How many times have you read recommendations of things to do in Bali? For an island covering a mere land area of 5,780 km², there are almost too many activities on offer – so I thought I’d help save you some time in identifying those that (I think) should be removed from your Bali itinerary:
1) Don’t bother visiting Pura Lempuyang. Pura Lempuyang is a Balinese Hindu temple. It looks spectacular on social media and I was so surprised to not find it in any of the guide books – a grand temple, with a mountain backdrop, next to a large expanse of water: a highlight of the island, right? Sadly, I discovered that these photos have all been COMPLETELY edited. There is no body of water next to the temple – the photographers (who apparently charge extortionate amounts to take your picture) use mirrors to give the impression of a lake. The mountain and overall appearance of the photos has also been enhanced. It’s all completely fake! Apparently people still wait in a queue of around 3-4 hours to have the mirror photo taken – crazy. Go and do something better with your time: why not check out my list of top 10 things to do in Bali here for an alternative option ;)?
2) Don’t pay to go on a swing. Everyone who visits Bali seems to have a photo of themselves on a swing atop the rice terraces of Ubud. It’s expensive, an awkward experience and the photos are pretty naff (see cover photo to this blog piece for proof). My advice – don’t bother waiting an hour to be pushed on a swing 10 times, just head to your local park on your return from the island.
3) Avoid the western coast if you’re looking for a picturesque beach holiday. I would assume that when most people think of Bali, they imagine crystal blue waters and golden sands. The beaches of Kuta and Seminyak do not match this description. If you’re in search of beautiful coastline, definitely avoid Kuta Beach and, in general, the western coast of Bali.
4) Don’t go to the monkey forest in Ubud. This might just be personal preference, but the idea of being around wild monkeys – with a tendency to nab people’s personal belongings – doesn’t really float my boat.
5) Don’t leave without visiting Nusa Lembongan. OK this isn’t a flaw. In fact, quite the opposite – but I was struggling to find 5 things wrong with Bali. I have heard of so many people who have been to Bali and not visited the Balinese island of Nusa Lembongan and I feel very disappointed for them. For me, this was the most incredible part of my trip. Admittedly, I imagine what made it so special is that the island feels reasonably untouched by tourism. However, its laid-back vibe and beautiful coastline were the qualities that I had been seeking on booking a trip to Bali and for this reason I think it is essential to include Nusa Lembongan in your itinerary.
Let me know in the comments if you’ve been to Bali and have any opinions on the above!