Exploring Bali's sights and surroundings
Being a real wanderer and explorer I wanted to see everything Bali has to offer in our 2 weeks visit. That is quite difficult though when you have a busy full time job, are in Bali for a well deserved holiday and you also want to relax a bit in between..But we certainly did try! Here below the map with in the purple all locations that we visited and will be described in this blog:
As Bali is not a big, but very diverse island it is easy to explore it by shorter stays in several places or day trips. Of course you can always rent a scooter, but as the prices are quite low we just took taxi’s to drive us all around the island for only €20-30 a day…Also really handy to have a local driver who can guide you to the best places, so do make sure that he knows his way around and speaks English!
To do in and around Seminyak:
Popular places to visit in the South of Bali are:
Ulu Watu temple, Nusa Dua, Jimbaran and Balangan beach.
For surfing I recommend going to Echo and beautiful Batu Bolong Beach. These are more North of Seminyak, as well as the temple of Tanah Lot.
From Seminyak or Ubud you can easily do daytrips to places more in the middle and North of the island. We took a taxi from Seminyak and visited the following sights all in 1 day:
Ulun Danu temple on the Bratan Lake, which is a real must see!
Twin Waterfalls near Munduk, nice nature walk to reach the 2 big waterfalls, allthough there are many other beautiful waterfalls to see on the island.
View point over Lake Byan and Lake Tamblingan.
The Botanical Gardens and the ricefields of Jatiluweh, must sees if you are a nature lover like I am!
For authentic tours and daytrips for a good cause, all guided by locals, go to below link for inspiration and direct bookings. They have awesome nature trekking tours through the ricefields and Bali’s most beautiful nature sights. They even offer homestays with locals:
To do in and around Ubud:
A must do in Ubud is renting a mountain bike to cycle through the rice fields.
If you go right at the end of Jl. Raya Ubud before the bridge you will find yourself surrounded by nothing but green ricefields. So awesome and pure, we found this the best way to truly experience the real Bali.
If you follow my directions from Ubud town centre you will cycle past people working in the fields, Balinese houses and also 2 really nice café’s called Pomegranate and Sari Organik, which are really worth a refreshing stop!
Of course the Monkey Forest Sanctuary is a must visit in Ubud, just beware of your camera and sunglasses as these guys are tricky!
A trip to Mount Batur in the North of Bali near Kintamani is also a really cool experience, for it’s nature walks, fantastic views and huge crater lake. Climb the islands active volcano in the early morning with a local tourguide. Be prepared to get up really early, as the walk to the top of the mountain starts at around 4 am. Of course this is necessary to be in time for the beautiful sunrise on the top of the volcano, which looks like this:
I can recommend a very friendly local tour guide who lives in the area and is guiding people up the volcano in small groups for very affordable prices for many years already;
To do around Sanur:
Padang Bai beach is a small fishermen’s town on the East coast of Bali, north of Sanur. With several beautiful white beaches facing the two small islands of Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan.
From Sanur again we did a daytrip by taxi and visited the following historical sights:
Tenganan a traditional Balinese old style village, really authentic and pure.
Water palace of Ujung.
Kertagosa court in Klung Klung, looks beautiful and is a nice way to learn a bit more about Indonesian/Dutch history.
We also loved our day trip to Nusa Lembongan, a small island South East of Bali. It is easy to arrange a boat trip from Sanur to this nearby island. Nusa Penida is the bigger island next to it, which has to be really beautiful and pure as well, but for our holiday we chose only to visit Lembongan by catamaran.
Nusa Lembongan is a very laid back authentic island with lots of sights. If you do wanna stay over for a few days you can find nice beach bungalows on Dream beach or Mushroom bay.
Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to also explore other islands around Bali, but if you do, the Gili’s or even amazing nearby islands Raja Ampat and Lombok should be really worth it!
The Gili islands are the closest ones. From Bali you can take the panorama boat from Padang bay or book a short flight to get to these 3 islands before the coast of Lombok. Gili Trawagan is the biggest island which has the most options for accommodation and restaurants. The Gili’’s are very laidback islands, where paradise is still pure. For example; they still ride around on horsecars as there are no cars allowed on the islands. These are definitely still on my bucketlist!
For more tips about where to stay and eat on Bali check out my previous blogpost: Bali-island of the Gods