Bali is a continuously growing destination with more travellers and wanderlusters visiting each year. It’s somewhere that’s been near the top of my bucket list for some time now and a place that I’ll definitely try and explore within the next few years. With this in mind, I thought it was about time that I learnt more about what this Indonesian island has to offer with the help of some blogger friends and have compiled a list of my favourite finds so you too can get inspired!
Bali is Indonesian’s most popular island (one of 17,500!), located within the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. Its tourism has seen a huge increase in effect of dramatic development (and the release of Eat, Pray, Love!), with many westerners seeking the spiritual, mindful way of life that the island represents.
The rainy season sees monsoon downpours from October till March before Easter when tourism increases, making the best time to visit during the summer months or at the end of the year for better value.
The core attraction to Bali is its incredible scenery. The island itself is just 80 miles long yet is home to a range of stunning, contrasting landscapes. Sky high mountains and active volcanoes surround lush acres of thick, wild jungle. Workers dot the sprawling rice fields stretching out as far as the eye can see. Hundreds of ancient temples and iconic palaces provide a sense of spiritual mystery and peace.
Although not large, the island has 6 main areas that are all very different and its important to know where is best for your individual style. You can’t read about Bali without hearing stories of a destination ruined, filled with tourism and trash. Yet this isn’t the case for the whole island. There are many parts that still look like the perfect haven of paradise.
South Bali is the island’s most popular area. For those who are looking for a luxury, oceanfront vacation, Seminyak is your best bet. This upmarket beach town is filled with upmarket resorts and popular sunset venues including some of the best restaurants and bars on the island.
In the centre is where you’ll find Bali’s mountain range. Most popular is Ubud in the central highlands. Located closer to cultural villages, rivers and rice fields, Ubud is a favourable destination for wellness retreats, fine dining and royal palaces. It is also home to the famous Monkey Forest where many tourists go to see hundreds of wild apes roam the trees.
Another attraction is an Instagrammer favourite; The Bali Swing! A thirty minute drive away and you can swing high above the gorge.
Around the North, East and South-eastern Islands are Bali’s quieter coastal villages with volcanic beaches, historic towns and popular diving spots.
One area that Bali can fail short of is its quality of beaches. As a volcanic island, you just can’t hold as high expectations as its Aussie neighbour, and litter has seemed to have consumed many of the island’s coastline. However there are beautiful areas and stunning sunsets to be enjoyed, particularly from a luxury resort.
Bali looks like my idea of paradise and if there’s one thing that makes a dreamy location just perfect, it’s staying in luxury accommodation with a serene spa. There are hundreds of divine spa hotels, beachfront huts and glamorous tree top houses on the island. More than a few on my wish list can be found on some great travel sites that offer cheap hotel deals.
The Karma Kandara Villa is just one, a stunning eco-friendly resort overlooking the Bukit Peninsula. 54 large villas are hidden among the lush gardens each with a pool overlooking the Indian Ocean. Onsite restaurants with panoramic views and an upmarket beach club provide the perfect base for dining and relaxation whilst the spa and health facilities are not to be missed.
It’s said that the resort beach is one of Bali’s finest, offering guests the chance to enjoy the full Bali experience at its best. And as someone who avoids a workout wherever possible, I don’t think I could resist a morning in the Karma Kandara gym, located in a treetop hut in the forest!
Also rather inspiring is Kamandalu, designed to resemble a traditional Balinese village. Set among rice fields and the quiet sound of the forest, this resort looks the perfect location to unwind from busy life and discover peaceful bliss.
Away from the land, the waters surrounding the island give Bali its name as one of the world’s best diving destinations. Bali is a part of the Coral Triangle, an area with the highest diversity of marine species and spectacular coral reefs. Hundreds of scuba enthusiasts flock to the island whilst the surf culture is equally as popular.
In addition to its serene vistas, the essence of Bali is found in its people. The Balinese are known for their beautiful smiles, generosity and welcoming warmth, an attitude towards tourists that is genuine and appreciated. And their culture is just as unique.
The majority of the Balinese are Hindu, making Bali an intensely spiritual island. Sacred temples in beautiful panoramic locations are filled with offerings to spirits and the comforting smell of incense. Crafts, art and cooking are also hugely important aspects of the Balinese way of life and create unmissable experiences from traditional cooking classes to inspiring creative ritual dances that are an inspiring display of their celebrated culture.
Have you been to Bali? If so I’d love to hear your tips and recommendations!
This post was sponsored by Traveloka. As always, all views are my own.
Love Bali! I was there last summer and really enjoyed it.
I loved Bali and echo a lot of the suggestions above. I’d highly recommend staying up north of the island for a different flavour away from the hustle of tourists. We loved the Damai in Lovina. I blogged on it if you want to have a read. http://lifestyleenthusiast.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/the-damai-lovina-bali.html
Angie is so right about Mosaik – we did their fine dining cooking class there too and it was exceptional – Chef Reynaldo led it and taught us to make the most perfect rack of lamb and chocolate fondants ever (they never fail!!)
Also in Ubud there’s a fabulous South American restaurants called Pica – having been to Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela I still think Pica is brilliant quality authentic food, if you ever tire of Indonesian food!
Great recommendations Reena! I definitely want to visit Bali in the next few years, I’ll make sure to come back and use your advice then!
Wonderful post 🙂 As someone who has had Bali on their list for ages this is really helpful – and I love how you’ve included different viewpoints x
Thanks so much Mehreen, I definitely feel more inspired to go after writing it x
Great post, thanks for sharing these great traveler tips and experiences! Bali has certainly become a popular destination amongst tourists – and for good reason. There’s a lot of hidden gems and spectacular natural scenery to admire here. Travel presents such a great opportunity to immerse yourself in a different culture and broaden your understanding and appreciation for other cultures.
Thank you Jane. Completely agree, I hear some negatively around Bali and can’t help but be shocked as the constant images that look so beautiful and scenic.
Really gorgeous post Eppie. I went to Bali 5 years ago and loved it although I think I would appreciate it much more now if I returned. There are some amazing hotels too – I hope you get to visit soon 🙂 xx
Thanks Maggie! Oh I didn’t realise you’d been! The hotel really look out of this world xx