Written by Jolantka on 02 Nov, 2011
Samosir Island & Lake TobaSamosir was a fisherman. One day he caught a goldfish. Once he kissed her, as most fishermen do, she turned into a beautiful girl. " Samosir," she said, " I will marry you only if you promise not to ever tell…Read More
Samosir Island & Lake TobaSamosir was a fisherman. One day he caught a goldfish. Once he kissed her, as most fishermen do, she turned into a beautiful girl. " Samosir," she said, " I will marry you only if you promise not to ever tell our son that I used to be a fish." However, Samosir had an angry moment and forgot his promise. So that is how the story of creation of Samosir Island goes, told by the Batak people. The beautiful girl turned back to being a fish and Samosir became an island on the lake, Lake Toba.The eruption of Mt Toba some 75 000 years ago is a more scientific explanation of the creation of Lake Toba and Samosir Island. Both are the result of the eruption. But that story is nowhere near as romantic as Samosir’s fishing adventure.The fact is, that Lake Toba, being the world’s largest and deepest crater lake and Samosir Island are considered to be the most scenic and unique natural wonder of Sumatra and maybe of all South East Asia. Both are hidden in the wilderness of North Sumatra, accessible from Medan, mere 190 km away, by four to five hour road trip to Parapat and then 40 minutes ferry trip to Tuktuk. The not too comfortable road trip (roads and potholes are synonymous words in Sumatra) is a small price to pay to reach absolute paradise of natural beauty. The warm water of the lake invites for a swim after the ordeal. The best way to explore Samosir Island is by bike. It can be a painful experience though since long stretches of roads are rough. However, the magnificent views of the lake soothe all discomfort. A dip in the Hot Springs, Kolamerang Air Panas near Pangururan, is also a great way to smooth all travel on a bike inflicted discomfort.Samosir Island has its characteristic Batak architecture, lots of history dating back to the 11th century, Stone Chairs at the King’s Meeting Place in Ambarita, Execution Stone, King’s grave in Tomok. However, it is not just history that captures visitor’s attention. The local people still live in Batak style houses. They are kind and friendly. Some speak English. "Horas" is a universal Batak word that has many meanings and is used to this day. " Horas "can mean good morning, hello, thank you, good bye. One will never go wrong using "horas" as a greeting. It certainly puts a smile on all the faces. "Horas" from Lake Toba and Samosir Island. Close
Written by nofootprint on 09 Aug, 2011
We arranged for a driver to take us around to see the sites. This is easy to do as there is a "travel agent" every few feet along the main drag in town! We paid 400,000 RM which seems to be the going rate. We…Read More
We arranged for a driver to take us around to see the sites. This is easy to do as there is a "travel agent" every few feet along the main drag in town! We paid 400,000 RM which seems to be the going rate. We leave at 9AM and return at 6PM. Our driver spoke good English and we had a wonderful day stopping at all the "tourist spots" and villages along the way. Our first stop was to see the Barong Dance in Batubulan VillageThis dance is very different than I had expected. It is not a song and dance show but a play. Many residents of Batubulan are performers and although there are many shows , they all seem to have a similar theme.The play was basically about the struggle between good and evil . The dancers are dressed in costumes of ancient style depicting mythical gods and creatures . We sat outside on raised benches. The hour long performance was over all too quickly. It is a must do . The admission is $9.00.Batubulan – which means ‘moonstone’is perhaps even more famous for its stone carvings. Situated about eight kilometers northeast of Batubulan has streets lined with statues, Buddha figures, demons and other mythical figures, all carved in stone. I guess people buy these amazing works and ship them home . A little out of reach for me but I saw many works that I would have loved to have.CelukNext on our agenda was a stop at Celuk , known for its gold and silver works. We visited three of the seemingly hundreds of manufacturers/shops.For years Celuk was known as the place where craftsmen made bowls for religious ceremony in silver leave called " bokoran " It wasn’t however until the 1930s when gold and silversmiths arrived in Celuk. The work they do is wonderful. Many of the designs are truly unique. The prices listed are automatically reduced by 50% and a bit more can be had with a bit of haggling .I bought a silver and pearl set of earrings with a beautiful intricate design for $28.00. My favorite shop was Semadi Gold and Silver. Close
As busy and world renowned as Bali is, I was surprised to see it still retains its own original character. Steeped in tradition, Bali has much to show/tell us. Stories of predictions by paranormals and reincarnations are everyday tales given to us by various taxi…Read More
As busy and world renowned as Bali is, I was surprised to see it still retains its own original character. Steeped in tradition, Bali has much to show/tell us. Stories of predictions by paranormals and reincarnations are everyday tales given to us by various taxi drivers.Traditional dances tell simple but dramatic stories of good and evil, just as they did for centuries. Bali’s beauty however lies not only in its unique and colorful culture but also in the land. Lush tropical jungles teaming with wildlife, golden sand beaches and terraced rice paddies are all here for us to enjoy today, and remember tomorrow. We booked our tickets online with no problems. We have one stop in KL but I'm happy our luggage can be checked right through. I'm surprised that even though it's a domestic flight to K.L. from Sandakan we have to clear customs.There was a cloud of volcanic ash from Java hanging over Bali. Most flights are cancelled. We are one of the few arriving. It's an eerie sensation flying through the thick grey mass. I'm happy to clear it and safely land! It cost $25.00 for Canadians on arrival. No picture is required. It's a very quick process. There are ATM machines at the airport. An older airport with so many shops and handicrafts I felt like I was at the market (higher prices though.)It cost 90000RM ( $11.00)for an Airport taxi to Sanur. Fees are clearly posted and you must pay in advance. We had a very cheerful driver and in about 30 minutes we're at our hotel .When departing remember to keep 150,000 Rupiah for the departure fee. We didn’t and had to go back out through security to an ATM. Close
Written by akmonki on 05 Oct, 2010
Twenty-six hours on a train. A hard-seat due to my stubborn frugality.From Chengdu the train was packed, every seat occupied plus dozens of people standing in the aisles or trying to make their luggage as suitable for sitting as possible. I'd made that…Read More
Twenty-six hours on a train. A hard-seat due to my stubborn frugality.From Chengdu the train was packed, every seat occupied plus dozens of people standing in the aisles or trying to make their luggage as suitable for sitting as possible. I'd made that mistake before, by paying an absurdly large price for a no-seat ticket on a 12 hour ride--now I know better to ensure I at least have a seat number when I pay for my tickets.By midnight a lot of the passengers had gotten off at various stops along the way, and I found myself able to stretch out on my stiff brown cushion of a seat that can hold anywhere between 1-3 people depending on the necessity.Upon arriving in Guelin, it was already late in the evening and dark outside so I quickly found my hostel, some spicy tofu veggies, and went in to rest.I expected to spend the next day recovering and walking about the city, but a Chinese traveler in my hostel dorm convinced me to join her onto Yangshuo--it was my next planned destination anyway, so I thought it might not be a bad idea to travel with someone who could actually communicate properly with the locals.The landscape of Yangshuo was amazing, layer upon layer of small steep mountains coated in lush greenery. They call this type of distinctive geography "Karst" which apparently means that there are systems of underground caves with acidic water that reacts with the limestone rock to create this kind of jagged landscape. Magnific!My friend managed to arrange a local adventure of biking along the Li River, riding in a bamboo raft down a couple hours, and then biking back to town. It was a popular little trip where we saw many other tourists along the way, but still fun.While the nature was amazing, the town itself had become quite overdone in my opinion-- riddled with tourist shops & funky hippie garments imported from places like Tibet -Mongolia-Thailand. Everything & everyone seemed like a moneymaker, which was no surprise since the streets were packed with foreigners. And even though the town was still pretty small, obnoxious fast food joints like KFC and McDonalds had been instituted.The next day we went to a smaller town I'd heard about called Xingping. This town, only an hour away, was quite comparable in its' natural beauty, but had much much less development and fewer tourist crowds. It seemed like a good place to stay tucked away for countless days or weeks--only a couple nights for me though (I need to return to city life before the big October holiday to arrange my visa for Vietnam).We rented bikes for the day and cruised around to see some other nearby villages & caves. On the return trip we took a long, muddy way back and stopped at a local beekeeper’s home where my friend purchased some about 10 ounces of pure honey. Along the way we could not resist stopping every few minutes to photograph of our surroundings, but unfortunately the weather has been overcast and drizzly for the entire week so the scenery has not been quite up to its' potential. Either way, it's a wonderland— Close
Written by auskiwi on 02 Sep, 2010
On another day Dale and I went for a walk along the streets of Legian to Seminyak – via Jalan Raya Seminyak and Jalan Kayu Aya - on the map it didn’t look that far but when you’re walking it’s a different story - it’s…Read More
On another day Dale and I went for a walk along the streets of Legian to Seminyak – via Jalan Raya Seminyak and Jalan Kayu Aya - on the map it didn’t look that far but when you’re walking it’s a different story - it’s not a bad walk actually but I do advise you to take water and to wear good walking shoes and one’s you won’t get blisters in. On the way we stopped to look at some of the multitude of shops that line the road – the prices in the shops and restaurants in this area is a bit dearer than Legian and Kuta as a lot of Europeans stay here and things are priced to suit.It’s amazing how the Balinese will use every spare block of land – in the middle of a suburban street you might discover a couple of vacant blocks and it has been turned into several rice paddies – that is what we found on this trek, right in the middle of a busy suburban street.The distance back via the roads and streets was a little daunting considering how long it took us to get this far so we decided to find the beach and made our way back to Legian along the beach – wise move the beach route was a lot shorter. The soft beach sand was a pleasant change from trudging long the hard concrete footpaths that had the occasional holes that you had to dodge.Right on the beach at Jalan Sari Dewi, Seminyak, we discovered a great restaurant/nightclub on the beach called Ku De Ta, it was great. They have huge dance parties, activities for the kids or live bands – depending on the schedule – they decorate the whole place up with different themes every week or so – when we went there it was "Alice in Wonderland" with a huge white rabbit, a huge artificial tree and large red hearts hanging from the trees outside. It is a bit expensive to go to for a special event night out - about $100US per person, but that usually includes a meal and entertainment - but free of charge during the day or any other time but you have to buy everything. Close
First trip was a short mini tour of the surfwear shops and discount places. We walked outside the gates of the Jayakarta Bali Hotel and we found a bemo (people mover, mini-van, whatever you want to call them) that was willing to squeeze 10 of…Read More
First trip was a short mini tour of the surfwear shops and discount places. We walked outside the gates of the Jayakarta Bali Hotel and we found a bemo (people mover, mini-van, whatever you want to call them) that was willing to squeeze 10 of us into his vehicle. We negotiated, with the driver, a price for a trip out to a couple of the surfwear shops with a drop-off at the Dynasty Plaza at the end. We all crammed into the vehicle and we were off. The first couple of stops were at Surf Shops – not quite the bargains we were looking for but we all got out and had a look anyway, then it was back in the transport and off to the next shop – it was a little surf shop somewhere in Denpasar – this is more the type of discount shop we were looking for – the driver had discount coupons for the store and the store was having a sale anyway so several items were bought and we were on our way again. This time it was in the direction of the Dynasty Plaza – a huge western/European style, white, shopping mall in South Kuta – it’s not hard to miss from the beach. We were dropped off just outside and made our way up the stairs – Balinese stairs are not your usual stairs, the risers of the stairs often vary in height so if your knees are a bit dodgy they could be difficult to negotiate – we spent a couple of hours browsing the shops with a couple of items being purchased. Once we had a bit to eat from Breadtalk and proceeded to make our way back to our hotel in Legian via the streets. On the way we passed heaps of shops – there is a shopping precinct in Kuta which centers around the Large Mata Hare Store and the shops are all western/European style shops but the prices are a little less -, we passed market stalls all with vendors offering great bargains and then we passed the Bali Bombing Memorial where we stopped for photos. By this time we had been walking for quite a while so Dale and I decided to stop at a bar for liquid refreshments while the others with kids went back to the hotel. After stopping at one bar we decided that it would be good to stop at every second bar until we made it back – glad we didn’t decide on every bar – might not have made it back. Close
Written by sueta on 01 Apr, 2008
Day 1st. March 26th, 2008.We left Kuta around 9 am, driving out Kuta area heading to west Bali through the main street that leads to Tanah Lot Temple. We took the village roads that come out at Meliling on the main street that goes to…Read More
Day 1st. March 26th, 2008.We left Kuta around 9 am, driving out Kuta area heading to west Bali through the main street that leads to Tanah Lot Temple. We took the village roads that come out at Meliling on the main street that goes to Gilimanuk along the west coastal region of BaliBy the T-Junction at the village of Antosari, we make a right turn up to Belimbing village. We made a stop by a little Warung on the right side of the street that has such a gorgeous view over mountains, rice terraces, and the southern peninsula of Bali. There are various kind of tropical vegetations grow around the wrong’s garden such as cocoa, clove, durian tree, coffee and vanilla bean. Right behind the Warung there were 3 huge bats or flying foxes hanging on a little bougainvilleas tree. They are like pat for the family who own the Warung. The Warung itself sells cold drink, coffee and some local snacks, so it is really a great spot for a coffee break while enjoying the scenic view over rice terraces or wandering around their tropical garden. Across the street there was a lady selling Durian fruits so it was great as my friend Jan was willing to get one to taste, so we walked across the street and bought a Durian for 15,000 Rupiah which was a good deal as it was quit big one. I put the Durian on the back seat and the strong smell of it filled up the car and having the air conditioned on was not a good idea as it made the smell really stronger. The fruit is smell like hell but tastes like heaven…We left Belimbing village and driving north towards Pupuan Village. We kept enjoying the scenic view over the green rice terraces all the way up. We made a stop by Pura Mekori where there were number of monkeys on the entrance, by the side of the road. The temple is built in the middle of the tropical rain forest which is the home of the macaque monkeys that hang around by the entrance where there is a small shrines by the road side where the local passers by make a short stop for a little prayer and there is an old man priest there who patiently bless everyone with the holy water. The people who stopped there placed a little offering on the shrines and do a little prayer before being sprinkled by holy water by the priest. As there is a little cake by the offering, the monkeys were hanging around by the little shrines to steal the cakes from the offerings. We continued driving north through windy roads by local villages and still enjoying the great view over rice terraces, coffee and cocoa plantations. When we got to the market town of Pupuan, we made a left turn, driving again through local villages with its spectacular view over lush river valley, mountains and view over west coast line. We arrived by a village named Bunut Bolong. There is a huge tree which the local called Bunut that grow in the middle of the road. They carved through the bottom part of the tree which arches the street and the cars have to drive through the tree. There is a little temple under the trees where some local passers by make their offerings. Nearby the tree there is a little Warung that sells food and drink. We left Bunut Bolong and kept driving down the windy roads, passing by many villages until we arrived at the T-Junction by the main road towards Gilimanuk. We took a right turn heading to Medewi Beach where it is well known for the surf breaks. There were numbers of surfers by the time we got there as the wave was really great. There were few tourists and mostly local young surfers. We checked in by Medewi Beach Cottages where it is right by the beach. After lunch, we drove out again to visit Pura Rambut Siwi which is north of Medewi Beach Cottages. It is approximately 3 km up the road by the black volcanic sand beach. The temple is built by the beach and you can have a great view over the Indian Ocean, green rice paddies on the other side of the temple. We could see the eastern part of Java by the temple area. The temple was built around the 16th century by a Hindu priest who was coming from Java, named Dang Hyang Nirartha. The temple was just being renovated in some part and the new gardens have just been created. It is an elaborate temple one with beautiful Balinese carvings painted in gold leaf. We walked into the inner courtyard of the temple to get a close look to a number of shrines. We walked out from the main courtyard by the west side gate, to a little path that goes down to the beach where there is another smaller complex of temple just right by the beach with a black and yellow tiger’s sculpture, but seemed to be more like Panthers for us. There are a couple caves on the right side wall of the cliff under the main temple, with its small shrines by the mouth of the cave. We walked along the beach and suddenly we got accompany of hundreds of local elementary students who were doing a day excursion with their teachers. We took pictures of those kids and everyone was really excited to be in the picture. We walked back to the parking area by walking along the beach along with those school kids. Hundreds of the school kids were packed in a truck that transport them around for the entire day visiting different places on the west Bali region. We think that they should hire a bus for a better safety. Day is getting late and the sun was about to sink behind the Horizon, we headed back to the hotel for our night stay. I stayed by a little home stay named Gede, next to Medewi Beach cottages, cost 50,000 Rupiah/night. It is a very simple room with cold shower. It has a little restaurant with good food and it is right by the beach with its great view over the beach. Close
Written by Tim Thornton on 31 Jan, 2007
The basics about Bali:
A Tourist’s Paradise—Bali has something for everyone. Beaches. Mountains. Water sports. Shopping. Food. Art. If you can’t find it here, you are not looking very hard. Bali has scuba diving, sports fishing, sailing, mountain adventure, art, shopping, temples (literally thousands of…Read More
The basics about Bali:
A Tourist’s Paradise—Bali has something for everyone. Beaches. Mountains. Water sports. Shopping. Food. Art. If you can’t find it here, you are not looking very hard. Bali has scuba diving, sports fishing, sailing, mountain adventure, art, shopping, temples (literally thousands of temples), food, food, and more food. If you can’t find something to keep your interest in Bali, you should pay a visit to your doctor, because you may be dead.
Starting with the hotels. Bali has some spectacular hotels that are located on the side of sheer ocean cliffs. In very few places in the world will you find hotels seated on private beaches, climbing up beautiful mountainsides, and you can actually afford to stay here. Bali is an ultimately affordable place to visit.
Hotels. Do you like the beach, pools, an incredible ocean view? Well, the Nikko Bali Resort will present you with a bit of a quandary. You can get a room high up the mountain cliffs, where you will be able to see the beautiful ocean side every morning from you private room balcony, or you can choose a room on the ground floor where you can open your back door and walk directly into the pool, just inches away from your patio door. It is definitely a quandary. I am sure there are other hotels in the world that share similar arrangements, but frankly, I have never seen one or visited another hotel like this one to tell you about. This hotel offers grounds that are beautiful, including wonderful sculptures—one of which stands about 100 feet tall, and is carved into the side of the mountain next to the hotel. An amazing site to behold. The art world and sculptures on the grounds start at the entrance and make their way through the campus. But the most striking feature of the hotel may be its pools. Making their way through canals from the ground floor guest rooms, these pools are tiered for privacy, have a large water slide, gentle waterfalls, and shallow sun bathing pools for those who are not sure if they want to be in the water, or out of the water. You will find few pools that are this diverse and interesting anywhere else in the world. Of course, the restaurant, the spa, the concierge service, and the basic amenities of this resort are as expected—great. Go check this one out. You won’t be disappointed.
Shopping. Bali is filled with fantastic shops and shopping areas. They are easy to find, because they are everywhere. If you want to shop for art, talk to the concierge about getting a driver for the day that can take you around the countryside (all day drive) to various art communes and galleries. This will give you a very different view of what is available. You can see anything from sculptures, to paintings, to prints, to hand painted fabrics, to bowls, the knick-knacks. If you have ever been through the airport in Sydney Australia, and seen the incredible art work for sale in the shops there, you will see these same pieces for sale in Bali—because they are imported from Bali to Australia. Many of us once thought that this artwork was indigenous to Australia, but as it turns out, Australia is a big importer of Bali artwork and goods. One beautiful example: the long, tall wooden masks that are painted bright colors in a dot ("stipple") art style come from Bali. You can also get clothes, kitchen items, and miles and miles of fun "stuff". If you like to shop, Bali is a paradise.
Seafood. If you are in Asia, especially if you are on the coast, you should be looking for seafood restaurants. Asia is known for its seafood, and Bali is no exception. Two things that you should know about seafood restaurants: pick a restaurant that has large seafood tanks in the customer area. This is here to show you that the seafood is fresh, and for you to be able to pick your catch of the day. It may not appear too clean, but this is because the salt water is indeed fresh—this is not an aquarium. It is a food tank. Secondly, remember that seafood in Asia is served with all of the body parts—including the head. Fresh seafood always has a head, and swims. Frozen seafood typically does not have a head, and sinks when it is placed in water. If it is swimming, it is fresh, and this is where you want to eat.
Tours. There are lots of private tours in Bali. They are inexpensive, and highly recommended. You can rent a car for the day, driver/tour guide for very little, and have a blast—living like a king or queen. Don’t forget to tip your driver for a good day of service, and if you stop for to eat, consider buying lunch for your driver. This is a nice custom, and is a nice reflection on you and your country. This kind of behavior helps leave place like Bali a little better than when you arrived.
Scuba. The diving in Bali is drift diving, but if you have been drift diving in a gentle 2-3 knot current, you have a completely different dive experience waiting for you in Bali. Drift diving at 4-6 knots is like riding a roller coaster at New York, New York in Vegas. It starts out fast, and gets faster. It can be scary, and it is definitely not for the inexperienced. The thermo-climes in the water are treacherous. Every 30 seconds I went from 65 degrees F to 85 degree F. Hot to cold. Hot to cold. I was only wearing a shorty, and it was heck on my body. To complicate matters, I could not clear my mask quick enough, and we were a small group of 4, so I had difficulties keeping track of where my buddy was and keeping up with him. All in all, this was a pretty scary experience, and I would do it quite differently the next time I go to Bali. Here are some recommendations that I would make for you: (1) Be on your most conservative dive behavior. Get to know your buddy before you get in the water, and ask him/her to keep an eye on you as you descend—"this is my first time diving in Bali". (2) Make sure your mask is well lubed for fog and the thermo-clime (3) Get some time in the water before you head to the open water; don’t let your dive in Bali be your first for the season, and if it is, do some beach check out diving before you head to the open water (4) Take it slow. This is something that most of us don’t want to do when we dive, but Bali is a place where divers have been lost in the current and yes, some have lost their way and not been found in time. It is a beautiful place, but this is not diving in the beautiful waters of Cozumel, Mexico, and it should not be treated causally.
In Summary, Bali is a fun place. There are many things to do here, and many places to see. You can easily spend a week in Bali, or longer if you want to see it all, and do it all.
Written by dcdc75 on 09 Jan, 2007
One of the great joys of Ubud is the nightly array of cultural entertainment available for the traveler. Most dance performances depict scenes from the ancient Hindi script Ramayana and Mahabharata; and involve tales of good triumphing over evil. Dances performed for tourists are often…Read More
One of the great joys of Ubud is the nightly array of cultural entertainment available for the traveler. Most dance performances depict scenes from the ancient Hindi script Ramayana and Mahabharata; and involve tales of good triumphing over evil. Dances performed for tourists are often abbreviated and a typical performance will consist of two different dances held normally from 7.30pm-9.00pm. Tickets are normally about $5 per person and can be purchased from Ubud Tourist Information hut on the main street. You can also buy tickets from street vendors gaily clad in traditional finery at no extra cost. Venues for the performances vary according to the season or the performing troupe so remember to ask your concierge to double check with the Ubud Tourist Information for the most current performance schedule. We almost missed a performance due to some last minute changes and if you are staying in Bali for a short time, you would not be able to make the next one! Most hotels offer a free 2-way shuttle service to the performances. The best known of all the dances, the Kecak is a special dance that is accompanied by ‘gamelan suara’; basically no instruments are played and the music is instead provided by a choir of a hundred men who sit and sing in a concentric circle with the center of the circle as a stage. The ‘stage’ is only lit with a single torch so taking good photographs will be a little difficult here even with fancy gadgetry. If you are lucky enough to be in Ubud during a full moon, there will be a special Kecak performance only held at the Agung Rai Museum of Art or ARMA. Tickets cost about $10-$15, about twice as much as the other nightly performance. There is also a dinner and show package for this special event but it is not cheap (about $30 per person). You will need to book early as places are very limited.In the Horse Fire Trance dance, the ‘rider’ is lulled into a trance and runs almost amok on a bed of burning coconut husks. The burning coconuts husks will literally be flying at your feet especially if you are seated in the front rows so avoid putting your back packs or more importantly, your feet! on the floor. Other performances that are not to be missed are the Legong, an extremely graceful and stylized dance; the Barong , a battle between a huge shaggy dog-lion and an evil witch and the ‘Wayang Kulit’ (Shadow Puppet) which is more a theater than a dance performance. As most of the stages are rather small, the key to getting good photographs or a good video is basically to secure a good seat right in front of all the bobbing heads. It is definitely worth it to get to the venue at least half an hour ahead to get the best seats in the house. Close
Written by beautysan on 09 Nov, 2006
Early in the morning, our good driver Made was already waiting for us at the guesthouse lobby. We went directly to Tanah Lot temple before it gets too hot and too crowded. When we reach there, we almost have the whole place to ourselves, except…Read More
Early in the morning, our good driver Made was already waiting for us at the guesthouse lobby. We went directly to Tanah Lot temple before it gets too hot and too crowded. When we reach there, we almost have the whole place to ourselves, except that the sea around Tanah Lot was full of surfers! There are 2 temples in Tanah Lot, one on an island maybe 20m off the shore and none of them permitted tourists to its interior.
During low tide, visitors could walk to the island from the shore and receive a blessing ritual from the priest, of course, with a price.
From Tanah Lot, we continued our journey to Tegalallang to see the tiered padi fields on hills. It was not worth the trouble to go all the way to see this. I would recommend to skip this. Our next stop was Ubud, where we had one of our best meal in Bali - roasted pig rice. This humble shop was recommended to us by our driver Made.
Ubud is a relaxing village filled with artists. There are many world-class hill resorts around this area. Central Ubud which is bustling with handicraft market/shops, nice cafes/restaurants is best covered by foot. Souvenir shopping in Ubud is very rewarding. It is the cheapest in Bali and full of varieties, definitely a heaven for shopaholics. Ubud also boasts of many Balinese spas that fit every budget, from the very high end Kirana Spa to low key spas even backpackers can afford.
Of all the places I visited in Bali, I love Ubud the most. The unmistakably Balinese relaxed pace is felt here, even in bustling Central Ubud. Just 1 or 2km outside the town centre, lush green countryside welcomed us with open arms. I would definitely return to Bali again, not for the sights, but for the lovely people, the relaxing atmosphere, and for the love of Balinese handicraft!