Bali is an incredible place with beautiful landscapes from lush, green rice fields, to blissful beaches, volcanoes and waterfalls. The Indonesian island is nestled in between Lombok and Java. Bali is easily reached, Singapore and Kula Lumpur being the most popular places to connect from. From London I flew to Kuala Lumpur with British Airways and jumped on another flight to Bali with Air Asia. This took around 3 hours, once in Bali we had a pre booked taxi waiting for us. I was blown away by Bali’s natural beauty, staying in three different areas over two weeks gave us a varied experience of this stunning island. I must admit I was surprised by how touristy parts of it felt which I will mention in more detail below but it is easy to escape to quieter spots even in busier areas. In Sanur we stayed in the most gorgeous villa hidden down some tiny alleyways, wafts of burning incense and birds singing was pretty much all we were (nicely) disturbed by. Yet a 15 minute stroll along the narrow lanes past warungs and locals houses with offerings to the gods outside and we were on the bustling streets in the centre of Sanur.
Read on for seven not to be missed Balinese experiences…
See a temple
Temples are a part of everyday life for many living in Bali. Hinduism is the main religion and as I mentioned above outside most houses are offerings to the Gods. Delicate trays made from leaves are placed on the ground throughout the day and are filled with amongst other things, flowers, food and holy water. Named after the holy spring water found within its grounds, Tirta Empul is an important temple to the Balinese. The temple has pools of holy water for bathing which is only meant for Hindus. Spend a while wondering amongst the holy water and admire the intricate architecture, I loved the beautiful doorways. There is a small entrance fee to visit and remember to dress respectfully; shoulders and knees should be covered. Sarongs can be borrowed at the entrance if needed; and ladies if it’s the time of the month you are not permitted to enter.
Go glamping in Ubud
For a completely different adventure, glamping in Ubud is a unique experience. I spent a night in a safari tent nestled amongst jungle and rice terraces at Sandat Glamping Tents. Our tent was beautifully furnished and came with its own private plunge pool. Sandat has a restaurant located under a huge bamboo structure with gorgeous food; breakfast delivered to our tent was just perfect. I loved the secluded location and the little touches such as a musical instrument to call for room service. Being able to stroll out to the rice fields was an unforgettable thing to do. Located in a peaceful area away from the busy streets of Ubud it was a stay like no other. I blogged all about my dreamy stay here: The Ultimate Glamping Retreat in Bali…
Explore Tegalalang rice terraces
Visiting rice terraces is a must when in Bali. Tegalalang is beautiful, the setting surprised me a little as it felt a lot more touristy than I had expected. Apart from that it is an absolutely stunning place. Cafes and restaurants are dotted around the edge, great for a cooling coconut water or beer in the heat of the day. There are spots all along the roadside to get fantastic photos looking down onto the terraces. You can also go down into them. I didn’t get a chance to do this as Emily was only one at the time and very hot so we chose a lovely shady spot to cool down with fresh coconut water.
Hang out in Canggu
Canggu is a really cool spot on Bali’s west coast. Cute coffee shops, brunch spots and beaches perfect for surfing make Canggu a popular area. We stayed at Villa Berawa, in a private villa with its own pool. It was an awesome treat and not as expensive as you might think. With only a short walk to the beach and Finns Beach Club, (If you like a pool party this is the place to head to.) plus a local bakery and warung along the road made the stay even more perfect. I wouldn’t say it’s the best spot for families as the roads were quite busy and there were no pavements. We also struggled to find nappies, but fear not we did find a pharmacy that stocked them! We adapted just fine in the end as you do when travelling with kids and found the nicest spot: Cinta Cafe with a mini play park at the front and open views of rice fields at the back. Great spot for parents wanting a beer while the kids play!
See the monkeys at Monkey Forest, Ubud
In the heart of Ubud Monkey Forest is a popular tourist spot. I have to say this wasn’t my favourite place as I felt a bit on edge around the monkeys. The monkeys roam freely amongst the trees and temples here and it does make for a really nice stroll. I felt like I had to do it to tick it off my Bali list but I’m not sure I would visit it again. Don’t be put off visiting though, I got some great photos of the monkeys and it’s a really cool location.
Admire Tegnungan Waterfall
Around 20 minutes drive from Ubud this beauty spot is a must see, it can get very busy so go early to avoid the crowds. Steps lead up above the waterfall so you can admire the falls from different viewpoints. The entrance fee is 15,000 IDR, there’s a small extra fee to pay to climb higher up above the falls but it’s well worth it for the views. The markets nearby are nice for browsing and there are a few cafes for food and drink stops.
Chill on the beach in Sanur
Sanur had to make it onto my list of things to do as I spent the majority of my stay there. The beach is easily accessible with a long paved boardwalk winding for three miles along the beachfront. It’s really child friendly, many of the beach restaurants cater for kids even if they don’t have a children’s menu, just ask. A few also have toys and play parks right on the sand so you can enjoy your lunch and a beer while your little ones have fun. The town is just behind the beach and has tons of bars, shops and restaurants. For more on travelling to Bali with little ones click here: Bali with a baby…
There’s so much to explore in Bali it’s a destination that has everything, incredible sightseeing and stunning beaches. These suggestions are only the tip of the iceberg of activities and adventures to be had in this wonderful part of the world. Just writing it has made me want to go back!
Have you been to Bali? What did you enjoy the most? Let me know in the comments below…