“So where are you headed to, this summers?” asked my cousin.
“Bali, the paradise” I quipped.
“Ahaan, let me know what all things should I keep in mind, I might travel later this year” she retorted.
Travel tips are so much handier, especially when one is travelling to a new place. Bali tops the bucket list of most of the travellers, be it of adventure or leisure seeker. And why not, when this small but pretty island can make any of your wishes come true even if you are on a tight budget. But like any itinerary that needs valuable information from former travelers to the region, Bali too would, as it’s small but still big enough to confuse you with the choices of stays, visits, activities and food it can offer. Here are my seven points that can help you plan your trip to “the” paradise.
1. The Most Important Tip – Make Ubud Your Base for the Trip
This smaller and noncoastal region of Bali holds more culture and pretty surroundings than any other. It is quite at the center of the island. And so can make your commute (to any direction that you choose) a little less hectic. This is because every place in Bali takes a lot of time to reach. What I liked about staying here is that there are really wonderful places to go and things to do in Ubud. It can keep you occupied for a week or more if you plan not to wander around much. The list begins from visiting scenic cafes, stretching out at yoga studios, rejuvenating sessions at spa salons and resorts, a ride to the local market place, cycling tours, rice terraces, mountain ridge walks and does not specifically end if you want to repeat something from the above.
2. Visiting Any One Waterfall is a Must
Bali is a tropical island. And so it has umpteen number of waterfalls. These are like hidden treasures that are not just adventurous to reach but equally rewarding thereafter. And when all the tourists are heading to its crowded beaches it is quite sensible to be the black sheep and head in the other direction. And I am sure you would want to visit once more before you leave. Choose one or all among Gitgit waterfall, Niagara Munduk, Sekumpul Waterfall, Nungnung Waterfall, Banyumala Twin Waterfall, Aling Aling Waterfall, Tegenungan Waterfall, Peguyangan Waterfall, Blahmantung Waterfall, Jembong Waterfall, Yeh Mampeh Waterfall, Carat Waterfalls, Singsing Waterfalls, Leke Leke Waterfall.
3. Skip those Mundane Beach Destinations
You can completely give a miss to Kuta and Denpasar or Seminyak for that matter. I know they are the major tourist hubs but if you are someone who is carrying a really pretty image of Bali in your head, be it the beaches or the culture, then please take this advice seriously. Drop them off your itinerary as they are not only heavily urbanized but also overcrowded and hyped. Opt for Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan islands, south of the mainland and easily accessible by ferry from the coastal port of Sanur. It has spectacular cliff views and pristine beaches. These are mostly preferred by surfers, divers, hikers and adventure seekers. It is perhaps not so elderly and kids friendly but no need to be disappointed if you have those ages in your group. Head up northeast of the mainland to Amed which has few worthy resorts and equally amazing beaches. It has just the right mix of culture, luxury and adventure.
4. Foods You Should Not Miss at Any Cost
I know going to an island in Indonesia and talking about going vegan is equal to sin. How can you commit such a sin when you have delectable dishes like seafood, nasi gorengs and babi gulings plated for you! It sounds crazy, right. However, if you happen to be a vegetarian or ever wished to try vegan at some point in life then be it here. Ubud is elaborately vegan and has many cafes and restaurants that serve vegan food to die for. Alchemy cafe in Ubud had me visit twice for the raw vegan desserts.
And while there is no secret about the tropical fruits being heavenly on any tropical island, Bali is certainly no exception. You can consider being fruitarian for a while. Snakeskin fruit was my personal favorite.
5. Do Go for the Volcano Trek
Yes, the place that people choose to relax every muscle in their bodies has the potential to twinge them the most. Bali has three volcanoes within and many surrounding the island. The sunrise trek that begins before the break of light requires you to wake up by midnight and hike up to five hours to reach the crater but the magnificent views are worth all the pain. Many tour organizations can book you a trek just a day in advance. And you can dial this for from your hotel desk itself.
6. Put an End to the Temple Dilemma – To Visit or to Skip it Altogether
Being a devoted Hindu island where offerings are made every morning and evening, the number of temples in the region is quite high. While you would think that the most sacred or popular choice temples would be the best ones to visit, then you are wrong as most of them do not allow visitors to enter and needless to say are crowded too. And though the Balinese people are humble and helping, they have created a business out of temple visits. Find local unpopular temples where there would be more chances of witnessing the rituals and fewer chances of being fooled around. Uluwatu and Tanah Lot are for framing the beautiful orange sunsets, Ulan Danu Bratan for the pretty reflection, Lempuyang is far and has an unending queue for the gates of heaven. I would suggest trying the water temple and Taman Ayur temple. Check the temple reviews on TripAdvisor.com before you add it to your itinerary.
7. Don’t Compromise on Luxury for a Chosen Budget
The best resorts in Bali can literally dig a hole in your pocket but the place that ranks for its hospitality has more to offer than just a few pricey stays. Opt for private serviced villas or smaller resorts that have all the amenities you wish for at your budget. But go through the reviews section before booking any. Airbnb.com is the safest way to go about it. And if you still wish to taste the luxury of big resorts then opt for day passes. Many of them allow day visitors at nominal costs here.
This pretty eat-pray-love island is rightfully the top choice for many and just one trip is not enough to savor all that it has to offer.
Happiness often doesn’t need a price tag. The most beautiful views on any trip are often free. So don’t worry much about the available budget and make the most out of it. Before heading to any place for a holiday, chalk out your plans. Decide the objective of the holiday – is it taking a break from the mundane or is it visiting every tourist spot that the destination has to offer? CThe chock-a-blockitinerary will leave you exhausted. Instead, choose fewer places and soak them in to extract the maximum. Life is long and you can visit any place again to make the most of it. You would definitely want to visit this paradise again!