Bali off the beaten path
As one of the top tourist destination in the world — especially for sun, sand and surf — crowds are inevitable at many of Bali’s top sites. But rest assured, there is another Bali: a Bali off the beaten path. Avoiding the throngs of holidaymakers isn’t as easy as a packaged tour or just following the masses, however. You need to do a bit of research first. Then and only then will you discover the true Bali, away from tourist traps and packed nightclubs, a Bali of sunsets and nature sounds. So if you’d rather listen to the surf than a thudding soundtrack of European EDM, read on. If not, just head to Kuta with the rest of them.
You don’t have to avoid the beach:
Right near our surfcamp on the beautiful Bukit peninsula, lies what CNN Travel rated the best hidden beach on the entire island of Bali: Balangan Beach. Balangan lets surfers avoid the crowds and take advantage of the god-like waves this island is famous for.
The long stretch of white sand is flanked by rocky cliffs while the shore is lined by an assortment of warungs (local cafes) serving plates of indo mee and ice-cold Bintangs and cheap non-air conditioned huts.
The agenda at Balangan is simple: surf (if you can), go swimming when it is high tide, build intricate sandcastles — the sand here is exceptional for doing so — and laze about in a hammock watching the surfers, young and old, catch the waves.
For six more spots check out CNN Travel’s brand new piece on where to escape the crowds on Bali. It covers surfing beaches, small villages, snorkelling locations, cool mountain hamlets, a national park and smaller islands off the shore of Bali proper.
Of course, once on Bali you can easily use this travel hub to get to other parts of Indonesia that are far less travelled. Visit places like the rainforested island of Sumba with its megalithic stones, spiritual culture (animist and Christian) and nice surf breaks. Then there’s the island of Flores where you can take trips to Komodo to see the famed dragons. Read more about these options in the West Australian.
For some glimpses of Bali off the beaten path from fellow travellers, visit this Trip Advisor page for ideas reviews and more.
Lead image of Balangan Beach by Alex Hanoko (Flickr CC)