We, Dojo nomads, are already in Bali, the island of gods, beaches, and everything nice, so why don’t we explore more of Bali (and maybe a few other surrounding islands for more adventures)?
Here are some ideas for your days off:
Meeting the sacred monkeys
There is something refreshing about watching monkeys lounging on top of trees and Toyotas. So unreal. It’s like watching a 4D movie with the real monkey smell.
If you spend enough time with the monkeys, you would also see them doing nothing on the middle of the road or jumping from one tree to another, casually exploring the jungle, taking their babies to the humans who hide food inside plastic bags, or sometimes escaping sex from a persistent monkey from another clan.
“Don’t they bite?”
Oh, yes. Yes, they do.
If you’ve been to a lot of bars without getting your nose punched, you’ll have no problem with the monkeys. Interacting with the monkeys were like dealing with drunk dudes. There are many rules.
Rule number one: you can’t look the monkeys in the eye. It would be interpreted as a sign of aggression. Another rule: you can’t touch the monkey, but the monkey can touch you.
One more rule: don’t even think about bringing water bottles and foods. This isn’t the movie theater! You can’t get away with these. Those little shits will know (and they won’t be afraid to snatch. If they do steal your food, let them have it. If you wish to treat them with fruits, you may buy them inside, they might climb on your back and you might get a good picture).
If you break any of these rules, expect getting bitten (and freak out about rabies later). Or, if today’s your unlucky day, expect getting bitten without reason at all. HA.
If I could add an extra rule, I would put this up, “Do not even think about watching monkeys mating.” There are just some things you would wish to un-see. You have to be careful. I saw 3 couples did it on a non- mating season.
Rules aside, the monkeys are so fun to watch. You can never expect what they do. One time, a monkey stole my friend’s The Economist book and flipped the pages curiously. I’m not making this up. I mean, who knows what they will do when you’re there? They’re a fun furry bunch.
Places to meet the monkeys:
- Ubud Monkey Forest (a small jungle and small temples). Click for coordinates.
- Uluwatu Temple (high cliffs overlooking the beach and Kecak dance performances during sunset). Click for coordinates.
Exploring a hidden beach
This option is perfect if you wish to take a day off.
I heard Nyang Nyang Beach is like your very own private beach. A tall green cliff, pristine sand, clear water. Explore a little more, and you would find abandoned shipwrecks and a secret wildflower garden. Sounds like somewhere Captain Jack Sparrow would love.
To be Captain Jack Sparrow, drive to Jalan Uluwatu, follow the signs “Nyang Nyang Surfing Beach.” Then, continue on foot, walk on the dirt track until you find the paradise. Click for coordinates.
Other notable hidden beaches:
- Green Bowl Beach (near the beach, you may find caves with resident bats). Click for coordinates.
- Pasir Putih Beach (a fun fact: Pasir Putih means white sand in English). Click for coordinates.
- Melasti Beach (iconic high cliffs, photographers’ favorites). Click for coordinates.
Bali is the ultimate paradise (I plan to live here someday). Bali is so different than the rest of Indonesia. It’s like a special bubble.
If you are planning a 3 days ++ break, consider an adventure away from Bali.
If you’re into a journey of histories and myths, consider going to Yogyakarta, the only ancient kingdom left in Indonesia.
The city is quite modern, but the people still believe in magic. Their late sultan was rumored to have the power to split himself into 7. They said that’s one of the reasons why VOC (Indonesia’s invaders from the Netherlands) were hesitant to attack the region. Professor X would be proud.
Also, the locals often tell stories about how the late sultan often dress up as an ordinary citizen to help the people with simple things, such as carrying their groceries.
These are only a small part of the stories you will hear.
Fun fact: if you thought foods in Bali are incredibly cheap, you would be surprised to find out the food prices in Yogyakarta. You can get a full restaurant meal (rice, fried chicken, and iced tea) for IDR 14k (1 USD) only.
Places to go:
- Borobudur Temple (one of the 7 wonders of the world). Click for coordinates.
- Prambanan Temple (one of the largest Hindu temple in South East Asia. 1,000 temples, rumored to be built by genies on the orders of someone who was desperate to impress a princess). Click for coordinates.
- Lots of other temples in that area.
Take a 1 hour 30 minutes flight there (round-trip ticket price from Denpasar to Yogyakarta is less than 100 USD).
Arrange a full-day-tour with a local driver/ tour guide.
Going on a real-life Indiana Jones adventure
Imagine beaches so pristine, tribes so exotic, and hills so beautiful they look like they’re straight out of desktop wallpapers.
Sumba is the home to all of that.
The nature is breathtaking (think swimming in a natural turquoise secret pool in Waimarang Waterfall, enjoying the fairytale-ish view in Walakiri Mangrove Beach, and taking in the seemingly endless golden savannah on the top of Warinding Hill).
While you’re there, get a glimpse of an ancient civilization. You may visit the ancient Gallu Baluk megalithic tombs and spend some time in villages where traditional bamboo houses still stand. See how different
villagers’ lives than yours. Sumba is very remote that their cultures are still intact.
One advice: be careful. If you walk in a wrong area, you’ll be shot by multiple arrows.
But, really, walking won’t get you far and, also, it will attract some bandits in some areas. Ideally, travel with someone who can speak Indonesian so you can get better deals with the locals. Well, whether your Indonesian friend join you or not, it’s best to travel with a group of people and a tour guide/ driver who will take you anywhere on the island.
As the places are so far (and there are so much to see), Sumba is only perfect if you’ve been wanting to take 4 days ++ break.
Hop on a 1-hour flight (round-trip ticket price from Denpasar to Waingapu is less than 200 USD).