Bali, also known as the ‘Island of the Gods’, is one of the world’s favourite holiday destinations, and rightly so, as it is blessed with awe-inspiring natural beauty, a multitude of attractions, and a spiritual heartland to boot.
Whether your idea of a heavenly holiday is lazing on the beaches of Nusa Dua with a colourful cocktail in hand, shopping up a storm in Seminyak, catching a surf break alongside the locals (and if you’re lucky, some famous faces!) in Uluwatu or exploring the sacred temples of Ubud, there’s something for everyone in Bali. Here are our top 10 picks…
1. Potato Head Beach Club, Seminyak
No Bali holiday would be complete without a visit to the famous Potato Head Beach Club at Seminyak. Holidaymakers flock to this unique beach club all year round to sip cocktails at sunset, listen to resident DJs and graze on delicious tasting plates as they lounge by the pool soaking in the salty, sea breezes.
2. Nusa Dua
Located on the south side of Bali, Nusa Dua is known for its golden beaches, immaculate golf courses and fine dining restaurants and is the ultimate destination to indulge in some peaceful, seaside rest and relaxation at some of the world’s best international resorts.
3. Shopping in Seminyak / Kuta
For the complete shopping experience start at the south end of Jalan Raya Seminyak Road and head towards Kuta. Here you’ll browse markets and stalls filled with art, jewellery, homewares and clothing. For the best in boutique shopping, walk towards Oberoi Road – a boulevard strip abundant with international boutiques. When your tired feet demand a rest, retreat to one of the many day spas for a massage or pedi. My Bali hot tip – be aware if you buy anything from the hawkers on the beach, it will likely attract dozens more hawkers who will want you to also buy their goods.
4. Tanah Lot Temple, Tabaran
Exploring Hindu temples is one of the most popular things to do in Bali and Tanah Lot Temple is one of the most breathtaking. Perched on an offshore rock, the ancient shrine is best visited in the late afternoon (pre-sunset) and is located about 45 minutes drive from Kuta, Legian and Seminyak.
5. Rock Bar, Jimbaran
Sitting 14 metres above Jimbaran Bay at the base of towering cliffs, AYANA Resort & Spa’s sought-after Rock Bar takes the concept of “on the rocks” to a whole new level. The open-top bar is renowned for its extensive drinks menu and is our hot tip for sundowners. *My Bali hot tip – arrive in the afternoon to secure a table by the ocean’s edge. *For more on AYANA Resort & Spa, read Rebecca’s article here
6. Menjangan Island
Located 8km off the Bali coastline and about 30 minutes by boat, Menjangan Island is a snorkeller and diver’s paradise. Surrounded by a coral reef wall, this Marine Park is exuberant with underwater life. And if visiting in the spring, you’re in for a spectacle when hundreds of deer (yes, deer!) swim to the island. If time allows, we’d recommend an overnight stay.
7. Retreat to Ubud
A popular hot spot, made famous by Eat Pray Love, Ubud offers a plethora of yoga studios and retreats to help you find your ‘ohm’. While in Ubud, take a scenic 15-minute drive to the Tegallalang Rice Terrace to marvel at one of the most spectacular rice field terraces in Bali. Make sure you have your camera handy, as you’ll want to capture this truly breathtaking scenery.
8. Sacred Monkey Forest, Ubud
Whether you’re staying in Ubud or have a day to spare don’t miss this 27-acre nature reserve. Home to more than 600 of the cheeky primates, the Sacred Monkey Forest also boasts three temples with bridges, waterfalls and stone monuments. Visitors are welcome to interact with and feed the monkeys…just remember to keep a hold of your hat!
9. Surfing at Uluwatu, Bingin and Balangan
Surfers from far and wide flock to Uluwatu, Bingin and Balangan to catch some of the world’s best waves. And even if you don’t surf, still pay this coastal strip a visit for its crystal clear waters and white sandy beaches. Around 30-40 minutes from Kuta, you can simply get a taxi from out the front of your hotel costing about 100,000 one-way. My Bali hot tip – ask your taxi driver to wait for you for your trip back for only a few extra Rp.
10. Bali Safari Marine Park, Gianyar
A top pick for families travelling with children. Bali Safari Marine Park is one of the island’s largest animal theme parks and boasts more than 60 species of animals, from hippopotamus to zebra and even a white rhinoceros! Get up close and personal with the animals as they approach your window side and if your plan on spending the entire day here, book an elephant ride experience, including a one of a kind elephant bath in the Mara River.