Bali is the most popular island holiday destination in the Indonesian archipelago. The island’s home to an ancient culture that’s known for its warm hospitality. Exotic temples and palaces set against stunning natural backdrops are some of its top attractions. Dining in Bali presents endless choices of local or far-flung cuisine. After sunset, famous nightspots come to life offering exciting clubbing and packed dance floors. Inland, towering volcanoes and pristine jungles greet you with plenty to see and do. Most can’t stay away from the beach for long, though. Enjoy amazing beach resorts and luxury resorts in any of Bali’s famous areas. These include Kuta, Seminyak and Jimbaran where most of the great hotels and villas are right on the beach. They’re also home to most of Bali’s exciting surf spots. For tranquil seascapes and sunrises, the eastern beach resorts are your best bets. These include Sanur, Nusa Dua and the remote coast of Candidasa are your best bets.
Island of the Gods
The rich and diverse culture of Bali plays out at all levels of life, from the exquisite flower-petal offerings placed everywhere, to the processions of joyfully garbed locals shutting down major roads as they march to one of the myriad temple ceremonies, to the otherworldly traditional music and dance performed island-wide. Almost everything has spiritual meaning. The middle of Bali is dominated by the dramatic volcanoes of the central mountains and hillside temples such as Pura Luhur Batukau (one of the island’s estimated 10,000 temples), while the tallest peak, Gunung Agung, is the island’s spiritual center.
One Island, Many Destinations
On Bali you can lose yourself in the chaos of Kuta or sybaritic pleasures of Seminyak and Kerobokan, surf wild beaches in the south or just hang out on Nusa Lembongan. You can go family-friendly in Sanur or savour a lavish getaway on the Bukit Peninsula. Ubud is the heart of Bali, a place where the culture of the island is most accessible, and it shares the island’s most beautiful rice fields and ancient monuments with east and west Bali. North and west Bali are thinly populated but have the kind of diving and surfing that make any journey worthwhile.
Yes, Bali has beaches, surfing, diving and resorts great and small, but it’s the essence of Bali – and the Balinese – that makes it so much more than just a fun-in-the-sun retreat. It is possible to take the cliche of the smiling Balinese too far, but in reality, the inhabitants of this small island are indeed a generous, genuinely warm people. There’s also a fun, sly sense of humor. Upon seeing a bald tourist, many locals exclaim ‘bung ujan’, which means today’s rain is cancelled – it’s their way of saying that the hairless head is like a clear sky.
At the end of the day (which is the start of the day for some visitors), Bali’s rich culture, many amazing sights and truly lovely people are what takes Bali’s sheer delight to another level. Because Bali is fun, no matter what you want or who you are. Seminyak has shops and designers, Kerobokan has lux beachhead resorts and superb eating, Kuta and Legian have the nightlife, and Canggu wraps it all into one irresistible package. Plunge deep into Bali’s spirit while renewing your own in Ubud or catching the perfect wave in Bingin. You name it, it’s here.