Da Nang is a pearl of a city on the coast of Vietnam. Placed just south of Hai Van Pass, halfway up Vietnam, it’s a cultural melting pot of Western and Vietnamese.
Just north of the gorgeous Hai Van pass you have the old emperor city of Hue and the large Bach Ma National Park. South, you have the white sandy beaches of Hoi An. West, you have the mountainous highlands. And East? Well, you have Cham islands and the Pacific ocean.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.