Bali

My Experience: Being a Trash Hero in Bali

My Experience: Being a Trash Hero in Bali

After a few weeks in Bali, as beautiful as the scenery and culture were, I couldn’t help but be completely shocked by the plastic pollution (and it takes a lot for me to be shocked by our environmental destruction)! I quickly dove into researching an organization that is targeting this problem, and joined Trash Hero in Bali, an incredible organization that is doing great work around the world!

Check out my experience and how you can get involved in our fight against plastic pollution!

Collected trash from the beach in Bali

Table of Contents

Environmental Problems in Bali

Bali has been a hot topic for a destination for years, partly because of its intense beauty, and also for tourism’s astounding negative impact on the local culture and environment. You probably have seen the picturesque rice fields and waterfalls in the dense jungle…but what you may not have seen is the piles of burning trash and plastic waste clogging the waterways.

It’s often said that most of the plastic trash in Bali comes from the locals, but it is the locals trying to keep up with tourism that creates the excess waste. That, coupled with the lack of government intervention and a proper disposal system creates a never-ending flow of trash into the environment.

Indonesia, along with many other South-East Asian countries accepted trash from the USA, Canada, and Australia, and would sort it to find valuable materials for resale. However, what is not used is often dumped, and with torrential rain and currents, the trash floods the natural environment. Plastic and debris plague the nation’s beautiful landscape, with no confident end in sight.

Trash collected on the beaches of Bali, shown in the hand of a volunteer

Watch the 'Plastic Island' documentary to learn more about the plastic pollution crisis in Bali.

Trash Hero Organization

Trash Hero Mission

1. Action and Awareness. Our volunteers pick up trash and motivate others to do the same. By spending a few hours together cleaning up, people gain a profound understanding of the need to reduce and better manage waste.
2. Education. We engage children through our multilingual kids’ program, connecting environmental values with hands-on experience of the impact that plastic trash has on the ocean. Adults learn through doing, with activities and workshops provided by our volunteers.<br>
3. Sustainable Projects. We create long-term programs that help communities to reduce and better manage existing waste and strategies that will prevent future waste.
4. Inspiration. We motivate people to break free from plastic and become Trash Heroes in their everyday lives. With consistently positive messaging and a philosophy of “small steps”, we remove the barriers to change and normalize a vision of a zero-waste world.

Trash Hero Logo

Trash Hero is a global organization involved in educating and inspiring the world on our environmental impact. 

Trash Hero hosts community clean-up events, has established a water refill network, and is active in the global conversation towards a sustainable future.

I got with some friends from the hostel we were staying at and headed over to Pantai Batu Bolong beach (the main area in Canggu). We met up with the rest of the group – a total of 17 people came out to support!

We received a quick rundown of the collection process, how to use the crafty homemade tools to pick up the trash, and how the recyclables should be sorted separately. Once we had our equipment and knew the plan, we went off in pairs to start collecting for the next hour! 

It was amazing how quickly our eyes started to recognize the pieces of trash hidden among the sand. At first, it seemed like there wasn’t much to collect, but then we started to distinguish the bottle caps from the sticks, and the thousand tiny styrofoam beads (from a broken bean bag we later found).

 

While we wove in and out of the beachgoers finding cigarette butts and plastic pieces, most of the problem was localized next to the stands that were selling cold Leo’s and fresh coconuts. Behind their bamboo structures were piles, and more piles of trash. Some of it was on fire, and some of it was washed away into a waterway, later to be swept into the ocean. We picked up what we could, but the fumes from the burning petrochemicals made it tough to breathe. 

Picking up trash with Trash Hero in Bali
Behind the scenes at the beach

Although trash collection feels like a reactionary response to an environmental problem, it starts a chain reaction among people recognizing the change that needs to happen. During the 1 hour clean-up, at least 4 people helped pick up things near them to put in my bag and many locals thanked us for our service to keep their home clean. 

But think about how many people on the beach saw us with our gloves and tongs sifting through the sand. Think about how many of them stopped and thought twice about flicking their cigarette on the ground, or making sure to not leave anything behind for people like us to have to clean up.

Trash collection doesn’t solve the problem, but it creates a social statement that there is a problem, and we can be a part of the solution.

At the end of the hour, 17 people collected 64 kg (141 lbs) of trash and 11 kg (24 lbs) of recyclables. I had such an incredible time, met new friends, and felt like I made a difference, so I returned the following week with even more people ready to clean the beaches!

Trash Hero in Bali group photo

Get Involved

Joining a beach clean-up is one of many eco-friendly activities in Bali. Trash Hero has over 100 chapters worldwide in 12 different countries, the majority of these locations are in the SE Asian countries of Thailand, Malaysia, and Myanmar, where plastic pollution is a serious problem. 

There are many ways to get involved, and the best part is volunteering is completely FREE to join! Check out the chapter locations to see where you can support, or donate now to fund the amazing work that is being done on the ground!

Are you in Canggu, Bali? Meet the team every SUNDAY @ 4:30 pm near Old Man’s!

Q&A With Canggu Chapter Leader

After the clean-up, I chatted with the group leader, Sebastian. A Scandinavian traveler who married a Balinese woman and has been living on the island since 2020. He has been a part of Trash Hero chapters since 2018 and is proud of the growth the organization has made in recent years. 

Hear his thoughts on ways travelers can make an impact and his first-hand experience with the plastic problem in Bali!

1. What are the best ways Tourists can support the environment while they travel?

Avoid using single-use plastic when you can. Reducing our use as a consumer is possible for anyone to do, and it gives the message to the business owners that I don’t want this wasteful product. Bring a reusable bottle and bag with you! All it takes is a bit of preparation and thoughtfulness to avoid the single-use waste.

2. Do you think the Indonesian Government is going enough to address the plastic problem?

They banned single-use plastics (straws & bags) in 2017, but that’s not enough. There is no enforcement with business owners or consumers. The local authorities haven’t been involved at all since tourism brings in so much money.  Hopefully, with the crackdown on corruption, these laws can be better enforced. 

3. How can travelers get involved in Bali besides joining a cleanup?

Hold businesses accountable; your money as a traveler goes a long way here! Ask restaurants why they still have straws even though they’re banned, ask your hotel about its efforts towards low waste, and talk about it with other travelers. Just like this group did today, if you see an opportunity to bring awareness to it, the strength in numbers can change the world.

4. What Do You Love About Working With Trash Hero?

I love that it gets the locals out here with travelers, everyone together fighting the same fight. I’ve seen a lot of connections made during the clean-ups and we can’t do this alone!

Learn more ways you can be an eco-friendly traveler in Bali!

Summary - Trash Hero in Bali

It often takes witnessing a problem to realize that there are solutions out there. Seeing (and smelling) the plastic waste around Bali was enough to send me in a whirlpool of action, learning about the problem and partnering with organizations helping on the ground. Trash Hero is an amazing global organization, and I can’t wait to work with them again when I’m near one of their many chapter locations!

This is also a reminder to be aware of the environmental degradation that is occurring near you, and take action to be a part of the solution.

Posted by Taylor Mallaber in Indonesia, Volunteer Experiences, 0 comments
10 Things To Know Before Visiting Bali

10 Things To Know Before Visiting Bali

Bali is on everyone’s travel list – the waterfalls, the ocean, the cost, and the friendly people have made it a top destination in recent years. While it is relatively easy to navigate (since most people speak English), there are still a few things to know before visiting Bali

Check out what is awaiting you on the ‘Island of the Gods’, and use this Itinerary for 2 Weeks in Bali before your trip so you hit the ground running to all of the top destinations (and hidden gems)!

things to know before visiting Bali header

Table of Contents

1. Language

Bali is one of the thousands of islands in Indonesia. Although the country’s national language is ‘Indonesian’, Bali people primarily speak ‘Balinese’.

Although most locals speak English very well (less so in rural areas), putting in some effort to speak their language is always appreciated! 

English Balinese
Thank You
Matur Suksma

Please

Tolong

Good Morning

Selamat Pagi

Selamat Malam

Selamat Malam

How are you?

Apa kabar?

2. Religious Influence

Bali is a Hindu island, with spiritual practices performed daily. You will commonly see offerings on the street, in shops, homes, etc. for the gods and spirits that exist in their religion. 

Hinduism brings a beautiful feeling of oneness with others, and respect for the world. 

Visiting temples is one of the main things to experience in Bali!

Basket with Balinese offerings and incense

Tip: Bring a sarong with you, or buy one early. It will save you money in the long run as they are required on any temple grounds – and there are temples everywhere! Sarongs are available for rent for around 15k IDR.

3. The Happiest People

If you ask anyone from Bali, the local people are among the most genuinely polite and caring people. You can wander through the rice fields and streets, and be met with consistent smiles and eye contact that make you feel welcome to the space. Bali people in general feel very thankful for tourism, and all the jobs it creates for local people!

4. Safety in Bali

Bali is considered a very safe island, and it’s known to be warm and welcoming to visitors. The Hindu influence permeates deeply through society, where people lean heavily into the idea of Karma and how your actions will follow you into the next life. 

You don’t have to worry about being robbed or pickpocketed in most areas. The religious influence, partnered with the overwhelming positivity that is carried amongst the people has created a safe and spiritual place within Bali.

Tip: There are potential dangers to be aware of everywhere you go. Nowhere is 100% safe, so look after your belongings, yourself and your friends.

5. Affordability

Bali is a very affordable country compared to many locations in Western culture. You can grab a local meal of Mie Goreng for IDR 30k ($2), get your laundry done for 15k/kg ($1), and rent a motorbike for 65k/day ($4).

Like anywhere, you live as budget or lavishly as you want (and can afford). Bali has become a digital nomad hotspot because of the low cost of living, but you can definitely have an expensive vacation as well! 

Keep cash on you at all times! Most small vendors and restaurants will not accept cards.

Currency: Bali (and all of Indonesia) uses the Indonesian Rupiah – IDR. 
1 USD = 15.000 IDR
1 EUR = 16.140 IDR

6. Plastic Pollution

It is no big secret that the trash in Bali is a major problem. You will see it piled up in waterways, roads, beaches, and in burn areas. There is no single culprit to blame for this unreasonable problem, it is due to a few reasons including; 

  1. Poor education for the local people who end up burning a lot of their residual waste
  2. The tourism industry creates a mentality of quick profits, not long-term solutions
  3. Lack of government attention and support in accountability and resources

*Did you know that single-use plastic straws, plastic bags, and polystyrene were outlawed in June 2019? Unfortunately, there is little oversight in this change, and these materials are everywhere. You can help by asking your accommodation or any restaurant why they aren’t abiding by the law – your money helps push a lot of changes!

Monkey holding a plastic water bottle in Bali

7. Driving in Bali

Simply stated, driving in Bali is chaos. It’s not for everyone, and if you’re even remotely cautious you may think driving in Bali is downright insanity. There are very few stop signs and street lights, lines on the roads are mere suggestions, and the traffic lanes are a soup of beeping and swerving potholes.

Sounds fun right?

As crazy as the driving may seem, it really does make sense. There are fewer ‘rules’ of the road and more common sense that allows a more natural flow. People merge when they want, and people make space for others. It is a constant flow and it is actually really enjoyable to drive in Bali once you’re on a bike!

I highly suggest you rent a motorbike and give it a try! Read more about everything you need to know about transportation in Bali.

Woman sitting on motorbike in Bali

8. Bali Belly

Maybe you’ve heard of Bali Belly, but if you haven’t.. listen up. Bali Belly is no joke, it’s a few days of very rough food poisoning that quite a few travelers get. Getting Bali Belly will basically ensure you’re no more than a few meters from a bathroom for days

But what exactly causes it? Well, poor sanitation and water quality (gross). There is quite a bit of E. Coli swimming around in the tap water, which everyone uses to wash their hands (and then cook food). 

If you’re worried, here are some helpful tips to keep your body ready!

  • Ask if ice in drinks is made from filtered water
  • When refilling a water bottle, clarify that it is to drink
  • Avoid brushing your teeth with the tap water
  • Look where people are eating, if the restaurant is empty, keep looking
  • Avoid fruit that isn’t peeled (strawberries, blueberries, apples, etc.). The skin was likely washed with tap water
  • Check ratings and reviews online
At the end of the day, you can be as precautious as you want, but you never know where you could get it. Don’t let the fear of Bali Belly stop you from experiencing anything while you travel. My partner got it from a pasta dish at an expensive Western restaurant. Go to local warungs, eat all the mie goreng your heart desires, and stay focused on the beauty of the area.

9. Avoid Drugs At All Costs

Bali is notorious for its insanely strict drug laws, with signs in the airport stating it is punishable by death. They’re not messing around. 

You may be offered some marijuana or magic mushrooms on the beach, and while smoking a joint on a beach at sunset sounds too good to be true, it is. It’s estimated that 1 in every 3 people selling drugs to tourists is an undercover cop! 

Instead, try Bali’s local liquor, “arak“. It is made from fermenting either banana leaf, coconut, or rice, and you’ll notice that it is quite a bit cheaper on any menu!

10. The Police

And on the note of being set up by the police, or fined for any crimes you commit, be aware of the cops. Being a tourist instantly puts a target on you. You don’t fully know the laws, you don’t have the protections you may be used to at home, and you have a lot of money.

Corruption is high in Indonesia, and although there is a big crackdown by the government, it can happen. When a cop is threatening jail time or a $1,000 payment, you’re not really in a place to argue. 

The best thing you can do is to avoid any reason for a fine. Wear your helmet, don’t drive without an International Driver’s License, don’t do drugs, don’t be loud and disruptive, and follow what the locals are doing. 

Summary - Things to know before visting Bali

Bali is a traveler’s haven where you can connect with people, do some soul-searching, as well as off-the-path adventuring. Its affordable price and picturesque views have made Bali a top destination in recent years.

Be aware of the scams that are targeted toward tourists, be smart about the health and safety of where you are, and respect the Balinese culture and traditions. Don’t let the fears of a place scare you away, but be aware of the risks that exist!

 

Posted by Taylor Mallaber in Destinations, Indonesia, 0 comments
2 Weeks In Bali – The Ultimate Itinerary

2 Weeks In Bali – The Ultimate Itinerary

If you’re interested in breathtaking landscapes, friendly local people, and cheap prices, Bali should be at the top of your travel list. How do you even plan where to begin with so much available? Check out this Ultimate Itinerary for 2 weeks in Bali that will take you to the vastly different corners of Bali.

Create your perfect holiday with waterfalls, temples, local food, beaches, snorkeling, hiking, and meeting other travelers in this destination hotspot.

Photo by @mattcognac

Have more than 2 weeks in Bali? Check out this list of the top eco-friendly activities in Bali to get more connected to the land and the people.

Table of Contents

Anything purchased through the links on this page helps me maintain this blog going. Thanks for supporting – Learn More.

Arrive in Denpasar

The most straightforward and simple way to get to Bali is by flying into I Gusti Ngurah AirportThe airport is big but easy to navigate through immigration and out to the exit. Getting from the airport to your first destination depends on where you’re going. You will have 4 main options:

 

  1. Driver Provided. Your first accommodation may provide an airport pick-up included in your nightly cost, or for an additional fee (always ask!). 
  2. Driver Hire. If they don’t you can hire a driver yourself through various ways online, or by asking your host if they have any driver contacts.
  3. Taxi. Bluebird Taxi Group has a pretty good system set up in the airport, with a pre-fixed rate based on your destination. Taxi’s stick to the southern area closer to Denpasar, so you won’t get much further than Canggu or Ubud. 
  4. Walk to get a Grab / Gojek. Gojek and Grab drivers are not permitted to pick up passengers at the airport, but with just a 10-minute walk you can be off the property, and good to catch a ride to your stay.

Be prepared for your trip by setting up a data plan before your arrival. Check out these options so you can choose the best phone plan while abroad

Day 1+2 - Canggu

Canggu is a bustling area northwest of Denpasar, filled with surfers, digital nomads, and more surfers. This area has definitely been a hotspot in recent years, with a ton of new and trendy restaurants, bars, and shopping! Canggu is a great place to land to start meeting some fellow travelers, and get to the beach to relax and ease into the new atmosphere. 

Surf at Batu Balong

Canggu is the best place for surfers of all levels in Bali. On the main beach of Batu Balong, you’ll find dozens of booths offering 2-hour surf lessons to get you into the water and riding the waves in no time!  While you can surf at any time, there are definitely better and worse times to give it a go. I suggest connecting with an instructor at least 1 day before, to set the best time based on the tides and the crowds.

Surfing lessons cost around 300k-350k IDR ($25 USD), but worth it for the 2-hour coaching lesson. We had an awesome instructor, who was also the owner of the Salty Shakas Bungalows where we stayed!

Tanah Lot Temple

An absolute must-see in Canggu is the Tanah Lot Temple, only 25 minutes by motorbike up the coast and only 60.000 Rupiah to enter. This temple is built near a cliff side, making it appear to be on an island during high tide. Travelers are not permitted to enter the temple, unless they are a practicer of Hinduism and wearing traditional Bali clothing, however walking around the grounds is definitely worth it. 

While at the Tanah Lot Temple, keep your eyes peeled for ‘Ular Suci – Holy Snake’. This is an experience you won’t want to miss! Inside this elusive cave, you’ll find a snake charmer sitting with holy snakes, that you can touch and make a wish. These snakes are venomous (Blue-Lipped Sea Krait), however, they have never bitten anyone!

Pasut Beach

One of the best beaches you’ve never heard of is a 40-minute bike ride up the coast, at Pasut Beach. If you need a break from the hustle of Canggu, get out to nature on this black-sand beach, where you can freely drive your motorbike, swim, and, actually relax. This is a hidden gem of the area, and a great getaway when you need one! There is a 2.000 Rupiah fee to enter the area, and a small stand selling local food, coconuts, and bintangs near the parking area. 

Where To Stay In Canggu

Canggu is a town with trendy cafes, surfing, beach bars, and amazing food. It is a digital nomad hotspot, marketed toward younger Western travelers. It basically felt like San Diego if that’s your thing! If you want to be in the heart of it, stay near the beach – anywhere between Old Man’s restaurant and Finn’s Beach Club. 

If you’re looking for something a bit quieter (and authentic), find a location that is a bit more inland along the rice terraces, or coastal heading northwest from Canggu (southeast is Seminyak – also very crowded and westernized). Canggu still has a lot of charm, you just have to go a bit more out of the way to find it.

Either way, it’s a great place to land after your flight to get your feet in the sand and start to get to know the Bali culture. The town is really well-connected, so with a motorbike or ride from Gojek or Grab, you can get anywhere in under 15 minutes!

Salty Shakas
$
Serenity Eco Guesthouse
$$
Maylie Bali Bungalows
$$$

* We stayed at the Salty Shakas Bamboo Stay and absolutely loved it. It was a place you could be social over a shot of arak, relax in your bungalow, take a swim, work, and more.  Plus, get personal surf lessons with the owner!

Day 3+4+5 - Ubud

Depending on where you’re coming from, you may feel a bit jet-lagged, and Ubud is the perfect mix of relaxation and exploration, surrounded by the rainforest. Ubud is the “love” in “Eat, Pray, Love”, where you can explore your mind, healing, and spirituality through different avenues. But don’t let that fool you, Ubud is a place for adventurers too! Ubud’s central location on the island is also a great jumping-off point to explore somewhere for the day! 

Ubud Monkey Forest

Located in the heart of Ubud, is the Sacred Monkey Forest, where Macaques roam around temples and ruins. While this is a classic tourist stop, it’s for a good reason. Where else can you stroll around a rainforest with hundreds of monkeys casually eating bananas and swimming? 

These monkeys are very intelligent, so do be cautious with what you bring to the forest. They know how to open backpacks and pockets, and they really like jewelry, so be aware of what type of attention you’re attracting from the locals!

Entrance tickets cost 50.000 IDR, and can be purchased at the door. Get there at the opening to beat the crowds!

Yoga & Meditation

You will find yoga culture everywhere, which is great to try out a new style or go to your first class! If you’re a. veteran in the yoga world, go a bit off the beaten path, you will find a more authentic experience to connect with whatever you need! The Yoga Barn is famous for its unique and high-quality classes, and it’s where you’ll find the best Ecstatic Dance in Bali! If you’re looking for a more local experience, my favorite place is Bali Swasthya, led by an Indonesian teacher.

Waterfalls

There are so many waterfalls to explore that are only a quick drive from Ubud! While the bigger waterfalls are further north, you can find lush tropical falls that are perfect for a swim and to get that Instagram shot. While these falls do get crowded since they are closer to the main areas if you go earlier in the morning you can avoid most crowds! Check out the best waterfalls in Ubud, a perfect way to refresh from the jungle heat.

Tegallalang Rice Terraces

One of the main attractions in Bali, the Tegallalang Rice Terraces is just 20 minutes by motorbike north of Central Ubud. This is where you can get your photo taken in those iconic swings, or just meander along the impressive terrace walls. You will likely get stopped for a 10.000 Rupiah entrance fee for the maintenance of the fields, and once you’re in you’ll be funneled to a stand where you’re urged to purchase a drink for $1 to support the farmers. Have some extra cash on you!

Tegallalang gets extremely crowded, but you can avoid the crowds and go for sunrise! Also, if you're really looking to escape the crowds, head just a few hundred meters north to the Abian Desa Rice Terrace.

Where To Stay In Ubud

Ubud has a very congested center, located around Jl Raya Ubud, and extends south along Jl Monkey Forest. Where you stay can change your views on the area depending on your preferences. On these main streets, you may be checked into an idyllic zen guesthouse, but have the sounds of motorbikes and crowds in the background. It’s in the middle of the noise, so be prepared!

If your main focus is getting some peace and time for reflection, you’ll want to look a bit more on the outskirts of town. Ubud is surrounded by the jungle and rice fields, creating the perfect environment to reconnect with nature

If you’re looking for a little bit of both, I suggest looking near the Ubud Yoga House, where quiet shalas are tucked along rice paddies, and Ubud Center is only a short ride away. Motorbikes are great to have in Ubud, but the traffic congestion and way of driving aren’t for everyone. Plenty of Gojek’s, Grab’s, and taxi’s are available in the main areas. Check out everything you need to know about transportation in Bali. 

Wenara Bali Bungalows
$
Tirta Arum
$$
Bje Suite Villa Ubud
$$$

Day 6+7 - Munduk

Munduk is a lesser-known region in Bali, located west of the ‘twin lakes’. This area is a bit colder and less crowded than others in the best way possible. Unlike much of Bali, Munduk has retained its authentic charm, so you feel completely immersed in the culture and life there. Its removal from the main tourist areas in Bali, combined with its higher elevation has made this area one of the best for stargazing at night!

Waterfalls

Northern Bali is home to the most impressive waterfalls on the island. While you can definitely take the trip up from Canggu or Ubud, you’ll wish you stayed right in the heart of the area to explore as much as possible. 

Let’s cut to the chase with the waterfalls. You see them everywhere online, but not all of them are how they appear. Of course, with dozens to choose from, there are some that are untouched gems hidden in the forest, and others that are filled with mini photoshoots followed by a lot of edits. I can’t speak for all of them, but do your research and ask travelers and locals which ones are worth the drive (and payment) to see!

Some of the most popular include Gitgit, Sekumpul, Banyumala Twins, and Aling-Aling. If you’re going for a photo shoot, get a local guide, they’re also the best photographers and hype men to capture your beauty!

Photo by @mattcognac

Twin Lakes & Ulun Danu Bratan Temple

Located in the caldera of an ancient volcano, the twin lakes of Bayun & Tamblingan offer a serene escape from the crowds of Bali. To further explore the area, rent a traditional wooden canoe and get a different perspective of the mountainous area. 

Ulun Danu Bratan Temple is a must-see in the northern region and a highlight for many travelers, primarily for its unique location. The temple appears like it is floating on the water, as the land it was built upon protrudes from Lake Bayun’s shores. 

The entrance fee to the temple is around 75,000 IDR. It is a picturesque photo spot, so be sure to beat the crowds for those early morning sunlit photos. 

Coffee Plantations

Bali is known for its coffee and cocoa. If you have enough time in your schedule and you like coffee (who doesn’t?), seeing the creation from the start is an incredible experience. Many coffee plantations offer tours, tastings, and even unique experiences to get involved! 

Maybe you’ve heard of the famous Bali Luwak Coffee, known to be the most expensive in the world. It’s exclusivity is due to the production process, where a Luwak animal eats the coffee beans, ~digests it~, and then is used for a perfect brew. 

Where To Stay In Munduk

Munduk is a quiet area, and with a motorbike, you can get just about anywhere. This is a great place to not worry about what you’re near, but rather find the perfect space for you to have a peaceful time in the jungle. Since it is higher in elevation, the views from this area are top-tier, so keep that in mind when finding your perfect stay!

Da'Kayu Glamping
$
Bali Jungle
$$
Munduk Heaven
$$$

Day 8+9 - Amed

Amed is a quiet town in the far east of Bali, where lava flows meet the ocean and the sunrise kisses the coast. This is a less-traveled to location, but it is gaining popularity among tourists for good reason. There are many attractions in this area, so why not save some driving and stay for a bit to soak it all in!

Scuba Dive - Liberty ShipWreck

One of the best dive sites is the Liberty Shipwreck, an American cargo ship that was sunken during WWII by Japan, and then carried into the sea during the Mount Agung eruption of 1962. This wreck is the host of aquatic life including coral, tropical fishes, turtles, rays, and even reef sharks! 

While you can take a dive trip to this site from anywhere on the island, it’s about a 2-hour drive one way from Ubud and Canggu, so save your precious time and avoid an unnecessary car ride!

Woman scuba diving next to a coral reef at the Liberty Wreck in Bali

Pura Lempuyang Temple

An Instagram icon, the Lempuyang Temple is a must-see for travelers with so much more to see than what’s online. The temple entrance is 30 minutes from Amed and has a perfectly framed view of Mount Agung, hence the western name of the “Gates of Heaven”

The cost for entrance is 100.000 IDR, plus a 50.000 IDR shuttle ride to the entrance. The famous photo spot is in the first temple, just 5 minutes from the entrance. However, the grounds host 7 temple sites, and worth the exploration! It takes about 4 hours, so plan accordingly with water and sunscreen. 

Since this is a Hindu temple, be mindful of your behavior – no drone photography, keep your shoulders and knees covered, and no PDA. 

Mount Agung Trek

As of June 2023, Ascending Mount Agung is no longer permitted.

The one thing you’ll notice while you’re in Amed is the massive volcano sitting back in the distance. That is Mount Agung, and for the adventurers out there, it’s definitely worth looking into a hike! The trek takes about 10 hours round trip, starting around 11 pm so you can summit at sunrise, around 5:30 am. You can imagine the perfect sunrises in Amed, but now picture it from the highest point on the island at 3,031 meters. You must hire a guide for your safety, but it is well worth the money. By far one of my favorite things I did in Bali!

Photo by @mattcognac

Where To Stay In Amed

Amed is a laid-back area that hugs the coastline, filled with divers, yogis, and locals. The town is built around steep rock ledges that create a mountainous landscape. The main area of Amed is located right next to Amed, but don’t expect anything like you experienced in Ubud or Canggu in this quiet town! Whether you’re looking for beach-front views or serene inland getaways, there is plenty of options around Amed.

Bali Buhana Beach Cottages
$
Sudamala Resorts
$$
Sudamala Resorts
$$$

Day 10+11+12 - Nusa Penida

Nusa Penida is a perfect island to explore within a few days. It is located off Bali’s southeast coast, with 2 main ports through Sanur or Padang Bai. The ferries have a limited schedule, varying costs, and destinations on Nusa Penida, so getting over will take a bit of research. Once you arrive, plenty of people will ask you to rent one as soon as you step off the ferry! 

A fair price is about 300.000 Rupiah but definitely use your haggling skills.

Planning the ferry can be a bit confusing. Chances are, your host at your accommodation and help you book your ticket, and give you any information you need to plan your trip!

Snorkel Manta Point

One of the highlights of Nusa Penida is the ability to swim with 5-meter (& completely safe) Manta Rays. This island hosts a reef that serves as a manta rays cleaning station! There is a symbiotic relationship between these ‘cleaner fish’ and larger aquatic life including Manta Rays to swim through and be cleaned of any bacteria and other little critters. 

As with anything in nature, nothing is guaranteed to happen, and it is wild. While you may go out on a snorkeling trip, you may see 0 Manta Rays, while the day before you saw hundreds. It’s always a gamble to see a specific thing in nature – be patient!

Beaches

Nusa Penida is home to some of the most iconic beaches in Bali. The most famous (and popular) is Kelingking Beach, also known as ‘Cap de T-Rex’. This area costs an additional 25.000 Rupiah to enter, and it is madness with the number of people. The iconic photo spot is on the stairs descending down the cliff, but there will likely be people in all of your photos. You can venture down to the beach, but be warned.. it is definitely not easy. I consider myself an advanced hiker, but this route is steep, slippery, and takes about 30 minutes each way! 

If you’re looking for an easier famous beach, then look no further than Atuh Beach. This is located on the southwest coast of the island, but definitely worth the drive. Atuh is located right next to Diamond Beach, but if you don’t have all day to explore, Atuh is way more worth the trek down. Diamond Beach is littered with trash (sad), very rocks, and compared to Atuh, it’s just okay. 

Photo by @mattcognac
Photo by @mattcognac

Hidden Gems

While you’ve seen some of the iconic points from Nusa Penida, there are a lot of amazing places you haven’t heard of. These are amazing because there are fewer tourists, you can get an authentic taste of Nusa’s beauty and culture, and who doesn’t love an original experience?! 

You have to make a stop at the natural springs at Guyangan Waterfall, where freshwater falls into the ocean and you can sit back and relax. Don’t let the stairs deter you, it is well worth the walk and completely free to visit if you have your own sarong (rental = 15.000 IDR).

Temeling Beach is another one that is easily missed, but this incredible spot takes you down a steep road where a forested spring opens up to the vastness of the ocean. The drive down is steep, which turns away a lot of tourists, but you can pay a local to drive your bike down for only 50.000 IDR!