This post was last updated on September 24th, 2014
‘Off the beaten path’ travel is all the rage right now. It seems every twenty-something backpacker is claiming you should throw the guidebook out the window, leave your itinerary at home, and just surrender yourself to all the wonders of travel that will just miraculously fall into your lap. And obviously, all of it will be epic. Museums? Not original enough. Arts and music performances? Nope, too many foreigners. The first coffee shop in the city? Over-priced with long lines.
I sort of agree with this idea of travel. Yes, you can miss out on a lot if you’re stuck to a detailed travel plan that doesn’t leave room for spontaneous destinations and adventures. You never know who you will meet that might invite you to their great-grandmother’s house to share a cup of tea and impart on you all the richness of their history. However, more than likely this isn’t going to happen every time you venture somewhere new, and one can also miss out on a lot that the culture has to offer if they don’t do any prior research on the destination at hand. All too often I meet fellow travelers with the mindset that anything touristy is off limits. But in the end, they spend the majority of their time not really doing anything at all–I even met one girl that didn’t want to get out of the car on a countryside tour because she saw other tourists around. Well, sorry, but tourists normally go to a place because there is something worth seeing. Of course, being glued to their iphone and chugging beers always seems to be perfectly acceptable.
Obviously, the important thing here is balance. That’s why we try to avoid places like Kuta but will still sign up for a tour to hike down a volcano. But before I continue to digress too much, the reason why I say all this is because there is one thing I absolutely always research before traveling: accommodation.
While I won’t always make reservations, I like to know what my sleeping options are. Perhaps it’s because I have spent the night in too many dingy hostels and loud airports. Or maybe it has a lot to do with the fact that Dan and I are married, and sharing a room with a bunch of other college kids just doesn’t have much appeal anymore. Regardless, it’s really important to me where I am crashing down for the night. If couchsurfers aren’t available, than Dan and I want the most bang for our buck.
This method has worked really well for us, and we stayed at some amazing places in Bali and Lombok. One that was particularly memorable was Suara Ombak.
Suara Ombak cottages are nestled on a hill overlooking Bingin Beach. With only five rooms to choose from in a bit of a secluded location, Suara Ombak is perfect for those looking to exchange a mainstream hotel for an authentic and private Balinese home-style experience. The rooms are a bit rustic and you won’t receive many of the luxuries that might be available at similarly priced establishments; however, you will find the simplicity and beauty that was Bali before the hordes of tourists made claims to the island.
Suara Ombak is just a three-minute walk down the cliff to the secluded Bingin Beach, where white sand, good surf, and a few small warungs await—the perfect location to relax with a beer without being harassed to get a mani/pedi. If you do want to venture out, Suara Ombak is only a couple minutes via scooter from all the best beaches and surf spots of the Bukit Peninsula.
When hunger strikes, there are lots of great restaurants on the main road, including Mexican, Organic, Thai and Italian. However, we recommend eating at least one meal at Suara Ombak, where the chef cooks amazing and authentic Indonesian cuisine. We had some of the best Nasi Campur of our entire trip here.
While the location and simplicity of Suara Ombak add to its rustic appeal, what really sets it apart is the view. We highly recommend staying in the Birdhouse or Captain’s Quarters, which offer private, panoramic views of the Indian Ocean, crashing against the lofty cliffs of the Bukit Peninsula. All from the comfort of your bed. Talk about romantic!
The owner, Rob, is very friendly and easy to communicate with prior to arrival. For questions, prices, and recommendations, check out his website here. Just don’t be like us and only reserve two nights. Trust us, you’ll want to stay longer.