10 ways to experience the real BALI
“Bali is more than a place;
it’s a mood, it’s magical;
it’s a tropical state of mind.”
Bali is always a good idea, it’s no doubt one of the best travel destinations for families.
It’s my second time visiting Bali and I am still loving this place. This time round, I am determined to let my family experience the real Bali, so that they will love this place as much as I do. Here’s what I did…
#1 Stay in a villa, not a hotel.
Here’s why I chose to stay in a villa this time:
– It’s SPACIOUS; normally comes with 2-3 rooms. Perfect for families!
– You will have your privacy and (usually) own a PRIVATE POOL!
– It feels like HOME!
With all these stated, the Sun Island Boutique Villas & Spa caught my heart!
This deluxe villa is a good blend of style and a homey feel! Though it makes you feel like home and gives you absolute privacy, it’s actually located right at the heart of Seminyak – in the Legian area. Upon walking out of the secured entrance is the famous Double Six beach. It is only a 15-minute drive from Ngurah Rai International Airport.
My second favourite spot in the villa is this spacious relaxing area. This uniquely designed area gives a unique experience of true Balinese life. We took full advantage to relax and even have our breakfast here.
I guess, what I truly love most about this villa, is definitely their excellent service and warm hospitality.
#2 Enchant yourself with the temples of BALI.
Some say, “There are more temples than homes in Bali.” Hence, it is right to say that a trip to Bali would not be complete without visiting at least a few of the thousands of Hindu temples in Bali.
I chose to bring my family to 3 of the most beautiful temples (IMO):
– Pura Puseh Batuan Temple
Jl. Raya Batuan, Batuan, Sukawati, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80582
– Tanah Lot Temple
Desa Beraban, Kecamatan Kediri, Beraban
– Uluwatu Temple
Jl. Raya Uluwatu | Southern part of Bali, Pecatu 80361
Pura Puseh Batuan Temple, “Temple of Origins“ is one of the island’s oldest temples. Sarong is a MUST before entering the temple, it’s an act of respect to their culture. Batuan is a village in Bali and this Batuan temple is a real temple where the locals come to worship the god. This place is not very commercialized yet, but it is starting to attract more and more tourists because of its authenticity. The moment you enter, be ready to feast your eyes with statues that are about a thousand years old.
Komang (our tour guide), as usual plucked a flower from the tree in the temple and asked mama to put it on when they were playing the traditional gamelan instruments. It is a Balinese music instrument that includes bronze and bamboo xylophones which are meant to serve religious beliefs, and accompany dances.
Second time here, I am still awed by the antique architecture and elaborate carvings.
P.S. – The entrance to this temple is FREE, but you can donate any amount of money to support the maintenance of the temple.
Tanah Lot Temple, the not-to-be-missed icon in Bali. A beautiful Balinese temple that is located on the top on the rock and encircled by sea water it when it’s tide.
As beautiful as it is, there’s also a myth where this temple has a break-up curse towards couples who have pre-marital sex in Bali. They’ll almost definitely break up not long after the trip. An urban legend goes that there’s a princess who was deeply in love with a prince, then they got engaged and had sex. Sadly, the prince later called off the marriage, left and was never heard of again. She was devastated, and hence threw the horrible curse.
I don’t know how true it is. But, I wouldn’t want to risk it again.
Well, it is already difficult enough to find the right one. IMO.
The most popular time to visit Tanah Lot is during the late afternoon when the sun starts to set. You will be taken by the magical view of one of the most stunning sunsets, with the temple beautifully silhouetted against the vibrant colored sky. Best to arrive before 5pm as it will be pretty crowded and it will be hard to get in during the sunset hour. Unfortunately, we were a little late. But this magnificent scene of crashing waves beside the temple still caught my heart.
This temple is located at Pecatu Village. It sits on a 70-meter-high cliff protruding above the Indonesian Ocean. Similar to Tanah Lot, Uluwatu Temple is also one of the popular spots to enjoy the sunset.
Kecak Dance (monkey dance) performances are held at Uluwatu temple daily between 6PM and 7PM. It’s basically the Bali style of Romeo & Juliet. The show is about the story of Prince Rama and how he rescued Princess Sita, who has been kidnapped by the evil King of Lanka. It’s quite interesting, but sadly, we missed it this round.
Kind reminder: Monkeys, are everywhere in this temple. And they are NOT FRIENDLY, they often snatch visitors belongings, including bags, cameras and eyeglasses. I have seen it happen right in front of me. Do keep a close grip on all your belongings and place your glasses in your bag if possible.
#3 Explore the scenic rice fields of Bali.
Rice terraces are the second best thing after sunset in Bali.
In Bali, you have to experience dining and sipping on coffee beside the lush paddy field.
First, go to Tegallalang Rice Terrace. This place is known as the finest rice paddy terrace view in Bali. This garden style rice terrace is indeed gorgeous (despite being ploughed after harvest).
This friendly old man allows you to take photos of him or with him together with his paddy carrier with no charge.
You will also see a bunch of kids running around asking you to buy their postcards. If you thought what’s a dollar to make a kid happy, and bought from any one of them, be ready for all the other kids to come to you and ask you to get one from each of them. They can be quite pushy. Well, it’s never easy to turn a kid down, so we ended up buying a few before we left.
Then, enjoy the Balinese coffee beside the rice terrace at Bali Pulina.
Sipping on fragrant Balinese coffee while being awed by the fabulous views of terraced rice-fields at the rear of the place is one of the best things you can do in Bali.
I am not a big fans of Luwak coffee, I like the local blends better.
This whole array of coffee and tea are FOC.
Among all the vanilla coffee, Balinese coffee and lemon tea are our favourites.
If you are wondering who’s this Komang, that I have been mentioning a few times;
This is Komang (our tour guide) together with us.
Bali Pulina charges IDR 100k entrance fee per pax.
For the semi-guided tour and the delicious array of coffee, whilst being spoiled by the stunning view; I think it’s worth it.
Lastly, complete your paddy field journey by taking in the splendour over a delicious meal by the picturesque paddy field at NOOK! I found this place online, and immediately fell in love.
This place is a gem!
I came to Nook for this smoothie bowl – Komang (IDR60,000).
It’s approximately RM19. Hey…. it’s super worth it for this refreshingly delicious and filling bowl of goodness (a mixture of vanilla protein, banana, dates, cinnamon, ginger, carrot and soy milk, topped with dragon fruit, mango, goji berries, granola, grated coconut, pumpkin, chia and flax seeds).
Nook is one of my favourite discoveries on this trip, savouring in Balinese nasi campur and a delicious smoothie bowl beside the rice terraces which are synonymous with Bali. Probably the best way to experience Bali.
#4 What is BALI without the Beach Hopping?
Pandawa Beach; known as the secret beach.
Because, it was extremely hard to access before the infrastructure was built in 2004, and was officially open only in 2012.
Many raved about the white sand and blue emerald sea water. However, due to time constraints, we didn’t really go down to the beach, but enjoyed the impressive sea panorama only from afar. Perhaps, next time.
Next, we head over to the cliff-guarded Padang-padang beach, one of Bali’s most famous surf spots.
To access this hidden cliff beach, you will need to pass through a narrow path between 2 limestone cliff faces that connect the beach and the main road.
Jl. Labuhan Sait, Pecatu 80361
The sea has constant big waves which is perfect for surfers.
However, IMO, for non-surfers like us, there’s really nothing much to do. Hence, we just hang around, enjoy the sun and golden sand, whilst people watching.
We saved the best for the last. Our final beach spot, is the Blue point beach (better known as the Suluban beach by the locals). Saw this on Bobo’s post during her Bali trip, and was determined to get there!
Similar to Padang-padang, this is a beach with steep cliffs and big waves! In order to get here, you will need to pass through a lot of narrow stairs by the white rock cliffs. It’s all worth it, when you see the white sands and clear sea water! This hidden beach is beautiful, I was fascinated.
Then, we headed up to Singlefin Bali, a cafe that offers a scenic view of the Blue Point Beach.
Komang suggested Singlefin instead of Blue Point Cafe, as it’s less crowded and offers the same view.
I can imagine…
sunset + sea view + relaxing music + ice cold beer = PERFECTION!
#5 Blown away at WATER BLOW
“The waves come in this narrow opening, and when the waves hit the reef, pressure rises and blow up. That’s why this place is called Water Blow.”
You got to have a good patience to capture the perfect moment the water splashes.
I am obviously not ready during the “perfect moment”. Haha.
#6 Uncovering the spectacular waterfall in Bali
Komang brought us to Tegenungan Waterfall, the only waterfall that is not located in the highland or mountain. Anyhow, it still remains secluded, where you will need to hike through several flights of stairs to find this beauty.
#7 Unveil the hipster in Bali
Decided to pay a visit to this “you-can’t-help-but-instagram” cafe, BIKU!
“This place is well-loved, and often packed with loyal fans.” That’s what I read online.
But I guess I ordered the wrong thing, instead of the strongly recommended traditional afternoon tea set, I ordered the Asian high tea set (which came with a chili =.=). It’s not bad, but nothing much to shout about. It tasted like the kuihmuih from any of the malay stall back in Malaysia. T.T
Too funny to not buy!
I bought a few as these make really good souvenirs. 😀
#8 MUST-EAT in Bali
It’s PORK RIBS time! The famous Naughty Nuri’s has been renamed to Hog Wild in Bali.
Jalan Batu Belig No. 41, Kerobokan, Kuta Utara, Kabupaten Badung, Bali.
Mad love for the retro rustic setting!
Kinda similar to Naughty Nuri’s (in Malaysia) but better and quirkier.
– Mie Goreng //
Similar to the one back here (which is super yummy), otherwise tastier.
– Nasi Goreng with Pork Sate //
These juicy pork sates make a perfect pair with the Balinese style fragrant fried rice. Enough said.
– Pork Ribs grilled in Wicked Sauce //
These ribs are orgasmic! The one I had in Malaysia is nothing like this one! It is very well-seasoned, the sweetness was just right, and it’s way juicier and tender! The meat simply falls off the rack, goshhhhh. Thumbs up!
Couldn’t rave about this place more! Noms!
Local favorites: Nasi Ayam Ibu Oki
This is the true taste of BALI, it became Pa’s favorite too!
One set which includes rice, fried chicken, ayam suwir, lawar, soy sauced egg, and fish sate lilit and, CHILIS! It’s not cili padi, not sambah, it’s bumbu bali! Though it’s burning spicy, but it’s addictive at the same time. Best thing is, it’s only IDR20000 (RM6.00) per plate! Too good to be true!
Jalan Celagi Basur No. 3Y, Jimbaran, Kuta Selatan, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361
Daily 7AM – 6PM.
How can you miss the most famous, Babi Guling Ibu Oka when you’re in BALI.
Babi guling spesial, basically is a little bit of everything on the menu. Rice topped with grilled sausage, grilled pork, and deep-fried pork, Babi Guling for IDR50,000 (RM12). Unfortunately, we were late and they sold out all their pork skin! Go before 1pm if you want to try the complete set.
p.s. – There are 2 different sets of menus in this place. Local menu, and a foreigners menu, which is easily twice the price of the locals. Thanks to Komang we paid the local price of IDR50,000 per plate.
Celebrated Pa’s birthday at my favourite spot, Bale Udang.
It is the cosy dimmed light dining on the pond setting that caught my heart; so I decided to bring my family here for my pa’s birthday dinner.
Jln. Nakula No. 88, Sunset Road, Kuta 80361, Bali – Indonesia
We ordered Bale Nem, IDR550K.
Bale Udang’s special dish set, contains various dishes with Prawns, Carp, Chicken and vegetables and is accompanied with various condiments and fresh fruits for up to 6 people. Everything is still as good, the fish especially was very well done!
#9 Colorful beanbags dining experience in BALI
Told Komang about how much I like the colorful beanbag spot I saw online, and he brought us to La Plancha, full of colorful shacks and beanbags by the beach. This is the latest “it” place in Bali.
#10 Hire a trustable tour guide
All the above will not be possible without KOMANG! I can have total peace of mind whenever I travel with him because he is really good in planning the itinerary based on our likings (recommending the local hidden gems), and making sure that there are good photos taken throughout the trips. Thank you for making the trip so enjoyable. #BALI is not Bali without KOMANG!
If you ever think of visiting Bali, I would strongly recommend Komang, just mention my name & you will get a good deal. You can contact Komang through his FACEBOOK.