How and why did we pick Bali? Well, originally we were supposed to explore Malaysia, but we didn’t make it very far. The islands we were supposed to go to were flooding due to a hurricane, so we needed a new plan that involved sunshine. After all, we didn’t fly 24hrs. to sit inside watching it rain. We had less than 10 hours and little cell phone battery to figure out a new plan. Bali was a short and cheap flight, and we found an amazing deal on a villa on Sanur beach. So why not?! We canceled our other hotels and switched up our itinerary.
Right away we all fell in love with Bali. It is one of the most peaceful and beautiful tropical places I have visited and offers so much with their Southeast Asian culture. There is a calming, stress free feeling you get here, not wanting to return home to reality. Sanur beach is a more relaxing part of the island and Kuta Beach is known for drawing a younger crowd who like to party. Sanur still offers lots of restaurants and things to do, just depends on your preference. These are the top 5 things I recommend you check out.
- Bratan Temple is Bali’s most iconic image. It is located on a volcanic lake, Lake Bratan, and is surrounded by beautiful gardens. Over 350 years old, it is 11 stories and is used for offerings ceremony to the goddess Dewi Danu. Since this caters to tourists, weekdays are the best time to go. It is about a 2 hour drive from Sanur, which is located just east of the airport in Denpasar. As we walked around the temple, locals gathered in a circle playing instruments and ringing bells. Other than the music, everything was very quiet and peaceful. There are winding paths all thru the gardens with vibrant flowers and unique trees and bushes. These paths make it easy for a wheelchair to get around and there is a paved path in front of the temple itself. The only thing I found to be a challenge were the restrooms. They are located up three steps and there are no accessible stalls. There is a very steep ramp you can use if you have someone ot push you. I was able to wheel straight into the stall but could not shut the door, so my friend stood guard. Despite a few challenges, this is a temple you don’t want to miss. My favorite part of traveling is looking at architecture. Every country offers its own unique style.
- Jatiluwih Rice Plantations is the largest rice terrace in Bali with its endless bright green views. This is a place you could spend hours wandering around, followed by a delicious meal at the restaurant overlooking the fields. You should allow at least 1-2 hours to walk around, soaking in the views and watching local Balinese working in the fields. The paths you can walk on are not paved, so it will be slow if you are in a wheelchair, but definitely doable. The restaurant offers traditional Balinese food where we had the best Mi Goreng of the trip served with rice chips to die for. The only access to this restaurant is by a large stair case, so keep that in mind if you are in a wheelchair. My brother had to carry me up the stairs. Looking off the balcony of the restaurant, overlooking the fields has to be one of my most favorite views. I could have stared into the bright green obis for hours. The beauty of these fields and the history that comes with it is what makes this a top 5 must for Bali.
- Eat Mi Goreng. This dish is offered at most restaurants and is Bali’s staple dish. It costs around $2-3 US dollars and was by far our favorite meal. Made primarily of ramen noodles, veggies, and a meat or seafood. The sauce they stir fry it in is what gives it such a unique flavor that is often spicy. Served with an egg on top, you can’t go wrong. I am a pretty picky eater and this is something I could eat every day. I love any food that is stir fried in a bowl or pile. We found a good recipe to make at home! Mi Goreng Recipe
- Visit a night market. If you are looking to find where the locals hang out and indulge in their traditional food, this is the place to go. Just about a 10 minute walk from our villa in Sanur, you will find a street filled with local vendors, each cooking a unique dish. From stir fry, to skewers, to martabak, a dish made with eggs, potato and onions. You can get a meal for no more than $2 US dollars. There are picnic tables set up all over where everyone sits together, meeting other travelers or locals. Finding local hot spots is part of what makes traveling so much fun.
- Uluwatu Beach. The beaches outside our villa are no doubt beautiful, but venturing out to a secluded beach at the bottom of a massive cliff is definitely worth doing. This beach was nestled among large cliffs and rocks, only accessible by a long narrow stair case. Unfortunately, not accessible at all, but if you have someone to carry you down, do it! The water was crystal clear with perfect white sand, filled with people from all over the world. If you are hot, there is a stand serving ice cold beers and water with umbrellas to rent. We sat at a table with a couple from the Netherlands and exchanged stories from our travels. I love finding secret spot off the beaten path!
Bali offers so much in culture, scenery and food. Driving thru the country side, seeing the locals working in the fields, women carrying heavy baskets on their heads and trying new foods makes this a place you will really appreciate. Never have a felt so relaxed and peaceful in my life. I deal with a great deal of chronic pain and my pain was the lowest it has ever been here. You could spend your days exploring the island and its culture, or relax on a pristine beach. Either way, Bali is a place that should be on your bucket list!
Southeast Asia isn’t the most accessible place, but I found Bali to be pretty manageable compared to Malaysia. Our villa on Sanur was completely accessible and they were very accommodating. With one step into the villa, Wi the property manager, brought me a wooden ramp. He also went out of his way to bring me a chair for the shower. All along the beach there are restaurants that empty out onto the sand where you can sit outside on comfy furniture or at a table and enjoy a cocktail. There is a paved walkway all along the restaurants, which was perfect for a wheelchair.
With curb cuts everywhere, wheeling around town was not an issue. Often times, there would be one to two steps into a restaurant or store. As far as public restrooms go, they are not very accessible at all. Fortunately, our villa was in the heart of Sanur, so I could quickly run back if I needed to use the restroom. When we hired a taxi for the day, Jack our driver, was very helpful and had plenty of room to put my chair in the back of the car.
You will run into some challenges with a disability in Bali, but if you are up for the adventure, I wouldn’t let it stop you from seeing this breathtaking place. This is a place I would definitely return to some day.