Bali is often listed as one of the top tourist destinations in the world, and it’s not hard to see why. Beautiful white beaches, lush green landscapes, rugged mountains, a rich culture and deep spiritual experiences to fully immerse yourself in – what’s not to love? A luxury retreat break staying in one of the many beautiful Bali villa rentals should be on everyone’s travel bucket list!
When to visit Bali
The best time of year to visit Bali is between April and October. Temperatures over around the rather warm 30° mark, but at least you avoid the monsoon season.
Where to eat and drink in Bali
From Balinese specialities such as lawar and babi guling (suckling pig!) to international food and even McDonalds, Bali has it all. The locals love their warungs – small, family owned cafes and roadside huts, where you can guarantee a freshly cooked authentic Balinese meal. When it comes to drink, Bali certainly knows how to make a good cocktail. Head to the beachside cafes and restaurants for lychee martinis and mojitos!
Getting about in Bali
Mopeds and motorbikes are on of the easiest and cheapest ways of getting around in Bali. It can be a little daunting to start off with, especially in the busy city centres, but as long as you use your common sense and wear a helmet, you will be fine. Make sure you have the relevant insurance and an international license.
If that’s not your thing, then you can use the bemo system. These regulated public minivans act like a shuttle service for locals, making them perfect for tourists to use to see everything in Bali.
Things to see and do in Bali
Tanah Lot Temple
Famed for its unique offshore setting and stunning sunset backdrops, the Tanah Lot temple is one of Bali’s most iconic and important landmarks. Tanah Lot literally translates as ‘Land in the Sea’ in the Balinese language. A lot of the rock has started to crumble due to erosion from the sea, so about a third of the rock is actually artificial – a spectacular sight nevertheless!
Climb Kintamani and watch the sunrise
It’s hard work and you need to leave at about 3am to catch up, but the views from the top of this volcano in east Bali are incredible – and there are wild monkeys at the summit!
Tegallalang Rice Terraces
The Tegallalang rice terraces are one of Bali’s most famous attractions, according to Trip Advisor. The dramatic views make it perfect for those all-important Instagram pictures whilst you sample the green coconut drinks and admire the woven hats and intricate wooden carvings made by local farmers and craftsmen.
Ubud Monkey Forest
This is so much more than ‘just’ a place to see more than 700 monkeys and 186 species of trees – the locals see it as an important spiritual, economic, educational and conservation centre for the village. It operates under the Hindu principle of Tri Hata Karana – the three ways to achieve spiritual and physical well being, bringing nature, humans and wildlife together as one. Buy some bananas and hold them up to the monkeys – they’ll climb up you to eat them!
Ubud Art Market
The perfect spot to pick up some unusual handmade souvenirs, Ubud art market is something that should be on the list of places to swing by. It’s open every day from 6am to 6pm and is opposite the Royal Ubud Palace. There are stunning basket bags and wicker baskets, batik patterned fabrics, jewellery and handmade wooden carvings.
Lonely Planet lists this as one of the must-see attractions, especially if you are taking children. Imagine a real life Willy Wonka chocolate factory, but in much more beautiful surroundings. Find out how the cocoa farmed in Indonesia is processed, try the different chocolates and have a go at making your own mini chocolate elephant. If that’s not enough sweetness, head to the cafe and try their chocolate pizza or spaghetti marinara chocolate!
Not one for the faint hearted, but certainly an interesting one. The people of Trunyan neither bury or cremate their dead, unlike the rest of the Balinese population. Instead, they leave their bodies to rot in bamboo cages under a fragrant tree, which masks the smell of the decay (thankfully!). You can’t go to the actual temple of death itself, as that’s closed off to visitors, but you’ll see a fair few bones lying about, ready for those slightly gruesome holiday photos!
If you want to stay on the tourist trail, a visit to Kuta beach is a must. The sandy shore is perfect for all sorts of watersports, from wind surfing to swimming, or, if quiet relaxation is more your thing, sunbathing. The town is lined with clubs, pubs, bars and restaurants. It can get a little busy, and you do get the usual vendors trying to sell trinkets and souvenirs, but if you want a bit of hustle and bustle in Bali, this is the place to go.
Waterbom Water Park
Everyone likes a water park, right? Well, the Waterbom Park won’t disappoint. From fast paced rides to get the adrenaline pumping to the chilled out lazy river, there is a water ride for everyone. It’s not a cheap day out, but one that is definitely worth it.
Can you recommend anywhere to visit in Bali? Leave your suggestions in the comment box below!
*Thanks to Zoe for the amazing sunrise photo!