I spent nearly three months in Indonesia during a break in my university studies. I began my journey in Jimbaran (Ngurah Rai airport) and flew home from Denpasar. I’ve always loved Bali (I blame reading Eat Pray Love at age thirteen), now my home is scattered with the items I collected and my mind is full of the amazing memories.
This is a peaceful start to Indonesia. There are hundreds of cheap restaurants on the beach. Wait until sun set and sit in the candle light looking out at the beautiful view of the sea and skyline. It’s a relaxed alternative to diving straight into the mad streets of Kuta or Seminyak. Here I enjoyed being serenaded on the first night by acoustic guitars (for a small price) and ate amazing fresh fish from the local harbour.
Ulu Watu has become the generic name for the southwestern tip of the Bukit Peninsula. Here I visited Padang Padang Beach. There are many amazing beaches with hidden caves and a great opportunity to surf. It’s a bit of a surfer’s paradise making it very popular with Australians and beach dwellers from around the world. It’s a thirty-minute walk to a Temple (Ulu Watu Temple) where there’s an open air theatre that performs a traditional fire dance (Kacak Dance). Be warned however that this lasts for many hours, on very uncomfortable seating.
A very westernised part of Bali with many five star hotels, Australians, Starbucks, and a Hotel Rocks! It’s here that theres an amazing waterpark if you’re up for a day of thrill seeking on the slides. It’s called Waterbom.
However it is a large party town and with the high level of dunk tourists also comes a lot of crime. Hold on to your bags and take care.
From Kuta you can go on a tour of Tanah Lot. It’s best to visit the temple in the afternoon so that you can see the sunset behind. Theres also an opportunity to cross the rocks and sea the snake tamers within.
Also from Kuta you can go on a two hour trek to Gunun Batun Sunrise, you’re treat when you reach the top of the volcano? An amazing sunrise an egg breakfast cooked from the steam of the mountain.
Ubud is a very spiritual place, great for a yoga retreat! Our hostel did morning meditations and yoga tutorials. Namaste. Theres lots to see here, with amaxzing markets to haggle in, a Palace, Taman Ayun Temple, Alas Kedayon Monkey Forest, Tanah Lot Temple and an art museum. Here you can also join a white water and Cycle Tour, if you pay a bit extra they’ll take you to the coffee plantations and show you the rare Kopi Luwak (monkey poo coffee.)
Here is where you stop to get the transfer to the Gili Islands and Lombok. There’s a real traveller vibe to this beautiful little port. With live reggae music playing from most bars at night and groups of individuals coming together to swap stories about where to go next on their tours. Here’s there is a great chance to relax, snorkel, stroll along the beach and do some relaxed shopping on the beach.
Gili Meno is the smallest of the three Gili islands and upon arrival you will feel a bit like an intruder on a farmers land! There are a couple of very private, honeymoon destination hotels but nothing like that on Gili Air. Here you will see a very authentic way of island life with cattle, chickens, locals and a salty lake. There is a turtle sanctuary where if you arrange before hand and are nice and patient you could give a hand in rescuing the baby turtles. You can walk around the whole island in an hour.
This is the closest island to Lombok, it’s white beaches and tranquillity make it a perfect honeymoon destination. There is a busy strip on the island but it’s no where near as bust as Gili Trawagan. It’s an ideal location to go snorkelling.
This is where I learnt to do my PADI so spent many weeks on this island, hanging out in the Blue Marlin Dive Gili T diving school. It’s the party island and a lot busier than the other two locations. The crowd tends to be a lot younger than the other two islands. It’s the perfect place to forget about reality with many restaurants, bars and sunbathing spots. It is still a good honeymoon location with a love swing set out in the sea, ideal for that perfect snap.
Here you can book the Lake Batur tour at the top of Gunung Batur. There are water sports, bike rides, paddy fields, shuttle to Lombok and loads to explore! There are two big waterfalls around this area which are easily in cycling distance. There is also a massive Go Ape style complex available for under £10, also amazing botanical gardens, strawberry picking and beaches about an hour motor bike away.
This is the capital of Bali. It may not be the tropical paradise you’d imagine when somebody mentions Indonesia but it has been steadily growing for years. Here you can see the ‘real Bali’ in the form of rice paddies and temples. There is much to see such as the Alun – Alun Puputan, Bali Museum, Palaces and a cultural centre. It might all seem a bit chaotic but if you like to rustle and bustle of a city I suggest visiting over Bali Arts Festival where there’s a whole month of performances.