I’m starting to get a sense that islands have the most to offer when it comes to experiences. My 7 days in Bali were busy with attempting to see all it had to offer. And the first tip I will give is that your trip should definitely be longer than 10 days. This small island has so many sites and sceneries that will have you wishing you had a little more time.
I’ve seen so many pictures of Bali online and on Instagram that helped me navigate and prioritize what I should see. I’ll spare you the 6 hours of scrolling and share with you what was worth the time and what you can probably skip out on.
There are waterfalls scattered all over Bali that wherever you are on the island, there will always be one close enough for you to visit. I was able to see a few on my trip that all had different uniquenesses to them that made it worth seeing all of them.
The first one I saw was Aling Aling Waterfall. I had a guide take me down to the spot but it’s not necessary. You can access it easily by foot yourself. What I liked about this waterfall was that there were several of them in close proximity on the river. There were a few platforms that you could jump off of into the water (10 feet & 40 feet) and you can even slide down some of the waterfalls!
The best waterfall I visited was Sekumpul Waterfall. It’s a little bit of a trek down, but it’s completely worth it. You can have a guide give you a ride down halfway if you don’t feel like walking. What’s nice about this area too is that it’s right next to the Fiji Waterfalls (I think it’s called that but it might just be an extension of Sekumpul); so you can see both while you’re down there. I suggest you wear a bathing suit because you will get wet. And it’s a nice swim on a warm day.
Ride a Scooter
Riding a scooter in paradise is so liberating! If you’re comfortable enough to hop on one of these, I suggest you do it. It only costs about $5 to rent one for the whole day!
But be cautious of where you’re scootering. I would stay away from scootering in big cities because it’s like they have no driving laws and it can be dangerous.
Nusa Penida is a neighboring island next to Bali. It’s a quick boat ride over (45 minutes) and it offers attractions that you can’t necessarily get on the big island. They have multiple areas for snorkeling and crystal clear blue waters that tropical islands are known to have. This is where you’ll find Manta Ray Bay and the popular Kelingking Beach which I’ll go through below.
There are also two tiny islands next to it, Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Lembongan. I stayed on Nusa Ceningan, which has the Blue Lagoon and Cliff Diving for you adventurers! It’s a 40ft cliff and terrifying for a first timer like me. Don’t go doing flips and sh*t if you’re a first timer, the guy that went after me got two black eyes and a bloody nose from trying to dive in.
I’ve seen so many pictures of this place online and let me tell you, it’s even better in person! It’s known for looking like a t-rex and you definitely see it. You can also go down to the blue waters in it’s bay, but it’s a scary climb down. Wish I could have done it if I had time!
Snorkeling, Surfing, and Scuba Diving
When in Bali, you have to do one of these. And I’ve already broken that rule because I never got the chance to and it’ll forever haunt me. But there’s so many opportunities to go snorkeling, surfing, and scuba diving in Bali; especially on Nusa Penida. There’s snorkeling in Crystal Bay and Manta Ray Bay in Nusa Penida, popular surfing spots on both islands, and you can do beginner scuba diving for as low as $80 for a day. It’s fairly cheap for all these activities so don’t skip out!
Hike Mt Batur or Mt Agung
Located in Northwest Bali are two volcanoes directly near each other. They’re both active and trekable! Mt Agung is the largest of the two. Trekking Mt Agung is a day trip, being a 10 hour hike. As of now (4/13/18), it’s closed to the public due to the recent eruption.
The next closest thing is Mt Batur, which is much smaller and easier to trek; 2 hours up and 2 hours down. Typically, you leave at 2am the night before (you get picked up by a driver) to make it in time for the sunrise. It was really crowded when I went which sucked, but it’s still worth it. They also have a sunset hike, but I’d recommend going for the sunrise so you’re not in the scorching heat when hiking.
Seminyak is a busy, touristy area south of Bali and 20 minutes from the airport. There’s a small area of it that has modern looking boutique stores and restaurants so you don’t feel so far from home. I stayed here for one night and decided to go out and experience the nightlife. I ALMOST didn’t make it out because of exhaustion but I’m so glad I did.
There are several places you can check out, but I highly recommend La Favela Bali.. It’s MASSIVE with two floors, 3-4 bars, and a huge outside area. The music was great and it was packed with both tourists and locals. If you’re looking for a fun night out, it’s open until 2am!
Rent a Villa
Where else can you rent a Villa entirely to yourself for under $150?! There are hotels and resorts which I’m sure are great, but you can afford to live like a Queen here. I exclusively stayed at Villas for my entire trip and I’m sure the amount I spent would be the cost of just one night at another popular destination.
Not only are they cheap, but they’re just plain pieces of art. There are many eco-friendly villas that you can stay at made from bamboo and local resources. It’s aesthetically pleasing and good for the environment. Airbnb has so many options for Villas and they’re fairly priced. My favorite one has to be the treehouse I stayed in in Sukasada. There’s a smaller hut on the premise that can rented out, but it wasn’t booked during my stay so BONUS for having the place to myself. I woke up to an amazing sunrise of the mountains, had breakfast made for me in the morning, and ate by the stream running right next to the treehouse.
The amenities tend to be great too. I either had groceries delivered to me to cook or there was an option for a cook to make me breakfast. They also typically have a scooter for you to rent.
Below are all of the mentionable Villas I stayed at!
When you’re traveling around Bali, you’ll see that there are temples everywhere, big and small. Bali is a heavily Hindu and Muslim island so there are accents of their devotion everywhere. I went to the Ulun Danu Temple in central Bali and it was amazing. The temple sits right next to (what I believe is) the second largest lake on the island and has a tiny temple shrine right on the water.
Rice is an integral part of Bali Culture and even has a spiritual element to it. Once you leave the busy cities and head into the more rural areas, you’ll see rice fields and terraces everywhere. I stayed in a village very close to a rice field and it’s one of the most beautiful things you can see. When I flew my drone over the fields and showed some locals, even they were amazed by how beautiful it was.
A popular rice field that is close to the resort town of Ubud is Tegalalang Rice Terrace. Sadly I couldn’t make it to this one, but it’s known for it’s hills and curves which makes it a prime spot for photos.
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