Bali, Bali, Bali!
Surely a month would be plenty of time to fully explore and enjoy Bali, right? Oh so wrong! How can such a small island have so much to do, experience and eat?
Shortly after kicking off our research and planning, before ever setting foot in Bali, we decided that we'd probably have to visit again. 😉 There is just so much to choose from! This post highlights some of our Bali favorites!
So engaging, challenging and beautiful is Uluwatu beach. Prepare for stairs! And don’t worry, a multitude of dining and drinking options are available along the way. All with amazing views, situated on and in the cliffs surrounding the beach. Walking past the restaurants and stores, winds you between the cliffs, and to the beach.
As the blazing sun lowered itself into the crystal clear water, we experienced the most amazing sunset. It was glorious! Mother nature and Father God putting on a soul filling sunset show of their own. And we delighted in it =) So often it’s the simple things in life that bring the most joy. This hike, beach, and sunset was one of those.
A must see in Bali is rice fields. Tegalalang is one of the most famous of all Bali rice fields, and it's easy to see why. It is spectacular in every way. The terraces and hills are a lush green like we've never seen. We learned about the the way rice is grown, irrigated and harvested as we watched rice farmers manually harvest the crop. Brandon had a swing ride over the rice fields for $5, and I settled for the less stimulating, but equally as enjoyable hammock. Overall, a memory we will never forget.
The monkey forest in Ubud is something a must do when in Ubud. It is affordable -- ~$12 for our entire family. 100s of monkeys call the forest home, resulting in many up close encounters. The park is stunning, resulting in many close encounters with monkeys. The park is full of large trees, temples, stone bridges, a river, vines and super walking paths. All this makes for a large and well designed monkey sanctuary. Brandon had two different monkeys jump on his back (backpack scavengers, monkeying around,). Do not bring bags or backpacks in. Overall, highly enjoyable, just be careful as they are still wild animals.
Jimbaran beach is known for its multitude of fresh seafood. There are dozens of restaurants lining the beach, one after another, offering oceanside dining. Dotting the sand are tables & chairs as far as the eye can see. It is quite the sight. We were instructed to eat like a local by going to the back of the restaurant and picking out our own fresh fish. Not only is it cheaper, but you have the opportunity to watch as your meal is prepared and grilled to perfection! Did you know that you can determine the freshness of a fish by looking into its eyes? Avoid a fish with cloudy eyes. The clearer the eyes the more fresh the fish.
There are sooo many Hindu temples in Bali. 83% of the population is Balinese Hindu. One of the first temples we chose to see is Tanah Lot. It is a popular attraction and we could see why. The temple is located on a small, rocky island near shore. The setting is so beautiful and peaceful, even with so many people cruising around and searching for the best selfie spots. 😉 Walking along the cliffs, everywhere you turn there is natural beauty. The ocean coves, black sand beaches, and rocky cliffs are impressive. There are ample benches and grassy areas to sit down, relax and bask in the beauty.
While Tahah Lot Temple is a long sprawl of temple and organic grounds, Taman Ayun Temple is very manicured and geometric. It felt more like a European courtyard when compared to Tahah Lot. Upon entry, you are presented with a garden area and reflecting pond, complete with flowering lotus lilly pads and fish. Walking down the center leads to the temple entrance and second rectangular courtyard with temples. Deep within there is a nature area, with paths winding through the trees and along the river. It was quite tranquil for its location in the city, and we enjoyed the fusion of temple and nature design.
The Campuhan Ridge Walk is one of our favorite things to do in Ubud. It is a beautiful walk filled with temples, rolling green hills, rice fields, fresh air, and amazing views. The walk is about 9 kilometers total. It is not a loop, so you can turn around at any point. Walking on the ridge is a nice change of pace from the hustle and bustle of Ubud.
Outside of Ubud is Goa Gajah, also known as the Elephant Cave. The main attraction is a temple found within a small cave. The entrance to the cave is a huge mouth, leading into a smoke filled temple (burning incense). Besides the overstated entrance to the cave, reminding me of Aladdin’s cave of wonders, the interior was dark, hot, and small.
Also found on the property are two shallow pools with maiden statues pouring water from their vases. There is also a beautiful park walk with a stream, waterfall and giant tree. The hike through the property, down to the waterfall, was both unexpected and enjoyable. nature hike. This small hike made the trip totally worth it and was a good intro to our next adventure, the Hidden Canyon.
Hidden Canyon Beji Guwang is a must do for the adventure lovers out there. From the guide to the journey, we cannot say enough good things about this adventure! We wanted to see Bali’s amazing waterfalls, but the best waterfalls entail long and dangerous hikes. Not something we could do with 3 young children. When we stumbled upon Hidden Canyon, it felt right.
There are 3 major canyons on this trek. I read that the first canyon is the easiest and can be done with kids. Our plan was to complete the 1st canyon as a family, and then I would head back with the kids. Brandon could then go on through the final 2 canyons and meet us at the end.
You guys, it was amazing and our guide was so awesome. He helped carry our kids through deep water, along tricky footholds, and took fantastic photos for us. We completed the 1st canyon and our guide said the 2nd and 3rd canyons are just as safe for kids. So, we decided to continue on, completing the full trek (all 3 canyons) as a family. At the end, on our way back, we walked back through rice terraces and gardens. The farmers working the land gave us freshly picked cucumbers, which were of course delicious and refreshing. The entire experience took around 2 hours. It was a perfect day, one of our best during our travels so far.
coffee of Bali?! I had read the reviews of multiple coffee tours, and we were set on Teba Sari Bali Agrotourism. Totally loved it. The grounds were fantastic, the tour was nice. Not too long, not too short. The tasting flight of 8 coffees and 8 teas was beautifully presented, delicious and free. Plus, the tasting buildings so charming!
We had to try the luwak coffee of course, aka civet coffee, aka "cat shit coffee," aka the most expensive coffee in the world. This coffee became famous (atleast to us) in the movie “Bucket List” with Jack Nicholson. It was tasty, but not worth the price. We also enjoyed most of the teas and recommend an experience like this if you are on a day out adventuring. It doesn’t take very long, but for us was highly enjoyable and easy.
There are an overwhelming amount of temples to visit in Bali, each with its own claim to fame. Although we found most to be very simlar, each had unique qualities, making them exciting to visit. So we added another of the well known temples to our agenda. Tirta Empul is known for the water shooting out of many carved spouts into a bathing pool.
This water is said to cleanse evil spirits, renew your body and soul, and bless you with prosperity. The pool was packed with people waiting for cleansing and prosperity. We admired the elaborate carved stone dragon and dipped our toes in. The water was incredibly refreshing, but our children were not interested in waiting in line. Exploring further, we found ourselves at a large coy fish pond filled with 100s of fish. The kids were delighted, running around the pond picking their favorite fish. This was much more our style, and the reality of traveling with kids. We miss some things that would be on the top of our list, and end up seeing things we never would have noticed. This is the magic of seeing the world through a child’s eyes.
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Balinese food is so delicious. Mie Goreng, Nasi Goreng & Nasi Campur were our go-to traditional Balinese meals. So delicious!
The grand total for a month in Bali, including everything seen above (and more!) came to......$4,750.27 for our family of 5!
Flight (from Thailand)
Miscellaneous (diapers, toys, tips, etc.)
Loving life and inspiring others to travel the world.
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