My trip to Bali was a dream come true for me. It was everything that I had imagined and so much more! When booking the trip I wasn’t sure where to start, as there are so many places to check out. I definitely wanted a mix of beach and city, and wanted to enjoy the people and the culture. Meeting up with my daughter, who had been travelling in Asia with a friend, we decided to make our first stop in Sanur.
We spent two nights here mainly because it was within walking distance to the beach where I could relax for the first couple of days and get over my jetlag. Sanur is also close to the boat services to Nusa Lembongan where we were heading after this first stop. Sanur has some older resorts situated along the beach with some fantastic restaurants with patio areas where you can sit and watch the fishermen in their boats and the children playing.
There is also a market area with lots of trinkets and clothing. Bartering is the way to buy things here and it does take some getting used to. Be prepared to walk away and the price usually comes down. Keep things in perspective though as for many people this is their income.
Some of the hotels offer you the opportunity to rent beach chairs, or have pool privileges if you buy a dinner at their restaurant. We did this one evening as our guesthouse didn’t have a pool on the property. It was a great way to cool off!
One thing I noticed right away in Bali was the small basket offerings placed on the sidewalks, in shrines, and in walls.
The Balinese people practice Hinduism and these offerings are put out to help bring harmony to their daily lives. The baskets and the offerings in them are not only to honour their gods, but also to appease any demons.
The beauty of the flowers and the smell of the incense is a lasting memory from my trip to Bali!
After our two nights in Sanur we caught a boat to Nusa Lembongan. You can read more about Nusa Lembongan here. The ferry area is a bit chaotic and you may have to wait to get on a boat. You should definitely book ahead and get to the dock area early! I would recommend Scoot Cruises as they provided great service on our return trip back from Nusa Lembongan.
Nusa Lembongan was a lovely place to spend a couple of days. It is still a bit off the beaten track and therefore has a laid back feel to it. We stayed there for three nights and enjoyed every minute of it! Our accommodation was at Alam Nusa Huts and Spa which was within walking distance of Mushroom Bay where the boats dock.
Alam Nusa was the cutest place I have ever stayed in! The staff always greeted us with a smile and a hello, and they always made sure we had everything we needed. The bungalows are adorable and there is a small restaurant where breakfast is served, as well as a spa on the property where you can treat yourself. The private outside bathrooms are lovely with stone flooring and wooden walls.
Our first day on Nusa Lembongan we walked to Jungut Batu, a small village about 50 minutes away. Jungut Batu is popular as a surfer and snorkelling resort area, and there is a wide range of accommodation and restaurants. This village also has tourist information and ticket offices for boat reservations back to the island of Bali. After our walk here it was time to head back for some spa time….ahhhh facials and pedicures.
The next day we walked to Dream Beach and rented beach chairs to relax in the sun. We felt extremely lucky as there were only a few people here. The white sandy beach and the waves crashing on the cliffs definitely made for postcard worthy pictures!
That evening we enjoyed the sunset from Mushroom Bay.
After we left Nusa Lembongan we made our way to Ubud. Both the boat crossing and the transfer were arranged for us by Scoot. I won’t mention too much about Ubud, as you can find out more about it with this blog, but we spent 5 nights here which gave us plenty of time to wander the city, visit nearby areas, and also join a one-day bike tour of the countryside.
Ubud is definitely a more touristy village with numerous cafes and restaurants, as well as yoga studios and higher end jewellery and art shops, however, surrounded by rice fields and temples it has an irresistible charm. I loved my time here!
We then made our way to the area of Bedugul, located in the centre-north mountainous region of Bali. We had planned to stay 3 nights in this area, but after realizing we could see what we wanted to in a day we changed our plans to stay only 2 nights. We rented a car and driver (which seems to be the best way to get around in Bali) and started our day trip at Pura Ulun Danu Bratan. This temple, located on Lake Bratan, has a beautiful setting as it is surrounded by water and lily pads.
The day started out cloudy, but the sun and blue sky soon took over. After viewing the temples and wandering the grounds we headed to the Munduk waterfall. This waterfall is about 300m from the main road along a well-used trail. The short trek through lush vegetation is definitely worth it as this waterfall is stunning!
The next stop was one I has been looking forward to…the Brahmavihara Arama Buddhist Monastery near Banjar. This monastery is a mini replica of the large Borobudur Monastery on Java.
Situated on a hill with well-manicured gardens and meditation rooms, this monastery provides a peaceful place to wander. I felt humbled here by the calmness and beauty of the site! This is a holy place and just like when visiting the temples in Bali, a sarong and sash are required.
After visiting here we drove to Lovina, a beach town on the northern coast for something to eat and then headed back to our accommodation in Bedugul.
The last stop of our Bali holiday was in Kuta, the main beach town where most tourists spend at least part of their time. After the quieter pace during the first part of our trip this city hit us full force! It was busy and lively and so much fun. We had 3 nights here at the Masa Inn and filled our days with sightseeing and a bit of bartering. We also couldn’t pass up an opportunity to visit a Hard Rock Café!
The beach in Kuta is wonderful with lots of room to find your own space. People flock here during the day to enjoy the sun and surf, and in the evenings to watch the beautiful sunsets.
While in Kuta we went on two tours to temples close by. The first day we visited Uluwatu Temple. Perched high on a cliff this sea temple has an amazing setting.
The temple itself isn’t large, but the location and the views of it are breath-taking! Watch out for the cheeky monkeys here that like to steal your sunglasses and anything dangling from your purse or backpack. From the temple we drove to Jimbaran for dinner on the beach and to watch the sunset.
Our last day in Bali was here. We made the most of it by meandering through the streets of Kuta and taking a late afternoon tour of Tanah Lot. This temple is one of the most sacred to the Balinese and was definitely crowded with both locals and tourists. Tanah Lot temple is one of seven temples built around the Balinese coast and on a clear day you can see the cliffs where Uluwatu is located. The evening sun setting on this site is not something one will soon forget!
It was the perfect way to end our trip to Bali! I felt like I had become a part of Bali, and Bali was definitely now a part of me. The people, the beauty, and the culture all left their mark on me and I can’t wait to return one day.
Unfortunately it was now time to pack up and head to our stopover city of Hong Kong (see separate blog here) on the way back to Canada.
Tips for visiting temples here
Places we stayed…
Sanur…Sanur GuestHouse Nusa Lembongan…Alam Nusa Huts and Spa Bedugul…Strawberry Hill Hotel Ubud…Saren Indah Hotel Kuta…Masa Inn