• Cait

Steal My Vacation: 2 Weeks of Paradise in Bali

Updated: Nov 11, 2020


When people started coming to me for travel advice—and then asking outright for my itineraries, I thought it would be fun to start publishing them. I started with my two-week trip to Thailand and then my northern Italy escape.

I spend hours (and I mean HOURS) researching destinations, activities, reputable tour operators, authentic places to eat, and unique accommodations. I scour traveler blogs (the best place to go, in my opinion), verify my selections on travel review sites, and crowd source to make sure I have crafted the best itinerary possible.

Researching a trip is half the fun. When I was little, a teacher asked our class to share their favorite emotion. I said mine was “anticipation.” Drooling over travel photos is much more satisfying when you know you will be going there yourself.

Studies show that people visit hundreds of sites and spend almost as many hours planning a vacation. And this where I thrive. So here is my most recent vacation itinerary—let me know if you end up stealing it!

A Note on Travel Style

I always start with a caveat that everyone has a different travel style. So my itinerary may not be the perfect one for you. Here are some notes regarding how I travel.

  • I prefer to “go and do” rather than “go and see,” so you won’t see many museum or pure sight seeing tours on my itineraries. I also don’t love beaches for the most part. And lying around at a resort for a week bores me to tears.

  • Similarly, I enjoy active vacations and being outdoors. Most of my trips include some kind physical activity. Hiking, kayaking, horseback riding, etc.

  • I am comfortable in rustic accommodations. But my husband prefers luxury stays. There is usually a mixture on our trips together—anywhere from a campervan to a luxury bungalow. I always notate in my detailed reviews the “adventure” level of our lodging.

  • My MO is go, go, go. My husband likes to relax. There is usually a balance in our trips.

  • Ethical travel is important. To the best of my knowledge and ability, I have vetted operators to ensure they are responsible—particularly when it comes to activities involving animals.

Ok, let’s get down to what you are really here for—to steal my vacation!

 

Indonesia

Indonesia spans one eighth of the earth’s circumference and is comprised of over 17,000 islands. The topography and wildlife are as diverse as the people. Over 300 languages are spoken across the sprawling country. And, it’s absolutely gorgeous!

With only two weeks, we didn’t have time to do as much island hopping as we would have liked. So we decided to focus on Bali (a popular tourist destination). But to satisfy my need to venture to less-touristy destinations, we included trips to Nusa Penida and Flores.

Canggu, Bali

Canggu was our first stop and it was a great way to adjust to the Bali lifestyle (and the 12 hour time difference!). Canggu has a definite laid-back vibe and is great if you want to catch some of Bali’s infamous surf, but don’t feel ready for the more intense waves on the rest of the island. Suggestions for Canggu were provided by a contact from Desert to Sea Travel.

Day 1

Arrival

Our private driver, Wayan, picked us up from the airport and drove us for most of our vacation. He was amazing and we would definitely recommend him! (You can contact him through What’s App at 6281936021872.)

Breakfast

After a day of airport food, start your day at Café Organic for some smoothie bowls and delicious, wholesome food.

Relax

Visit Spring Spa for seriously ONE OF THE BEST MASSAGES YOU’LL EVER HAVE!

We went for the 90-minute option (because, y’all, massages here are SO CHEAP). Since you’ve probably just endured a very long flight, trust me, your body will thank you.

Check In

Check into the Zala Villa.

(See my Zala Villa TripAdvisor review here).

Dinner

Enjoy drinks and dinner at The Lawn for sunset.

(See my review of The Lawn here).

If you’ve seen my other itineraries, you might notice I have a penchant for revisiting a restaurant I really love while on vacation. Some people might consider this a taboo, because there are so many new restaurants to discover, but I don’t care. If I fall in love with a place because it has the perfect mixture of great food and ambiance, I like to enjoy it a second time. (In case you couldn’t tell, The Lawn was that place for me.)

Day 2

Activity

Surfing lessons with Baruna Surf Culture.

Lunch

Vegetarians can rejoice in Bali because there are TONS of delicious options. Check out The Avocado Factory for some healthy food all including—avocado, the fruit of the Millennial.

Explore

Enjoy strolling Canggu and checking out the excellent shopping.

Relax

Ok, I know I just got finished telling you how active I like to be on vacation, but massages are also really nice (and did I mention cheap?). So get another one at Therapy Massage (though I did like Spring better).

Dinner

We heard great things about Shady Shack, but gosh darn, we loved The Lawn so much, we went back. It’s ok, you can judge me.

Fun side story: one of the couples we had met during surfing showed up as we were paying our bill. So, we asked them to join us and we stayed for another round (or two) of drinks.

Flores

Flores is home to a number of active volcanoes and Komodo National Park. It is more rugged and less developed than Bali (hence my attraction), but we didn’t get to explore it as much as I would have liked (plus, I had to consider my husband’s tolerance level for “adventure,” my code word for “discomfort”).

If you want to see Komodo Dragons, definitely head to Flores—one of the only places where you can see them in the wild. If rugged mountains and trekking are your thing (like me), I’ve heard Lombok is a great alternative and it doesn’t require a flight—just a speed boat from Bali. For beautiful beaches, you can go to the Gili Islands (right off Lombok).

DAY 3

Travel

Wayan picked us up early to transport us to the airport.

*A note on booking domestic air within Indonesia: Many Indonesian carriers will not accept foreign credit cards—and my credit card company was notified to block my card multiple times while I tried to book through C-Trip. I had my best luck with Garuda Airlines after calling my credit card company to inform them I was using my card to book the flight.

Check In

This is the first “adventurous” accommodation of this trip. Le Pirate is on an anchored ship in the harbor of Labuan Bajo. It is unique, charming, and fun. But it is definitely a hostel type situation.

(Check out my Le Pirate review here).

Relax

We spent this day on the boat. There were stand up paddle boards and kayaks. I read, we played games, we watched the sunset. This was my attempt to build in “down time,” but I can’t say I loved it. Marriage is about compromise, right?

DAY 4

Activity

The daily speed boat from Red Whale Dive Center picked us up right at our boat. This may have been one of the best things we did on our entire trip. Man eating komodo dragons? Check. Hiking to the top of a beautiful island? Check. Sitting on a pink sand beach? Check.

Notes: Bring cash for the Komodo Island entry fee. If you want to take photos on the pink sand beach, bring a waterproof camera because the boat doesn’t dock.