Bali is rad, and there are obviously some great places outside of Ubud. Though I didn't see everything, I've put together some notes on places I did get to experience.
Jatiluwih Rice Terraces
Simply put: do this if you're in Bali. I highly recommend taking a motorbike out there. Even if it rains (like it did for me), it was well worth it. I'm pretty sure the restaurant I went to gave me a good case of "Bali Belly" while I was waiting for the rain to subside and my clothing to dry a bit. Again, totally worth it.
This place is cool, mainly because it’s so damn old, 11th century old. Otherwise ya know, it’s just ok cool.
*Tip: when you arrive at the parking lot where the taxi drivers park, and where (everyone?) pays 2000 Rp for parking, there may be a couple ladies that will wrap a sarong around you saying that you absolutely need a sarong to enter into the temple.
I was thinking, hmmm, I guess I need one and this is what happens right here in this part of Bali.
That was the wrong thought process.
They were just hard-core pushy sales ladies. I bargained them down a few hundred thousand Rp, though I'm pretty sure I still overpaid by Bali standards. I wonder if it was just sheer laziness why I didn’t just take the thing off and move on. Or maybe I was "Assertive-Deficient" at that moment.
In any case, when I got to the temple itself I found that they provided sarongs for free to wear while you’re in the temple. Shiiiiiiiit.
Btw, if you want to enter into sacred places you gotta wear a sarong. Don't worry guys, though it's a bit like a dress you'll still feel beautiful and masculine. Maybe we can get that asshole Trump to come to Bali and wear sarongs, take a few yoga classes, and become a semi-rational human being. Yeah, I know, there's a better chance that the planet Mars will turn into a huge floating supermarket with advertisements that we can see but can't comprehend here on earth. Hell, that guy probably practices torture methods on the revived Sauron eye, sticking tiny Trump needles in them.
Driving up and around Mount Batur made me feel like a part of my brain destroyed by alcohol in earlier years was suddenly restored. I could remember my full name and where I'd been for the past 48 hours! It definitely afforded incredible views of the Batur lake and then some. Once again I totally recommend taking a motorbike through it and going on toward the coast.
Fyi: it’s pretty steep and windy for a while, so if you’re not comfortable on a motorbike, maybe sit that part out. I would also make sure that you have plenty of gas. I was speaking with an English dude before I embarked on the journey who turned back because he didn't have enough fuel, and it sounded as though his motorbike had horrible gas efficiency. I ended up riding through a cloud on the way up and over the small mountain/big hill, then when I emerged on the other side there was a wide open view of the sea.
Also, be careful when you're riding up that mountain. It's beautiful, but you need to pay attention to the incredibly windy roads that have no guard rail. If you fell off the road, well, the outlook wouldn't be good (you'd probably die or be very very mangled).
This is a very small beach with amazing views. You have to walk down a number of steps to get to it, and will in all likelihood encounter some macaque monkeys along the way. The surf is good there too, and you have to swim out a ways to get to where the waves are.
FYI, there is an abundance of trash that you have to swim through. It’s pretty disgusting, but you could probably find things you may need like:
- used underwear
- half used aerosol cans
- oil filters
- every candy wrapper known to man and alien
- the full wardrobe as you may have imagined it in Chronicles of Narnia
Tanahlot Temple and Norman
I went to this temple during the Kuningam ceremony, so this place was filled with both traditionally dressed Balinese and tourists. We couldn’t go into the temple, but it didn’t matter. It was well worth going. I met Norman and his family there who are pictured in the black and white photo below. They were super cool and kind. Though I had Bali Belly, I accepted some of the fruit that they offered.
So, Denpensar to me wasn’t much of a place I wanted to stick around in, however, you do fly into the city, so you'll likely see it unless you are in a coma or something on the way out of the city to Ubud.
Thoughts on Dispenser:
- If you need electronic stuff you can go to Rimo. It's a pretty nondescript place, and when you walk in you'll be wondering if you're walking into an asylum where they'll rename you and tell you your whole life has been a lie and that you've always been there. Luckily that didn't happen. If your iPhone needs to be fixed, there is a dude there who is supposedly the best of the best. Sorry, I don’t remember the name of the store. This is what it actually looks like:
- You know how in those travel show scenes where you see a ton of people on scooters, bikes, motorbikes, weaving between cars, trucks, people, etc., and you think, “geesh, that looks a bit hellish.” Well, it’s not sooooo bad, though it can be pretty bad at times. We’re talking all of us on scooters hopping up on sidewalks and god-knows-what-else to get through the packed-sardine traffic. I really wish I had mounted my camera for some of it. You get really close to fast moving heavy things while your a fast moving lighter thing.
Canggu is a hip little beach town with great surfing and yoga. It’s beautiful, not rushed like other places, and has some great places to eat. It also seems like it could win the award for being the hipster capital of the world (you have competition Austin). Check this place out, it’s worth it. The beaches are pretty dirty here too, unfortunately.
Nusa Dua is the opposite of Canggu. It’s a resort area, and the kilometers of sandy beach are gated. Every time I ride in there to get to the beach I had to go through a security checkpoint. It was beautiful, though, and had some decent surf while I was there. The beaches were kept pretty immaculate. They oughtta be because other people pay a whole load of cash to stay at some of the places close to it. It’s definitely has more of an upper-class vibe to it, and the surfboard renters seemed to be surprised when I wouldn’t pay their normal exorbitant prices.
Just kidding, it just mostly sucks. I mean, there are great people there as well, but damn it’s just commercialized as hell and the shop people are waaayyyyyy too hungry. The beach is large and trashy. I’ll probably never be back in my lifetime unless I’m part of some beta teleportation machine test that goes awry. It has some cool history to it, though.
Green bowl is this very out-of-the-way beach. Contrary to what many claim in blogs, though it may have been true at the time of writing, it's not a hidden beach. Though it certainly wasn't crowded when I went either.
This place is awesome and has some good reef break surfing. The views from atop the hills behind the beach afford some really great serene views.