Bali is a fantastic island that, in spite of being in the searchlight of mass tourism through many decades, still is deeply rooted in its Hindu culture with grand ceremonies and temples. And if you search properly, you can still find your own secret beach to explore! If you want to really connect with Bali and its local people, you should spend at least 2-3 weeks here. And if you're up for action - join the surf camp on Bali.
An island of contrasts
If you choose to only stay in the capital Kuta, you will probably not find much else than what a typical tourist-metropolis can offer you. The smooth beach is surrounded by cafes, bars, restaurants, shopping opportunities and plenty of invasive salespeople that are trying to push all sorts of stuff on you. But outside of this tourist magnet hides great experiences: Volcanoes, hidden beaches, fantastic Hindu temples, cozy villages and last but not least the welcoming and open inhabitants. Bali is actually the only Hindu place in Indonesia, something that culturally puts it apart from the rest of the region.
It is very easy to get transport in Bali. If you want to travel around the island you should hire a driver for the day. He will drive you wherever you wish to go, tell you about the sights, wait for you if you want a rest or experience something special, and in the end, safely get you back home. Ask your hotel to arrange transport for you, or simply ask the local drivers personally. They are just about everywhere, so they are easy to spot.
Beachlife, surfing and palm trees
Bali is surrounded by great beaches in all sizes;
- Kuta-Legian-Seminyakoffers long beaches with massive waves. Great for surfing! Many restaurants, bars and shops near the beach.
- Nusa Duaoffers golden sand, less people and a calmer atmosphere than Kuta. Here you will find many exclusive hotels.
- Lovina Beachis situated on the northern coast and has black volcanic sand and few tourists. This is a perfect place for relaxation, diving, snorkelling and a great spot to see dolphins.
- Sanuris surrounded by coral reefs and offers many cosy beach hotels, restaurants and shops. Swimming is only possible during the high tide due to the massive rocks/cliffs.
- Jimbaran Beachhas a few hotels, fewer tourists and a great beach. Good for sailing and safe swimming. Here, you can sit directly on the beach and enjoy a seafood dinner while you watch the sunset.
- Dreamland Beachhas up to recently been one of the hidden treasures of Bali. Only a few locals and some adventurous travellers used to know about it, but recently it has become more known. A crisp, white beach and gigantic waves makes it a great spot but be careful of the strong tide!
- Uluwatuoffers you the best sunset view on the entire island. This is also the perfect place for the hard-core surfers.
Ubud is a cultural spot that offers a series of galleries and temple dances every afternoon. Here you can also experience the Monkey Forest with exotic trees and plenty of monkeys!
Food and beverage
Don’t miss out on the local dishes, like Nasi goreng (fried rice with vegetables, fried eggs and meat), Saté/satay (small chicken skewers and peanut sauce), Babi guling (BBQ pig) or Mee goreng (fried noodles with vegetables and sometimes meat included) - And don’t forget to enjoy the food with the local beer Bintang.