Bali is called The Island of Gods or The Island of Peace. And after visiting it, I can just simply agree with it!
My trip to Bali was very unexpected and a spontaneous decision. But now I can honestly say that it was one of the best travel decisions I’ve ever made. Bali is an amazing and beautiful piece of land. It’s a cultural and spiritual experience that is hard to describe with words.
Back in December I wrote to my friend because of tickets to Gran Canaria and our conversation looked somehow like this:
ME: Hey, what’s up?
MY FRIEND RIA: Heyy, good, what’s up with you?
ME: You still work in that travel agency? I need to get out of here for some time, could you check some cheap tickets to Gran Canaria for me?
RIA: What are you going to do there?
ME: Well, I don't know.. I want to learn how to surf.
RIA: Eh.. common, forget about it. Come with me to Bali in February, we can surf there…
…me thinking for approximately 30 seconds…
ME: YEAH.. OKAY!! WHY NOT?
…and this is how it started!
After this talk we bought our tickets and because she loves planning things to really small details, I left all the planning to her. She was telling me about places we have to go, rewriting our schedule a million times and changing things over and over again… And all the time I was like yeah, okay, I agree, we will see.. But in the end, she had a really good plan. And me? I had HER! Win win!
She even printed her notes and her researches for me and gave me this thick file at the airport before leaving. SO SWEET, I loved it!
So, I guess you would like to know what she planned for us, right?
Here is a list of my highlights we’ve visited in Bali:
Right after we landed in Denpasar, we took a taxi from the airport to this island’s cultural capital. Ubud is the one of the most popular tourist areas. It is known for its unique balinese atmosphere, traditional dancing shows and several beautiful temples right in the city. There is also a famous Monkey Forest with a temple inside. Walking on the Ubud’s streets makes you want to get massage and relax or eat some great Indonesian food. Restaurants and spas are on every corner and they are good. Really good! We spent a few days in Ubud and you can read more about Ubud here.
TEGALALANG RICE TERRACE
Visiting rice fields was for me on the top of the list of things what I wanted to see in Bali and I couldn’t be happier I finally got to see it. There is a spectacular view from each side and every terrace!
We were so curious about what was behind the corner that we ended up literally lost. Yeah I know, Lost Blondie with her friend got lost in paddy fields.. what a story. It takes 15-20 minutes to walk around for normal people, but it took us more than an hour. Hehe, no comment!
HOLY SPRING WATER TEMPLE
Honestly, this was the most spiritual experience I have ever had in my life. I would’ve never said that I am capable of feeling this way.
When we were arriving to this temple, I had no idea what it was going to be about. I thought we were just going to see another beautiful place. But no! We experienced much more..
Our guide Putu told us that we can change our clothes to a special sarong he brought for us, go to water and make a simple praying and „cleansing“ ritual.
You don't have to be a hindu to pray in that water. You don't have to even pray there. But those feelings coming to your heart and thoughts going through your mind are just indescribable.
It is so unbelievable beautiful, that I even cried. Happiness found!
ORGANIC COFFEE PLANTATION
Well, this was also a very unusual experience.
This plantation wasn't just about coffee. They grow lemon grass, cocoa, vanilla, dragon fruit, pineapple, tea and much more.. Did you know that pineapple grows in bushes? I didn’t..
We learned a lot about traditional ways of making coffee and we also learned about Luwak coffee! For those, who just thinks that it is „poop coffee“, I have to tell you: YES! It is POOP coffee and yes, we have tried it! I even bought some for my friends to try. Ha! Well, let me tell you, they haven't yet!
Don’t be afraid to drink it. The beans are cleaned and roasted several times before they make a coffee and serve it.
In the end of the tour, there is a nice chill out place with an amazing view where you can sit and try every product they produce on the plantation. So besides the Luwak coffee we’ve tried Bali coffee, vanilla coffee, Ginseng coffee, hot chocolate, rice tea, lemongrass tea, Rossela tea and more…
MOUNT BATUR (1,717 m)
When my friend first told me that it would be nice to „walk“ to this active volcano (last eruption was in 2000) and see the sunrise from the top of it, of course I was like: yeah sure! No problem!
Well, hehe, I didn’t know what we were about to do! But a few days before, I opened trip advisor and searched for it.. „do not go there if you are not in shape“, „I am in shape and this hike was extremely difficult..“ … bla bla.. ehm, I am scr**ed! I am not in shape at all!! But do you think it stopped me?
We woke up at 2am, the company picked us up from our hotel and took us to the place where our hike started. It was 4am and raining like hell! We borrowed raincoats, got small flashlights and hit the road with two guides. First few kilometers were ok, we were just walking up to the hill, but in the middle it started to be more and more difficult and in the end we were climbing the slippery rocks because it was pretty steep.
After more than 2 hours we hit the summit and had a nice breakfast while it was still dark. They made hard boiled eggs and bananas with volcano steam! Just wow!
It was super tiring and few times it really came to my mind that I would just stay there or go back down alone.. But once on top and the sun started to rise, it was all worth it! It stopped raining but it was still a little cloudy, so the sunrise wasn't so SO amazing but the fresh air, caves and steam vents were really cool. And the view was just magnificient!! Lake Batur in the foreground and Gunung Abang on the other side of the lake. Speechless!
Uluwatu temple is a super busy touristic place but beautiful coastal area with endless ocean view. Temple and its surrounding is quite big and really nice to walk around.
So! This was the list of my favorite places and things to do in Bali, but I have to tell two more things!
THE UGLY TRUTH ABOUT BALI
If you are heading to Bali for white sandy beaches I have to disappoint you. One local driver told us there is just one white sandy beach and locals keep its location secret. I was super disappointed, but I don’t blame them. Beaches in Kuta, Semyniak or even famous Padang Padang beach look very nice from distance, but they are over-crowded and dirty. They are more suitable for surfing than beach bumming. If you wanna enjoy real white sandy beaches you should head to Gili Islands, which are not so far from here and trust me, it’s worth going there! You can read my post about them here.
THE BEAUTIFUL BALINESE PEOPLE
Balinese people are just amazing! They are super kind and beautiful minded. Hardworking and they just keep on smiling.
One guy told me that he is so happy in his life, even he doesn't have so much money, he doesn't need it, he has SUN and OCEAN! And that’s for free! BOOOM…mind-blowing!
Especially our guide Putu! This guy is really fun to be around. He is one nice, patient and open minded human being. If you are in Ubud and looking for some trips around Bali with driver and guide, go and find him*! He speaks good english, he knows a lot about Bali’s history and traditions and a lot of fun facts. I highly recommend him to guide you wherever you want to go around there!
*you can find Putu on one of the main streets in Ubud: Jln Karna no. 18, Purnama tourist service.
Putu with my friend Ria :)
Back home, stressed about work, I am just planning on going back soon and have sun and ocean for free! Island of peace, I need you! I am not surprised why so many people visit this place and just stay forever. It is really peaceful and beautiful small piece of land and I am sure that it has much more to offer than I can describe!
Have you been to Bali? I would love to hear about your favorite places you’ve visited! Just leave your comment bellow :)
And if you like my article, please share!
PS: In the end, we didn’t really have time for everything what was on Ria's list, because two weeks are really not enough and we didn’t really surf there either, but trust me, it was GREAT anyway :)
Thanks for reading!
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