Bali holds a special place in my heart. It’s the island where my main dream came true — the place that gave me more emotions than any other place has or ever will. Bali erased boundaries and showed me that anything is possible if you believe. It’s a truly unforgettable destination.
This is one of the islands near Lombok. The word 'Gili' means island, and this group consists of three islands: Trawangan, Air, and Meno. We chose to visit Gili Air as we had not been there before. Tourists are drawn to these islands, in part because they are like a legalised territory where people can relax and enjoy themselves.
I like so much these inscriptions. Save the water… drink beer…
This is my favourite beach in Bali, thanks to the bright blue water, the waves, and the diverse marine life. You can even bargain for sunbeds here. Many surfers flock to this spot to catch a wave — there are a couple of surf schools where you can hire an instructor, but it may not be the best beach for beginners. If you take a walk from the parking lot towards the right side of the coast, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the beach and surrounding area from above.
In the evening, a strong ebb tide begins. And of course, you can catch a spectacular sunset here too.
A little before the beach on the right side of the road, there’s a cool cafe with ottomans and a swimming pool called Cafe La Pasion. We had an excellent breakfast there on January 1st, 2017.
Recommendation: Cafe La Pasion 📍maps.google.com
This city has become a hub for creative individuals passionate about yoga, meditation, and other spiritual practices. The movie 'Eat Pray Love' (strangely, not the book) brought floods of women to the city, searching for Javier Bardem. Over the past few years, the city has undergone significant development, and it felt very charming and cozy during my visit.
Most tourists in Ubud come to see the rice terraces, but you can also take a walking tour of the rice fields or visit the temple complex with lots of monkeys — Monkey Forest. The monkeys can be mischievous, so be careful with your belongings, such as glasses, bracelets, pendants, and even bags. Before you go, grab a stick, which can be used to ward them off.
In and around Ubud, there are now many cool hotels with pools overlooking the rice terraces. It’s peaceful and calm.
Hidden Canyon Beji Guwang — Secret Canyon of Sukawati
This is a great place with fewer tourists. The entrance fee is just a few cents. At the entrance, they try to offer a guide, but we declined because we were not sure what to expect. We walked down to the river mouth, which looked cool. From there, we reached the canyon itself, where rocks had been cut by water. The guide caught up with us and said we could go further, but it was better to have an assistant. We bargained with him and got him to agree to 100,000 rupees for the four of us. We did not regret it.
- The guide offered his waterproof backpack to protect our phones.
- The guide knew how to navigate through the difficult places. Even though it looked like we could just put our feet in the water and walk along the bottom, the depth was over 2 meters in some places. At one point, we had to use the guide’s foot as a support.
- We decided we had seen enough when we reached the end of the third sleeve. I wanted to take some photos in my bathing suit, but we were running out of time. There is a dam in Ubud that opens its locks during heavy rainfall. The excess water flows into the canyons and increases the water level by 2-3 times. Getting caught in this flow is extremely unpleasant and dangerous, and we were shown many scars as proof. The guides are not just there for the money; they keep track of everyone who bought a ticket and ensure that everyone comes out safely. Before opening the locks, they are informed, then they put on vests and go to pull tourists out of the canyon.
We visited during the winter at the peak of the rainy season, which is probably why the water was so dirty. I had seen photos on the internet where the water looked blue.
It’s time to have lunch, isn’t it? Let’s head to Seminyak, one of the most touristy areas of Bali. There are plenty of cafes, bars, restaurants, as well as numerous villas, hotels, and shops.
But we want to eat, so let’s go to The Bistrot. The restaurant is located on Jalan Kaya Aya Street. You know, before in Bali it was somehow difficult to find good food. The places that served really tasty food could be counted on one hand. But during this visit, it seems to me that everything has become much better.
🤨Unfortunately, we found out in 2023 that this cafe had closed down, and it was a big blow to us.
Perhaps there would be more pictures of food here if I took more of them. But it seems ridiculous to me. People are hungry, waiting for their food, and then it arrives and you say, “wait, wait, I need to take a picture, don’t touch anything.” How can you do that? I cannot.
The food here is delicious, with a great selection of wine, good service, and reasonable prices. The combination of price and quality is almost ideal.
I can also offer some recommendations:
Restaurant Gado Gado — located right on the waterfront. Excellent for both breakfasts and dinners.
Caffe Moka — ideal for breakfast. Try a beef sandwich in a croissant. With the salmon, too, nothing.
Cafe La Pasion — in the Uluwatu area, just before reaching the Balangan beach.
Sushi Hana on Sunset Road is a huge selection of rolls and other delicious fresh Japanese food.
Sundays Beach Club
In Bali, there are many beach clubs, and I can recommend this one. At the entrance, you have to pay a deposit, part of which you can spend in a restaurant on the shore. They also provide towels for your use. You can use the funicular to get down to the beach. There is delicious food, a beautiful sea view, pleasant music, and lots of beach activities. It’s a great option to spend a day by the sea.
Aling-Aling Waterfall (Air Terjun Aling-Aling)
We went to this waterfall a second time. And not because of the waterfall, but because of the Shanti Natural Panorama View Hotel Bar and Restaurant, which is nearby and offers cute bungalows in national Balinese style. The hotel itself is very green with a large territory.
The path from the parking area to the waterfall is not long, but it is better to wear comfortable and non-slippery shoes. At the entrance, some locals will ask for money and offer two options: just taking a walk or jumping off the waterfalls. Previously, the entrance was completely free, and no one monitored the tourists. However, one day there was an accident. A waiter at a nearby hotel explained everything to us from their bell tower: “If someone dies in this river, the water in it becomes contaminated, as well as the surrounding areas. To purify the water, you need to conduct many expensive “ceremonies”. The waterfall is considered sacred.
Aling-Aling waterfall is the largest in this group, about 30 meters high. Below are a few smaller waterfalls that may not seem that big until you reach the top and look down; you might not want to jump right away. There is a cave behind Aling-Aling, but you have to be an extreme adventurer to get there. The humidity here is off the scale, and there is a risk of getting completely wet. The return journey is not easy, so do not forget to bring water with you.
Pura Besakih Temple
The main temple in Bali is worth a visit, even though guidebooks mention almost every temple. At the entrance, you will be offered a guide, in addition to the entrance tickets. Take the guide. However, at the end of the tour, the guide will ask for a tip. So, keep this in mind and only put the amount you intend to give in your wallet. Not all guides speak English well, but they know exactly where to go and where not to go, where a “ceremony” is taking place, and it’s better not to disturb. We found out about this firsthand. Balinese people are religious, and many of them try to maintain the uniqueness and secrecy of their beliefs.
Indonesia is a Muslim country. But Bali is an island where Hinduism and paganism prevail. Ancient rituals and beliefs that Bali is a land of spirits, both good and evil, have been closely integrated into modern religious and spiritual Hindu practices. Although more and more Muslims are appearing in Bali.
The temple is located at the foot of Mount Agung, the highest peak in Bali and the most revered volcano. It is here that the embodiment of Shiva lives at the summit.
Agung is an active volcano. In 1917, the temple was destroyed by an eruption. Recently, the volcano was again preparing to erupt, and the temple complex was at great risk. But thankfully, there was no eruption.
There are many more cool and interesting places that I could talk about for a long time. Well, I will conclude my story with a few more photos — just for memories.