With luxury beachfront villas that won’t break the bank, banquets laden with fresh local flavours and vibrant street markets that ring out with hundreds of haggling hawkers, Australians’ ongoing love affair with Bali doesn’t look to be wearing off anytime soon. Ancient temples and artistic retreats all give the island a sacred tone and, though an extremely popular holiday destination, it’s easy to step off the tourist trail.
Fringed by a combination of white and black sand beaches and boasting a lush green interior, Bali is blessed with dazzling natural beauty and is a spiritual heartland boasting some of the richest culture in this part of the world. Whether you're exploring the temples of Ubud and its surrounding rice fields or simply lazing on the beaches of exclusive Nusa Dua, laid-back Kuta or trendy Seminyak, there's definitely a slice of Bali for everyone.
Soak up some local culture at…
- Spectacular Tanah Lot temple
- An ashram in the Ubud hills
- A traditional batik factory
Had your fill of spectacular Seminyak sunsets? Head on out to Pura Besakih – Bali’s revered ‘mother temple’ – check out the critters at Ubud’s famous Monkey Forest, or simply pamper yourself in an authentic Balinese spa. There’s definitely no shortage of delights on offer at this eclectic island paradise!
Exploring the island's numerous Hindu temples is one of the most popular things to do in Bali. Pura Ulun Danu Bratan at the edge of pretty Lake Bratan in Bedugal is one of the most picturesque, although Pura Luhur Uluwatu on the Bukit Peninsula is perhaps the most accessible. Inland, one of Ubud's best-known attractions is Goa Gajah, the so-called 'Elephant Cave', which comes with the World Heritage seal of approval.
The whole family will love...
- A splash at Waterbom Park, Kuta
- Ubud’s Sacred Monkey Forest
- The Bali Treetop Adventure Park
Street food in Bali is common and often includes the popular satay dish 'Sate Lilit' – a grilled dish of minced seafood served on a lemongrass stick. Unlike the rest of the predominantly Muslim nation, Bali is a great place to eat pork dishes such as 'Babi Guling' – a ceremonial dish of roast suckling pig served with rice.
With a large number of expats taking residence here, Bali is a very multicultural dining destination which means there are few cravings that can’t be satiated on your trip. Try seafood in Jimbaran, enjoy the beachside bars at Seminyak, or live lightly on health foods in Ubud. The locals are always up for a drink and though Bintang is ubiquitous, the local Storm microbrewery might just have the edge when it comes to taste!
Don’t leave Bali without trying...
- Stuffed duck (Bebek Betutu)
- Arak (local liquor made from tuak)
- Sambal (spicy chilli sauce)
The island of Bali has long been Indonesia’s star on the tourism scene; its seaside hubs like Kuta and Nusa Dua share the spotlight with peaceful inland villages. The island contains a diverse range of places to stay. From cheap 'losmen' bungalows and guesthouses to luxurious 5-star resorts, Bali accommodation offers something for absolutely everyone.
If you're backpacking your way around the island, then Kuta is an obvious first port of call, while nearby beach towns such as Seminyak and Nusa Dua offer more exclusivity. If you're after a more culturally enlightening experience, head for the highlands around Ubud. Private villas are dotted across the island, with the largely undeveloped coastal regions of West Bali perhaps the quietest place to unwind.
Grab your towel and head for...
- Kuta Beach – Bali’s most famous
- A Balinese spa, to rest and relax
- Your 5-star hotel pool
Enticing conversion rates make shopping a popular pastime for visitors to Bali. From inexpensive trinkets at Kuta Art Market to high-end clothes and jewellery in Seminyak, Bali offers a great range of shopping options.
Monkey Forest Road in Ubud is one of the island's most popular shopping thoroughfares and boasts a wide array of venues, from boutique handicraft stalls to upmarket fashion outlets. Hire a car to visit the craftsmen villages in nearby Tegallalang and Batubulan and you’ll likely need a shipping container to get all your shopping home - luckily this service is offered at many places in Bali!
Snap up local designer...
- Tableware at Jenggala Keramik, Jimbaran
- Clothing at Biasa, Seminyak
- Furniture at Living Karma, Kerobokan
Bali like a Local
While you could easily spend your entire Bali holiday by the water, why not explore a little further? Mount Agung may be the highest mountain on the island, but Mount Batur is the summit to scale for spectacular sunrise views.
For the adventurous of spirit, you can scale to the top of the active volcano from the small village of Penelokan on the southern side, where a 1,717-metre climb will reward you with vast panoramic views across the island and beyond.
While south Bali is primed for sunning and shopping, its verdant interior is rich in tradition and culture. Visit the organic eateries and galleries of Ubud before exploring outlying temples, rice paddies and sleepy nearby villages including Penestanan and Campuhan.
When in Bali, remember to...
- Wear long clothing to temples in respect
- Leave a little food on your plate ‘for the gods’
- Use both hands when giving or receiving