The first thought that pops up into anyone’s mind when thinking of a holiday in Indonesia, is well, you guessed it Bali. The backyard for Australians, this beautiful island is that perfect little getaway although it might not be the perfect place if you are looking to find that authentic Indonesian experience. Although we really wanted to explore many of the other lesser known (a.k.a the islands with a little less drunken Westerners) time was again not on our side, and how embarrassing would it be to make it all the way to Indonesia and not make a stop in Bali? So off we went, to find ourselves (ha ha). Due to the pressure of our expiring visas we planned our trip in Bali according to the areas we most wanted to visit. From the hipster cafes and beach hangs, to the never ending rice terraces, we made the most of our time on this infamous island.
If you wanted to experience that relaxed surfer lifestyle but still craved the comforts of a city, then Canggu is the spot for you. With unlimited choices for restaurants, cafes, and bars, Canggu is a Westerner's home away from home. Located by the beaches of Old Mans and Batu Bolong, nestled along a few rice paddies, and far away enough from Kuta (because why on earth would anyone want to actually go there?). If I could describe our time in Canggu in one sentence it would be, "oh my god after 3 months we can actually eat Western food!" And thats how we ate our way through this little village. But in order to not feel like lethargic gluttonous beings, we ate for a purpose (at least we told our selves that as we stuffed the medium-rare burger in our mouths). We had the pleasure of taking over the Instagram account of one of our favorite Austin-based food bloggers Ane Lowe with her blog The Hungry Chronicles. Other than eating, we did enjoy watching the surfers on Old Man's beach, and spending time in our cozy Airbnb set on a rice paddy. We may have even accidentally adopted a dog one day on our walk back home (whom we named Bojangles but luckily found her owner the next day).
- Grab an iced coffee at Crate Coffee
- Eat a fresh smoothie bowl for brekkie at The Shady Shack
- Shop at Les. Basics, for THE basics
- Eat some fish and chips, drink some BingTangs, and dance at Old Man’s
- Grab drinks at Finns Beach Club
- Catch some waves or watch those that do at Old Mans and Batu Bolong Beach
- Pay a visit to the Tanah Lot temple during sunrise
Our next stop in Bali was Uluwatu, meaning "lands end" which perfectly describes its stunning limestone cliffs dropping off deep into the ocean. If this limestone paradise wasn't enough for you Uluwatu has some of the best waves that makes even the non-surfers want to ride them. You just have to be prepared for climbing down those beautiful limestone cliffs, walking or paddling across a long reef of sharp jagged rocks, and then catching those waves. Due to my knee situation I wasn't about to go out there and get myself killed, so we opted in renting a scooter and searching for the perfect beach to do absolutely nothing on instead. And in Uluwatu it is very easy to find that place. We settled for spending our days on Bingin beach drinking fresh coconut juice, splashing around in the water, and buying bracelets from the local ladies. In the evenings we headed over to Single Fin before the crowd to watch the sunset and all the surfers below, cheering as they rode those long swells.
- Grab a drink at Single Fin and watch the sunset and surfers below
- Rent a motorbike and explore the many beaches (make sure you are ready for a little climbing up/down stairs)
- Drink endless fresh coconuts on Bingin beach
- Pay a visit to the Uluwatu Temple.
If you've wanted to star in your very own version of "Eat, Pray, Love", then Ubud is your set location. Although my chapter on "love" is already completed (this is where everyone goes aww), we did manage to fulfill the "eat" and running to the hospital part of the book. Oh wait, the latter isn't part of Elizabeth Gilbert's story right? Soooo, remember when we were at surf camp and I collided into another surfer resulting in an injured knee? Well, my injury denial led us to three visits to Bali's very own western hospital (its really great! The hospital that is, but I hope you never have to find yourself there). Which brings me to my pathetic little guide to Ubud. One of the most beautiful and picturesque areas of Bali (although we never did make it to the North, and I hear THAT is incredible). The long visits to the hospital didn't really leave us much time for exploring Ubud the way we really wanted to, and when we did try my gimping/trying to ride a bicycle around the rice terraces, didn't really make for a very pleasant experience. The highlight to Ubud was our Airbnb, tucked away on our very own private rice field, the rustic little house with an open kitchen and a patio overlooking the field, which was the ultimate ending to our day. In the end my "slight strain" turned out to be a slight tear on my meniscus, ACL, and a bruised knee cap. From dysentery to the sexy Forrest Gump brace I have to wear for 6 weeks, nothing would stop me from exploring! If it wasn't for the hospital runs, we would have never got to meet our friendly driver Sam, and we would have never known about his local temple ceremony or Odalan where he happily invited us to come watch. The ceremony began with women carrying various offerings of fruit, rice cakes, and flowers to be blessed by the Pemangku or priest, followed by a sacrifice of a small pig (trust us we didn't see that coming either), beautiful music (where Sam was part of the drum line) and dancing! It was by far one of our favorite moments in Bali.
- Rent an Airbnb on the rice paddies
- Ride your bicycle through the back fields and terraces
- Take a hike on the Campujan Ridge trail
- Temple hop!
- Enjoy the delicious food and ambience for breakfast, lunch, AND dinner at Flower Cafe!