Obviously, our focus here is family friendly travel. Sometimes it’s an understatement to say that venturing out with kids can be stressful, even if its just across town to go to the library. However, we have found that visiting new places with your kids changes the way both you and they see the world. That being said, thanks to the generosity of family who offered to watch the kids, we were able to tackle Bali without kids! While we missed our munchkins, it was really nice to spend some time reconnecting for our 10 year anniversary. The physical and cultural beauty of Bali is undeniable. Despite being two of (seemingly) thousands of tourists, the Balinese were truly gracious and kind people.

[ D A Y • 1 ] Tokyo → Bangkok → Denspar, Indonesia (Bali)

Anniversary Trip! In an incredibly generous gesture, Dom’s mom offered to watch Miles and Penny for a week to allow us the chance to take a trip which would be a tad more difficult (but doable) with kids in tow…so off to Bali it was! Day 1 involved a red-eye flight from Tokyo (Which we were actually able to sleep on…we even purchased neck pillows in anticipation of this amazingness. Oh sleep how we have missed you so!) to Denspar, Indonesia with a layover in Bangkok where we passed the time in a great lounge thanks to Priority Pass!

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We arrived in the afternoon the following day and booked a driver to take us to Ubud for the first leg of the trip. We were immediately hit with a blast of Balinese culture when we learned it was Kuningan Day! This is a holiday that takes place 10 days after Galungan Day, which celebrates the victory of good over evil. We took in the parades + decorations and then unwound while soaking in the view from our hotel, Ulun Ubud, before heading out for dinner at Gedong Sisi Warungin Ubud. Bali here we come!

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Duty Free Tip: Stop at duty free to purchase alcohol at the airport. There is a limit of 1L/per person as alcohol can sometimes be a bit pricey on the Island. You will be asked for your right thumb print as well as your passport so that it can be scanned.

Visa: Citizens of the USA are not required to have a visa if staying in the country for less than 30days.

Airport Transport Tip: As soon as you finish going through customs take the escalator or elevator and head right back up to departures (yup, you read that right, go back to departures). The arrivals area is crazy and you will get tons of people hounding you to ride with them (some standing over you as you make phone calls/text/talk with your travel companion(s), etc.). Overall, taxis will charge you more, but if you opt to use a taxi for your transfer make sure the meter works. Once up at departures request a Grab car (If you don’t have the app “Grab” go ahead an download it before your Bali adventure. Grab is legal in Bali, but many locals do not like it, so it is difficult to get one to pick you up in the arrivals area). Transferring out of departures is an overall more enjoyable experience: 1.) fewer people will hound you at departures and 2.) Grab will be cheaper (in fact we paid less than half the price of a taxi to Ubud).

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Gedong Sisi Warungin Ubud:

  • Hours: 0900 – 2300
  • Admission: We enjoyed some of the daily specials which ended up translating to a pretty large amount of food. We ordered:
    • Gibungan – RP115 (pork belly, sayur urab, pepes ikan, tum ayam, ayam nyat-nyat, ayam penyon, satay and steamed rice)
    • Bebek Panggang – RP110 (Balinese grilled duck in Bailnese BBQ sauce served with satay, steamed rice, samba, peanut and crackers)

Gedong Sisi Warungin Ubud Tip: Try to snag a table with futons instead of chairs for a more intimate dinner experience!

[ D A Y • 2 ] Ubud: Morning Flow @Yoga Barn, Art Market, Monkey Forest, Tegallalang Rice Terraces

We woke early and greeted the day with some sun salutations at Yoga Barn, a nearby yoga studio nestled in some lush green gardens. Dom told me that he was up for anything this trip, so it wasn’t difficult (this time) to convince him to try a class (y’all, it has taken me 13 years to get him to do so, sooo yeah… this was kinda epic!). This class was reasonably priced and good for beginners AND Dom said he would actually be up for another class in the future! Total win!!

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Afterward, we walked back to the hotel, making a stop at Ubud Art Market (“Pasar Seni Ubud”) on the way. It is considered good luck for the vendors to make a sale first thing in the morning, thus making it easier to get things at a better discount with the “harga pagi” (morning price). We didn’t buy anything on this particular day, but it did give us a good idea about how much items tend to go for (Bargaining is basically a national past time in Bali, so don’t feel strange about it. See our bargaining tips below for where to start!).

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On the way back we also stopped at a local temple to admire the stone carvings, many of them made from volcanic rock, and get sprinkled with holy water. After a late-breakfast we parted ways for a bit as Dom isn’t much of a spa-kind-of-guy and I couldn’t pass up a complimentary traditional Balinese Boreh treatment (think massage, body scrub, flower bath…heavenly!). Luckily for him, the hotel’s infinity pool was a pretty clutch spot to hang out and have a drink in the interim (if you haven’t noticed the trend yet, we really dig our infinity pools!).

We kicked the afternoon off in village of Padangtegal by meeting some of the “locals” at The Monkey Forest which is home to ~700 monkeys. Warning! The residents can be pretty friendly (read: aggressive), so watch your belongings as the monkeys (although super cute) are quick to snatch items (ie. sunglasses, etc.) and be prepared to be *highly* sought after if you bring in food.

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Afterward, we whisked away to the beautiful Tegallalang Rice Terraces just outside of the city to meander for a bit. Like almost every attraction in Bali, the best time to visit the lush green terraces is either first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon. I think managing expectations is key here. When you arrive at the terraces, it isn’t quite the raw Eat, Pray, Love scene you may have been painting in your mind in the months prior. Rather, it’s a heavily trafficked tourist stop. With that being said though, as long as you watch your footing (it can be a bit narrow and somewhat muddy in spots) and explore a bit farther than most you will most likely find yourself alone rather quickly. This is one of those examples of how getting off the beaten-path a little bit affords you a better experience!

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Hungry, we grabbed some street food for a quick bite and then headed back for a few minutes of relaxation by the pool before turning in early….alarm was set 0130 to begin our sunrise hike up Mt. Batur the next morning. Bali we dig you already!

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The Yoga Barn:

  • Hours: 0700 – 2100
  • Admission: 130,000 Rp per class (~$8USD), discounts if you buy a card with more classes.

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Ubud Art Market:

  • Hours: Every day, ~0600 – 1800

Bargaining Tip: First inquire about the price of the item and then start at ~30% of that price and move upwards until you and the seller agree on a price. Additionally, don’t be afraid to walk away. Many times you’ll see popular items again and again. Morning is usually your best bet for getting a solid discount and don’t forget to smile and joke a bit while deciding on price!

The Monkey Forest:

  • Hours: Daily, 0830 – 1800 (tickets are on sale until 1730 which is the last entrance time)
  • Admission: 50,000RP/Adult ($3.35usd)

Tegallalang Rice Terraces:

  • Hours: Sunrise to Sunset
  • Admission: No fee to enter and walk among the terraces, but if you explore more you will most likely have to pay a “donation.” As you explore you will eventually encounter a bridge and the locals who maintain that area of the terraces will ask you to donate a small amount of money. This is where having small bills is incredibly important! 5,000IDR (~50 cents) per person we learned was the minimum “donation” accepted. While we were there we were stopped twice and were asked to pay (you do not have to pay when you are finished exploring).

[ D A Y • 3 ] Ubud: Mt. Batur, Campuham Ridge Walk, Mount Kawi Teple, Tirta Empul, Tibetan Bowl Meditation @Yoga Barn

There are very few things that I’ll wake up at 0130 to experience, especially on vacay. However, hiking Mt. Batur to watch the sunrise 1,700m above sea level is certainly one of them. According to Hindu belief, Mt. Batur is one of the sacred mountains in Bali, and it certainly felt magical to watch the world wake up from the summit, blanketing the neighboring Mt. Agung in golden light. Overall, the hike is pretty easy, although we would recommend a guide as we feel it would be difficult to find your way up in the dark. Additionally, there is a good bit of loose gravel, so try to wear running shoes (or athletic shoes of some kind) to tackle this… Converse won’t really cut it comfortably and hiking boots would be overkill.

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Like Japan, Bali has a lot of volcanic activity, so we celebrated our successful hike by taking a dip in the hot springs overlooking Danau Batur, a beautiful lake at the base of the mountain. It was so relaxing and featured some mind-blowing scenery to boot!

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We returned back to the hotel for a quick change after and then zoomed off to explore the Campuham Ridge Walk, which showcases the natural side of Ubud for a easy nature trek. Ubud can be pretty crazy (we’re specifically referring to you, traffic!), so this is a super easy and free way to take a little break from it all while still enjoying the town! We trekked out for a good bit and turned around at Karsa Café. This stop was really great as we were able to grab a table situated over the water and enjoy the nearby terraces while having a good conversation (something that isn’t always the easiest thing to do with young children).

From the Campuhan Ridge Walk we headed off to Mount Kawi Temple. Both men and women will need a sarong here to enter, and you will be hounded to buy one from the many vendors as soon as you pull up. However, if you continue on to the entrance you will find some on loan for free so don’t fall for it unless you really want one to take home anyway. Spread along the banks of the Pakerisan River, the temple is actually part funeral complex that features 10 shrines carved into the side of the cliffs, each measuring 23 feet high. Because of the proximity to to the river, the entire area is extremely lush and beautiful, making it an amazing place to explore. Afterward, we sped off to Tirta Empul Temple to bathe in holy water!

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It is believed that Tirta Empul Temple was created by the God, Indra, and that the spring dates back to the 10th-century. It is said that after Indra’s forces had been deliberately poisoned by Mayadanawa, a powerful but wicked king, Indra pierced the earth making a fountain of immortality to restore them to life. This fountain is believed to be Tirta Empul. Many years later, the Balinese people continue to visit this specific location to wash themselves in its sacred waters which are believed to have healing + spiritual effects.

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Tirta Empul was one of those quintessential Bali experiences that we read about before the trip. However, as the sun started to set and the temperature quickly dropped suddenly jumping in the holy fountains seemed a little less inviting (and a whole lot colder) than we had envisioned. After debating it for a few minutes we ended up deciding that we would never forgive ourselves if we didn’t dive in! You only live once, right? Feeling proud of ourselves for making the leap, we changed into dry clothes and headed back to Yoga Barn to finish things off with a Tibetan Bowl Meditation class (aka nap time for Dom). So many new experiences!

Campuhan Ridge Walk:

  • Hours: 24/7
  • Admission: Free

Mount Kawi Temple:

  • Hours: 0800 – 1800
  • Admission: 15,000RP/adult (~$1usd)

Tirta Empul Temple:

  • Hours: Daily, 0800 – 1800 (although we entered the temple prior to 1800, we were here a good bit past 1800)
  • Admission: 15,000RP/adult (~$1usd) to enter; the sarong you need to enter is free and available at the entrance gate. You will need a separate sarong (green with red sash) to enter the holy spring (both men and women will need it) the green sarong is 15,000RP (~$1usd) and a locker rental is 10,000RP (~67 cents). Changing area is available where you rent the green sarong.

[ D A Y • 4 ] Ubud: Goa Gajah, Tengenungan Waterfall

Breakfast is hands down my favorite meal, and the Balinese know how to do it right! Three words: Bubur Kacang Ijo. Green beans soaked & boiled for six hours and then mixed with palm sugar, coconut cream sauce and ripe jackfruits. Doesn’t sound like breakfast on paper, but I’ll be the first to admit – it. was. magic. We sped off to Goa Gajah after throughly indulging in the best meal of the day before things got too crowded. I have learned in the short time of being here (at least around Ubud) that if you want to avoid the crowds you have to get out eeeaarrrllllyyyy.

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Goa Gajah (aka Elephant Cave) is believed to have been built in the 9th century as a place for spiritual meditation and the faces carved into the stone are assumed to be warding off evil spirits. For this stop, both men and women must have knees covered and sarongs are available on loan at the entrance of the site. Again (*insert eye roll*) there are many vendors that will try to sell you sarongs on your way to the temple. They will tell you that, “You NEED this!” But if you buy your entrance ticket and then make your way to the entrance gate you’ll find that you will be able to borrow a sarong there (again for free). There is no need to purchase a sarong from one of these vendors unless you find one that you love!

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Afterward, it was off to see Tengenungan Waterfall which was a bit muddier than we had expected due to the rain during the previous night. Sandals are fine for this little excursion, although it would be beneficial to have some with good traction if you plan on getting off the path to explore. Due to its ease of access, it’s a pretty popular waterfall so expect crowds. Although beautiful, this was probably our least favorite one of the trip (it also didn’t help that the weather wasn’t cooperating when we went).

We broke for lunch at Element, the cutest little restaurant and did a little shopping at Zada Design across the street before heading back to our hotel, Ulun Ubud, just as it started to downpour.

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Thankfully, the rain didn’t last very long, so Dom was able to hit the pool (again) while I took advantage of our other complimentary spa treatment (fittingly, I chose Japanese Lulur because I could never afford something like it in Japan). We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing by the pool and taking in the amazing view of the valley below. After our early wake up the day before, it was nice to slow down & take it easy for a bit neither of which we are great at, but hey, we’re working on it!

Goa Gajah:

  • Hours: Every day, 0800 – 1630
  • Admission: 15,000RP/Adult

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Tengenungan Waterfall:

  • Hours: 0630 – 1830
  • Admission: 15,000RP/adult
  • Parking: Cars: 5,000 IDR, Mopeds: free

Element Restaurant & Bar:

  • Hours: 0800 – 2200

[ D A Y • 5 ] Ubud: Beji Guwang Hidden Canyon → Sekumpul & Fiji Waterfall Trek → Sidemen

Our last morning in Ubud we took in the views from our room one more time and then sped off to do some river trekking at Beji Guwang Hidden Canyon, a section of the Oos river between Ubud and Sanur.

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The information I had read while planning the trip stated that “You MAY get wet.” Turns out that this was a bit of an understatement! We normally try to DIY all of our adventures, but for this specific one I was really glad we got a guide to help us navigate the waters.

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Afterwards, we returned back to the hotel to pack up. We had hired a driver the night before to take us north for the Sekumpul and Fiji Waterfall Trek only to find out that there was a miscommunication (our fault) and we had booked him for the wrong day (oops!!). Luckily for us competition in Bali for drivers is pretty steep, so we didn’t have any issues in arranging someone else to come pick us up for the next leg of our adventure! Our new driver, Gede, did such a fantastic job that we actually hired him for the remaining legs of our trip! Anyway, the Sekumpul and Fiji Waterfall Trek does take a good bit more effort to reach, but that also translated to having the waterfalls to ourselves!

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After fighting through the crowds in Ubud and dealing with the instagrammers at the Campuhan ridge walk, finally…we found the Bali we were looking for! Sekumpul had exactly the raw natural beauty I had envisioned, the romance I had dreamed of, and the adrenaline rush that comes along with experiencing the power of nature up close – all without another soul in sight. Although we loved Ubud, it was much harder than we had anticipated to seek out these types of experiences in the “city.” Pictures really don’t do the trek justice…this was one of those happy moments that I hope flash before my eyes before I pass away, and a great reminder why I love to travel so much. Next stop, the rice terraces of Sidemen (East Bali).

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Beji Guwang Hidden Canyon:

  • Hours: Make sure to call ahead. On occasion the canyons are hidden as the water is too high making it unsafe to trek.
  • Admission: 100,000RP (we opted to join a couple from Switzerland and split the cost as the price for 3 – 4 people was less per person than it was for 2people)

Beji Guwang Hidden Canyon Tips:

  • Use a locker to store valuables.
  • Each guide will have a dry bag. Ask them to store your camera if not waterproof. Our guide was wonderful at taking photos for us to help document our experience. I was incredibly thankful for his willingness as in most cases I needed both of my hands to help grip rocks and complete the trek.
  • Go barefoot, so you can grip rocks easily or wear some sort of active sandals with backs (i.e. Tevas, Chacos, etc.)
  • Wear a swim suit because you WILL get wet.
  • There is a bit of a walk at the end to get back to the entrance. Make sure that you have a cover up, shorts, shirt…something so that you will feel comfortable as you walk through the fields. I wore shorts over my swim suit during the trek and then slipped a tank top on at the very end.

Sekumpul & Fiji Waterfall Trek:

  • Hours: Sunrise to sunset
  • Admission: 20,000RP/adult (to hike down to Sekumpul Waterfall), normally there is also an entrance fee for Fiji Waterfall as well, but the person leaves at 1700, so we were able to get in for free
  • Parking: Free (our driver waited in the car in the parking lot until we were done exploring)

Sekumpul & Fiji Waterfall Trek Tips:

  • Make sure you have shoes with decent grips (as we got closer to Sekumpul Falls I took mine off in order to be able to grip the rocks easier – it can be pretty slippery).
  • There is a guide post next to the parking lot. The person manning it will stop you prior to entering and will try to get you to purchase a guided tour. A good bit of the trail is paved and in our opinion self-explanatory, so we opted to just travel on our own. Going on our own afforded us the opportunity to be at both waterfalls alone (a rarity in Bali!).

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[ D A Y • 6 ] Sidemen: Besakih Temple, Tukad Cepung Waterfall

We awoke in our open air room at Hotel Samanvaya to a cacophony of roosters crowing and the sound of workers in the rice fields cutting down the spring crop with their scythes, bundling up the stalks, and beating them over baskets to free up the grain. It certainly doesn’t sound relaxing, but it was a very authentic way to start our sixth day… Good Morning, Sidemen!

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We took our time with breakfast at the hotel before heading out for the day. Our first adventure was Besakih Temple, one of the largest and most important Hindu temple complexes in the region and is said to date back 600years. The 22 temples in the complex are designed and laid out on two parallel ridges, so needless it say…it’s BIG! We were told that the design of the complex is meant to lead spiritual people towards Mt. Agung (if you’ve been following along, that was the mountain that we watched the sunrise over on day 3). In 1963, Mt. Agung erupted allowing lava to flow all across the region, taking with it ~1,700 lives and displacing a large number of people. Despite the devastation, however, the lava completely missed the temple, and the people of Bali took this as a sign from God that the site was holy. Next, we headed off to Tukad Cepung Waterfall for another hike and swim.

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This waterfall unlike many others in Bali had been billed as a “secret,” so we were a bit surprised when we arrived and found quite a few people hiking down into the canyon with us. While we still soaked in the experience, it did serve to highlight how lucky we were to have things to ourselves the previous day as it seems like that can be a rarity in Bali despite good research (at least this time of year). Tomorrow we head South for the last leg out our trip, Nusa Lembongan, a small island off the southeast coast of the main island of Bali!

Besakih Temple:

  • Hours: 0800 – 1700
  • Admission: 60,000RP/Adult (foreign price)

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Tukad Cepung Waterfall:

  • Hours: Sunrise to Sunset
  • Admission: 15,000RP/Adult

Tukad Cepung Waterfall Tip: Quite a few steps down to the fall. Probably (like everything else in Bali) it’s best to get there early to avoid the crowds. In our experience this isn’t quite the “hidden” waterfall it has been made out to be. There were quite a few other people there when we visited.

[ D A Y • 7 ] Sidemen → Lempuyang Temple → Ahmed: Sunset Point → Tirta Ganga → Goa Lawah → Sanur → Nusa Lembongan

Before we headed out to the surrounding islands, there were still a few things that we wanted to see before our time in Bali was over. Since the previous day hadn’t been too exhausting, we figured we would be well-rested for a do-all-the-things-see-all-the-places kind of day. After checking out of our hotel, we met up with our driver, loaded up the car, and took off for the “Gates of Heaven” (aka Lempuyang Temple, or “The Temple of a Thousand Steps”). I haven’t been able to find out when the Temple was actually built, but the Balinese claim that it existed way back when Mother Earth was ~70 years old. Legend has is that during that time the island was not very stable and earthquakes occurred regularly. The God Pacupati, who lives in Mount Sumeru, witnessed this and asked his three children to help stabilize the island of Bali. He sent them to live in three different places: Dewi Danu on Mount Batur, Hyang Putra Jaya on Mount Agung, and Hyang Gni Jaya on Lempuyang Luhur Temple. Although we would have LOVED to climb the entire mountain (1,700+ steps to the tip top!), time didn’t permit, so we settled on stopping at the second temple. As we climbed up the mountain, the tourists thinned out quickly and we were left walking with the locals, many of them wishing us well as we passed by. We were warned prior to the climb not to complete it with a heavy heart, or speak negatively as we wouldn’t be afforded the spectacular sweeping views if we did.

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After coming down the mountain, we headed east to Ahmed, a beach town dotted with sailing yachts, liveabords, and traditional Balinese outriggers. I’ve always wanted to learn how to surf and this visit may have pushed me over the edge to at least attempt it (I am not incredibly coordinated, so I don’t have much hope, buuuuttt a girl can try!).

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We stopped for lunch shortly after at Tirta Ganga Water Garden (literally meaning water from the Ganges), a mid-20th century collection of holy water fountains located on the east slope of Mount Agung.  Built by the royal family of Karangasem in the 1940s as a place of leisure, it was completely destroyed when the volcano erupted in 1963. Thankfully, the gardens were subsequently restored and are now once again an amazing place to relax and escape the tropical heat of Bali.

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Finally, we made one last stop at Goa Lawah, the bat cave temple. Built primarily of volcanic rock and founded in the 11th century, it serves to help protect Bali from the dark spirits that reside in the ocean. It is also happens to be home to a bat colony 1000+ strong that somehow peacefully coexists with the temple below. It was a great metaphor for how the Balinese love and respect the natural side of their home.

The entire day we had been inching our way towards the city of Sanur to hop on-board a fast boat. Okay, so this wasn’t an elegant experience, but goodness, it was an experience! In order to board the boat you had to run into the ocean as the tide was coming in and pray not to get pelted by powerful waves (obviously a maxi skirt was not the best choice for this and I made a note to wear shorts for the ride back!). Slightly wet, we took our seats and sped out to Nusa Lembongan, a small island off the eastern coast of Bali, just as the sun was setting. With our trip winding down, we wanted to finish things off with sun, sand, and beautiful turquoise water.

Lempuyang Temple:

  • Hours: 0700 – 1700
  • Admission: The people at the entrance will ask you for a donation, you can give as little or much as you want.

Lempuyang Temple Tip: The Penataran Agung Lempuyang Temple is only the first temple. The are other temples that are located higher on the mountain. We decided to visit and enjoy Penataran Agung Lempuyang Temple and then continued up the mountain by foot for ~15min to the second temple. We (unfortunately) didn’t have enough time for the entire mountain. I can imagine the views are probably breathtaking from the top. Maybe next time…

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Tirta Ganga:

  • Hours: 0800 – 2300
  • Admission: 30,000RP/Adult

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Goa Lawah:

  • Hours: 24/7
  • Admission: No specific admission fee, although you will get asked for a donation it is not required

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Rocky Fast Cruise:

  • Hours: Check website for most updated times
  • Admission: 500.000 Rp for round trip ticket

Transferring to Nusa Lembongan Tips:

  • Just like most things in life, not all boats are created equal. Do a bit of research before committing to a company. The least expensive tickets may not be the best option.
  • There was no dock where we boarded the speed boat in Sanur, so make sure to wear shorts and be prepared to get a little wet (especially if you’re boarding the boat when the tide is coming in).
  • Be prepared for the boat’s departure not to be punctual. Our speed boat was scheduled to leave @1730, but didn’t leave until 1820. Make sure to build in a buffer (this seems to be a trend with most Southeast Asian Islands).
  • Speed boat transfer from Sanur to Nusa Lembongan will be ~30min. Relax and enjoy the sunset if traveling later in the afternoon.
  • Depending on the tide and the presence of reefs, you may have to transfer to a small boat to get to shore once you arrive in Nusa Lembongan. Your feet will get wet, so sandals are best (if they have backs that’s even better). This small boat transfer may be omitted depending on the tide.

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[ D A Y • 8 ] Nusa Lembongan

Our past few trips have followed a bit of a formula… city + nature + beach! So, the last thing missing from our Bali equation (at least this go around) was experiencing those clear blue waters and white sands. There certainly is no shortage of places to choose from to get your “ocean fix” in Bali and depending on who you ask, “the best place” varies. For us, however, Nusa Lembongan seemed to fit the bill pretty perfectly. Goodness I am going to miss you big time, Bali. Feeling so incredibly lucky to get to experience your beauty. I am one very happy girl. Oh and do yourself a favor and book a night or two at Tamarind Resort. I promise, you won’t regret it!

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Nusa Lembongan Tip: Rent a moped or golf cart (if you got the kids in tow) to tour the island making sure to hit up Emerald Cove, Devil’s Tear, Dream Beach, and Lighthouse Beach. Be prepared for a bit of trial and error when exploring as not everything is well marked and many “streets” err…. maybe “paths” would be a better word are a work-in-progress at best.

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Dinner Tip: Hit up Sandy Bay Beach Club for some sunset views. Tables (& toes) in the sand + music + candlelight + solid menu… I mean, it’s a no brainer. You’ll need to arrive early to snatch up one of the tables in the sand and most people generally stay through sunset.

[ D A Y • 9 ] Nusa Lembongan → Denspar → Bangkok → Tokyo

We left the Islands behind and hopped a speed boat back to Sanur to meet up with our driver, Gede. It was so good to see him again and in a way, it felt like seeing an old friend. He had been friendly, reliable, always early, and impeccable at navigating all of the crazy roads and obstacles throughout our trip (heck, he even ran a few errands for us in Ubud before picking us up one day, so we didn’t have to back track!). We gave him a hug and then climbed on into his car with the faux fur dashboard cover (I always wondered how it didn’t blind him with the sunlight reflecting off) and headed for the airport (quite possibly the prettiest airport I have ever flown into/out of). We enjoyed a smooth travel day flying through Bangkok (again) and eventually landing back home in Japan. I’m going to miss Bali. Honestly, it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, but maybe that’s what makes traveling so interesting. Each experience is personal and unique. And no two adventures are exactly the same. We will forever be incredibly grateful to Dom’s mom for flying over to love on our kids so we could have this time together to connect and reflect on the past decade of marriage. It sure has been one crazy adventure, Dom and I hope that this is only the beginning. Cheers to 10 years!!!

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