Read more about my Self Care Sabbatical and the other places I’ve visited!
Long before I arrived in Asia, I dreamed that I would be able to extend my trip and somehow find my way to Indonesia, if just for a week. My initial plans had me back on a flight to NY in February and, with a lot that I wanted to see in SE Asia, Indonesia seemed pretty impossible to squeeze in.
But I guess it’s true that if you put something into the Universe, it can happen for you?
Because in May I found myself heading to Bali with plans to spend 18 days there!
Extending my trip in Asia left me a little room to change up my plans, find some new destinations after leaving Koh Tao. Bali was obviously the first place I had in mind! And I was lucky that one of my friends was also planning to go to Bali around the same time.
Little did I know that planning a trip to Bali would be a bit…overwhelming. Even though it’s an island, it’s quite large and there are a lot of different parts of the island worth visiting. With not quite three weeks, how was I going to split up my time? I hadn’t had to plan a trip in months and suddenly I found myself trying to sort out all of these different areas and beaches and jungles and even other islands outside of Bali…
It was a lot.
What made it a bit easier was that I would be spending the first week with my friend so we were able to plan out the first part together. And then I would be on my own for the remaining 10 days, free to explore whichever parts of Bali (or elsewhere) that I wanted to see. Through my research, I discovered that all of these areas in Bali are known for certain things whether it’s beaches, surfing, scuba diving, jungles, great getaway resorts, or super touristy backpacker spots. The first trick to planning our time in Bali was to figure out what we wanted to DO in Bali and then we could narrow down the potential locations.
My friend and I wanted to surf, hang at the beach, and scuba dive. There are a few parts of Bali that specialize in these areas; we took recommendations from friends (and location) into account and settled on splitting our time between Uluwatu and Tulamben. Uluwatu, known for its surfing, also happens to be quite close to the airport thus making it a great first stop after we arrived from a VERY long journey from Koh Tao (approximately 26 hours of traveling). We pictured ourselves spending a few days surfing and lounging in Uluwatu before making our way up to the northeastern part of Bali which is known for some excellent dive sites. A friend from our dive shop in Koh Tao recommended a dive resort in Tulamben and – boom – our decision was made.
For my solo time, I knew I wanted to do some more diving and had heard that the diving on Gili T (actually part of Lombok, not Bali) was the place to do it. So I planned to make my way there as well as spend some time on Gili Air (highly recommended by friends). After that, I would make my way back to Bali for a few relaxing days in Ubud where I would just chill out before I had to leave Indonesia (and nearly time for me to leave Asia altogether).
While I originally intended to be loose with my plans, something I had been trying to force myself to do during my entire self-care sabbatical, I couldn’t help myself. I had limited time in Bali and needed a sense of strategy for how I would spend my time. In retrospect, I wish I had left some of it flexible but, in the end, I felt like I was able to see quite a bit within that time (and still really enjoy it all).
Besides, it was clear from the first day in Uluwatu that I would return to Bali. I stopped stressing about how much time I had in each place or worrying that I was missing something by not visiting another part of the island. I would be back without a doubt. All that hype about Bali is real!
It is a beautiful island. The beaches are stunning. The sunsets and sunrises are incredible. Delicious food. Friendly people. Lush jungles and spectacular coastlines. Palm trees and waves and sand and all of my favorite things. I was glad that I had booked my flights out of Asia before arriving in Indonesia – I could have easily gotten stuck there for a few more weeks. It’s easy to see why people tend to go to Bali and never want to leave.
More to come on all of the places I visited in Indonesia!