Bali – the Island of the Gods – a magical place where nature meets culture. Come and visit, rent a scooter, drive around the island and meet some of the friendliest people in the world.
I’ve spent so much time in Bali from teaching English to traveling around the whole island several times. There are so many countries I still want to visit, but at some point I have always been drawn back to Bali in Indonesia.
Let me share some insider information with you to get you inspired to visit as well and take your own pictures.
I’ve listed Canggu first because it is easy to get there from Denpasar airport (DPS) and Kuta sucks! Unless you want to dig deep into tourism culture – in that case you should get your socks and sandals out and head straight there.
Canggu in Bali on the other hand is some laid back hipster paradise which makes you happy with super healthy food, drop dead beautiful people and super chilled places to hang out near the beach.
These gorgeous black sand beaches stretch far around the tiny village with various wooden bars and vegan food spots. There’s lots to do at night from art gallery openings to various party beaches – all either close to the beach or in the middle of some rice fields. To find out more about Canggu click here to read this article and get inspired to see more.
From the airport to Canggu make sure not to pay more than 250000 Rupiah! Paying less is unfair for the driver, paying more is pure insanity. They’ll start bargaining with a million and now you can pass by and not fall for that! 🙂
From Canggu you can head up north to visit a temple located right in the middle of the oceans. Some years ago you could go inside and be blessed inside. Inside is a small well that is decorate with flowers. You are a wish and drink out of the well. Sortly after you’ll receive your blessing and wade out again through the water. Now it’s accessible for Balinese Hindus only.
Uluwatu is a nice hideaway as it is located on top of a huge cliff in Bali in between little trees and small windy roads. It’s a perfect spot for surfers as the waves are big and the beaches great to relax. I could have spent hours there just reading a book and chilling.
But that’s what I always say and in the end I carry around all the books to only find myself hurrying to all the sunsets and various nature spots with my camera equipment hahaha. But this way I can share with you guys and maybe some of you can hang out there and chill for me, hahaha.
3. NUSA PENIDA
Nusa Penida is a little island southeast of Bali, close to Sanur. It is a pretty big island with some remote beaches. Nusa Lembongan can be reached easier and is full of tourists, while the bigger island Nusa Pepita is more of a secret hideaway. To get the most out of that gem I would recommend you to spend at least 3 days there.
From Sanur you can get a boat for 200000 Rupiah (350000 two way), but you can also head there from the Gili Islands or Padang Bay, it might just be a bit more expensive then.
Kelingking Beach is the nicest spot there- make sure to pack a beach towel and don’t forget to bring your camera.
The biggest highlight of your trip will be the snorkelling (or diving) part where you’ll find yourself surrounded by Manta Rays.
A diving trip is around 540000 Rupiah.
When talking about the best of Bali there is one place you should definitely not miss out on: Ubud! What can I say – my heart is there! I’ve lived in Jalan Sandat for a while when I was teaching English some 8 years ago. It used to be a rather quiet place with just a few Yoga tourists. It now turned into a rather busy village packed with tourists.
Do I recommend you to go and visit? Yes yes yes! It still is beautiful and magical, but don’t stay there overnight – get an Airbnb somewhere around Ubud and rent a scooter to visit Ubud for a few days.
I wrote an article that shows you all the best things to do in Ubud including some nice food spots you shouldn’t miss out on.
5. GILI ISLANDS
Oh the Gili Islands are some crazy place! There are three lawless islands to choose from and they’re located close to Lombok, or can be reached easily from Padang Bai in Bali.
Ferries leave various times every day.
Gili Trawangan is the party island. This is the one you head to when you want to get super wasted but still kind of want to recover on a nice white sand beach the following morning. Last time I went was 8 years ago, there were no proper roads and it took 40 minutes to get around the island by horse or by bike. They’ve sold mushroom shakes all over the island and as I am pretty sure they still do so now, there might be proper roads now you can walk on.
Expect it to be the Mallorca for Germans – expect it to be packed with drunk English people and very loud Australians.
Depending on what you’re looking for, this can be fun though, haha.
Gili Meno is right in the middle of Trawangan and Air. It has some nice resorts to offer. One is owned by David Hasselhoff and has some underwater statues on the beach area in front of it. It can be accessed for free and you can snorkel around these statues. I’ve once flown my drone there from the neighboring island. We’ve jokingly tried to get some footage of Hasselhoff in some red Baywatch slip hahaha. It did not work out though, but we spotted some nice resorts during our drone flight.
Gili Air is the smallest of the three islands. There used to be nothing except for a few huts some eight years ago, now there are roads, but it has still some kind of quiet vibe to it. Except for some fisherman, there is no one around at the beaches in the morning. It’s the perfect spot to grab your camera and take some sunrise pictures. Same goes for sunset as you can easily walk all around the island to choose the perfect spots. You’ll find swings in the water and some nice beach huts you can enjoy your morning coffee at. Take a book and chill – you won’t be disappointed.
Amed is a hidden gem! This place is yet only known by divers who celebrate the Japanese shipwreck you can even snorkel to. It’s pretty amazing and you should not miss out on that.
Amed itself is one of the quietest places you can find on Bali. It’s hipster free, chilled and you sometimes even find Balinese people who only speak Indonesian. I loved this place as it reminded me of how Bali used to be in a way. In a very quiet way hahaha. If I was to run away from something, this is where I would hide. Or Peru! No-one find you in Peru 😉
From Amed you can explore various hidden temples
Oh Munduk! Munduk is definitely underrated! It’s located high up in the Balinese northern mountains. The air is fresh and the local food is amazing. Make sure to find an AirBnb over there and you can watch the clouds rise up to your feet- exactly thatÄs how high up you are. And you are going to love it. Who would not!
Also Munduk has some of the best waterfalls in Bali. It’s pretty easy to reach them. I wrote an article that shows you exactly where they are and when you should go to get the best experience out of it.
From Munduk you can head to Pura Ulun Danur. It’s packed with people so make sure to be the first in the morning, then it’s totally worth it.
Entry costs are around 500000 Rupiah and I’m not sure if this is too expensive and worth it.
Lovina is located far up north and can be reached within an hour from Munduk. It has some magical black sand beaches and is full of tourists. I went there some eight years ago and even back then everyone could speak German, Dutch and English. I an’t imagine how it would be like now. But I do know one thing for sure, you can do up there, and it is to see some dolphins roam through the waters.
It’s possible to get a boar at 4am in the morning and watch them play in the water while the sun rises. Can highly recommend you to check this out and then leave as quickly as possible.
9. MENJANGAN ISLAND
Menjangan Island is a tiny island northwest of Bali. It is a quiet place, where a few backpackers and divers chill before they either head down south to Canggu or dive deep down the water. It’s a beautiful spot to take a snorkelling or diving tour. On the island you can also spot some wild deer roam around.
I would recommend you to get a tent and camp out there for a few days.
Sidemen in Bali is a place in between rice fields. Anyone will tell you about Ubud, but actually Sidemen is the place you want to head to. There are rarely any tourists and you’ll find some hidden temples as well as remote spots to hang out at. From Sidemen you also have the best view of Mount Agung. This volcano is casually erupting and when it happens you want to check in to Sidemen to see it from a (rather) save spot.
Grab some fruit, a blanket, hop on your scooter and find a place to chill in between the rice fields. You’ll be rewarded with a unique experience and won’t have to pay a penny for it.
Screenshot the map I drew for you below to find all of the spots mentioned in this article.
I hope I could inspire you to travel to Bali!
Or have you been yet? Any beautiful spots I haven’t covered in this article? Let me know in the comments and I’m more than happy to get back there to add some pictures and articles, hehehe.