North Bali

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Bali is beautiful. I went to Bali for an almost two week vacation with Sanglyan and while we had planned to not shoot anything during this “break” we were taking from work, I couldn’t resist the urge to not create content from this breathtakingly beautiful island. Bali had been on my travel list for more than a year. Somehow I kept pushing it off because of work or something or the other that prohibited me from making this trip. However after I booked my tickets in April to make this trip in May, I thought I could finally make this trip. But that was not how it was supposed to be. My trip was pushed from May to July. And since I went to US in July, I cancelled it again to September 1st week. And while I was planning on a solo trip, I changed my mind as both Sanglyan and I had been deciding to take a break and this one seemed just perfect to refresh our mind and prepare ourselves for the upcoming projects. Again, Sanglyan couldn’t travel during the first week of September so we rescheduled our booking again to finally, after so many reschedules, make this trip on the 3rd week of September.

This trip was a backpacking trip. No suitcase, no makeup boxes, no heels – just a couple of dresses, one shorts, a couple of tops, bikinis and basic utilities. We packed our luggages in such a way that we both carried 7kg max and we didn’t carry our laptops or our DSLR even. We did not intend to do any shoots at all except for some pics for Instagram which every tourist posts. However, when Sanglyan and I team up – I guess we never stop creating content. And since I have so much to share with you, I’ll start with my first part of the journey  – North Bali.

Day 1

Ubud

 

We landed in Ngurah Rai airport around 11am and I was surprised to see that the airport is actually located in a Beach which I assume would be the Kuta beach. We had our hotel booked in the heart of Ubud as that was the place I intended to visit first in Bali. I’d seen so many pictures of Ubud which inspired me to travel to Ubud first and since Ubud is around 1 and a half hours, almost 2 hours with traffic from the airport, I’m glad we didn’t make Ubud our last stop in Bali. Ubud is beautiful as the pictures show. I feel North Bali is more rich in Balinese culture than what I observed in South Bali. And for someone who want to immerse themselves in the Balinese culture as well as relaxation, we couldn’t have chosen a better place as the first point of our vacation. The first day in Ubud was spent in exploring the Bali market which house a lot of Boutiques, cafes and local crafts. Don’t be surprised to see dick shaped wooden bottle openers, you’ll see them in varied sizes everywhere! I laughed a lot when I first saw them, even felt perverted to be so mesmerised at the designs carved on those wooden things but I suppose it stands for something there for I saw those items sold everywhere in Bali. And if you are visiting Bali soon, don’t bother buying bikinis or crochet items from your countries. It is much cheaper in Bali, especially in the market around the Ubud Monkey Forest if you can haggle well. After comparing the prices in the places I visited during my trip, I deduced that good bikinis are the cheapest in the Ubud Boutiques as there was a sale running then too. And since I almost looked like a local, bargaining was much easier as they jokingly started calling us Indonesian No 2. I love the people there. Kind, Polite. That’s how my friend who visited earlier than me described them and I would second that. Besides in the market, most of the items are handcrafted and they are super cheap so its almost sad to bargain while shopping in the street markets.

 

We had our INR converted to USD in India and the exchange rate then was around $1= IDR 13175 approximately. That means by the time you convert $100, you become a temporary Millionaire. From the airport to Main Ubud, we paid around IDR 350000/-. We decided to spend our first day to just visit one site and look around Ubud Markets as we were a little tired from our trip as well. Ubud is lined with cafes and boutiques to shop. You can choose any variety of dishes from the wide options the cafes offer as well as shop from Boutiques to take something back with you as a Souvenir. Boutiques shops like Bamboo Blonde, Lost in Paradise, Ahimsa, 69 slam are pretty common across Bali. Also you can shop items from brands like Hurley, Billabong, DC, Flipper, Havainas etc all across the island. Basically you almost get all possible brands in Bali, especially Kuta but we’ll get to the shopping bit later. 

After lunch we went to Monkey Forest, which according to the guide books is one of the must visit places while in Ubud. The Monkey Forest sanctuary closes opens from 8.30 am to 6pm and there is an entrance fee. The forest is huge and you can see monkeys of all sizes if you’re interested in taking pictures with them. Not the most friendliest but not violent as well. However be a little cautious of what you have in your hands as they seem to snatch things from your hands, which happened to Sanglyan. However going to this place around the Golden Hour seemed to be a good idea as the view is really breathtaking. The property is massive and the highlight is the stone bridge next to a temple in the middle of the forest that attracts a lot of Tourists. 

 

 

Day 2

My itinerary was planned well in advance through information I got from the web. I knew we couldn’t visit all the places in one go and I had to choose what was it that I wanted to see. For Day 2, we decided to finish seeing some sites in North Bali that had been in my wishlist- namely Pura Lempuyang which directly faces Mt.Agung, Tirtha Gangga and Ujung Water Palace. We sat with our driver and planned our trip according to the location as the sites are pretty far from Ubud and involves almost an 8 hour drive just to see all these locations.

Pura Lempuyang:

Had it not been for the clouds, we would have been seeing a clear view of the mighty Mt.Agung which is the biggest volcano and one of the active ones in Bali. Pura means a temple. In Bali, you are not permitted to enter temples without a Sarong. Sarongs can be rented at the entrance of the temple for around IDR 100000/- and there is again an entrance fee to enter the temple site. One can hike for almost 3 hours to reach the top of the mountain but we avoided it as all I wanted was to see this location that had me mesmerized for a very long time. Rest assured, I’ll return back again sometime to get a picture with the volcano in the backdrop. We reached Pura Lempuyang around noon as it is almost a 2-3 hours drive from Ubud but if you want a backdrop against Mt.Agung, an early morning trip should be better.

 

 

 

Tirtha Gangga

We went next to Tirtha Gangga, which is extremely beautiful again because of this pond. You ought to visit this place just to feed the fishes and get a nice touristy picture here. Don’t expect a picture without any photobombers as that is literally impossible. This place is one of the most visited spots in Bali and I hope my pictures make you see why I write you ought to visit this place when you travel to Bali.

Before you go inside, I suggest you buy fish food from the vendors located near the entrance at Tirtha Gangga and see these Koi fishes follow you around. Some of the fishes are really big, the biggest Koi fishes I’ve seen and they are hungry! So get a couple of fish food packets, one will not be enough, ask your friend or someone to be ready with the camera, put the fish food in the pond, wait for 2 seconds and there you have it – a picture of you surrounded by almost all the fishes there. However this pond in this picture isn’t the only pond in Tirtha Gangga. There are several ponds and feeding them in all the ponds might actually make you happy.

 


Ujung Water Palace.

I actually got to know of the Ujung water palace via Instagram while planning my itinerary. I didn’t want to go to places which were really common and while I saw very less posts with Ujung Water Palace, the place is unbelievably beautiful. Probably the most beautiful place we visited during our second day of travel. We reached pretty late considering we had been driving for sometime and we did stop to eat as well. All areas of the palace are accessible to tousists and the highlight of the Ujung Water Palace were these columns which are set up in various locations, which I think are for the dancers as I saw Balinese dancers performing in their traditional attire in these kind of structures every evening in Bali.

 
 

 
 

Day 1 Outfit:

Dress: Chicwish same here

Sandals: Charles and Keith

 

Day 3

We wanted to spend our last day in Ubud visiting the neighbouring places around Ubud. We started by going to the Bali swing which was on my wishlist ever since I planned a trip to Bali.

Bali Swing

This picture is unarguably my favourite picture from the Ubud trip. Maybe I wanted to be there for sometime so that may be why I love this picture a lot. Bali Swing isn’t difficult to find. They have their own dedicated website too with directions to the place. The place is happening! Great music, Great Crowd.

  With an entrance fee of almost $45 if I remember correctly, you can drink unlimited soft beverages and get a free lunch pass besides access to all the four swings and the nests. Four swings, that’s correct. There are four level of swings depending on the dare devil in you and while you have to stand in a super long queue for every swing, I suggest you make this trip as early as possible to eliminate losing a lot of time here. I reached around 10am and had to stay until 1pm but I’m not complaining as you can swing as many times you want and take as many pictures as you want. Besides the thrill, the lunch they serve there is also quite delicious and I would certainly recommend this place as a MUST visit. If you haven’t been to the Bali swing – You haven’t experienced the touristy things Bali has to offer. Plus an unforgettable experience. If I could, I would have stayed there all day, I didn’t even mind waiting in queues as long as I got to swing in this amazing place. And a lot of you asked me if safety precautions were in place and in answer to that, Yes. Every swing had harnesses depending on the height of the swing and you can see me wearing a harness in the highest swing which honestly makes even your legs shiver.
 

Things to Do in Bali Swing:

  1. If you’re a girl reading this, wear flowy dresses for amazing looking pictures. I saw a lot of people had planned their shoot in advance and wore kimonos which looked amazing in their pictures.
  2. If you’re scared of heights try the smallest swing ( pictures here facing the camera ) where you’re not facing the forest. It isn’t as scary as it looks but looks amazing in pictures.
  3. If you are the daredevil, try the highest one with the harness. That’s what an adrenaline rush is all about.
  4. Early birds pays cheaper entry fees. I missed paying a lesser ticket amount by almost 30 minutes but I didn’t mind paying an extra $10 still as all I wanted was the experience.

 

Tegenungan Waterfall

 

We just planned to visit the Tegenungan Waterfall because amongst other things, Bali also has a lot of waterfalls and Tegenungan comes in list of places to visit in Ubud. The main waterfall is very crowded and we infact found a smaller one, on the way to the big one, which was almost devoid of tourists wanting to take a picture with the waterfall. You have to climb down a steep flight of stairs to see the main Tegenungan Waterfall and if you have weak knees or bad stamina, I would suggest you skip this place entirely. If you want, you can also take a picture in the waterfall but make sure you’re wearing some sturdy rubber slippers and carrying a bikini or an extra change of clothes. My tip – Avoid wearing uncomfortable shoes, carry a sunscreen always as well as a Gel Cream to relieve the sun burn. You can also buy hats in the market at the entrance of the Tegenungan Waterfall so don’t bother carrying hats with you while you pack for this trip.

Goa Gajah

One of the famous temples around Ubud. If I’m correct it translates to Elephant Cave in Balinese and inside the cave is a shrine to worship the Hindu Gods – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Some vendors tried to sell us Sarong at the entrance of Goa Gajah but you don’t need Sarongs in this temple.

 

Tirtha Empul

Another very famous temple in Bali. People come here to take a dip to cleanse themselves – Body, Mind and Soul. Keep in mind to get your own Sarong if you want to dip since you cannot dip into the water in your rented Sarong. In Tirtha Empul, renting a Sarong is free of charge however there is an entry fee.

Tegallalang Rice Field Ubud

Probably the most famous place in Bali is the Ubud Rice Fields. The place also has a lot of markets to buy souvenirs from and I would say you would get the best deal and a lot of variety here  if you know how to haggle because I realised the vendors here quote a slightly higher price than in main Ubud but then we had become a bit smarter and knew what the average price for a lot of products were. Crocheted items and woven bags are so common in Bali and I’m so glad I got them from the vendors here instead of ordering at a hyped price online here in India.

 

My Day 2 Dress is from Chicwish: Buy here

Sandals: Zara

Lastly, Villa Akasha

Makes sense to finally blog about the place that housed us while we were in Ubud. Villa Akasha Moonstone Dome. A magical Luxury Eco hut located in the heart of the rice fields. I was lucky to find this place via AirBnb months in advance as there are only two domes between the rice fields and they are always booked for months ahead. The price per night was almost 6K INR for our Moonstone Eco Dome and was probably the best way to end our Ubud trip. Since a lot of you asked me about this place, you can book your stay here. You get the most delicious organic dishes in Villa Akasha, which paired with your Bintang or Organic Beer ends or starts your day perfectly. Even if you cannot stay in the domes, I suggest you go to Villa Akasha to try the dishes there. I highly recommend it! Plus the place is so beautifully designed that you wouldn’t be able to resist taking a few pictures, one of which I’ve shared on my Instagram here .

 

This concludes the first part of my trip before I begin writing about our Gili Islands adventure. I hope you enjoyed this travelogue and please let me know in the comments section if you have any questions!

Love,

Nilu Yuleena

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  • Sis, I enjoyed going through this travel post as you went so very detailed with everything! I just love it and also, the pictures are so much heaven, my eyeballs feel rejuvenated just looking at them. I’ve not been to North Bali and your post makes me really want to. The place looks so serene and you know how much I love nature but that swing, wow! I am height-phobic so the highest one will have to pass. Haha. I love that pic of you in the nest-like construction. You look so tiny there. I’m enjoying your travelogue and I thank you for taking so much time and effort for creating this post. You are just super awesome!! <3 <3 <3

  • Nilu, wow… the scenery here is gorgeous… I would love the swings, I am afraid of heights but I would try them all, I think the fun would be worth the fear. I adore your dresses, they are gorgeous and perfect for your trip. I have always wanted to see Bali myself, no more than ever, it looks amazing. The cell phone took such lovely pictures xox

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  • Roshni Rai

    Lovely post Nilu!! Such amazing pictures, I got to relive my Bali memories… wish i could go back … just something about their culture, people and place that is so familiar yet so new and exciting. Same pinch on people mistaking us for Indonesian.

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  • Awisekh Kaiser Pradhan

    Namaste! Neelu..
    Just wow!
    Insane ,,/ thoroughly I enjoyed a lot.
    Kudos! to your cell phone camera shooter …. 😘

    • Hello! Thank you for visiting this space today! My partner is brilliant at what he does but we didn’t use a cell phone 🙈 We used and point and shoot camera 🙏🏻😁

  • Darshita Goyal

    The trip sounds brilliant and all the pictures are proof of it. I really love how detailed the travelogue is, makes all the readers want to go right away! Thank you for putting in so much of an effort and sharing every step of your travel with us. 💙

    • Your comment makes me really happy Darshita! I love documenting things and this trip post has been the most exciting thing for me to document considering I’d planned a trip to Bali for so long. I have a couple more posts lined up as I couldn’t put too much images and info in a single post as that would have been excruciatingly long. Thank you for taking the time to visit and comment <3 It makes me incredibly happy and Thank you for reading the post today. Have a great day ahead!

  • Manisha

    Such a wonderful write up! Makes me wanna go asap! 😍
    What’s d entrance fee for monkey forest? Also, is there an entrance fee for Thirtha Gangga and Ujung water palace?
    Btw, you look fabulous in all the pictures! Love ❤️

    • Thank you for visiting BHLM today Manisha <3
      The entrance to the Monkey forest was about IDR 50000/- per person and yes there is an entrance fee for both Tirtha Gangga and Ujung Water palace. Almost all places in Bali have entrance fee including the temples and even the Ubud Rice Fields and Waterfall. In short all the places I've mentioned here had entry fees but I unfortunately cannot recall how much we paid for each of these places.

      • Manisha

        Thanks love ❤️

  • swornim

    omg u look stunning and all the pic are awesome .can u share how u edit your pictures plz😍

    • Thank you so much! 98% of these pictures are edited on the phone as i hadn’t carried a laptop and I use Lightroom app for mobile. I use a technique called Coloring which involves playing with the colors to achieve the tone you want.

  • Anusha Kondapaturi

    Oh my god! ❤️❤️❤️ Beautiful Bali!