Bali is actually only one of 17,000 Islands in the Indonesian archipelago. That’s quite a number! Yet Bali stands out from the crowd. The island is growing and changing rapidly, due to the constant influx of global visitors. In recent years it has built new airport, and you can find many more affordable accommodation options, restaurants, cafes and bars. The vibrant energy of this island calls to many different types of people.
Most have heard about details such as Kuta’s nightlife, Ubud’s alternative scene, Seminyak’s unforgettable sunsets, and the lush green rice fields, and the south tends to be the main destination. As you might expect, throughout the year surfers and beach lovers make the most of the miles of golden sands on the pristine beaches of this area.
These things are all worth your time, of course, but Bali has so much more to offer. Those who wish to experience Bali in a less typical way might choose to stay in village environment, to visit the stunning dark sands in the east, or the less explored areas in the west, for example.
When to go to Bali
If you’re not into rain and monsoons, avoid Bali between October and March. High/dry season coincides with Easter Week, starting in April and continuing until October.
Go then and you can expect better whether but higher costs; go during the rainy season and you’ll get the best deals, but more temperamental weather. As Bali is situated close to the equator, it has a tropical climate; that means humidity as well as sunshine, but an average temperature of 86°F (30°C) all year round.
Getting around Bali
Public transportation is not something Bali has made much effort with. You will either need to get around on foot, via a rental bike, a taxi or a private hire driver. If you stay somewhere central like Seminyak, it’s pretty easy to get around on foot. Lots of people use rental bikes, but the traffic is chaotic and can be very challenging to navigate.
Things to do in Bali
Trek to the summit of Mount Batur
Mount Batur is an active volcano located in the centre of two concentric calderas. You can find it just north west of Mount Agung. If you visit the south east side of the largest caldera (10×13 km), you will also find a caldera lake.
Mount Batur will undoubtedly reward you with world-class scenery. It’s not for those with low stamina, but if you’re ready for a good hike, this is the one. You’ll also need to get out of bed in the middle of the night, but if you can be bothered, you’re going to see views like never before… at least on this island, anyway.
Check out the black sands of Amed
The black sands of Amed in the North will make for some entirely different travel memories than most of Bali’s beaches will. Most of the beaches are fantastic, of course, but Amed can offer something new.
It’s quieter and less ‘touristy’; the people who come here are generally only interested in relaxing. The stunning black sands will give you the feel of being in a unique and exotic paradise. That’s got to be worth a little trek across the island for.
Visit Ulun Danu Temple
It wouldn’t be right to visit Bali and not experience some of the mind-bogglingly beautiful temples. The Balinese have put so much effort into them, and their intricacy is at times astounding.
Ulun Danu Temple can be found at the edge of Baratan Lake in Bedugul. This ornate temple was constructed as a tribute to the goddess of the lake, and has remarkable, intricately carved gates. There are various shrines here, all dedicated to different gods. The area itself is truly quiet and serene, in stark contrast to the busy city and beach areas.
Swing through the trees at Treetop Adventure Park
This one is for adrenaline junkies, although it is also family friendly. There are plenty of fun rides here, some aimed at kids. It’s quite the location, having been set up amidst lush green forests.
Choose from various different circuits positioned close to the treetops. This includes swings, nets, flying foxes and more. If you decide to zip through the trees like a monkey, you’ll be privy to views you won’t forget about in a hurry.
Try diving in Padang Bai
Now for the east side of the island. Padang Bai a famous Balinese diving location; here you can access seven dive sites, reachable via short boat trips. You can dive with a difference: muck diving is on offer, but of course you’ll also see some of Bali’s awesome marine life.
Think blue pygmy seahorses and ringed octopus, turtles and sharks, coral gardens and many more. Get PADI certified here if you’re new to diving, then you’re good to go anywhere else on the island.
Eating in Bali
Don’t forget to try some of the local dishes like babi guling (roast sucking pig with spices), if you’re a meat eater. It is mainly served up until lunchtime in local restaurants. Other popular meat dishes are sate lilit (lemongrass flavoured mince meat satay), or chicken or duck betutu (a smoky, spicy dish), all of which can be found in local cafes and restaurants.
If your budget is less tight, you can opt for high-quality cuisine and delicious cocktails. One great option Locavore in Ubud. Another is the Mozaic Brasserie in Seminyak… and if you like the idea of a ‘kitchen-cum-lab’ concept, check out Mejekawi for its twelve course tasting menus.
Where to stay in Bali
There are so many areas worth staying in Bali that it would be tough to list them all, but here are a few favourites:
If you want a reasonably priced stay, try Serenity Eco Guesthouse for bed and breakfast at around $32. It is around 150 metres from Canggu beach and rooms are simple, but there is a yoga studio and swimming pool too.
Ubud is a hugely popular area with many options. You can’t really go wrong with Taman Indrakila; you’ll pay around $40 per night for a lovely bungalow set in a jungle environment. There’s also a swimming pool right on the side of a cliff.
Arjuna Homestay is a great option for those on a budget. Homestays are wonderful if you want to immerse yourself in Balinese family life, although it doesn’t always happen quite like that. Expect to pay around $28 per night to be close to the diving opportunities of Menjangan island. It also has a pool.
At Teras Bali you can get your own comfortable double for around $40. You’ll be surrounded by gorgeous rice fields, and the swimming pool is something special.
It may now be clear why Bali features so highly on the lists of holidaymakers, travelers, and digital nomads from all around the world. Most have similar goals when it comes to Bali: they are there to experience the amazing scenery, chilled out lifestyle, reasonable cost of living and, for some, a convenient working life. Bali really has it all.