The Bali of Dreams

The Bali of Dreams

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If you’re going to Bali looking for rest and relaxation you will be disappointed.  It is to Australians what Mexico is to Americans: a place for hard partying and letting loose.  Kuta/Seminyak, party central, is sadly where most visitors arrive in Bali.  Luckily, like Mexico, people can easily escape the carnal amusements to find rest and relaxation.  Here are some good bets to find the Bali you’re looking for.

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UBUD

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As the setting for the “love” portion of the book Eat, Pray, Love newly arrived visitors  can be forgiven for their sardonic thoughts about the recently divorced women milling about.  Without a doubt the city is chockablock with women hoping lightning strikes twice and they too find love here.  While they may have been attracted by the book, the town keeps them with yoga studios, beautiful hotels, shopping and quiet places.  Thankfully you don’t need to be grieving over failed love to enjoy Ubud.  Anyone seeking quiet relaxation, but not a Bali beach experience, will find Ubud a great place to unwind.

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One of several temples near Ubud.

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While in Ubud few desires will go unfulfilled.  From a wide range of high-quality cuisines including delicious roast pork to fresh gelato, satisfying every appetite.  Boutiques and artisan stores offer unique clothing, accessories and housewares.  For those seeking to escape town there are beautiful day trips and hikes nearby.   Best of all, wherever you are in Ubud you will be surrounded by well maintained, detailed, Balinese architecture.

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GETTING TO UBUD

Ubud is accessible from the entire island.  Taxis and tour agencies offer transport to Ubud, including directly to/from the Denpasar Airport (Bali’s main airport).  It is close enough to the airport that we had no issues getting from Ubud to a 9AM flight.  We also were able to easily arrange transport to Ubud from Lombok’s Gili Islands.

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LOVINA BEACH

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Lovina is Kuta’s polar opposite.  Like yin and yang, Lovina offers black sand compared to Kuta’s white sands.  When night brings pumping dance parties to Kuta, in Lovina it brings acoustic music and easy-going crowds.  Lovina is what many people come to Bali looking for but fail to find on the south side of the island.

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Lovina Beach: fulfilling the wish of travelers to Bali.

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We were pleasantly surprised by the great food choices, night market and the calmer atmosphere.  Those attracted to Lovina are decidedly older, but the reasonably priced beer happy hour brings out the fun in everyone.  Divers and surfers won’t be disappointed either, with many great spots easily within reach of Lovina.  If you came to Bali looking for rest and relaxation on the beach, Lovina and surrounding beaches are probably the place for you.

GETTING TO LOVINA

Lovina is accessible from most of Bali by tourist shuttle buses which can be arranged by any tour agency throughout the island.  It is several hours away from most places including Ubud, Denpasar and Kuta/Seminyak.

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MUNDUK

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Munduk seems pleasantly out of place in Bali.  Its coffee plantations would be more at home in Colombia, its steep green hills evoke Northern Luzon, and its colonial architecture appear stolen from Malacca.  This unique blend makes Munduk a special place.  Visitors can taste locally grown coffees, feast on fresh tropical fruits and enjoy comfortable hotels built in restored Dutch colonial buildings. Munduk is a completely different Balinese experience from the rest of the island.

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One of the spectacular views from the Munduk area out to the ocean.

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The cool air offers a respite from the hot climate of the rest of the island and invites visitors to try locally produced coffee and cocoa.  One cannot visit without trying the world’s most expensive coffee, Luwak, which is “processed” by being defecated by wild civet cats. The process may sound crude, but the civet’s digestive track produces a citrusy taste that lacks the acidity of many coffee varieties.

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GETTING TO MUNDUK

Munduk is not easily accessible without private transportation.  It can be reached by public bus, but renting a motorcycle will provide the best opportunity to get there, and take in the surrounding scenery.  The winding mountain roads make for wonderful riding while traffic is relatively light.

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Comments

» Bka :
Jun 23, 2012

Is there room for one more Rick Steeves in this world?……you both write and photograph exquisetly…..continue to be amazed at your research and ability to find these places….peace….bka

LOCAVORista Reply:

Dad, finding these places was one thing driving our motorcycles on the ridiculous roads to get there was another thing all together. The toughest motorcycling either of us has ever done since the roads were in such bad condition.

» Gerard ~ GQ trippin :
Jul 1, 2012

Thanks for this. We get into Bali in less than 2 weeks. Glad you went to Lovina since I plan on going there too. We’re skipping the South side to spend more time in Lombok and Gili.
Read Gerard ~ GQ trippin’s awesome post 6 Months of Travel and Fall 2012 Plans

LOCAVORista Reply:

Gerard, sounds like a great plan you’ll enjoy your time more on Gili islands, we enjoyed each of the three Gili islands and Lombok. If you get an opportunity to stop on your way up to Lovina there are some great little towns. Enjoy!

» Gerard ~ GQ trippin :
Jul 6, 2012

Yup. Lovina is definitely on the list. Did you do a day boat ride that took you through all 3 Gili islands?
Read Gerard ~ GQ trippin’s awesome post Sushi to Dai For

LOCAVORista Reply:

Gerard, you won’t go wrong with Lovina. Yes, we did a boat trip that took us to all three Gili Islands and really enjoyed it. We also had the opportunity to swim with sea turtles on our trip- very cool if you get the chance. Have fun!

» Marah Howles :
Oct 8, 2014

Have been to MUNDUK last year and reaching the place is kind of exhausting, however enjoyable. When I got the chance to be invited by a friend to visit here, I would prefer it of course.

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About the Author

thinkCHUA: Photographing and documenting the world on a 3 year round-the-world trip to help future travelers discover new places, travel longer and enjoy the world's great experiences.

About the Author
thinkCHUA: Photographing and documenting the world on a 3 year round-the-world trip to help future travelers discover new places, travel longer and enjoy the world's great experiences.
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