World Famous Bali:
It would be hard to find a tourist from pretty much anywhere around the world that hasn’t heard of Bali, Indonesia. This is due to several reasons. The laid back Balinese culture, for one, has been luring foreigners seeking serenity and relaxation for years. The combination of this laid back vibe with stunning beaches, first class resorts and restaurants, world class surfing, trekking trips and a vibrant social scene equate to very high tourist numbers. There is something for everyone on the island. These numbers, however, have put increased scrutiny not only on the Balinese culture, but also, the fragile ecosystems in the region.
Ulu Watu Temple
During my recent visit to Bali, I wanted to sample much of what the Indonesian isle is famous for. But, I knew that in order to do so I needed to get my own wheels in order to maximize my two-week stay. I bartered with one of the staff members at my guesthouse in Kuta and arranged a moto rental which equated to roughly 3 dollars per day. After sampling some of the seaside restaurants in Kuta, Legian, Jimbaran and Seminyak, I knew that it was time to branch out and check out some of the other sites on the island. One temple that is often promoted on the island is Ulu Watu Temple. I figured that it would be a pretty cool place to take a look at, but at the same time, I knew I had to avoid the onslaught of daily tourist buses that arrive to the prime spots.
Weaving and winding on the busy Bali roads down south west of Kuta and the international airport, I eventually transitioned from larger to smaller, more undulating paved roads as I approached Ulu Watu Temple. When I parked my moto after the hour drive, I quickly put on my sarong and briskly walked a couple of minutes down the cemented path to the ocean. I was immediately swept away by the stunning panoramic coastal views.
To my left, in the distance, I could see Ulu Watu Temple perched at the end of the coastal cliff. Directly below, large waves smashed into the limestone wall which only added to the appeal of my surroundings.
To my right, I noticed that the cemented coastal path extended in the opposite direction to the temple. Since there was nobody else there at the time, I walked about five minutes on the path and then branched off onto an unfenced cliff ledge to capture some photos of the area. The deep blue sky, brisk breeze and crushing tide reminded me of why I travel in the first place.
Postcards and tourist brochures displayed in Kuta and other spots on Bali, showcase Ulu Watu Temple, but for me, I was more impressed by the location of the temple than the temple itself. On the far side of the temple, I ran into some rather aggressive macaques that made it a bit more challenging to take quality photos, but I was already impressed enough that I knew I would return again during my stay on the island.
Local tourist companies will promote packaged trips to Ulu Watu, but I personally feel it’s best explored by yourself. If driving a moto seems a bit extreme, try to rent a car or get a private driver to bring you to Ulu Watu at a time that suits. The spectacular walking path that hugs the coastline does have some sandy branches, which make for ideal picnic locations away from the hustle and bustle found in Kuta and other spots on Bali Island. Although they do rent out sarongs for respectful entry into the temple complex, it’s always best to bring your own. If surfing is your thing, then you may want to bring along your board because the world famous Ulu Watu and Padang Padang surf breaks are only about a ten minute drive away from the temple. Consider making Ulu Watu part of your Bali itinerary – you won’t be disappointed.
Want to find the best rooms on Bali Island?
Finding the right spot to stay on Bali can be challenging due to the simple fact that there are so many beaches and so many solid options out there. Therefore, it ultimately comes down to where you want to stay (jungle retreat vs. beachfront for instance) and how much your budget is.
Since we have been to Bali many times, we have quite a bit of experience finding cheap rooms throughout the island. We and many of our followers book our rooms in Bali exclusively with Agoda. At the time of writing they offered the widest selection of rooms on the island (almost 6000 different properties!), therefore they’re a solid option to find a room in your preferred area. Here is a link to the properties they offer:
However, if you want to be guaranteed to find the ‘cheapest room’ on Bali use this price comparison website. Within seconds you can find the cheapest room from the largest room providers using www.hotelscombined.com. Just be sure to always check recent guest reviews and the exact location of the property first to avoid disappointment.
If you’re planning your trip well in advance then your strategy for finding the cheapest room on Bali might be a bit different. Many of our North American and European readers prefer www.booking.com because of their excellent cancellation policies and great customer service. They also had almost 5000 properties on the island at the time of writing. If you can find “cancellation-free” rooms for the same price as a non-cancellation room, it might make sense to use www.booking.com instead to avoid the risk of changing your itinerary due to flight or ferry delays for example.