Welcome to Bali – The Paradise on Earth
The most special place on earth has a name and it is Bali. For many years people from all over the world have been drawn to this mystical place to seek for adventure, inspiration or just relaxation. Colourful flowers, candle scent, vivid ceremonies, ancient temples, endless rice paddies, huge surf waves, sleeping volcanoes, smiley people – those are just few of the things that will welcome you to this extraordinary island.
In order to get the experience you are looking for, it is important to do your homework and research in which part of the island to go. Bali is a medium-sized island with very good infrastructure, which allows you to move easily from one spot to another. Have in mind that every part reveals to you a completely different face of Bali. Here is an overview of each of those to guide you through your journey!
Ubud – The Real Face of Bali
We should start by saying that we went there with the intention to stay only few days and ended up leaving on the 10th day dreaming already of going back.
Have you ever dreamed of a place where you wake up to the sound of mystic music and the scent of candles, surrounded by flowers and ancient statues; a place where monkeys play with you in the park nearby and there are colorful temples everywhere you look offering to tell you a thrilling story? This place actually exists and it is called Ubud.
The city is hidden in the country, away from beaches, but it is perfect getaway to all the interesting parts of Bali. Ubud is the official cultural capital of Bali and it is the perfect place where you can see Balinese dances and everything else around the local culture. It is urbanized to the extent that there is everything you need, without being overwhelming. There are numerous temples in and around Ubud you can discover.
We highly recommend you to pay a visit to the Money Forest, which is a mini jungle in the heart of the city, where you can play with monkeys. It is a lot of fun, but still be careful since they are very naughty. Bring them bananas and make some new friends.
We chose (or it chose us 🙂 ) to stay in a hostel in Ubud during our whole visit and rent a scooter, which helped us discover easily every face of Bali.
North Bali – Wild Nature and Local Spirit
Time has stopped in North Bali! This is where you can discover the typical local lifestyle, well preserved over the years. This is also where you can enjoy wild nature, two picturesque volcanoes, strawberry fields, endless paddies and the biggest temple Pura Besakih.
The whole region is lined by small villages, dedicated to various crafts, which openly welcome you to experience their culture. While travelling via scooter we often bumped randomly into colorful Hindu ceremonies in the typical Balinese style which left us speechless.
Just ask in the comments if you want us to show you our itinerary for this region! We promise also to share soon a special blog post dedicated on all temples in Bali.
Central Bali – Denpasar and Sanur – the Urbanized Bali
No matter where you are coming from, most probably you will arrive in Denpasar! It is the most urbanized part of Bali, which looks like a cosmopolitan town. Don’t be scared – it has nothing to do with the real face of Bali, which is only 30min drive form there 🙂
Denpasar is a good getaway to every part of Bali and the gorgeous Gili islands nearby (more coming on those in a future blog post). Our advice is to stay there only if you need to arrange something around your trip. If not, get away from there as fast as possible and don’t waste time in the civilization.
Denpasar is continuing into Sanur, which is a long beach in the southeast of Bali, full of big hotels. If you are looking for a relaxing vacation this is a good spot, but this is not the real face of Bali and you can pretty easily find such resorts anywhere in the world.
The West Coast – Kuta and Seminyak – The Most Commercial Part
The biggest myth we have heard of Bali is that a must-do place the region of Kuta and Seminyak. To be honest, we have never seen dirtier beaches with no character and overcrowded with noisy local merchandisers. Actually, we felt like we had wasted a day visiting “the most popular site” in Bali. There are big hotels, noisy western-type bars and you feel like you are in a big and kind of crappie resort. On the other hand, if you want to go to a party place – well this is a good choice but why go all the way to Bali when you can do it in your country or even city?
There are two things we have to admit though! Those beaches are very good for surfing and if this is what you are looking for research a bit closer all your options and consider Canggu and the Uluwatu region. Another good thing about Kuta is that it is close to the gorgeous temple Tanah Lot. This mystic place is lying gently in the ocean and offers you stunning views. Don’t miss the sunset over there!
Southwest Bali – Uluwatu – Surfing Spot
The southwest region of Bali offers small picturesque beaches and good surf! There is the same trend though of commercializing little by little. For example, one of the beaches was overtaken completely by stalls selling everything you can imagine. Man, that was annoying!
There is a fantastic temple called Uluwatu, located far on top of a hill and overlooking the ocean. The sunsets are stunning there! Just watch out for the monkeys, who have conquered the whole spot and who steal everything from you – from sunglasses to empty bottles. Watch out, those are dangerous dudes!
Onе tip – visit the nearby city of Jimbaran and have fresh seafood on the beach! It is priceless!
Time to Explore Yourself!
So where would you choose to go in Bali? Please, share in the comments your experience with this magical island if you have visited it already.