Words & Photos by Noah Collins
Bali’s been high on most surf/adventure bucket lists since it’s waves were first printed in mags and shown marching across movie screens in Morning of the Earth. Behind the beach, though, the Island of Gods might seem like a scooter-filled maze of good, great, and sometimes evil. So we recruited Sanuk ambassador slash Indo vet Noah Collins to share 10 tips on where to hang, how to stretch that dollar, be safe, stay fueled, get around and make the most of your next Balinese pilgrimage.
#1. GET NUTS – Drink at least one coconut a day.
#2. SHACK-UP IN STYLE – Traveling solo? Stay at The Farm Hostel. No if, ands or buts. It’s a 5-star hostel that’s brand new. Although “5-star” and “hostel” don’t really go together, The Farm is really nice with the coolest guys helping make your trip better—from helping you score waves early in the morning to riding into Ubud to see crazy rice fields in the mountains, or even hooking up a spot-on restaurant recommendation. It’s tucked away in a quiet rice field but is super close to the main scene and beach in Canggu. Get on it!
#3. CRUISE WISELY – If you like a cool international beach scene during the day with stylish coffee shops and healthy food restaurants nearby, and a fun club scene at night (at least 4 nights a week), then Canggu is the place for you. Sure, Uluwatu is nice and pristine (and Sunday nights at Single Fin go off)… but everyone knows deep down that Canggu is the groovier scene if you’re under 30.
#4. LOVE THY LOCAL – Make sure to always support the local warungs (food stands on the beach). If they ask for 20 cents for sitting in their chair on the beach, don’t give them a hard time—just do it. It’s 20 cents. Smile… Pass it On!
#5. DON’T SKIP BREAKY – Havin’ “BIG” nights in Bali is pretty much guaranteed. If you’ve had a long night, hitting The Shady Shack the morning after is key. Get a cold coconut with a charcoal shot to clean out your system. Order up a fruit smoothie bowl or the chick beans and toast with poached eggs and smashed avo…. Mind blowing. And, if that doesn’t fill you up, legend has it Nalu Bowls has the best acai bowl known to man….
#6. THE WHEEL DEAL – If you’re not from Bali or a country that has roads that are narrower than the width of a standard car, don’t bother trying to rent a car. Chances of you hitting a local on a motor bike or driving into the 4-foot ditch on either side of you are 110%. That said, you’ll probably end up riding a motorbike. They’re about $4.50–6$ USD a day to rent. I don’t care who or how cool you think you are, wear your helmet because it’s only a matter of when, not if, you get into an accident or fall in a ditch or rice field. Also, local police randomly appear on corners and will ticket you for not having a helmet or international license. If they try to flag you down, just keep riding—they’ll get the tourist behind you.
#7. STAY LOOSE – Get more than one massage while you’re there. There are places that will give you a peaceful hour massage and provide warm honey tea after for $12.
#8. NEVERMIND THE MAP – Get lost on your motor bike far in one direction parallel to the beach and ride slowly through the local villages to get a feel for how they all live their simple and happy lives. It’ll make you appreciate where you live and make you realize how happy people can be that work all day to make $8 for their family. Trust me. You’ll be glad you did…
#9. FERRY, FUR REAL – Travel to a neighboring island. Take the ferry and get a feel for what it’s like to travel with the locals. It’s not the cleanest nor most comfortable experience, but it’s easy on your wallet—and it will definitely make you appreciate flying on a plane.
#10. STRETCH YOUR STAY – Finally, if you’ve got the means, go to the Mentawais. No wifi, plenty of Bintangs and some of the best waves in the world…
Noah Collins is an LA native. He’s extra tan and loves nothing more than going on trips to exotic destinations to get barreled… really barreled. When he’s not exploring (and scoring), he likes to make these with his hands—ceramics, pants, paintings and bags. He likes taking pictures and is 5’7” tall. Follow is footsteps: @noahcollins