Discover the Island of a Thousand Temples with our Bali travel guide
19 January, 2022
4 May, 2022
It’s hard to fully capture the vibrant, effervescent spirit of Bali. From the bustling street markets to the pristine white sand beaches to the tranquil Hindu temples where melodious chanting fills the air, this is an island of wonder and endless possibility. Filled to the brim with life, colour and joy, wellness aficionados, culture vultures, digital nomads, and beach bums alike will all find their spiritual home on this beguiling tropical isle.
Big enough to offer plenty of diversity, but small enough to explore properly in a couple of weeks, a holiday on this magnificent isle can be every bit as action-packed or low key as you like. Scale towering volcanic mountains, wander through lush rice terraces, discover vibrant coral reefs or simply lounge upon silky black sand beaches - your Bali break is yours to make. Already dreaming of this beautiful island? You’ll find plenty of inspiration in our exclusive Bali travel guide.
Abounding in Breathtaking Beaches
We wouldn’t have a complete Bali travelling guide without an entire section dedicated to the island’s many wonderful beaches. Brimming with pristine stretches of sand, Bali offers something for every kind of seaside aficionado. From buzzing party beaches and windswept surf spots to secluded shores cradled by the cliffs, you really will find every type of beach imaginable on this paradise island.
If you’re searching for a more secluded area of Bali, then Balian Beach is the perfect choice. A magnificent volcanic masterpiece, the black satin sand provides a stark contrast to the brilliant blue waves - the perfect backdrop for a day spent lounging on the shore. If start feeling peckish, you can always wander back into the village for some unfussy, local cuisine.
Nusa Dua Beach
Families will want to make tracks for Nusa Dua Beach - a long, wide, sandy and calm stretch of shore. The waves here are gentle and the waters shallow, meaning it’s a great spot for the kids to practice their swimming. And there’s plenty of opportunity for sandcastle building back onshore.
For the surfers, Uluwatu is considered one of the best regions to catch a wave. Padang Padang Beach is a particularly great surf spot if you’re in a group of mixed surfing abilities. Split into two breaks, Padang Padang Left is for the real surf experts (and makes great watching from the shore). Meanwhile, Padang Padang Right is a calmer break, more suitable to novice surfers.
Balangan Beach is one of the island’s most beautiful, with a sweeping stretch of caramel coloured sand framed by towering limestone cliffs and the sparkling ocean. The ideal spot for a relaxing afternoon of lounging in the sunshine, watching the waves roll in.
If you like the convenience of a beach club, then be sure to check out Saba Beach. The Flamingo Bali Beach Club is nestled right on the unique black sands of this scenic bay, offering cocktails and cosy daybeds aplenty. Aside from the beach club, this is one of the quieter beaches on the island - perfect for peaceful strolls with little distractions.
Backed by a lush forest of palms, Crystal Bay is a sheltered cove tucked away on the island of Nusa Penida. A popular spot for scuba divers and sunbathers, you’ll find it difficult to tear yourself from the peace and quiet of this relatively undisturbed stretch of coastline.
Whether you are seeking solace or adventure, Bali has something for everyone. From chartering a private yacht to scaling the heights of the island’s mighty volcano, here are some of the awe-inspiring opportunities that await during your stay in Bali.
Find your inner zen
For the wellness seekers, there are ashrams and yoga retreats aplenty, as well as plenty of activities and sports to be enjoyed. Hone your meditation and asana skills under the guidance of a master yogi, either in-villa or at one of the island’s tranquil ashrams.
Take on the challenge of Mount Batur
Challenge yourself by scaling the slopes of Mount Batur, the island’s hulking volcano. Starting before dawn with a 4x4 adventure to the centre of the volcano, followed by a 40-minute hike, the incredible sunrise views from the top will more than make up for the early start.
Discover the mighty Sekumpul Waterfall
Any nature lovers in the group will want to set off on an expedition into the lush rainforest, to discover the island’s incredible array of exotic flora and fauna. A trip out to the magnificent Sekumpul Waterfall in the northern mountains is a must, as is a wander through the emerald rice fields of Jatiluwih, on the mid-west side of the island. Meanwhile, a trip to the nearby Komodo Island, home to the world’s only dragons, can be easily arranged with a Bali tourist guide too.
Go scuba diving in the island of Nusa Penida
There’s just as much beauty to be found below Bali’s waves as there is on land. Strap on a mask and fins and set off to explore this incredible underwater world. On the neighbouring island of Nusa Penida, you can swim with giant manta rays - growing up to a staggering five metres, these gentle giants are a sight to behold. Meanwhile, more experienced scuba divers can explore the Japanese Wreck and mesmerising coral reefs just off the coast from Amed.
Charter your own private yacht
As well as there being plenty to do on Bali itself, the island is also situated right next to three tiny islets: Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan and Ceningan Island. Charter a private yacht and spend the day exploring these little pockets of paradise: bursting with breathtaking beaches and famous beauty spots, such as Kelingking Beach and Devil’s Tears, it’s well worth the trip.
Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary
Enjoy a day trip to the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, a conservation zone home to over 750 Balinese long-tailed macaques. Unlike traditional zoos, the primates have a lush forest to explore - you’ll often see them swinging from tree to tree, or even stopping by to take a piece of fruit from visitors.
Our Bali guide to Buddhist temples
Take a look at any Bali trip guide and you’ll soon see that meditation is a big part of Balinese culture. As such, you’ll find an abundance of temples as you make your way around the island. Visitors are welcome to explore their grounds although you will need to wear a sarong - it is essential for entry into almost all of Bali’s Hindu temples.
Pura Tirta Empul
Translating to ‘holy spring’, Pura Tirta Empul allows you to cleanse both your body and mind in its refreshing waters. Built around a series of natural springs, this temple is considered to be one of the holiest on the island. As you make your way into the inner courtyard, you may notice the locals lining up to dip their heads under the water - this is a ritual known as ‘melukat’ and is believed to help relieve tension and anxiety.
Pura Tanah Lot
You’ll only be able to reach this temple at low tide, as it's set on a rocky formation just off the island’s south coast. The sea views are absolutely mesmerising from here - especially when the sun is setting.
Pura Luhur Lempuyang
If you don’t mind a strenuous hike, then the dramatic setting of Pura Luhur Lempuyang is well worth the trip. Set at the summit of Mt. Lempuyang, this beautiful temple is surrounded by clouds and has an idyllic, ethereal feel to it. If you are lucky, you may get to take in the breathtaking views with the sounds of the ceremonial priests chanting in the background - truly fantastic.
Set within the steep hills of the island’s largest volcano, Pura Besakih - or the Besakih Great Temple - is a complex of twenty-three temples. Its elevated position affords the most spectacular views across the mountains and rice paddies - be sure to stop and take in the scenery on your way up to the many steps to the heart of the temple.
Pura Ulun Danu Bratan
Set beside the shores of Lake Bratan, Pura Ulun Danu Bratan is a mountain shrine elevated around 1200m above sea level. On clear days and when the water is calm, the temple is reflected onto the lake - creating the illusion that it is floating on its waters.
Pura Dalem Agung
If you plan on visiting the monkey sanctuary, be sure to add Pura Dalem Agung to your list. Set within the lush tropical greenery of the forest, this tranquil sanctuary is often visited by the local primates - so be sure to keep your camera firmly in hand as they are known to be a little curious of visitors.
Our Bali travel guide to fresh local flavours
You can’t travel to Bali without indulging in the island’s local cuisine. Brimming with intoxicating flavour and endless fusion cuisines, Bali is truly a gourmand’s paradise. With a staggering variety of restaurants and cuisines on offer, you can feel free to indulge or detox as much as you like, while still making the most of the island’s delicious fresh produce. Keen foodies can even try their hand at a cookery class or two, bringing an authentic taste of Bali back home with them after the trip.
KU DE TA
Ask any tourist guide in Bali and there’s a good chance they’ll direct you here. Nestled upon Seminyak’s sandy shores, KU DE TA is an iconic island spot. Serving up delectable food, craft cocktails and heaps of charm for nearly two decades now, there’s a reason why it remains one of Bali’s hottest beachfront spaces to this day. Bask in the balmy sunshine, enjoy exquisite small plates of local and seasonal produce, washed down with a watermelon and mint martini (or two) - pure bliss.
Enjoy peaceful views out over the verdant Valley of the Kings from Cascades Restaurant. Just five-minutes from the centre of Ubud, yet situated in a world all of its own, you’ll feel lost in time at this magical jungle spot. Relax amidst the traditional Balinese furnishings, savouring the luxurious Balinese Rijsttafel tasting menu, filled with fragrant spices and rich flavours. Boasting one of the only organic greenhouses on the island, Cascades sources most of their herbs and veggies from their own grounds.
Calling all Carnivores! A trip to Si Jin has to be on the cards. Boasting the best meat to be found on the island, this is a gastronomic experience like no other. From conventional steaks to exclusive and rare cuts, Chef Joel Si Jin hand-picks the most exquisite meat from all over the world. The sides and starters are crafted using fresh, local ingredients, combined with a Korean twist. While the cocktails range from creative originals to expertly mixed old favourites, meaning that every member of the group will find something they love at Si Jin.
Located in the temple-filled town of Ubud, Ankhusa is a must-visit for anyone wishing to sample authentic local flavour. Set off upon a gastronomic voyage through Indonesian cuisine, with a menu bursting with rich and fragrant local flavours. The delicious food is expertly matched by the breathtaking setting. Savour the soaring Balinese architecture, natural bamboo furnishings and spectacular views out over the verdant rice paddies.
Another fabulous restaurant in Ubud, Mozaic focuses on traditional French flavours with a subtle Balinese twist. The chef tasting menu is well worth a try, featuring everything from butter-poached lobster tail to crispy seared foie gras. Dine outside under the lush greenery, or head into the dimly-lit dining room for a more intimate experience.
Experience luxury beachfront dining at Soleil, a stylish seafood restaurant set beside the pristine sands of Nusa Dua. Taking inspiration from Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Mediterannean, the result is a tantalising selection of dishes rich in flavours and exotic ingredients. The restaurant’s glass windows and doors create an open-air feel throughout the dining room, allowing you to gaze across the coast as you tuck into freshly prepared meat and seafood dishes.
The onefinestay experience
The onefinestay experience
At onefinestay, we pride ourselves on providing much more than just a beautiful retreat for our guests. How about a private chef for an extra-special evening in? We can arrange for talented local chefs to prepare authentic dishes night after night, or for a one-off occasion. From at-home massages and spa treatments to arranging all your exciting excursions on the island, our Travel Advisors are on tap to ensure your holiday is as action-packed or relaxing as you'd like. An unforgettable experience in Bali awaits.
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