Today I am so excited to share a real Milk + Honey Travelers trip that required a whole new level of responsibility…
Traveling with friends can be done in any stage in life.
I am a huge fan of Bali.
When I first went to Bali a few years back it quickly became one of my favorite places I had ever been to.
I love a good beach club. There’s something about the beach AND a party vibe that makes all the sense in the world to me. Yes, I want to lounge in comfort, sip my overpriced umbrella’d drink, nosh on some yummy food, and listen to some great tunes— all while watching the waves crash!
When I visited Bali last year, I actually researched all the different beach clubs and made a list of all the ones I wanted to visit. They were all unique. Some were your typical party vibes, while others were laid back and unpretentious, letting the scenery and the essence of Bali do the talking. And honestly, when you are in Bali that is quite enough. But I made sure to sample a variety of them, for research purposes of course.
People ask me all the time what my favorite trip is that I’ve ever taken. It’s so hard because it’s one of those questions I hate committing to. But for the past 8 months or so I haven’t hesitated.
I loved it far more than I even thought I would for reasons that are both obvious and personal. Bali is an amazing destination adored by many, but travel can be so much more than just a beautiful place with fun activities and great food. It can also speak to your soul and be the medicine you didn’t even realize you needed. So, for me Bali was all that I thought it would be and also all that I needed it to be.
People move around in Bali and that’s part of the appeal and beauty of it. If you’re considering a trip there, you should think about what kind of person you are and what type of experience you hope to have, and let that help guide you. There are also many different types of activities and sightseeing destinations, so choosing the right location can make your whole trip easier and more seamless.
The truth is, most of us see ourselves in multiple categories, and so the longer you stay, the more you can really experience all parts of your personality. I probably had a good 2 more personalities to explore, so my stay next time will have to be extended. The following is what I gathered about some of the areas of Bali, either through my own research and places I stayed, or from chatting with others while I was there.
Areas of Bali and what kind of traveler would enjoy it most:
The spiritual, soulful artist: UBUD
*There is plenty of art and culture to make you feel like you are experiencing real Balinese life. There is tons of authentic, yummy food, and just about any type of accommodation you would desire. It’s beautiful, slightly cooler than the beach areas, and if you stay outside of the crazy center, you will really feel at peace here. The above photo was taken at the pool of Sunrise Villas, a beautiful place to stay and appreciate the surroundings.
The upscale diva: SEMINYAK
*Slightly quieter and certainly more upscale than neighboring Legian and Kuta. You will find great restaurants and a variety of beautiful villas to choose from. Also, there are some good beaches, although not the best for swimming. A lot of expats choose this area, though, so not quite as “authentic” in these parts, but will give you a bit of luxury, if you so desire, while still being close to the action.
The disconnected diver: AMED
*Very little to do here besides relax, dive, and snorkel. For some that sounds like absolute paradise, and so this area of small villages would be just perfect. This is for the laid-back folks who don’t want to encounter a bunch of other tourists. It’s also the hottest and driest part of Bali, so you'd be wise to spend a lot of time underwater!
The laid-back beach-goer: JIMBARAN
*Nice beach area that is lined with fresh seafood restaurants each night, that are usually framed by a nice sunset in the background. There is a good mix of accommodations and pretty laid-back atmosphere. There is not a ton of things to do here, but it is convenient to the airport and a good base to see the south part of Bali.
The surfer enthusiast: ULUWATU
*Lovers of beaches, surfing, and sun will be right at home in the south of Bali. These beaches have some world-famous breaks, and people stay here expecting to spend most of their time on the water. There is a number of basic accommodations, although some luxury options are mixed in, and have amazing views.
The generic socialite: NUSA DUA
*A bunch of upscale resorts lined up next to one another behind a gated compound, and an area that does it’s best to be wholly inauthentic. The Balinese aren’t even allowed on the beaches. Here you will overpay for everything, and get the same experience you could get by flying 2 hours instead of 20. Not worth it, in my opinion.
The escapist: GILI ISLANDS OR LOMBOK
* Not a lot of tourists, no motorized transport, and endless beauty to just explore at your own leisure. These quick escapes from the main areas of Bali seem like a great addition to a holiday.
The party animal: KUTA/LEGIAN
*If you want to be surrounded by a bunch of tourists and drink beer all day every day, this may be the place for you. It’s incredibly crowded, and while there are a large amount of choices when it comes to accommodations, restaurants, and shopping, there is nothing about this area that will give you “relaxing”, if that is what you seek. The beach is always close by when you stay and offers good surf breaks.
The options available can seem overwhelming, and people often worry about making the wrong choice, especially when it’s a new destination for them. That’s why it can be so important to work with a travel professional who is interested in helping you discover what is going to give you your best experience and the type of vacation you’re looking for. Whether it’s Bali or elsewhere, this is the kind of thing I love helping with.
Contact Milk and Honey Travels today to start planning your next amazing trip!
Pretty much everyone knows what put this place on the map. This small area in Bali was made famous by Eat. Pray. Love. Ever since, People flock here to find that inner peace and spiritual connection seemingly missing from their every day lives.
During my research of Bali, I read many accounts on how Ubud had lost its authenticity and charm to the hordes and hordes of tourists who now flock here; That it's no longer the place of serenity and spirituality that it once was. I mean, heck, they even have a Starbucks!
I still wanted to make a stop here, but I was a little weary on what my experience would be.
Are there hordes and hordes of tourists here?! Yes. However, I still find this place magical. It speaks to my soul in a way I can't quite explain but want desperately to keep finding a way to listen to. There is a grounding that takes place here, and I really dig it. I find myself not wanting to do much with my days but simply be present. To take it all in and appreciate each and every thing I come across. And so even when you finish your day and feel like you haven’t done a lot of “stuff”, you feel like you’ve accomplished so much.
This place is full of surprises around every corner and there is so much beauty to experience and be a part of. My advice would be to stay outside of the center of Ubud (it really is a crazy, chaotic area with too many people navigating a really small area), but visit it and see it for yourself. I loved where we stayed, and it was just a short scooter ride away from the action, but while at home it was all peace and serenity.
So, what did my 6 days in Ubud look like? Well, let's take a look shall we..
Yoga. I took a yoga class every single day I was here. I don’t even want to tell you how much I enjoyed it, because it will make me look like a hypocrite for all the times I have not spoke so highly of it. Needless to say, yoga here is a different experience than probably anywhere else. From morning yoga, to sunset yoga, to hanging upside down on ropes tied to the ceiling yoga, and everything in between. Just buy me a bag of granola.
Massages. They are so affordable, if you don’t get a massage pretty much every day in Bali, you’re cheating yourself. Seriously, all of our massages have been between $6 - $10 for an entire hour. Did they offer us cucumber water at the end? No. But, so what!
Eating. The food here is good. The ambience at some of these places is even better. Plus, all restaurants have free wifi, so you know us plugged in Americans have a pavlovian response when we see that.
Sunrises. We stayed at a place called “Sunrise Villas”, and the setting was on a river gorge that looked over the terraces and was an endless view of lush greenery. I don’t know if anyone else was staying there, or if they just were hermits, but it felt like we had the entire place to ourselves. I loved getting up in the morning and just sitting outside as the world began to wake.
We also departed our hotel at 2am one morning to go trekking up a volcano and watch the sunrise. The hike itself was somewhat challenging, as you are navigating steep terrain in the absolute darkness, but the payoff is oh-so-worth it.
River views. We went white water rafting, and that was probably the biggest “adventure” portion of our stay in Ubud. The views during our way down the river were astounding. Along the way you also get a glimpse of people just living their daily lives by the river.
Our stay in Ubud was all that I hoped it would be. I am not saying it’s a stop everyone needs to make, but it’s one that I was so happy I included. I barely scratched the surface here, but it is a place I will definitely be returning to on future trips to Bali.
If this experience seems right up your alley, or if you’re looking to create your own, don’t hesitate to contact me to start the planning process!
Visiting Bali gives you the opportunity to have whatever type of experience you’re seeking, if you simply make the right choice on where to plant yourself. It’s also extremely easy to move around the island. I am spending two weeks here, and I chose 3 very distinct places to visit, based on the things I wanted to see and do, the type of vibe I was looking for, and the fact that it’s my first time here.
My first stop in Bali was in Jimbaran. This is the place you go when you’re looking for a nice beachside area, that is laid-back and unpretentious. It’s close to the airport and makes a very convenient destination after traveling for 25 hours. I also was looking to cross a few things off my “tourist list”, and figured this would be a good place to do it from.
Here are a few of the highlights.
Day Trip to snorkel and visit Nusa Lembongan- I already blogged about this day, but it was another reason I chose to stay in this area. Jimbaran makes a trip to Nusa Lembongan easy, as it’s only 15 minutes to the dock and then about 45 minutes to great snorkeling and to see the island.
South Bali Beach Tour- There are many great beaches to explore in south Bali, so we hired a driver to take us around to a few we wanted to check out, and spend time at. By the way… “hiring a driver” is super inexpensive and a total cost effective way to see the sites. $35 for the day.
Uluwatu Temple and Fire Dance- This was on my list of tourist attractions I’d like to see and check off. It was interesting and a very unique experience. Not something I would need to see again, but I’m glad I experienced it. The chanting is still not out of my head.
Jimbaran Beach and Seafood Dining by the ocean- Jimbaran is known for their seafood restaurants by the sea. We spent the afternoon hanging out at the laid-back beach club here, and then dug our feet into the sand while we chowed down on seafood caught that morning.
Birthday Celebration- I’m pretty chill when it comes to my birthday. I started off the day with a massage (the place down the street from where we were staying was $6.50 for an hour!), and then I really just wanted a nice day by a pool with a few cocktails. So, we made our way to Cocoon Beach Club and had a day of it. Happy Birthday to me!
Tanah Lot Temple- Another one of the sites I had on my list. Not really close to Jimbaran, so we actually stopped here on our way to our next destination. Since we “hired a driver”, you can just make the day of it and do whatever interests you. This place is best viewed at sunset, but we actually came during the day and had a really awesome experience with getting a blessing from the priests with the holy water that flows through here.
This trip has been amazing so far and we are only half way through our journey! Check back to see more updates, and contact me whenever you're ready to start your own adventure in paradise!
When I was deciding the places I wanted to stay at while in Bali, I became a little obsessed. I literally have probably seen and researched every place imaginable, and then came back to each of my favorites a few times before deciding. Some of my research went into the “wish list” file, which basically means I would die and go to heaven if I ever get to stay there, but since it’s also necessary that I cover my living expenses for the next two years, this time I will have to pass.
The beautiful thing about Bali is that the accommodation selection will fit any travelers budget. You have the ability to stay in some truly authentic and unique places, that will really give you a sense of Balinese living, if that’s what you so choose. They come in all shapes, sizes, and budget ranges, and so it’s really a matter of deciding on the experience you are looking for.
For the first leg of my trip, I chose to stay in the Jimbaran Bay area of Bali. I wanted a lovely and quiet B&B where I could wake up every morning and feel peaceful, while I sipped my coffee and did some work. But the #1 thing I was looking for?
An outdoor shower.
When I started looking around at my options, any time I saw a beautiful outdoor shower, I would swoon. This experience had to happen for me, and so I made sure it did. I don’t know if anyone else would get this giddy over a bathroom, but I do. My gorgeous outdoor bathroom, with a stone shower set right in the midst of my own personal mini outdoor jungle, is absolutely ideal, and I have taken full advantage of it.
Beyond that, our stay here has been absolutely magical. It goes far beyond the accommodations and lands squarely on the people. Our hosts Bob and Lydia have treated us like family. And don’t even get me started on the breakfast. TO DIE. Homemade pastries and coffee to start, followed by a plate of fresh fruit, and then an omelette, waffle, pancake, crepe, or french toast to fill you to you burst. But most of all, it has truly felt like they opened up their home and their hearts to make sure that our experience in Bali is the best it could possibly be.
If you'd like to know more about this particular B&B, or other types of accommodations available to you in Bali, don't hesitate to contact me to find out more details!
My first full day in Bali was actually spent exploring other surrounding islands. A group of us from the bed and breakfast I am staying at all went out on a boat to have some fun, go exploring underwater, and have a nice lunch and see what nearby Nusa Lembongan has to offer.
Bali has some really amazing places to dive and snorkel, and we certainly took advantage of that. I came in contact with some of the hugest Manta Ray’s I have ever seen! Of course… that may intimate that I have seen many, which isn’t really the case…but nevertheless I am certain that they were much larger than normal! My friend April, who is the world’s biggest creature-of-any-kind lover, and top notch dare devil, had a grand old time getting up close and personal with them.
I was content to be the photographer. I much prefer to show off my dare devil-ness in other ways, and so of course when someone suggested jumping off the top of the boat, I quickly did a scan to make sure those Ray’s were nowhere in site, and then made a competition out of it. Nobody really knew it was a competition, I just politely compared my picture to everyone else’s so that they knew I won. ;)
Exploring nearby Nusa Lembongan was an opportunity to see a much more mellow side of Bali. The views from our lunch spot were to die for, and also included a totally relaxing freshwater pool to cool off in while you wait for your food to come…which always seems to take some time in these parts.
My first full day in Bali was all that and then some. I had the opportunity to mix in some incredible adventures, meet some amazing fellow travelers, and soak in some serenity. It was one of those days that seamlessly blended from one thing to the next, without too much effort for an incredible payoff.
Make sure you keep checking back during these next few weeks as my adventures continue, and learn more about this incredible place.
I am currently in paradise. For the next two weeks you will find me exploring and making memories, Indonesian style. I consider this a work/play trip. Yes, I am here to relax, make amazing memories, have authentic experiences, spend quality time with a dear friend, and celebrate my birthday. But I am also here to learn more about this destination for any special clients I may have in the future that want to experience some of this paradise for themselves.
So, please follow along the next couple of weeks as I update on my own personal adventures. I hope that it inspires you and gets you excited about your next journey. Contact me for help in that process. I am an expert in relaxing/making memories/having authentic experiences/spending time with friends/celebrating birthdays...just to name a few! And after these next two weeks, I will have another awesome destination under my belt to reinforce that.