When we arrived in Denpasar at night time, we chose to stay in Sanur. It is not too far from the airport and therefore ideal to rest from our travels and to plan our next move. We didn’t book any accommodations ahead except our first 2 nights. Other than for planning our next move and taking a bit of a rest after a long flight, we didn’t really like Sanur. The hotel was really great but we expected the area to be quiet and calm, but for us it was already too busy and hectic.
Deus Ex Machina temple of enthusiasm
After having breakfast on our first day we felt that it was not an ideal place to take a rest so we decided to call a driver who was advised to us by a friend, to see a bit more of the area. Okan Okan took us past very touristy destinations as Kuta, Seminyak and all the way up to Canggu where we visited the deus ex machina temple. It is such a cool place in the middle of rice paddies where they make customized motorbikes, hand-carved skate and surfboards, they have amazing food and drinks and an awesome shop!
After hanging out in this very chilled out hot-spot, we told our driver we did not want to stop in the touristy areas because only driving past them, we immediately got the same vibe as we had in Sanur.
Tanah Lot Temple
For sunset we visited the Tanah Lot temple which is famous for it’s off shore setting. It is a beautiful view with the waves crashing on to it’s fundaments while the sun sets. It is one of Bali’s most visited temples, allthough I found it one of the lesser ones! After a long hectic and typical touristy day we were very keen on leaving for Nusa Penida the next day!
Where To stay in Sanur:
- Akana boutique hotel: https://www.akanasanur.com
To eat in Sanur:
- breakfast: Bread Basket: http://thebreadbasketbakery.com/halaman-utama/
Jl. Danau Tamblingan no. 51, Sanur, Denpasar, Indonesië
- dinner: Fire Station (Belgian owners, amazing dinner): http://www.tfsbali.com/#two
Jl. Danau Poso, Sanur, Denpasar Sel., Kota Denpasar, Bali 80228, Indonesia
Taking the boat from Padang Bay to Nusa Penida takes you only 20 minutes from mainland Bali. The Nusa Islands are a group of 3 consisting of Nusa Lembongang, Nusa Penida and Nusa Ceningang. We chose Nusa Penida because it is the biggest island and more importantly because it is less touristic then Lembongang and Ceningang. You can do a day trip to the Nusa islands from Bali but in our opinion you should at least stay a couple of days to explore it properly. There are almost no cars on the island but lots of scooters. We hired a scooter in our resort ‘Bintang Bungalows’. It was fueled up but it didn’t include any helmets. Driving on it’s very harsh roads I kind of worried in the beginning but I was lucky to have an extremely capable driver along my side 😉
Here is a list of what we did on our 4 days on Nusa Penida, if you wish to go there and want the full itinerary and tips for visiting the island, read my post on Nusa Penida
We visited Crystal bay on our first day by scooter. It is a beautiful bay with an astonishing beach. It is ideal to go snorkeling and to if you are lucky, spot Manta Rays! (preferably go in the mornings for this!)
Broken Beach and Angels Billabong
The day after we went to one of the many nature shaped paradises on the island. Broken beach is a very big nature formed bridge surrounding a beautiful shore you can only see from above walking on it or reach from the ocean by boat. This was our first drone spot! We were soooo excited to fly it for the first time and then enthusiasm bit us in the ass! We crashed the drone!! If you are curious on the full story, check out the Nusa Penida post: Nusa Penida
The most paradise like feel you will ever experience! It takes a tricky but breathtakingly beautiful hike down. The view of the beach reminded me of the feeling you get when Leonardo Di Caprio first sees “the beach”! It is quiet an adventure to get down there and even more so to get back up, but it really was my favourite!
Our last day on Nusa, we took a boat trip to visit the Mangroves which are on Nusa Lembongang. Beautiful moisty scenery and nice to visit, but coming across lot’s of other boats visiting the Mangrove made it’s nature a lot less impressing!
After 3 days on this lovely green island, we headed back to Bali and arrived in Ubud where we stayed 5 days.
where to Stay in Nusa Penida:
Bintang Bungalows: http://www.bintangbungalows.com
Beautiful ricefields, yoga and handicrafts, spiritual living, arts and craftsmanship, friendly people and beautiful temples is what Ubud is all about! In the many healthy food hot-spots you’ll be surrounded with fellow travellers, digital nomads and expats. Ubud really has a relaxed hipster vibe!
On our first day in Ubud we visited so very popular Monkey forest! I don’t regret visiting this much too touristy hot spot because the park is like an enchanted forest with a lot of different very beautiful old trees! On the other hand it is flooded with 600 monkeys, friendly ones but also really aggressive ones. These deviant little creatures are running around and hopping on people’s shoulders and backpacks. The monkeys are only after one thing, your stuff and food! We even saw a women get bit and lord I hope she had desinfectant with her! If you visit, make sure you don’t have any food on you because they will come and find it! I now finally understand the expression ‘cheeky monkey’.
Campuhan Ridge Walk
A must do when in Ubud is the Campuhan Ridge walk, make sure to do it in the early morning when it is not too crowded, otherwise it will loose it’s beauty and it will be way too hot! It takes you more or less 1,5 hour to walk up and 40 minutes to walk down.. It is an easy walk around 4 or 5 km’s. It’s very peaceful and it is nice to be out of the hustle and bustle of Ubud for a while.
Tegalalang Rice Fields- Gunung Kawi
We were staying at the lovely Flora villas in Penestanan, Ubud. On our ‘4th day We hired a scooter for 2 days to go visit Tegalalang rice terrace on our own pace. It was allready raining for a while and on that morning it was no different. We decided to leave the scooter, and look for a safer option. We started walking on Ubuds main road looking for a taxi, but since it was early morning we didn’t see a lot happening. I think we must have looked a bit lost..
Suddenly a car pulled over asking us where we needed to go. Rai told us he would bring us to the Rice terraces and back home safe for a really fair price.. So we did not hesitate and got into the car!
Local breakfast and coffee Luwak
First he took us to a Balinese lady on the side of the road who was quiet known amongst locals for her balinese breakfast. He bought us Balinese pancakes and coffee for on the road. We were hesitating to eat it since we had been suffering from stomach pains the passed couple of days but he assured us this was the best breakfast we could get!
Before we went to visit the rice paddies, he gave us a tour in a coffee plantation and he explained us how the famous luwak coffee is brewed. He showed us so much about plants and flowers and their use and he taught us about ancient methods for maintenance of the rice fields. After this we sat down to have a coffee & tea tasting and of course we had to try the luwak coffee. Together with this awesome experience we tried the breakfast Rai bought us. It was surprisingly good and we enjoyed trying all these new local things! After this we visited the Rice fields and he showed us pathways not many tourists know.
We were so happy this extremely rainy day turned out to be so nice! It was all so unexpected we loved it! After this we went to see the holy spring water temple ”Tirta Empul” and also my favourite temple so far “Gunung Kawi”.
The Tirta Empul temple has a bathing structure which is famous for its holy water, a lot of Balinese Hindus go there for a purification ritual. You can see lot’s of Balinese families having a ceremonie for purification in the holy spring. Also lot’s of other ceremonies and praying sessions going on in the temple. It was beautiful to witness.
To reach Gunung Kawi, we did around 200 steps to get there but it was so worth it! It is an 11th century temple and a funerary complex. You can find several gigantic cut out and carved cliffs and rocks. The carvings are about 7 meters high and these monuments are thought to be dedicated to king Anak Wungsu. The funeral carved monuments are so beautiful I could have stayed hours just staring at these imposant carvings and wandering around these mystic grounds.
We enjoyed a fresh young coconut and Rai showed us the balinese way to drink it! Half of it we spilled on our T-shirts instead of drinking it but Hay, at least we didn’t use a straw! On our way back to Ubud we stopped at woodcarving and silversmith craftmenships and we also visited a traditional balinese house.
He dropped us of at our meeting point around 7 pm at night. We looked at each other with big smiles, we just couldn’t believe this day we had! Meeting Rai was a real blessing, he took us in and guided us through a big part of Ubud and far beyond. He did it with so much passion and love we felt so lucky!!
We learned a very great deal about Balinese tradions, food, culture, religion and believes. Also the most important thing is we met a true Balinese friend! After this we were sure to call him again for other road trips if we had the chance.
If you are interested in Rai as a tour guide, you can check out his portrait !!
Before we rushed to Padang bay to take the boat to Gili Air, Rai took us to this beautiful waterfall which was as you can see absolutely stunning!
Where to Stay in Ubud:
- Flora villa’s: https://m.facebook.com/Floranaturalvilla/
Where to Eat in Ubud:
- The Elephant: http://www.elephantbali.com
Address: alan Raya Sanggingan, Hotel Taman Indrakila, Sayan, Ubud, Sayan, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
- The yellow Flower: https://www.facebook.com/pg/Yellow-Flower-Cafe-Ubud-Bali
Address: Sayan, Ubud, Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
- Sari Organik: http://www.sari-organik.com
Address: Jl. Subak Sok Wayah, Tjampuhan, Ubud, Gianyar, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
The Gili islands are a group of 3 small remote islands just 2 -3 hours out of Bali by boat. Gili Trawangang, Gili Meno and Gili Air are famous for their white beaches, crystal waters and paradise vibes! We chose Gili Air because Trawangang is more famous for it’s party scene and we were looking for a more authentic and rustique, less touristic getaway!
There is no motorised vehicles on the island, you can do everything by bike, by foot or by horse and carriage. It has a real hippy feel to it, everyone is laid back, relaxed and happy! It is great for snorkeling, relaxing on the beach, outdoor movie nights, and fresh sea food barbeques! We had the best stay there!
We decided to take our 3 day Padi Course with diving school Oceans 5, which was an absolutely amazing experience! If you are wondering which school to pick or if you want some tips.. Make sure to read my portrait on the best diving instructor you can wish for, Hakan Tolga from Oceans 5.
Where to stay at Gili Air:
- Scallywags resort: http://scallywagsresort.com
Address: South Beach, Gili Trawangan, Gili Indah, Pemenang, Kabupaten Lombok Utara, Nusa Tenggara Bar. 83352, Indonesia
Where to eat at Gili Air:
- Scallywags Beach Resort : amazing fresh sea food barbecues
- Italian food at: Classico
Coming back to Bali after our 5 days on Gili Air we stayed in Sidemen for our last 2 days. Sidemen is a nice still preserved greener area in Bali. It was nice to end our trip in a beautiful place!
On our last night we asked Rai to do Mount Batur with us because we didn’t want to leave without climbing Bali’s most famous Volcano! According to the Hindu religion it is a sacred mountain. We left at 3 o’clock at night and started our 2 hour hike up with a local guide. It was still dark but the goal was to be on top before sunrise. So if your keen on doing this make sure to bring a flashlight and warm clothing for when you reach the top.
It was an absolutely rewarding view but make no mistake from all Instagram photographs you have seen of this epic scenery, you are not the only one up there! The closer we came to reaching the top we looked down on our hike seeing a stream of flashlights literally cueing to get up there. Once you are up there you are thrilled with the view but enjoying it is really hard because there are hundreds of other people with you. That kind off took the peaceful nature vibe away. Nevertheless we were glad we saw it!
Elevation: 1,717 m
Last Eruption: 2000