Just a few months ago I spent some time at the Island of the Gods, more commonly known as Bali. I was completely amazed by the culture, the sights and everything the country has to offer. Here are some of the things I experienced:
There are many temples scattered around the island . These are some of the must-see’s:
* Tanah LotTanah Lot temple
Tanah Lot temple is located 20 kilometers North East from Denpassar. The temple is on rock formation and can be reached by foot, it is one of the seven sea temples in Bali. When I visited Tanah Lot I arrived around 4pm, it was the perfect time to enjoy the sights and watch the sunset. I also had my first coconut water! (something that I later drank with frequency)
Besakih temple is also known as the “mother temple” = the biggest and most important of all the temples on the island. It is located on the Eastern side of the Island,perched on the side of Mount Agung. When I visited it was raining and cloudy (because of the altitude) and the climb up was quite tiring, but worth it!
Besakih temple is comprised of 23 different temples on different slopes. A quick tip is that you do not have to take a tour of the temple, as there will be people insisting that a tour is mandatory.
* Ilun Dani Bratan
When I first searched for Bali on google the image of the Ilun Dani Bratan
Temple or “water temple” was the first that popped up. I made it my mission to go to the mountain area in the North where it is located in Bedugul. The temperature is much cooler therefore I recommend taking a light sweater or even raincoat. It is also located near the Botanic Gardens (Eka Karya Botanic Garden).
If you get the opportunity, then stop at one of the many fruit markets,. They have great prices and the fruits are freshly harvested.
* Uluwatu temple
The Uluwatu temple located in the South is one of my favorites! It is another one of the sea temples. To reach the temple you walk through a stretch that is populated by monkeys.Be warned that the monkeys are everywhere and are famous for stealing camera’s, glasses, and wallets.
The temple is built on the edge of a cliff and after viewing the temple it is worth it to walk through its surroundings and witness the sunset on the horizon. It was one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen in my life.
Tip: At sunset (6:00pm) there is a performance of the Kecak dance.
This was one of my favourite areas in Bali. It is located in the South of Bali near Kuta and Legian and has great gastronomy and a lively nightlife. Some of my favourite restaurants in Seminyak include: La Lucciola, Motel Mexicola, La Sal and Ultimo. There are also several places to go and eat Balinese food including Warung Made. There are also some must see beach clubs but I will get to those later as some of the best locations to watch the sunset.
* Nusa Dua
I spent a lot of my time in Nusa Dua which is an area that consists of 5 star resorts in the South of Bali (approximately 22km from Denpassar). Nusa Dua is home to beautiful resorts, delicious restaurants and a shopping mall called Bali Collection (you can reach it by shuttle from almost any hotel/resort in the area). Nusa Dua is also a destination for people who want to do water sports. I decided to go on a Banana boat, Kayaking and parasailing.
Ubud which is located in the center of Bali with rainforest vegetation is famous for being the destination where you find a diversity of arts and crafts galleries. It’s also famous for its rice paddies and temples.
* Rice Terraces
When you want to see rice terraces, Ubud is the place to go! The most famous terraces are Tegalalang but they can be busy with tourists. So I simply stopped at a beautiful location nearby to admire the view!
* Kopi Luwak
While touring around the Ubud area my Cousin, mother and I ran across a Kopi Luwak plantation. Kopi Luwak is very popular coffee in Bali that is made by parts of the droppings of the Asian Palm Civet that eats cherries.. We were given a tour of the grounds where many herbs were exhibited and their uses explained as well as details on how the coffee is processed.
We had a degustation of several fresh made teas while overlooking the beautiful rice terraces!
* Gitgit waterfall
Gitgit waterfall is located in the North of Bali. It is hidden amongst the curvy roads and fairly easy to reach.
There are so many beautiful beaches in Bali; the following are a few I frequented while I was there. Tip: Always take water and cash.
* Geger beach
Geger Beach is located in Nusa Dua area and a clean white sand beach. Indonesian food is sold as well as drinks and there are chairs that can be rented for the day.
Dreamland (south of Bali) is on the top of my recommended beaches in Bali! The water is crystal clear and the waves are perfect for surfers. You can rent beach chairs for around 3 Euro a day and there is a variety of restaurants and shops to buy drinks and necessities.
There is also a beach club called Klapa (on the cliff above the beach) with an infinity pool and an incredible view!
* Pandawa Secret beach
Pandawa Secret Beach (located in the south) looks like it is out of a movie! It is a quiet beach that is not known by many people (it is called secret beach after all..) The entrance to the beach is an opening between two giant rocks.
You can also hire beach chairs and there are food stalls that serve Indonesian food. The water is absolutely beautiful.
* Double six
Double six beach is located near Seminyak and has many trendy restaurants along the side which I will get to in sunset watching spots. The beach is not the most beautiful but towards the afternoon/evening there is a great atmosphere – the nearby bars playing music.
* Green bowl beach
Green Bowl beach is also located in the south of Bali and is a hidden gem. It is a quiet beach that is accessed by going down the stairs on a steep cliff. It felt exhausting going up the cliff, but worth it in the end.
Legian Beach is located near Kuta and is great for surfing (do not recommend for kids). It is a long and ample beach that gets crowded towards the end of the afternoon to view the sunset.
Lovina is located in the North of Bali and is famous for its black sands and dolphin watching. It is generally more quiet that in the south of Kuta and ideal for relaxing.
After spending some time in Bali I often heard of the Gili Islands and how I could not miss the opportunity to goTo get to the Gili Islands you are transported to Sanur by car (depends on the deal you get) and from there you take a fast boat to the Islands. We decided to stay on Gili Trawangan but also visited the other Islands. July- September is the high season on the islands and Gili T is the place to go if you are looking for parties not then the other Islands are more suitable (during the high season).
A bit of introduction to the Gili Islands: they are an archipelago of three islands and are located near the northwest coast of Lombok. The Biggest of the Islands is Gili Trawangan and the smallest is Gili Meno. They are remote islands with no automobiles and the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen!
* Gili Trawangan
Gili Trawangan is 3km long and 2 km wide, out of all the islands it is the most frequently visited and one of my favorite things about the island is the fact that transportation is a horse drawn carriage.
There are many beaches to discover on the island and enjoyed snorkeling at most of them. I saw a giant turtle and swam with it along the coral- it was an unforgettable experience.
There are many hotels/resorts, restaurants and bars throughout the island, just remember to take cash as cards are not accepted.
* Gili Meno
Gili Meno has a population of about 500 inhabitants and is mostly visited by honeymooners looking for secluded beaches. If you are looking for a break and want peace this is the island to visit.
* Gili Air
Gili Air, the second smallest Island, is perfect for scuba diving and spotting turtles. This island is a great destination if you are looking to do watersport such as; stand up paddle boarding and kite surfing.
Ultimate sunset watching bars:
While in Bali, you will notice that one of people’s favorite hobbies is watching the sunset. There are several places that are ideal to do so and it’s the perfect place to enjoy with friends, family or a loved one.
* Rock bar
The rock bar is located in the Ayana resort (Jimbaran area). Once in the hotel you head outside towards the bar but usually have to wait in a queue (unless you are a hotel guest) for the inclinator that takes you down the cliff to the bar perched on the rocks. This bar is “fancy” in comparison to many other places in Bali,. The food is delicious, the cocktails are spectacular and the sunset is… Well have a look for yourself.
* KU DE TA
Ku De Ta is located in Seminyak and is a fine dining restaurant/beach club. This is a great place to spend an afternoon and then go for dinner. It has a great ambiance.
* Potato head
Similarily to Ku De Ta, Potato head is also a beach club located in Seminyak. Potato head has a nice pool area where you can spend a day after which there is music in the evening and great food!
I recommend you book a table, as it is always busy!
* La Plancha
When you are looking for a cozier place, La Plancha in Seminyak (near Double Six beach) is the place for you. It is a bar that consists of beanbags and umbrellas on the beach and a perfect spot to have some snacks and drinks while enjoying an afternoon or an evening.
Before going to Bali or Indonesia here are some words in Bahasa to help you get around:
How are you?- Apa Kabar?
Good morning- Selamat Pagi
Good afternoon- Selamat Siang
Good evening- Selamat Sore
I don’t understand- Saya tidak mengerti
Thank you- Termina Kasih