The beautiful Indonesian island of Bali is one of Asia’s top tourist destinations. A must for beach lovers, it will also satisfy those seeking a mix of culture, history and good food, not to mention a warm welcome. Keen to go? Read on to find out more about Bali for beginners.
There are so many excellent beaches on Balinese shores it’s hard to decide which to try first. To be honest, which gets your vote is probably going to depend on the type of traveller you are. Surfers will find some of the best waves on Kuta beach. It’s busy and touristy for sure, but has some great breaks, whether you’re an experienced surfer or a beginner looking to develop a new skill. Jimbaran beach is another that visitors adore. In this charming bay, the pristine sand is soft under foot and the water is calm, making it an ideal choice for families. Divers and snorkellers will be well suited to black sand Amed, where a coral reef just offshore teems with marine life. Others to check out include lively Sanur, upscale Seminyak and Nusa Dua, secluded Bingin and relaxed Legian.
The beauty and location of Bali’s temples can be nothing short of jaw-dropping. Tanah Lot’s position, perched on a rocky outcrop accessible only at low tide, is one of the most dramatic on the island. Time your visit to watch the sunset. Another great choice if you seek the setting sun is Uluwatu, which occupies a spectacular clifftop position. There, perhaps catch a performance of the Kecak dance, a spectacle of fire and chanting. Both of these are quintessential Bali experiences so expect crowds. Further north, try Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, located on the shore of Lake Bratan and dedicated to the goddess of lakes and rivers. It’s a popular place of pilgrimage among local farmers.
The rice terraces
Bali’s lush interior is, quite simply, breathtaking. Fertile terraces accommodate rice fields punctuated by swaying palm trees. Snap a souvenir photo overlooking the Tegallang rice terrace near the quaint village of Pakudui. The verdant setting is calming and serene despite its fame. It’s no surprise this place is the epicentre of the island’s wellness retreats, with a high concentration of resorts offering spa treatments, yoga classes and meditation. If you can bring yourself to explore, it’s a pleasure to hike here or take a bicycle for a spin. Slightly further afield, on the way to the island capital Denpasar, is the delightful Tegenungan waterfall.
Bali’s home to several active volcanoes and if they’re not erupting at the time of your visit, a number of adventure tourism providers offer day trips. Mount Agung is the highest, a stratovolcano measuring 3142 metres to its summit. Mount Batur is another frequent performer, in fact the most active on the island. Its crater nestles between two concentric calderas (crater lakes). Sunrise treks are a popular excursion, often packaged with a soak in the hot springs of Toya Bungkah to soothe those aching muscles afterwards.
The cultural heritage
While Bali’s natural beauty is a showstopper, the island’s rich cultural heritage makes this an excellent all round destination. Take craft or dance classes near Ubud; Agung Rai Museum of Art offers Balinese painting lectures, traditional gamelan music workshops, batik courses and the chance to develop skills such as woodcarving and painting. Ubud is also home to several cookery schools. Follow up an escorted trip to the market to buy fresh local produce and then, with the assistance of a talented chef, create authentic Balinese dishes back in the kitchen.
if you’re keen to find out more about Bali, please do give us a call here at Mundana.