I missed the smell of incense, of frangipani flowers, of the ocean, of the tropics, of summer. The feeling of being far away from home. Of getting on an airplane and arriving in a different world. Like you’ve been teleported in time, to an island full of palm trees, surrounded by the wild Indian ocean. Bali is a place for the dreamy hearts and souls.
Bingin: jungle vibes and ocean nights
Steep steps take you down a path that leads to a small strip of white-sand with traditional beach huts lined up along the coastline. Fresh fish is grilled on the beach while the waves crash against the rocks and the surfers lay in the water. As you walk over the sand and the sea touches your feet, the sun slowly creates a pink glow in the sky and it’s hard to not instantly fall in love with this beautiful spot.
Don’t expect luxury, but experience pure serenity. Quiet evenings with good company. If you’re lucky you can check out some live music at the Cashew Tree at Jl. Pantai Bingin No. 9. Rent a motorbike and drive up to the sacred Uluwatu Temple, to observe the most amazing view over the cliffs lining the Indian ocean.
Watch the Uluwatu fire dance ceremony as the sun sets and look out for the monkeys. Take your motorbike further to explore other well-known surf points such as Padang-Padang, Dreamland, Uluwatu and Balangan. If you want to dance under the moon and drink cocktails, head over to the famous Single Fin party.
Canggu: catching waves and Bintang
Wake up between the banana trees and meet other travellers at the Farm Hostel or mingle with the locals and stay for little money at one of the local homestays. If you’re after more luxury check out this villa or loft on Airbnb. Want to surround yourself with nature? Stay in this traditional tiny wooden birdhouse and surrender to the silence.
Jalan Padan Linjong is the main street of this laid back surf village and leads to Echo beach. Although Canggu is not known for it’s most beautiful beaches as they have grey sand, it’s a good spot to (learn to) surf. You can rent a board or get a lesson from one of the surf hats at the beginning of Old Man’s Beach, where you find surfboards lined up in all colours of the rainbow.
In the evening the music starts to play in Old Man’s bar, you can grab a Bintang with some street food from the grill and watch the sun go down from the beach.
Canggu is surrounded by rice fields and full of small boutiques and organic cafés. Besides being a surfers paradise, it’s also a smoothie paradise. Bananas, pineapples, coconuts, dragonfruit, you name it, they got it. Betelnut cafe offers smoothies and breakfast bowls every fitgirl dreams of.
If you came to Bali to unwind, try out a yoga class at the Serenity Eco Guesthouse . Or if you want to explore the area, hire a motorbike and ride through the rice fields. Get in touch with your inner gipsy and shop for vintage clothes at the creative Old Man’s Market or at one of the small boutiques. Thinking about getting inked? Check out Taco Tuesday at café Deus where you can buy a taco (surprise surprise) and get a tattoo for free!
Try Warung Bu Mi at Jl. Pantai Batu Bolong for amazing Nasi Campur and other local food. If you want to experience something more romantic, go to Warung Dandelion at Jalan Pantai Batu Bolong No. 10. In this antique wooden warung you feel like Alice in wonderland with rabbits hopping around in the garden and dinner with candlelight overlooking the paddy fields. It’s a place from the heart, where creativity and inspiration come alive.
Ubud: find your artistic soul
Get in touch with your artistic side in the cultural heart of bali. It’s the place where the artists, digital nomads and writers go, full of creativity, art galleries and cafés. It’s set between the rice paddies and surrounded by greenery, but through the years Ubud has become quite touristic.
Try to avoid the busy center and wander through the rice fields on the south side of the village to escape the big groups of tourists. Bike through the bamboo forest or try out meditation. Get in touch with yourself during a yoga class, visit the Pura Puseh Batuan Temple, watch the Balinese Legong dance performance and skip the monkey forest.
Take a cooking class or visit a sjamaan to heal your soul. Wake up early in the morning, when the rest of the world is still asleep and visit the local food market for fresh fruits or wake up late and go souvenir hunting at the local market full of market halls with batik shirts, sarongs and wood carvings.
Stay at a sustainable eco-lodge in the middle of the rice fields or look for a traditional balinese place. If you want to get creative and surround yourself in art, stay with outher artists at the Artist Inn Recidency: a creative homestay for artists and travellers where creativity meets spirituality. Want to know where else to go? Check out my other article about bali’s neighbour Lombok.