Before planning for your Bali tour
, you must know that nowhere on earth will you find a place as diverse and contrast as Bali. The Island of Gods rife with natural beauty has a list of unending idyllic beaches, vivid green terraced rice fields, lush rainforest, and stunning sunsets. The list doesn’t end here as there are so much more to see and experience in this magnificent island paradise! Visitors can expect water-based adventure, stunning temples, creative arts, trekking, yoga, meditation, exotic cuisine and fantastic nightlife here. Going to Bali feels like a never-ending adventure as there is an activity to suit every soul.
The island of Bali might be small in size, but it has plenty of points of interest and incredible things to do, which cannot be covered in a single visit. By knowing the unique offerings of Bali, you can plan a more efficient Bali trip
. To help you figure out what to do and where to go, here is a list of some of the island's best highlights.
Beaches in Bali
The island of Bali has some of the best beaches in the world, each of which is a favourite destination on its own. The island’s beaches range from palm-fringed soft white sand coasts on the island’s south such as Kuta to cliff-guarded hidden shores of Uluwatu and Padang in the south-west, and the upscale Seminyak and Nusa Dua.
One of the most popular tourist spots in Bali, Kuta Beach is known for its long sandy beaches and excellent surfing waves, as well as its nightlife. It is popular with younger travellers and budget travellers for affordable accommodation, and cheap cafes and bars that it has to offer. The gentle waves of Kuta Beach make it a popular place to learn and indulge in surfing. If you love shopping, then there are vendors along the beach selling a wide variety of local souvenirs.
A holiday destination in itself, the sun-kissed Seminyak beach is host to several miles of sandy beaches. Seminyak Beach unfolds on the outskirts of Kuta and trail up to the coastal corners of Canggu. You will find beach clubs and bars aplenty, and five-star hotels and the best restaurants in Seminyak lining the golden sands. It is also an excellent place for surfing in the gentle waves or soaking up the sunshine.
This beach suited for a leisurely day out at the seafront. Sanur beachside is a never-ending stretch of white sand, dotted with resorts, cafes, wooden fishing boats, few elegant old villas. This beach is best enjoyed during the early morning for spectacular sunrises, cycling with the family or a romantic stroll with your partner.
Nusa Dua Beach:
It is an ideal destination for a fun-filled family day out in Bali. The waters are calm, the beaches are clean, and the shoreline is filled with family-friendly restaurants, water sports and an upmarket shopping complex.
Adventure in Bali
Bali has a great variety of challenging and fun activities waiting to be discovered that will fuel your adrenaline rush. There are options from white water rafting, volcano hiking, surfing, snorkelling and much more.
Surfing in Padang Padang and Kuta:
Surfing is a highly popular pastime in Bali, helped along by especially gorgeous breaks in the beaches of the island. Located on the north-west coast of Bali's Bukit Peninsula, Padang Padang Beach is one of Bali’s most famous surf spots. Its iconic waves attract sea surfers from across the world. It is also a regular spot for international surfing events of the likes of the Rip Curl Cup Padang. Beginners or intermediate surfers can head to the Kuta Beach, the first choice among most travellers, as it has numerous surf schools here. Its popular beach breaks with a sandy bottom are just perfect for beginners.
Sunrise trek to Mount Batur:
An early morning hike up Mount Batur is one of the most popular adventure activities in Bali. The reward is spectacular views of the sunrise! Mount Batur is among the active volcanoes in Bali, but it is worth a visit accompanied by a certified local guide. The last eruption of the mount happened in 2000 when ash emissions reached 400 m (1312 ft) in the sky. Standing tall at 1706 m (5,600 ft), this volcanic marvel is also home to the largest crater lake in the island - Lake Batur.
White water rafting in Ayung River:
Enjoy a challenging white water rafting on the Ayung River near Ubud, which is Bali’s longest and largest rapids. Set to a backdrop of wild unspoiled jungle, towering gorges and scenic rice terraces, this thrilling roller-coaster rafting journey encounters swirling foamy water, natural ramps, refreshing waterfalls and sudden drops.
Nature in Bali
Balinese landscape is packed with some of the most beautiful creations. Its natural wonders range from the central highlands with active volcanoes to hidden waterfalls, peaceful lakes, forested mountains, coral gardens and abundant marine diversity.
Discover Tegallang Rice Terrace:
One cannot afford to miss the scenic Tegalang Rice Terrace in Ubud that has extensive terraced rice paddies. You are in for the most spectacular sight when you visit these paddies between October to March, right during the monsoon when it turns into an intense sea of greenery.
Explore Nusa Penida island:
A largely untouched island getaway in the south-east Bali, at Nusa Penida you can explore the island, go swimming in waterfalls and trek to the rugged coastal cliffs. This place is also an island-wide tropical bird sanctuary. A wide range of marine life takes shelter around the coast of this tiny island. The island has beaches with soft white sands and world-class diving opportunities. Nusa Penida offers the ultimate escape into nature on a Bali tour package
Tour West Bali National Park:
Find Bali’s national park in the north-western part of the island. Located approximately 100 km from Bali’s capital city Denpasar, this park is habitat to a large variety of flora and fauna including coral reefs. Menjangan island – a popular diving destination in Bali – is part of this national park and you can take a boat ride to cross over to this tiny island.
Walk through the sacred Monkey Forest:
Often part of most Bali holiday packages, Ubud Monkey Forest, also known as the Sacred Monkey Forest, is a place of natural forest sanctuary. Its residents, a horde of long-tailed grey macaques, are major crowd pullers. Besides watching the playful and cheeky monkeys, visitors can see the beautiful ancient temples with statues and relics covered in mossy foliage throughout the forest, giving a mysterious and antique feel to this place.
Temples in Bali
A visit to Bali is incomplete without a trip to at least one of Bali’s thousands of temples. Each Pura (Balinese for temple), displaying centuries-old architecture, is unique and dot the highlands and coasts of the island, and are usually set against jaw-dropping backdrops.
Tanah Lot Temple:
Visit the Tanah Lot Temple, which sits on a dramatic location atop a rocky outcrop in the sea. Connected by a causeway, you can access the site only when the tide is low. Local myth has it that holy serpents stand guard to this 15th-century temple. Thanks to its stunning location, it sees some of the most breathtaking sunsets on the island. No wonder, this fascinating cultural icon is one of the most visited religious sites in Bali and is included in almost all Bali tour packages to the island’s western region.
Another temple in Bali with a beautiful setting is Pura Luhur Uluwatu Temple. Perched high on a cliff’s edge with the powerful sea waves constantly crashing at its base, Uluwatu Temple dates back to 900 AD. Everything about it, from the Balinese architecture, traditionally-designed gateways, ancient sculpture and its mesmeric cliffside location are postcard-perfect. Moreover, sensational sunsets in Bali can be viewed from this temple too. As an add-on, the daily Kecak dance - the Balinese Fire Dance of trance nature performed by the local men at this temple make the setting even more enchanting.
Often referred to as Bali’s ‘mother temple’, Besakih Temple is a grand complex of different temples and shrines on the slopes of Mount Agung. It is also considered the holiest and the largest temple on the island, and exploring the whole site can take a day. The sacred mountainside site can be accessed by many stairs that lead up. Its vantage location gives way to breathtaking countryside views of rice paddies, hills, mountains, streams and more.
Pura Tirta Empul Temple:
A legendary and a national cultural heritage site dating back to 960 AD of the ancient Balinese kingdom, Tirta Empul Temple is located in Manukaya village in central Bali. Tirta Empul means ‘holy water spring’, and its sacred springs are said to have been created by the divine and possesses healing properties. Tourists from across the world come here to take a bath in the blessed water.
Art and Culture in Bali
When you are travelling, finding out the cultural and historical heritage of a place is always fun and inspiring. And Balinese art and culture are arguably one of the most artistic cultures in the world. Skillful painters, woodcarvers, dancers, music and Balinese cuisine, are some of the greatest Balinese highlights.
Join a Balinese cooking class:
The best way to get insights into the Balinese culture and lifestyle is to sign up for a home cooking class. The local communities are more than happy to welcome visitors into their homes to give you a taste of authentic cooking. These culinary adventures help discover the secrets to Bali’s flavours. The classes are often packaged with market tours to find fresh vegetables, aromatic spices and other ingredients to make your traditional dishes.
Visit the museums:
Culture and history-rich Bali is filled with museums and galleries, all individually interesting and enable you to get deeper insights into the creative arts of Bali. The Agung Rai Museum of Art (or ARMA as it’s commonly known) features traditional Balinese architecture and is set amid tropical gardens. Aside from the vast collection of artworks here, the museum’s highlights also include Balinese gamelan orchestras, woodcarvings, dance performances, history, indigenous fabrics and much more. Balinese, Indonesian and foreign artists regularly hold exhibitions here.
Take a trip to artisans village:
Get more in-depth insights into the local art and culture of Bali by visiting some of the artist communities. The island's Celuk village is the residence of the silversmiths where you can shop for high-quality jewellery and even learn how to craft them yourselves. Batuan village in Ubud is another village famous for its traditional paintings. Here you can see Balinese art in its purest form without any foreign influence. This village is also a centre for wood carving and dancing. Another touristic village is Mas Village famous for its high-quality wood carving.
Watch a traditional dance:
Bali’s cultural centre Ubud has multiple venues where men and women perform Balinese dance forms such as Legong, Topeng, Kecak and Barong. For a mesmerising sight, take a trip to Ubud Palace where Balinese girls in ornate ceremonial attire dance with graceful eye and hand gestures to tell age-old chronicles often from Hindu epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata but with Balinese influence.
Quick Bali Facts:
Balinese and Indonesian are the most widely spoken languages in Bali. As a tourist, you can get away with English in most parts of the island.
Best time to visit:
The best time to visit Bali
is between May to October during the dry season (summer), which is also the peak tourist season. November to March is the wet season (monsoon) and is also a good time to travel to Bali. Located 8 degrees south of the equator, Bali experiences a warm tropical climate. Average year-round temperature stands at around 30 degree Celsius with a humidity level of about 85%.
How to reach Bali:
As Bali is an island, the best way to get there is by flight. Bali being the most popular holiday destination in Indonesia enjoys good air connectivity with most parts of the world. Many international and domestic flights
connect to Bali through hopping flights by air from major Indian cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore. All flights to Bali from India has a stopover in Kuala Lumpur.