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Top 5 things to do around Bali, Indonesia

So you’ve just arrived to Bali fresh from the plane and you’ve found a place to stay and you need something to do – you’ve come to the right place. We’ve got both top tourist spots and your hidden gems.

If you’re not quite that far yet and still need a place to stay you should check out Bali hotel deals. In case you are ready for some over-the-top honeymoon worthy luxury Alila Seminyak is a good place to start for that once in a lifetime experience. Otherwise if that doesn’t intrigue you, many other cheaper alternatives can be found on that same page.

1. Tanah lot

This is one of the biggest attractions on Bali with many people making the pilgrimage every day. Tanah lot is a row of waterside temples and astounding views. Picture worthy indeed and a great place to visit. If you have the option get here for sunset. It’s beautiful.

MAP: Tanah Lot

tanah temple bali
This is not the actual Tanah Lot temple but one of the nearby temples as it is a whole row of temples.

2. Pengempu Waterfall (aka. Air Terjun Pengempu)

This is a small but beautiful waterfall you won’t see listed anywhere else. It is not hard to find and the 30 minutes we were there not a single other person showed up. Another couple showed up when we left but that’s it.

To get to the waterfall from the road you have to climb some steps which takes about 10 minutes give or take. Nothing that can’t be done in flipflops.

MAP: Pengempu Waterfall

pengempu waterfall bali
A nice little waterfull off the beaten track

3. GitGit waterfall

Probably the most famous waterfall on Bali so expect to see a lot of tourists there. As this is a list of top things to do in Bali, It’d be a shame to leave this one out.

Popular for its bridge walkway and cool water where you can take a swim, makes this place worth a visit.

MAP: Gitgit Waterfall

git git waterfall bali
Git Git Waterfall

Photo source:

4. Ubud local nightmarket (aka. Pasar Senggol Sindu)

I lived in Ubud for a month and for the first two weeks I wasn’t able to find a local market to buy my necessities like clothes and everyone just led me to the supermarkets near Ubud (western style indoor supermarket with aircondition) – even the locals.

Finally, one day I found the market as I was casually driving by and it was just as I had hoped. Cheap clothes, cheap shoes, cheap food. We’re talking less than $1 per meal. I didn’t see a single other foreigner when I was there.

MAP: Ubud local nightmarket

ubud night market bali
The night market in Ubud. Sorry for the bad quality of the picture!

5. Mt. Batur

The volcano on the Island of Bali. It’s active. Many tours are arranged here and fun things such as cooking your own food using the heat from the lava are on the program. Ask any travel agency about the details and if you’re adventurous go do it yourself. Hiking up to see the sunrise is a prominent activity and very popular. Get there before the crowds (start around 3:30am) and you’ll have a pleasant ascend.

I’ve heard rumours that scams are going on where they tell you that guides are mandatory. It’s not true (!) and it’s easy to find the way by yourself. Although, as before, if you prefer to just relax and let someone else guide you – the guides aren’t expensive.

MAP: Mt. Batur

mt. batur bali sunrise
The beautiful Mt. Batur at sunrise.

Photo source:


To get around, the local way, I would rent a scooter. They are about 60-100k IDR / day (=$4.5 – $8) for a new model scooter and all they require is a scanned copy of your passport (they’ll copy it for you). You are then free to roam wherever you may please at your own pace and that’s freedom like nothing else. Be aware that you get no insurance with that price and that traffic can be terrible. I would not recommend renting a scooter here if this is your first time.

If motorbiking is not your thing you can rent a car + driver for a full day for around 250k (=$20), at least when I checked last time in Ubud. So if you’re 4 people or you prefer a car this is definitely a viable alternative.

The beaches of Bali

I didn’t mention any of the beaches but they are everywhere. If you’re out for that resort style beach with comfy chairs and cocktails, the south Kuta peninsula is your go-to place.

Russian cities and trains

Well, where to begin! The last time i wrote was 4 days ago and as you might know by now. We don’t sit still!

The day in Moscow (25th july) went fast – we saw alot of monuments, took a free walking tour, ate some russian food, met some other tourists and even decided to meet up with one of them in Irkutsk as he (a german) also arrived when we did.

two of the nice people we met. Philip and Anke. There was also a german called mirko
two of the nice people we met. Philip and Anke. There was also a nice german called mirko

There is one thing i would like to mention from Moscow though – we visited the oldest banya (bath house) in Moscow and it was great!

From the outside it looks like a restaurant and it even says pectorah (restaurant) on the outside… which is kinda true. You then go in and people in towels are walking around. We were met by an english speaking russian who told us about the classes of the bath from highest to lowest and we opted for middle (1800 rubles each). When we got in, I for one was quite surprised. It actuallyt was a restaurant! We got a seat each and we were assigned a waiter. Everybody could order food and drinks and all kinds of massages and leaf treatments and whatnot. All while sitting naked in your towel. You then interrupt your food to go in the sauna to warm up and then go straight into some colder pools (20c) to cool down. Go back to the restaurant part, eat, drink, repeat.

We spent an hour there as we were in a hurry and quickly decided to try this again! Inside I believe that russian mob gangsters and rich businessmen were doing business. There were private cabins and lots of servers – even on second class. Finally we also bought a hat.. mostly as a souvenir but everyone wore one inside.

casual sightseeing
casual sightseeing
casual sightseeing
casual sightseeing

At 00:35 we boarded train 100 to Vladivostock!

in front of the sign saying "moscow staying" displaying train 100 going across the country
in front of the sign saying “moscow station” displaying train 100 going across the country to vladivostock

We were riding third class. which meant 60 people crammed in small space. We knew nothing and noone spoke English. It was great! There is loads to speak of here, even though nothing really happened. Except for the evening where we met some crazy russians that gave us food and vodka in full excess. Read more about this  on my travel companions travel diary:

Let me instead just show you some pictures we snapped:

russians, food and vodka
russians, food and vodka
me and the restaurant staff
me and the restaurant staff
at one of the "stations" with everybody outside and babushkas selling stuff
at one of the “stations” with everybody outside and babushkas selling stuff
train living
train living


the toilet
the toilet
the samovar. always containing hot water
the samovar. always containing hot water


view from the train
view from the train
more crazy russians. this guy on the right was in the army fighting in ukraine. I borrowed his hat
more crazy russians. this guy on the right was in the army fighting in ukraine. I borrowed his hat
sign at the station in moscow (it says 100 - vladivostock)
sign at the station in moscow (it says 100 – vladivostock)
the train in moscow
the train in moscow

Well there you have it. A picture explains more than a thousand words! 🙂

We met some russians on the train. They were all going from moscow (where they live) on the trans-siberian railroad to several russian cities and the first of them being yekaterinburg. At the same time as us 🙂

First arriving in Yekaterinburg it was a very weird feeling. Dear reader i don’t know if you’ve tried to be in a city where you understand nothing and know nothing and noone speaks your language. It’s a strange yet somehow appealing feeling. You find yourself out of your comfort zone and you succumb to basic communication. Pointing and general miming. We read from our guide book that the station is about 2km from the city centre and also that a hostel named Omnomnom was  a good place to go. We also had a map of the city centre.

We went to a tram/bus station and quickly discovered that a map or a plan of the public transportation was nowhere to be found – let alone in english and decided to go with plan b. Find a nice looking babushka and point at the map saying your best russian “lenina” (for lenina street). Luckily she understood us and helped us get on the right tram. Things went smooth from there and with the help of our map and a couple of friendly strangers we found our hostel AND it wasnt booked! Although well hidden in a residential complex. We then dropped our bags and started wandering the city.

A side note is that they where 3 women working on the tram: 1 to drive, 1 to speak in the loudspeaker system and 1 to sell you tickets… and the tickets were about half a euro a pop. I can’t believe they get paid very well with such cheap tickets and 3 people working just one tram but thats another story.

With us wandering the city of yekaterinburg (more detailed descriptions in my travel companions before  mentioned travel log) we noticed a few things. For example: they have starCUPS not bucks – although the logos look similar


And had some coffee at a great place called travellers coffee

funny sign
funny sign

We saw some race thing that was going on in town that day:

race show in yekaterinburg
race show in yekaterinburg

We also tried to go to something called “the amazing maze” but never managed to do so and generally looked at signs all day trying to read russian.

This all took maybe half the day (until 6 pm).

At 6pm we ran into the russians i talked about earlier that we met on the train. Two sisters and their boyfriends 🙂 They were going to see some “tent rocks” in a forrest somewhere and we decided to join. When we got there the rocks were nice and we snapped some pictures (well I didn’t as my phone was dead). We then continued deeper into the forrest by a huge lake where alot of partying were going on since it was offical navy celebration day. After that we went to a bar called Ben Halls pub which had live music and loots of pretty people – especially the girls:) All in all a very plesant evening with the russians. We enjoyed their company very much and hope it didn’t feel like we leeched in on their party 🙂

The next day i slept for like 10 hours and at the time of this writing we dont know what to do for the rest of the day – but a good bet is to go with one of the other russians staying here to another banya (bathroom) outside town. This time with local help to tell us what you’re supposed to do 🙂

4 days crammed into one post. I could easily spend 4 times as much. For example I haven’t told you about the soviet demonstration that met us in yekateringburg or the hostel and the people living there who apparently likes to sing 🙂

Tomorrow morning begins the longest leg of our journey. 54 hours on the train from Yekaterinburg to Irkutsk.