Come to paradise for surf, sun and celebration. No matter what your perfect Bali holiday entails, take a look at our suggested activities on the island.
Looking to relax? You’ve clearly come to the right place. You already know about the best beaches in Indonesia, but for Bali-specific relaxation, take a look at these three beautiful pieces of paradise:
Sanur Beach is anything but a snore. Located on a coastal stretch of Denpasar, about a 30-minute drive from Ngurah Rai International Airport, Sanur is a perfect beach for many travellers. It lacks many of the hassles found on more crowded Western beaches while providing restaurants and amenities usually absent from Eastern beaches.
The beach is thin, but is protected by reef and breakwaters, so you don’t need to fear about your belongings being washed away at a moment’s notice. If you visit, stay near the east end of the beach, as the west can be a little noisy (from plane and auto traffic).
Yes, we said beaches. Cangu is more a state of mind than an actual place – it is the catch-all name given to the stretch of land between Kerobokan and Echo beach. Here you will find several patches of sand, such as Batu Bolong Beach, Prancak Beach, Nelayn Beach and Berawa Beach. This area is popular for serious surfers and leisure travellers alike. Stop by the many beach shacks or drink vendors or sit and watch the fishermen at sea.
This is where tourism in Bali first began, and it’s easy to see why. Surf far out in the Indian Ocean on symmetrical breaks or stay on the sandy dunes that seem to stretch forever. Hawkers are more low-key here and the beach prides itself on being family-friendly. Try to get a spot near the south entrance for the best views and the best waves.
One of the many famous attractions in Denpasar, this palace is open to members of the community. It is donation-based and open to all for worship. Used regularly by the Royal Family, the ornately-carved grand stage of Satria Palace hosts dance performances and dinner parties on special occasions.
Whether you’re a seasoned mountain climber or a nature novice, there are plenty of things to do at Mt. Agung, the island’s most famous active volcano. Go for a morning trek 3000 metres into the sky or simply explore the base. This natural wonder is home to the Besakih Temple, considered the holiest temple in Bali – visit the holy ground before you head out on a hike or as a day activity.
This memorial commemorates the 2002 terrorist attack in Bali, considered the deadliest terror attacks in the island’s history. The monument is made from carved stones and is engraved with the names and nationalities of the victims. Ground Zero is free to visit.
Learn the land from a local perspective on one of the many wonderful guided tours throughout the island. No matter what your interests, guided tours are a great way to see a lot in a short amount of time. Take a look into these three guided tours for an unforgettable Bali holiday:
Escape the island for a day and see what lies beneath on a Bali reef tour. Companies like Viator and Bali Hai Cruises offer reef tours starting around A$120. Enjoy banana boat rides, snorkelling and lunch buffets on these excursions. This is a wonderful way to see wildlife and entertain the whole family.
See the island at a leisurely pace when you follow a planned hike. Companies like Bali Trekking Tour offer guided sunrise hikes. Visit nearly every place on the map with a hiking tour. Nothing is beyond your grasp, as long as you have two feet that are willing to take you. Or, for a more in-depth hiking experience, consider a multi-day trekking tour. These start around A$100.
This fertile island provides plenty of fresh ingredients and aromatic flavours. Balinese cuisine is available at many establishments around the island. Whether it’s lunch at a simple Balinese café in Denpasar or a gourmet feast in a critically-acclaimed restaurant, the range of dining experiences of Bali are sure to keep you entertained.
With a recent boom in tourism, more restaurants are open on the island than ever before. While we have already outlined the best restaurants in Bali, here are top locations for Balinese cuisine:
This repurposed antique shop now houses one of the island’s most popular Indonesian-style restaurants. Blending is Biku’s speciality; part bookstore, part tea lounge and part restaurant, Biku’s menu also blends styles – part Balinese, part Asian part Western. Inspired by Indonesia’s many cultures, Biku embodies the mixing of old-world and modern Indonesia. Come for breakfast, lunch or dinner and experience a delicious range of artfully-prepared dishes.
Serving up authentic and delicious Indonesian food as well as Asian fusion specialties, the full flavours and casual style of Dulang Kafe will keep you coming back. Grab a seat under the awning and have a bite while taking in the stunning scenery. This is a popular spot for large groups and families, and can accommodate even the pickiest of eaters.
For some of the best seafood in the city, try Warung Satria. Good luck finding this restaurant – it is located on a quiet street in Denpasar and has no website to guide you – but if you do, it will be worth the hunt. Try the seafood satay served with shallot sambal for a flavour explosion. (A second restaurant location recently opened near the junction where the main road to Ubud branches off from the bypass, east of the centre of Denpasar).
Whether you came to Bali to party, or you just feel the music calling you, check out these great nightlife locations in Bali:
Known as Bali’s coolest beach club, Potato Head offers a swanky restaurant and lots of lounges for chilling the night away under the stars. This club is a bit difficult to find, but if you wander long enough on the sand, you’ll find one of Condé Nast Traveller’s best holiday destinations in the world.
This live music venue specializes in (you guessed it!) jazz. Visit Jazz Café Bali for great local, national and international bands and wonderful Asian cuisine. This bar is hidden away from the Ubud centre, but can be easily found by locating Pura Dalem Temple.
If you’ve come to the island to party, look no further than Ku De Ta, one of the area’s most prominent hotspots. Indulge in the decadent bar and dance floor, right on the beach. Ku De Ta Bali has its own in-house international DJ team.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Aussie Assault; cropped from original