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More Than Just A Surfer’s Paradise: The Mindful Traveler’s Guide To Bali, Indonesia

With lush views, breathtaking beaches, volcanic mountains, and a diverse selection of good eats and drinks, Bali is a must-visit location for vagabonding adventurers and spiritual nomads alike. It certainly didn’t become Indonesia’s most-visited destination by being one dimensional.

For travel influencer Jaro Cabla, Bali turned out to be more than just another stop on his around-the-world tour. While the surf spots, tourist attractions, and unique accommodations are undoubtedly badass, Cabla treasured the experience for helping to further connect him to nature, his community, and himself.

“I love to tell stories through my travel videos and content,” Cabla tells UPROXX. “My goal is to inspire the younger generation to pursue their own dreams relentlessly, and live as the best possible version of themselves.”

If you’re ready to experience Bali’s vibrant culture for yourself, check out Cabla’s fool-proof travel guide to Bali below. From snorkeling with manta rays to hiking up a volcano at sunrise to sleeping in a treehouse, he’s sharing everything you need to eat, see, and do.

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Bali Travel Guide
Jaro Cabla

WHY BALI?

Bali has a place for everyone on her island, whether you are coming here for a short-term vacation or a long-term stay. I personally came to Bali because I knew it would push my career forward in content creation and meeting like-minded people.

Bali is also one of the places on earth that offers world-class surfing. There’s a wave here for everyone, whether you’re just learning or you’ve been charging barrels your entire life. If you find yourself being called to Bali, this island will stretch you in a hundred different ways. You’ll emerge transformed, pushed out of your comfort zone, for better or for worse.

Bali Travel Guide
Jaro Cabla

What’s one thing that every first-time visitor should see or do in Bali?

Spend time in Ubud and try out some yoga classes and ecstatic dances at The Yoga Barn. You can rent a beautiful bamboo eco-villa like The Rescape Villa or Eco-Six, the kind of accommodation you don’t normally get to experience in places like the USA or Europe. Ubud is not like any other place on earth, so if you are looking to stretch your mind and dip into the whole spiritual realm, this is the place to go.

I know you only asked for one thing, but I can’t NOT mention the Nusa Islands. Nusa Penida is just pure magic, with scenery that you only see in movies. I recommend going to see Diamond Beach and staying at the Airbnb called Tropical Glamping. This will be an experience of a lifetime.

All-time favorite restaurants?

Bali has such an amazing variety of foods for literally everyone. I am not a vegan but the vegan food here in Bali is hands down some of the best food I’ve had. I had a chance to try Indonesian food as well and there is a specific place in Uluwatu called d’alvie. Everything on their menu is delicious.

In Ubud, you have to try Zest. Their Jackfruit Steak is a must-have. Of course, when you are in Canggu, visit Secret Spot and try their Southwest chicken bowl or eat at Pizza Fabbrica. Pizza Fabbrica has SUCH GOOD PIZZA and calzone.

Here are some other recommendations in Canggu:

Bali Travel Guide
Jaro Cabla

Best outdoor excursion or adventure activity in Bali?

I guess this activity isn’t directly in Bali, but it’s in Nusa Penida which is part of Bali. One of the most magical experiences was to snorkel with manta rays. These filter feeders were massive gentle giants in the water and the experience itself was like any other. Sanctum Divers is located on Nusa Penida. Their boats were clean and they also brought snacks and water for us and ensured the equipment was clean and ready to go.

If you are not much of a swimmer, Bali has thousands of waterfalls that you can visit. Some of my favorites are Sekumpul in North Bali, Nung-Nung, and Leke-Leke.

One of my favorite excursions was doing a sailing trip around The Komodo Islands, which actually has some of my favorite beaches and trails with the most epic views. It was a five-day sailing trip that took us to a pink sand beach, we saw Komodo Dragons, and then the iconic Padar Island. All food and water were provided on the boat and the crew kept us comfortable every day.

Bali Travel Guide
Jaro Calbla

Favorite beach in Bali?

I am a surf head, so I have to say that my favorite beach is Uluwatu. The sunsets are epic from the cliffside and you can also just sit and watch the surfers, with a fresh coconut in hand. However, if you want to just hang out and enjoy the beach, go to Dreamland. The name says it all — the water is crystal blue with white sand and it’s absolutely stunning. You can also do some swimming if the waves aren’t too crazy.

There is also Binging Beach that’s a five-minute cliffside walk down, just up from a well-known reef break called Bingin. There’s also a little warung on the cliff by the beach called Kelly’s Warung with a wicked sunset view.

Bali Travel Guide
Jaro Cabla

Hiking trail with the absolute best view?

The sunrise volcano hike in Bali is called Mount Batur. I woke up at around 2 in the morning to start driving to the mountain, which was about a two-hour drive from Canggu. The hike itself was about two hours up as well and the views at the top were absolutely breathtaking. While I didn’t have a guide with me, it is recommended. There is also an option to camp at the top with hot chocolate and food. I personally haven’t done it that way but I’ve spoken to people who loved the experience.

Coolest hotel or place to stay?

Skai Joglo in Ubud. It is hands down the nicest treehouse with the most beautiful view of the rice fields. The price is reasonable at about $60 per night. When I stayed there, the staff decorated the entire pool with flower petals, it was the best place to capture some epic content. In the morning they also had an option to serve a floating breakfast, which is also a cool experience if you’ve never done something like that before.

Bali Travel Guide
Jaro Cabla

What surprised you most about Bali?

The spiritual side. The energy here is so strong. I’ve spent a bit of time here to really tap into it and feel the vibrations of the island. I know it sounds airy-fairy but you have to be here to truly experience it, and not to mention, be open to it. I’ve met so many people who just had a terrible time here and left after a few weeks, and I’ve met people who came here and never left.

This place is magic and she will test you in many ways. Experiences and emotions are definitely heightened here and it can either make or break a person. I’ve had my fair share of highs and lows while being here where I’ve hit burnout and got in with the partying scene where I realized that that actually isn’t what I wanted for myself and my life. I came to Bali initially to grow my business and instead, I spent 70 percent of my time going on a personal journey of self-discovery.

Anything else you’d like to add about Bali?

Be mindful on the roads and just get to know the culture a little bit. After all, you are coming to this country as a guest, and you can’t act or treat the people here like you are above them. I really wish that I learned to speak more of the language during my time here.

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