On our penultimate day in Bali, we finally decided to see what was actually some of the most obvious spots to visit in Bali but ones we’d never gotten round to seeing (like not the last time we’d visit and not even on this current trip).
We started off with one ‘closer to home’ – Ubud Palace.
Alas, the Palace was mostly closed for reconstruction so there wasn’t much to see here.
Still though the places that were open were impressive enough and a taste of what the Palace would have been like if we were able to see it all.
We carried on to the next door Saraswati Temple in Ubud, which is in the most unlikely of locations (so much so that we walked past it several times before realizing it was here).
From the outside, right next to a Starbucks are some small gates which lead to a restaurant/café and Saraswati Temple. We’d only seen the restaurant from afar and figured the temple wouldn’t be that close to a Starbucks.
Thankfully Google Maps came in rather handy and insisted that we were near where we should be. Eventually, and after being chased by a dog down a wrong alley we’d ventured to, we arrived at Saraswati Temple.
The temple – is quite unlike any of the other temples we’d been to and is definitely worth popping into briefly while you’re in Bali. You could even just grab a cold drink at the restaurant here while you take in that view (an excuse to cool off, really).
Eventually, we hopped into our car and headed South of the island…
Our first stop was Uluwatu Temple – the sea temple. There are lots of monkeys here so exercise the usual caution you would with monkeys. They’re less troublesome here than in the monkey forest but we did see someone lose sunglasses to some monkey so you know – don’t go there with food and put your valuable away from the monkey’s reach.
Uluwatu Temple is a top a cliff with absolutely stunning views of the crashing waves below. The temple itself is relatively small and most of it is inaccessible so when you arrive, you arrive mostly for the views.
It is worth noting that this is, however, an important religious temple for the island. It’s closeness to the main hotspot for travellers on the island (e.g. Kuta) seems to be a big part of why it’s a popular spot for travellers but if you venture further inland, some of the temples are more accessible and arguably more impressive to look at.
Leaving Seminyak, we stopped off at Jimbaran for a bite to eat. The plan was actually to relax by the beach and take our time with lunch but our plans were scuppered when the restaurant we had our sights set on was closed.
With that, we hit the streets and came across quite a gem of a place – The Open House. I think the restaurant here is part of a boutique hotel (and a nice looking one at that – at least from the outside – I have no idea what the rooms are like since we didn’t see inside them) but there’s a lovely pool outside and Lloyd, being the only one who decided to bring his swimwear along, went in for a dip! (I was so jealous! Almost jealous enough to go in fully clothed.)
For lunch, we had curries and grilled fish – all of which was sooooo soooo good! It’s nice to arrive somewhere like this with a great vibe but when you get excelled food to match the vibe levels you’re already at – what a win!
After lunch, we hopped back into the car hoping to make it to Tanah Lot rock formation and home to Tanah Lot Temple.
The sunsets here are said to be quite epic and we figured it was the best way to finish off our evening in Bali.
After a quick jaunt around Tanah Lot, we settled down to watch the sunset.
FYI, there are throngs of people here to watch the sunset – it gets sooooo busy here, something which came as a surprise to us as most of the other places we’d visited thus far had been busy in parts but nowhere near as busy as this.
Alas, the sunset had no plans to be epic on this evening. The clouds were high on the horizon and pretty much made the sunset fizzle out.
We gave up quickly and headed down to the beach area (it’s next to the rock with the hole in it).
Here you watch the waves crash and can properly take in your surrounding away from the crowds (it’s surprisingly easy to get down here so why lots of people didn’t decide to come watch the sunset from here instead of at the top, I’m not sure).
For the that lack in sunset views, the sun still managed turn the most amazing hues of pink and blue. A proper farewell and final sunset on this island before we made our way back home the next day!
It was truly a thing of beauty that would have you reaching for your camera over and over again until it was time to go home.
For dinner back in Ubud, we went to a place a couple of doors away from where we had dinner the night before. We actually planned on eating here the night before but got distracted along the way.
Our instincts were so right with this place by the way – the food here was fantastic! To be fair though, thinking back – apart from when we went to the restaurants near the main temple further away – most of the places we’d eaten in had been pretty good. Still though, this one stood out properly…
I was trying to remember the name of the restaurant but I couldn’t. I did however just look at a photo I took there on my phone and the GPS map thing says the street is Julan Gootama so if you pop down that road, you’re bound to come across not just this great spot but many fantastic little bars and cafes down this (relatively) little path…
Oh my gosh!
Even better, I just switched to Google maps and found the name – the restaurant is called Sambal Matah! (Apologies for the unfiltered stream of consciousness! Hahaha! I was literally finding this out as I was typing).
Anyway, if you’re in Bali – definitely recommend popping here for dinner one night.
The next morning, kinda half packed and almost ready to go we decided to sneak in a quick massage before leaving (I say half-packed because I knew I would still have to do a last-minute check to make sure I did have some stowaway insect or gecko in my clothes – the joys of choosing a jungle villa, eh?
And that was it – breakfast, massage and farewell Bali.
This trip to Bali was everything I’d hoped for and more – we’d seen some amazing sight, eaten so many delicious meals, swam at waterfalls, danced the night away, soaking up the sunshine at the beach and so much more and yet would happily return to this island in an instant to do it all over again.