How we planned our unplanned holiday to Bali, Indonesia:

A quick, little background if you’re new to my blog/IG { candibod } – This was my very first overseas trip, and if you are looking for inspiration to incorporate into your own journey, I truly hope that my experience will help to guide you around this perfect piece of paradise.

Let’s start from the very beginning…

Our tickets were finally booked after an endless search, and comparison of prices, via Singapore airlines. We managed to bag a return flight for just over R9000 each, which is pretty decent {the price changes according to the time of the year, and I’m assuming the layover time between each airport} We had a crazy 1 hour layover time between Cape Town and Singapore. Singapore to Dispenser airport, however – I am positive that the actual traveling time was so quick that it took us 15 hours in total, as opposed to 25 hours, to get to Bali.

Okay, so we got the tickets, now what?! 

I guess we needed a place to stay? But what if we booked into a place that we didn’t end up loving? What exactly is a “good” price for accommodation? Can you tell I’ve never traveled before, ha ha …So, I did what any indecisive human being would do – I only booked our first week in a place that appeared to be foolproof {Canngu} and decided to wing it from there.

Best advice I can give: Don’t go booking all your accommodation at once or in the same place, and book self-catering places or an Airbnb instead of hotels, where you will probably just get lazy and order unnecessary marked-up room service.

Cool, so now it’s the day before leaving and we need to get packing!

Here are some quick packing tips that might help:

  • If you are going to Bali you WILL want to buy everything there – so pack around ¾ outfits max, and do your summer shopping there. Of course, if you’re on a budget, then still pack only what you cannot live without, and it’s only about R50 – R150 { depending on where you stay } to get A LOT of laundry done – so it’s up to you but I still stand by taking as little clothing as possible, and even less shoes.
  • Bug spray – I got an amazing one off Faithful To Nature
  • Roll up a bigger bag inside of your suitcase for all of the goodies you’ll probably bring home with you.
  • If you have any dietary requirements or medications that you need to take on the reg, make sure that you pack enough for the trip, and maybe some premix breakfast meals/snacks for emergencies.
  • ZIP-LOCK BAGS! Honestly surprised at how much I used these.
  • Follow up from that previous tip, put some laundry detergent in a zip-lock bag for when you run out of underwear or get a nasty coffee stain.
  • Reusable bag for laundry.
  • Roll up clothes instead of folding them.
  • Pack a similar clothing color palette so that you have more options to mix and match outfits. All 3 of them. #winning
  • Double bag toiletries {especially fake tan} to avoid spills. Had to say goodbye to my favorite pair of nude sneakers for this EXACT reason.
  • Pack enough toiletries to last you a week; then buy the rest there. So many people invest in those mini bottles for their shampoo and conditioner, etc.
  • Don’t forget at least one set of active wear – you never know; you might enjoy the hike life.
  • When getting a travel case, be mindful of your way of traveling because the heavier your bag, the heavier your scooter commute.

Oh and some sneaky airplane tips:

  • Bring sealed snacks that suit your dietary requirements.
  • Don’t forget bubblegum or sucking sweets for when you takeoff and land.
  • Fun fact: the sodium in airplane food is roughly 10 times higher because of how your taste buds change at high altitude – just try an unsalted nut up in the air, ha ha; will blow your mind.
  • Bring along some sleeping tablets, or embrace the 3 days of not knowing how to function.
  • Tie a bright ribbon on your luggage.
  • Get up at least every 30 mins to walk around when safe to do so.
  • Take off your shoes when you are allowed to and get comfy!

And some landing tips that saved us big time:

  • Get a sim card asap – also, a sim card and R450 airtime lasted me the entire 4 weeks holiday.
  • Draw money at the ATM.
  • Get a taxi to each city. Don’t try and load your scooters, unless you plan to live out of a backpack the whole time.
  • Get a scooter once you are settled. It’s way cheaper and you have far more independence.
  • Not a landing tip really but this did help; use google translate on your phone when struggling to communicate.

Before getting into how much you need, lets first understand the exchange rate and how to work with the Indonesian Rupiah:
R10 = Rp10 000
Easy way to work it out: 1:1 and take three ‘0’ off everything you see OR
If they give you a ‘K’ with the total; example:
10K = R10

Okay cool now that we got that under control lets move on!

So we didn’t budget, as this was my first overseas trip, and I didn’t want to feel restricted. However, if we were to guess, with eating out for every meal and shopping most days, we’d suggest R25/R35k after your tickets so as to enjoy the experience without feeling restricted.

That being said, the beauty of Bali is that you can have a very similar experience for around R15k – R20k for the month by using some budgeting tips:

  • Book through an Airbnb and get a place to sleep in that is both comfortable and affordable, thus leaving the rest of your money for adventures/food/shopping.
  • Walk or get a scooter.
  • Eat local food like Nasi Goreng, and if you are seriously on a budget, share each meal with someone or half each meal and have it later because the portions are crazy big here.
  • Leave your shopping for the side of the roads and certain markets where you have room to bargain. For example, most places I went gave me R100 off clothing if I bought 3 pairs { presents for friends in the bag #winning }
  • If you’re going to drink, drink local {Bintang}
  • Head to random massage parlors rather than insta worthy ones, you will get the best 1 hour foot massage for R100.
  • If you stay for a long time, go grab some local goods and cook at home – this is where, again, a self-catering Airbnb will save you money.
  • Wear a helmet. We got fined R250 per person because we were lazy one day, ha ha. That’s basically 2 meals for a dumb mistake.


Best for:
Foodie adventures!
Rice fields all around Canngu
Temple adventures – We visited Tam Ayun Temples
How we traveled: Via scooter.
Scooter cost per day: R60 rental, and to fill-up costs about R10.
Suggested time to stay here: 5-7 days.
Cost per meal: Budget between R85 – R150 with a drink.
Tip: Save money and eat at Crate Café, while still getting the BEST quality of produce.


First stop: Villa Casa Praia – Canggu Beach.
LOVED! Not to mention, it was placed in the most convenient spot to the local stores and restaurants – especially if you are too scared to scooter around at the beginning of your travels.
Travel: We got a taxi from the airport, and then walked to the nearest scooter hire business on the main road.

Second stop: Canngu – Villa Ocean.

Thoughts: LOVED this place – just a tip, if you stay in the room that we did, there is a switch outside by the front door’s entrance that turns off the loud geyser noise; took us the whole stay to figure that out; with no sleep. Apart from that, it’s a beautiful spot if you know you might want your own space to work/chill. I also suggest emailing them to confirm the actual address, as the one on Airbnb was incorrect when we first went on our way, and it instead sent us to some random street.
Travel: Again there are places to hire a scooter real close by.
Tip: Between cities, don’t try to scooter around with luggage like we did, just get a taxi for the love of Bali and your sanity!


Best for:
Volcano hike – Mount Batur
Yoga – We went to Yogabarn
Foodie adventures
Monkey Forrest
Waterfalls – We went to a secret one, Puta from the Eco Cabins can tell you the best places!
Ubud Market
Again tons of rice fields and temples!
Room 4 desert – Michelin star restaurant {the deserts to share come to R800 both us both}

How we traveled: Via scooter.
Scooter cost per day: R60 – R75 rental, and to fill-up costs about R10.
Suggested time to stay here: 5 days.
Cost per meal: Budget between R85 – R150 with a drink.
Tip: Wake up nice and early, and head on over to the fresh produce market at 6am. It doesn’t last the whole day and you get to taste some of the yummiest fruit at a steal of a price! 


Third stop: Ubud – Eco Cabin {40 minutes outside Ubud}
Thoughts: It will always hold a special place in my heart, and I have NEVER slept so well. Very much the simple life, so if you’re high maintenance and like to party, this isn’t the place for you – It’s a time to seriously disconnect and be present. The Eco Cabin’s are home to a local family in Ubud whose lives were saved by the income of this place. If you choose to stay here, you also choose to become a part of their family – so embrace the hugs and home cooked meals. Puta’s mom made our very first Nasi Goreng and I will never forget her for that. Oh and Puta is basically a travel agent – if there is anything you want to do, he can plan it. He booked us the volcano hike, told us where the less busy waterfalls were, and offered to book so much more! We unfortunately just didn’t have a lot of time there left to do so.
Travel: No need to hire, they have a means of transport for you, and can organize a taxi when needed.

Forth stop: Graha Moding Villas – Ubud.
Thoughts: It is seriously beautiful outside, however the rooms were SO dark inside that it was a tad tricky to do much in there but sleep {I mean there are worse things – I just like finding my clothes without a phone light in the morning} But truly lovely altogether. Grab some dinner/lunch specials to save some money, and don’t forget to have a massage right outside your room, followed by an afternoon nap.


The only reason that we stayed here was to be close for collection of the fast boat { click here to view fast boat details } I recommend only staying a night at a cheap place, and to get collected for the 11am departure to Nusa Lembongan; aka, paradise.

However if you do get stuck here, Soul in a Bowl serves the best cooked breakfast I have had to date!


Best for:
The warmest water in your life & a ton of tanning!
Swimming with manta-rays and fishes – D&B Snorkeling.
Snorkeling & diving.
Very traditional Balinese food.
The Blue Lagoon.
Visiting Nusa Panida.
Theater movie nights, while grabbing some dins.
How we traveled: Via scooter
Scooter cost per day: Our accommodation included a scooter.
Suggested time to stay here: We stayed for 5 days and it felt like the perfect amount. We actually extended our stay – the bonus to not planning every part of your trip!
Tip: There doesn’t seem to be many coconuts here, but The Deck has the BEST ones that I have had this entire trip, oh and their Nasi Goreng was pretty dope too.


Sixth stop: Beach View – Balinese wooden Hut.
Thoughts: Probably my favorite place, not just the hut, however the island itself! Just honestly go to Nusa and don’t think twice about it; if anything, extend your stay! The only downfall was that the shower didn’t really work, and anything that demands a lot of electricity like a hairdryer will trip the whole hut, ha ha.


The first day back in Siminyak was very overwhelming, busy and full. Coming from the humble Nusa Lembongan to the ‘city life’ took a solid three days to adjust to. On the surface, it does seem to be just shopping and eating out but as the days have gone by, you start to find the most bizarre ways of occupying your day. 

Best for:
Releasing baby turtles.
The best coffee – Revolver.
Cooking classes: Nias cooking class – There is also a vegan one next door, just don’t know the name.
Drinking (alcohol) – I don’t drink but dont want to cancel anyone out.
Massages – Everywhere and so cheap!
Shopping – SO MANY SHOPS!
Oh and if you want to spend an unnecessary amount of money on a cocktail, head to Potato Beach to tan and chill.
They check bags so you can’t sneak food or drinks in.
How we traveled: Via scooter.
Scooter cost per day: R60 – R75 per day, and to fill-up costs about R10.
Suggested time to stay here: If you like to shop & eat, I would say 1 week or less, max. I would also stay here at the end of your holiday, and save all of your gift shopping for here so that you don’t lug 100 bags around Bali like I did.
Cost per meal: Budget between R80 – R150 with a drink – I didn’t find places a tad pricey here.
Tip: The more local foods you buy, the cheaper!


Sixth stop: Blue Ocean Room; aka, Nen House.

Thoughts: Again, a bit dark and the room doesn’t allow any privacy; so yes, you will probably hear every bowel movement of your partner – BUT it grows on you. The room, not your partner’s bowel movement, ha ha. Also because it’s so dark, you tend to want to spend more time outside adventuring, which is the main point to traveling; so it’s not a huge deciding factor in my mind.


Q. What was our best experience?
A. Climbing mount Batar, and snorkeling with manta-rays and fishes.

Q. How expensive is a holiday trip in Bali?
A. Everything besides accommodation is on par with Cape Town’s prices. When it comes to accommodation you can find some pretty reasonable places on Airbnb – Also, try to eat traditional meals, don’t drink a lot of alcohol, and bargain at the markets to save a little bit of cash here and there. The food portions in Bali are huge, so you can totally share meals or pop half in a doggy bag for a second meal later on in the day.

Q. Any good deals with accommodation?
A. Free/Discount accommodation on the entertainer app – sadly only found out about this at the end of my trip buuuut you guys still have time! This goes for restaurants and accommodation.

Q. Top places, and where I would just stay for the day?
A. Top places had to be Canngu, Ubud and Nusa Lembongan. I wish we hadn’t spent so much time in Siminyak, and also very stoked we only spent two days in the Eco Cabins, which are 40 mins past Ubud, as there isn’t too much to see – it’s a very simple life up there.

Q. Plan activities or keep it spontaneous?
A. We literally didn’t plan any of the activities we did; even nail appointments – you can just walk in. In Bali, it seems like a plan is just always made. The one thing I would book for is the boat ride and accommodation for any Nusa Lembongan/Penida stays, due to it being smaller, and having less space for a plan to be made. Any activities on the island can just be made on the day/day before.

Q. Is it easy to go day by day or should you have an idea of what you want to do before heading to Bali?
A. We found it pretty easy to go day by day. For some reason, there just seems to be more hours in the day here in Bali.

Q. Food varieties and options? Should you do research?
A. I have dedicated a full foodie guide to Bali, which will be shared later this week and then re-linked here.

Q. Did you stay in self-catering or hotels mostly?
A. We only stayed in Airbnb’s, and stayed in a self-catering home at the end of our trip.

Q. Main transportation?
A. Scooters, and taxis between cities.

Q. Where have I felt my soul resonate with the most
A. Nusa Lembongan!

Q. Where did you buy your clothes?
A. Bamboo Blonde, Beachgold, side stores on the main road, Bali T {for a Nasi Goreng shirt} but honestly there are so many stores with amazing garments – it can just get a tad pricey as there are quite a few Australian brands.

Q. Did I budget?
A. To be honest, no. I just made sure that I had a lump sum in my account before leaving that I knew I couldn’t exceed, and just went to live a worry-free holiday. I know this isn’t how everyone will plan their holiday; however for me, I don’t spend recklessly, and probably spent maximum R5000 on all my clothes and gifts for family and friends.

Q. How and who did I book my flights with?
A. I booked with Singapore airlines – try avoiding short layovers like we have. Ours was totally doable, it just doesn’t leave you time to enjoy Singapore airport because it’s crazy cool from the moments I could check out the stores mid-running for my life to catch our flight.

Q. Skin protection/routine?
A. The two best lifesavers HAD to be my tinted SPF50 sunscreen, and coconut oil as a moisturiser. The combo leaves you with the most glowy island skin, while making sure your pigmentation doesn’t get out of control. Another thing to be aware of, is if you are scootering around with a face full of make-up, it is going to be very uncomfortable and will eventually come off. I suggest using the products mentioned above and giving your skin a break from make-up – believe me, the harsh humidity is going to be enough for your skin.

Another great tip on the beauty side of things, is Moroccan oil for your hair! Honestly, this was such a help with my increased sea life, and again, with the humidity.

I hope you enjoyed part one of the Bod in Bali series.
Next week’s blog post will be all things food In Bali – I’m actually so excited to get stuck into that one!

If you have any questions I have covered in this post, feel free to pop a comment below.


About Me

So take a girl with the energy of a greyhound stuck behind a desk for too many years who gave it all up to pursue a more fulfilling life centered around her passion for health and fitness. That rather convoluted sentence sums me up. Read More.

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