A week’s stay in Bali is admittedly too short for a place with so much to offer. It’s one of the more famous destinations in Southeast Asia, and understandably so – it’s the kind of place you easily fall in love with.
Here’s a roundup of my top experiences which I think you shouldn’t miss:
Surf and chill at the beach – Bali features not just one but A LOT of beaches for surfing, with varying levels of waves. I personally took lessons at Kuta beach where the waves were tamer. The whole stretch is lined with surfboard rentals and locals offering lessons. It’s ideal for beginners but the lineup can get a bit crowded. For the pros, the beaches of Canggu, Echo and Batu Bolong are within 30 minutes from Kuta.
Bali has one of the loveliest sunsets I’ve ever seen. 🙂 After surfing, Legian and Seminyak are the places to be for some drinks while waiting for the sunset. The more upscale bars can be found here. I chose to drink a couple of Bintangs with my surf buddies.
Soak up some culture – The Balinese are a religious people and it is very evident wherever you are in the island. Even in touristy Kuta, there are temples on every street corner, and offerings in front of houses and establishments.
Bali is not Bali without the temples. Most of them are still being used by the locals for worship, so tourists are not allowed to enter especially during prayer. Uluwatu and Tanah Lot are the most popular and most accessible ones from Kuta, both are best visited at sunset.
Uluwatu is set on a cliff and the crashing waves below makes it so dramatically beautiful.
Tanah Lot is the temple by the sea. We went around mid-morning when it was low tide, so we were able to get close to the temple.
For more culture appreciation, buy tickets to the nightly performances of Balinese cultural dances in Ubud. They can be quite entertaining. 🙂
Explore the streets of Ubud – Famous for its Eat Pray Love stint, Ubud is where you’ll want to go for some quiet time, meditation and yoga. The streets are lined with quaint shops, arts and crafts stores, rice fields… you get the vibe. There’s no beach, but the scenery is as good and everything is cheaper. I spent a day just walking around and getting lost in the area.
Ubud market has everything from clothes to paintings and souvenirs.
Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave) is in the vicinity as well and is worth a visit.
Go on a nature adventure – Volcanoes, waterfalls, rice fields, beaches… the island is blessed with so many natural wonders, you’d rather not stay indoors. In my case, I went on a full-day escapade with some new friends: we drove up to Kintamani to see the sunrise (that’s Mt. Agung above the clouds!!! 🙂 ), trekked the rice fields and then ended up at the majestic waterfalls of Sekumpul!
Make friends – Because Bali is a usual stop for backpackers, it’s easy to meet new people… and everyone gathers at Sky Garden in Legian for some hardcore partying at night. Ubud has its own crowd, too.. I had one day without any itinerary, just anything goes with people at the hostel. The locals are also very friendly, and the Filipino resemblance is uncanny! There were times I blurted out words in Tagalog, thinking I was talking to fellow Pinoys. They also mistake me for a Balinese and talk to me in Bahasa. Haha!
I also had a memorable first Couchsurfing experience here. The guys I trekked with were people I met at a CS meetup in Ubud, I was also hosted by a really nice local in Kuta. You do really end up with more friends when you travel alone. 🙂
Get an authentic Balinese massage! 🙂