Visiting Bali - What to See and Do
(Bali Ngurah Rai International Airport DPS, Indonesia)
Colourful, cultural, historical and stunningly lovely, Bali's nickname - the 'Island of the Gods' - is well deserved, as is its worldwide reputation as a tropical paradise island. Its pride is its diverse landscape with its terraced rice paddies, volcanic hillsides, mountains, glorious beaches, coastal attractions and lush forests, and its joy is reflected in the Balinese peoples' unique and spiritual culture on display within its spectacular festivals.
One of the world's favourite island destinations, Bali
offers archaeological, cultural and historical treasures, world-class surf breaks and dive sites, endless sandy beaches, sparkling waters and a plethora of fascinating things to see and do. Its cultural heartland is the central interior, while its tourism hub lies around Kuta Beach. The southern peninsula and the pretty coastal villages of East Bali are backed by soaring mountain ranges and an active volcano.
Favourite destinations within the regions are party central Kuta, Sanur with its family friendly resorts, trendy upscale Seminyak, and Ubud for its art, dance, museums and monkey forest. Kintomani is home to volcanic Mount Batur, while Bedugul's mountain lakes, golf course and the Ulun Danu Bratan temple offer a peaceful retreat. For black-sand beaches, traditional fishing villages and spectacular scuba diving, Amed is the place.
Ten things you must do in Bali
- Experiencing the varied charms of Bali's most breathtaking beaches makes for a dream holiday, whether it is water sport attractions or just lazing that you are after. Surfers love Kuta Beach, authentic Bali surrounds Sanur Beach, Nusa Dua Beach provides every luxury, and the best-kept Balinese secret is heavenly Pantai Pasir Putih Beach near Candidasa.
- Head to Ubud for living, breathing traditional Balinese culture, including ancient synchronised dances and the music of a gamelan orchestra, a session with a spiritual healer, the 9th-century Elephant Caves with their exquisite stone carvings, and the holiest temple of all, Pura Besakih, the Mother Temple.
- A fascinating morning's visit to the 17th-century Pura Bukit Sari Temple near Denpasar has the added bonus of getting up close and personal with the tribe of macaque monkeys, whose home is in the Sangeh Monkey Forest's groves of nutmeg trees surrounding the temple. These cheeky primates are expert thieves, so watch your belongings!
- A must for nature-lovers is the Bali Butterfly Park, home to over 300 species including the rare Birdwing butterfly. The early morning is the best time to arrive, as the air is filled with fluttering beauty when the insects begin to feed. The park is known for its breeding and conservation efforts.
- If you are travelling as a family, the Bali Safari and Marine Park is an absolute must for a great day out. Highlights include white tigers, as well as hundreds of other animals, a water park, theme park rides, various animal shows and the chance to stay overnight and see it all again the next day.
- A safe, four-level thrill a minute is the promise of the Bali Tree Top Adventure Park, another great family activity on the island. Rope and zip-lining courses high in the trees are offered, with safety ensured by a rope attachment to a mountaineer safety harness. Both adults and kids from five years old and up will love this.
- Diving and snorkelling heaven with vibrant marine life awaits on deserted Menjangan Island, part of the stunning West Bali National Park. Chartered boats from Labuhan Lalang take you to the island's beautiful coastline and dive operators in conservation-committed Pemuteran can arrange permits and equipment. The island is tiny and can be explored in around an hour.
- Visiting the traditional fortnightly buffalo races at Delod Berawah could well be the highlight of your trip. The races, thought to have originated in Java, were part of nearby Negara village's Harvest Festival celebrations for centuries and involve buffalo-drawn colourful carts racing around a 4-km / 2.5-mile course on the second and fourth Sundays of each month.
- South Bali's incredibly beautiful Tanah Lot Temple is perched on an offshore rock shielded from the elements by trees, with this notable attraction being built by a Hindu holy man roughly 600 years ago. Onshore is touristy in excess, with vendors crowding the beach road, but the temple itself is a spiritual haven of peace.
- A day exploring the diverse ethnic enclaves in the old capital of Bali, Singaraja, will fascinate visitors interested in the history of the island. A maze of tiny shopping streets backs the now unused harbour and colonial influences are still to be seen. Nearby are the glorious black sand beaches of Lovina.