Bali has long been touted as one of the best holiday destinations in Asia. Known as a place called the Island of the Gods, it has a rich cultural heritage, a fantastic line-up of show-stopping landscapes, sun-kissed white sand beaches, a variety of accommodation from the most modest backpackers’ lodges to five-star luxury hotels, mouth-watering savoury dishes and awesome spa and massage clinics. Bali is a place that is great to visit almost any time of the year, with the best times during the dry season, from April until October, when the weather is warm and the temperatures only reach an average of 26°C to 29°C (80°F — 85°F).
From Sydney, Bali is only five hours away. If you live in Perth, the distance is even shorter and you can reach Bali within three hours. Bali offers several options for travel, depending on the type of traveller you are. There are travel packages for solo travellers, for couples and even for families, so it is easy to draw up your itinerary. Here are some locations that you can include in your itinerary and some activities to look forward to when you decide to spend your holiday in Bali, which is called by many names. It’s been called the Island of Love, Morning of the World, Island of Peace, Jewel of Indonesia and Asia’s Playground. So why not try to discover why the island has been called as such?
A beauitful experience at Kuta Beach
Kuta Beach is a favourite among tourists from all over. It’s great for sunbathing, surfing and swimming. Staying at Kuta Beach means being very casual, from your clothes down to your footwear. You can have your hair plaited on the beach or get a traditional Indonesian massage beneath the palm trees. You can surf or swim or ride a banana boat or try parasailing. Several water-related activities abound and it is up to you to choose which one suits your fancy. Before the sun goes down, people are known to gather at the beach to watch Kuta’s awesome sunset. When the sun has gone down, the beach gets livelier, as restaurants and bars try to attract customers with loud music. Various types of accommodation are available at Kuta Beach and nearby village of Sanur.
Perasi Beach also known as Pasir Putih
Perasi Beach is one of Bali’s hidden beaches, more popularly known as Pasir Putih, Virgin Beach or White Sand Beach. Getting there might be a bit cumbersome so you need to guide. Despite its name, the sand on the beach is white, with streaks of black sand. The waves here are calmer and the atmosphere is more serene. It’s still a great area for sunbathing, snorkelling and swimming. But one of the best things to do here is to indulge in the local and international food selection, the best of which are seafood and those coming from the grills of the cafés that only start to do business after sunset.
A hidden beach known as Green Bowl
This is another hidden beach, with white sand and crystal clear waters. Visitors here are still limited to about 25 each day, because the location of Green Bowl is a bit isolated. Situated behind tall trees and hills, access to the beach is feasible (at the moment) by climbing down hundreds of steps from the top of Ungasan hill, which is why very few venture to this place. Rather than get lost, find a reliable guide to take you there.
Green Bowl is a surfer’s paradise, and one of the best in Bali. The waves are strong at Green Bowl, but you can still indulge in other activities such as snorkelling, sunbathing and swimming. There are no accommodation facilities within the area, so expect to find lodging about 10 kilometres from the beach.
Climb Mount Agung
Mount Agung is Bali’s highest mountain and it’s quite famous for the climbing and trekking tours offered by many tour operators. You can have a choice of a long trip or a short trip, but any of the two could be challenging. The Mount Agung’s base are two large temples – Pasar Agung Temple and Besakih Temple. The roads from the temple leading to the mountain summit determines the length of your trip, with the road from Pasar Agung providing the shorter route. Although challenging, first of all because you will have to leave your hotel around two in the morning, you will be rewarded by one of the most fantastic sunrises you will ever see. You can have views of the top of low-lying clouds as they change color while below them, you will get the chance to see the islands of Nusa Penida and Lombok and Bali’s east and south sections while they are yet to waken.
River Tubing with Pro’s
If you are after a wild water adventure, whether you are 10 or 64 years of age, at the northeast side of Ubud are operators for river tubing adventure. You can safely maneuver through a 4.5 kilometre-trip on class II + rapids water, with the entire trip lasting for 1.5 hours. The entrance fee for the adventure covers return transfer in an air conditioned bus, safety equipment, professional guides and lunch, the use of towels and shower facilities and personal health insurance. You will need to bring your tubing outfit (swimsuit, river sandals, T-shirts and shorts), a change of clothes, sunscreen and some cash. If you want to take a video of your river tubing adventure, be sure to bring a waterproof camera. You will be provided with waterproof bags.
Quad bike around Bali in an epic adventure
If you are interested in exploring a traditional village in Bali, one of best things to do it is by off-road driving. Buggy tours is available in Bali, where you can have an easy time exploring behind the wheel of a 4-wheel 250cc buggy car that is a breeze to steer. Cross shallow rivers, explore large cocoa plantations and ride along miles of verdant rice fields. You have a choice of a 4-wheel motorcycle or an off-road car to go exploring and you can either drive yourself or be a co-pilot. The route takes you from the verdant plains, through a rainforest and up a mountain and the challenges along the way depends on you as well. This is a great chance to look beyond the touristy-side of Bali and learn about local culture, see natural landscapes and enjoy some hours of relaxation.
Water Park in Bali
Even if you have children with you, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Bali to keep them occupied and allow them to expend some of their bottled-up energies. Waterbom Bali is a water park, notably the best in Asia. Some of the latest attractions include the Flow Rider Double, a five-foot high stationary wave that can accommodate two riders. The Water Blaster gets children and young adults to practice their aim at targets to get their opponents wet, while the Euro Bungee catapults participants up to 9 metres into the sky. They even have one for toddlers! Waterbom Bali also has 13 main slides in three categories: mellow, moderate and extreme, so you can choose to challenge yourself with the slide’s difficulty or just enjoy zooming along until you reach the water.
Treetop Adventures at Bali’s Biggest Botanic Garden
One of the many adventures in the Bali Activities Tour is to explore the treetop park at the Bali Botanical Garden in Bedugul. You’re sure to have loads of fun here and the children will go crazy with the challenges included in the tour – 65 in all – that will challenge visitors of different ages and at different levels. There are Flying Swings, Flying Foxes, Tarzan Jumps, Spider Nets and Suspended Bridges. The adventure begins from two metres to 20 metres above the trees. Who says you can’t be Tarzan or a bird or a squirrel. In the treetops of the biggest botanical garden in Bali, you can!
Bali Safari & Marine Park
Safari and Marine Park
If you and your children are into animals, the Bali Safari & Marine Park will be a great place to visit. You can ride an elephant, view favourite animals closely at Animal Encounter or dine at Tsavo Lion Restaurant among porcupines, meerkats and lions. The Bali Theatre within the park has spectacular shows of the Bali Agung performance art group that continue to delight audiences. It also has a Water Park and Fun Zone for everyone. The park’s bus tours take visitors to view nearly 400 animals from Africa, India and Indonesia in natural surroundings. One of the park’s icons is the nine-metre tall statue of Ganesha, a Hindu deity with an elephant head that serves as the entrance to the Bali Theatre.
Famous Balinese Restaurant at Night
Sundara is a world-class restaurant, a new addition to the growing number of five-star restaurants in Bali. It brings the best of beach cultures in Australia to Bali’s shores, which allows for a great experience of beachfront dining. Sundara in Sanskrit means beautiful and this is due to the restaurant’s fantastic location – surrounded by lush greens and a wonderful spot in front of a beach. The cuisine is focused on grilled dishes, combining the flavours of Australia and Indonesia. The five-star atmosphere is complemented by a relaxed beach-club aura where the bar has daybeds and DJs play great music morning and night.
Bali Herbal Walks
This is a wonderful adventure to take to nourish and nurture your soul as well as your spirit. The Bali Herbal Walks are found in Ubud. It takes more than three hours to complete the walk that takes you to fields were a variety of herbs, plants and fruits that are used for medicinal purposes traditionally practiced by generations of Balinese are planted. You also learn how rice is cultivated and learn how roots, flowers and leaves are combined to heal specific ills, aches and pains and to make herbal teas and tonics during the practise class. The location is scented with a variety of herbs, as visitors get to smell and see samples of the various herbs, plants and roots, drink the sweet nectar of some flowers or the juice and meat of fresh young coconuts. In between, you are led to an organic restaurant.
Ku De Ta
Beach Club in Bali
Since it opened its doors in Seminyak in 2000, Ku De Ta has been hailed as one of the trendiest places to dine in Bali. It serves genuine international gourmet cuisine with a Mediterranean flair every day. There have been so many rave reviews about the restaurant, which is known for its high-quality food, an East meets West cultural ambience and at style that’s worthy of the praises it had so far received. About 80 full time staff ensure that each guest gets full service. Food served at Ku De Ta is as diverse as the people creating those wonderful dishes. Each day, flavourful dishes from America, Japan, Thailand, Morocco, Greece, Italy and France grace the tables of guests from eight in the morning until midnight.
Maya Ubud Resort
Maya Ubud Resort & Spa is an ideal location for couples, with its great view of the Paliatan Rice Terraces and the valley of the Petanu River. It’s an award-winning resort that offers modern comforts in its villas and rooms. It’s a luxury resort that carefully blends Balinese architecture with the fittings of modern hotels. It serves international cuisine at Maya Sari Mas and Asian cuisine at Maya Sari Asiatique. Free afternoon tea is offered at Bar Bedulu, while snacks and salads are available at River Café. Guests stay connected around the clock with free Wi-Fi across the property. Yoga sessions, tennis courts and massage services are available to guests.
Padlocks of Love
The tradition of locking their love with padlocks on bridges is also in Ubud, just like in romantic places such as Paris. The old bridge of Tjampuhan is the location of the “Love Tree’ in Ubud. Couples who want to seal their love and throw away the key or renew their vows of love for each other can order padlocks engraved with their names.
Sunset at Uluwatu Temple
The Uluwatu Temple is situated 70 metres above the sea on a cliff above the Indian Ocean. Tours are offered to visit the place where several hundred monkeys roam. The tour usually covers a full day, starting with a stop at the Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park where a giant statue of Lord Vishnu on the back of a Garuda bird is located. Afterwards you are taken to Padang Beach for part of the day before you proceed to the site of the Uluwatu Temple to view an incredible sunset from way up high. The tour culminates with the Kecak and Fire Dance Performance of some excerpts from Ramayana, performed close to the temple. Tour participants are later brought to local restaurant to have a special seafood dinner.