Going to Bali has been on my bucket list for quite a while now. I’ve seen many pictures of the beaches and the beautiful island life and now it was finally my turn to experience it for myself. The first mistake I made was to book into a hotel in the very touristy area called Kuta. Now don’t get me wrong, there are many things to see and do in this area, it was just not what I came here for. Kuta has a fairly nice beach with many shops, malls, street vendors and bars to keep you busy for days.
After spending a day or two in Kuta I decided it is time to head inland to see the real Bali. Away from all the bars, malls and shops you will find a much simpler way of life. People live in huts and tend to their rice fields, oblivious to the thousands of tourists living in luxury just a few kilometres away. Our first stop was Ubud. Known for it’s picturesque jungles and rice paddies, Ubud is definitely a must-see. I couldn’t stop taking pictures of the beautiful surroundings and luckily brought an extra memory card for my camera. There are many restaurants overlooking the stunning rice terraces cascading down the hills and we enjoyed a nice lunch with a spectacular view. The area is home to many artists and so many unique objects can be bought here. Intricate handmade quilts, wooden photo frames, pottery, jewelry, art, trinkets and memorabilia are just some of the many things that can be found here. If you appreciate good handmade crafts this is the place for you. After Ubud I went to see a couple of temples and shrines in the area. The Balinese architecture definitely stands out compared to other Southeast Asian countries and has a very distinctive look and feel. We went to quite a few temples but here are the most important ones:
Besakih Temple or Mother temple.
Found in the village of Besakih this temple (over 1000 years old) is considered as one of the most important temples in Bali. When Mount Agung erupted in 1963 the lava flows passed the temple by mere metres and was seen as a sign from the gods and/or a miracle.
Taman Ayun Temple.
This is the second most important temple in Bali. This temple can be found on the shore of Lake Bratan in the mountains near Bedugul. It was built in 1926 and is dedicated to the goddess of lakes and rivers.
This was my favourite temple and definitely the most spectacular one. The name can be translated to “The land in the Middle of the sea” and is situated on a rock just off the coast of West Bali.
After my temple excursions I went even deeper into the heart of Bali to go see the beautiful Gitgit waterfall. It is quite a walk to the waterfall but nothing too intense. Surrounded by cocoa and coffee trees and not many tourists around I felt truly at peace and I just sat there for a while to take in the beauty. My time in Bali flew by very quickly and there were so many things that I still wanted to do. When I return one day, my first stop would be the Gili Islands. I hope it will be very soon!