I generally don’t manage a budget when I travel. As a rule I tend to survive on very little when I’m working & in saving mode, as well as when I’m travelling. I always find a bargain & go with the cheapest options to enable me to travel longer. I stay in cheap (& sometimes nasty) places & eat in cheap (usually really good) places.
My outgoings always increase when I cover more ground in travelling within a country or on day trips which I never include in my budget – unless it is the sole reason for my trip. I usually don’t buy souvenirs as my backpack is already too full & sometimes, especially with this trip, I’m not sure how long I’m travelling for.
Other expenses that I frequently forget to factor in are visas & vaccinations. By the time it comes to thinking about these I have usually already booked my flights & I’m on the cusp of my adventure so I HAVE to make it work!
In Bali I slept in budget accommodation, ate like a lord in cheap restaurants, went snorkelling & diving, had 2 massages & a facial & travelled to 5 different areas. In total this cost me around £300 for 2 weeks.
This doesn’t include my flights: £100 one way from Sydney to Bali & £130 onwards to Goa, India via Kuala Lumpur. The flights were much cheaper when I initially priced them & I regret not booking them immediately.
Regrets of my Bali trip were:
- Spending a night in Kuta
- Not researching the exact location of my accommodation in Jimbaran properly (it was in the middle of nowhere)
- I wish I could have had another massage at Jaen’s Spa (you can read about my amazing massage here)
- I wish I had longer to explore the islands
- I wish I snorkelled more
- I wish I found a fun driver/guide with good english
I was a bit annoyed at being stuck in the middle of nowhere however I met 2 wonderful similar souls in the hostel in Jimberan. The three of us shared a room & we were all a similar age with similar stigmas attached about being older than 21 & travelling, not having a stable life & not knowing what to do next – apart from our yearn to travel. These girls were so friendly, laid back & lovely. We explored the small village, ate incredible waffles, exchanged stories & advice, fed off each others experiences, championed each others thoughts of what to do next, went to the beach & relaxed. It really is the people that change an experience.
We loved the two young guys manning the stand & feeding us amazing waffles!
We exchanged contact details & I will certainly call upon them in the future when I’m planning my next trip – or hopefully be inspired by them to join their adventure.
After a rapid 2 weeks it is time to move on from Bali. Bali was a slow starter for me. It took me almost a week before I eased into the Balinese way of life. It went from being somewhere that felt like just another sunny island to a place where I enjoyed the people, the pace of life & I could see myself wanting to return. It’s funny how your mood completely affects your opinion. I am so easily swayed I wonder are my opinions even legitimate or just based on fleeting emotional states & exchanges.
I met people on this trip who were spending 6 weeks to 2 months in Indonesia & even just Bali alone! I have a feeling Bali may be a place where the more I explore & delve the more I will fall in love with it. I know now to completely avoid the main tourist hubs which bring me unheralded stress.
As much as I grew to enjoy Bali, I am not to sad upon leaving it as my next stop is somewhere I have dreamt of going for over a decade! India! I am so excited that I am finally coming to see you!
My main reason for stopping off at Kuta was to break up my trip to Jimbaran from Amed. I don’t enjoy spending all day cooped up in transportation. Due to poor wifi I didn’t realise Jimberam was only an extra 30mins away from Kuta by taxi.
On the booking.com website the hostel I booked didn’t show up correctly on the map. In hindsight I think this may be on purpose as the hostel is in the middle of a rural village with little accessibility to the beach unless you take a taxi or have a scooter. I was happy to be away from the incessant harassment of Kuta, but the area I was in didn’t have much going on. It was a busy road with some local shops & restaurants dotted around. Not the coast side haven I was anticipating….
I checked out the restaurants but nothing was especially nice or much cheaper than the normal restaurants I have been going to. I couldn’t resist trying a ‘Happy soda’! It comes as a glass of ice with rose syrup & condensed milk at the bottom & you pour in your soda water to complete the cocktail. It was refreshing & sweet, if a bit sickly at the beginning. Asia has really embraced condensed milk in a way Europe could never contend!
I went for a lovely massage & facial at a local salon. I would feel to guilty in the west forking out a lot for beauty treatments so I really appreciate them when I go to Asia where todays total for treatments was under £6. I love the feeling post massage when you walk back to your room in a content, relaxed daze. Heaven!!!
Amed has been lovely. I adored snorkelling, it was amazing! I only have a few more nights left in Bali so I will head back towards the airport & relax before my onward journey. I took the Perama
bus to Kuta for 100IDR. I was the only passenger for hours of this journey & befriended the lovely driver. We communicated in sign language & facial expressions, sharing food & laughter. I was happy to be stretched out for the majority of the Southbound trip.
There was so much rain & long queues of traffic en route. I felt so sorry for the people walking or on motorbikes, absolutely soaked through. It is just coming into rainy season so some afternoons there has been rain, although it clears up quickly. It is thick, heavy warm rain that starts without warning from the sun bright sky. Only the tell tale cloud lingering above indicates you may be due a downpour.
Everyone advised me against Kuta saying it was a tourist hotspot. I made it my pitstop on my way to the South of Bali for one night.
One night too many! The first thing that hit me was the fumes from the cars! I was not used to this pollution compared to my happy snorkelling world in Amed! Next was the incessant harassment from the people selling things in the street. Even in the downpour of rain people were still begging me to get my nails done, have a massage or take a taxi. The saving grace of the evening was the lovely food at Warung Indonesia – thanks again TripAdvisor
I returned to my hostel for peace but there was a party by the pool & the loud music pumped right into the dorm room through the balcony doors which didn’t close properly…. My only comfort was that it was a one night only endeavour!
After a crappy nights sleep with the music blasting from outside I woke up groggy but determined to walk & explore into a good mood! I walked towards Kuta beach & spent less than 20 seconds on it being harassed by people selling things before storming back to the street. I do not have the patience for people whining in my face or seeing me as a walking dollar sign. I have zero patience…. & even less inclination to work on it!
I priced a taxi to Jimberam from Kuta at the hotel & was told it would be 100-150IDR. I priced a bluebird taxi for comparison & he said 450IDR. I detest being hoodwinked. This guy seen a young solo traveller who was curious enough about his land, culture & people to invest time & money in a trip to explore it & he thought ‘how much can i squeeze out of this mug’. What a dick. If someone has the desire & motivation to come to Ireland & see what we’re all about I would be very ashamed to hear they came to be taken advantage of & ripped off.
People defend this saying it’s to be expected when travelling but I am sick of it. My sole purpose of being here is not for you to drain me financially. I am not here to hand over my hard earned cash for the reason that I’m not local or naïve of the prices. I want to visit, I didn’t come here to be deceived, intimidated or ripped off.
I stormed away from this guy in a terrible mood. I couldn’t stand being in Kuta for one more moment so I went back to my hotel & booked an Uber to Jimberam. 50IDR later I was outside my new hostel grateful to be away from Kuta.
Does anyone else ever feel like this?? Am I just hangry??
It’s 4am & I’m creeping around the dorm room gathering my camera, sunnies & my big warm hoodie. Today I am going to watch the sunrise from the comfort of a local fishing boat! Amazing! The fisherman collected me at 4.30am & we cruised to the beach jamming to catchy Balinese music. His car monitor even displayed the words like a karaoke machine so I could join in. I’ll admit it wasn’t my finest singing! The fisherman didn’t speak the english but his face was considerably expressive reacting to my attempts.
When we got to the shore we boarded his wonderful spider-like fishing boat & briskly motored to sea. I am from the East coast of Ireland & adore the sea. Any sea feels like home to me. The Bali Sea felt resonated a deep peace with me in the quiet of pre dawn.
The sea was an eerie darkness as we glided over it. The scenery was almost hostile in its glum stillness. The other boats in the distance provided an element of camaraderie & looked beautiful skimming over the waves. It was so special to be with the fishermen charging out to the ocean in search of a good catch when the rest of Bali are still tucked up in bed. Bliss! Slowly Lombok began to lighten as the sun gradually rose. Swiftly the landscape brightened as the new day dawned.
The pink, orange & yellow hues were incredible! The land & sea glistened from the warm glow of the sun.
This was a wonderful experience & I recommend doing it. What an incredible start to the day! It lasted around 2 hours & I believe it cost 600IDR for the boat & 3 people max could fit on our boat.
Getting stormy in Amed
Ok, I was shit. My ears weren’t equalising, my fins were getting in my way & I was terrified of bumping into the coral. That aside, I quickly adjusted to breathing underwater & was utterly fascinated in the sea life. I just wasn’t interested in mastering the art of diving, I wanted to focus all my energy on watching the sea creatures in admiration & awe.
The next day I opted out of the PADI course. I’m unsure whether this was the right decision. I do want to dive more but I don’t feel confident enough to go without an instructor yet or in the foreseeable future. I also doubt I will have the opportunity to dive while in India & I would prefer to do a dive course & use my knowledge straight away to embed the knowledge.
Snorkelling will be my cheaper & still incredible fix of sea life in the meantime! Dem fishes just look so damn good!!!
Such a scenic drive North
Keen to continue exploring Bali, I took the Perama
shuttle bus* to Amed the following morning (100IDR/£7). I am contemplating doing a PADI dive course so after hours of research I opted for cheap & cheerful FAB dive centre
in Amed. It is slightly out of town & the bus dropped me off en route. The distance out of town was a bit of a pain, it would be handier if you had a bike/scooter – this goes for the whole of Bali. I did the walk a few times & it was fine for me however I enjoy sightseeing on foot. Others may find it an inconvenience.
Amed is amazing for snorkelling. I couldn’t believe it when I took 3 steps out of the beach & peered in the water to see amazing multicoloured fish & coral! It was my first experience of such incredible marine life up close & I adored it! I think I’m hooked!!!
Amed is a fishing village & stretched out tourist area compiled of hotels, restaurants & diving schools – I’m noticing a theme here! It seems like the ideal place to learn to dive & chill out. Precisely what I came for! Tomorrow I will be going for my first dive! I am just doing an introduction initially to see how I like diving & I can decide after if I want to progress to PADI Open Water. I’m so excited!!!
* I showed them my receipt from my first journey & got a discounted fare for my second bus journey.
I was blessed with this beautiful sunset on my first night at Padang Bai
Feeling the crushing overwhelming press of the tourists in Ubud* I fled to Padang Bai on the East Coast of Bali. At this time of year the East Coast is preferable than the West Coast as the trade winds bring rubbish to the West. The East Coast is beautiful & pristine in comparison. Padang Bai is a quaint fishing village & the main port for transit to Lombok & the Gili islands. It has many diving schools for its small size, plenty of restaurants & stalls to buy snacks for your onward journey.
I got the Perama
shuttle bus from Ubud direct for 75IDR/£5 & it took approx. 2 hours. I stayed in Bamboo Paradise
which is a 2 minute walk from the Parama Bus Depot. The hostel is clean & chilled with a big outdoor area & friendly staff. Breakfast is a filling selection from a menu including pancakes, omelette, toast, tea/coffee & fruit salad.
The next day I had to check out (which was a shame because I had the larger lower bunk bed!). I moved to Fat Barracuda
on the beach front. It had sturdy bunk beds, wifi, plugs & a light at every bed & a great location. It is not so much a hostel as a dorm room & separate small reception area which serves snacks & drinks. Both hostels I would recommend & both cost around 100IDR/£7 per night.
Peaceful Blue Lagoon Beach
I thought the food in Padang Bai was average. I didn’t find a restaurant I really enjoyed & I didn’t have anything as tasty as the food I tried in Ubud. That’s not to say good food is not available. I’m really trying to be careful with how much I spend & the breakfasts included with the accommodation really set me up for the day.
The guacamole was wrong on too many levels
I’m on a shoestring budget & opted to stay on the mainland & explore rather than venture to the islands. They look beautiful though so hopefully I’ll be able to go next time! I noticed that prices for the boats dropped considerably in the evening for boats departing the following morning so if I return I will haggle the prices in the evenings rather than prebooking boats – however this was at the end of the season when the boats are crossing only partly full. Maybe in high season you should expect to pay more.
After 2 days in Padang Bai & without doing a diving course or crossing to the islands I was ready to move on.
*The ‘crushing, overwhelming press of tourists’ wasn’t even that bad to be honest. I’m being a bit dramatic.