Our Destination Guide to Bali
The Indonesian island of Bali, considered by many as the “Island of the Gods” for its picture-perfect beauty of lush green forests draping across volcanic mountains, gracing the valleys are rice paddy fields filled with local people wearing conical hats. The beautiful coastlines boast white sandy and black volcanic beaches, the coral reef filled waters are ideal for scuba diving, calm sea merging with secluded coves and fantastic waves for a surfer’s paradise.
The breath-taking scenery is not the only thing that attracts millions of visitors to Bali but its spiritual culture, unique history, and modern holiday resorts offering luxurious accommodation and vibrant nightlife.
South Bali is the most popular to visit for beautiful beaches, excellent accommodation and for those seeking to party all night long and spend lazy days on the beach should visit the bustling town of Kuta. Should you want a more laid-back atmosphere travel about 5km north of Kuta to the chic town of Seminyak, the long stretch of beach is ideal for quiet sunbathing, great surfing and some of the best spa and yoga retreats.
Heading south of Kuta and near the Ngurah Rai International Airport visit the exclusive bay of Jimbaran with its top-class accommodation and expensive villas dotted alongside the stunning powder white sand bay and tropical plants. Relax and enjoy fresh seafood dishes in the beachfront restaurants and admire the sunsets magical colours.
On the south-east coast of south Bali, the seaside resort of Sanur offers a mellow atmosphere along with an array of historical and natural attractions. If golf is your sport, then Nusa Dua is the place to be with one of the country’s most popular courses or discover the local history in one of the best museums. Nusa Dua is situated on a beautiful peninsula and boasts luxurious hotels and glorious beaches. The area provides high security to all those staying in Nusa Dua.
Food & Drink
The Balinese take great pride and effort in harvesting their rich land to produce fragrant herbs, Nasi (rice), and fruit to create full flavoured dishes that have become recognised worldwide.
There are many different dining options, you may choose to sit in a restaurant and savour the many gastronomic delights or pick up from the many family run Warungs (street food stalls) that prepare fresh, delicious dishes as you wait.
In many of the busy towns, the air in the streets is filled with the mouth-watering smells of Babi Guling (suckling pig) slowly roasting and Sate Lilit, (Satay) chunks of meat on a skewer, usually chicken, pork, and beef marinated in spices and coconut milk before being grilled. The meat dishes are generally served with a bowl of rice, and a paste made from local herbs and spices.
Vegetarians or those wanting to skip meat for a day should try the tasteful Urap, a traditional mixed salad with green beans, cabbage, bean sprouts topped with a sweet tasting coconut dressing.
For a healthy and filling meal try Nasi Jinggo, rice and vegetables wrapped in a banana leaf and served with a side dish of your choice, generally, noodles, egg, and pieces of chicken.
While staying in Bali you must try some of their locally made drinks, especially the very potent, Arak, a white wine made from fermented white rice. As this drink has a very high alcohol content it is usually served in a cocktail called the Arak Attack.
The beauty of Bali is, there is something for everyone, whether you are looking to top up your tan on glorious beaches, browse around ancient temples, indulge in luxurious accommodation and pampering treatments, or explore and meet the friendly local people in the laid-back country villages.
Most people want to experience the exotic beaches in Bali, however, there are many different types of beautiful beaches to choose from and depending on where you are. Soak up the rays in privacy on a secluded palm-fringed cove or enjoy the leisure facilities and water sports on the organised beaches.
The south coast generally has large waves which are perfect for surfers, Balangan Beach is paradise, while the quiet east coast retreat of Candidasa boasts excellent diving and snorkeling sites, including the Blue Lagoon featuring white sands, azure water, and an abundance of colourful marine life. Experience a diving trip at Tulamben and discover the USAT Liberty, US cargo shipwreck, now home to an abundance of tropical fish.
Experience the spiritual Balinese culture by visiting the 15th century Tanah Lot Temple situated approximately 12miles from Denpasar. The historical Hindu shrine is perched on dramatic rocks out at sea, offering a mystical atmosphere and spectacular views, especially at sunset.
For a true taste of Bali travel inland to the mountainous region of Ubud, approximately one-hour drive from the airport. Explore the lush green terrain with a selection of places to see, including the Monkey Forest, take a tour of the beautifully layered Tegalalang rice fields, browse around the village market stalls selling a bountiful of colourful handmade garments and relax in the Batur natural hot springs.
Take time out from exploring and have fun at Waterbom Bali, Kuta awarded the No;1 best waterpark in Asia by TripAdvisor (2017). The perfect destination for the whole family to enjoy the moderate to extreme adrenaline rush water slide rides, relax as you float through stunning landscapes on the mellowing lazy river and the children will love the playground built in the water, featuring fun climbing ropes, slides, and water cannons. Take to the surf on the Flowrider, the fast-flowing water is a great way to experience surfing and body-boarding.
How about taking your little monkeys to meet the furry grey monkeys at the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud. The 12.5 hectares Monkey Forest is considered a spiritual and sacred place and is home to over 600 Balinese long-tailed monkeys, and many different important species of trees and plants. Discover three ancient temples within the Monkey Forest, the temples are still used for people coming to worship God.
Swing through the forest like Tarzan at Bali Treetop Adventure at Tabanan, with 72 obstacles over 7 circuits to suit all ages and abilities, the little ones will have hours of fun climbing across rope bridges, swaying from tree to tree and flying like a bird on the 160m zip line ride.
History & Culture
The unique and rich culture of Bali dates back thousands of years, but with the fall of the Majapahit empire in the early 16th century, the island encountered an influx of Indian, Chinese, Dutch and Javanese visitors that influenced the islands culture and Hindu religion.
Step back in time with a visit to the spiritual Hindu temples at the beautiful, laid-back seaside resort of Candidasa. A visit to the Goa Lawah Temple will be a unique and unforgettable experience, as this 11th-century sacred site is home to hordes of bats. Feeling fit? Then try climbing the 1,700 steps to the oldest Balinese temple in Bali, the Pura Lempuyang, the scenery from the top of Mount Lempuyang are worth the climb with outstanding views of the magnificent Mount Agung volcano.
Another way to witness the history and culture of Bali is to watch their Mekare-Kare ceremony festival held in Tenganan, in June. This tradition is not for the faint-hearted as the young Balinese men present a theatrical fight to honour their God of War. Two men dressed in a sarong and armed with a straw shield and Pandan leaves will fight with the deafening sounds of the cheering crowds.
Finish your excursions around Candidasa by discovering beauty at its best at the Lotus Lagoon, a fabulous landscape garden filled with blooming pink and fuchsia Lotus flowers elegantly floating on the pond and statues nestled amongst the garden’s tropical plants makes this a special place to visit.