Let’s be honest: Bali is a sinkhole for the worst kind of Aussie travellers. I absolutely hate travel snobs, but in the same sentence, I’m gonna say that Bali is the place people who don’t like to travel still travel to.
The beer-chugging, Bintang singlet-wearing, Aussie flag-tattooing, top of their drunk lungs-screaming gronks are the reason I’ve avoided Bali for so long.
Of course, this is completely unfair of me. The pull of proximity and price are no indication of how beautiful and worthy the place is to visit. This is why I finally took the Bali plunge, while at the same time trying very hard to avoid the previously mentioned people.
It’s damn-near impossible to avoid at least a small crowd of tourists anywhere in Bali, unless you don’t leave your resort (don’t do that). However, I can attest that there are some places where you find a chiller bunch of people and even sometimes no lines, while still getting to tick all the things off a Bali must-see list.
Jutiluwih Rice Terrace
The photos don’t lie and traditional Balinese rice terraces are genuinely eye-catching. They’re also just quintessentially Bali, so it’s really worth the time to (respectfully) wander through one of them.
Personally I went to Jatiluwih, where a bunch of cafes overlook the field and a short path lets you walk through them. There were definitely people about, but we were alone for most of the time. I also recommend taking the path backwards, as most tourists seem to walk down a short way from the start and that’s enough.
Just, please don’t take an up-close photo of the very real farmers doing their actual jobs. A few tourists were getting right in their faces if they approached the fence. Ask, mates, and respect a no. All of them were Boomers and not Aussie though, so Jatiluwih still makes the list.
Sangeh Monkey Forest
Monkeys are adorbs and kinda gross at the same time, so I’m still not sure how I feel about having them on me. Especially the one that sat in my lap and absolutely wiped it’s shit on my bare leg. Having said that, monkeys and Bali is a total ‘thing’.
Most people head to Ubud Monkey Forest, but we headed to Sangeh. Again, there were people but no crowds, even though the place is quite small. The monkeys here also have a rep for being less feral and less likely to give you a nip.
Agro Santi Coffee Plantation
Were you really in Bali if you didn’t try coffee made from beans shat out of a luwak’s rear end? Well, yes, because I don’t drink coffee. But I still went to a coffee plantation so it counts. Plus I had mangosteen tea, which is also quite uniquely Indonesian.
I personally hit up Agro Santi and it was a delight. They’re super friendly and you won’t wait for a table. They take you through a tasting of all their coffee and tea varieties, all while looking out onto the jungle with a few colourful roosters pecking around.
Taman Ayun Temple
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I’m not exaggerating when I say Bali has a temple on just about every corner, and even the small ones look spectacular. I know everyone wants to get ‘that’ shot with the Gate Of Heaven at Lempuyang temple, but say goodbye to hours of your day as you line up.
Instead, I went to the 17th century Taman Ayun temple. It showcases all the beauty of traditional Balinese Hindu temple architecture, with none of the lines.
Of course, if all else fails, just avoid all areas where noodles are more than 20,000 Indo Rupiah or they’re selling Bintang singlets.
There are endless tour options or private drivers as well, but if you’d rather just book all your activities in one spot you can give Klook a go.Image: Instagram / @all_people_laugh