Not many people know that Bali is not about the beach at all. Very popular resorts like Canggu, Kuta or Seminyak are really unremarkable and worth stopping there just for the sake of surfing. During the rainy season, beaches are often littered with garbage, and in dry season the water is cold and it is difficult to swim in it because of the waves, reefs and currents. These places have become popular because of the huge number of cafes, spa salons and beach clubs with very beautiful interiors, the highest level of service and delicious food. But flying to Bali for this means to miss a huge and important part of the island, not to feel its spirit, culture and history. Therefore, I decided to offer you an absolutely unique, beautiful and exciting route through different parts of Bali that impressed me the most. I think you can customize some of the points for yourself and organize one of the most memorable trips of your life on your own. Ready? Then let's go!
Uluwatu: surfers, beaches, rock temple and sunset show
I advise you to start your trip from the Uluwatu area. This is the southernmost part of the island.
My most memorable breakfast was at Single Fin. And I just insist that you try it too. This is a beach club with an absolutely unreal bird's-eye view of the ocean, where hundreds of surfers bravely tame the elements. Uluwatu is a reef spot, so it is very dangerous to ride here because of the huge waves that wrap in pipes and sharp rocks, which means that only professionals surf here. You can watch them for hours! By the color of lycra you can choose your favorites and calculate how many waves they will take while you drink cappuccino. You can also swim here in a large pool with fountains.
Then, head out to explore the local beaches. My favorite - Melasti - is close to Uluwatu, in Nusa Dua, it's literally 20 minutes drive from Single Fin. The usual Bali beaches look gray because of the black volcanic rock, but white coral, flour-like sand was specially brought to Nusa Dua. From the shore, stunning views of the rocks open up, and the water is bright turquoise. On the beach you can buy delicious pizza and enjoy the local Bintang beer.
Uluwatu has very beautiful Balangan, Dreamland and Padang-Padang beaches. The last is the same one where Julia Roberts rested in the movie “Eat, Pray, Love”. But swimming there is difficult, to be honest: there are reefs under your feet and a strong current. All beaches are quite close to each other, so you can drive around them all in a couple of hours.
By 5 pm I recommend going to the Uluwatu Temple. It is located on a high cliff and has a large area for walking. You find yourself in a forest full of monkeys, admiring the endless ocean and literally stopping at every step to take a photo. At sunset, Uluwatu takes on some completely cosmic appearance. Monkeys run along the railing over a 70-meter cliff, there is a huge pink-orange sky above them, and the endless ocean rages below…
The temple hosts a Kecak dance show every day. Kecak is a national dance with theatrical elements based on Indian mythology. Many men in checkered sarongs sit in a circle, raise their hands and go into a trance, making sounds like "chak-chak" while actors in colorful costumes and masks tell the story of Princess Sita's rescue from the evil demon Ravana. At the end of the show, one of the characters is even set on fire! I highly recommend watching this show, it looks amazing!
Ubud: Rainy City of Wizards and Warlocks
After Uluwatu, head to the most mystical and gloomy place in the heart of the island - Ubud. According to legend, magicians and warlocks lived here in ancient times. And the atmosphere for me there is just like that: mysterious and enigmatic. Ubud is located among the mountains, so it often rains, there is damp coolness and dense emerald greenery. Travel to the Monkey Forest. This is a very large park, decorated with stone statues, temples, streams with huge fish and fountains, in which thousands of monkeys run. It is not hot there and you can walk a lot, enjoying the beautiful views and watching the animals.
There is also a bird park near Ubud and reptiles. A lot of colorful parrots fly next to people, sit on their shoulders and head. Every couple of hours there is a show where the birds are allowed to be fed and keepers tell interesting facts about them. And in the reptile park, you can stroke a large century-old turtle, put a heavy adult python on the neck and stroke lizards and iguanas.
If you prefer cultural entertainment, I recommend visiting the Antonio Blanco House-Museum. This artist is also called “Salvador Dali from Bali”. The territory of the museum looks very beautiful and unusual and it seems that you are charged with inspiration just walking along the paths in the jungle. But the artist's works certainly deserve special attention.
There are also many great spa centers in Ubud where you can ask for the famous Balinese massage, go to the sauna and drink teh jahe - a ginger drink for relaxation.
Tegalalang: Rice Terraces and Luwak Mines
There is a waterfall near Ubud called Kanto Lampo, and it is one of the most beautiful waterfalls of Bali, so I recommend stopping by and walking there for at least an hour. Take everything for swimming: you will have to go into a small mountain stream to take a photo against the backdrop of this network of cascades.
Now let's go to the most beautiful and instagrammable views of Bali - to the Tegalalang terraces. Here you can see how local farmers cultivate the fields and harvest, take pictures against the backdrop of emerald mountains and ride on a huge swing flying over the gorge. The irrigation system for such terraces is called subak and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Very close to the terraces is the Luwak village. Do you know such animals? These are the mousangs that help in the production of the most expensive coffee in the world. Here you can learn all the secrets of making kopi luwak, drink a cup overlooking the rice fields and cuddling with fluffies.
At the end of the day, I would highly recommend getting to a place called Handara Golf & resort. This is a beautiful complex surrounded by mountains and golf courses, a cafe serving Japanese and European dishes (we ate cabbage rolls here!), and the surroundings are fresh and cool. In the morning you can walk around the territory and admire nature, as well as take pictures against the backdrop of the incredibly beautiful split Handara Gate - another symbol of the island.
Volcano Bratan, strawberries and waterfalls
The next point of the program is the village of Lovina. It is located in the north of the island and is washed not by the ocean, but by the Bali Sea. Lovina is famous for its incredible dolphins that you can swim with.
On the way, I propose to make a stop at Bayun Lake, buy strawberries in a shop and enjoy a picnic with stunning views of the mountains and the volcano. Also near the lake there are many beautiful waterfalls, which are not very popular among tourists. I recommend staying overnight at the hotel New Sunari Beach Resort - it has a very large and picturesque area on the first line, a large swimming pool and its own spa.
Lovina: swim with dolphins and go to the volcano
In the morning, go ashore: dozens of boaters will be waiting for you here, offering to go to the dolphins. The first and only thing worth paying attention to: boats must have bindings for swimming. These are such ropes tied to the sides, like a bungee, crossbars, holding on to which you can swim at the speed of a boat when you find yourself among a flock of dolphins. They are very nimble, so it is impossible to keep up with them on your own. But if you hold on to the mounts, then you move at about the same speed, watching the most amazing and beautiful sight in the world in a mask: hundreds of large and small dolphins dive and play at arm's length. I definitely recommend swimming with them, because you will never forget these impressions, I promise. Coming ashore, I cried and could not believe that I saw this and that nature could be so fantastic.
From Lovina we go to the foot of Batur volcano, to the village of Kintamani. For the most active travelers, I recommend signing up for a climbing tour in advance. Meet the sunrise on top of an active volcano in the clouds is unforgettable. Well, for those who prefer a more relaxed type of holiday, I suggest having lunch at & nbsp; one of the restaurants with panoramic views that are at every step, and then go to the hot mineral springs. For example, in the amusement park Toya Devasaya. There are not only large pools, but also slides, and a well-groomed area with good infrastructure. In the complex you can also book a villa for living, it's about $125/day. Although I would prefer a campground where you can drink hot tea in the morning, just looking out of the tent, from where you can enjoy a magnificent view of the mountains.
Kayaking and canoeing on Lake Batur are very popular, as are walks and bike rides on the volcanic lava around the caldera. You can visit “village of the dead” Trunyan, where the ancient Balinese tribes still live. They worship the forces of nature and bury the dead in the open air near the sacred star anise tree. Tours can be bought at guesthouses or from locals.
Karangasem: Besakih Temple and Tirta Ganga Water Palace
You can continue your journey by going to the largest and one of the most beautiful temples on the island – Pura Besakih. It is located at the foot of Mount Agung and in good weather it offers stunning views. You can’t get into the temple grounds, but it’s definitely worth taking a walk around and admiring the amazing Balinese architecture made of black volcanic rock.
Next to Pura Besakih there is an equally famous landmark - Tirta Ganga. This is a water palace with many pools, beautiful statues, fountains and volcanic springs. The main pool is adorned with stone steps on the water that you can walk on. One of the popular activities here is feeding the fish. Food bags can be bought for 5-10 thousand rupees at the entrance to the territory. The fish are huge and there are a lot of them. Watching them jump out of the water for a couple of food crumbs is very funny.
After lunch, head to Amed. The road to this village is absolutely incredible. At every step there are mountains, sea views, rice terraces and you want to stop and shoot everything on camera.
Amed Shipwreck Snorkeling and Diving
In Amed, I suggest staying for a couple of days in order to relax, swim in the sea, go diving or snorkeling, go fishing, and also visit Amed Beach – a beach where the volcano is perfectly visible in good weather.
Be sure to visit Sunset Point– this is a beach club with a large swimming pool, a cafe and delicious ice cream. On weekends, musicians perform here and you can see magnificent sunsets against the backdrop of three volcanoes.
Diving enthusiasts come to Amed because the entire coastline is literally strewn with hundreds of coral reefs, among which fish of all colors and sizes swim, turtles, and sometimes even manta rays. There are several places with sunken ships and many companies that offer dives with and without an instructor - in general, you will not be bored.
Nusa Penida: Dragon Tail & Manta Ray Snorkeling
Here I would like to make a small digression and tell you that there are several islands near Bali, which also attract tourists from all over the world. The smallest ones are called Gili. But after staying there for 5 days, I can say that it is boring there and there is nothing at all apart from white sandy beaches and views. Gili is 3 islands, among which Trawangan - the largest - can be cycled around in 40 minutes. These islands are famous for the fact that there is no transport other than horses and bicycles. Everything, from garbage to goods, is delivered around the island exclusively on horse-drawn carts with bells. If you have been to the Maldives, then Gili is unlikely to impress you much, but if you want a lazy beach holiday on snow-white beaches with turquoise water, beach cafes with live music and an island vibe - welcome)
I still advise more active travelers to go to Nusa Penida. Unlike Gili, this island, together with neighboring Nusa Cheningan and Nusa Lembongan, belongs to the region of Bali called Klungkung. Perhaps the most popular, recognizable views of Bali are the views of the Kelingking and Diamond beaches. These are rocks of incredible beauty, forming bizarre shapes that look like a dragon's tail and a huge crystal, which are definitely worth seeing. Nusa Penida – The island is quite large and you will have to move around it by car or bike. Sometimes it takes about an hour to get from one attraction to another. Therefore, I recommend taking your time and staying here for a couple of days to enjoy all the views that Nusa Penida has to offer. Here you can also admire the huge manta rays at Manta Point, swim with them and sunbathe on the beach Coral Bay. And, of course, take a lot of amazing photos with you as a keepsake.
Back to Bali, you can return to another point - Padang Bay. It is located closer to the capital of the island and from there it will be closer to get to the airport. Those who go to Gili can choose the path through the island of Lombok. It's about 15 minutes by speedboat and then by small plane to Bali with great bird's-eye views of Indonesia. It turns out not faster, but more effective)
This is the route. It seems that he will not leave anyone indifferent, because there is some incredible variety of the most beautiful and amazing corners of Bali. Have a great rest and unforgettable impressions!