By Bianca Bonarius
As a travel agent, the majority of us who have not been to Bali – don’t really know what to expect. I did an independent trip to Bali at the end of February for two weeks and can honestly say that we cannot be sending clients to Bali without advising them or booking them a day tour in Ubud.
In general we send clients to the main areas like Kuta and Seminyak – maybe Nusa Dua, but for them to really experience culture and absolutely incredible views, Ubud is a must!
I spent two full weeks in Bali, exploring different areas. One of the absolute highlights was this amazing day tour of Ubud. While walking around in Bali, there are little stalls on every corner that offer hundreds of different day tour options – they are usually also combined with local money exchangers where it’s very simple to exchange your dollars to the Indonesian Rupee and they charge no commission.
We did not book our tour this way, but it is very reliable and so affordable and you can also barter with them to try and get the price down. We actually met a little man by the name of Putu on Seminyak Beach on our second day. He was so sweet and had all his referral letters from previous travellers he had taken on tours before. He was unemployed but had his own van and was very eager to show us his home. So we gave it a chance!
He picked us up directly from our hotel the next morning, bright and early. Generally the tours start off with the traditional dancing and then the day proceeds, because we were doing him a favour – we could pretty much tell him what we really want to do and see, so we skipped the dancing as there were a few other things we really wanted to see and limited time.
Our first stop was the Silver Factory, they had the most beautiful jewellery here that you can buy at discounted prices. There are so many of them in the area, it’s actually really interesting as every little village specialises in something that has been handed down to them over the years within their families. During the day we also stopped in another small village where wood was the speciality, I think the most incredible part of visiting both these factories is that you see these men and woman using pure talent and creativity in their everyday life to make a living and the art is just breath taking.
The highlight of my day and the place I was most excited about was the Tegenungan Waterfall. With only a short walk down, surrounded by nature and forest – you reach this majestic landmark that can honestly blow your mind. You can take a swim in the Waterfall so make sure you have your swimming costume on, you cannot say you have been there if you do not take a swim. It’s honestly an experience of a lifetime. Not all the day tours include this option, so make sure you ask for a tour including a visit to the Waterfall.
Another must is the beautiful Rice Terraces. After viewing the Terraces, we mentioned to little Putu that we were hungry and he took us to an amazing little restaurant with local Balinese food. It was pouring with rain, but the restaurant is set up with separate little bungalows that are covered and overlook the terraces. The prices were so affordable and the food was great – they even added in a complimentary coffee and chocolate tasting for us that they produce themselves.
Next, we were off to the Holy Springs Temple. The cultural and religious belief here is incredible. When you enter the temple everyone has to wear a sarong, they lend these to you upon entrance. It is an active temple, so you see many local people cleansing in the water for blessings and good luck as well as praying. You can climb in yourself as well, but they don’t want you to wet their sarongs so if you have your own, go for it! The water has the most amazing smell – all coming from the main reservoir filled with natural plants and herbs that filter through to the pools. It really was a great experience.
Last, but not least – it was time for the Monkey forest. As you walk in, they advise you to remove all hats and sunglasses and hide all your personal belongings. It is no joke, these monkeys are the closest thing to human’s you can get. They dig in your pockets, climb on your back and take whatever they can and run. It was so nice watching them running around freely in their natural habitat and they can be so funny.
It was quite an interesting end to the beautiful day, because one little guy decided I was worth a nip. There are people everywhere with nuts and bananas to feed them. I unfortunately had no food on me. I tried to get an awesome picture with a monkey on my back – forgetting that I had a silver bead sticking out by my neck from my costume. He went for it and tried to pull it, and I flinched and well he decided to take a snap. It was a little bit sore and there was a tiny little hole, nothing major – but because rabies is so bad in the area they advised to get a rabies vaccination. Please take out travel insurance! This saved me a medical bill of R3500 just for two injections.
All in all it was a phenomenal day, one of the best days from my journey. There are so many more tips and memories I would love to share with you, so please feel free to read more about my two weeks in Bali as well as my other adventures on my personal blog.
Who is Bianca?
My name is Bianca, and I am 22 years old. I have a huge case of wanderlust, and my goal is to travel the world – of which one day I will. My travels have taken me to Europe, Mauritius, some local destinations and most recently I had an amazing trip to Bali. Personally I believe that travel is more about the experience and destination than the places you stay, and sharing this is my passion.
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