As one of the best attractions in Ubud, the Campuhan ridge is free to access. It’s also a relatively easy nature trek, with a well beaten trail that leads you into the vast green valley expanses of this highland area. While the hike lets you enjoy cool fresh air and probably the most gorgeous hillside vista in the region, it also allows you to shed off some calories too with its nine-kilometre hill track. Some consider it a must-see and do while in Ubud, just to escape the urban and traffic scenes of town and discover a more pristine side of Bali.
If you’re the adventurous type, Bali’s mountains are free to climb but the more gruelling ones such as Mount Agung and Batukaru, two of the island’s highest, usually require an acknowledgement or permit from the local village community organisation or the forestry department (for safety issues). No extra charges, however. Some lower mountains offer ‘modest’ climbs, such as Mount Lempuyang in Karangasem, East Bali, with its lush forests, hordes of timid grey macaques, and the prized discovery of an ancient temple named after the mountain at its peak.
While in Bali, surf to your heart’s content. Surf spots abound, and range from sand breaks to challenging (barrelling) reef breaks – there’s a fair share beginners and pros around. Surfers from across the globe bring their own boards and head to these favourite spots as soon as they get out of Ngurah Rai Airport. You can enjoy the underwater wonders of Bali’s colourful coral gardens by snorkelling for free, too.
Bali owes part of its fame to its collection of beaches, mostly public and easily accessible. The popular ones, such as Tuban, Kuta, Sanur and Nusa Dua have additional footpaths that allow for leisure walks at any time of the day, especially sunrise and sunset. The cliff-fringed beaches of the southern limestone Bukit peninsula require much more effort to get to, with stone pathways and crags, but with scenic views and quieter scenes. Kuta Beach is more urbane, with modern malls the likes of Kuta Beachwalk on its northern half and Discovery Shopping Mall on its south – both freely accessible from the beachside and great for window shopping after a day out on the sand.