A Complete Bali Guide for Your Ultimate Week-long Trip
This April, my friend and I finally traveled together for the first time. It was three years after our first attempt to fly to Cebu for my birthday vacation. But she ended up going solo because I had a stroke three days before the flight. So, after looking for a decent airfare to Indonesia, we got ourselves booked for our ultimate Bali trip. And since we enjoyed one week of pure relaxation, I thought of sharing a complete Bali guide for you. In this post, I'll share everything from planning to the exact trip itself.
I think it’s safe to say that a lot of Filipinos travel to nearby countries in Asia these days because of budget airlines like Cebu Pacific Air and Air Asia. My friend, Pau, booked the trip for the two of us. And while it wasn’t as cheap as other travelers get, (our return tickets cost PHP 7,032), we got a good deal nonetheless. Seat sales are almost every month, so I suggest that you sign up for their newsletters and keep yourself updated on their Facebook announcements. I remember Pau booking our flight September 2017 for our April 2018 trip. It’s ridiculously early, but it was worth it because we were able to plan and more importantly, save money.
From the Philippines, Bali is just about four and a half hours away. We caught an early flight at 4 AM, so we were able to maximize our first day in Bali upon arrival.
Aside from the rich culture and incredible natural beauty of Indonesia, Bali is also home to a lot of expatriates and digital nomads. It's not surprising because of the low cost of living in this area. You can get a bed in a decent hostel for as little as PHP 268 depending on the season. If you'd like to level up your experience, you can get a private villa for around PHP 5,000.
If you’re staying in Ubud, you may enjoy the solitude every neighborhood brings. We stayed in Ubud Heaven Penestanan, and we could hear the birds chirping from our bedroom. When we visited Seminyak, we found a lot of villas within walking distance to the Seminyak beach and the shopping center. You’ll quickly find convenient accommodation in the area, so it’s just a matter of preference. Would you like to splurge on a private villa? Would you want a small hotel room or is sharing a room with strangers your thing, too? It’s your call.
Pau initially booked our hotel rooms, but after finding out our total bill, I felt dizzy and stepped in. I researched for the cheapest but reasonable villa we could get in Ubud and Seminyak. And although we didn't have a private villa when we stayed in Nusa Lembongan for two nights, the view was still worth every rupiah.
For Maya Sayang seminyak, we got it cheap because of a glitch Pau found in Agoda. We were ecstatic because even though there had been an error, they were still professional about it. We weren’t not charged more than our initial bill. And when we got there, they entertained us the same way they treated other guests. Everyone was very accommodating that it had become so hard for us to leave.
For our six nights of stay in Bali, we only had to pay PHP 10,324 each. Four of those six nights, we were enjoying our private villa all to ourselves! Imagine if there weren't just the two of us on this trip, we could have saved more!
Since it was summer, there were a lot of things to prepare. Skincare, swimsuits and summer dresses. I was so happy because I was able to pack and organize everything in my Cabin Zero with the use of packing cubes. Who would've thought that I’d be able to fit in seven days’ worth of clothes in one piece of a bag? It was pretty heavy though, which probably triggered my knee pain after the trip.
Bali heat is crazy. So, you must not forget to bring your sunscreen during the day if you don't want to be like me who got roasted since day one.
A lot of tourists rent motorbikes when in Bali. It’s the foolproof way to explore Bali after all. It fits even the alleyways and the small roads leading to the rice fields and favorite restaurants. The average rent per day is IDR 60,000. You can also opt to take the taxi if you don’t like walking through the central area. Hiring a cab typically starts at 50,000 to 100,0000 depending on your destination and ability to haggle.
However, for a big group or for people who want a hassle-free journey, I recommend hiring a car with driver. It’s feasible to rent a car without a driver, but we rented ours with one. The rates also differ depending on your destination, but it usually starts at IDR 150,000 for a one-way airport transfer. The driver usually works eight hours a day, and they tend to squeeze in multiple guests within the day. So, make sure that you’ve planned the itinerary and worked the timeline with them well.
For our journey, we spent IDR 3,350,000 all in all for locations I'll be showing in the itinerary at the bottom of this post. Although transportation took a lot from our budget, we felt that it was better than haggling with cab drivers or risking our lives by trying to drive motorcycles. It’s also nice to know that someone will be there to wait for you no matter how long you prefer to stay in one destination. Somehow, there’s still a feeling of freedom even if you're following a schedule. But unfortunately, it does come with a price.
04:00 Flight from Manila
07:50 Immigration and travel to Cafe Pomegranate for breakfast
12:00 Tegallalang Rice Terraces
02:00 Travel to Ubud Heaven Penestanan Villa
02:30 Prepare and travel to Lempuyang Temple
06:00 Lempuyang Temple
12:00 Sari Organik
02:00 Ubud Market
04:00 Early dinner and walk back to the villa
08:00 Travel to Sanur
09:30 Travel to Nusa Lembongan
12:30 Jenggala Hill
04:00 Prepare for Nusa Penida Tour
07:00 Bukit Teletubbies
09:00 Atuh Beach
01:00 Angel’s Billabong
01:30 Broken Bay
03:30 Crystal Beach
07:00 Travel to Ubud and get breakfast
11:00 Tanah Lot Temple
02:00 Hidden Garden
03:00 Handara Gate
04:00 Puncak Wanagiri
07:00 Maya Sayang Villa Seminyak
09:00 Seminyak Beach
11:00 Potato Head Beach Club
03:00 Maya Sayang Villa Seminyak
04:00 Prepare and travel to the airport
08:30 Flight back to Manila
We have prepaid our airfare and accommodation, so I only had to spend my rupiah for transportation, food, entrance fees and souvenirs in Bali. It was a big mistake not to change our peso in Manila that's why we were only able to get IDR 4,185,000 when we exchanged our peso. If you can't get rupiahs in Manila, I suggest that you secure US dollars instead so you can get better rates in Bali. Below are the expenses that I have incurred during our stay.
Expenses in IDR (Php 19,500.00)
Half of shared expenses (Tour and food) IDR 2,854,000
Food IDR 754,000
Souvenirs IDR 577,000
Total IDR Expenses IDR 4,185,000
Expenses in Peso
Accommodation PHP 10,324.00
Airfare PHP 7,032.00
Peso to IDR PHP 19,500.00
Travel Tax PHP 1,620.00
Airport and PH Transportation Expenses PHP 610.00
Total Bali Expenses (in PHP & IDR) PHP 39,086.00
My total expenses are far from the inspiring Bali budget travel posts, but I've included it anyway to give you an idea on how much you'll be able to spend in Bali should you make the same choices that I did. A decent meal with drinks could be as low as IDR 50,000 in restaurants. My friend and I usually went for her researched places and hotel food, so maybe that added up to our expenses, too. But the most significant dent in our food budget was our bill at the Potato Head Beach Club which cost us IDR 310,000 each. If you're not planning to spend your whole day at the beach club, I suggest against taking the cabana. The IDR 500,000 minimum was so hard to consume when you're just a party of two!
It's easy to say that one week in Bali is not enough to visit all the cool places the island has to offer. But let's be practical, we can't take a vacation forever. So, it always becomes a matter of priority on which places to visit first. For one week, we managed to satisfy ourselves with heavy doses of vitamin sea and tan lines at a reasonable price. But still, the island falls under the places that'd I'd love to visit again. So, who knows, maybe I'll find myself soaking under the scorching heat of Bali again, soon?