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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: Wikipedia.com

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: balitrekkingtour.com

Transportation

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.

Playing house for a month in Bali

Those who have followed the blog will know I’ve been travelling fairly fast. In fact, during the first half of 2016 where I roamed the countries of SEA (South East Asia), the longest I stayed in one place was 5 nights. You could say I had a restlessness in me – or in more colourful terms: I was footloose and fancy free, free as air. I was living off savings from my last 4 years of employment where I’d been droning away with a 9-5 job. Alright, to be fair the job was a good one and had a lot of perks and although I thoroughly enjoyed my time I had realized that 9-5 just wasn’t for me at this point in time.

Now, dear reader, why am I telling you all this? I’ll tell you. It’s because this time the cards are different. When you dive into it there are three major differences from my last go on the merry-go-round of travelling:

  1. Money aren’t unlimited. This time I’m part time working to finance it (doing mobile app development with a dash of blogging).
  2. I have a girlfriend, My, who I met 6 months ago. So it’s now no longer solo travelling.
  3. I’ve seen enough temples and museums.

These three above reasons are why I’m now trying a different type of travel. This time we’ll get a place for a longer period of time. We’ll pay a monthly rate and we’ll get to know our neighbours and the area. We’ll get into a routine, we’ll cook. This way it’s cheaper and much more relaxing. The downside, of course, is that we only get to see one place and if we’re unlucky that place isn’t very good and we’re stuck for a while. 6 days in since we arrived and I’m as happy as a monkey with a banana (there are monkeys with bananas just outside my window and they look happy).

We’ve found a nice place in the centre of Ubud, Bali with a bedroom, bathroom, terrace and a kitchen (pictures at the bottom of this post). Anyone travelling who’s been travelling longer term probably agrees that a kitchen and a fridge is particularly joy-inducing. The landlady is the sweetest old Indonesian lady. She lends us a rice-cooker and takes My to the local market to get fresh goods at “Bali prices” vs tourist prices just to name a few of the things she does.

first breakfast in new place
Our first breakfast in our new place

I’ve rented some co-working space at a fairly famous place called Hubud (short for: Hub-In-Ubud). A co-working space is a place where small teams and individuals can rent some office space so they can work. Typically, it sports a good internet connection, a pleasant work environment and a coffee machine (oh dear Lord, don’t forget the coffee machine). This one is filled to the brim with creative, entrepreneurial, location independent amazing people and besides giving me a place to work it’s outstanding for networking.

Lastly, and importantly we’ve rented a scooter. Although I live in walking distance from Hubud a scooter is needed for everything else – and at $46 for a whole month (including repair and service) why would you not do it? There is no public transportation at all and the only other ways of getting around is by taxi or walking.

Well, that’s the initial setup. I’ll get back to ya’ll a while in to let you know how I feel further down the road!

view from terrace over rice paddys
The view from our terrace over the nearby rice paddys
better view of rice paddys
A better view of the rice paddys
the kitchen
The kitchen
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