Do you know this kind of destination, where just arrived, you feel good? Bali is my biggest favorite so far and I can not help going back every year. The Indonesian island is a concentrate of dream beaches, jungles, rice fields and waterfalls. This is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. The so-called “Island of the Gods” is today one of the most popular destinations in the world. So, even if you feel like it’s not “so special” anymore, to visit Bali, I assure you the opposite. Here are the 6 reasons to go to Bali!
Top 6 Reasons to visit Bali
Every kind of natural landscapes
As you already know, Bali’s landscapes are exceptional! Although the island is relatively small, 5637 km², it offers a huge variety of scenery. Beaches of white or black sand, steep cliffs, lush jungles, rice fields, volcanoes, lava fields … Bali is a real paradise island for our greatest pleasure!
Top 5 most beautiful landscapes of Bali:
- Tegalalang rice fields: you can find the most famous rice fields of Bali about 20 minutes away from Ubud. You only have to pay a small entrance fee of about 2000 rupees to the peasants. After, you only have to follow the different paths and enjoy the view. I advise you to come early in the morning : there are a lot less people and the light is magic.
- Sekumpul waterfalls : Bali is known for its many beautiful waterfalls and my favorites are the ones of Sekumpul. Sekumpul is actually a set of seven cascades that can be discovered during a circuit of about 2 hours. Much less popular than the Tegenungan waterfall, these waterfalls are more impressive and better preserved.
- Mount Batur : located north of the island, Mount Batur is the active volcano that dominates Bali from its 1717 meters. As the mountain is often covered in cloud during the day, it is common to climb it really early in the morning. You can then admire the sunrise behind the caldera lake.
- Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud : another must-see in the cultural center of Ubud, the Monkey Forest is now well known. The entrance costs 50,000 rupees (about 3€) and you can walk through the beautiful forest among hundreds of monkeys and temples. Pay attention to your belongings.
- Git Git waterfall : also located near Ubud, between Singaraja and Bedugul, Git Git is another popular waterfall in Bali. The path is relatively simple and you can then swim at the foot of the waterfall or jump from the cliffs.
The cost of living
I do not tell you anything by saying that the cost of living in Southeast Asia is much lower than in Europe. Apart from the airfare that corresponds to your biggest expense of your vacation, visit Bali for a month will certainly cost you less than a week of vacation in Europe. On the spot, you have two choices. You can live on a low-budget and sleep in hostels and eating in local restaurants and that is personally how I see it. You can either offering you a little more luxurious stay. As there are many beautiful hotels, it is easy to rent a private villa for less than 100€ per night. In short, what I like is to be able to treat myself without feeling guilty.
If you like food, you’ll love Bali! It’s amazing how much varied food you can find on the Indonesian Island. There are small restaurants on every street corner and for all tastes. Whether you want an Acai Bowl, a vegan meal, traditional recipes, a hamburger or a pizza … everything is possible and the hardest thing is to choose.
Top 5 specialties to taste in Bali:
- Mie Goreng and Nasi Goreng : the first is noodle-based and the second is fried rice and both are a must in Balinese cooking. They are found in all Bali “Warung” and are eaten at all times. It is rice or noodle mixed with vegetables, onions, soy, carrots and you can also add chicken or shrimp.
- Fresh fruit juices: There’s nothing better than starting your day with a freshly squeezed fruit juice (especially after a little night out). In Bali, you’ll find many tasty fruits like mango, papaya, coconut or pineapple on every street corner and it’s so good.
- Black Rice Pudding : this dessert is prepared with black rice, coconut milk and vanilla. You can enjoy it hot or cold at any time of the day.
- Babi Guling : I have not personally tried it because it is meat, but Babi Guling is Bali’s specialty. Prepared generally for special occasions by the locals, it is roasted pork on the spit, with local spices and coconut juice.
- Smoothies Bowls : as there is a good chance that you spend your time in swimsuits, it is better to eat healthy, isn’t it? No, I’m kidding, eat what you want. It’s just that eating a fresh smoothie bowl to start the day feels so good. It is obviously not a Balinese specialty, but still it is in Bali that we do the best and most beautiful.
Lively cultural scene
Bali is the only Indonesian island with a Hindu majority and it is felt everywhere on the island. Ubud, in the center of the island, is considered as the cultural center of Bali. We perfectly find the atmosphere of the movie “Eat, Pray, Love”. Of course, cities like Kuta or Seminyak, we have lost that authentic side, but if you go a little further, you will see that Bali is still a culturally rich island. An essential activity is to visit the fabulous temples and you can find below the top 5 of my favorites.
Top 5 most beautiful temples of Bali:
- Pura Luhur à Uluwatu : located at the southern tip of Bali, the Uluwatu Temple was built in the 11th century at the top of a cliff overlooking the sea. Today, nature has taken back its rights, the monkeys have settled and it is a totally magical place. I highly recommend to go there at sunset time.
- Pura Tanah Lot : undoubtedly the most famous temple of Bali, Tanah Lot is located not far from Canggu. It is the temple built on a rock, more or less accessible, depending on the level of the tide. People usually go there at sunset time for a magical show, but the morning is widely recommended to avoid hordes of tourists.
- Pura Ulun Danu Bratan : built on Bratan Lake in Bedugul, not far from Ubud, the Pura Ulun Danu Bratan Temple is simply magical. With magnificent views of the mountains and many flowers, this temple that was built to protect the island from evil spirits is just a must-see in Bali.
- Besakih Temple : located at an altitude of 1000 meters, the Besakih Temple is considered as the mother temple of Bali. It is a set of 86 temples facing Mount Agung and you will have to climb many steps to access it. Beware of scams, there are many bad stories on the internet.
- Pura Tirta Empul : The temple of Holy Water is located in the village of Manukaya, not far from Ubud. You will find purification ponds where locals and tourists line up to pass their heads under sacred water.
If the Philippines is known for turquoise lagoons or Thailand is known for its limestone cliffs, Bali is much harder to categorize. There is something for everyone on the Indonesian island : surfing, hiking, diving, relaxing on the beach, shopping, yoga or party … It is hard not to find something matching your wants and it is one of the best reasons I fell in love with the island.
Top 5 activities in Bali:
- Surfing: can we really go to Bali without trying surfing? It is usually on the big beach of Kuta that people try to catch its first waves. The locals offer surf lessons for about 200 000 rupees (14€) and will come with you in the water to explain everything. Canggu is also a good surf spot, but the waves are usually higher. If surfing already has no secrets for you, Uluwatu is where you’ll be the most excited.
- Party in Kuta or Seminyak : during a stay in Bali, there will inevitably be a moment when you go to drink a few ones in Seminyak or Kuta. Kuta is the liveliest city in Bali and you will find many bars and clubs, usually frequented by Australians. Seminyak is a little more trendy with bars a little more upscale. If I can recommend two places, I would say Sky Garden in Kuta and the Favela in Seminyak.
- Snorkeling in Gili T : there are several islands around Bali and the best known are the islands of the Gili archipelago. The famous one is Gili T : a small paradise of 15 km² with white sand beach, turquoise water and coral reefs. It is also here that I had the chance to swim for the first time with a sea turtle … A must-do!
- Getting lost in the rice fields : whether it’s Tegallalang, Jatiluwih or the road to Pupuan, Bali is full of incredible rice fields that must be discovered. Walking along the paths and watching the view has something so relaxing.
- Waterfall seeking : surely my favorite activity (after doing nothing on the beach). Going to search for waterfalls in Ubud area will reserve you beautiful surprises.
I have to agree, Bali is not the most famous destination in the world for its heavenly beaches. There are however some magical places. Most of the beautiful beaches are in the south of Bali, around Uluwatu. The Nusa and Gili Islands are also amazing for their white sand and fantastic beaches, like Atuh Beach in Nusa Penida.
Top 5 most beautiful beaches of Bali:
- Kuta Beach : ok, this beach is not transcendent beauty, but I had to talk about it in this top. It is a beach of several kilometers of golden sand quite crowded, but with a great atmosphere. It is also a great place to watch the sunset, every night, with a Bintang in hand.
- Dreamland Beach : on the Bukit peninsula, just south of Bali, Dreamland Beach is a small paradise of white sand. A rather turquoise water, rather impressive waves, some cliffs and all that for 5000 IDR. What more can you ask for ?
- Padang Padang : another beach located in the south of Bali that is known by all surfers. People love to come and relax in front of the turquoise water and watch surfers having fun in the waves. Unfortunately, Padang Padang is a victim of his success because the beach is not more than 100 meters.
- Blue Point Beach : surely my favorite beach of this top, Blue Point Beach is again located in Uluwatu, between Uluwatu Temple and Padang Padang. You arrive at the top because the beach is at the foot of cliffs. Then, you must sneak through the rocks to discover this little piece of paradise with white sand.
- Balangan Beach : one kilometer from Dreamland Beach, Balangan Beach is a paradise in South Bali. It extends over 500 meters, between limestone cliffs, golden sand, turquoise blue and coral reefs. It is also a recognized surf spot in Bali.
What did not like in Bali
- Constant harassment: it starts when you arrive at the airport and the hundreds of taxi drivers yelling at you. And it continues during your stay, since locals try to sell you anything and everything. I think we have a choice in this type of situation. Either we take it with a smile, saying that there is worse in life, or we turn into a hater that repeats that it would never happen back home. Choose the first, you will feel better.
- The traffic: three times in Bali and I still do not know how to drive a bike … That said, if you have been to Bali before, you will understand very quickly that is is not the perfect place to learn. Traffic, especially in the south of the island, is pretty crazy. Do not think about renting a car! If you need a car, take a driver.
- Mass tourism : Bali is a victim of its success and tourism is starting to do damage on the island. If you can not change that, there are two things you can pay attention to environments and animals 😉