After the hectic travel schedule of our train journey from Laos to Singapore, we decided to visit Bali & the surrounding islands for a chance to slow down the pace a little…
Our first stop was the coastal town of Sanur. Popular with couples & older travellers who do not want the backpacker party scene of the popular Kuta.
Sanur is a busy transit point for the the other islands so unfortunately, close to town the beautiful beach is lined with speedboats & ‘ferries’.
The cultural centre of the island. I can imagine Ubud 10 years ago with its spiritual vibe; laid back culture & chilled out tourists. Now, those aspects have been highly commercialised, with plentiful upmarket spas; expensive vegan/vegetarian cafes; a multitude of yoga schools & associated yoga products; expensive boutique clothes shops & International restaurants.
Dig around in the backstreets & you can still find authentic warungs, selling delicious local food & drinks.
Things to do
The Monkey forest & Temple
An ancient temple & gardens, now used as a temple for cremations. It is full of families of monkeys, which spill out onto the surrounding streets of the town.
Definitely a `must see, held nightly at various locations. We went to a small event in a temple with an audience of only 10 people, plus some locals standing at the back. There are several forms of Balinese dance, all dating back to ancient times. Apparently it takes many years to learn, incorporating complex eye, head, hand & finger movements.
At last, the Bali we had been looking for! Ahmed is in fact a collection of small villages along a 10km strip if black volcanic beach. There are a collection of warungs selling cheap, amazing, local food (including: prawns, Barracuda, Dorada & Mackerel all for £2 plate). There are few tourists here, mainly staying in homestays along the beach; but the main focus is on local life.
Our homestay (£13 night) was run by another guy called Wayan & his daughter also called Wayan (we later found out in Hindu families in Bali, the firstborn is always called “Wayan”, “Gede” or “Putu”, second is “Made” or “Kadek”, third is “Nyoman” or “Komang”, and fourth is “Ketut”. Therefore depending on caste/custom people will only be called one of four names (additional info: Wikipedia).
More photos? See