It's been a while since I've provided you love eagles with a romantic itinerary, but if you find yourself cruising through Bali, Indonesia I have the perfect combination of romance and adventure to try on for size. This plan was recommended by an Australian who is living in Bali with his girlfriend when I asked him for something romantic, beautiful and fun. Leave it to an Aussie in love to provide exactly what I was looking for! He seemed trustworthy and like he knew what he was talking about so we decided to try it out and oh.mon.dieu.
It goes wayyy beyond renting a sexy villa in a rice paddy field, although if you have the chance to do that, don't pass it up! This plan is for those who cannot sit still, need a crack shot of adventure but at the same time remote and earth transcending beauty to share with your lova.
ProTip: Do not wear deep cut v-necks when motorbiking..the tanline is that of a giant manbaby with a red bib!
You may have noticed that this is a massive change from my other posts on Bali, especially Kuta and the edible surfer boys (for you single ladies) or just good old fashion partying and fun stuff with friends. Whuddup? Romance is in the air! But I'll say no more about moi (although if you've been following on instagram, this is no surprise). This is to help you break from the conventional Seminyak or Ubud jaunt! Hope it serves you as much as it did for us!
Motorbike Mountain Road Trip with Waterfalls, Picnics and Sunset in the Valley
Goal: Munduk, a mountain village 70 km north west of Seminyak. After traffic and hell of Jakarta life, I wanted pure isolation in a mountain, fresh air, trees, birds and to wake up with the most beautiful view I could possibly obtain.
Start: 10:30 am Saturday from Seminyak. We wanted to start at 9am but poolside delicious breakfast and chatting kept us late! It wasn't a big deal but if you can leave earlier, do it. The bike ride is a long one if you don't know the roads.
What to Pack: Warm clothing!!!! I overestimated my cold tolerance (being the snow-blooded Canadian I am) and ended up freezing most of the motorbike ride. Mountain air is chilly and even chillier at 60km an hour, duh. A jacket and long pants should be enough. Stand on our shoulders of wisdom. We consolidated our luggage into one small backpack and left the other bag at our hotel so as not too travel too bulky like.
Bathing suit and booty shorts are all I need for this adventure..NOT. NO. Absolutely not. Don't be an idiot. Pack more than this. The fresh mountain air was the death of me. Chillin' in Seminyak.
Renting motorbikes: Pay 50,000 IDR/day ($5/day), not more, maybe less if you can and get it for 3 days. Don't need to leave a passport or anything, just name of your hotel. Advice: Make sure to check for damage on the bike before you take it. Depending on where you are, the guys like to charge you more for damage you didn't do! It can break your budget. Be cautious.
Getting there: We just took a crappy tourist map and hit the road. Planning is for pissies! Your first target should be Bedugul. There are signs to help point you in the right direction and all the local people know where it is. Basically straight north. From Bedugul swing west for a while. The road is full of twists and turns once you hit the mountains. Be super careful while driving!
This is all we had to get there. Plus local people to help. It was enough!
Stop for lunch somewhere between Lake Buyan and Lake Tamblingan. We got some quick Indonesian food and sat on a pretty ghetto yet functional bench overlooking the lake. It was cheap yet stunning. The air was so fresh and the simplicity of it all charming!
Second stop: waterfalls
There are two waterfalls within 4 km of each other. There are no signs until you are basically there but if you ask people for the waterfall they'll tell you to just continue straight on the road. The first one costs 15,000 IDR for 2 people. They give you a walking stick. I was freezing cold so I layered up and ended up looking like Moses. The waterfall, while beautiful, is not deep enough to swim in..or jump into. We sat on some of the comfortable rocks and enjoyed each other's company. The good news is that this one, unlike the second, is not crowded and touristy. There is also an independent coffee farm there that sells Kopi Luwak. If you're into mud coffee (which, I am not!) then it could be cool to take some organic and traditionally made coffee into you!
The second waterfall we tried the next morning, as you could get to it from our bungalow. This one is bigger and more beautiful but it is also packed with people. You can swim in it although it is not super deep. Once again, breathtaking beauty can be enough.
Moses walks the earth!
There are acute moments when I understand why people believe in God. This happens when I am surrounded by the crack shot of beauty found in nature. Something in your chest hurts as your heart wants to expand in order to take it all in. This is what it was like to stay in these bungalows.
It was super private with just us and the valley of trees. Imagine doors flung open to the natural world while laying in bed and seeing the sky, stars, clouds and heaven? It felt like we were lying amongst the clouds in a dream. The hard day of driving all became worth it to be in the moment. Because it was cold we had two blankets and found ourselves snuggled under them for warmth while talking about everything and nothing. All the charm of a Canadian winter came rushing back to me! But I realized soon that I was a slave to the bed because it was too cold to leave the blankets..ah Canada, I forgot your double-edged sword!
The fresh air, the green trees, looks and feels like Canada in late summer..Home away from home.
The only bad part about this place is the hot water situation. After our long dirty bike ride we just wanted to be scrubbed clean and WARM. The water was too hot to shower in so we had to keep it in the bucket for it to cool down and then splash ourselves with water like a medieval villager.
I recommend it though, as the scenery was perfect for sunset, the breakfast was a delicious banana pancake with palm syrup, and it was affordable and clean. Omg..look below for drool point.
Banana pancake and oranges for breakfast at Arya Utama bungalows! A high caloric bomb from God with a view.
If you find a better spot please let me know! I cannot believe I got to eat with a view like this..sigh sigh sigh!!
If you want another option, a friend I met in Gili recommended:
LESONG Hotel in Munduk
Nyoman Witama: 081916114969
600k IDR for 4 people
Dinner: Drive into Munduk about 15 mins away or stay in your bungalow but the most important is that you watch the sunset into the valley. At night we grabbed our blankets and sat on our balcony under the stars. Simple. But when you're with great company, nothing could be better.
Rice Paddies and Abandoned Beaches
Family of four cruising Blimbing on a two person motorbike, NBD.
Goal: Lunch in Blimbing for rice paddy fields and get out of the mountains to the beach in time for sunset.
We decided to take a different way back in order to see and discover more, more, more! I told you this Bali itinerary is for ADD types..The path between Mayong and Antosari was pure mountains and rice fields and way more beautiful than the route there. Also, you get to see parts of Bali that tourists never go and that was refreshing. I cannot recommend this enough. Both Boy and I took turns driving so it was okay. The roads are filled with twists and turns but as long as you go slowly or carefully don't stress!
Lunch: Around Blimbing we took a tea (to warm up!) then we carried on towards the south. All we wanted was the warm beach after the fresh mountains. We made it just in time for sunset.
The best thing about the motorbike is that you are free to discover what you want. You are not subjected to the will of a tour group or hired driver who will discourage you for going off road. For Boy and I driving with the ocean on our left, we were looking for a a small path to swing into to hit the beach, not a major road built by a resort, know what I'm saying?
Luckily, I found a path size of a side walk and figured I could drive on it to get to the beach. I was absolutely correct but I didn't envision that the path was so remote that we would pass cows in a field. The path led to a magical staircase so we could waltz straight onto the beach.
Perfect! It's not so remote after all, I thought. Unfortunately when we went to climb down the massive stone staircase we were dismayed to find that half of it was blown off, as if a meteorite or alien had blew a missile at the coast line, leaving a massive jump into the sand. The staircase was struck in half, leaving the rocks jagged and dangerous. Nonetheless we persevered and climbed down mountain goat styles on to the beach, not knowing what we would find.
And there you have it. Paradise part two. The beach was completely abandoned except for a fire way down the end. We were like two naufrages carried to land only to find the world had ended while we were at sea. Or think of the original Planet of the Apes final scene.
Goddamn you apes!!!
The sun had set, we laid out our sarongs and watched the stars.
From here you can find accommodation in Balian Beach but as we had to drop our motorbikes by 10:30 the next morning we continued towards Seminyak around 7:30 pm. We arrived back at 10:30 pm and pampered ourselves in a fancy hotel. Hot shower, big bed, a billion pillows was the perfect way to end this crazy hard adventure.
Is it possible to find such seclusion in Bali? I didn't think so but in the end I've surrendered again my love to this diverse Hindu island.
An Absolute MUST DO
If you have time or need something to do close to the airport GO TO JIMBARAN BEACH FOR SEAFOOD AND SUNSET. With a flight at 9pm we headed to eat some of the best seafood on the island at 5pm. The waters are calm, the beach is pretty clean (compared to Seminyak and Kuta) and it's about a 15 minute ride to the airport. You can swim with the sun as it sets and not feel inundated by surfer-sized death waves.
Most importantly, the food is outstanding. The best meal I've had in Bali. We had a white snapper for 85,000 IDR/kg and 4 prawns for 50,000 IDR, plus fresh coconut and mango juice. It all comes with rice, potatoes, vegetables, soup and salad. For less than $20 you can have the seafood meal for two of a lifetime! Best way to end the trip and to send off the boy to his homeland far away.
In the end..
The trip is not easy and not for lazy types as we were on the road a total of like 8 hours. It was hard and long but as long as you dress warmly, you can avoid the dreadfulness of feeling cold constantly! That was the only downside. But all the places we discovered made it worth it, especially the bed in the clouds and the star gazing in post-apocalypse Bali. Don't forget, having your own motorbike is your ticket to absolute freedom.
As I live in Jakarta, I am always looking for romantic Bali itineraries. What is the most sexy thing you've done in Bali? Or Indonesia? Please share your hotel, villa, village, beach recommendations for the rest of the rest of us out here!
Now back to the real world entrepreneuring. Hoping to finish a commercial with Minute Maid this week and start a project with the head of the UN here in Indonesia, woot woot!
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And check out more travel ideas in Indonesia, hiya!!