Bali, a tropical island and a part of the beautiful country Indonesia. Who doesn’t want to go there?
The island has it all… white sand beaches, turquoise waters, stunning rice fields, great hiking trails, delicious food and it is really cheap.
Unfortunately we only had 2 weeks to travel there, so we weren’t able to see everything here. BUT this means we have to go back some day!
This was our 2-week tour in Bali & Gili-islands:
Before arriving in Denpasar, we made a stopover in Dubai. Because we had 9 hours time till our next flight, we decided to get out of the airport and explore the city a bit. The catch… The stopover was during the night. So we left the airport at 1 a.m., but of course there is not too much to see during the night. We took a taxi to the famous Burj Khalifa. This 829-meter building is spectacular, also during nighttime. The site around is it also very beautiful. LUCKY US, next to the building was a Starbucks that was open until 3 a.m.!!! We needed some caffeine to stay awake.
We were actually very happy to be there during the night, because it was so hot then. How hot is it when the sun comes up?!
STOP 1: KUTA (3 nights)
Our first stop was Kuta and I think you either hate it or love it… We had some mixed feelings about the city. For us, it was too touristy. We chose Kuta for our first stop, because we wanted to be around the beach and we love to surf. In the Netherlands we took some classes, so we wanted to improve our surfing skills in Bali and be like pros in the end :D. Unfortunately, the waves were to strong for us newbies, so no… still no pro’s…
We were lucky to meet a wonderful Balinese young guy out there, who arranged a day trip to the Uluwatu temple in the south of the country. This temple was on this magnificent location on top of a very steep cliff, which gave us a beautiful view. Normally there should be a spectacular sunset, but the weather decided otherwise for us. It was so cloudy we didn’t see anything. Despite that, it was still a very pretty place to go to. Monkey’s walk around and they are entertaining as well, but be careful they are not too sweet, so never touch them!!
During the drive to the south we also stopped at a local coffee plantation, where they made the famous Luwak coffee. This is the most expensive coffee in the world and they show you how it is made there. At the end of the tour you get to taste that coffee. The coffee is made of coffee beans, which have been digested by the animal, named Luwak… Not too tasty after finding that out…
The day after the guy we met took us to his father’s water sports company, where we could enjoy all sorts of water sports, such as fly boarding, banana boat, walking under water, …
STOP 2: UBUD (3 nights)
Ubud was definitely the best place we’ve been to in Bali. The small city has this amazing vibe! It is less touristy then in Kuta and it feels like the real Bali. The vibe is relaxed and there is so much to see around Ubud.
During our first day we rented a scooter so we could explore the nature around Ubud. We drove to the famous rice fields in Tegalalang. If you want those stunning cliché pictures of Bali, this is the place to be! There is this amazing view over the rice fields and you can actually walk through them. For lunch we ate at a restaurant that has a picturesque view over the nature. Drink a coconut and enjoy your delicious food there.
After the rice fields we drove to the mountain Batur. If you go there, make sure you bring a jacket, because it is higher than the rest of the country, so it is colder out there.
The next day in Ubud we stayed within the city. At first we walked to the well-known monkey forest, which is maybe the biggest tourist attraction in town. You buy a lot of bananas at the stands in the forest and feed the monkeys. Watch out, they are not that sweet… they do anything for the bananas you have and don’t make them angry, because if they bite, you are in serious trouble!!! They climb on you and if you give them the bananas everything is fine… One of the monkeys even peed on Gilles’ shoulder! Not only the monkeys are fun here, also the walk through the forest is pretty impressive.
At night you can go to the temple Pura Desa, where they have a typical Balinese show playing every day. It is a story from their culture that they bring with traditional dance and music. Definitely worth the visit!
In Ubud we did another awesome activity. We went to the Ayung River for a couple of hours of white water rafting. Together with some other people we walked through the jungle to the raft to start our adventure on the water. During the way down in the river, there were some quiet places, where we could swim in the river. It was a great experience! We want to do this again!
STOP 3: LOVINA (2 nights)
We expected more about this place, but it was still beautiful. During our drive to the north we stopped at a temple, called Ulun Danu Bratan and a small waterfall. The Hindu temple is located at a big lake ‘Bratan’ surrounded by mountains. Around the temple there are lovely gardens where you can walk and enjoy the beauty of it all. If you are lucky there are some typical Balinese shows going on, so you can soak in the typical Balinese culture.
At our stop at the waterfall we could enjoy some cold water and refresh after a day in the car. We chose not to go to the most famous waterfall to avoid the big crowds.
Our hotel in Lovina was located right on the beach. Lovina for us was all about relaxing on the black beaches and enjoying the ocean. We watched astonishing sunsets and snorkelled between the fishes and corals in the ocean.
The north of the island is known for the dolphins swimming close to the coast. Before sunrise a boat picked us up at our hotel and we started looking for the dolphins. Unfortunately, there we so many tourist there that the animals weren’t to keen to come close to us. We’ve seen some, but they told us that normally they come and play with you. Hopefully you have more luck then us!
While we were on the boat looking for dolphins, we saw something else floating in the ocean. Somewhere at the coast there was a water park with some attractions where you can play on. Of course the boys felt like little boys again and had the time of their lives….
We also visited the holy hot springs, called ‘Air Panas of Banjar’. This sacred place is set in the middle of the jungle in a nice tropical garden. The water has a volcanic origin and is very hot (around 37°C), but it has a healing purpose. It should be very good for people with rheumatic diseases. Best time to visit is during the morning, because a lot of people tend to come here during the afternoon.
STOP 4: PADANGBAI (1 night)
After Lovina we wanted to go to the tropical island, Gili Trawangan, to enjoy the rest of our holiday. Because the distance from Lovina to there was too much, we stayed the night at Padangbai.
Along the way to Padangbai we made a few stops. One of them was a nice Hindu temple (I forgot the name I’m sorry) where our guide told us more about the history of Bali and their religion.
Another stop we made, was the one at Tirti Gangga. It is a former royal palace in the east of the island. This is also called the water palace, and the water is considered holy. It is a very peaceful place where you can take a lot of stunning pictures.
STOP 5: GILI TRAWANGAN (4 nights)
We were very excited to go to Gili Trawangan, because we saw all this tropical pictures on Instagram, but we left with some mixed feelings.
The little island is beautiful, but it is totally build for tourists…. The beaches of the hotels are pretty, but the beaches owned by the government are dirty and full of waste of partying tourists. Not really what we expected there.
Despite that we had a very good time at the island. We liked the fact that there are no cars or scooters on the island. You can only get around by foot, bike or on a horse… We never used the horses when we were there, because we didn’t believe they were treated very well… It was very hot there and they had to work too hard, so we decided not to use them. We hope that in time, all tourists decide to do the same, because these animals aren’t made to do that.
The nicest thing we did there was going snorkelling around the three islands (Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air). We saw so many colourful fishes and we saw, OMG, a turtle!!
On Instagram we saw all this beautiful pictures with a swing in the water, so we made it a mission to find this swing and take a photo as well. We found the swing, but behind those pictures you see online, there is a line of tourists waiting for a picture. Unless you go there very early in the morning, when the island is still asleep.
The last night of our holiday we had booked an incredible dinner on the beach and we watched the most wonderful sunset ever!!! The sky got every colour you can image and there couldn’t be a better goodbye of this great holiday in Bali.
We also made a video of our trip to Bali. You can check it out here: Videos
Hope you enjoyed reading about our fantastic holiday in Bali. If you have any questions, please let us know, maybe we can help you!
Please follow us on instagram (@belgian.travelcouple) to join our adventures!
And many more stories will come… so stay tuned!
Inne & Gilles