Let me share some of my favourite and not so favourite places and photos from my adventure in Bali. This is only from my personal experience and I have not seen it all for sure.
What is good?
- Surfing – even if you are a beginner you can take your first surfing lessons here. There are a lot of surfing school just down the beach and it is pretty cheap. We had a 2 hours lesson for 250 000 IDR (which is 17e) and we did not bargain which would mean you can get it even cheaper.
- Beach clubs – if you want an infinity pool, nice music, cool looking people and fresh drinks and you are ready to pay for it, here you can find Potato head beach club, Ku de ta beach club, Cocoon beach club.
- Shopping – I really liked the Flea market in Seminyak. I think it is better than the one in Ubud and you can get great deals there. If you are not in the mood to bargain you can go in the shops that are everywhere around the main streets in Seminyak and already have fixed prices.
- The best massage studio and the cheapest one at the same time which I found when I got lost 😉 It is called Jepun Beach Spa and a whole body Balinese massage for 60min. costs only 5euro.
- Caffe Moonlight BALI – I have been craving these smoothie bowls and banana and fruit pancakes every time I see them on Instagram and in Moonlight Bali the definitely fulfilled my cravings.
- La favella – this is where we went to dance the night away and it was really fun. The music is mixed so you can shake it around 😉
Did I like it?
Seminyak was our first stop in Bali and the first day I went for “a walk”. No way! The traffic is so crazy a that they are even driving on the side walks. They actually have them for only around 2 years now so they probably do not know what to use them for. The temperatures are so high that you may melt away. At the end of the walk I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. It is definitely not what I expected from Bali but it was OK. We spent 5 nights, but at some of the days we had a driver which would take us to Uluwatu or around. I would not spend that much time there. The traffic is crazy and the streets are too busy, dusty and noisy to just walk around. The beach is OK but nothing special. I would say that Seminyak is a great place if you are in the party mood – there are events and DJs at the beach clubs and night clubs are around.
What is good?
- Blue point beach – great and cheap restaurants with a stunning, view especially at sunset. As well as bars with great atmosphere, a lot of people, and an ocean view.
- Uluwatu temple – It is beautiful! And you SHOULD watch the traditional KECAK dance at sunset (I think it starts at 6pm and costs 100 000) in the theatre of the temple.
- Beaches – Dreamland beach, Padang Padang, Pandawa beach, Balangan beach. Funny and really annoying thing about visitng the beaches is that when you do it with a driver he would not stop at the beach but 500m. away. So a shuttle can come and pick you up and for this you should pay, plus you pay an entrance to the beach. When you ask why cant you go directly to the beach the answer is “It is far. And it is how it is. We need money to take care of the beach.” But it really is what it is and even when you see how ridiculous it is there is nothing you can do so pay and enjoy. Anyhow, I didn’t really like the tour of the beaches because you do not have the time to really lay on the beach or swim. You just sit there admire it under the extremely hot sun, take some pictures and off you go to the next one. It is exhausting and you can not really enjoy the beaches.
Did I like it?
Oh, yes! We did not stay to sleep there but we spent two days and it was lovely. If it was now I would spend some nights there instead of Seminyak.
What is good?
- Tegalalang rice terrace – an amazing background for pictures and a really unique view.
- Monkey forest – I heard a lot of tourists saying that hey are not going there because the monkeys bite. Well, we went there and for me it was one of the funniest and the greatest experience. But yes – a monkey ate part of my skirt (video on my FB page), another one was on my head trying to eat my hair. I did not mind and I just laughed, but if you get scared and start screaming and pushing her away there is a high chance she would bite you. Read the safety instructions on the front door and follow them!
- The coconut shop – go there and try the home made coconut ice cream with or without mango juice. Soooo balilicious!
- Yoyo’s villa – we stayed at Yoyo’s villa named after the owner and this was a pure bliss. In the middle of rice fields, with a small swimming pool and the best bathroom you can imagine. Yoyo is also very sweet and helpful. The only thing is that it is a little bit far from the centre of Ubud so you will need a taxi or a bike.
- Mount Batur trekking – we woke up at 1.30am and they picked us up at 2.30 am to go to Mount Batur. Be carefull for the prices for this tour. First they offered us 700k IDR per person for a drive, a breakfast and a guide for the trekking. We said it is too much and after less than an hour they called us back and gave us a price twice lower but we shared the car with some other tourists (which was totally fine). Be prepared with shoes and clothes and if you have one take your own flashlight. Theirs go out of battery all the time. It is a non-stop 2 hours trekking on a steep mountain in the dark but once at the top the view is breathtaking!
- The Kanto Lampo waterfall – a hidden gem and not so crowded one. Just 20 minutes drive away from Bali. Be prepared for donations on the way up. This is what actually bothered me in most of the tourist places in Bali. They see the tourists as ATMs and they make you pay for everything and when they realise it is getting annoying they just call it “a donation. In this case for the waterfall if you want to go up to the top you should pay a donation in the middle of the road. And they do not except coins 😉
- Pura Taman Saraswati Temple – we saw a couple of temples and this was not that impressive to be honest. But it really depends what you are looking for. I find it annoying to visit all the “must see” temples on the guide just because after I saw the first three I knew what to expect and at the end I could not even remember which I visited and which I did not. So we did only 4 of them and it was more than enough.
- I would recommend Pura Tirta Empul and Tanah lot! We visited both of them on the way from Seminyak to Ubud. At Pura Tirta you have the opportunity to go in the holly water and pray under the fountains. One really important tip here (unfortunately from personal experience): DO NOT DRINK FROM THE WATER! They told us you should go under every fountain pray and drink from its water 3 times. And let me mention that these fountains are probably around 20. We had stomach ache for hours after that. Anyways, be prepared with some extra clothes because your will be wet after being in the water with yours. And if you have your own sarong bring it so you do not have to rent one.
Did I like it?
Yes, I did. It definitely feels more like the Bali that I expected than Kuta or Seminyak. But it is still really busy after the “Eat, pray, love” madness. You can get lost in the small streets with some great restaurants, go for yoga in one of the studios and find amazing villas in the middle of the forests. What is more, Ubud is more or less in the middle so you have most of the “must visit locations” close to you.
What is good?
I would say that Nusa Dua is the place where you can find amazing luxurious hotels and quiet and nice beaches. Other than that there is not much to do there. I spend there 3 nights and all I did was shopping at the mall, eating at different restaurants and walking around Kuta beach since it is not that far.
Mentioning Kuta Beach – this place is crazy. There are so many locals trying to sell you something that at the minute you lay down on a sunbed there are already 5 people around you offering you a massage, a bracelet, a coconut, an icecream or surfing lessons. At the beginning it was really funny but on the third round it became really annoying. You can watch some videos I made on my Facebook page. Kuta beach is also highly recommended for surfing and the Kuta area is well known for parties.
Did I like it?
Yes, if I wanted to spend a week in a great hotel and just relax and enjoy the beach and all the treats that the hotels offer I would go there. And of course if I have a fair amount of money to spend! 🙂
My favourite AMED
What is good?
Snorkeling – it is not just good. It is amazing. I went to Jemeluk bay and just did 5 steps into the water and there was a completely different world down there. So many fishes, corals, even an underwater temple.
Restaurants – after an hour of snorkeling you have plenty of restaurants on the beach to eat in and what is more it is much cheaper than most of the other places in Bali. And so much fresh fish. But the best restaurant I have eaten at (not only in Bali) is Warung Enak. It is not on the beach but everything you put in your mouth is just melting and bursting flavours. Its more expensive than the others but it is 100% worth it. Oh, and make a reservation for dinner, really!
Diving – the Liberty ship wreck diving site is in Tulamben which is just 20 minutes drive away from Amed. This is where I went to dive and it was impressive. There are so many different diving sites around Amed that you will be confused which one to choose. For my diving experience I chose Dream Divers Bali and Imade was a great instructor and an underwater photographer as well.
Cheap beach front villas – I slept in two villas with the best ocean view ever. And the price was unbelievable – 14euro per night with breakfast included for a view worth a million. You can just walk around and stop in different villas and bargain for the price.
Massage – I had a massage almost every day in my 3 weeks long vacation in Indonesia. And surprisingly or not the best one was on the beach in Amed after all day of snorkeling. 60 minutes cost me only 5euro and Ketut (the massage guru) was amazing. She sold me a home made pure coconut oil and gave me a bracelet as a present. I wrote a review for the massage in her notebook which she was using as her personal “Trip advisor” she said. I am adding a picture of her so once you go there you an find her and have the best and the cheapest massage 😉
Live music – Walking around in the evenings you hear live bands playing here and there. Most of them play reggae and the locals are dancing with so much passion that it makes you smile and enjoy to the fullest. Grab a Bintang (local beer, wine not recommended) and ask them to sing you your song. I asked them for Give me one reason – Tracy Chapman and they did great.
Did I like it?
I chose to go there because I wanted to catch the boat to Lombok. I did not read anything about it and just book 1 night to see if I like it. It is not that I liked it. This is my favourite place in Bali. If it was now I would spend at least 5-6 days there, not only 3 as I did. It is the spirit, the food, the people, the underwater world, the vibe. It is all I wanted. The only thing missing are the white sands and a beach to swim but that is why we go to Lombok and the Gili’s next! 😉