I visited three areas in Bali. The Kuta/Legian area, Ubud, and Amed. I really dislike the Kuta area, and I just used it as a stopover point to and from the airport. Ubud is probably one of my very favorite places in this world.
I first visited Ubud, Bali seven years ago, and ever since I left, everywhere else I have traveled to, my thought has been, “It’s great, but it’s not Ubud.” It has changed a lot in seven years, but still holds its charm.
The green rice paddies, the fragrant incense, the vibrant flowers, delicious food, and most of all, its beautiful and friendly people speak deeply to me. Everywhere else I have traveled in Indonesia lacks the feeling that Ubud gives me. There really is no place on earth like Ubud. There is also no place like the Magnolia Joglos, set in the middle of the rice fields.
There are many activities in Ubud. There are many temples to visit, very inexpensive spa treatments, shopping, yoga classes, and personal growth workshops. The area surrounding Ubud is also very beautiful and you can hire a driver for about $40 a day to take you to view volcanoes, more temples, and beautiful terraced rice fields. I highly recommend visiting the rice fields of Sidemon.
Amed has black sand beaches that aren’t my favorite, but it was still a peaceful and beautiful getaway. The hotel, the Bedulu Resort, that I stayed at made the visit there worth the while. I also enjoyed eating at the restaurant CocoNuts. They had an amazing chef, and I enjoyed some of my best meals in Indonesia there.
In Kuta/Legian, I recommend staying at Billy Pendawa Homestay. The hospitality there is amazing, and they really will treat you like family. My favorite restaurant there was Yogi’s Paradise and Grill. You will get delicious local food there, and they have a good selection to choose from. For breakfast, my favorite place was the Island Cafe. They have great fresh juices, fruit and yogurt, and healthy items to choose from like zucchini, spinach, and tomatoes.
There is plenty of shopping to do in Kuta, and the beach is fun to visit to watch the surfers. There are, however, many touts on the beach and you will constantly be asked to buy sarongs, massages, pedicures, and just about anything else you can imagine. Do say yes to the ladies who sell the fresh pineapples. They will peel it and hand it to you to eat lollipop style. They are delicious. The easiest way to get around is to take one of the metered taxis. They are very inexpensive. Again, I will say, though, that Kuta, Bali is one of my least favorite places on this earth. I would only recommend staying here if you have to. Kuta is not the real Bali, and if this is all you see, you will be very disappointed.
I only see Bali’s tourism growing more, over the next few years. I highly recommend getting there, while many of the villages there are still undiscovered. My wish for Bali, is that ecotourism grows there, and that people there start preserving the resources that they have. It is a very special, sacred place on this earth, and I know it is a place that you will love visiting. Take a refillable water bottle, as many of the hotels offer free purified water, and do all that you can to help preserve the things that Bali has to offer.
For more on Indonesia, visit my Indonesia Escape Guide! You may also enjoy my article about going to some of the healers in Bali.
If you will be in Bali in March 2015, I am hosting a healing retreat in Ubud, and I would love to have you join us. Click here, to find out about the LifeFest Bali Retreat!