Bali — Summary — Bali, Indonesia

A summary of my time in Bali

September 2015

A fantastic place.

A beautiful island with a natural laid-back feel.

I can see why it has the reputation of being one of the relaxation destinations in the world. However, it isn’t all relaxation because your stress levels will rise as soon as you try to get from point A to point B.


Outside the main city of Denpasar, the roads are narrow. The roads are barely wide enough for two cars to pass. In countless places, the roads were so narrow as to make it impossible to overtake a motorbike if a vehicle was coming in the opposite direction.

Two other points to keep in mind about the roads in Bali.

First, the state of repair of some roads means they are very bumpy, and on one occasion, we had to turn around and find an alternative route as the road surface was so broken it was impossible to go on.

Second, fields and villages came first, so many roads tend to have straight sections, followed by a 90-degree corner, followed by another straight section, as the road skirts around a field. That is, the roads follow the old boundaries of the rice fields. Hence, if you are driving at night (and street lighting tends to be poor or non-existent), watch out for sudden blind bends.


Driving is crazy, particularly if you are not used to sharing the road with numerous motorbikes/scooters.

My advice, hire a taxi for a day of exploring at a fixed price, which depending on what you want to do, will be from 300,000-800,000 Indonesian rupiah (£15-£40 UK; $22-$60 US). Hiring a taxi means you will get to see the countryside, and you will get a driver that knows how to get to where you would like to go.


Every other local you pass in the street seems to be a taxi driver. I have never encountered so many taxi drivers in one place.

I had pre-booked my taxi before I arrived — Ubud Taxi — so I was all set for the airport pick-up and drop-off. I also used Ubud Taxis for all my trips around Bali. We agreed on the pick-up times, itinerary, and price before I arrived on the island. Ubud Taxis were at pains to point out that they were not a guide but a taxi service.

Ubud Taxi can be reached at, and I can recommend them.

Scooters, mopeds, and Motorbikes

These are everywhere. And I mean everywhere.

The best drivers are the locals, who seem to take to the road around 14 (although the law says 17).

The worst drivers are the visitors who seem to get to the island, hire a bike, and then go mad on the roads. I had more close calls with foreigners whipping around corners and down alleyways than with locals. Numerous companies hire scooters and mopeds for visitors.

Helmets should be worn by law but appear optional.

The maximum number of people per scooter/moped/motorbike is two, although 3 per bike are regularly seen, 4s are often seen, and I saw one 5 per bike.

If you hire a scooter or moped and run low on petrol, you will find that most shops sell it by the litre bottle.

Photo by Author — petrol for sale in a local store — Bali, Indonesia
Photo by Author — petrol for sale in a local store — Bali, Indonesia


The food in Bali was fantastic and cheap.

There was an excellent range of foods available for vegans and meat eaters. All the food I had was superb and very affordable. Lots of lovely fresh fruits and vegetables were available at small roadside stands and in local shops.

Breakfast in my hotel (Gajah Biru Bungalows) was good, and as I was leaving early for my flight before breakfast was served, they insisted on sending me on my way with a breakfast box.

Photo by Author — my breakfast snack box — Bali, Indonesia
Photo by Author — my breakfast snack box — Bali, Indonesia


I was still coming to terms with the culture when I left Bali, as it was a real mix and not like anything else I had experienced in SE Asia.

The importance of religion struck me, and I don’t think I have ever been anywhere with so many temples and small shrines. In some villages I drove through, nearly every house had a shrine, and most villages seemed to have one or two temple complexes. Even the hotel I stayed at had two shrines.

Some of the temples seem to have fallen into disuse. On my drives around the island, I saw several temples where the internal structures appeared to be collapsing and the steps and walkways overgrown with weeds.


The countryside was beautiful.

The primary crop in Bali seems to be rice, and everywhere I went, there were acres of rice fields with new green shoots. This gave the fields a most amazing fresh green look, which added to the beauty of the countryside.


Temples face South. Different coloured clothes are placed on the east and west pillars.


I enjoyed my stay in Bali, and it was far too short, and when I left, I was already thinking about how I could go back one day for a more extended stay and a more in-depth exploration of the island.

Next stop — Hong Kong

The next stop on my travels was Hong Kong, which involved a 2-hour 40-minute flight to Singapore, a 3-hour 40-minute layover, and then a 4-hour flight to Hong Kong. A total of 7 hours and 40 minutes of flying and closer to 16 hours of travelling if you include layovers and taxi rides.

So, why Hong Kong? Well, during my time in SE Asia, I had heard a lot about Hong Kong, all good, and so I thought I had better go and check the place out myself.