So naturally I get a lot of questions from people coming to Bali about where to go and what to see. I write a fair bit on this topic for other sites but I thought I would put some tips in here too as I don’t actually have a lot of information about travelling around Bali, apart from day trips and such that we’ve done.
Bali is a tiny island but there is plenty to do – holidays to Bali don’t have to just be sea and sand unless you want them to be. In fact you don’t need to go anywhere near the beach if sunbathing is your idea of hell. We have rice fields! Volcanoes! Elephant parks! Yoga retreats!
If you’re visiting Bali for the first time, here is my list of must-sees. There’s still a lot I haven’t seen of the island and hopefully I can add to this list soon as I explore further 🙂
Lots of people include Kintamani in a day trip where they have a quick look at the volcano, get hassled by touts selling souvenirs and eat an overpriced lunch. It’s worth it for the view but I would also totally recommend heading downhill to the foot of the volcano and exploring around (preferably on motorbike). there’s some gorgeous scenery and crazy volcanic landscapes.
I love Bedugul. It has a pretty temple and a gorgeous huge botanical gardens that costs next to nothing to enter. You can bring a picnic or buy strawberries from the market and have a feast. i wish it was just a little closer so we could take the kids for a run around on the grass without the 90 minute car journey. Also Bedugul is at a high altitude and so a lot cooler than the main tourist areas. If you can catch it on a day when it’s not raining, it’s really quite lovely. Oh and you can hire a boat to go around the lake!
We went to Amed on a weekend trip when i was a few months pregnant with Maya. Made was bored stiff but I loved it here and I’m itching to go back. There’s not much to do, true, but what else do you need when you have that gorgeous black sand, rolling seas and dramatic sky? Also there are dolphins! It’s the perfect place to relax, in my opinion.
Catch a boat from Sanur and you can reach this chilled out little island in 90 minutes. Again there’s not much to do but enjoy the white sand beaches, dinner on the beach and tootle around on your scooter. There are no cars here and just one little road that goes all the way around the island so it’s the perfect place to learn to drive a motorbike. I did (on a manual no less!) and then never did it again (4 years and counting). Bali traffic is scary!
If you’re just going to see one temple then you may as well make it the biggest and best. Besakih or ‘Mother Temple’ is impressive any time but even more so if you can visit during one of the big ceremonies that happen only very rarely. I’ve heard tourists having a lot of problems visiting here because they’re forced to hire a guide so I say wear balinese dress and find a balinese family to bring you 🙂
You probably saw this already in my sling diaries post. I really think it’s one of the most impressive waterfalls in Bali and one that few tourists visit – definitely worth a visit!
Campuhan ridge walk
Yes it really is that pretty! Another sling diaries photoshoot location. If you find yourself in Ubud, it’s definitely worth doing this walk, preferably around sunset. See it before the developers ruin it!
So that’s it for now. As I said, I really want to explore more – I’ve never been to the west or the north of the island (well no further west than Amed anyway) and I’m hoping to persuade Made to take a couple of trips this year now that the kids are getting better at travelling in the car. Who knows, maybe I’ll even manage to escape from Kiran for a night or two and have a child-free weekend – bliss!