5 Top Locations for First Time Visitors
This small island started gaining popularity among westerners during the 1970’s, when surfers found out some of the best waves and remote beaches here. Today, Bali is one of the top 3 most visited destinations in Asia next to Agra, India and Bangkok, Thailand.
Indonesia is a country with over 1,000 islands and among them is Bali. It is the only predominantly Hindu location in Indonesia and thousands of Hindu temples are found across its grounds. Almost everywhere you go you will find small box-shaped palm tree leaves containing colorful flora, which are spiritual offerings made by the locals for the Gods. The smell of incense and morning and evening prayers will be part of your daily experience in Bali. The nature in Bali has been by far the most breathtaking I have ever seen and it truly convinced me that nothing man-made will ever compete with what Mama Earth has blessed us with.
This small island started gaining popularity among westerners during the 1970’s, when surfers found out some of the best waves and remote beaches here. Today, Bali is one of the top 3 most visited destinations in Asia next to Agra, India and Bangkok, Thailand. In my opinion, what makes Bali so great at the moment is the combination of being able to visit breathtaking nature locations, but at the same time be able to enjoy top notch restaurants, nightlife, and resorts. Bali also offers good quality supermarkets, modern pharmacies, and great boutiques for shopping. It is the perfect mix of getting westernized services but still be in an exotic island rich in culture and nature. The young community of digital nomads, surfers, and artists visiting and moving to Bali is also very appealing.
Some of the things that I enjoyed during our two weeks in Bali were renting and riding a motorbike, staying in the towns of Canguu and Ubud, exploring waterfalls and beaches, surfing, and eating at the local cafes and restaurants. The following locations were definitely on top of the list and must see for first time visitors.
My favorite waterfall visited was the Sekumpul Waterfall near Ubud. The walk there is slippery and during our way there it started pouring but our guide just kept on walking in the rain so we did as well. After crossing a little river, I tried to clean off some smalls leaves on my legs and when they wouldn’t come off, I realized they were small leeches sucking on my blood. My guide took them off casually. Bonding with everything in nature is something you will have to get used to! The waterfall is approximately 80 meters long, and you can also swim in the natural pool right below it.
I also loved visiting the Monkey Forest in Ubud. The forest itself is really beautiful and the monkeys will most likely jump on you. A monkey jumped on my shoulder while walking through a small bridge and started searching inside my pockets and camera bag for some snacks. We were told that as long as you stay calm, don’t pet them, or make eye contact with them it will be just fine. They were truly adorable.
Taka a day trip to Nusa Penida and visit Kelingking Beach. Arrive at this view point before 9:00am. The tourist groups start arriving at that time. Feel free to hike down to the beach, but definitely do not underestimate this hike. I wouldn’t recommend it for unexperienced hikers. If you decide to do the hike, bring water with you, hiking back up will be a bit challenging.
Tegalalang Rice Fields
While visiting the town of Ubud do a morning trip to the Tegalalang rice fields. It is easiests to already stay in the town of Ubud and do a morning 20 minute motorbike ride to the fields. Visit before 10:00am to avoid the tour groups. You can feel free to walk in between the fields and take as many pictures as you like.
For relaxing vibes, definitely stay in Bingin Beach. There a a few small guesthouses in front of the beach to stay in or enjoy a drink. The quiet beach has to be accessed through a small valley and a five minute walk down some rock stairs.