I’m happy to report that it was absolutely the former.
I could have sipped mango smoothies, wandered through rice paddies, and explored underwater for much longer than a month.
However, there were still a few things that I could have done without... Here’s what I loved and hated about Bali.
A beautiful splash of color on every road and in every home, and a constant reminder of the devotion of Balinese people to their beliefs.
The range of great cuisine, from super cheap to super trendy.
If you want to get up close with the sea turtles and fluorescent fish, Bali has no shortage of places to strap on your snorkel mask.
Dive deep in Tulamben for an incredible underwater wreck, or snorkel in Amed for beautiful coral gardens in crystal clear waters.
There are surfing opportunities for all levels in Bali. Novices can learn how to stand up at Quicksilver Surf School in Legian, while more experienced surfers will find killer waves in Medewi.
The Balinese people are exceptionally beautiful and friendly. It’s impossible to travel here without being won over by the locals.
When you see the men working, wearing those cone-shaped hats, with the palm trees towering ahead, you know you’re somewhere very beautiful – yet very far away from home.
“Road rules” seems to be a bit of an oxymoron here. Every ride is a thrilling rush to not, you know, fall off and die — but it’s also incredibly liberating and satisfying to ditch the trapped feeling of being stuck in a taxi, jammed in incessant traffic.
There’s nothing better than stretching into a sun salutation while staring out at a sea of green rice paddies, and listening to monkeys screech in the distance.
Yoga Barn in Ubud is a hub for culturally hip and flexible travelers and expats. Try flying yoga for something different, or unwind after a long flight with restorative yoga.
From super trendy restaurants in Seminyak, to hippie vegan joints in Ubud and cheap (yet delicious) food wrapped in banana leaves on the street — Balinese food is spicy, fresh and scrumptious.
Join a cooking class to learn how to re-create your favorites back home.
There are touts everywhere, but it’s particularly bad in Ubud.
It’s impossible to walk down the street without being asked to hop on a motorbike, into a taxi, or rent a bicycle.
In the Kuta/Seminyak area, taxis announce their availability by honking their horn while driving down the street. Needless to say, a quiet walk down the street is not possible in Indonesia.
The humidity leaves you drenched in sweat and covered in mosquito bites, particularly if you’re out in the late afternoon.
Pick up a bottle of Utama Spice mosquito repellent at Bali Buddha. It’s organic, smells amazing and keeps all the bugs away.
If you’re visiting between the months of November and March, be prepared to spend your afternoons indoors, as thunderstorms sweep through the region. Pack an umbrella!
The Balinese used to eat on banana leaves and then toss the leaves in the river when they were done.
It seems like the “toss it in the river” mentality has prevailed – but now with plastic bottles and paper products.
It’s a shame to see how much trash piles up in the rushing creeks and on the streets.
It’s not uncommon to see young Westerners walking around on crutches or covered in bandages – the likely result of a motorbike crash.
Road rules aren’t taken too seriously here, and the streets can be a bit dangerous as a result.
Always wear a helmet, and only drive if you have a license back home, and if you feel comfortable navigating the streets.
About the Author
Christine Amorose has backpacked through Europe, bartended on the French Riviera, worked in Australia and explored Southeast Asia. Follow her adventures at C’est Christine, or catch her on Twitter and Facebook.