After two nights in Ubud, we traveled to the southern end of Bali to the area of Uluwatu. We didn’t stay directly in Uluwatu but a little north from there but also along the coast in Jimbaran. Our hotel, La Joya overloooked Balangan Beach and it was the perfect spot for viewing the evening sunsets.
We arrived in the late afternoon the day before Nyepi (Day of Silence). Even as tourists, we were required to observe the restrictions of the day. This is a day for the Balinese people to self-reflect and in order to do so, there must be silence, no light, no working, no entertainment and for many no eating. As guests, we were required to stay in the hotel and not leave the premises. We were not allowed to turn on any lights and were told to keep all noise to a minimum. Naomi and I stayed pretty much the entire day by the pool reading. The restrictions lasted from 6AM on Nyepi until 6AM the following day.
After a day at the hotel, we were ready to explore Uluwatu. We rented a motorbike from our hotel and Naomi was again my driver! Our first stop was the Uluwatu Temple. This temple is built on a tall cliff jutting out into the sea. If you visit at sunset there is a Kecak fire dance performance that is recommended.
We were ready for some beach time and were told to visit Padang Padang beach. We followed some signs to what we thought was Padang Padang beach. We parked, paid a small fee and then went down to the beach. I was a little shocked because there was quite a bit of trash on the sand and it was starting to become high tide, so the actual beach area was becoming smaller and smaller. We cleared a little section of beach and then decided this wasn’t worth it, so decided to find another beach. As we looked on map, we realized we weren’t at the official Padang Padang beach. We drove a little further and found the real Padang Padang beach. We weren’t exactly impressed by this beach either! There was still trash (maybe a little less) and it started to rain a bit! I took a few pictures of the beach right after rain when most people left. We stayed on the beach for maybe an hour just people watching before finding some lunch.
There were also some monkeys at the beach that made me uneasy, especially after seeing them snatch any leftover food items!
After being disappointed with the beaches, we decided to pamper ourselves the following day and visited the Four Seasons Beach Club, called Sundara. We reserved a daybed and then we just had to spend the minimum amount on food and beverage. They provided bottled water, fruit-infused water, Wi-Fi, towels, sunscreen and snacks. It was the best day! We were so spoiled by everything. The pool overlooking the ocean, the great facilities and the food was delicious.
On our last day and a half in the Uluwatu area (& Bali), we met up with of Naomi’s friends and explored a few new areas. We attempted to visit Green Bowl Beach, a small beach, favored by surfers. After hundreds of steps down to reach the beach, we realized it was high tide and the beach was no longer visible!
Pantai Pandawa or Pandawa Beach was more of a success. We rented sun loungers and umbrellas and spent a couple hours reading and watching other tourists play in the water. Even though the beach was cleaner, I still wasn’t too thrilled about going in the water! Both beaches were located in the very southern end of Balil
In the late afternoon, we drove an hour north to the town of Seminyak. There is one main street with tons of shopping and restaurants. I would have liked more time to see what else Seminyak has to offer. It is also located on the coast and there are many resorts there.
I think the picture below best sums up how I feel about my Bali experience. It was beautiful but I was slightly disappointed by the trash and poor upkeep of things that it dampened my experience a bit. I think if you visit Bali and spend most of your time at the resort pool and beaches, everything is really nice. When we tried to explore outside of those areas, it was hit or miss. I probably have higher expectations regarding cleanliness than most people, so you will have to experience it for yourself. Most of all, I loved spending the time with Naomi! We are hoping that we can meet-up somewhere in the world every few years. She loves to explore and is a great travel companion!