Published: June 10, 2019
By: Kyle Werner
When in Bali
Bali holds hidden gems around every corner. With seemingly endless temples, jungles, waterfalls, cliffs, and gorgeous beaches to explore it can be hard to fit it all in. Combine that with the fact that it's a tiny island on the exact opposite side of the world and you're probably not headed back that way again for quiet some time, and it can be hard trying to make sure you squeeze the most out of your trip!
Fortunately for us, we keep our camera on us nearly the entire time we travel, so the pressure to not look like a couple of lazy beach bums keeps us motivated to push through and experience as much as we can! One thing to consider when planning your trip is how active you want to be. It's easy to tell yourself you're going to do everything, especially when it's so inexpensive to travel in Bali, but all that running around will definitely tire you out if not sooner, than later. Ask yourself how you want to structure your trip and try to lay out your vacation to have active days and peaceful days dispersed evenly.
We love to be active, and we try to fit as much as we can into our trips not only to create lots of content and keep our instagram stacked, but because I have a fear of missing something beautiful and want to see it all every chance I get. If you're like me, take these locations into consideration when planning your trip to Bali.
1. Mount Batur Sunrise Hike
Mount Batur is a volcano in Bali. It is still considered active though the last eruption of Mount Batur hasn't been since _______. So do a little research and check on the status of the area before committing to booking this trip. Also consider your level of desired activity from around 3:00am - 5:30am because during that entire time on this hike, you'll be walking up very steep and narrow trails using a headlamp! The route is not without its challenging sections, but up to 500 people make the climb each morning, so as long as long periods of walking don't bother you terribly, you should be alright. Is it worth it? YES! The view at the top is incredible and easily one of the best sunrises I have ever seen. Once you reach the top, you'll find benches for everyone to have a stadium style view of the sunrise directly in front of you, and as that time nears, your guide will make breakfast for you and offer you a warm coffee or hot chocolate. It gets pretty chilly at the summit so bring a sweatshirt with you. As the sun emerged from the horizon the gorgeous views in front and behind us came to life with gorgeous colors!
Once the sun illuminated the world around us we got up and began exploring the top of the mountain. The trails that circle the crest at the top of the caldera provide stunning views. Several sections even had hot steam rising out of natural vents in the earth. As we walked along the top we spotted several monkeys playing and running just down the side of the cliff from us. If you know me, you know it took everything in me to not chase them down the cliff in excitement!
The hike down is much easier than the hike up, especially once you get passed the steep section near the top. Everyone around us chatted about the beautiful morning and laughed as we raced our way down the mountain. All that adventure and it was only 9:30am! We had the entire day ahead of us to explore as much as we wanted!
2. Coffee Plantation
The locals in Bali drink mainly plain "Bali Coffee", but the plantations produce tons of different flavors and kinds of coffee for anyone to buy. If you're a coffee fanatic like myself, you've got to take some time and visit one of these plantations. It was a short tour but much needed after the hike up Mount Batur. We met with our guide who greeted us with a warm welcome and was already asking how our hike was! He went on to lead us into the plantation and show us the coffee trees while telling us all about their farming practices, how they care for the plants, and the different types of coffee trees they had. I would love to share this information with you in more detail, but remember, I hadn't actually had my coffee yet at this point and I did just climb 30,000 steps up and down a volcano!
After showing us through the gardens he stopped at an animal enclosure where a cat-like animal was resting. He explained that the animal was a ________and asked if we had heard of them or knew why they had one there. We did not. He then told us about the __________ and how they have special sensors in their nose that helps them to find and eat only the absolute best coffee beans. The coffee beans then pass through the animals digestive system where the outer shell is digested and the bean remains intact. Once the animal disposes of the digested coffee beans the farmers collect the leftovers and begin an extensive cleaning process for the beans. Yes you know where I'm going! __________ coffee is made from animal poop, and it was pretty good! To be honest, it kind of feels like a novelty thing to get a cup, because it doesn't taste much different from normal coffee. Regardless, I recommend you try it, at least for the stories!
3. Club Med
This one is kind of a toss up. If you need a nice relaxing day with everything taken care of for you, Club Med is the way to go. It's an all inclusive resort you can stay at, but they also sell day passes for the public to come and enjoy all the amenities. These include multiple pools, a private stretch of beach, water sports, aerial acrobatics, cabanas, included food and an open bar.
If spending the day relaxing at one location isn't for you, don't worry, there are thousands of other ways you can spend your day and probably spend less money as well. Club Med was probably the most expensive thing Courtney and I did while in Bali. It was around $150 per person, which isn't bad for an all day all inclusive resort!
4. Ubud Monkey Forest
Monkeys and I have a special connection. I absolutely love them, they make me act like a kid again, and they aren't a huge fan of me. At least I haven't found one yet that has... but I remain determined. In Costa Rica the monkeys were friendly but wouldn't let me get very close. In Ubud they had no problem letting me get close, but only so they could jump me, attempt a mugging, and generally try to terrify me. They failed at all of the above. Well... I was kinda terrified for a moment. One of the monkeys jumped on my back and tried to start digging through my camera bag. This was less than ideal. You may ask why I didn't just push him off? Well, the first monkey I tried to touch in this exotic, jungle book like forest barred his teeth at me and and became very threatening, and I was convinced this one would surely bite my ear off if I made any sudden movements.
Needless to say, it's a good rule of thumb to observe the monkeys, but let them do their own thing! This place is a must see. It's absolutely beautiful! Nestled in the heart of Ubud, this ancient area is home to tons and tons of monkeys. The massive trees within the park have grown up over ruins that I would guess to be hundreds of years old. As you explore the area and wind through the pathways that take you deeper into the park, you can't help but think about the people and culture that used to surround this ancient location. There's a feeling about this place that holds so much history. Bali as a whole holds so much deep and exotic history, but the monkey forest in Ubud takes that to a whole other level. It's less than a dollar to enter the park, so definitely add it to your list!