Travel: Bali & Shanghai

Travel: Bali & Shanghai

I just got back from an awesome trip to Bali for my homegirl’s 30th birthday. It was AMAZING. Bali is a beautiful island and we met so many kind people. I would DEF make a return trip there. 

I had the honor of helping create our itinerary for the trip (one of my fave things to do!) so here’s a little snapshot of what we were up to:

Day 1: Relax at villa in Ubud. Drinks & lounging by the infinity pool and hot tub. Private Balinese-style BBQ for dinner.

Day 2: Sunrise volcano hike tour. Transfer to villa in Nusa Dua. 3-hour spa treatments including aromatherapy, body scrubs, body masks and facials. 

Day 3: Private yacht charter including snorkeling + lunch at a beach club on Nusa Penida.

Day 4: Balinese cooking class including a visit to the market in Seminyak to pick out ingredients. Souvenir shopping. More massages.

Day 5: More relaxation + lounging by the ocean at Potato Head Beach Club then a rooftop dinner before heading to the airport!

We got around via private drivers and Uber (which was pretty easy and inexpensive!) for most of our trip. And the exchange rate was in strong favor of the US dollar (100,000 rupiah = $7.50) so our money went pretty far. So while it's a bit pricey to get to Bali, once you're there it is pretty easy on the wallet.

It was a short but amazing, fun-packed trip. Bali def won my heart.


During our last couple of days in Bali, there were warnings about a volcano on the north side of the island showing signs of eruption. That was a bit scary to hear, but we were in an area considered far enough out of range to be safe. However, thousands of people had to be evacuated from that area and leave their homes. As of right now, the volcano still has not erupted but the danger still remains, so keep the people of Bali in your prayers!

I had a 12-hour layover in Shanghai both going and coming back from Bali. Shanghai allows you to hang out in the city during your layover without a visa if you have proof that you’ll be out of the country in 24 hours (a boarding pass showing that you'll be out of there asapington), so me and my friend Gabby who I flew with, decided to check out the city. I’m going to be honest and say China didn’t make a great first impression on me. Countless people were following us around sneaking photos and video of us and laughing at us. People were also super rude to us. A ton of people were sick and coughing out into the air which freaked me out (I was told it was partly because of the pollution there). I’m not sure that I would rush to return to China, but we did manage to see/do some cool stuff in our short time in Shanghai.

  • Ride the high-speed Maglev Train
  • Visit the Shanghai Museum
  • Go to People’s Square
  • See the Oriental Pearl Tower
  • Check out the IFC Mall
  • Visit Yu Garden
  • Eat amazing dumplings and scallion pancakes
  • Do a little shopping (silk scarves, jade jewelry & delicious tea for the win!)

So yeah, we clearly crammed a TON into our layover.

This was the longest distance I’ve ever traveled. 15+ hours from NYC to Shanghai and 6 hours between Shanghai and Bali. But shoutout to my neck pillow and compression socks for holding me down. 

I don't have any major trips planned in the next couple of months (yet!), but I'm glad to be home for a bit and get settled in. In the meantime, I'm daydreaming of the blue skies and ocean back in Bali and craving Shanghai's tasty dumplings. 

Introducing...the "Hey! from Jess Gray" Weekly Newsletter

Introducing...the "Hey! from Jess Gray" Weekly Newsletter