Located in Indonesian territory, Bali is part of the thirteen thousand islands that compose the world’s largest island country. Bali has the biggest Hindu population of Indonesia. It’s also the most popular destination in the country since the 80’s tourism was increase and is nowadays still on arising. Although recently shaking because of negative Mother Nature impact, the island is still a paradise. Below, you can find a few reasons to visit Bali in 2019.
Bali is relying on tourism-related business, which makes up 80% of its economy. It’s a very cultural island, where traditional meets modern, with painting, sculpture, silver, dance, and music to be found in every corner.
It is also part of the Coral Triangle, the area with the highest biodiversity of marine species. It’s a great spot for divers; you will find colourful coral but, also shipwreck sites. But, if you are a mountain lover you can still find it here. From amazing places to hike, incredible waterfalls to lush forests, there is so much more to offer. Just check out some of them.
1. The Food
If there is a place for foodies this place is Bali. For vegans Bali is at the top of the list when you talk about food, you will be very happy there with plenty of options to eat. We loved the idea of having always something for everyone.
Most of the spots in Bali produce they own products and someplace if you eat there you are also contributing for local community support. Bali is a win-win situation; you are eating healthy food and help.
Balinese cuisine uses a variety of spices, blended with fresh vegetables, meat and fish. The cuisine has influence from Chinese and Indian; as the inhabitants are majority Hindu the culinary are distinct from the rest of Indonesia. The island has numerous cooking schools where every day many tourists learn the traditional Balinese cuisine.
We love the local market, where we can buy fresh fruit. If you want a budget option of eating in Bali just go to warungs (food stands). They usually are small family business, specified on a certain menu. One of our favourites is My Warung, they have branches in most of the places on the island, like Canggu or Ubud (we went to this one). The food is delicious!
Bali has so many dishes to choose but, the base for everything is mostly rice. We love the Nasi Campur (mixed rice), Babi Guling (roasted suckling pig) or Iga Babi (pork ribs). Here you can also, treat yourself with a fabulous high tea. We love so much the one from Métis, they were so kind that they even made a special high tea for us because Sandrina is allergic to strawberries.
The island is world famous for the most expensive coffee in the world, Kopi Luwak, made from civets poop. However, we didn’t support this kind of places, every time we saw the little civet in cages. Please don’t support animal cruelty. Instead, go to others places, for example, where you can learn more about Balinese chocolates (they are delicious), we love the ones from POD.
2. Amazing Beaches and Surfing
The beaches in Bali are fantastic but, you will need to know where to find them. For example, we been in Kuta beach and didn’t think it was out of this world. Some of the beaches are black sand and other even have much trash there.
If you want to find some white sand beaches and turquoise waters you need to go to Nusa Dua, Uluwatu or Jimbaran. Local people know incredible secret beaches that don’t come in any guide or social media; if you ask nicely maybe they will share with you.
Bali is also known worldwide for being a surf paradise. Every surfer goes once in a lifetime for surfing the amazing waves. The best spots for beginners are Canggu, Seminyak, and Jimbaran. To more experienced surfers just try Uluwatu. You can easily arrange lessons and rent boards cheaply on the beaches.
3. Incredible Waterfalls
If you are a nature lover you certainly love waterfalls. You are in the right place; Bali is no short in options. We saw the most awesome waterfalls in our life here. We even can’t decide our favourite. First of all, you will see green everywhere you look. Although they still have so environmental issues, it is a good place to see nature everywhere.
Some people came to Bali to chase waterfalls. The north has the most untouched but, a few of them are in the deep jungle. From Banyumala, best swimming spot, to Aling Aling, where you can cliff jumping. Sekumpul waterfall, also in the north, is voted many times, one of the most beautiful on the island. But, there are more, Munduk, NungNung and Git Git waterfalls will make your dreams come true, were green lush is king.
If you are staying near Ubud, Tibumana waterfall is a good option, not so crowded but with a simple beauty and understated. Tukad Cepung waterfall is getting popular but, it isn’t easy to reach. You have to do a little trekking into the jungle, into a cave, and through a stream. The most visit waterfall in Bali got to be Tegenungan, so go early. We actually had lucky, we did go around 12:30 pm but it hasn't crowed. There is a nice and cheap restaurant with an amazing view over the waterfall; we did eat some Balinese food there. Good place, we totally recommended.
We did another waterfall, called Kanto Lampo but, we don’t think it worth a visit. It wasn’t anyone there at the time but, still not a good place to visit. If you are going to Bali, waterfalls should definitely be on the top of your list.
4. Temples & Religious Traditions
Bali is a religious place, with most of the people practice Balinese Hinduism. Which is a blend of Shivaism and Buddhism, originated is the island of Java. So, religious traditions are very rooted in the people. Usually, daily you will see in the temples, in the in the pavements or in the road offerings. Sometimes they have rituals and people dressed up and go to worship places, some ceremonies are open to foreign so it is a good thing to know more about the religious tradition.
One of the good reasons to visit Bali is the temples. In the north, you will see Ulun Danu Beratan temple (the floating temple), on the western side of Beratan Lake. Just go early as we did, to avoid the crowd.
For the sunset lovers, Tanah Lot is a good option, although we did go in the morning and it wasn’t so crowded, this is one of the highlight temples of Bali so, expect lots of people. We absolutely love Uluwatu temple, located in a high cliff top, it’s so scenic. If you go at sunset time you will also see Kecak (traditional Balinese Hindu dance) dance performance.
Just nearby you have Tirta Empul and Gunung Kawi. The first is one of the largest water temples in Bali and famous for its holy water that is used for purification rituals. Gunung Kawi is one of the oldest, to reach the complex, involves a beautiful walk and descending some 370 stone steps. Unfortunately, it was closed when we visit.
Goa Gajah, built on a hillside of a century old cave; Taman Ayun with greenery landscape and fish ponds; Goa Lawah built around a cave, home to a lot of bats; Luhur Lempuyang, the ancient temple and Besakih, the biggest and the holiest complex on the island; are some of the other temples in Bali.
5. The Wildlife
Bali have so much more to offer than beaches, temples, and waterfalls. There is a great variety of wildlife on the island, with endemic species like Bali Mynah, a bird that is native from here.
Balinese wildlife is everyone you go. One of our favourite places is the famous Monkey Forest in Ubud. The place is unique, dedicated to the monkeys, a relaxing and unbelievable experience, where you can contact with nature and see animals in their natural habitat. Even hotels in Bali are constructed most of the time to be incorporated in the surrounding environment. So, it's common to see lizards lurking around the pool or other areas.
If you are going hiking in Bali, you can occasionally encounter a small snake or others reptilians. In forests look for the tropical birds. The wildlife is Bali is also present in the ocean, with a great variety of sharks, manta rays, dolphins and fish of all colours and forms.
6. The Mountains & Hiking
If you think Bali is all about beaches, you are wrong. The island has everything, so if you want to take a break from beach time you will have plenty of mountains to hiking.
The most popular is mount Batur for the sunrise. This active volcano is reached by a 2h hiking; the view is stunning. We did schedule to do this but, sometimes the unpredictable weather will end your adventure, so we couldn’t go because it wasn’t safe. On the northwest of the island, the West Bali National Park is home to hundreds of species of animals, it worth a visit.
Sambangan nature hike, in the north, will take you to explore the tropical jungle, with waterfalls and endless rice fields. In Candidasa, you can check out the hills of a day tour trekking. But, for an easy trail go to Campuhan Ridge Walk in Ubud. We love it so much that end up going twice, on the sunrise and at sunset. It is so relaxed; if you need something refreshing at the ‘end’ you will have the amazing Karsa Kafe. We did go further a little bit; we end up seeing more rice terraces and an unbelievable view over the mountains.
7. The Islands Around
Bali has close islands that worth to explore. The nearest are Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan and of course the Gili islands.
For the most breathtaking landscapes, you have to go to Nusa Penida. It's also famous for the Kelingking coastal cliffscape, that looks like a 'T-Rex'. Nusa Lembongan has chill vibes, so good to surf also. Don't forget to seek the mangrove forest. This island is also known to a great place for cliff jump, you can do it at Devil's Tears and at Dream beach.
As for Nusa Ceningan, the smallest of the islands is great to escape from the craziness of the mainland Bali. Here you can find an incredible Blue Lagoon, a great spot for cliff jump, the secret beach where you can admire the clearest water in Nusa islands and the iconic yellow bridge, now titled as 'The Bridge of Love'.
Gili islands are a group of three small islands, Gili Trawangan, Gili Air, and Gili Meno. They are highly popular among divers, there is an abundance of marine life and attractive coral formations. Famous diving spots are Shark point, Manta point, and Simon's reef. What makes the islands so special is that automobiles and motorized traffic are prohibited, so it's preserved a big part of is natural environment.
You have to tag a few days to discover these islands.
We aren’t addicted to shopping but, if you are heading to Bali pack light. You will need another bag just for the amazing things that the island have. There are gorgeous boutiques but, also cheaper options and bargains in the local markets.
Of course, we end up with a few things, like a traditional Bali rattan bag, a handicraft leather bracelet, silver neckless and some souvenirs to our friends and family back home. You still have shopping malls to go but, most of the things we managed to buy in local markets. The Ubud market is one of the coolest, famous for the art; we end up here almost every day.
For art you will also have Kuta market, just lined up with designer brands shops. If you like to go to night markets, Garlic Lane is the place; a shopping street by day, a night market by night. We absolutely have to mention Tegallalang ‘handicrafts village’, the most prestigious handicraft community in the island. Don’t forget Bali is also good for silver and gold. In the village of Celuk, you can know everything about this. We love Studio Perak, you can actually have half-day experience there and produce your own piece of jewellery; we couldn’t do it because it was full at the time.
9.The Beach Clubs
In Bali there is a place everyone goes, that place is beach clubs. Ideal people gathering here to spend Sunday but, any time of the week is really good to go.
A popular one is Finns in Canggu offering a stunning 30-metre infinity edge pool with swim up pool bar. In Seminyak, everyone goes to Potato Head, home to one of the best sunset views in Bali. As for Uluwatu, Sunday Beach Cub with a stunning stretch of white sandy beach and, the island's best selection of fun water-
The recently open Omnia promise to raise the bar for beach clubs in Bali and, becoming the favourite beach club in the island. If your budget is tie like our, search for day pass options, usually is cheaper.
Anyway, the beach club is also a place where digital nomads go for sharing advice and experiences, sometimes there even have events to do this.
10. Fantastic Eco-Friendly Hotels
One of the things we love the most about Bali is that you have the chance to stay in eco-friendly hotels and not crashing your budget. Each one of them promises to have facilities, services, and practices all set to be sustainable.
Maya Ubud Resort and Spa have green practices in daily operations. You will also be invited to join its tree planting program, how cool is this? Anahata Villas & Spa Resort is good for families, with so many activities like cycling or rice field treks.
If you search for eco-friendly places, health and wellbeing are also associated in Bali. So, Bagus Jati Health & Well Being Retreat is the name. Located on the green lush of Tegallagang, it was designed to be incorporated in nature contours of the landscape. They have organic gardens, and the restaurant used all the products there, for cooking healthy meals.
One of the most famous eco-friendly hotels is Munduk Moding Plantation. No wonder why, it’s a mountain retreat with amazing views over the green hillsides and coffee plantations. Fivelements Bali Retreat is so ecological responsible with green building design in bamboo. A lot of practices were set, like tree planting, recycling non-organic waste and even naturally ventilated indoor space.
The Alchemist is a treehouse cabin near the beach where jungle living is a reality. The limestone walls add a fairy-tale touch. If you want to immerse in the deep jungle, Villa Pererepan is the place. There is only one villa, and this is one of a kind experience.
Swasti Eco Cottages are constructed out of recycled wood. You can make a lot of furry friends, like rabbits, goats or sheep at the organic farm. In Bali is also possible to glamping, in the mountains. The place name is Sang Giri, it’s a true adventure into the wild. Be prepared for magical sunrise.
Do you ever visit Bali? What is your favourite place? The island is full of things to do, which one does you like the most? Tell us everything is the comments below.
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