What & Where
Bali is an island and the smallest province of Indonesia, and includes a few smaller neighbouring islands, notably Nusa Penida. It is located at the westernmost end of the Lesser Sunda Islands, between Java to the west and Lombok to the east, and has its capital of Denpasar at the southern part of the island.
The island is home to most of Indonesia’s Hindu minority. Bali is also the largest tourist destination in the country and is renowned for its highly developed arts, including traditional and modern dance, sculpture, painting, leather, metalworking, and music.
Bali is renowned for its diverse and sophisticated art forms, such as painting, sculpture, woodcarving, handcrafts, and performing arts. Balinese cuisine is also distinctive. Balinese percussion orchestra music, known as gamelan, is highly developed and varied. Balinese performing arts often portray stories from Hindu epics such as the Ramayana but with heavy Balinese influence. Famous Balinese dances include pendet, legong, baris, topeng, barong, gong kebyar, and kecak (the monkey dance). Bali boasts one of the most diverse and innovative performing arts cultures in the world, with paid performances at thousands of temple festivals, private ceremonies, or public shows.
How – Getting Here
Ngurah Rai International Airport is the gate to enter Bali for sky travellers. It is located near Jimbaran, on the isthmus at the southernmost part of the island.
Where to Go
There are lots and lots of places to visit in Bali. Below are just few places I’ve been to.
- Tanah Lot
Tanah Lot is a rock formation off the Indonesian island of Bali. It is home of a pilgrimage temple, the Pura Tanah Lot (literally “Tanah Lot temple”), and a popular tourist and cultural icon for photography and general exoticism.
Tanah Lot means “Land [sic: in the] Sea” in the Balinese language. Located in Tabanan, about 20 kilometres (12 mi) from Denpasar, the temple sits on a large offshore rock which has been shaped continuously over the years by the ocean tide.
Tanah Lot is claimed to be the work of the 15th-century priest Nirartha. During his travels along the south coast he saw the rock-island’s beautiful setting and rested there. Some fishermen saw him, and bought him gifts. Nirartha then spent the night on the little island. Later he spoke to the fishermen and told them to build a shrine on the rock for he felt it to be a holy place to worship the Balinese sea gods.
At the base of the rocky island, poisonous sea snakes are believed to guard the temple from evil spirits and intruders. A giant snake purportedly protects the temple, which was created from Nirartha’s scarf when he established the island.
*It’s a must go to! The view is amazing!
Pura Luhur Uluwatu is a Balinese sea temple in Bali. Built in the 11th century, it is one of nine directional temples meant to protect Bali from evil spirits. It is located in Pecatu village, Kuta South District of Badung Regency of Bali.
*It’s a must go to! The view is amazing! You can also see Kecak dance here during sunset, but have to pay for the entrance fee. Oh, and be aware with the monkeys around the area and pay attention to your belongings such as bag, hat, necklace, etc. They are likely going to snatch it away.
- Melanting Natural Waterfall
This waterfall is about 15 meters height; located in the middle of coffee and clove plantations in the east end Munduk Village, Banjar District, ±42 km south of Singaraja City.
It takes about 500 meters walk from the parking. If you ride motorcycle, it is allowed to ride close to the waterfall. You need to pay entrance fee to see the waterfall.
Sound of water splashing, small birds, and grasshoppers combined with a remote atmosphere provides a natural impression for visitors.
- Nusa Dua
Nusa Dua is known as an enclave of large international 5-star resorts in south-eastern Bali. It is located 40 kilometres from Denpasar and administered under Kuta South District. Nusa Dua means two islands (nusa ‘island’, dua ‘two’).
- Tanjung Benoa, Nusa Dua
Tanjung Benoa is a tourist spot famous for its beach. It used to be a fishing village and an old dock. The development of the peninsula has been very significant as most of the shore-side properties are now hotels, resorts and water sports operators.
It is also a place for water sport activities such as banana boat, scuba diving, surfing, etc. In addition, from here you can cruise to Turtle Island where you can see turtles, snakes, Bali starlings, and so on.
- Traditional Balinese House
Traditional Balinese houses are a collection of individual; largely open structures (including separate structures for the kitchen, sleeping areas, bathing areas and shrine) within a high-walled garden compound.
- Barong Dance
Barong is a lion-like creature and character in the mythology of Bali. He is the king of the spirits, leader of the hosts of good, and enemy of Rangda, the demon queen and mother of all spirit guarders in the mythological traditions of Bali. The battle between Barong and Rangda is featured in Barong dance to represent the eternal battle between good and evil.
Bedugul is the name of both a small city and a mountain-lake resort area, which Balinese have long used for weekend retreats.
When the heat and humidity finally gets to you, the place to escape to is Bedugul, Bali’s highland retreat, tucked into the crater of an extinct volcano, 1400 meters above sea level. Here, three lakes provide everything from recreation to the water for the springs, rivers and rice fields below. Lush pine forest seems to create freshness in the air. Bedugul is known for the quality of its fruit, vegetables and flowers.
- Discovery Shopping Mall, Kuta
Want to shop, eat, and enjoy the beach at the same time? Here’s the place. It is a beach front shopping mall.
- Dreamland Beach
Dreamland Beach (now known as New Kuta beach) is a beach located on the Bukit Peninsula. The beach provides basic accommodation and cafes for surfers and day-trippers. It is also renowned for its dangerous shorebreak.
Boshe is an entertainment and nightlife spot on the Jalan Bypass Ngurah Rai in Kuta. The club is equipped with a powerful Funktion-One sound system as well as high technology strobes, motion and laser lighting systems that augment live stage band and DJ performances.
I’m not into clubs actually, but Glen was performed there at that time, so we went there to see him singing ^0^
- Ground Zero Monument
The 2002 Bali bombings occurred on 12 October 2002 in the tourist district of Kuta. The attack killed 202 people (including 88 Australians, 38 Indonesians, 27 Britons, 7 Americans and 6 Swedish citizens). A further 240 people were injured.
A permanent memorial was built on the site of the destroyed Paddy’s Pub on Legian Street. (A new bar, named “Paddy’s: Reloaded”, was reopened further along Legian Street). The memorial is made of intricately carved stone, set with a large marble plaque, which bears the names and nationalities of each of those killed. It is flanked by the national flags of the victims. The monument is well-maintained and illuminated at night.
Kintamani is a location on the western edge of the larger caldera wall of Gunung Batur in Bali. It is on the same north-south road as Penelokan and has been used as a stopping place to access and view the Gunung Batur region. Kintamani is also internationally famous for Pura Tuluk Biyu 1000 year old Rites of Peace Presasti stone tablets, Tri Hita Karana, and the Kintamani (dog).
- Kuta Beach
The beach has been notable since early 1970s. Kuta beach is also known as Sunset Beach, as opposed to the Sunrise Beach, another name for Sanur Beach. Luxury resorts, restaurants, and clubs are located along the beach.
- Lovina Beach
Lovina Beach (or often simply Lovina) is a coastal area on the northwestern side of the island of Bali. The coastal strip stretches from 5 km west of the city of Singaraja to 15 km west. It is becoming more popular with tourists but remains far quieter than the tourist hotspots of the island’s south side.
One of popular activities for visitors is early-morning boat trips off the coast to see dolphins.
*I highly recommend boat trip to see dolphins! It’s fun! =)
- Ubud Monkey Forest
The Ubud Monkey Forest is a nature reserve and temple complex in Ubud, Bali. Its full name as written on a welcome sign is the Padangtegal Mandala Wisata Wanara Wana Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary. The complex houses Crab-eating Macaque (Macaca fascicularis) monkeys. The forest comprises approximately a tenth of a square kilometer (approximately 10ha or 27 acres) and contains at least 115 different species of trees. The Monkey Forest contains the Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal temple as well as a “Holy Spring” bathing temple and another temple used for cremation ceremonies.
- Padang-Padang Beach
Padang-Padang Beach is located at Jalan Labuhan Sait, Pecatu village, not far from the famous Uluwatu temple. The entrance to the beach to pass through a kind of limestone cave inlet down provides its own nuance. It is free to come here, the beach is smaller than New Kuta Beach and the sea is so calm, so some of the native with their family frequent to swim here, but still ample of space. Since Julia Roberts came for the film Eat Pray Love, the name of Padang-Padang Beach was the one who started the fore.
- Tirtha Empul Temple
It is a Hindu temple which famous for its holy water where Hindu Bali people go for purification.
- Garuda Wisnu Kencana
Mandala Garuda Wisnu Kencana, or Garuda Wisnu Kencana (GWK), is a 240 hectares private cultural park on the Bukit Peninsula at the southern end of the island of Bali, 15 minutes from Ngurah Rai International Airport. Bukit Peninsula is a limestone plateau with Uluwatu to the west and Nusa Dua to the east.
It is devoted to the Hindu god Vishnu, and his mount, Garuda, the mythical bird who is his companion.
This Cultural Park is a venue for every occasions & one-stop tourist spot with beautiful panoramic view & one of the best Kecak Dance performances in Bali.
- Seminyak Beach & Petitenget Beach
Seminyak is a mixed tourist/residential area on the west coast of Bali just north of Kuta and Legian. Originally a separate township, this is now just another suburb of Kuta. This area is very popular with resident expatriates and land and accommodation prices are amongst the highest in Bali. Plenty of luxury spas and hotels abound. Owing to its high density of high-end shopping, combined with the clustering of many fine eating establishments, it has rapidly become one of the most well-known tourist areas on the island.
Seminyak Beach and Petitenget Beach is a continuous expanse of grey sand stretching in both directions as far as the eye can see. To the south it becomes Legian Beach and then Kuta Beach, but is noticeably quieter than both. The sunsets here are famous, and opportunities abound to mix with the glitterati who frequent at the high end beach front establishments such as Ku De Ta.
Where to Sleep
There is wide selection of hotels ranging from the cheapest to the most expensive ones to suit everyone’s budget in Bali. Below are just some hotels I’ve been to.
- Hard Rock Hotel
Nestled against the shores of Bali’s famed Kuta beach on an impressive three-hectare prime site right in the heart of Bali’s entertainment and shopping district, Hard Rock Hotel Bali is Asia’s first Hard Rock Hotel.
*I love everything about this hotel! ^^ The room is nice and the pools are great!
- Dekuta Hotel
A budget boutique hotel offering style, comfort, ambiance, and flair at affordable prices. It is located just steps away from famous Kuta Beach.
*This is a new hotel. The room is not too big but nice and clean.
- Fourteen Roses Hotel
It is located at central of Kuta, amongst the hustles and bustles of night life and entertainments. It is within easy ride of 15 minutes from Bali airport and is around 10 minutes walk to Kuta Beach. Shopping centers and restaurants are just out of your door. Fourteen Roses Hotel is a great choice for a budget holiday while experience the three star services and facilities.
The property is relatively small but well-run and has excellent and friendly service. It pledges to offers exceptional Balinese hospitality. Rooms are modestly furnished with basic facilities, located in low rise buildings.
The Fourteen Roses Hotel has a fairly large pool area, which is ideal for those wishing to enjoy the sunshine.
*This is a quite old hotel.
- Amadea Resort & Villas
Amadea Resort and Villas is an oasis in the heart of Seminyak. Located on the fashionable “eat street” with its’ many boutiques and famous restaurants the resort is perfectly located for those who want to be in the heart of the action.
- Ananta Legian Hotel
It is located on the world famous Legian, Bali where the beach, shoppings, restaurants and entertainments are surrounding. Ananta Legian hotel is a four star hotel is just 5-minutes walk from the Legian beach, 10-minutes from Kuta beach and 30-minutes drive from the airport.
- Aston Kuta Hotel & Residence
Aston Kuta Hotel and Residence is situated in a quaint area of Kuta, a short walk from the world-famous Kuta Beach. Located 5 minutes from Bali’s international airport, this property offers a stylish and comfortable atmosphere for visitors traveling to this beautiful resort town.
*I like this hotel =) The room is nice, the food is good and has lots of variances.
What & Where to Eat
There is wide selection of food to eat, from Balinese cuisine to international cuisine. Below are just few foods I’ve tried and restaurants I’ve been to.
- Pia Legong
Delicious homemade traditional Balinese pie.
*I love this pie, both of its chocolate and cheese flavour! It’s so yummy!
Durian is derived of duri (thorn) and suffix “an” which meant thorny fruit. Widely known as the king of fruits, durian is Bali native fruit and seasonal fruits available June to August. Ripe durian always spread strong odor that can be recognized from 1 kilometer with sweet and a splash of alcoholic and high sugar and fat content. You may find durian offered at the street side or supermarkets to have imported durian or local durian when they ripen due.
*Durian is called the king of fruits. I think it deserves the name. I love the smell and the taste of durian. It’s so yummy ^^ However, not everyone likes the smell of it. So, give it a try 😉
Betutu is a Balinese dish of steamed or roasted chicken or duck. This highly seasoned and spiced dish is a popular dish in Bali and Lombok. An even spicier version is available using extra-spicy sauce made from uncooked (raw) onion slices mixed with red chili peppers and coconut oil.
This traditional dish is very popular nowadays. It can be found in the menu of luxury hotels or restaurants in Bali. It takes at least 24 hours to cook. Many travelers from other regions of Indonesia brought Betutu dishes as Balinese-gift for their families. This dish is also popular among tourists who travel to Bali.
- Kedai Tiga Nyonya, Kuta
It is a Chinese restaurant which combines three flavors of Indonesian, Chinese and Dutch. Their tagline is “Mother’s Cooking, Family Recipes”.
*I highly recommend this restaurant! It feels homey and brings you to the old time because of the interior, and the food is yummy =)
- Bebek Tepi Sawah Restaurant, Ubud
Enjoy a wide selection of cuisine, ranging from contemporary western and innovative Indonesian or Balinese specialties while share the joy and satisfaction with other, to feel a wonderful experience of having a meal at the corner of the rice field, while viewing the rice paddies and the wave of the coconut tree leaves, as well as listening to the various tiny little bird singing in a very fresh atmosphere within the environment of the real Bali’s Village in the perfect setting in Tepi Sawah Restaurant.
*I highly recommend this restaurant! The design of this restaurant is unique and the food is yummy =)
- La Plage, Legian
A restaurant with a unique beach concept. It has two levels. The ground floor has sand and wood carved tables and chairs. The second floor is all lounges and wicker tables and chairs. The decor and atmosphere give you a feeling of sitting at the beach with natural white sand.
The presentation of the food was amazing and unique. They really put effort in. They serve most things in a coconut.
*I highly recommend this restaurant! It’s so cozy, the food is yummy, and the owner is a very nice French man =)
- Tahu Café, Bedugul
As the name of the café, most of the menu is made from tahu (Indonesian word for tofu). The design of the café is quite unique in an open space area. There is a mini playground which is suitable for you who visit with family.
Where to Shop
- Joger and Teman Joger, the Word’s Factories
Joger, the word’s factory, is located on Jalan Raya Tuban in Kuta, while Teman Joger is situated in the village of Luwus, on the Luwus Bedugul Highway.
Joger produces various kinds of T-shirts with funny words, eccentric, and unique that makes people curious about the meaning.
The shop opens every day at 08:00 to 18:00 pm.
- Sukawati Art Market
If you love shopping, like to indulge in bargain shopping, and wish to see some of Bali’s best goods under one roof, you have to visit the Sukawati market, about 10 kms outside of Ubud in Central Bali.
To start with, the Sukawati market is not your fancy shopping mall, but an association to promote the goods manufactured and hand-crafted by the people living in Bali. It is due to this very vision that the prices here are the cheapest in Bali. In fact, most of the shop owners in the tourist areas of Bali buy/procure their goods from here.
Sukawati Art Market, referred to locally as ‘Pasar Seni Sukawati’, is Bali’s most distinguished and long-standing art market. The two-storey market was established in the 80s. It is where visitors can seek and purchase distinctively Balinese art items such as paintings and sculpted wooden figures, curios, handicrafts and traditional handmade products.
The art market’s main building is often packed with shopping holidaymakers and locals sourcing household and daily necessities. It is an alternative, inexpensive and complete shopping destination conveniently situated along most tour itineraries to the central and northern regions of the island.
The market is open from 07:00 to 16:00 pm all days of the week.
For those who do not like bargaining, Krishna is the right choice because here the prices are fixed. The prices are competitive and even sometimes cheaper than the prices at the Art Market. The atmosphere is very convenient for shopping; there is a central food stalls and musholla (Moslem mosque). Here various kinds of Balinese handmade products with different quality are sold in reasonable prices.
- Bali Tangi
Bali Tangi produces and supplies a wide range of aromatic and traditional spa products from jelly candles, aromatic coloring, incenses, to spa packages.
You can also get body massage and spa treatment here.
My Two Pennies Worth
- I LOVE SUNSET, so I LOVE BALI!
- I think Bali is one of the most famous travel destinations in the world. You can pretty much meet people from most all over the world here. This is true!
- Bali is a unique combination of beautiful sceneries and culture.
- Balinese people are very friendly and no need to worry about language barrier if you come to Bali because most of them are familiar with English ^^ Some of them even can speak any other international languages.
- There are many things to see and places to go in Bali depending on your preferences. If you love sun and beach, there are so many beautiful beaches for you. If you are more into cool weather, there are mountains and lakes with amazing views for you. Love waterfall? Bali has lots of it =)
- Somehow I always get the feeling of serenity in Bali even though it is crowded with tourists.
- Bali is definitely a perfect place for wedding ceremony, party, and honeymoon ^^
Will I Revisit?
Definitely, yes! Over and over again =)
Should You Visit?
If you love holiday, sunset, sunrise, beaches, mountains, lakes, art, culture, and all-year summer; absolutely YES!
- It’s always hot and humid in Bali, so make sure to bring thin clothes, hat, and sunblock.
- To travel around Bali, it’s better to rent a car because sometimes public transportation is not available in remote areas, and the driver can be your guide =)
- If you only want to explore one area at a time, to rent motorcycle is a good option. Just make sure to always bring a note of the address where you stay and a map or get connected to Google map, in case you get lost =)
- If possible, try to avoid coming to Bali during holiday season because the traffic is crazy!
Some photos are taken from the above sources.