Co-written by MehTheSheep Editor
Dreaming of a holiday in Bali conjures up beaches scattered with sun-seekers, picture perfect rice fields, sacred temples on street corners overflowing with offerings, and of course, thousands of tourists.
But do you know, this beautiful island houses hidden gems that you just can’t find in your tourist brochures?
If you seek adventure and want to step on the less travelled path, we bring you to those secret places no one else will tell you about.
1. Watch the moonshine over volcanoes at Villa Sidemen
Have you always wanted to wake up to a breathtaking view of the mountains?
Or get an even more magical experience – fall asleep while watching the soft glow of the full moon casting shadows on the majestic Mount Agung.
During each full moon, you will also be able to hear the temple rituals or priests deep in prayer – a very culturally significant period.
This little-known villa is nestled east of Ubud, and 1.5 hours from the airport.
Between the villa and Mount Agung, you can see a stretch of rice paddy terraces beyond the valleys – just as though you just walked into a storybook.
And if you swim to the edge of the infinity pool, you can watch the sunset over the mountains while you laze in the water.
Isn’t it the perfect place to spend some quiet time with your loved one?
More Photos from Villa Sidemen
2. Gape at the abandoned house floating on Lake Batur
Have you ever seen a house half-submerged in a lake like this? (Apart from when there’s a flood).
Photo by Agoes Antara
This floating home on the crater Lake Batur appears to be abandoned, possibly after a flood, and thus remains partially submerged in the lake (and has perhaps become home to small creatures living in the lake).
But this strange sighting is still often photographed in artistic shots by curious travellers.
Photo by Agoes Antara
Isn’t it both odd and beautiful with the ‘lake-house’ in the foreground, framed by the active Mount Batur looming behind?
3. Uncover Pemuteran’s Hidden Underwater Temple
This little fishing village might be popular with some clued in divers and snorkelers, but it is definitely off the grid for most visitors.
Just below the surface of those azure waves, where the shallow reef stretches, lies Pemuteran’s mysterious underwater temple, which – contrary to what you might guess – is not a sunken ruin.
Photos via pinterest.com by Paul M Turley
Deliberately constructed underwater as part of an environmental conservation programme, 10 massive statues and a four-metre-high temple entranceway were sunk 29 metres deep.
Years later, marine life has made the temple its home, creating a man-made reef setting that is both impossibly magical and open for discovery.
4. Reach out to paradise over the hills at Lake Tamblingan
An oasis surrounded by rolling green hills and dotted with ancient temples, Lake Tamblingan is an untouched beauty tucked away in the Munduk and Gobleg countryside and Lovina.
Photo by Agoes Antara
The lake, together with its adjacent Buyan Lake, can be seen from hills in Asah Gobleg countryside, Sukasada district and Singaraja regency, in north Bali.
To reach this beautiful paradise, you can take part in Tamblingan jungle trekking tours, during which you will find an expansive variety of fauna and flora in the rainforest.
Photo by Yandeardana Photography
And just when you need some rest, lie on the lush grass on the bank of the lake and enjoy some fresh fruit and packed sandwiches.
Trust us, you won’t regret this unique picnicking experience!
Photo by Alex Hanoko
5. Wander into a cave under Uluwatu beach, Suluban Beach Cave
This mystical cave lies directly under Uluwatu, and leads up to the beach near the Uluwatu Temple, a magnificent sea temple you must not miss.
Photo by Danas DANULIS Macijauskas
Popular with surfers, this scenic cave serves as a rest area after a long day of riding the waves.
It can even be a unique backdrop for photoshoots!
6. Hang Out With The Dead at Trunyan Village
Trunyan village is definitely not for the faint-hearted.
On the shores of Lake Batur in the Kintamini area, the people of Trunyan (unlike the other Balinese communities) neither cremate nor bury their dead.
Instead, their bodies are left to rot in bamboo cages under the watchful eye of a fragrant tree that (thankfully) masks the smell of decay.
Unfortunately, the main temple of death is off limits to visitors, though you can probably spot some bones to add to your (morbid) holiday snaps. But perhaps it’s not a good idea to eat before you get there.
7. Walking above the clouds at Mt Agung
At over 3km high, Mount Agung is probably your best bet for the top views of Bali. This 5th highest volcano in Indonesia will probably take you around six to seven hours to reach the top.
It’s quite a bit of an exercise, but you will be greatly rewarded at the summit – you can see the whole of Bali laid out in front of you like a banquet on a table, and the distinctive feeling of being a god among men.
8. Hotel? Stay In A Bamboo House
If you don’t want to spend your vacation at a typical resort, you can try Ubud’s bamboo houses, it’s pretty much a mansion in the sky.
Situated in the Green Village on the Ayung River, these eco-friendly ‘tree-houses’ are completely made from bamboo. Room features include hanging reading pods, a massive bamboo entrance tube, and everything else you can get in a standard hotel room.
But if you are hankering after a more a budget option, you can just go for a no-holds-barred tour of Green Village, the Bamboo Factory and Green School. It’s equally fulfilling!
9. Dive Into Paradise on Menjangan Island
Love water but want to avoid all the touristy hotspots?
Menjangan Island is a secluded underwater wonderland, one of Bali’s first internationally recognised diving site, but definitely one that few know about.
The incredible coral walls varies from 26m to more than 60m, showcasing a diverse collection of sponges, soft corals and enormous gorgonians fans, all in calm, current-free water, in which visibility can reach up to 50 metres.
And if you dream about discovering some mysterious underwater ruin, this is just the right place for you – don’t miss the Anker Wreck, a 150-year-old wooden boat whose origin remains unknown even till today.
This story is made possible by Villa Sidemen.
Photo via flickr.com by Luko Gecko, pinterest.com by Luko Gecko, wikimedia.org, jakhongirshaturaev.wordpress.com, pinterest.com by greenvillagebali.com, flickr by Roberto Trm, flickr.com by Robert Scales, pinterest.com via Villa Semadhi Pemuteran Bali, another traveler