Spend your first few days in Bali exploring the coastal towns and beaches. There are many different beaches to visit during your stay. We choose to visit Balangan Beach, Padang Padang and Uluwatu. I would highly recommend these beaches in Bali and look forward to returning soon to explore more!
After arriving in Bali, spend your first night at the lovely Eco Lodge on Balangan beach. We stayed in their two story bungalow nested on the grounds of the large eco resort. Enjoy your morning with a light breakfast, overlooking the ocean water shimmering down below.
The lodge offers a complimentary 15 minute back and shoulders massage, so be sure to take advantage.
Hidden behind the Lodge and a short walk down the path is the secret beach.
Back at the bungalows, you can relax in the infinity pool. Maybe even spoil yourself and indulge in a dragonfruit smoothie!
Even though we could have spent all day relaxing poolside we knew there was more to see, so we packed up our stuff and headed out.
We checked out of the Eco Lodge and had our first haggling experience with the transportation service. Littered all over the city are run down open huts with a band of brothers hanging out shooting the shit. They will randomly yell “taxi” at anyone who walks by, so we picked one. Looking straight out of a fast and the furious movie, we hopped in the car. Our next hotel was right in the heart of Padang Padang. Driving through all the tiny backroads we finally arrived.
We were warmly welcomed by the staff at the PinkCoco hotel. Upon arrival you will receive a welcome drink and instructions on the hotel. Fortunately, our room was ready prior to the normal check in time. It was very nice, with a large bed and an outdoor shower area. Outside is a large, multi level pool which we were sure to enjoy that evening.
Choosing to walk to the nearby beaches we quickly realized it was a little bit dangerous.
We walked alongside the narrow 2-way road jumping into the bushes multiple times trying to dodge scooters and cars. The curvy roads go uphill and downhill. We walked for quite a ways before reaching the first beach area.
We entered Labuan Sait Beach after paying, which we thought was strange, a fee of 10,000 IDR ($.75) each. Upon descending the concrete stairs we became face to face with my biggest fear: a multitude of creepy monkeys staring back at me.
Yes, it’s true, I am afraid of monkeys.
After a moment of panic, we continued down another set of steep, narrow stairs leading to an overly crowded, boulder-filled beach. We were unimpressed by the hoards of tourists, vendors lining the staircase trying to sell us crap we didn’t want and the litter washing up on shore. There was nothing authentic about this beach so we quickly decided to carry on towards the next potential beach.
We made our way back to the main road and continued to walk single-file along the edge of the road. Following my google map directions we made an abrupt right hand turn down an off the beaten path dirt road. Leading us through a hotel we eventually made it to the beach. Perched at the top of the stairs we feasted our eyes on a stunning panoramic view of Padang Padang before descending the multiple flights that led to the sandy shores.
We found the perfect shady spot to lay out our turkish towels directly under a set of low lying branches. The surf was much rougher than we anticipated so we stuck to laying on our towels in the sand.
After spending some time relaxing, we decided to make our way to Nalu Bowls. Located in Uluwatu, this popular smoothie place is well known for their delicious bowls and fresh fruit.
After ordering our bowls, the Mavericks and Pipeline to share, we impatiently waited for them to arrive. Once they did it was literally like heaven in our mouths. Seriously the most delicious smoothie bowl I have ever had.
Afterwards, we walked down a set of stairs located directly in front of Nalu Bowls, hoping that it would lead us to the sea. It didn’t and we still have no clue how to get down to the ocean. Although we didn’t try that hard to look. The path led us through many streets lined with tourist shops. The paths eventually converging at a very cool cave area where the waves from the sea crashed over rocks and pouring into the pools in the cave.
Leaving Uluwatu we were on a mission to catch the sunset at the Uluwatu Temple. We left the area right by Single Fin and headed over to the transportation services “stand” to give our best offer. Our wheeling and dealing skills didn’t go over too well as all our offers were refused. So, with our heads held high and our pride still in tact we started our one mile walk to the temple.
Coming across another transportation services station just up the road, our walk was cut short. Offering them our best price they took it and our journey to the Uluwatu Temple went from a one hour walk to a 10 minute drive.
There is a small fee to enter the temple and expansive surrounding garden area.
We’d been wandering around the area for a while and noticed that a ton of people had a white piece of paper in their hands. Curiously, we walked over to the area where they were handing out the papers to see what all the fuss was about. It’s a traditional dance ceremony performed at the temple everyday at 6pm.
For the fee of 100,000 IDR ($7.40) we thought “why not” and we purchased or tickets without knowing what to expect. Just before 6pm we shuffled our way into the designated area only to see stadium-seating bleachers filled with selfie-stick armed tourists. We knew immediately that this was not going to be our thing. We were hoping for an authentic experience. While it was interesting to see, it was far too touristy for our taste.
And it lasted an hour during the sunset. Bummer.
With 10 minutes left in the performance we shimmied our way out of the bleachers and headed to the exit. We quickly found another taxi willing to succumb to our perfected haggling skills and had him drive us back to the Single Fin at Uluwatu Beach so we could eat a quick, healthy dinner at Coco & Poke. Leaving Single Fin we had to get another driver to drive us back to the Pink Coco Resort since it was too far and too dark to walk back.
Already in our bathing suits, we grabbed a couple of Bintang’s and sat with our toes in the pool. The perfect way to end our time in this part of Bali!
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