Bali is so special to me, it was the first place I worked as a travel blogger. It was also the first leg on one of my round the world trips. And, it’s the first place, of that world trip, that I’ve revisited for a second time. Bali grounds me. There’s always a lesson to be learned. A smile to be shared between strangers. A rush of wind across your face on the back of a moped to fill your heart with contentment…..until you snap your eyes open in pain because your foot you were just dangling in bliss off the side of the moped just collided with a stack of cement blocks on the side of the street (but that’s prob just specific to me and my clutzy life)
I wasn’t intending to revisit Bali when I did, I had just bought a new camera, a girlfriend of mine suggested I come and just like that, I booked my ticket. I felt like the fresh blogger trying to go on travel trips to work a new piece of equipment, expand my skills and expand my knowledge and culture of a place. I wasn’t sure what Bali would give me, we spent three weeks last time and REALLY drove all over, seeing what I thought was EVERYTHING, but apparently not. Because I didn’t see ANY of the same things this time on my 10 day visit. I will link a few of my very first blogs of Bali throughout this so you can see what I did last time as I still recommend seeing those parts of Bali as well.
I was all about the waterfalls this trip, I checked out these two
I also went to Teganungnung but honestly, it’s SO crowded. I wouldn’t say it’s a find or a “gem” like these other two, I love being able to take in beauty of a new place without necessarily so many people around, it allows me to listen to the sounds around me, it’s just a bit more grounding then say a tourist trap with people squealing and locals bombarding with things to sell you. It literally feels like you walk into a trap, like “whoops, I was coming for some serenity and found insanity instead.” Maybe it’s just me, but wasn’t my scene. I also recommend GitGit Falls, I went last time three years ago and because it’s a four hour drive up north, north, north tip of Bali, it generally is much less crowded! While you’re there you can check out the Hot Springs at Air Panas Banjar close by linked here.
Of course the most exclusive waterfall of Bali is within the Ayung River, accessible via white water rafting – if you’re a thrill seeker this is the place to go here. I didn’t do any Elephant Riding this trip which this tour is usually coupled with, because although this is an Elephant Safari “Sanctuary” they do still use chains and means of control which after researching more of as I’ve grown older is not something I’m comfortable with supporting.
Contrary to what I just said, I had these fields on my list last visit but didn’t end up getting around to it and instead bike rode through one of Bali’s largest fields spread out across the village of Petang, so un-touristy I can hardly find the name of it, whereas Tegallalang is very much heard of for travelers coming to Bali.
In saying that, I much preferred the depth and picturesque layout of Tegallalang, it is built up and down as opposed to vastly across, allowing you to really birds eye the fields and appreciate the layering. Again, if you’re like me, you could appreciate it so much that you lose balance and actually fall IN the rice field, losing your favourite pair of shoes (jewelled mules, not appropriate for hiking at all, probable cause of said fall) as they were swallowed in to the mud, not sure how much this will effect the rice being made from that crop, if it tastes a little shoe-y, totally on me.
But you know what guys! I ended up “earthing” across the whole of Bali’s Tegallalang Rice fields and really connecting to the ground there, no other choice really, but, made the most of it! Who needs shoes in Bali anyway, amiright?
I was trying to find the same Monkey Forest I went to last time, prob should have looked at my OWN old photos, because it’s on there, but thought I’d trust my memory which did indeed fail me and took me to the most popular Monkey Forest in Ubud to which I spent the majority of my time waiting for people to walk out of my photos and/or searching for some solo space I could just breathe.
Also, you’re not allowed to touch the monkeys at this forest…..I feel like this is coming out a bit wrong, but what I’m trying to say is, the other monkey forests I went to, the monkeys would happily sit on your shoulder and play with you. Whereas the ones at Ubud Monkey Forest did seem a bit aggressive, but to be honest, I was even a bit aggressive after being over-crowded and sweaty in the forest. I feel their pain.
SO….Monkey forest to visit = (drum roll) OBYEK WISATA SANGEH
I mean. No wonder I couldn’t find it and/or remember that. Doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but it is super un-touristy and much more of an authentic experience with just as much beauty in my opinion. Trust me. I’ve also visited Uluwatu Temple which has a lot of monkeys too, it’s definitely a tourist hot spot but they do have a really cool fire/dance show which is fun to watch while the sun is setting so albeit touristy, still a recommendation for it’s culture and historic temple.
As said above I had already visited Uluwatu, which is really nice but very crowded, to be honest though, most of the large temples have crowds and lines. I’m yet to find the hidden gem so if you know of one let me know in the comments below, the one I visited was a bit less crowded but there were lines for photos which of course distracts anyone from the authenticity of a place. I’m yet to visit Tanah Lot because of the traffic heading down that way but it’s also prettiest (in my opinion) from afar, from what I can see of pictures so you may not necessarily have to go all the way in. Depends what you’re visiting for I guess, as a photographer I’m always aiming for the best light which sometimes doesn’t align with as a traveler wanting the most authentic experience, so I usually compromise with myself and avoid a hotspot completely and opt for something a little more balanced.
The Water Palace, Karangasem
Actually, come to think about, probably a really authentic temple which I did have the pleasure of visiting (but isn’t exactly large, but just as beautiful) is up at the Twin Lakes in Tamblingan here, actually there wasn’t one other person there. Plus, you get to canoe across a lake which was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done, it was just us out on the lake too. Just absolutely peaceful and such a special memory.
I checked out the Ubud Markets this trip as well, Bali’s first traditional village (shown in video) in Tenganan, finally brought back the best coffee ever (LUWAK COFFEE!!) surfed in Canggu and enjoyed some of the most magical sunsets of my life.
Bali just fits me. It’s just full of this spirituality, sure, there’s tourist parts, but isn’t that everywhere? If you really dare to delve a bit deeper in Bali and not just shop in Seminyak, get cheap massages or non-stop party at the day clubs and night scene. Although fun, surely you can do all those same things at home? Bali can really surprise you with it’s special culture and uniqueness. You just have to get out of your comfort zone and look inside the heart of the country you’re in and really, withing yourself. That’s what traveling is about. New. New place, new culture, new sights, new experiences, new memories and sometimes even new you.