Being one of the most popular, exotic vacation destinations in the world, I was interested and excited to experience what this island had to offer and see how it compared to all the other places I’ve been to so far.
Bali is a pretty well-developed island with all the amenities travelers would enjoy. The only down-side is that there are lots of tourists that flock to the island. However, with so many things to do and see, even though crowds of people seemed to be everywhere, it wasn’t too difficult to find a few cozy, quiet places.
I stayed in Seminyak, which is on the South-Western part of the island. It’s completely walkable with shops and restaurants aplenty. Ku De Ta beach was only a few minutes away from the hotel and tourist information booths were peppered throughout the town. Cheap bargain shopping could be found just outside the town center and a variety of foods and cooking styles tantalized the nostrils at every turn.
Renting a motorbike coast about $5 for the DAY, so an entire day on a motorbike was had! The drive to the hub of Ubud was beautiful. Small towns, temples and busy streets paved the way toward this artsy town near the center of the island.
A chance meeting on the days journey led to an impromptu coffee tour and tasting at a family farm. And yes, I tasked the “Luwak” coffee, or the coffee that is harvested from the beans gathered from Civet poop. I have to say, it was delicious. Besides tasting the Luwak coffee (cost $5), all the other coffee’s and teas in the tasting were free. It was great to enjoy a peaceful afternoon with some delicious beverages.
Then it was onward to the center of Ubud. There’s something for every budget in this bustling town. From jewelry and art to clothing and food, there was a great mix of interesting items for sale on the European-style streets amid handfuls of Hindu temples.
Needing some rest and relaxation after the aforementioned motorbike journey, and having already spent a day lounging on the beach/hotel pool, I decided to explore the tiny island of Lembongan. A 30-minute drive to the Eastern town of Sanur and a 30-minute fast boat ride was all the transport needed to get to this tiny island. And it was most definitely a sanctuary, far removed from anything resembling “hustle and bustle.”
After getting dropped off at Mushroom Beach, the days trek began. A delicious coconut pancake was quickly devoured within moments of leaving the boat dock area. The sleepy hotel/café that I happened upon was so enticing, it couldn’t be passed up.
The journey to a beach further North took a little longer than expected. Everyone from the boat dock area seemed to have arranged some kind of public transportation or rented motorbikes to get around. But with no cars on the island, and very few people, it was great to get some exercise and take lots of photos along the way. At one point, the road led to a pretty high point which offered spectacular views of the enticing ocean down below.
After a chance to swim and sunbathe, shop and photograph, it was time to make it back to Mushroom Beach to meet our Captain. A full afternoon on this island was plenty of time to relax, get some sun, and aimlessly wander the streets to appreciate the beautiful architecture.
My experience on Bali left me eager to keep exploring this amazing country that is currently my home. “Eat, Pray, Love” jokes aside, I can easily relate to having a piece of my heart being taken by each new experience here.