Ahh, magical Bali. The Land of Lefts.
I never thought I would actually go, but there I was on a surf trip with my boys in Uluwatu.
We battled the Bali belly 🤢, monkeys 🐒, scorching heat ☀️, and the Uluwatu cave current… and we came out alive.
I’m writing this a few months after the Bali trip, so I don’t remember all the details perfectly (like how much everything cost), but better late than never, yeah?
When my buddy JacuzziSurfer moved to Bali and invited me to visit, I couldn’t say no.
Turns out a handful of my friends wanted to go too, so we made a group trip out of it.
Traveling to Bali
Our flights to and from Bali were definitely the worst part of our surf trip.
20 hours of flight time each way!
We are from San Diego, but we saved a good amount of money (I think around $500) by flying out of LA.
15 hours from LA to Hong Kong, where we arrived at 6pm, and our flight to Bali didn’t depart until noon the next day…
So we had to stay up all night and party in Hong Kong.
We showed up very un-sober 🤪 for our 5hr flight to Bali the next day.
(For our flights returning to San Diego, it was a similar situation with the layover, but I felt like I was dying so I just slept on the airport floor. It was rough)
Our Uluwatu Villa
There were 6 of us total, so we were able to rent this villa on Airbnb for only about $50/night per person. It was called the “Uluwatu Surf Ranch”.
We each had our own bedroom with air conditioning, and the yard featured a super nice pool setup.
The villa even had a laundry room (though I don’t think I washed any of my clothes).
The hosts helped us get anything we wanted (scooters, surfboards, meals, etc) and the property manager Komang checked in with us every day.
Oh, and it even came with a dog 🐶 (they asked if we would be ok with him at the villa).
My only complaint about the villa, was that we ran out of gas for a couple days, and couldn’t use the stove to cook our own food.
There was an under-the-sink water filter (so it was supposed to be good), because you don’t want to drink tap water there… somehow 5 out of 6 of us got “Bali belly” though, so we aren’t sure if it had to do with that water filtration system.
I had a really intense fever and chills, and the other guys had tummy problems. Some people recommend only eating cooked foods (no raw smoothies or veggies), but we really couldn’t pinpoint the cause of our Bali belly.
When you think of Bali, you think of scooters 🛵.
Almost everyone drives mopeds in Bali.
Luckily we were staying in the more remote area of Uluwatu, but the traffic gets crazy in the busy areas like Canguu.
They drive on the left hand side of the road there too, which makes it even more confusing!
If you want to be legal, I think you’re supposed to get your international license or something, but we didn’t. Be careful.
But scooters are essential to get to the surf spots. Make sure to get a surfboard rack on your scooter.
Our property manager had someone drop off the scooters for us, and it only cost about 10 bucks a day.
Surfboard Rentals in Bali
There are so many places to rent surfboards in Bali, it can be overwhelming!
And it’s so cheap to rent boards out there, it’s really not even worth bringing your own, unless you’re really that good.
I just brought my own fins and leash, and rented my surfboard from rentasurfboard.com. (The rentals come with fins and leashes usually, but I wanted to bring my own just in case).
Yes this website seemed kinda sketch (my buddy just randomly found it) but it turned out to be legit!
We rented Hypto Kryptos (which are super fun), and I paid $69 for the week.
They delivered to our villa, and picked the boards up before we departed at the end of our trip.
I actually snapped my board in half, but they were super cool and replaced it for free, since it had been repaired there previously.
Bali Surf Spots
There are so many amazing surf spots in Bali, with Uluwatu being one of the most famous.
It was also my favorite.
We surfed a few other spots… Canggu, Padang, Impossibles, but Ulu was the best.
It’s a bit of a hike to get to the bottom of the cave where you paddle out. The entry to the lineup is simple, just paddle out from the cave, you don’t have to worry about the reef unless it’s super low tide.
Waves were about 4-6 feet while we were there, which was perfect for us. Not to big, not too small. Ulu could get crowded, but I always managed to find my own little opening.
Something special about Uluwatu is the photographers in the cliffs. They will take pictures of everyone surfing, and then when you walk back up the cliff they pull you into their “offices” and scroll through the pictures on their computer to find the ones of you.
Then you can decide if you want to buy them (I didn’t buy any, but I think it was maybe $10 for a few pics).
There’s plenty of nightlife in Bali! Lots of people there don’t even surf, they just go for the nightlife.
Even in Uluwatu, where it’s much more quiet, there’s still a “the spot” almost every night of the week it seems. (Sundays are for Single Fin)
Kam and I went to Canggu for one night, and it’s wild there. So much going on. Just walk around and find what looks good.
Drugs are very illegal in Bali. Like death sentence illegal. 😵
Apparently you can still get ahold of them, but I didn’t want to find out… though there may have been someone selling shrooms 🍄 outside of Single Fin.
Don’t risk it for the biscuit.
Food in Bali 🥘
I was sick for most of the trip, so I didn’t get to enjoy the food as much as most people do.
My favorite was probably the breakfast at one of the spots below Single Fin on the cliffs of Uluwatu.
French toast (with honey 🍯 instead of syrup), eggs, sausage, and coffee.
Also good was the unlimited breakfast at Single Fin, great for refilling your body after a grueling morning surf at Uluwatu. (credit cards accepted)
There’s so many food options to choose from. Warungs (small restaurant or cafe) along the roadside everywhere.
Rice is a staple, and peanut butter sauce seems to be popular too.
Whether you’re into rice and meat, or fruit smoothies and acai bowls, there’s something for everyone.
The tourist-y spots are usually nicer and accept credit cards, while the local warungs are usually cash only, but considerably cheaper.
It’s nice to get some variety and eat at both.
Bali Surf Trip Costs
Flights – $800
Villa – $350 ($50/night per person)
Scooter rental – $70
Surfboard rental – $69
Meals – $200
Total – $1,489
I wish I didn’t feel like death for most of the trip, but it was still such a fun experience.
It takes a lot of time and money to get to Bali, but once you’re there, everything is cheap and the living’s good.
We also went in April, which is right at the beginning of busy season. The waves start to get good, but the crowd doesn’t show up for another few weeks.
My recommendation is to get a group of friends, and go in on a villa.
Now that the weather is cooling down here in San Diego, I’m starting to crave Bali again…