To wrap up my series on Bali, I now take you down South to the likes of Kuta, Legian, Seminyak, Bingin, Uluwatu, and Jimbaran. Because of it’s close proximity to the airport and to beaches, South Bali is extremely touristy – but there is a reason we spent eight days at the beginning of our trip and then five days at the end of our trip there. Here are some suggestions to make sure you hit the best the region has to offer.
1.Watch the sunset on Seminyak Beach at La Plancha. The tides are high during the day, but as the waters recede closer to sunset, the beach is transformed. Beach loungers are replaced with colorful over-stuffed furniture, umbrellas and loud music begins to pound from the surrounding speakers. We watched the sunset from several hotels on the beach. None of the experiences even rivaled a sunset at La Plancha.
2. Take a surf lesson from Pro Surf School Bali. You can get cheap lessons on the beach, but their technique and instructors here are superb. You’ll create muscle memory for surfing as well as learn ocean safety before you even venture out to the water. I stood up on my first try and every try after! Jay tried a surf lesson before and was unsuccessful until trying with Pro Surf. You can sign up for a day or several days to advance your skills further.
3. Stay a few nights at the Temple Lodge. You won’t need to leave the property at all. The lodge sits on the top of cliffs overlooking Bukit Peninsula, Bingin Beach and the Dreamlands on the southern most tip of Bali. The in-house cafe serves great breakfasts, lunches and group dinners. Try their smoothies. And make sure to join one of their yoga classes held each morning from 8 to 9:30. The practices and instructors change each day. The open air studio with incense is one of my favorite yoga experiences to date.
4. Lounge on the beaches of Kuta, Legian and Seminyak. We traveled all over Bali, and these were our favorite beaches. Lounge chairs are available for about $100,000 Rupiah and cheap bintangs are abundant. The waves are also perfect for swimming as well as surfing (see number 2). Never pass up the opportunity to drink coconut water from a coconut. It’s legit.
5. Explore the area on scooter. Scooters are available for hire for about $5 a day. Traffic in Bali is horrible; traveling on scooter can cut your drive time in half. A couple of tips: make sure you have enough gas before going out, and this one is a big one, check that the registration is valid. Checkpoints are common throughout South Bali, and police tend to target foreigners. We got pulled over at a checkpoint on our second to last day and had our scooter confiscated. The owner rented us a hot scooter! We were stuck on the side of the road and forced to hail a taxi.
6. Eat tapas, drink wine and dance at La Favela. The same owners as La Plancha, La Favela’s low lights, lush gardens, bridges and ponds, eclectic artwork and ambient beats make you feel a world away from the busy streets of South Bali. Try the grilled octopus with chimicurri sauce.
7. Pamper yourself. Massages, facials, scrubs, pedicures, reflexology, you name it is extremely cheap in Bali. Services are great at hotels and resorts, but also try a service from one of the many shops off the street. For two-thirds the price (about $7 for 60 minutes!), you’ll probably get a better massage than if you pay hotel prices. Guilty confession: Jay and I averaged *at least* two spa services per week. We’re in for a rude awakening once we return to the United States!
8. Go to Happy Hour at Single Fin in Uluwatu. Awesome place to catch the sunset and watch surfers (the waves are big so the surfing is top notch). We came here to celebrate the 50th birthday a friend we made at The Temple Lodge (see number 3). Her friend, Fran (pictured below), was ecstatic to celebrate (and that our drinks were finally coming).
9. Check out Balique Vintage Cafe. An original eatery in the fishing village of Jimbaran, this is a great place to splurge and order a bottle of champagne. Or two. We came here after our Happy Hour at Single Fin (see above). It may not be the steam punk atmosphere advertised, but it was still well worth the visit.
10. Don’t just stay in the South. Bali has a lot more to offer as well! Go to Ubud (read Taste of Bali: Ubud), the central mountains (read Central Mountains: Adventure Off the Beach), and venture north for a diving/snorkeling adventure or off to the Gili Islands (read Paradise Found: North Bali ad the Gilis).
I hope you’ve found my series on Bali helpful in planning your next trip or at least interesting and informative for my armchair travelers out there.