There’s no doubt that the thought of Bali brings to mind images of a tropical paradise jam-packed with great surf beaches, amazing food and rich culture. Whether you’re looking for a low-key beach-side holiday, a relaxing yoga retreat or an action-packed adventure, Bali has something for you. A recent holiday to this popular Indonesian island was enough to convince me that I simply must return there, and sooner rather than later. After 10 nights in this haven, I have come to the conclusion that these are my must have Bali encounters:
1. Seafood feast and sunset at Jimbaran Bay
The first part of my family holiday was spent in the peaceful oasis of Jimbaran Bay located in Southwestern Bali. If you want to escape the typical tourist-scene, this is the ideal place to do so. Around 5 pm, pull up a chair in the sand on Jimbaran Beach and settle yourself in for perhaps the most brilliant sunset you will ever see. Follow your sunset viewing with a seafood feast by candlelight and watch the silhouette of planes landing at Denpasar Airport across the bay.
2. Have your breath taken away at Uluwatu Temple
Perched on the dramatic and beautiful coast of southern Bali you will find Uluwatu Temple, one of the most sacred temples on the island. Walk the cliff side track and take in the mesmerising views of the waves crashing below and Uluwatu Temple in the distance. Visit at sunset for a magical encounter and watch the Kecak dance performance. Tip: Whatever time of day you visit, watch out for the monkeys that will try and steal anything attached to you!
3. Absorb the laidback vibe at Potato Head Beach Club
Spend an evening in the hip and happening area of Seminyak to visit one of the island’s most famous beach clubs. Choose from an extensive range of beautifully-presented cocktails and witness another breathtaking sunset. Sit and let the afternoon breeze ruffle your hair or bring your bikini and become acquainted with the pool bar. This club has a great vibe and direct beach access.
4. Find the Eat, Pray, Love experience in Ubud
If you’re seeking the Eat, Pray, Love Bali encounter, then Ubud is the destination you are searching for. Home to rolling green rice terraces, temple-lined back alleys, medicine men and endless art galleries, Ubud is the perfect destination for simply wandering, observing and embracing a hippie and free lifestyle.
5. Eat at least one meal at Earth Cafe
Those seeking the equivalent of vegetarian/vegan heaven should not miss a visit to Earth Cafe located in both Seminyak and Ubud. This cheap and delicious cafe offers pages and pages of mouth-watering vegan and vegetarian cuisine that will appeal to even the heaviest of meat-eaters. Don’t miss out on their Chickpea Burger or burritos for a orgasmic food experience. Their tonics and fresh juices are served in quirky jars and worth trying.
6. Watch the sun set at Ayana Rock Bar
A visit to Bali simply would not be complete without an evening spent at Ayana Rock Bar, part of the Ayana resort complex located in Jimbaran. Avoid the one-hour wait for the cable car by walking down to the bar instead and securing a table right by the water before the hordes. Order a cocktail and watch as the sky transforms into brilliant shades of pink and orange and local fishing boats trail across the horizon. There is a strict dress code for men, so be sure not to wear singlets, alcohol branded clothing or board shorts unless you want to spend money at their resort store.
7. Stay at Komaneka Tanggayuda (for the infinity pool!)
Komaneka Tanggayuda is a boutique resort located just 15 minutes drive outside of Ubud and is worth a stay alone for its spectacular location in the forest and faultless service. While away an entire day simply floating around the pool and drinking in the spectacular view of the rice terraces in the distance. Keep your eyes peeled for local squirrels running up the surrounding trees!
8. Walk the Karsa Kafe Track
If you want to get up close and personal with Ubud’s rice terraces and encounter some of the areas better artists (that don’t charge a ridiculous mark up!), walk the short but scenic Karsa Kafe track accessed from the centre of Ubud. Drink in the relaxed atmosphere, admire the jewel green rice fields, pay a visit to galleries of local artists and finish the trek off with a cool drink or cheap massage at Karsa Cafe, a beautiful establishment located smack bang in the middle of the rice fields and surrounded by lily-pads.
9. Visit sacred and beautiful Tanah Lot Temple
Perhaps one of the most popular attractions in Bali, Tanah Lot is a tourist magnet and is worth a visit for its spectacular location in the water. Visit at sunset to capture an iconic photo. To avoid too many fellow tourists getting in your shot, turn left when you get to the temple and walk along the rocks until you can see the sun perched behind the outline of the temple as seen above!
10. Visit the private beach at Karma Kandara Resort
Perched on a jaw-dropping cliff in Ungasan, you will find one of the island’s best-located resorts. Swim in the stunning infinity pool overlooking the Indian Ocean (featured at the top of this blog post) and absorb laidback music and cocktails at their private beach offering mouth-watering food and great beach-side dancing opportunities.
I have managed to get this list down to 10 but I could go up to 100! Visit Bali yourself to find out why this fantastic and exotic destination could just offer the best holiday you’ll ever have.