Bali has it all – from cascading waterfalls to lush forests and idyllic beaches. There is truly something for everyone.
For those wanting complete rest and relaxation, beaches are plentiful, and luxury resorts are stationed all over the island. For the adventurers, you can snorkel, scuba dive, and trek there. Yogis will enjoy the yoga classes, meditation retreats, and culture of Bali. Bali is also a backpacker’s paradise. The island is affordable, and there is so much to see and do on a budget.
Read on to find out the 10 best reasons you should travel to Bali for your next holiday.
Bali is the place to be if chasing waterfalls is on your bucket list. There are too many to count, and they are all scattered around the island.
My favorites are Tegenungan, Kanto Lampo, and Banyumala Waterfalls. Both Tegenungan and Kanto Lampo are relatively close to Ubud, so they could both be visited on a day trip from there. Banyumala is quite far north, but in my opinion, the most impressive. The water is crystal clear (albeit freezing), and it is still a hidden gem of Bali, meaning you might get it all to yourself!
Chasing waterfalls is one of the best things to do in Munduk. There’s a half-day trek dedicated to waterfalls. You’ll get to see Labuhan Kebo, Red Coral, Melanting, and Golden Valley Waterfalls. Labuhan Kebo is the best waterfall to start as this waterfall is deep enough for a swim (or a paddle during dry season). End at Golden Valley Waterfall and reward yourself with a meal at Eco Cafe, which overlooks the waterfall.
Indonesian cuisine is delicious. The spices are used to create such a flavourful aroma and taste. My favorite dishes are their classic nasi goreng (fried rice) and Mie Goreng (fried noodles) dishes. Try the sate Ayam (chicken satay) grilled at a street-side stall, as well as beef rendang curry.
With so much Western influence, Bali has great Western food too. One of the best things to do in Canggu is to dine at the amazing cafes they have on offer. Countless brunch spots are an Instagrammer’s heaven. Grab a smoothie bowl, a specialty coffee, and relax in an indoor-plant-filled cafe with colored bamboo wicker seats and great vibes. My top pick is The Mocca.
The Rich Culture
Contrary to the majority of the Indonesian islands, Bali follows the Hindu religion. There are many beautiful and ornate temples located around the island. Some locals even have small temples in their houses with which they can pray.
Some of the most impressive temples include Uluwatu Temple, perched atop a cliff and inhabited by wild monkeys, and Ulun Danu. This temple appears floating in the lake surrounded by lush hillsides and vibrant gardens. Visit Tirta Empul Water Temple in Ubud, a place where the Balinese go for purification, and Taman Ayun Temple, one of Bali’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Bali is a great place to relax in your private villa. Just grab your family or a group of friends, and you’re good to go!
You could rent a private villa for four people for as little as 1.3 million IDR. Split four ways; this makes it a surprisingly affordable form of accommodation. A luxury villa, however, will cost a lot more. Seminyak is a town in Bali known for its villas. It’s a popular place to travel for mid-range to high-end budgets, whereas backpackers tend to settle around the Kuta area and digital nomads around Canggu. In Seminyak, it won’t be hard to find villas to rent with large gardens, barbeque areas, and the best of all, swimming pools and spas.
Other places where you should be able to find luxury villas to rent are Uluwatu, Ubud, and Nusa Dua.
Being a small island holiday destination, there is no shortage of beaches in Bali. It’s hard to narrow it down to a few beaches, but here are a few of my must-see beaches.
Suluban Beach is located within a series of caves. It’s a great place to swim or surf further out. The water is super warm here! As you walk down to the beach, there are a few cafes and warungs to eat at or enjoy a smoothie.
You may not have heard of this beach, but you’ll likely have seen a photo. From a birds-eye view, the hills are shaped like a t-rex. I’ll admit, the climb down to this beach in Nusa Penida is very sketchy. There aren’t marked paths, and you climb down the steep hill holding onto a rope. It isn’t for everyone, and that means there will be only a few people enjoying the beach when you reach the bottom.
Tegal Wangi Beach
This is my favorite sunset spot in Bali. We spent the day in Uluwatu and were on our way back to Canggu when we stopped by Tegal Wangi for sunset. It’ll take around 10 minutes to climb down to the beach. It’s best to go during low or mid-tide, as the water can get very close to the rocks in high tide.
Find the cave and bring a wide-angle lens for great photographs.
White Sand Beach
Make a stop at White Sand Beach in Candidasa on your way to Karangasem. It’s around one hour away from Ubud, so it isn’t too far to travel. The beach is quaint and small, which is perfect as you’ll see few tourists venturing out here.
Sunrises and Sunsets
Apart from seeing the sunrise at Angkor Wat in Cambodia, the best sunrises and sunsets by far in Southeast Asia are in Bali.
For the best sunset spots on the island, check out Tegal Wangi Beach, Tanah Lot Temple in Canggu, and Warung Sunset Spot Amed.
For the best sunrise spots, check out Bukit Cinta Pangi in Karangasem, the summit of Mt Batur and Sukuwana in Kintamani.
Nusa Penida Island
Nusa Penida should be on the top of your Bali bucket list. This is the place to go for the most picturesque views.
Nusa Penida is the perfect day trip. I would recommend staying by the port in Sanur the night beforehand so you can get up bright and early the next day and head straight to the island.
Buy tickets at the port from one of the ferry companies. Do your research into the company to ensure the company is reputable. Tickets should cost 300,000 IDR returns. The early the ferry, the better. This will ensure you have more time on the island and can get to some of the main attractions before huge tour groups turn up.
There are two main routes: the east and the west side. Most visitors choose the west side, which includes Kelingking Beach with its characteristic t-rex shape, Angel’s Billabong natural infinity pool, Broken Beach, finishing with Crystal Bay.
Sort out your transport around the island beforehand, whether that be by scooter or a private driver.
Being in Southeast Asia, Bali is an incredibly affordable holiday destination. It depends on your budget, but you can stay in a dorm of a hostel for as little as 70,000 IDR per night or a private room in a hostel or guesthouse for as little as 250,000 IDR.
Mie Goreng, nasi goreng, and other local meals can cost as little as 25,000 IDR. Scooter hire will cost around 30,000 IDR to 50,000 IDR per day. Just be sure to have an International Driver’s Licence, and for it to be legal for you to ride a 100-150 cc motorbike in your country.
Shared tours are available, which are a fraction of the cost of a private tour or private driver. You could spend the whole day at the beach, which is a free activity. At night, many bars have happy hours.
Surrounded by beautiful scenery, it’s no surprise Bali is full of adventurous hikes with stunning viewpoints.
One of the highlights of my month in Bali was hiking Mt Batur at sunrise. The colors were unreal! As you’d expect with a sunrise hike, it started super early in the morning.
We were picked up from Ubud at 2:30 am and headed towards Kintamani. We met our guide at the foot of the mountain, and we started the hike at around 3:45. We were on a shared tour, so we also had another traveler in our group. It didn’t take us long to find out he was an ultramarathon runner, so he kept us on our toes as we trekked the volcano. We made it to the summit in record time, in around an hour and a half.
As we waited for the sunrise, our guide cooked us egg sandwiches from the steam from the volcano. This was accompanied by some fruit and a hot drink. Then, the sun rose. The colors were unreal, and the sky was so clear we got to see Mt Rinjani from Lombok. Definitely an unforgettable experience!
The Untouched Areas
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, Munduk is one of my favorite places in Bali. It contrasts the tourist beach areas of Bali and is a little getaway within your holiday in Bali.
There are some other great untouched areas of Bali to visit. We stayed around the Amlapura area in Karangasem. Our villa was in the middle of farmland overlooking the rice fields. There was even an infinity pool with an equally impressive view. Although many people will venture out for the day to visit the iconic Gates of Heaven and Tirta Gangga Water Palace, few tourists choose to stay there and explore the area.
For a beach with little tourists, head to Amed. It’s the best place to go scuba diving and snorkeling on the island.