I spent my 40th birthday in Bali, 10 glorious days as typical Aussie tourists with my two teenage daughters. I chose Bali for the obvious reasons. It’s affordable, close to home and absolutely beautiful. I wanted my daughters to experience Bali’s unique culture and beautiful people. Here are 10 of our most memorable things to do in Bali.
Things to do in Bali
1- Horseriding on Echo Beach
When I told my daughters we were headed to Bali, the first thing on their agenda was horse riding on the beach.
We found a small local horse-riding company and did a two-hour ride through paddy fields, villages and past black sandy beaches.
Echo Beach seems like quite the party zone. I’d say when the conditions are right it would have an awesome surf break.
It’s laid back, with lots of young chilled out surfers, backpackers and loud music playing from beach shacks. It’s the kind of place you’d go with a group of friends to let loose and have some fun.
2- Sunset at Kuta Beach
There is nothing that says ‘classic Bali holiday’ more than a fiery sunset on Kuta Beach.
It is quite a crowded beach, especially at sunset but to me, the crowd is part of the Bali experience.
Fortunately, there are plenty of other uncrowded beaches and islands in Indonesia.
I loved all the people. They seemed so happy and joyous, enjoying life. I think that each part of Bali offers a unique experience.
Kuta Beach with all its happy travellers waiting for the sun to set is definitely one of them.
There is something really cool about the vibe there at sunset, everyone is just so darn happy.
3- Sunrise at Sanur Beach
The calm waters of Sanur, with all the colourful boats and the fisherman, are quite special.
It’s one place where you can watch a sunrise over one ocean and then a sunset over another ocean.
It’s very special for a photographer who’s always chasing the right light.
Sherbert-coloured skies kissed Mt Batur in the distance as the sunrise was watched by eager visitors on the beach.
4-Tanah Lot Temple
Even though the rain had set in, we were determined to see some kind of colour in the sky over Tanah Lot Temple.
For a very brief moment, Mother Nature obliged.
Tanah Lot Temple is a rock in the ocean. You’d be crazy to go to Bali and not visit this unique part of Bali’s culture and history.
At high tide, it looks like its floating and at low tide, you can walk out across the rocks for a closer look.
The cheeky monkeys add to the fun of visiting this temple. Just be sure to hold onto your sunglasses!
5- Monkey Forest in Ubud
A trip up to Ubud isn’t complete without visiting the cheeky monkeys of the Monkey Forest.
The monkeys are fun to watch, and the place itself is so lush, magical and beautiful.
I managed to get a close-up shot of the monkey using a telephoto lens 70-200 F 2.8 on my Canon 6D.
It’s a great lens for portraits.
6- Hanging Gardens Ubud
As soon as I saw a photo of this pool on Instagram, I knew I had to go see it with my own eyes.
Voted world’s best pool, it certainly lived up to its reputation.
The villa resort is built on a very steep incline that stretches down into lush rainforest. It feels like it is literally hanging off the edge of the mountain.
Every villa has its own infinity pool, with what seems like a bottomless drop off the side into a sea of green.
The main pool is simply spectacular. You are right in the heart of Ubud forest.
Ubud is my most favourite place because it feels like the ‘real’ Bali.
Being high in the hills, the lush rainforest feels magical.
There is a deep connection to Balinese culture and tradition there that makes it very intriguing.
7- Uluwatu and other temples
Uluwatu’s cliffs are spectacular and a ‘must see’ on your Bali itinerary.
If you can make it at sunset, it’s even better, with monkeys everywhere, making the experience uniquely Bali.
We witnessed a beautiful sunset from the cliffs. There is also a traditional Balinese fire dance display (The Kecak Dance) that is a ‘must see’ cultural spectacle as the sun goes down.
We visited quite a few temples on our adventures, one of the most beautiful being the royal temple in Mengwi, in the north of Bali.
8- Nusa Dua Sunrise
Our first sunrise at Nusa Dua was beautiful. We had the whole beach front to ourselves. It made it all the more special.
I loved the luxurious resorts at Nusa Dua, where we had time to chill out as a family.
9- Nusa Lembongan
Both my daughters agree that this was pretty much the best day ever and their most favorite place of all.
Our day trip to Nusa Lembongan was wonderful. It had the clearest water I have seen. We were blessed with perfect weather. And we were able to get away from the crowds.
We spent a day cruising around the island in a colourful spider boat with Captain Wayan, stopping along the way at all the best snorkelling spots.
The clarity of the water was amazing, the coral was vibrant and there were fish everywhere.
10- Jatiluwih Rice Terrace
Admittedly it’s quite a long drive up, about three hours. We stopped at some beautiful temples along the way.
We visited Gitgit waterfalls. There are three different sections to this natural beauty. At the final one we ate some mangosteens we had bought on our walk.
The girls spent at least an hour swimming and standing under the force of the waterfall.
It is so rare to be able to stand under a fall like that. Usually, they are too deep. This was a real treat.
Final Bali Sunrise
Our final day in Bali and we squeezed in one more sunrise. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end our Bali holiday.
What to do in Ubud?
If you’re going to Ubud, the lush hinterland of Bali, make sure try the Ayung River rafting adventure and check yourself into a spa for a healing holiday. Ubud is also home to Elephant Safari Park where you can sleep with the elephants.