Bali is an island paradise in the South West of Indonesia, known for its beautiful beaches, coral reefs, volcanic mountains, iconic rice paddies, and lush forests. The Island of Gods has something for everyone, and offers great value for money, so it’s a perfect destination for travellers who are short on funds, or time. Whether you’re visiting Bali for a long weekend or a month long adventure, here’s my top destinations to get the most out of your trip:
Bali’s Best Beaches
No trip to Bali would be complete without checking out the best beaches that the island has to offer, conveniently located a short distance from the capital Denpasar. Depending on your budget, you can either visit these beaches using public transport, or book a private taxi and driver to take you around. If you spend a couple of hours at each beach you should be able to visit them all in one day, and if time permits- visit your favourite another day.
Pandawa Beach: Located in a fast developing area of Bali, Pandawa beach is perfect for swimming, kayaking, or soaking up some sun. There are plenty of restaurants and stores along the waterfront, but it gets busier as the day progresses so if you want to avoid a mass of tourists make this your first stop for the day.
Dreamland Beach: This is definitely my favourite of the 3 beaches; the water was Gatorade blue and the waves made it super fun to swim in. Rocky cliffs that you can walk along to get beautiful views of the ocean surround the beach, and while there isn’t much in terms of shopping here, there is a nice resort which offers reasonably priced food for lunch, and purchasing lunch allows you to use the pool which also offers great ocean views atop the rocky cliffs.
Padang Padang Beach: This beach is a hot spot for tourists, but deservingly so. To get to the beach you follow a short path through narrow cliffs, leading to a very calm beach. On the left of the beach you’ll find loads of monkey filled trees atop a cliff, whereas the right side is filled with large meter tall rocks throughout the sand. There are plenty of beach vendors offering snacks and drinks here.
Although it might be full of tourists, the popular beachside town of Kuta is deserving of at least a day while you’re in Bali, since it’s the best place to find cheap markets and experience Bali’s popular tourist beaches and infamous nightlife.
Uluwatu temple is a must-see in Bali, regardless of how long you spend there. Located on the top of a huge cliff, the beautiful sea temple offers amazing views of the ocean below. There are plenty of monkeys throughout the temple as well, but be careful because they aren’t afraid to get up close and grab your belongings! Throughout the day they offer cultural dances and shows which you can enjoy after exploring the temple.
Many gorgeous smaller islands surround the island of Bali, but if you’re short on time and want to experience at least one, I recommend doing a day trip to Lembongan island. The boat is very nice and you will be taken out to a large multi-storey pontoon in Lembongan bay, where you are free to do the activities on offer at your leisure, and enjoy a buffet lunch of delicious food. They also offer parasailing (which costs extra) around the bay in order to get a good view of the surrounding islands and village. From the pontoon you can choose between plenty of fun things like waterslides, a semi-submarine, rocket rides, and snorkelling. The highlight is a tour through Lembongan Island, departing once every hour you can jump on a speed-boat which takes you to the island for a guided tour, giving an insight into island life for the villagers here.
Arguably the most beautiful area in Bali, Ubud is famous for it’s lush forests, quiet village life, and easily identifiable rice paddies. You could easily spend a week exploring this area, but if you’re after a taste of Ubud in just one day I’d recommend a tour with Bali Adventure Tours. They offer many tours around the Southern Ubud region, but I recommend the mountain cycling tour in the morning, which takes you through the streets, lush valleys, villages, temples and rice farms in the outskirts of Ubud, and includes a tour of local homes, which was an extremely eye opening experience. Then, after lunch (provided by them) go white-water rafting through the Ayung river- it is a great way to enjoy the lush scenery and landscapes of Ubud.
I hope this inspires you to go and get as much out of your trip to Bali as possible. Whether you’ve got as little as 4 days, or as much as 4 weeks to explore the island, these activities will allow you to experience at least a taste of the diverse landscapes and experiences that make Bali such a popular destination for tourists.