We’ve returned from our Bali Jolly Christmas and are settling into “winter” in Chiang Mai. It dropped into the 60s last night! Bali was fun, beautiful, and wild. I’ll keep this short:

  • It’s green, tropical, and beautiful. There are rice paddies on the beach, dense jungle, mountains, volcanoes, etc.
  • It’s known as the land of a thousand temples and they aren’t kidding.
  • The beaches are beautiful, crazy, and dirty. The water is warm, blue, and the waves are great for surfing. This also means they get big and come at a high frequency. It’s exhausting just swimming! Beachfront property seems underdeveloped in many parts. It’s not lined with big resorts, but rather tiny bars, abandoned shacks, or agricultural┬áland. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing since it makes the beaches very relaxed, but it is different. The beaches are also littered with trash and debris in many parts. It makes you appreciate how much effort they put into keeping beaches clean in the US.
  • Ubud was our favorite stop. It’s a city in the jungle filled with B&Bs, great food, and great shopping. Very relaxed with tons of stuff to do. We’d spend more than 4 nights here on our next visit.
  • Monkeys are savages. We visited the Monkey Forest in Ubud (which was awesome and a ton of fun) and Lauren fell victim to a brutal monkey attack. The little thief hopped on her back, unzipped our backpack and started stealing our phone chargers. I swatted at him, he hissed at me and hopped off, and moved on to his next victim. Photo evidence below.
  • The hotels are nice and cheap. All of our rooms were in great locations with excellent service, restaurants, laundry service, massages, infinity pools, etc. for $35-45/night. Not bad.
  • We learned to surf! We’re still sore and sunburned two days later, but it was worth it. Lauren and I successfully caught multiple waves so I’m calling it a victory.
  • The roads and traffic are absolutely terrible. A 12.4-mile drive from the airport takes about an hour and fifteen minutes. Taxis, Uber, etc. are scammers and should be avoided. If we ever go back I’ll arrange private transportation.

Bali was great overall. We stayed in nice hotels and spent lots of time in a pool or at the beach. The transportation was an absolute nightmare and did leave a bad taste in our mouths though. Lesson learned for next visit!