Bali Destination Guide
Australians have had an ongoing love affair with Bali and its allure is yet to wear off. It might have something to do 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. From ancient temples to artistic retreats, it’s easy to step off the tourist trail in Bali. Fringed by a combination of white and black sand beaches and boasting a lush green interior, Bali is blessed with resplendent natural beauty and is also a spiritual heartland boasting some of the richest culture in this part of the world. Whether you're lazing on the beaches of Nusa Dua or exploring the temples of Ubud, there's something in 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? Then 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 no shortage of delights on offer on 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 also a great place to eat pork, 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 also a very multicultural dining destination. Try tapas at Cuca in Jimbaran, dine in elegance at Bambu in Seminyak, or live it up at Locavore, Ubud. The locals are always up for a drink and Bintang is ubiquitous, although locally brewed Storm and Anker are tasty microbrews.
The island of Bali has long been Indonesia’s star on the tourism scene; its seaside hubs like Kuta and Nusa Dua sharing the spotlight with peaceful inland villages. The island contains a diverse range of places to stay. From cheap 'losmen' bungalows and guest houses to luxurious five-star resorts, Bali accommodation offers something for everyone. If you're backpacking your way around the island, then Kuta is an obvious first port of call. If you're after a more culturally enlightening experience, head for the highlands around Ubud instead. Private villas are dotted across the island, with the largely undeveloped coastal regions of West Bali perhaps the quietest place to relax.
Grab your towel and head for...
- Kuta Beach – Bali’s most famous
- A Balinese spa, to rest and relax
- Your 5-star hotel pool
Some enticing conversion rates make shopping a popular pastime for visitors to Bali. From inexpensive trinkets to high-end clothes and jewellery, Bali offers a great range of shopping options. Monkey Forest Road in Ubud is one of the island's most popular shopping thoroughfares. It boasts a wide array of venues, from boutique handicraft stalls to upmarket fashion outlets. The Kuta Art Market is a good place to test your haggling skills, but make sure you bring an extra suitcase given the multitude of souvenirs on offer!
Snap up some souvenirs...
- With a stop at Kuta Art Market
- On a trip to Parpen’s silversmiths
- At one of Bali’s traditional markets
Bali like a Local
While you could easily spend your Bali holiday by the pool, 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 depart for 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 yoga retreats.
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