Some destinations are special, you don’t happen to them, they happen to you. A trip that stays with you long after you’ve returned. Travelling is a beautiful journey, from start to finish but rarely ever does it ‘finish’ because memories stuck in your head and the captured moments always take you back to a time, a place, a moment, an experience, a feeling. That is why I enjoy being a wanderlust, it’s like my soul belongs to the world- every time I return from a trip I bring back something with me (intangible) and leave a piece of me there. It becomes only mine to know, mine to cherish and mine to treasure.
Cultural Bali Calling
Anyone who’s ever been to Bali will tell you it is a very culturally rich travel destination. Bali is an Indonesian island and is known for being home to some of the most exquisite temples, majestic volcanic mountains, gorgeous rice fields, stunning coral reefs and pristine beaches. When we planned our trip to Bali, we were of course prepared to see this for what it claims to be on the Internet (you should know I take everything on the Internet, with a pinch of salt). But boy, were we surprised and how! This has to be one of the most beautiful islands we’ve been to and let me tell you why.
Bali, the land of 1000 temples
Yes, you will get what you ask for in Bali. The temples will not disappoint, my most favorite has to be Tanah Lot, something about the way it presents itself to you. There’s a sense of drama in everything or perhaps that’s my over imaginative mind seeing it that way. So you enter an unassuming parking lot and then buy your entry tickets to get into the complex. Once you’re in, you will be flanked on either side with markets, for a minute you’ll forget what you are there to actually see. Once you’ve completed the market stretch, feast your eyes on what may possibly be one of the most stunning sights ever.
Unique rock formation, offshore setting and the lighting from the sun gives it an almost mystical aura. I loved it, my trigger happy husband just couldn’t get enough (we, in fact stayed longer than we intended) because it felt like being in an out worldly place. We’re told during hide tide, the temple looks like it’s floating on water. I could go on but this travel blog isn’t about Tanah Lot so I ought to move on. The other temples we visited were lovely as well, the cave temple Goa Gajah and the picturesque Ulun Danu Beratan are definitely must visits and so are the popular and beautiful rice fields.
Bali has so much more to offer
Once you’ve freed yourself from visiting these magical temples and rice fields, you will now have the time to make a stop to the sacred Monkey Forest. I can be quite skittish when it comes to being around monkeys and here I was agreeing to enter a park full of them (mainly to humor my husband’s request since he was really looking forward to it). But let me tell you once I was in the forest, it was a lovely experience. This is an ecological reserve that strives to maintain the viability of the Balinese long-tailed macaque and surprisingly the monkeys were super cute and I am glad I agreed to do this, it is worth it.
A word of caution, do not irritate the monkeys or try instigate a response from them. This is their home, we are aliens entering into their space and shoving our cameras into their face. Some of them a friendly and will jump onto your back or tug at your hand for a closer look, should you be hiding something that interests them (mainly food). It is quite fun and seeing the little babies snuggle up to their parents and throw you a curious side glance to let you know they’re watching is truly something. A couple of hours walking through this well maintained forest, watching the monkeys and it’s done.
Bali is a tropical adventure
An island with an assortment of beaches that are fabulous. Each beach has its own vibe to it, I was spoilt and it is really hard to call one a favorite. But if I had to pick one, it’d have to be Jimbaran with its wide stretches that magical transforms into a romantic setting serving you the best seafood in the evenings. If what you’re looking for is the perfect harmony of tranquility, good waters, sun and some privacy away from the other more crowded beaches, Jimbaran has to make the cut, hands down. It offers an alluring crescent of white sands, blue waters and warungs serving up a delicious spread.
Seminyak beach was nice too. Here you’ll feel like one big party on the beach. Thronged with tourists sunbathing, surfing and indulging in a dip into the blue while hanging onto a chilled bottle of beer (Bintang beer was our favorite). Kuta beach also shares a similar energy. If you love the beaches as much as we do then you will have a new one to pick everyday of your trip and still have some. We visited the Pandawa beach, a gorgeous addition to Bali’s collection. Here, you are welcomed by a beautiful panorama of high cliff and several caves with ornament of white stone statues.
Climbing Bali’s Mount Batur
After a light dinner and some sleep (barely actually as the excitement was making it quite difficult to get a shut eye), we had a taxi take us to the base of Mount Batur at midnight. After we got there and met fellow hikers; we began our hike at about 2 30 a.m. Mount Batur stands at 5,633 feet, and is an active volcano in Batur Village with its last eruption in 2000. After three hours of walking, we could see the sun slowly lighting up the sky, we wanted to summit by sunrise and therefore towards the last few minutes, I believe our legs were competing on getting to the peak ahead of the sun rising over head. The dirt uneven paths were not making it easy but it was super exciting being in a race with the sun.
The climb was pretty exciting. Having started out early, we followed our guide up this volcanic mountain in the dark. A little intimidating at first but once our eyes adjust to the blackness, it got easier. The best part about this climb was that it was non-motorable, so anyone at the peak had walked it up and it feels amazing when everyone clapped as we took those last few steps to the top. It was a little cold at the summit but after a hot beverage, some banana sandwiches and a boiled egg, we were instantly rejuvenated. The view from the top is stunning and the sunrise here is definitely one of my favorites. After clicking photographs and resting awhile, we started back to reach down in 2 hours.
Bali after hours
I couldn’t possibly end my travel blog here without mentioning the nightlife. What can I tell you about it- it has great energy, is infectious, fun, enjoyable and perhaps even loud! But that’s Bali after hours for you. The best of course is the Legian Street. You’ve probably heard the mention of this street in the news some years back when an unfortunate terror attack took away over 200 lives. In the middle of this street, you will notice a memorial made in honor of those we lost that day. Nightlife in Legian is a rich mix of nightclubs and dining spots that stay open till late along the main Jalan Legian.
There’s much to do here, Bali has a great atmosphere to keep your evenings engaged and we chose to pub hop, move from one spot to another. We started our evening at Sky Garden with an early supper; this multi-level complex with many DJs playing all evening right through the night is perfect. So we first pigged out on a scrumptious big hearty meal (yes, we got our priorities right 😉 and then moved on to other spots for hip hop, some techno and before the night is out your feet will be killing you, your hair drenched in sweat from the dancing and you’d have built a good appetite for some local street food (our favorite being Nasi Goreng, an Indonesian take on fried rice).
Bali, I’m coming back to visit
Stunning panorama with a serene and quiet atmosphere during the day, followed by the festivity at night makes this a very special travel destination. Bali holds a significant place in our hearts, because we first dived and snorkeled here. From then to now as advanced divers we have dived in some of the best diving spots in the world but your first has to be special right! It’s been over 3 years since and I’ve been insisting we go back again. It has and always will be my special place, I love that Bali offers me a wholesome travel experience; culture, tranquility, adventure and fun.
Love to dive, then read my previous blog on My top 3 reasons to dive in Maldives