How to Spend Two Weeks in Bali

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When someone says Europe, you think of backpacking; when they say South Africa, you think of safaris; and when the next destination is Bali, the stereotype is, “The place you go to find yourself.” Scroll through #Bali on Instagram, you’ll see people leaving for yoga retreats, spas, and all-inclusive resorts, coming home to spread love, spirituality, and veganism.

I didn’t go for any of that. I went for the adventure and my sheer love of travel.

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I want to take this opportunity to answer a commonly asked question: Tara, how do you travel so much?

This is an-ever growing question mark within my DMs, and it’s a fair one. If my growing list of excursions is lighting a match beneath your desire for travel, let me explain how I make it work:

#1) I find incredible travel deals—and so can you.

I’ll be completely honest here: I went to Bali because I found a cheap flight. Seriously. This year, I convinced myself that if I found a ticket to a dream destination for five hundred bucks, I should book it, no matter what. My man Scott, as in Scott’s Cheap Flights allowed me to cross paths with a $550 round trip ticket, and I went for it.

To see the other steeply discounted trips I booked, check out my posts on South Africa and Tokyo.

**Side bar: No, I am not sponsored by Scotts Cheap Flights, but Scott, if you’re reading this, I would never turn you down.

#2) I have a career that gives me the freedom to work anywhere in the world—and I take advantage of it.

Since most of my work is digital (besides my sweet Compass fam), I can work while traveling. While many enjoy the routine and environment of office life, all I need is my Mac and a solid wifi connection. I enjoy bright, well-lit Airbnbs for the ambiance as well as my IG Story selfies (zero shame), and places near coffee shops where I can check-in with my TL Method fam.

To see how you can start your own online business (and work while traveling!), read my post about How I Started My Business.

#3) *Almost always, I venture to places more affordable than my home base, which carries an added benefit.

This is not a requirement—but it is a bonus—of travel. I live in Denver, ranked within the top ten most expensive U.S. cities. To give you a frame of reference, when I went to Bali I spent roughly $40 on a couple coffees and muffins at LAX, and upon arrival in Bali, I enjoyed an appetizer, two beers, and dinner for $19.

I also want to take this time to say this: Vote with your dollars when you travel, benefiting the local economy as well as yourself. See how others live by booking through Airbnb rather than all-inclusive resorts. Taste local foods rather than Western chains. Experience things from those native to the country, rather than booking tours through an American-based travel agency. By supporting local, you are putting your tourist dollars back into the economy which gave you these lifelong memories—and it’s more affordable than the alternative.

For more ways on how to vote with your tourist dollars, I highly, highly suggest listening to our interview with Kiona of How to Not Travel Like a Basic Bitch.

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How to Spend Two Weeks in Bali: A Day-By-Day Itinerary

My plane ticket was as seamless as it was affordable. We flew out of LAX, took a pitstop in Taiwan for a few hours, then landed in Bali.

I have zero complaints about our route or layover, but the customs line? Whew, that one had me doing breathing exercises. We were 50 people deep within a two-hour line and I never claimed patience as my virtue. So, I reminded myself of where I was, realized how grateful I was to afford a life of travel, did some stretches, and called it a day. From there, a car service took us our secret scuba resort right on the water in Tulamben, two hours from the airport.

Photo credits: Gotta give a shout out to my numbah one, Teddy. Not even Scott himself could replace you.

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Tulamben: Five Days, Four Nights

The first thing we wanted to do in Bali was scuba dive. We—Teddy and I—got certified in Belize a couple years ago, and wanted an excuse to swim with the fishies again. We rented a scooter for two days during our stay, even venturing off to the town of Amed nearby. Our stay consisted of scooting or diving by day then lounging by the pool at night. We took many of our meals at the resort, simply because there weren’t too many restaurants nearby.

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Gili Islands: Three Days, Two Nights  

Saturday

After Tumaben, we took the ferry over to the Gili Islands. The Gili Islands are made up of three islands: Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air. We stayed at the latter, chilling by the gorgeous beaches by day then scoping out different food spots in the evening.

Sunday

We continued enjoying the gorgeous beaches and took advantage of the sunshine. While many people venture to the Gili Islands for the parties, rest assured bars are not the best thing about this area at night—it’s the sunsets.

  • What we ate: breakfast at Coffee and Thyme, lunch at Olala Café, dinner at Mama’s Pizza (the pizza wasn’t my favorite meal, but I loved the view!)

  • What we drank: beers on the West Side

Monday

We took a private boat to the Gili Meno statue to go snorkeling, where we saw coral reefs and sea turtles. The statues are these haunting, beautiful statues underwater that almost look like they’re part of a shipwreck. We ate some awesome food before saying cheers to one last beer at the Airbnb.

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Ubud

Tuesday

On Tuesday, we took the boat back to Bali. We took a shuttle to Ubud, a Balinese town known for rainforests, rice paddies, and Hindu temples. We hiked across Campuhan Ridge then ventured into town to explore.

Wednesday

I’m legitimately shocked at how much we did on Tuesday. To explore all the incredible areas around Ubud, definitely rent a car with a driver. Since we did so many tours, I’m listing prices to help you budget and plan your itinerary accordingly. To give you a frame of reference, 100k is roughly $7 United States dollars. Meaning, we did everything listed below for less than $25 per person—when was the last time your bar tab was that low?

We explored the Luwak Coffee Plantation, Tegalalang rice terrace , Tirta Empul Temple, Penglipuran Traditional Village, Tibumana waterfall.

  • What we ate: Luna

Thursday

Thursday we found ourselves back on a pair of scooters, making our way through the Monkey Forest, the Ubud Market, and finally unloading to walk around town that evening.

Friday

On Friday we hiked to Mt. Bataur to watch the sunrise…but got no rise. Funny story, I actually Googled “Mt. Bataur sunrise” on my phone and Airdropped it to the other tourists in our group. It may have been a dick move, but it totally lightened the mood.

Later on we hung out by the pool and shopped in Ubud. I did a yoga flow at Yoga Barn while Teddy got a massage.

Saturday

On Saturday, our last day in Ubud, we enjoyed a cooking class at our Airbnb. While Teddy is still the better chef, I’m definitely sharpening up my skills for TL Eats II.

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Canggu: Three Days, Two Nights

Sunday

Canggu is in Kuta, which is more touristy and party-like than I normally would like when I travel, but I wanted to give it a shot for a couple days. I was SO glad we went and 100% worth the trek—you will see some of the most beautiful beaches of your life.

We rented a scooter and made stops at Balanagan Beach, Padang Padang, and the Ulu Cliffhouse hotel. By far, the most breathtaking views were at Suluban beach—make sure you go.

Monday

On our last day of our trip, we kept things incredibly relaxed. We enjoyed a light breakfast, walked around at the various shops, then enjoyed lunch.

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I’m not a fan of the term Bucket List, but if you have one, Bali needs to be on it

I could write an entire separate blog post titled 100 Reasons To Go to Bali, but let me start with the first five: The people, the views, the water, the culture, and the beauty. Note that none of those included partying. While it certainly is a great place to sip a few drinks (which we did, trust me) there’s so much more to this beautiful place.

There are over 7,000 islands to explore within Indonesia, and I truly hope to come back. As you make your itinerary, allot more time than you think you’ll need. There is more beauty in this country than you can ever see in a single trip.