The Lost Bali Itinerary
My Bali experience did not include a night at “The Edge” or other famous hotels/resorts of Seminyak and Ubud. Instead, I explored a different side of Bali by gathering advice from multiple different locals and tourism experts in order to experience Bali in a unique way that you might not typically see on instagram. And with the help of a private tour guide/driver, Nyoman, I managed to cover a lot of ground.
My main home base during my trip to Bali was at Scuba Seraya Resort which is a great scuba diving resort on the north east side of Bali. I went with two people who were heavily into diving and underwater photography. There are multiple dives a day that leave right from the resort and they cater to a serious diving crew. I personally prefer snorkeling over diving and the resort easily accommodated this as well. Overall, the place is very low key with well appointed accommodations, a swimming pool, delicious food, and the only thing missing for me was a sandy beach.
To meet my sandy beach requirement, we took a day trip to Pasir Putih Beach also known as “White Sand Beach” or “Virgin Beach”. The hardest decision you will make on this day is which beachside bar to hit up for lunch and drinks as you lounge and take in the perfect beach day.
Next we took a vacation from our vacation and left the Scuba Seraya Resort for a jam-packed 2-day excursion around Bali stopping at the rice paddies, temples, waterfalls, Ubud, and of course plenty of monkey sightings. Along the ride south to Ubud, we stopped at GitGit Waterfalls for a quick hike with beautiful scenery and dip under the falls. Then on to Pura Ulun Danu Beratan, a lake side, scenic Hindu Temple. This was all topped off by a stay at Ti Amo Villas in Jatiluwih, a secluded paradise conveniently located between the northern Seraya and Ubud. The next morning I was in search of wood carvings, jewelry, and textiles. Instead of finding these at the traditional stores, I opted to stop along the side of the road at any intriguing looking artist outpost and found some of my most prized travel souvenirs. In bustling Ubud, we enjoyed walking around the busy streets, in search of the right place for lunch, and debating whether to visit the Monkey Sanctuary (we opted out). A couple fit for foodie recommendations that I did not end up getting to experience are Room 4 Dessert and Metis. If I had the chance to go back, these stops would be high on the list. On the way back to Scuba Seraya, we stopped at Tenganan Village to explore this secluded society known for its ancient Balinese cultural practices, double Ikat textiles, and unique village architecture. Then a quick detour to the rice paddies of Tirta Gangga provided the perfect instagram worthy view.
Perhaps one of my favorite stops of the trip, based on a recommendation from a local scuba diver, was a trip to Cafe Garam Amed in Amed village. Garam means "salt” and in addition to being a restaurant, provides a tour and introduction to the traditional salt making process that used to be widely practiced in this region. They sell the salt which is light, flaky, and delicious with a mild flavor that has become my favorite salt from all the places I have traveled. People who know about this place will ask you to bring them back salt by the kilo to stock up for the whole year! We brought it back to the resort for our last few meals and everyone was asking for “the special salt”.
Lastly, I wanted to give a major shout out to our friendly and knowledgeable guide, Nyoman Suparta, he helped us create the perfect itinerary for exploring these off the beaten path parts of Bali. You can follow him on instagram @mangkunyomansuparta of Balisu Destination and reach out if you’re looking for a great guide/driver to take you around on your next vacation to Bali!