Known as the Island of Gods, Bali is the trendiest island holiday destination in the Indonesian archipelago, receiving more than 15 million visitors per year. Some of them like the place so much that they either decide to extend their days there or come back as soon as possible – and there are good reasons for doing this! From exotic temples perched over the ocean, to white sand beaches, green rice paddies, waterfalls and an active volcano, the island pleases pretty much every type of traveler. Keep reading to found out more of what the island offers.
The largest Hindu population of Indonesia lives in Bali. Therefore, Hindu temples can be found almost everywhere, scattered throughout the island; and in some of them, it may be possible to visit and be part of the religious rituals.
Pura Tirta Empul was created thousands of years ago and is located near Ubud. Its name means “temple of the holy spring” and it is known for the rituals of purification which the Hindus perform in its sacred waters. At the site there are 13 fountains, each with a different meaning or purpose, so that the faithful can choose in which one to bathe. The temple is full of spirituality, so some rules are required, such as wearing appropriate clothing, including the sarong (which can be borrowed at the entrance if you do not have one). As a sign of respect, women should tie their hair when entering the temple.
The Uluwatu Temple is another Hindu temple in Bali and is located high on a cliff above the waves of the Indian Ocean. The temple is dedicated to Dewa Rudra and is believed to protect Bali from evil sea spirits. Balinese culture believes that good spirits are closer to the center of the island – where Mount Agung is – and evil spirits are in the ocean. For this reason, the further from the water, the better, and that is why the temple in Uluwatu has an important protective function – to prevent evil spirits from entering the island. When you visit, be aware of the monkeys, as they may rob you of your belongings (at the entrance there is a sign asking people to keep sunglasses and other accessories in their bag, just in case).
Other temples can be found all over the island – Pura Taman Sarawasti and Pura Lempuyang ? to name a few more.
Ps: Women on their period are prohibited to enter the temples, as they are sacred areas. Please, respect their customs.
Indonesia is one of the world’s largest producers and consumers of rice. Although you can find rice paddies all over the country, it is in Bali that the most famous ones are located, such as the Tegalalang, which is located very close to Ubud. Tegalalang is one of the most photographed places in Bali, and its fame can be attributed to the movie Eat, Pray, Love.
There are other rice fields on the island, most of them located in Ubud and Canggu.
Beaches and surf points
Some beaches in Bali are not as inviting – especially for those acquainted to the Caribbean or the Mediterranean – because they have dark sand, rough seas and lots of people. But it is still possible to find white sand beaches and crystal clear waters that are great for snorkeling, surfing or just relaxing. Spending the day at the beach or simply going to watch one of the spectacular Balinese sunsets is something everyone should do.
Padang Padang is one of the most distinguished beaches in Bali, having starred in Eat, Pray and Love. The beach is surrounded by rocks, so you will need to go down some steps and pass through a narrow rocky passage to reach its crystal-clear waters.
For surfers, it is also possible to find great spots in the south of the island, such as Uluwatu. The Blue Point is a jewel for surfers and it is a delight to the eyes of those who do not surf – there you will be able to take a dip, but beware of the corals.
Some hotels have private beaches, giving guests the feeling of being isolated. For example, Kubu beach is reserved for guests of the Ayana group, and is surrounded by cliffs with green vegetation; so you will need to descend the stairs or take a lift, with panoramic views, to reach the sand and the clear sea below.
For a magical sunset, Dreamland beach offers not only good views, but also a good stretch of sand that allows people to spread out to enjoy the moment. In addition, the beaches in Seminyak and Canggu – although not inviting for a swim (due to dark sand) – are great spots to watch the setting sun at the end of the day, whether sitting on the sand of the beach or in one of the many beach clubs.
If you plan to be more in touch with nature and achieve some peace of mind, a quick stop and a dip in the waterfalls of Bali may be the answer.
Bali has so many waterfalls that you will probably need more than one visit to get to know all of them, but the most famous ones are closer to Ubud and in the north of the island.
I mentioned in a post that volcanoes are present in many parts of the Indonesian archipelago, and Bali is no different. One of the activities that many undertake is to trek the still active Mount Batur, usually to see the sunrise.
It is also possible to see one of the most recently erupting volcanoes – Mount Agung ? also located in northern Bali.
Bali has several beach clubs for people to spend time enjoying the pool, the sound of the DJ, and eating and drinking. You will find several on the island, but I will name a few: Finns, La Brisa and my favorite The Lawn, all in Canggu; Ku de Ta, Potato Head and Tropicola, in Seminyak; Omnia, Karma Beach Bali, Sundays Beach Club, El Kabron Cliff and Ibiza in Bali, in the south of the island; and Jungle Fish Bali and Folk Pool and Gardens, in Ubud.
Finally, Bali is a healthy food paradise. There are many mouthwatering options to choose from. All types of salads and smoothie bowls to vegetarian and vegan options can be found all over the island.
And the plates are so pretty and cute, totally social media worthy, that the meal is even more enjoyable. Just be careful, they are so pretty you’ll probably be feeling sorry for digging in to eat 😉
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