Bali is a unique island that cannot be compared to any other place in the world, offering year-round tropical climate, lush greenery and deep-rooted spiritual traditions.
Visitors are greeted by rich culture that starts with flower-petal offerings placed on every corner, joyful processions, temples and ceremonies.
The inside of Balinese people is as beautiful as the outside – you will be greeted by warm smiles of genuinely generous people.
Bali is also an island of an incredible diversity - for example, surfers enjoy the wild beaches in the south of the island, beachgoers hang out in Seminyak, those looking for a real island city experience get lost in Kuta, and those seeking yoga and meditation often choose Ubud, dubbed the spiritual and cultural capital of Bali. In the middle of the island, travelers can enjoy mountains, volcanoes and mountain temples - like Pura Luhur Batukau.
An average budget of $100-220 USD per day will get you a room at a mid-range hotel ($50 - $150 per night), you will be able to eat and drink almost anywhere and enjoy daily Spa treatments and other luxuries.
Here is an overview of the main destinations in Bali that would help every traveler choose what’s dear to their heart.
The streets in Ubud are lined with galleries and boutique shops, where local artisans offer their creations, and women carry flower offerings on their heads. In the evening, musical, unique dance performances reverberate through the streets. Yoga, meditation, health food restaurants and cafes attract spiritual seekers, yogis and those looking for a different kind of vacation.
Seminyak loves fashion, glitz, boutique designer shops, international cool restaurants, coffee shops, bars and cute hotels. Amazing beach bars and restaurants surround with tropical beach vibes. Where the beach ends in JI Abimanyu visitors can go right for the loud beach scene, or turn left and enjoy more tranquil beach bar experience, great for watching sunsets. Try Champlung beach bar with soft chairs in the sand.
Kuta beaches offer 12km of sand, beach bars and entertainment. This is the beach stretch that made Bali surfing famous, and still continues to do so, now with an air of sophistication. Canggu is trendy, with a nascent eco-chic surfer vibe, health food and amazing waterfront bar-restaurants. Kerokoban, an upscale town, also has some of the best beach restaurants in Bali – or you can try Batubelig beach experience, full of rustic beach cafes. Echo Beach offers great surf waves, amazing sunsets and beach cafes to watch the show in the water.
These are beautiful, idyllic beaches of Bali, where white sand and green lush hills meet the blue sea. These beaches, dotted with surfer bars built on bamboo stilts, are perfect for surfers and for beach lovers. Some of the most beautiful beaches there are Padang Padang, Bingin and Balangan. Make sure you try the cliff-top cafe and visit the temple at Uluwatu beach that offers sweeping views of green limestone cliffs and the Indian ocean. Balangan Beach offers cute hotels on the sand, while in Bingin you will be staying in one of the cliff-top boutique hotels.
Uluwatu has a lot to offer - a sea temple on top of a cliff and Bali’s most exquisite surfing, though the conditions might sometimes be challenging. It sits on Bukit Peninsula, lined with surfer cafes along the beach and restaurants offering amazing sunset views.
Kuta, a bit hurried and frenetic, offers all-night partying and clubbing as well as family holidays – it has it all. You have to give it to Kuta – this is where Bali tourism began. Now, its streets are crowded, full of motorbikes, cheap cafes, street restaurants and surf shops on every corner. There are still cheap surfer-style hotels available for $10-15 USD per night. Families who like standard holidays can enjoy chain hotels, and those who are into mainstream culture can head to its Western shopping malls. Therefore, Kuta is not for everyone. However, its main attraction is an excellent beach that offers any kind of water sports – surfing, diving, sailing or rafting.
Bali’s rice-growing traditions are added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Jatiluwih Rice Fields are the fertile ancient rice terraces that are both beautiful and elegant, green and enchanting. Visitors can bike, walk or drive through green rice fields, taking in the unique landscape.
It’s sacred Bali’s temple in the clouds, located in Tabanan, on a slope of Mount Batukaru, which is Bali’s second-highest volcano. Built in the 11th century, it’s one of nine temples, meant to protect the island from evil spirits. Those who are going up for the summit of Mount Batukaru, will inevitably stop at Pura Luhut temple.
Located on the scenic road between Pancasari and Seririt, a small village of Munduk has beautiful, powerful waterfalls that are attracting nature-loving hikers. A series of jungle trails lead to the waterfalls, which, they say, are most impressive in February.
Pemuteran, still quite underdeveloped and located in the northwest of Bali, is a quiet, mellow place, where traditional culture is highly present. Dotted with temples, full of smiling people and best diving and snorkeling spots, Pemuteran is also your gateway to Bali’s best dive spot – Menjangan island.
Palau Menjangan is a tiny island, located 5 miles to the north west of Bali. It’s Bali’s best spot for diving and snorkeling, offering a breathtaking underwater world. Its name means “deer,” as it was once inhabited by dozens of wild deers, whose population continues to decline - therefore, the island was deemed a West Bali National Park. For the Balinese, it’s a sacred island, containing eight important temples. And while it’s uninhabited, it’s always full of people - divers, snorkelers and local worshippers. Divers can enjoy the wreck of Dutch naval ship from 19th century (Ancor Wreck); another famous dive site is the Coral Garde.
From Ubud, it’s an easy day’s trip to reach Gunung Kawi - the ancient temple complex built around royal tombs that are carved into cliffs. The complex is located alongside river, surrounded by green rice terraces that offer breathtaking views.
Some Bali visitors decide to take a boat to nearby Gili islands (90 min boat ride away). They are great for diving, snorkeling and some relaxed, social beach scene (Gili Trawagan will greet you with loud beach bars). However, these islands have been receiving controversial reviews due to the exploitation of wild horses - the only means of transportation on the islands. If you decide to go, refuse the horse carriages, and book your hotel close to the port so you can walk with your own feet.
You might have heard about Bali’s famous Kopi Luwak, which is the world’s most expensive coffee. It’s produced by civets, wild animals that look somewhat like cats. The coffee is made from the coffee beans, which have been digested by civet, collected, washed and made into coffee. The civet is said to have a special nose for the best coffee beans, and its digestion process alters the bean’s properties, adding flavorful notes. The best Kopi Luwak is produced from wild civets that live in the jungle and collect their own coffee beans. However, Kopi Luwak coffee has become a cruel industry. Civets are often closed in cages and fed coffee bean diet. This farmed coffee is produced from animal cruelty, and we do not advise consuming it. Check if your Kopi Luwak comes from wild civets before buying.