Bali

We roamed around the Indonesian Island of Bali for 21 days and stayed in 3 different accommodations and visited a few different cities. All of the land was lush but each destination offered different indulgences. This was a staycation so we were not trying to spend tourist dollars to see and do everything that Bali had to offer up. We got some cheap tickets and just wanted to chillax, and absorb the beauty of the culture and the land as much as we could.

Where: Ubud

We stayed in two different parts of the city. One in the country on the outskirts of the city and the other in central city Ubud. The country location was a sexy villa in the middle of a thriving rice terrace. It was gorgeous, meticulously cleaned…it was tropical bliss…. Torrential rains fed the luscious green fields as our days rolled by like clouds in the sky. We loved our time there – it was the kind of time that passes, but never goes away…

How

Airbnb: Villa Grace: $25/ night (country)

Amenities:

  • Strong Wifi
  • Full Kitchen/ huge bath/ king sized comfy bed
  • Cleaned every 3 days
  • Hosts that leave you alone
  • Cheap motorbike rental
  • Taxi stand across the street

Villa Grace was the joint! We absolutely loved it! It was just outside of the hustle and bustle of central Ubud and well within striking distance ( motorbike or a short Grab/Uber/ taxi ride) to anywhere. Its was a sweet retreat and we enjoyed every single solitary minute of it.

Highly recommended, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Airbnb: Huge Bintang Villa $19/night (central)

Amenities:

  • Wifi
  • Kitchenette
  • Breakfast included (although, I got Bali belly…but I enjoyed the banana pancakes)
  • Attentive hosts

The Bintang Villa is located in a traditional family compound with a garden view of the family’s shrine just steps outside the door. The villa was a private room, inclusive of a kitchenette, and bathroom – with a separate entrance.  Although we had limited

interaction with the family, they were extremely friendly, and very responsive to our whenever we had a question. Here’s the truth: It was a bit too local for us, honestly.  The construction of the room had a few gaps around the door and window frames enough to invite outside moisture and mosquitoes.

What

  • Mostly we chilled indoors and enjoyed in each other’s company away from life in a beautiful location but we did escape for some escapades.
  • Found some cool restaurants we liked:
    • Taco Casa – low key, fresh and healthy spot
    • Coco Bistro – kind of upscale, very good food
    • Atman Kafe – great American styled breakfast
    • Milk Madu – get the Hawaiian Pizza!
  • We took some trips exploring different parts of the city.
    • Ubud Market: hot spot for negotiating a good price. Tip ~ set a price let them refuse it , and then walk away. They will chase you down with the price you offered.
    • Souvenir Shops: shops everywhere, super bohemian city. Everything is a negotiable.
    • Monkey Forest: In central Ubud, the monkey forest is home to some 600 macaques that roam freely in and around the sanctuary. Truly an experience, the monkeys are familiar with humans but will aggressively snatch and fight you for food if not careful. Secure your belongings and have fun!
    • Elephant Cave: We walked there just to soak in the city. We didn’t believe that it would give us any additional insight into the Balinese culture and it just seemed like a tourist hook, albeit, an inexpensive one; 15K. Most tourist hooks don’t please me. Ultimately we decided not to go in.
    • Tegenungan Waterfalls; This was alot of fun to visit (especially on motorbike) It is in a different city about 20 minutes away, you don’t need a tour guide, and the falls are beautiful.

Funny story…we pulled up into a gas station, visibly shook trying to locate the gas tank. A curious little girl in a worn dress watched our confused attempts before stepping in to point out what we were looking for. Except we couldn’t figure out how to open it. We literally handed her the keys and like a pro she found and opened the tank for us (thank you for angels Jesus). Face lost but lesson learned.

From there we drove a short distance to Taco Casa and overshot just a bit, one of us jumped off the motorbike to allow the other to comfortably U-turn into a parking spot. But the one who jumped off watched in horror while the one behind the wheel turned and sped up simultaneously (instead of slowing down…), missed the parking ramp, and crashed into the curb. Knees and helmet bouncing off of the road right outside of the open-air restaurant we went to dine in 😃😂🤣 Cautious eyes, a concerned spouse, and caring staff ran to HIS aid. He was fine.

Our necessities for Ubud:

  • Grab app
  • Localized sim card (data and voice – airport is over-inflated) we brought when we got to Ubud a carrier called Telkomsel
  • Bug spray/centrilla candles
  • Poncho/umbrella (if you arrive in the rainy season…like we did)
  • Sandals
  • First Aid Kit for the ego 🤣

Where: Kuta / Seminyak/ Denpasar

We had a decent stay in Kuta in an apartment community off of a busy street. Our accommodations was surrounded by residential neighborhoods, local shops, and small ‘Mom and Pop’ restaurants. In other words, it wasn’t on the strip, any strip, but it was still located about 2-4km from the centers of Seminyak and Denpasar.

How:

Airbnb: Bali True Living

Amenities:

  • Wifi
  • Breakfast included (American or Indonesian)
  • Fridge/electric kettle
  • Daily cleaning
  • Coffee/Tea
  • Friendly, informative staff

What:

  • We enjoyed the bulk of our time strolling the Seminyak and beachwalk areas. Seminyak is the trendier
  • Restaurants that we enjoyed
    • Taco Beach Grill (we clearly enjoy Mexican)
  • Our excursions:
    • Beachwalk
    • Karma Resorts lol
    • Uluwatu Beach

The Staycation: Seminyak

We are on our first staycation:

stay·ca·tion
stāˈkāSHn/ noun

informal

: a vacation spent in one’s home country rather than abroad, or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions.

We make home where ever we go. Local groceries, making no scheduled commitments, researching and adapting local street smarts, and avoiding tourists traps as much as possible. Similarly, we are advocates of slow travel; slowing down the pace of our vacation and taking time to experience the place that we are in. There are a few things we do to reach this reality:
  1. Learn how to say “hello, good bye, please, thank you, I don’t speak ______” in the native tongue.
  2. Find a safe clean place to stay in a residential neighborhood.
  3. Research and download the applications that “the people” are using (google it).
  4. Grab some groceries.
  5. Smile, be approachable, and engage with people and make some connections.
  6. Talk to the host if using a homestay and talk to taxi drivers – they usually have the best info.

This trip we are traveling through Thailand and the island of Bali in Indonesia. We used to try to see a lot of towns in 3 day stints but we could never really get a handle of the culture or an understanding of the people. Now we try to stay in a single place for at least 2 weeks….if we can. Ideally, we will find a base and stay there for a couple of months and do some archaeological type of digging into the culture.

Getting Around

We are in Bali for a few weeks. After googling which apps to download we found that the locals use an app called Grab (and Uber) to get reasonable taksi (taxi) rides. We caught a grab to Mal Bali Galeria and it cost us 22K ($1.75 USD) from our residence. When we were ready to come home we wanted to see how much it would cost if we didn’t use the app.

We asked how much a cab would cost and the mall concierge quoted us 250K IDR ($20 USD). An average tourist would think that was okay but your American dollar should do a lot more for you. Needless to say, we used our Grab app and paid the 22K to get home.

Dirty Laundry

We have been on the road for almost 3 weeks. None of the places we have stayed had a washing machine so we washed our clothes by hand until we could locate a laundry mat. There are no traces of them on the main strips or by the malls or by popular restaurants; though, we saw plenty in residential neighborhoods.  To compare, we inquired about the laundry service at a nearby hotel – their price list was a freaking joke. One laundered sweater = $10k, while the neighborhood laundry mat charged the same amount per kilogram of clothes which is very reasonable. AND they came pressed and folded, see image 🙂

We’re just trying to stretch our dollar, and live smarter everyday.