The cultural and natural delights of Bali are well documented and far too many to list here. But for some truly unique experiences it pays to hire a driver and get off the beaten track or to take the time to immerse yourself in the local sacred sights.
I love the earthy romance of waterfalls, and Bali has some spectacular ones! Tegenungan waterfall lies at Tegenungan Village, approx. five km south-east of Ubud, while in Singaraja in the north of Bali, you can find Gitgit Waterfall. Follow the sign, past the souvenir stalls that line the path, into the verdant jungle to be rewarded with a swim in paradise, and pack a picnic lunch to make the most of the stunning location.
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For a more luxe way to have a picnic, check out the very special offerings from Escape Nomade in Ubud. Owner Anneke van Waesberghe has created a unique kind of sanctuary where guests can enjoy tented hightea picnics on a deep gorge above a mountain stream. Be serenaded by bamboo flute-playing musicians and enjoy cocktails and canapés before your walk back to the nearby Payogan Temple at sunset.
The more active visitors to Ubud should join one of the many popular tours to trek to the top of Mount Batur for a spectacular sunrise. Or bike ride through the rice fields, lush forested areas, plantations and villages on an educational cycling tour. We did our trip through Bali Eco Cycling, and it was a such a memorable day.
Tirta Empul, Tampaksiring: Bathe in the pools at the north century water temple Tirta Empul. The waters here are said to cure all manner of illness and obstacles, offering everything from fertility and love to protection from evil spirits. It’s a very sacred place to the Balinese, so it’s best to arrange your visit with respect through an organised program. I received my purification as part of Escape the World program, with One World Retreats in Ubud.
Horse riding, Seminyak: Have an early morning ride along Seminyak Beach on horseback with Umalas Stables.
Beach Escapes: Stop by Bali Deli in Seminyak for some gourmet nibbles and wine, then hire a driver to take you out to the breathtaking beaches that edge the Bukit Peninsula. Trek down to secluded spots like Padang Padang to discover an oasis of calm in the shadows of soaring cliffs.
Sideman Valley: Set in the heart of rural Bali, about 90 minutes drive from the airport, Sideman has beautiful rice terraces, stunning scenery and spectacular views of Mt Agung.
Batukaru Temple & Royal Temple: This sacred mountain sanctuary and temple at the foot of Mount Batukaru 23 km north of Tabanan. If you’re there on the temple’s anniversary, you’ll be amongst over one thousand pilgrims from all over the island who come to pay homage to the deities.
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