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Whenever a friend of mine goes on vacation to Bali, photos will probably start popping up on Facebook. More often than not, a significant portion of those photos will be predictable: Popular dining spots like the seaside-restaurants at Jimbaran as well as “must-try” watersports like parasailing, riding jet skis, and other beach activities that aren’t really “sports” by the way…

As for me, I prefer the veering off the beaten path and uncover the little hidden gems that still dot the island…

Oh, sure, I will eventually spend a day or so enjoying the sights and sounds of Kuta, but I’ll be spending most of my vacation time either relaxing at the hotel or going off for a long walk (at least 2-3 kilometers from the hotel, preferably more) and take a peek at all the little shops, boutiques, restaurants, and cafes that I encounter along the way.

So far, I’ve found a little warung that serves the best curry I’ve ever had, a small roadside stall offering cheap but tasty nasi jinggo, a minimarket with a surprisingly excellent silver collection (well, gold and diamonds are more my thing, but I also like those silver pendants with blue and green shell pieces), and a small batik shop with an exquisite cloth selection.

The best part of these long walks of mine—beside a full stomach, nice things to bring home, and burning off a bit of extra calories—is the thrill of discovery. And that beats riding a banana-boat any day…

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