Om Suastiastu! (pronounced as ohm-su-was-ti-as-tu)
Known as the “Island of the Gods”, Bali is a small, volcanic, tropical paradise located in the Indonesian peninsula which is famous for its scenic rice terraces, fragrant cuisine, beautiful beaches and unique mix of Hindu culture and tradition. It is also quite popular as a honeymoon destination for newly married Western couples because of its tropical atmosphere.
Bali can be reached through air, land and water, where air is the most popular option for tourists. Bali can be reached through bus is coming from Jakarta which is the capital city of Indonesia, while it can also be reached through the sea via local shipping lines located from the other islands. But when coming from Manila, Philippines, the best way is by air through the Ngurah Rai International Airport or Denpasar International Airport that is located in the South Kuta district which is 13 kilometres from Denpasar, the capital of the island of Bali. There are 3-4 nonstop flights weekly available from Manila through major airlines such as Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, and Airasia. Connecting flights are also available from Jetstar and Scoot.
In our case, we took Cebu Pacific which is a nonstop flight from Manila to Bali that lasted for 3 hours and 46 minutes. Our baggage was 20 kilos each with no in-flight meal. Options are available on the airline directly depending on your preference. Also, it has to be noted that airfare rates vary from one airline to another depending on the season and route. Discounts and promos are common so it’s not possible to get affordable rates for your trip.
Because Indonesia is an ASEAN-member state, Philippine passport holders can enjoy 30 days visa-free when entering Bali.
Bali, Indonesia has similar time zone with Manila, Philippines (GMT +8)
The official currency used in Bali, Indonesia is the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR). Although the US Dollars is also popularly used, it is still best to use the local currency, especially when buying items at the market and when using public transportation. Always be mindful that exchange rates vary.
$1 = 0.000072 IDR
Php 1 = 0.0036 IDR
It is to be noted that in Bali, it is easy to carry cash in Millions, so don’t be surprised if after you exchanged your Php 10,000 you will be receiving 7-digit cash around 2,765,207 IDR!
Balinese is the official language spoken in Bali, Indonesia other than Indonesian since it is part of Indonesia. The English language is also popular due to the influx of English-speaking tourists mostly coming from nearby Singapore, Australia and New Zealand
Bali is a tropical island so light colored loose cotton shirts, skirts and pants are usually seen being worn by locals other than their traditional clothes. Because Hinduism is the predominant religion in the island other than some locals practicing Islam, it is appropriate for visitors to be observant regarding the proper dress code depending on where they are headed. Generally, it is advisable to wear decent clothing that covers the shoulders and knees, especially when entering religious grounds such as temples. But wearing bikini, trunks and other light-fabric beach wear is welcomed especially when one is staying near the beaches.
The Internet is highly regarded as a faster means to communicate in the country. Sim cards such as the one that we purchased from the airport (XL Axiata SIM card) offers wide 4G connectivity for 250,000 IDR ($17.88 or Php 906.86) though the connection was a little slower in some areas.
As a tourist destination, Bali has a variety of hotel choices to choose from which ranges from low, mid and high-range depending on the budget and location. Since we wanted to enjoy the two sides of Bali, by exploring the major tourist areas in the island as well as enjoy the luxurious atmosphere of what Bali has to offer, we ended up choosing to stay in Ubud and in Sanur area.
For our week-long stay, we were fortunate enough to book our accommodation via Booking at the heart of Ubud, specifically within the Ubud Royal Palace Ground. Our hotel, Puri Saraswati Bungalows, which was one of the former residences of the Royal family located on the famous Puri Saraswati Temple and beside the Royal Palace museum is around 30-40 minutes (depending on traffic) if coming from the Denpasar airport.
Likewise, after we decided to make an extension for our stay in Bali to just chill and experience a more luxurious vibe, we booked Griya Santrian which is 15 minutes near the Denpasar airport is located along the coast of Sanur beach.
The popularity of Balinese cuisine goes far and wide such as the Babi Guling or their lechon version of the roasted suckling pig and the weasel “poo coffee” which is really expensive overseas known as kopi luwak. Because we’re also fond of Nasi Goreng, a traditional Indonesian rice dish, we were also able to explore other delicious Balinese dishes such as Sate Babi (pork satay), Mie Goreng (fried noodles), and Rijsttafel served on a platter like royalty filled with banana leaves and various Indonesian delicacies.
Bali has laid-back feels and it is really safe to travel around the island even for a solo traveler. But since lots of tourists come and go, scams are quite common in the area. But just like any other country, caution is highly advisable for any visitor.
HERE’S OUR FULL ITINERARY
- Depart from Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 via Cebu Pacific
- Arrival at Ngurah Rai International Airport (Denpasar International Airport)
- Because airport transfer is not included in the hotel package, we booked our private SUV van via a local tour guide for IDR 350,000 ($ 25 or Php 1,269) inclusive of toll fees
- Check-in at Puri Saraswati Bungalows for Deluxe Double Room for 2 pax (IDR 1,737,450 or $124 or Php 6,283 all-in for 4D/3N including taxes, service charge, and buffet breakfast)
- DIY Ubud Tour (no entrance fees)
- Pura Taman Saraswati
- Ubud Palace
- Puri Saren Agung
- Ubud Art Market
- Museum Puri Lukisan
- Monkey Forest Road (Shopping district)
- Traditional Balinese dance performance at Saraswati Temple for IDR 80,000 ($5.72 or Php 289) each
- Dinner at Cafe Lotus in Ubud. Their Seafood Rijsttafel (for two) from their Chef’s recommendation is a must-try!
- Since we wanted to maximize our time in Bali, we booked our tour through a local guide from Ngurah Weda of Bali Top Tours. We had our arrangements through Facebook chat and we didn’t pay anything (deposit) prior the tour. The driver/tour guide assigned to us was Komang Dana or we call him Mang De who was really efficient and humorous
- Nusa Penida Full Day Tour
- Angel’s Billabong
- Broken Beach
- Kelingking “T-Rex” Secret Point Beach
- Crystal Bay Beach
- Since Nusa Penida is a separate island from Bali, the cost of our tour for 2 pax is IDR 1,700,000 ($121 or Php 6,166) inclusive of tour guide, boat fee, lunch (local Balinese restaurant) and entrance fees for the tourist areas.
- Dinner at Casa Luna Restaurant
- Ubud/Bedugul Full Day Tour
- The second day of our tour with Bali Top Tours costs around IDR 350,000 ($25 or Php 1,269) for 2pax for the van rental exclusive of entrance fees for the attractions and temples. We had our lunch serving local Balinese food specifically known for Babi Guling
- Ulun Datu Beratan Temple (entrance fee of IDR 50,000 or $ 3.58 or Php 362.74 each)
- Handara Iconic Gate (entrance fee of IDR 30,000 or $ 2.15 or Php 217.65 each)
- Wanagiri Hidden Hill (entrance fee of IDR 40,000 or $ 2.86 or Php 290.19 each)
- Tirta Empul Temple (entrance fee of IDR 30,000 or $ 2.15 or Php 217.65 each inclusive of Sarong rental)
- Dinner at White Orchid in Ubud
DAY 4-6 (OPTIONAL)
- Since we loved our Bali experience, we extended our stay for 2 more nights. Little did we know that the airport was closed on the night of our Day 4 until the evening of Day 5 since Mount Agung spurted some dark ashes. Thankfully, the airport reopened just in time for our flight on Day 6. Our extension was more of saved-by-the-bell!
- Transferred to Griya Santrian Beach Resort in Sanur Beach
- Chill day at the Hotel including biking and water activities
- DIY Tour in Sanur Beach including a visit to the annual Bali Kite Festival in Padang Galak area
- Depart from Ngurah Rai International Airport (Denpasar International Airport)
- Arrival at Ninoy Aquino International Airport
Overall expenses for 4D/3N Bali, Indonesia Tour (excluding airfare, food, souvenirs and optional stay at Griya Santrian for 2 nights)
- 4G Sim Card: Php 906.86
- Hotel: Php 6,283
- Airport Transfer 2 way: Php 2,538
- Balinese Traditional Dance Show for 2 pax: Php 578
- Nusa Penida Full Day Tour 2 pax: Php 6,166
- Ulun/Bedugul Van Rental Tour 2 pax: Php 1,269
- Ulun Datu Beratan Temple Entrance Fee 2 pax: Php 725.48
- Handara Iconic Gate Entrance Fee 2 pax: Php 435.30
- Wanagiri Hidden Hill Entrance Fee 2 pax: Php 580.38
- Tirta Empul Temple Entrance Fee: Php 435.30
OVERALL TOTAL for Two Pax : Php 19,917.32 (US $ 393 ~)
- Always book directly for your flights and accommodations online to get better discounts and enough information about delays, cancellations, baggage and reroutes. Before finalizing your bookings, double check between different apps to see which offers the best possible rate for your needs.
- Check the map of Bali first to see where you want to go and plot down your possible itinerary before finalizing your accommodation there are tons of available hostels, hotels, and inns so there’s always lots of options to choose from.
- Credit cards are widely accepted in Bali so it’s not a big problem when you ran out of cash.
- There are lots of places in Bali where there are no entrance fees.
- Since Bali is a volcanic island, be sure to always check the news regarding any possible earthquake or volcanic activity that might affect your stay.