From white-sand beaches to dense jungles, massages and shopping to hiking and surfing, whether you want to relax and unwind in affordable five-star luxury or immerse yourself into ancient tradition and culture, Bali really does have something for everyone. That’s why it so often sits at the top of the more adventurous wanderer’s bucket list of dream destinations.
There are so many sights, sounds and scintillating activities that this Indonesian paradise has to offer that you’ll be able to cultivate exactly the kind of trip that you desire. So, to get your sense of wanderlust all fired up, here are some of the top must-tick-off-the-lists dotted around this Southeast Asian gem of a location; don’t forget to add them all to your BUCKiTDREAM planner!
Things To Do
Visit the Monkey Forest in Ubud Serving as a popular tourist attraction, the sanctuary is overrun with playful monkeys that’ll happily scamper around you, causing all sorts of mischief along the way. The monkeys are incredibly cute, but mind your belongings as many of them are prone to a little kleptomania. It’s also important to remember that the local residents consider the forest an important spiritual, economic and educational conservation center for the surrounding village and that they have set down rules that should be respected.
Surf in Nusa Lembongan: An absolute must for any keen or would-be surfers out there. With three main breaks, playfully nicknamed Playgrounds, Lacerations and Shipwrecks, here you can enjoy world-class waves all year round.
Snorkel at One of the many Coral Reefs Throw on a mask and some flippers and jump in the water literally anywhere in Bali and you’re sure to be blissfully happy paddling through the warm currents. However, if you’re after a little more vibrancy and diversification then check out one of the following sites to ensure a calm swim and an unforgettable experience: On the main island, take a plunge into the crystal clear waters of Nusa Dua; north is the kaleidoscopic Menjangan Island and Pemuteran; offshore, escape to the small island of Nusa Lembongan; and in the east you can explore the beautiful Padangbai.
Get your PADI Scuba License Become a real fish for a week and learn how to scuba dive with one of the many PADI courses available on the island. Home to some of the best diving spots in the world, there’s no better place to earn your fins.
Take in a Sunset at Uluwatu Temple or Tanah Lot Bali is famous for its sunsets and none are more iconic than those seen from Tanah Lot, a rock formation that sits just off the coast and is home to the pilgrimage temple, Pura Tanah Lot. Uluwatu Temple is another favourite lookout, sitting rather precariously on top of a 70-meter high cliff face that overlooks the turbulent sea beneath; come here and enjoy a traditional kecak dance in the evenings.
Yoga Retreat Speckled all over the island are dozens of world-class yoga retreats; whether you want to stretch towards euphoria out in the tranquility of Ubud’s rainforests, feel the power of the ocean down in Uluwatu…or anything in between, then Bali’s the place to do it.
Rent a Scooter Easily the most affordable and autonomous mode of transport on the island, renting a scooter makes buzzing around and exploring a breeze. However, a word of caution: when renting a scooter, remember that they don’t check if you have a driver’s license, which results in a lot of inexperienced drivers on the road, not to mention drunk tourists, old bikes with faulty brakes and roads in disrepair – rock the hat hair look and make sure to wear a helmet!
Cooking Lessons Because Balinese cuisine is full of rich ingredients, malleable spice levels and fun preparation techniques, cooking classes have become exceedingly popular. Often you’ll start the day by exploring one of the local food markets where you’ll buy all you need for a day of culinary craftsmanship.
Where to Stay
Party in Kuta If you’re backpacking throughout Bali and fancy a big night out then look no further than Kuta beach. Notorious for Bintang t-shirts and drunken tourists, this destination certainly isn’t for everyone; however, if it’s a young crowd and a lively atmosphere that you’re after, then Kuta is where you’ll find it.
Enjoy Affordable Luxury in Seminyak, Nusa Dua and Sanur Perhaps sipping on cocktails whilst stretching out on a sun lounger is more your speed? If so, check out these three popular resort towns and indulge yourself without breaking the budget.
Meditate and commune with your inner hippy in Ubud: Ubud is said to be the heart and soul of Bali; nestled in amongst dense rainforests and lush rice paddies, it’s little wonder that people flock from all over to reconnect both with themselves and Mother Nature.
Where to Eat
Bali’s foodie scene is currently blossoming, with an array of exciting new chefs arriving on its glistening shores over recent years. Bringing cooking concepts from around the world, this has transformed the culinary culture of Bali into a destination dining hotspot.
Mamasan in Seminyak has a cool warehouse/lounge vibe and is one of the few venues in the area equipped with air conditioning.
- Saigon Street, also in Seminyak, is run by a dynamic duo of young Australians; here you’ll find chic, contemporary design and tantalising Vietnamese cuisine.
- Locavore in Ubud offers up modern cooking but sources everything locally; choose between a 5 or 7-course menu with the option of a cocktail flight accompaniment.
- Watercress in Kerobokan is where to go if you’re in the mood for perfect poached eggs and Melbournian-grade coffee.
- The Fire Station in Sanur is one of the first gastropubs to hit Bali; here you’ll find a range of British and European classics from Scotch eggs to Shepherd’s Pies as well as a reasonably priced and varied wine list.
Where to Drink
- Live music: Laughing Buddha Bar is located just up the road from Ubud’s charming monkey forest and attracts jazz, blues and world music acts from the world over.
- Club: Koh, located in Sanur, is inspired by the underground clubbing scene of Berlin and is one of the best spots to dance the long, hot nights away. Expect a mix of regular, techno and deep house beats to throb until dawn.
- Cocktails: La Favela in Seminyak is a South American-themed bar that’s set in an old colonial-style building, engulfed by a surrounding forest and adorned in vintage knick-knacks. It’s all about style and atmosphere in this cool little hangout; be sure to check out their extensive list of rum cocktails.
Insider tip If you’re catching a cab, then make sure that you ask for a ‘meter taxi’. The most trusted company in Indonesia is Bluebird, but be careful as there are a lot of counterfeit blue taxis that roam the streets looking to rip off newly arrived tourists. Also, never expect change from a note, it’s a nice gesture to leave a tip and the drivers rarely carry change.
Must See Take a guided early morning hike up the active volcano of Mount Batur and cook your own breakfast of eggs from the piping hot steam of the volcanic fissures, whilst the sun rises over the horizon. Simply magical.
It’s always important to share your dreams with others; inspiring old (and potentially future) friends is a great way to make dreams become a reality. Make use of the BUCKiTDREAM diary feature on the app and share your dream lists across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.