THE BALI NINE.. 9 Must See Balinese Destinations You May Not Be Aware Of..
Summer has been and gone, the cooler months of the year are drawing closer and you’re trying to prolong the thoughts of wearing a steamer in the ocean just to survive surfing the winter months of the year. Thoughts of a winter escape also seep into your mind. The hardest part is deciding where one should elope. Preferably to a destination where balmy sunshine meets white sandy beaches, palm trees are alined to infinity, pumping waves and postcard coloured tropical waters are a holiday must. Hmmm.. what better place than Bali springs to mind. With a six hour flight from Sydney it’s close to Australia, has world class waves and even more, no jet lag punishment upon the depressing return to reality. In my opinion, Bali is the perfect winter getaway for Aussies.
When it comes to Bali it’s very easy to splurge on a private villa or luxury hotel, in the main tourist hotspots like Kuta, Legian and Seminyak. Get to know the real Bali and your lust for this mystical island is bound to flourish.
World Famous Surfing – Bukit Peninsula
I still vividly remember my first time visiting the famous Ulluwatu Beach. A dirt track leading through the car park to the top of a rigid cliff face. Winding through the little warungs (local style cafes) and making my way down uneven concrete stairs, surfers rode waves as long as the dirt track leading into Uluwatu and would disappear around to the adjacent point. Watching the surfers scramble to make it under the clean up sets and the intensity of the waves was too much for some. I sat, in awe, watching the big swell and surfers try their luck to pick the better of the long exchanges. Swim in the cave below or infinity pools of the near by hotels, hire a day bed or experience world class waves for yourself.
Tanah Lot temple
This beautiful temple is positioned a little over an hours drive north of Kuta on the west coast. This mystical temple is erected on a small cliff surrounded by the ocean. Visit this place at sunset on a clear day and you will be rewarded with the most magical photographs. Learn the story behind this iconic Balinese structure.
Known as the ‘art-sy’ area of Bali, this is the place you will find anything from to unique one-off paintings, wood carvings, traditional roasted coffee beans to health and wellness yoga retreats. UBud has fast become a mecca for travellers wishing to embark on spiritual journeys. This area is also home to amazingly green rice fields, with fresh breezes blowing directly from the mountains. Theres a million different discoveries awaiting in this special area of Bali.
You need to take at least a Day trip to Nusa Lembongan Island. There’s a couple of day trip cruise companies or if you plan to stay longer, you can book a speed boat for a 30 minute ride across one of the world’s deepest natural channels. Speed boats leave from Sanur Port and can be booked at least one day in advance (or more in peak tourist season) through most travel companies on the streets in Kuta and Legian. The speedboat companies usually provide transfers to and from your hotel to the port.
Upon arriving at Nusa Lembongan, many small boats line the forefront of this picturesque island. This is truly a place to explore. Whether you surf, snorkel, hand feed fish, hire a scooter and ride around the island (and cross the renowned dodgey yellow wooden bridge to Nusa Ceningan) Lembongan offers the perfect combination of relaxation and exploration, or simply as little of either as you please. I recommend staying 3 – 5 days.
West Coast – Balian and Medewi
Escape the crowds and truly find out what the real Bali is all about. Up on the West Coast, many fun and uncrowded waves are what draws tourists away from the Kuta vortex. Explore the lush rice fields, drink from a coconut, try local foods, rent motorbikes and take off to explore sights like hidden water falls and trees that grow over one side of the road to the other. If you’re extra friendly the local people may even invite you to their homes to experience a traditional seafood barbecue dinner. I always encourage people to buy from the smaller local shops here to support local families as these areas get far less tourists than the populated holiday areas and local people depend solely on tourists’ money throughout the peak season to survive off for the entire year.
Who’s up for a Bali roadtrip?! On the drive up to Bali’s north coast, be sure to stop along the way and check out hot springs, botanical gardens and traditional temples. This is such a tranquil Balinese escape with many hotels catering for all travelling budgets. Watch dolphins play as the sun sets, snorkel, swim and relax. This is a truly magical coastline that not too many travellers experience. Either rent your own car, stop over night at other places along the way or have a driver take you. I would advise checking with your hotel on the best way for you to travel to Lovina.
On the south-east side of Bali, this sleepy coast line boasts the most dreamy beaches. A little more quiet than in the Kuta region, this area of Bali is perfect for families or couples wanting a romantic retreat. Be sure to check out this little Balinese hideaway.
Some of the best snorkelling in Bali. There’s something refreshing about discovering more of the Balinese coastline for yourself. In this sleepy hideaway, be prepared to dive with tropical fish, snorkel around old ship wrecks and laze around on sunny uncrowded beaches. I recommend hiring a personal driver for the day and doing a day trip from Kuta / Legian. There are places to stay, with a night or two being enough.
After travelling to twenty something countries, this view is still one of my favourites. Bingin Beach truly illuminates the simplicities of life. Staying on this magical cliff face, drinking Bintangs and watching the surfers at sunset make the most of the last light as they try their luck on the reef draining barrels, is in essence what this place is all about. Chill out and read a book on the veranda of a wooden warung, enjoy a fresh seafood dinner on the sand, meters from the waters edge and I promise, the longer you stay the more in love you will fall.