As much as we find it irresistible to laze around in our gorgeous private pool villa, there’s a whole lot of Balinese charms waiting for us to be explored. Normally, I would do a substantial amount of research to maximize our trip but this time, I decided to get ‘lazy’ and leave out most things to destiny.
There are tons of things to see in Bali and we’re certain that our first visit would not be enough for us to cover even just the half of it. But, oh my, where to begin? Staying at Legian area brought us a lot of convenience when it comes to visiting nearby attractions. So, we decided to start right in our neighborhood. After steering clear from one-way streets and absolutely no clue where to go, we found ourselves in Double Six Beach. We noticed it is a hotspot for sun loungers and novice surfers. Although it shared the same beach line with infamous Kuta beach, it is far less jam-packed, loud and hectic.
My husband, Olivier, took a quick dip while I sat on the shaded corner of the beach contemplating on maybe I should go see a therapist when I go home to discuss my fear of waves.
The sun was high up when my stomach started to growl so thanks (but no thanks) to Lonely Planet, we headed out to see a highly rated warung, a type of small family-owned restaurant. We drove to Kuta Beach Street, the road that runs down to Kuta Beach from Legian, where motorbikes can go beyond the beach gate. A big no thanks to Lonely Planet, they got the map wrong, again! We couldn’t find the warung we got our hearts set on so instead of weeping, we were wishful thinking to turn around our misadventures. We continued walking on a small path and turns out, there is a quieter side of Kuta beach! One where you never have to pay to lounge on the beach, one where you are never bothered by incessant sellers, one where you can relax and listen to the sound of the waves.
So, we paused to savor this glorious accidental find.
Just when I started to feel beach-y and comfortable, the little pets in my belly reminded me that I haven’t fed them for lunch yet. Despite the fact that Kuta has been bursting with high end dining places, it was still easy to find a cheap, local eatery. For 12,000 rupiah, I was highly satisfied by this mie goreng (fried noodles). This tasty noodle dish is the same one my mom used to make for me when I was growing up.
It’s definitely comfort food. ❤
Now that our bellies were filled with delicious Indonesian food, where to next?
Gee, I wish I could be proud to say this… We headed back to our accommodation! To take some shade and chill out a little bit.
In our defense, Bali is extremely humid and the heat alone can make you exhausted. Trust me, Bali heat will rein you in. So, it is best to take a pause especially during midday.
After over an hour of deliberation aka eenie meenie, we decided to head out next to Uluwatu temple. We were a couple of brave souls to leave out the maps and just wing it out until (God have mercy on us!) we reach Uluwatu temple.
One of the good things about driving around with a partner is, one can drive safely (you know, dodge wacky drivers, cross-the-street-don’t-care pedestrians and some occasional suicidal dogs) while the other can watch out for the street signs and pray you both stay alive or don’t kill anybody. I could be exaggerating but traffic in south of Bali will really bring out the worst (or best?) in you. But then, I guess we were just caught in the rush hour especially in the round about near the airport.
I lost count how many wrong turns we took but we always find our way back to the right road somehow.
Fast forward, we arrived at Uluwatu temple just in time for sunset. We made friends with a ‘resident’ who took pleasure of drinking the bottled water brought in by one of the visitors. Of course, the monkeys consider the foreign visitors to be an inexpensive source of food, water and shiny things – so you’d better hang on to yours!
This was our first temple visit in Bali and we didn’t want to be ‘that kind of tourists’ so we made keen observations of the admission. In fact, it was easy peasy. Pay 30,000 rupiah entry ticket and wear a sarong – loose-fitting skirtlike garment to cover the lower part of the body.
Uluwatu temple, or Pura Luhur Uluwatu, is one of six key temples believed to be Bali’s spiritual pillars. It is visited more for its views than the temple itself. The views from the bottom of the water surging up against rocks and the ocean horizon are plain extraordinary.
There is a small forest at the front and hundreds of monkeys owning up territories. They are believed to guard the temple from bad influences so forgive them if they snip your snack away.
As a foreigner and non-Hinduists, we could only view the temple from outside. For my husband, this is a bit of a let down because this is what we came to see and expected more of our 30,000 rupiah. Of course, we perfectly understood and respected the rules but we’re hoping they could open up a few chambers for curious visitors like us for educational purposes.
A Kecak dance was about to end so we headed out fast to avoid the crowd and also because my little pets started to show me who’s boss. After almost an hour driving away from the temple, we stumble upon a brightly colored, tastefully decorated warung next to the street called STOP Makan Yuuk!! Their setup reminded me of the karendias back home. They sell food ala carte style so you can mix and match. I think it is a clever way to experiment on funny sounding, odd looking delicacies without breaking the bank. For example, one stick of chicken satay is only 3,000 ($0.20).
Aside from delicious, affordable local food, we were also delighted by their quirky interiors and novelty jokes. But mostly the novelty jokes.
Overall, it was a fun-filled, exciting day exploring a portion of South Bali with almost no planning. I guess we can all agree that sometimes, it is best not to overthink your holiday and just see where the wind takes you.
Don’t be afraid to take risks, for they make life worth living.
Have you been to Bali? Have you tried exploring with little or no planning? Tell me about it in the comments below.