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Bali: Greatest Hits

Posted by Rhea Cortado on

The challenge: limited vacation time and the overwhelming crisis of choices between one magical villa overlooking the beach and another one just footsteps from the sand. How do you decide? Rosie Jaffurs’s answer: you don’t. 

“If you had two weeks in Bali I would recommend moving around from spot to spot, spending 2 to 3 nights at each different location, and not staying in one location.”

After her third trip to Bali (spanning Canggu, Bingin, and Uluwatu), Rosie Jaffurs share her favorite places and spaces for fun surf, meeting locals, and crystal clear underwater exploring.

Featuring Rosie Jaffurs and Ashley Johnson. All photos by Bryce Johnson. 



If you’ve seen iconic cliffside views of a left point in Bali, chances are you’ve seen Uluwatu. Tourists love Uluwatu and while it’s not the best choice for that off-the-beaten-path feel, the view from the villas and resorts (we stayed at Uluwatu Surf Villas) are spectacular. 

Surfers: paddle out with caution. “There is some of the best surf in the world there. The majority of the times I have paddled out, I’m out in the lineup thinking to myself, ‘I don't surf Pipe. Why am I out here?’ Big left hand barrels with a lot of beginner surfers out there trying to get something as well.

The first time I surfed Uluwatu the swell and tide changed. Right when I got out the surf grew a couple feet. I saw the nicest waves set come in and every person that caught a wave in the set got taken out by someone trying to get under the wave. A perfect six wave set! Perfect surf, but it can just be little crowded and dangerous." 

Eat: Uluwatu Wasabi, a sushi restaurant owned by a local Indonesian.

Gili Trawangan Island 

Anyone looking for the prettiest stretch of empty white sand beach and clear waters to dive and float in, Gili Island is your paradise.

How to get there: By boat. Here is where you want to splurge. “Get a little bit more of a pricey ticket to get on a fast safe legit boat. There’s a lot of stories about boat mishaps in Indo and the safest ones to travel on are the newest ones!”

How to get around: Womanpower and horsepower. “There are no mo-peds or vehicles on this little island, just peddle bikes and horse carriages. It was like going back in time. We did nothing but ride our bikes around.” It takes about 20 minutes to circle around the island.

What to do: “Get something cool to drink like a fresh watermelon juice. Hang out at the beach and just stare out into the sea, completely get away from world. A lot of people go to the island for scuba. The water and fish are just like the picture books that if you get to see in real life, you know you are doing life right!”

Surf: Not on this trip. But one of the best waves in Indo (a below sea level right hand barrel) pops up on this little island when the swell and tide are right.

Banyumala Falls

After you’ve had your fill of lounging by the pool, the surf is flat or you just want to get away from the tourist enclaves, Banyumala Falls is a sweet day trip. The adventurous are rewarded with unforgettable waterfalls and a closer look at rural Bali on the way there.

How to get there: We asked the security at the front of our hotel which one we should go to and they reply, “Oh this one and I can drive you there if you like, perfect! If you find a good driver that enjoys taking you around and showing you their island, Stick with them, ask them where you should go and what to check out.”

What to expect: From Kuta, the drive is about 3 hours into the mountains but the drive itself is getting to experience Bali country and its breath taking. Rice fields on rice fields with coconut trees surrounding it and a big crater volcano in the back! Finally, when you are near the waterfalls you are in the mountains surrounded only by green! It’s a different part of Bali that I would not have experienced had I stayed by the ocean! Not only that, the people you see up in the mountains are almost completely living off the land and just to be around that and see it feels so cool and appreciative for them being able to live like that and makes me reflect back on how reliable I am in my own life.


Visitors beware that Kuta is hectic. It has a rowdy nightlife and lots of tourists during the holiday seasons. But the one thing it has going for it is beginner-friendly surf, which is in the eye of the beholder.

“A lot of surfers don't like Kuta because it is the busy city, surf isn't the best but I enjoy Kuta A LOT. I don't ever mind spending a lot of my time here and using it as a home base. The surf is small and sandbar, perfect for my log and then if it gets bigger you can shortboard it and get little barrels.”

Extracurricular activities: “Figuring out what to eat is never a problem because you have a million options. There are also spas galore around there so you can get a nice one hour massage for $7 and then go shopping and buy cute dresses and jumpsuits that back home are $120 you can get for $5.” While you’re at it, learn how to bargain. “Practice by asking how much things are at different places you will get all different prices. Find a fixed price shop to let you know what prices should be around. All the shops pretty much have the same things at different prices.”


Rosie's Bali Checklist:  

  • Bring a longboard, a shortboard, and your own board straps.
  • Rent a mo-ped if you trust yourself.. & USE the HELMET!!
  • Tip the people but not too much, don't want prices rising too much!
  • Try the Bali authentic foods like fried fish with Sambal. Also try the street food but go make sure it's fresh. Go for the specialty carts. These only serve at certain times of the day and there are Indo locals crowded around them.
  • Be careful with eating raw vegetables. Sometimes they are washed in tap water and that’s one way that tourists get sick.
  • Travel with charcoal pills! Bali Belly isn't a serious health hazard but if it does happen to you, it can mess the whole trip. There are cheap in Bali and available at any Apotek (Pharmacy).


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  • Hi Vanessa! Ashley and Rosie always like to travel with their own boards. In Uluwatu, they stayed at Uluwatu Surf Villas and I’m sure they could point you in the direction of where you could rent boards! In the other places like Kuta, which is a huge tourist destination you will be able to find a lot of surf schools who rent boards though the majority are probably beginner-type boards. If you have a really special kind of board you like to ride, you might be safer bringing your own. Hope that helps!

    Seea on

  • Did you find places to rent boards, or is bringing your own boards a must?

    Vanessa on

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