When I was planning a trip to Bali, my surfer friends, who made Bali their 2nd home told me to stay away from Kuta Beach (with conviction). This kept ringing in my head until I finally a book a flight and step on Bali soil.
Kuta Beach has been known as the Bali’s tourist hub. So it means, in a place with the impression of being packed with foreigners, Kuta is the packed of the packed.
This became one of my deciding factor on where to stay in the island. It was a toss between Canggu or Ubud. Eventually I decided to follow my friend’s advise to stay in Canggu. I was really happy with this decision. The only thing now is to know where to go and what to do when most of the ‘happening’ attractions are around Kuta Beach.
Bali is known as Indonesia’s main tourist spot. It mainly attracts Australians and expatriates looking for an affordable place spend their holidays. An Island province of Indonesia located between Java and the west of Lombok that includes the main island of Bali and a few smaller islands (Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan)
Visiting Bali after our 11-day trip with the #TripOfWonders team (check my blog about this trip) is a no brainer. It is something that should happen and I will not forgive myself if I didn’t grab the opportunity to experience the sought after island paradise.
I stayed in Bali for 5 days and the goal was to do as much as I can but on a very relaxed and chill pace (a lot of sleeping involved). So here are the places I went in my 5-days stay in the beautiful Island of Bali.
Canggu Beach is an automatic attraction to experience as I spent 5 days of my 5-day stay in Bali. So every time I open my eyes, I am already exploring ……CANGGU!
I arrived in Bali during night time, so I really didn’t see anything on the road during our drive from the airport (Denpasar). I first stayed in a hostel (eHome Stay Canggu) in one of the quiet neighborhoods in Canggu. It was a pleasant few days where I was able to rest and read a book, but when I moved to Canggu’s Echo Beach at one of its famous surfer’s hotel (Frii), I began to fall in love with this neighborhood.
Canggu Beach is a coastal village filled with black sand beaches with (almost all) surf breaks popular to surfer’s from around the world (even those who are from the Philippines).
A quiet alternative to the busy Kuta. I feel that I got transported to a place that is a hybrid of Australia’s Melbourne and Surfer’s Paradise. Maybe because a big chunk of Canggu’s expat community are from Down Under.
Aside from the surfer’s beach, the country side of Canggu are field with rice fields. I remember riding the motorbike and all I can see are rice fields from either side of the streets. It was a very peaceful sight (made me sing a bit — like I was shooting a music video haha).
TANAH LOT TEMPLE
Around 30 minutes motorbike from Canggu, known as the most picturesque the temple in Bali, Tanah Lot is one of Bali’s most important landmark (www.bali-indonesia.com). Famous for its offshore location and majestic sunset.
I was introduced with this temple when I was google searching the BEST SUNSET IN BALI. Being located at the west side of the island, it is easy to predict that Tanah Lot will be on top of the list.
It was indeed magical. The place was a bit crowded though, but enough to have a good view of the sunset. Aside from the temple, there are several restaurants and souvenir shops around.
Known as the Mother Temple of Bali and the most important temple of the whole island (www.bali.com).
It is like a village of temples. What our guide told us, most of the temples here are owned by different families around Bali. Even his family owns one (a big compound one). This complex of temples is actually what makes Besakih very picturesque and interesting to tourists.
Because of its size, even though there are a lot of people there, it really doesn’t feel to crowded (or maybe we just arrived early). Going there, we rented a van (with a driver) and hired a guide recommended by my friend’s homestay owner. Just a warning, because it is a known tourist spot, there are people who look at tourists as cash machines. We were tricked to buy a flower which they told us a requirement to go to the temple, like the sarong we were wearing. Lo and behold, it wasn’t really needed and we can get away without the flower (tsk).
Apart from this experience, visiting the Besakih Temple was a good place to start our trip around the heart of Bali’s cultural heritage.
KINTAMANI BATUR VOLCANO
A must-do stop for tourists who are traveling North East of Bali, Kintamani is famous for its panoramic view of the active Batur Volcano and Lake.
If properly planned, you can actually trek and get closer to the caldera (getting a guide and proper gears are pretty much advisable–especially if you are trekking a volcano). In our case, with our day trip, we just settled with having a lunch with a view.
TEGALLALANG RICE TERRACES
Ubud is the location of Bali’s famous rice terraces. A traditional irrigation system in most mountainous regions in South East Asia. You can see this kind of irrigation system in the Philippines as well.
What I like about the rice terraces in Tegallalang, is its location. The valley is literally along the main road. I am still puzzled if they made the road as an access to the terraces or it just so happen that the terraces became famous? And its easy-accessibility is just a plus point.
Because of its location, visitors can clearly see the step-rice paddies even when driving. For those who want a little stretch from hours of sitting in the car, you can easily trek the whole stretch of the famous terraces and get a pretty decent photo you can boast in Instagram.
A little warning, if you see locals/farmers carrying what looks like a fresh harvest of the day, and can’t help to take photos, have your tip money ready in your pockets. I am still figuring out if they do the ‘carrying of the harvest’ just for show to charge guests.
Tip (additional attraction): Near the Tegallalang Rice Terraces is a good place to try coffee luwak. The most famous coffee in the world. Yes, this is the poop coffee. To be honest, I still don’t know how I feel about patronizing this coffee. I have seen in some videos how civet cats are treated in order for them to poop more coffee beans. If you are not guilty, Alas Harum Agro Tourism is a good (and not to expensive) place to try it and they assured us that they are taking care of their civet cats properly.
UBUD MONKEY FOREST
I saw this monkey forest in one of the episodes of the amazing race. The Ubud Monkey Forest is a nature reserve and a Hindu temple complex (with 3 Hindu temples).
It is one of Bali’s most visited tourist spots. There are over 700 Balinese Long Tailed Monkeys roaming around the whole sanctuary which I must say scary at some point. You can purchase a banana and wait for the monkey to climb over you and take the banana out of your hands (or head).
After my short stint in Bali, it is pretty hard not to fall in love with the island.
Although there are a lot of similarities in the Philippine landscape, there are still something about Bali that makes me want to come back and visit again….
…….Maybe next time I will give Kuta Beach a try and embrace the chaos.
VISITING INDONESIA? READ ALSO:0