Bali has been an iconic holiday destination for over 40 years. Known affectionately as the Island of the Gods, this Hindu island is famed for its stunning beaches, pumping waves, buzzing nightlife, marvelous gastronomic scene, and friendly locals. The mere mention of Bali evokes a tropical paradise where people hope to escape to for a week, and stay for a lifetime.
Bali is the most famous of the 17,500 islands that make up the Indonesian Archipelago. It was first inhabited 4,000 years ago by Chinese migrants. In the 11th Century, Islam began spreading throughout Indonesia and over the next few centuries, Bali saw the ebb and wane of several kingdoms and dynasties. The Island of Gods resisted control from Javanese rulers, preserving their culture while their Hindu religion slowly developed. Hinduism grew exponentially during this time and some of its most prized relics like the temple Pura Tanah Lot are still flocked to by thousands of visitors every week.
Today, over 80% of Bali’s economy depends on tourism. Despite the massive influx of foreigners across the Island, Balinese inhabitants maintain a strong Hindu reverence, tight-knit community, and a distinctively amicable nature.
There’s no shortage of accommodation in Bali and you’re guaranteed to find something that suits your budget, whether it’s a luxurious beachfront villa, sumptuous hotel room or a simple guest house. As with all tourist destinations, prices are generally higher during peak season (July – August and Christmas).
WHERE TO STAY
Deciding where to stay will largely depend on what you plan to do on the island. Couples and friends will enjoy the buzzing scene offered in Seminyak and Petitenget: chock full of spas, restaurants, trendy beach clubs, and revelrous bars, it’s the perfect spot to enjoy all of Bali’s spoils with ease.
For those who prefer to be far from the madding crowd, Canggu is a premiere choice. Canggu still holds some of the charms of “old Bali” but is not in anyway short of great dining options, boutiques, or spas. Canggu also boasts some of the best surf breaks in the world, such as legendary Echo Beach and Berawa.
Located in the south, Bali’s Bukit peninsula offers some of the best and most consistent waves in the world. Uluwatu, Bingin, Balangan and Padang-Padang are advanced surf spots that are not for the faint of heart. Currents are strong and barreling waves reveal shallow waters atop of sharp, unforgiving reef.
Even if surfing isn’t your thing, the Bukit is lined with some of the most picture-perfect beaches in Bali, with crystal clear waters and powder-white sand. Spend the day shell picking in Uluwatu and exploring the lively rock pools during low tide. There are plenty of cool caves to clamber into for a midday snooze before traversing the cliff in search of some tasty grub and panoramic views of the Indian Ocean
For the avid yogis and artistic types, Ubud is the perfect place to relax and unwind amidst the cool tropical rainforest with other like-minded people. Ubud is bursting with yoga schools, vegan restaurants, art markets, and galleries.
Bali offers the widest range of activities imaginable, but here is our top 10.
Spend the day at the beach with a cold Bintang
Dine at some of Seminyak’s most iconic restaurants
Go diving in the East
Climb Mount Batur, one of Bali’s dormant volcanoes
Get a surf lessons (for beginners) or surf some world-class waves
Take a yoga class
Go dolphin watching in Lovina
See the Jatiluwih rice terraces in Ubud (Unesco World Heritage site)