown and you can choose form cars to motorbike services. We tried Grab on our way to the airport from Canggu, it was 74,000 IDR but then the driver messaged us asking for more, you should learn to haggle on this as well.
- Go-Jek Indonesia: This app I learned through my friend based in Bali. Using your Indonesian sim card, you can register through the app so you can use during your stay. They have delivery service for food, car services, and more.
For some of our transportation, we opted for hassle free services. So, I communicated with our place hosts and asked for assistance with transfers, especially for our Nusa trip going to Ubud. (More on this in the following Bali blogs)
People in Bali are friendly, especially if they can communicate in English. We noticed that if they cannot understand you, they will choose to avoid the conversation. Filipinos, Indonesians and Malaysians have some similar features, multiple times we were caught being spoken to in Bahasa or Indonesian.
Okay, I’m going to be honest and having to see prices in hundred thousands in their currency really confuses and overwhelms me. haha! That’s why I always have a currency converter open when I budget things — well, budget in a way to know how much is good enough, we don’t want to have cash shortage now, do we? 😉
- I do love to go out of the country, or a simple out of town will do — just to get away from the normal; but I do also think of the budget. I see to it that my out of the country trips will allow me to tour comfortably at at least Php 15,000 – 20,000 — for most cases, it is enough, especially if you get to know where you must eat and the souvenirs to buy — let’s face it, it’s the only things you cannot predict how much you’ll be spending on.
One more thing I do when I plan out an itinerary is use Google Maps! Yes, it can be a helpful tactic to use map when planning out which spots go together. So, the main point is always my accommodation address, from there I type in into the “to” field each places I plan on visiting to have an idea how far away are they from each other. I do not strictly stick into time schedules as long as we get to cover the places during our stay is enough. These are simply guides.
- Find your accommodation. You can use Google Maps to know if the hotel that you are eyeing is in a good location — meaning near the city center and other establishments such as restaurants. You can book via these platforms.
- Another alternative may be is to contact your hotel/airbnb, and ask for some guides from them. Most of the ones I reached out to were very accommodating and helpful in terms of letting me know how far travel times are from their address to key spots. Even from/to the airport, seeking help is not bad! 🙂
It is important to have an idea what the city and those near it has to offer. That way, you can make a list of which ones you will have on your itinerary and those not. This goes with the activities too, if you are travelling on a budget, having a rough idea on how much activities or tours may cost is a must! The top things you can control in your travel’s budget are the following:
- Where you eat. Fancy food may be worth it — experience wise, but budget travelling or travelling in general means immersing yourself with one’s culture that goes with eating what they eat too. Based on what I have read, Bali has a lot of small eateries, these are called “Warung” and they are found everywhere, along the streets that offers multiple choices of their local cuisines, and that means they cost cheaper than restaurants. One thing that surprised us too was the price of the food in Resorts, and restos are actually reasonable — Food wherever you eat is worth it. Serving is enough, and flavorful.
- Things you will do. I am not saying you have to limit the things you will do, or tourists spots you will see; but if you are travelling on a budget maybe consider limiting them to those worth visiting and doing. From what I’ve known, most temples in Bali are donation based while places like the Monkey Sanctuary do have a cheap entrance fee.
Again, this is just a guide to help you consider in some factors or see how the others do it. Developing your own process, and itinerary in any travel is one way to get an idea of the place you’ll visit. I am all for budget travels, but what I am after is a comfortable but affordable travel.
To know more about how our Bali trip went, and our spending, stay tuned for a series of Bali blogs 🙂
5 thoughts on “A First Timer’s Guide: How I Planned Our First Bali Trip”
Hello! Looking forward to your Bali trip photos! 🙂
On it 🙂
Really appreciate your blog. It really helps to those planning visiting Bali, like us 😊 Cant wait for your next blog! And more pictures! 😊 Xoxo
Thank you! 😊
Could you inform me what theme are you using on your web site?
It looks wonderful.