My Birthday in Bali

Travel Blog by J
August 2014

So for my birthday this year, I decided to spend it in Bali with my sister.  It is my first time to ever set foot in Indonesia so a whole lot of planning was involved to see the most of this famous island.

The first decision to make was to pick a base.  There are many beaches in Bali.  The most popular ones are Kuta and Legian as they are home to a lot of bars, restaurants and night spots.  These areas are always alive and busy and are popular with tourists.  The other beaches are Nusa Dua (where most of the 5-star resorts are located) and Jimbaran (where a seafood dinner by the beach is ideal). We chose to stay in SANUR -- a more relaxed place dotted with restaurants and beachfront resorts ranging from budget to upscale.  Just around the corner of our hotel, was a street lined with a lot of restaurants.  We tried a different restaurant everyday.

A windy day in Sanur
Because we wanted to see a lot of Bali in 4 days, we hired a private tour service and  guide.  Our guide's name was Edhy and he recommended an itinerary for us.  What I especially liked about a private tour was that we can customize it based on our interests.  We also enjoyed time flexibility and can make requests for stops or detours that may be not in the itinerary.

Here are the highlights of the tour:

We had to see KUTA BEACH for ourselves.  There was a surfing competition going on so the beach was packed.

Next stop was PANDAWA BEACH, or what the locals refer to as "Secret Beach."  This secluded hideaway is still being developed.  There is no nearby hotel and it seems that this mainly used by day trippers.

Pandawa Beach

Not be missed is the sunset at ULUWATU TEMPLE and the Kecak Fire Dance.  The temple is set on a cliff bank with spectacular views of the Indian Ocean.

Kecak Dance

Uluwatu Temple

Also worth visiting is the TIRTA EMPUL TEMPLE, a holy spring temple where the Hindu come to pray and bathe for cleansing.  They would offer flowers, crackers and incense in small baskets made of woven leaves.

Another temple we saw was the TAMAN AYUN Temple, a Royal Temple of the Mengwi Empire.

Taman Ayun Temple

We also went to see MT. BATUR, a volcano in Kintamani. This place reminded me of Tagaytay because of the view and the cool breeze.

We drove up to see the TWIN LAKES: Lake Tamblingan and Lake Buyan.  What a beautiful view and a nice place to stop for coffee.  

Driving down from the Twin Lakes, we ended up in the FLOATING TEMPLE in Bedugul.  It didn't seem like it was 'floating' on the day we visited as the water around the temple was very shallow.  

The Floating Temple

Bali also has its own rice terraces.  Two of the most visited ones are TEGALALANG, smaller in scale but closer to the city so most tourists come here; the other one is the JATILUWIH Rice Terraces.  I liked this better because of the crowd  is less dense and the view is more panoramic.

Tegalalang Rice Terraces

Jatiluwih Rice Terraces

We had time to stop in a Warung to sample Babi Guling or sucking pig, a popular Indonesian dish. The pig is stuffed and infused with a spicy concoction of several ingredients which may include tumeric, coriander seeds, lemongrass, black pepper and garlic.

UBUD, as to be expected, was teeming with tourists just poking in and out of quaint shops selling art, wood and stone carvings, and other souvenirs.

The last stop of the official itinerary was the sunset in Tanah Lot.  I told our guide, Edhy, that he should always make Tanah Lot the last attraction in every itinerary as the sunset here is simply breathtaking!

What an awesome sight in Tanah Lot

My personal trip highlight though was biking all around Sanur.  We rented  bikes from the hotel and just whisked away on them, stopping for photos of intricately carved doors, little nooks and views of the beach.  It was a lot of fun and a perfect way to end my birthday trip!

* Photos are author's own.