5 Secret Hidden Treasures in Bali
I’ve shared before that I’m not a big fan of touristy areas, overrun, overdone and overhyped things to do and see, and that I’d rather get to know a country from a local’s perspective, rather than ticking sightseeing stops off my list.
If you’re reading this I assume you’re the same and appreciate a list of places that are “secret” and less well-known. Make sure to visit these spots while they still feel special, and before they too become overly popular.
1. Thomas Beach
Thomas Beach is one of those dream beaches with clear turquoise water and perfect white sand. While most people visit crowded Padang Padang beach (and even pay to find a little spot to squeeze in between all the people), it’s worth driving just a couple of minutes further to find this beautiful strip of beach that’s not as famous yet, but just as beautiful.
2. Bingin Beach
Bingin Beach is another special beach that’s only slowly becoming more popular. If you stay at Boho Bingin Beach it’s only a 5 minutes walk, and the views you get walking down the stone steps for the first time are stunning. I don’t recommend trying to go for a swim there though, the water can be rough and the stones all along the beach don’t exactly help to keep you from getting hurt.
3. Banyumala Waterfall
One of my drivers, Wari, took me to Banyumala Waterfalls on the way from Munduk to Uluwatu. He was so keen to show me a hidden spot that you really wouldn’t ever know off unless someone told you about it. On the way there we passed a family preparing hydrangeas for sale (as I mentioned here, hydrangea farming is a main source of income for people living in the North of Bali).
The experience I had at Banyumala was made even more special by Wari’s attentiveness and service. He brought two towels for me, got water for us on the way back up, made sure to stop for lunch after the waterfall (he had even googled where to find good food around Bedugul), then after lunch asked me if I liked chocolate and stopped at a minimart to buy some. He pointed out that he doesn’t usually buy a lot of chocolate because it’s too expensive for him, but if he does get some, he’d buy the one he got for me, as it’s affordable but tastes great nonetheless. While I offered to pay for all of it and invite him for lunch, he refused. All of Wari’s efforts and hospitality was so humbling, he really went out of his way to make sure I had a great day.
He also asked if I was cold in the car (he might have noticed me wearing a jumper), and asked if he could play some music before turning it on (and even then kept the volume down, rather than playing it on full blast like so many Uber drivers do without even asking).
4. The Balinese Jungle
I went for a walk through the Balinese jungle while staying at Hideout Beehive. It felt so nice to be out in the countryside, no tourists or people around, just going for a walk in nature - through the forest, along green rice fields, past beautiful flowers, watching some locals climbing up a coconut tree, …
5. Bedugul Village
Bedugul Village is a spot that not many tourists visit, being located in Bali’s central highlands. It’s so worth it though. Bedugul is right next to lake Beratan and feels very much like a locals-only village. It’s made special by its traditional food market, the lake, the coolness and calm of the mountains around, and Bali’s Botanic Gardens. On the way to the gardens you’ll also find plenty of greenhouses, full of plants, orchids, ferns, cacti, …
When I arrived in Bedugul I was starving, so I didn’t spend much time trying to find the best lunch spot. Instead I went for the first place I could find, which was Billy’s Lake View Restaurant. They had a buffet lunch offer, which turned out to be quite good. After finding it hard to get fresh food and veggies or a “real” salad (not smothered in peanut butter sauce), I enjoyed loading up my plate with all the veggies I could get. While the restaurant obviously caters for tourists, it was still a good experience and gave me energy to then explore the village.
I also created a list of my Top 10 Non-Touristy Things to do in Bali. What would you add to the list?