Bali off the beaten track: some undiscovered treasures
Bali seems to be the hottest destination in the world at the moment. I bet your Instagram feed is full of dreamy Bali pics these days (and yes, we are very guilty of this as well). I don’t know about other countries, but in Holland it kind of is like you haven’t lived if you haven’t been to Bali yet.
Bali is of course stunning and there’s loads to do, so it’s popularity is no surprise. But when people visit Bali they seem to follow each others’ footsteps. Party in Seminyak, get your surf and vegan fix in Canggu, do yoga and visit a rice field in Ubud and maybe visit the temple of Uluwatu. Three weeks filled with fun. Yes, definitely true, but there’s so much more! Don’t you wanna discover some less touristy spots on the island of the gods? Tag along and we’ll show you the other side of Bali!
Bali has quite the collection of waterfalls, but the Sekumpul waterfalls in Northern Bali are probably it’s most impressive ones. An hour by scooter from Lovina Beach these waterfalls aren’t on the to do list of most travelers. However, this is a missed chance for many. If I had to imagine how the Garden of Eden looks like, this would probably pop up in my mind. It is incredibly stunning. Take you’re swimmers with, cause honestly, what’s better than a waterfall shower?
The only “downside” is that they force you to take a guide. Personally I’m a bit allergic to this approach. Especially when it turns out you can perfectly do it on your own. But honestly, we had a really sweet and knowledgable guide that did add to the whole experience.
This might just be THE surf spot of Bali. And somehow no one knows about it, or at least, only diehard surfers seem to be up to date. Keramas has a powerful right-hander on a reef that can produce some great tubes. I’ve heard this place can get a bit crowded early in the morning cause of its great glassy waves, but when we were there we didn’t see more than ten people in the water at any time. Compared to the numbers of Canggu or Uluwatu, this is nothing. And shall I make it even better… there’s night surfing here!
For those who don’t surf it’s a beautiful place as well where you can enjoy your book or cocktail. The black sand beach, with its green palmtrees and bright blue waters is completely deserted which is a relieve in comparison to the western beaches. Great for a day trip or, if you wanna stay overnight… definitely check out Komune Resort; heaven on earth for both surfers and non-surfers.
Up in the Northern hills is the tiny village of Munduk. Munduk itself isn’t really mindblowing, but it’s surroundings definitely are. Rolling green hills with ricefields, and vanilla and coffee plantations will give you endless vistas. On a clear day you can even see the ocean from up here. There are lots of waterfalls and the temples around the nearby Danau Tamblingan and Buyan are definitely worth a visit. Munduk is a place for relaxation. If you are looking for a place to stay in the Munduk area, look into Sanak Retreat. We didn’t stay here, but this place looked absolutely beautiful with its wooden bungalows surrounded by nature. Not only does it looks amazing, they also make sure they give back to the local community in every way possible.
When you are visiting Ubud and you got a bit of time left, then take the scooter to Gunung Kawi. This ancient temple from the 11th century is not the most well known and is surrounded by rice fields. Gunung Kawi is different to other temples because of its huge rock statues carved into the mountain behind it. While walking down to the temple complex you’ll get treated to some stunning proper Bali vistas and locals selling fresh coconuts. It’s best to visit the temple early in the morning as it’s a little bit cooler and hardly any people. Bring a sarong as it’s mandatory to have your legs covered for both women and men.
Google maps led us through dry hills with endless views and little villages wondering if we were really going in the right direction. The beach couldn’t be that far right? We might have taken the scenic route, but it did add to the feeling that we were on to something. A place that isn’t packed with tourists and doesn’t includes a traffic jam for getting there. And Balangan delivered. This gold sandy beach has cute little beach huts serving up fresh coconuts and local fare with the best view possible. Waves kept on rolling in here and they were absolutely perfect. Surrounded by cliffs Balangan beach has quite the backdrop, and its just a short climb up those cliffs to enjoy some million dollar vistas.
The island of the Gods has so much to offer you can spend months discovering it all. Those places above will be in contrast to the well known Seminyak or Ubud, which will give you such a diverse taste of Bali. Get a scooter or a local driver and explore the east, the west and the north where tourists aren’t on every square meter. Isn’t it good to know there are still some quiet spots on the island to enjoy its beauty without the crowds?
Peace, love and coconuts,
Photos by: M. Barends & J. Roeland ©