Bali is not what you think it is…
Big, white sandy beaches? I am sorry, but you are wrong. Bali is a lot more than a surfer’s paradise, but you won’t spend your typical bathing vacations in Bali.
Ideal time to go
Bali is a great vacation spot all year round but I recommend going in the off season where you find less tourists and lower prices. The best months are September to November and March to June.
About 1 week plus another 3 days if you want to take the ferry to the less populated and less touristy island Lombok from where you can traverse to the famous three Gili islands.
What to do
- Rent a scooter for a week and explore the island on your own. Shop around for prices in or near Kuta, where you can get a scooter for USD 5/day.
- Feed the monkeys in monkey land and visit the temples in Ubud. Ubud is a small, cute town which houses some very nice spas, resorts, and art galleries.
- Walk through some rice terraces and observe the locals farming near Ubud.
- Surfer or not, check out Padang Padang, the surf spot for the pros. This place lies on the south peninsula where a view paths and houses are built on the rocks. If you just want to relax and watch the surfers, go to the Hotel “Bluepoint” and check out their pool overlooking the bay.
- Check out the little mountain Bedugul village (at 1500m) which lay near the lake Danau Bratan. The village hosts local markets which provide great opportunities to shop for more authentic souvenirs.
- Go hike up the volcano within a crater. Start from the crater lake Danu Batur and hike up to 1717m, the crater edge of Gunung Batur. Breathtaking views are guaranteed from the top down to the crater lake and only then you will notice the caldera of 10km x 13.5km in which Gunung Batur, which last eruption was in 2000, lies. The hike can be quite tough if the sun is out and will take about 1.5h.
- If you are there in the right season, you can go for dolphin tours around Lovina in the North or just spend a day at the black sand beaches
- End your trip with a 60m minute Balinese massage for less than USD $5
What to skip
- “Yes, Transport?“, “Taxi, Mam?“, “You need watches?“,”Sarong, cheap cheap!”…..ahhhh….leave me alone! That was Kuta. You will at least have to go through and maybe spend a night but don’t make the mistake to book a whole week in this awfully, loud and dirty place. Hardcore party lovers might like it though.
- Denpasar, Bali’s capital doesn’t have much to offer and the traffic is terrible and there is chaos everywhere. The only worthy reason to pass by Denpasar is its big open-air market by night.
- Tanah Lot is more a tourist trap than an exceptional temple in the sea. The drive to Tanah Lot is long but leads by a lot of farmers and their rice terraces.
Lombok offers empty black sand beaches, palms trees wherever you look, a great art market at Senggigi but the worst traffic situations I ever encountered. Spend a few hours or a day there to transfer to the Gili islands.
There are about 700 people living on the three sand islands, Gili Air, Gili Meno, and Gili Trawangan. No cars, only bikes and horse carriages will be found on these islands and you can walk around the biggest islands, Gili Trawangan within 90 minutes. Definitely worth checking out these quiet and relaxing places which are also great diving and snorkeling spots!