First time Backpacking in bali

Tickets to Bali..

I book the ticket for Bali on 30th October, there was some promotion, got two days there and back by day three, so I didn’t expect to be able to see much and only hope I’ll not get too disappointed later on. Haven’t planned anything yet and no research done… just asked a friend about the conditions there and what to expect, I planned to travel really light and bring my camera, but since two days only… I’d probably not even bring a charger along as 3 battery pack might be just enough for the job, everyone said it’s ridiculous, “no way two days is enough..!” .. at least 3 or 4 days, so changed the date on my itenary, with consequences (extra charges ) and ended up 5 days in Bali to make the most of everything.

This changed everything… so now I got to plan for 5 days instead of 2, which means the cost would be approximately times 3 of everything, longer leave from work, heavier bags and the such. Still in my target is to limit everything in just ONE bag so not to limit my mobility.

uluwatu temple


Without booking hotels or a place to stay in advance, Just reading and web surfing for insight about Bali. Skimming various travel blog and using a lonely planet mini travel guide. Preparation is minimal and I managed to go with just one backpack, I didn’t even have to check in luggage. I’m traveling really light, nice. Hope my walk-in accommodation won’t be too expensive. Studied Bali map for a bit and got everything organised. Then pack a few clothes and on my way to the airport.

Day 1 – Arrival.

Arrived Ngurah Rai international airport, cleared the immigration and passed customs, the moment stepping out of the arrival hall, there was a crowd of few hundred, eager drivers and chauffeurs, half of them waiting with their A4 sized call card, searching for their pick-up client, with names, hotels. As I had not arranged for any bookings and pickup at the airport, I walked passed them all trying to get my own transport. Amid all the chaos, I was spotted as not being with anybody and offered a ride to the town. Obviously fast, I got the cab to Kuta for IDR70000.

#bali #streetphoto #backpacking #travelling #kuta

A post shared by wal (@walism_) on

I simply asked the cab to drop me off where it’s easy to get some nice cheap accommodation, he explained that it’s easy finding one, but would be hidden from the main road and you had to get behind the alley and do some walking. On the first day of arrival, I explored Kuta by foot and after walking for hours, decided to get a nice hotel and checked in for the night, quite far from the beach area.

#kuta #bali #backpacking #streetphoto

A post shared by wal (@walism_) on

First time experience, it was hard to get used to the streets, buildings are crammed and so close to each other, you’d barely notice the small alleys and lanes leading to anywhere. It was hard for me to spot for hotel as building in Bali are all too close to each other, imagine them separated by just few feet of walkway and small lanes and all that points to the address or place that you are looking for are small signboards which is sometimes imposed underneath some other sign.

Dropped my bag took a bath, rest and continued again my walk that evening having dinner of “nasi be tutu” rice with chicken, quite tasty, at Jalan Pantai Kuta. I continued the evening walking Legian street, one of the night life hotspot filled with cafe, pubs and discotheque.

#bali #streetphoto #travelling #backpacking

A post shared by wal (@walism_) on

Day 2 – from Kuta to Ubud.

The next morning, had breakfast at the hotel, an “American breakfast”, it was raining but subsided soon. Got on a bike, to the beach, for IDR2000. Walk along the beach road and to Kuta Center market.

Bali massages among the best

Find my way back to the hotel, had a great massage and pampered myself, checked out, and hailed a cab to Ubud for IDR250000. Which was a big mistake as the fee would be about IDR150000 only. After an hour drive through Bali traffic and roads, arrived Ubud. The driver being friendly and very informative, which I suspected being so after knowing that he’d be getting twice his normal fee, recommended Jalan Kijeng, where there would be a lot of home-stay for low price. He was right, I walked some distance and noticed that the street is full of houses and home stay, noticeable only by the signs on the entrance.

at the monkey forest

Later, I walked the area to monkey forest and with a IDR20000 ticket fee, went to see the monkeys. Back to my home stay to freshen up a bit and by night, went to barong dance, entry fee IDR80000. As with all dance, it depicts the tales and story of the hindu religion in a magical and dramatic way. Interesting to see and colourful.

barong dance

Day 3- Ubud.

The next morning my hostess made a breakfast of pancakes filled with slices of banana. It was simple and home-made, nice but not hotel style, didn’t mind and cared just enjoyed the hospitality and country side. Stayed at Ubud and like it here more than Kuta as I like the country side more than all the party scene. It’s calm and more “Bali” in my view the least.

#homestay #backpacking #ubud #bali

A post shared by wal (@walism_) on

My first activity that morning was walking the rice fields. I started at my guest house, trek for few km, and along the way there are cafes and eating places made up by the locals there. Couldn’t resist to stop and have a drink and some snack at the rice fields. Nice scene, calming. Got myself a sandwich and lassi banana for 50000. Nice lassi but poor sandwich. Exited a bit further the main road near Blanco museum, two hours later.

Rest stop by the ricefields.. #bali #ubud #backpacking #travel

A post shared by wal (@walism_) on

Walked for another 10 minutes downhill to the museum; entry fee IDR50000, arts, painting, history. It’s a nice place, very artsy, however not quite for me, got out after 30 minutes of wandering around and maybe 20 paintings later. Nice friendly staff just too bad there’s nothing much to see. I decided to try the restaurant at the museum. The service is very nice, friendly, and the waitress even gave me a fresh towel to freshen up, maybe I look like shit. By standard, it feels too much price for food , ordered chocolate milkshake and spring rolls for IDR110000.

Blanco #museum #bali #backpacking

A post shared by wal (@walism_) on

Back to my home stay, and look for transport back to Kuta, none. They only go at 9 am and 12:30pm. It was already 2 PM. So I missed that day schedule and extended my stay for another night. Not that I’m sorry, Ubud is a nice place to relax, so calming, it’s just hard to explain. Feels like just want to go slow on every thing. Maybe next visit I’ll go Mount Batur. This moment, I’m just relaxing and typing this entry.

#ubud #bali #backpacking #travelling much to my liking then kuta

A post shared by wal (@walism_) on

Getting hungry but reluctant to move, I had to get out for some food. Love the duck, so soft and succulent. Food is no problem here, it seems that there are more warungs than tourist. Price, can’t say it’s cheap, but for the service given, I’ve no regrets.

#betutu platter n ice tea #bali #food

A post shared by wal (@walism_) on

#bali every shop makes offering like these every day #ubud just amazing

A post shared by wal (@walism_) on

Later that night I went to see the famous Kecak fire and trance dance, as the name says, it got something to do with fire and near the end of the show, there is a man carrying a makeshift horse and then walking over a bed of burning coconut husk in a sense of trance because of the singing and prayers. Tickets for these are IDR75000. Actually there are many shows like this all around Bali with the most famous being at the Uluwatu temple down south at another region.
kecak and fire trance dance

Day 4- Ubud – Kuta

At 7:30am I woke up, started packing and ready to go as I already made booking for transport back to Kuta, Had breakfast at the guest house as previous day of Coffee & Chocolate coated pancakes. Since my transport booked the previous day was arranged at 9:00 I still have plenty of time. The transport vehicle, was a minivan or some sort with 15 seater capacity but at that day, there was only 7 passenger. Arrived Kuta, few hours later, and searching for accommodation for the night at Poppies lane. One of the many places to get a cheap bed or room.

#bali #streetphoto #ubud

A post shared by wal (@walism_) on

The cheapest way to get around Bali is by motorbike. So, rented one and south to Ululatu Temple. Navigating is tricky without GPS. The road and signboards get you generally to the area but to specifically “arrive” your destination front door, I doubt it would be easy. Thank you technology. Traffic is horrendous, roads are sometimes small but the bikes even though looks that it might fall apart did the job…. Amazing Bali.

Huge crowd for the show

There was a huge parking space, tour bus filling most of the spot and no need to mention motorbikes and private cars as well, the scene surprised me as I wasn’t expecting such crowd. As with most of Bali tourist attraction, there is an entry fee IDR15000 for the temple and in the temple another fee for the Kecak dance, IDR80000, skip that as I already got to watch it at Ubud.

Back to Kuta again and with a sore ass from the ride. Getting into bed was just heaven.

Day 5- Sanur and Tanah Lot.

Rent a bike to Sanur, walked the beaches there, nice and quiet, different from kuta, there are lots of nice resort by the beach. After exploring the beach walking half of it I think, went to Tanah Lot Temple, almost an hour ride, curves lanes, GPS assisted a little but, the road are hazardous, small and congested even worse than my trip to Uluwatu previous day.

sanur beach

Arriving at Tanah Lot it was rainy and a bit cloudy, so I left before waiting for the ever popular sunset scene at Tanah Lot as I was certain there wasn’t any yellow sunset coming that day. Entry fee Tanah Lot IDR30000. Besides, the place was becoming too touristy and didn’t enjoy much as compared to Uluwatu and Ubud. Everything was getting too commercialised that the sense and feel of real Bali was missing. It was like attending some huge carnival or fair.

At Tanah Lot

Back to Kuta, got a cab to the airport, initially the driver asked for 100000, I insisted turning on the meter which at the airport clocked the fare at IDR55000. Tip the cabby for not ripping me off, Gave him IDR70000. Always arrived at the airport early to be safe and before exiting paid the service charge IDR150000.

flickr bali photo album

I Love Bali.

They try to scam you, rip you off and overcharge… But magically I still love Bali. Can’t express it by words and why, but for those that have been to Bali would understand and for those that haven’t or planning to, don’t get too easy getting ripped off and not make it a habit to them. It doesn’t help anybody. The people are friendly and helpful, used to seeing tourist and some are honest and sincere but everyone is trying to make more than the other so it gets kind of competitive at places. Coming again, maybe, 5 days is not that much for photographic purposes, but I got my 5 days worth experience and love every day of it.

update march 2014.. more experience in Kintamani

8 thoughts on “First time Backpacking in bali

  1. Hey, nice blog and good info. May I know the homestay or hotel you were staying at that time? and how’s the rate per night? better if u can provide this or if you need, you can email these info perhaps? Thanks!

    1. The rates varies, and there’s just alot of guest houses and hotels. Walk in would be the best option for backpacking, easy as you can view the rooms first before confirming stay. Rates from US10- US15 is my normal choice and good enough for me.

  2. Pingback: Bali. Landscape.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s