Bali, through the eyes of Gabriella.
I recently had the privilege of visiting the south part of Bali for two weeks, which was an incredible experience. It was not only my first time in Indonesia, but my first time is South East Asia. As such, I made it my mission to do some “adventurous” activities and step out of my comfort zone. I have chosen 10 of my favorite activities to share with you. A few things listed below are quite touristy, while others are more local experiences. I found that a mix of both made my two weeks unforgettable. Enjoy!
1. Ubud Rice Fields
Walking through the rice fields was amazing and a must when in Bali. There is an entrance next to a restaurant called “Café Lotus” in Ubud, with a path that takes you all the way through the rice fields, and ends a few blocks away. It could be easy to wander off and get lost in the nature, but if you keep on the track, you will end up in the right place. The scenery is absolutely stunning- you have to stop and take it in every few meters! The walk takes about an hour and a half to get through, and you should be prepared for a few bug bites. Being able to converse with some of the locals working on their fields is an added perk to this activity. Overall, it was easily of the most beautiful landscapes I’ve ever seen.
2. Ubud Market
After visiting the rice fields, we decided to go shopping in the Ubud market. The market is essentially a long street lined with vendors, who sell a variety of artisanal handmade items, from sarongs to coasters. If you’re looking for souvenirs for yourself or loved ones, I’d definitely recommend going here! This is also a great way to practice your negotiating skills, as the vendors begin with high prices and expect you to bargain your way to more reasonable ones.
3. Monkey Forest
This is a must-do, and doesn’t take much time. You can get the whole experience in less than hour. The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary is located in the center of Ubud, very close to the market. You pay a small fee to enter, and can purchase bananas once you are inside. The staff tell you to hold the bananas up high, and the monkeys jump onto your shoulders to eat. The place itself is well kept and easy to navigate. It’s wonderful to observe the monkeys in their natural habitat. Just be careful of the adult monkeys who can get aggressive, and don’t wear sunglasses or take any valuables that they can easily grab- because they will!
4. Tegenungan Waterfall
Bali has numerous waterfalls that you can explore, one of which is the Tegenungan waterfall, located not too far from the Ubud village. Upon arrival, you pay a small fee, and then have to walk down stairs to reach the waterfall. This is certainly not a “secret” waterfall, as it was actually quite crowded. Nonetheless, the area is beautiful and the water refreshing.
5. Mount Batur
This activity entails waking up at around 1am, to hike a 1700m volcano to watch the sunrise. I would not recommend doing this activity alone, I will link the company that provides these tours below. They pick you up from wherever you are staying at around 1am, take you to the starting location, and provide you with a guide, flashlight, water, and breakfast that you enjoy while watching the sunrise. This journey up Mount Batur at 3am sounds dreadful (and it was) but the view is definitely worth it. After the sun has risen, you can view the crater and explore some of the volcano, which is followed by the descent back down. The view at the top is nothing short of spectacular. https://www.balisunrisetours.com/trekking-tours/mount-batur-sunrise-trekking/
6. Snorkeling in Nusa Lembongan
I recommend doing a snorkeling tour in Nusa Lembongan (linked below), which is a small island off the coast of the main island of Bali. It takes 25 minutes to reach by boat. The tour includes a guide, snorkeling equipment, and lunch, and takes you to three different locations to snorkel. I was very excited for this specific activity, as I’d never been snorkeling before. It was amazing to be in the water and observe the different specifies of fish. If you’re lucky like me, you get to see some really cool and colorful ones. http://www.lembonganwatersport.com/package-snorkelling-trip/
7. Finn’s Beach Club
I cannot write a travel guide for Bali without mentioning at least one beach club. Finn’s is a great place for drinks and chilling by the pool. You can, but are not obliged to, rent beach beds by reaching a minimum spending. The jazzy music sets a great atmosphere, and the food was good. You can also go down to the beach and try surfing. Prices for food and drinks are high, but not surprising considering most beach clubs are in the same range. Definitely worth at least one visit!
8. Fish Market
Going to the fish market was probably the most “local” activity I did. The market, of course, does not boast the most appealing aroma but it is lovely to walk around and talk to the sellers. I would recommend going for lunch, as you can buy (very fresh) seafood from the market, and have it grilled for you right outside. There are a few tables set up where you can eat, while ordering a fresh coconut to drink with your meal. There are no utensils or plates, you just eat from your platter of grilled seafood.
9. Pura Besakih
The Pura Besakih temple is one the holiest temples in Bali. The temple is huge, and is divided into sections dedicated to the Gods of Earth, Fire, Wind, Water, and Air. The temple is located on Mount Agung and is surrounded by beautiful rice paddies, hills, mountains, and streams. I had the chance to go on a day when a huge ceremony was taking place. It was brilliant to see the rituals and how the locals brought their offerings to the Gods. All visitors must wear a sarong wrapped around the waist. Some areas are off-limits, like private family temples, but overall it is beautiful to explore.
10. Seminyak Beach
Some people love Seminyak, others don't. When Lea went to Bali, she didn't love it because it was too crowdy, americanized and the water was very dirty. But when I was there, I thaught it was a great beach to wonder and check out some restaurants and bars. At the beach itself, you can rent sunbeds for a reasonable price, as well as surfboards (with an optional teacher!). It is a great place to relax and soak in the sun, or catch some great waves. The current can be strong, so if you’re not a strong swimmer, try not to go too far out from the shore. The beach is abundant with restaurants of different cuisines and bars to grab a drink. I recommend watching the sunset on the colorful bean bags they have laid out in many of the restaurants!
* The principal picture is from the instagram of @adventurouspostcard