Quick daydreaming Bali guide
Brimming with colour and flavour, the Indonesian island of Bali, is distinctive for its 10,000 flower adorned temples, and its rich and embracing religious rituals. Volcanic scenery, stunning beaches, and wealth of hotel and resort options makes the island an unparalleled standalone destination. It can also be your launch pad to adventures on neighbouring islands, like Lombok or Komodo, and the natural and cultural wonders of Java.
Bali offers unbeatable value for the budget or luxury tourist alike. Party at Kuta Beach, holiday with the family at Sanur or venture inland to chill in mystical Ubud. Every kind of water sport is available, including scuba diving, and there is horseriding, mountain biking and water parks for the kids. Bali is worth a return visit just for the food, with lusciously spiced local specialties, and a packed menu of international choices in the tourist areas. Whether you’re there to tackle the legendary surf breaks, take a yoga retreat, make the most of your camera equipment, or simply relax, Bali delivers with a smile.
Some of Bali’s most popular beaches are a stone’s throw from the international airport. Follow the procession of surfboards. Busy Kuta and Legian have bargain hotel rooms and feverish nightlife. Seminyak is less hectic, with plenty of shopping and amazing dining choices. Or stay near the beach in Sanur, where the slower pace and range of restaurants and accommodation is ideal for families. Sanur is also a great base for day trips to Bali’s inland marvels. Nusa Dua is a peaceful haven of five star resorts, many with private beaches.
Travellers to Ubud and further afield are rewarded with the lavish experience of Balinese cultural life. Otherwise, explore the island’s dramatic natural beauty. Take in traditional shadow puppet performances and temple or palace dances to gamelan orchestras. Hike to jungle waterfalls, breathtaking mountain tops and volcanic Lake Batur. Photograph the riot of greenery in the rice field terraced hillsides, or the flowers, sarongs and silks of local Hindu rituals.
Quick Bali facts
Located not far south of the equator, Bali has an average year round temperature of 30°C, with only two seasons, wet and dry.
Wet season spans October to April with the wettest months December through March.
July and August are high season, when rates and occupancies are highest. Best time to go is during shoulder months of May, June and September.
The highlands can be cool, so pack something warm if you plan a visit to the mountains.
Australians and some other nationalities are eligible for a 30 day visa on arrival by air into Bali, but you need US$35 handy in cash, US currency. Otherwise apply in advance to the Indonesian embassy or consulate.
Things to do in Bali, if you can be bothered leaving the pool
Climb to the 11th century Gunung Kawi shrines cut into hillside rock .
Surf the incredible southern breaks at Padang Padang and Uluwatu.
Play 18 holes of golf on stunning coastal courses with views of the Indian ocean, or at Bali Handara Kosaido club in the mountainous Bedugul region.
Learn to create sumptuous, spicy and rich Balinese dishes at a cooking class.
Take a sunrise trek to the top of Mt Agung, Bali’s highest point, and take in the views to Lombok and over the Mt Batur caldera.
Visit Ubud’s Monkey Forest, but don’t take any food. Monkeys can bite!
Shop for ikat and batik textiles, carvings and silver wares at the many markets and workshops.
Experience Legong dance performances at the Peliatan Palace in Ubud.
Visit in October for the internationally renowned Ubud Writers & Readers Festival.