Not every traveler in Bali wants to stay in a manicured resort. For those ambitious adventurous tipes, we offer this guide to exploring Bali's less seen side. Let’s get lost in Ubud’s beautiful rice terraces, encounter hidden white sand beaches, soak in a private hot spring, or relax in an infinity pool hidden in Bali’s hinterland. Hopefully this guide will help experience something unique while you are in Bali. Here we go!
Exploring Bali’s Alluring Ubud
Although Ubud has become increasingly touristy in recent years, there are still hidden treasures to be found. The upside to tourism is there is an abundance of little boutiques, restaurants, cafes, bohemian wellness centers, etc. in Ubud’s center. While in town a visit to Monkey forest is a must! Officially ‘The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary’ is a nature reserve and Hindu temple complex. It resides on a plot of approximately 10 hectares or 27 acres, and is home to 115 different species of trees and of course, the infamous inquisitive macaque monkeys of ‘Monkey forest’. These hairy bandits are locally known as Balinese long-tailed monkeys. They can be rather mischievous if they think you have some food with you. I recommend you store all your valuables before entering. If not, one of the many tailed inhabitants will surely steal your stuff and hold if for ransom. Usually a piece of fruit is enough of a bribe to have your belongings returned to you. The natural beauty of the forest, coupled with the cultural/architectural interest of the Hindu temple complex (built in 1350) within ‘Monkey forest’ are well worth an hour of your time.
Less than 15 minutes from Ubud’s center, you will find emerald rice paddies, meandering rivers dotted with giant boulders, and quaint artsy villages. Take the time to explore by foot or on a bicycle. The 2 hour Campuan ridge walk is a great way to explore Ubud’s natural surrounding. I recommend early morning or late afternoon to avoid the heat of the day. Be sure to bring some drinking water on your trek. Aside from Ubud’s natural beauty, there are dozens of world class fine art galleries. If you take the time to explore Ubud, you will find something new and unique around every corner. Enjoy!
The three Nusa island: Hidden beaches, secret surf and cliff diving
Just east of Bali are three small islands, Nusa Lembongan, Ceningan and Penida. All three fall administratively under the Klungkung regency of Bali. Lembongan is the most visited of the three islands, but it is still relatively untouched compared to Bali proper. This is a great starting point to organize a dive to see the disc-shaped Mola Mola (Giant Ocean Sunfish), or to make your open water dive certification with one of many reputable dive companies. The next island to the east Ceningan is less touristy, but you can still find a café latte if in a bind. The two islands are connected by a photogenic yellow suspension bridge. Ceningan highlights include secluded beaches, a somewhat secret surf break and an adrenaline pumping cliff dive. Nusa Penida the largest of the three island offers unspoilt nature to explore, and houses the Nusa Penida Bird Sanctuary. While here, be sure to visit the Goa Giri Putri temple. This unique underground temple is located inside a limestone cave, which is entered by navigating through a small opening at the mouth of the cave. Once inside, the cave opens up into an expansive auditorium said to hold up to 5000 people. Aside from being an important Hindu temple, you will also find an altar dedicated to the Buddhist deity Dewi Kwan Eem. All three island offer excellent diving and snorkeling, secluded beaches and a more laid back environment than that of south Bali. Enjoy your trip!