Everyone should experience Bali at least once in their lifetime. Bali offers everything exotic from light blue beaches to jungle adventures and it won’t break your bank. Here are 10 reasons why you need to have Bali on your travel destination bucket list:
1. Unbelievably cheap
If you’re wondering where you can experience the unforgettable tropical island adventure you’ve always dreamed of at prices you can surely afford, Bali is it! You can get a 4-star hotel for $15 a night, a meal with a beer for $5, great dinner with drinks for $20, rent a scooter for $5 a day, or get a driver for 8 hours for $30. Make sure to visit websites like agoda.com for hotels or skyscanner.com for flights. These websites are lesser known in the US, but are widely used in other parts of the world and are the place to go to get great deals you won’t find on the mainstream US sites.
Once you get to Bali remember that almost everything is negotiable so make sure to freshen up your bargaining skills. Everyone will try to sell you something at astronomical (to them) prices, whether it’s a cab ride or a coconut on the street. While you’ll probably never settle at prices the true locals would pay, start by countering at a quarter of the price, and hope to settle at half. Be ready: the bargaining starts the moment you get off the plane!
2. Beach paradise
Do you ever sit at work and look at your “perfect beach” screen saver and wonder where you can find that? Look no further as the main attraction that brings tourists to Bali every year is their abundance of picturesque beaches.
From white to black sand, secluded hideouts to bustling party areas, Bali has the perfect beach for you. If you’re looking for a party that never ends, head to the long stretch found along Kuta where you can find cabanas on the sand and beach club after beach club. If you’re looking for an unreal beach, travel out to Amed to find black sand, or Yeh Leh which is littered with small, rounded boulders. If you’re just looking to lay out on a secluded, white sand beach, check out Balaland or Dreamland beaches in Uluwatu. The white sand and turquoise blue water nestled between cliff sides provide a private, secluded feel.
Bali beaches are great for laying out and getting a tan, but they also offer many sea sports for the more active adventurists. If you always wanted to try out surfing, take a surf lesson in Kuta or Canggu, which have soft rolling waves that are the perfect for beginners. If you’re no stranger to surfing, then head south to Uluwatu or Padang-Padang beach and enjoy the world-class waves. All of these beaches are absolutely stunning and offer numerous spots to enjoy a cold one while you sit one out.
3. Underwater adventures
If you want to go exploring below the water surface, Bali is world renowned for their scuba diving access. One of the unique diving sites in Tulambem takes you down to the USAT Liberty shipwreck from WWII. Another unique diving spot is Pemuteran, where divers can find an ancient looking underwater temple with 10 large Hindu statues placed in the ocean bottom. Diving groups can be found throughout the island, and most will offer lessons for those that are not yet certified so nobody has to feel left out.
If you are not yet scuba certified and don’t have the time to learn, there are other ways to enjoy the underwater sea life. You can grab an underwater scooter in Nusa Dua or go snorkeling in Amed or Nusa Dua. No matter what activity you choose, you are sure to leave with a smile.
4. Extreme adventures
Not all watersports in Bali require keeping your head under water. From riding quads to class IV white water rafting, head inland for an unforgettable wild jungle experience.
Bali enjoys a year-long hot and humid climate, which means lots of rain and awesome rivers. Luckily for everyone, many outfits on the island offer white water rafting, tubing, or canyoning trips to help you explore these often overlooked paradises. Head to the Telaga Waja river, where depending on your confidence you can take on class II through class IV rapids that lead you under awesome waterfalls, rice terraces, overgrown jungles, and can even end with a 12-foot freefall off a waterfall.
When the day calls for a more relaxing activity, head to Denspar and float down the lazy river and just enjoy the scenery. Feeling crazy? Then give canyoning in Gigit a try, where you get to rappel, dive, and zipline off one waterfall after another.
When the adrenaline junkie in you requires more speed and the rumble of an engine, then head to Payangan and rent a quad for the day. This gives you an opportunity to explore the jungle and see local villages on your own without getting soaked.
5. Explore the jungle
The beaches are what attract the tourists to Bali, but make sure to take some time to roam the forest which is equally amazing. Explore the jungle for a few days and it will surprise you on what you will stumble upon. Mountain Kawi, located in Tampaksiring, is an 11th century sacred temple carved right into the mountain. The temple was built for an ancient king and has a very grand, monumental feel to it. Walking around these large mountain carvings, you feel like you just stepped into an Indiana Jones movie.
As you are traveling around Bali you will notice that the island is filled with drop dead gorgeous rice terraces. Around every corner you will find yet another perfectly sculpted rice field that makes you ask the question, “this can’t be real, right?” A must see is the Tegalalang rice terrace, the most visited rice terrace in Bali. If you are in Ubud, just jump on a scooter and head north about 30 minutes and be prepared to be blown away.
6. Culture and temples
Bali locals are very spiritual, which is evident in the abundance of temples (over 20,000) found throughout the island. One of the most famous temples in Bali is the Tanah Lot temple taken straight out of a page in a fairy tale. Located on a rock outcrop in the ocean just off the beach, it is a perfect place to catch the sunset as the waves crash against its feet.
Another popular temple in Bali is the Tirta Empul Holy Water temple. This temple is a large compound where you can walk around and get lost for an hour, as well as take a bath in the holy water. The architecture and detail that went into these temples is absolutely amazing! All statues are carved from stone and the temples mostly use grey and orange color schemes. As a side note to gentlemen: be aware that you will need to wear a skirt entering many of the temples. The wrap skirts can be rented outside the temples for a small donation or purchased for around $3 at a local market (don’t forget to bargain).
7. World class food
The food in Bali is ahhhhh-mazing. After having fun scuba diving in the morning, enjoy a nice five-star meal at incredibly reasonable prices. Feel free to splurge on filet mignon and a glass of cabernet for $20 USD while overlooking a beautiful forest at Bridges, located in Ubud. Not fancy enough? Then head to Mozaic in Ubud for a truly unforgettable meal at prices you won’t find anywhere else.
If you are feeling more adventurous and want to try something different, then head out to a Luwak coffee plantation. You have probably heard of Luwak coffee before, which is coffee digested by the Luwak cats found only in Indonesia. Don’t worry, the guides will take you through their thorough cleaning and roasting process to clear your doubts. Outside of Bali this coffee is very hard to find and it is known as the most expensive coffee in the world.
8. Massages all day
With almost as many massage parlors as there are places to eat, having a relaxing hour or two could not be easier. Most hotels have spa rooms that offer massages, but for a great massage at a fraction of the price, head to any of the numerous local spots. Whenever you find some free time, pop in for a full body rub-down for about $10-20 USD for an hour long massage. Try out the Balinese Traditional Massage that uses palm pressure and long sweeping motions. After one of these you will be relaxed and ready to take on whatever you have planned next.
9. Infinity pools
If you are all about that “laying out by the pool, sipping on a Mai Tai” life, Bali has more beachside pool clubs and lounges than you can imagine. What sounds better than hanging out in an infinity pool watching the sun disappear into the Indian Ocean? The Potato Head Beach Club is one of the most popular day time pool spots in Seminyak, but there are many other choices. El Kabron Spanish Restaurant and Cliff Club in Uluwatu is another choice that is less crowded and offers a perfect oceanfront sunset view from high above the cliff. It is the perfect spot to grab a refreshing drink and enjoy the scenery.
10. Cultural melting pot
The great thing about Bali is that it is a destination that attracts people from all over the world. Along your travels you will run into many people that have come to Bali and have decided to stay for an extended period of time because once you get there, it is hard to leave. Because of the amazing amenities and affordability, many people are leaving behind their homes and choosing Bali as a base camp for their nomadic lives. Bali has become a melting pot for surfers, adventurists, and wanderlust searchers from all over the world. If you have time, check out the Deus Ex Machina motorcycle shop and restaurant located in Echo Beach, Canggu. Besides getting amazing food, you will feel like you just stepped back in time into a 70’s surfer movie. YA WAY BRAH!
Bonus: Monkeys everywhere
Have you ever watched “Planet of the Apes” movie and wondered what it would be like to wake up in a planet run by monkeys? Lucky for you, in Bali you can get your own experience by going to the Monkey Forest located in the heart of Ubud City. The Monkey Forest is a designated jungle area where the little guys can roam around free. You can even buy a few bananas to feed the monkeys and for a minute pretend that you are the Monkey Whisperer.
Written by Laura Sausina