Bali is a small Indonesian Island and a very popular tourist destination. Bali can often be given a reputation as it is a cheap destination for Australian tourists. Although Bali is very westernised and there is no denying it is packed with tourists who just want to party, there is still great beauty and culture in this Island. I was always slightly hesitant to travel to Bali given its reputation but I must say that I was pleasantly surprise and would love to spend more time exploring this beautiful island.
The population of Bali is around 4.2 million and the main religion is Balinese Hindu. There are many temples and places of worship around the Island and it is common to see their offerings out in the streets as well as at the temples.
Bali has some amazing things to see and do and is definitely worth a visit. Here are some of my recommendations of places to stay and things to see and do around this beautiful island.
Neighbourhood to Stay In/Explore:
Canngu is known to be a bit a 'trendy' youthful suburb of Bali. Not far out of Seminyak it is a small neighbourhood with a lot of trendy cafes as well as Batu Bolong Beach. Canngu is a great spot to go for a good breakfast. I would recommend staying here if you want somewhere a bit more quiet than Seminyak.
What to check out in Canngu: Crete Cafe, Old Man's Canngu, Betelnut Cafe
Ubud is located in the rainforest and rice fields of Bali. It is an absolutely stunning place to visit if you are visiting Bali. There is lots of great things to do in Ubud as well as well as some great things to check out that are not far from the city. I loved just wandering the streets of Ubud, they are beautiful. There are some great day trips and tours out of Ubud as well.
What to check out in Ubud: Monkey Forest, Ubud Art Market, A Tea and Coffee Plantation, Tegallalang Rice Terraces
Seminyak is one of the most popular places to stay in Bali. It is known as the shopping capital of Bali and it does not disappoint. You can find a range of boutique shopping as well as cheap markets. There are so many different types of accommodation in Seminyak in a range of prices, you are sure to find something that suits you. There's endless amounts of restaurants in cafes in Seminyak you can find all different types of foods and cuisines here.
What to check out in Seminyak: Shopping, Potato Head Beach Club, Uma Karan
Things To See:
Uluwatu Water Temple:
Uluwatu water temple is one of the most famous temples in Bali and for a good reason. It's located on the beautiful cliffs of Uluwatu this temple is a must see when you come to Bali. Sunset is the best time to visit the temple as the sunsets over the ocean and the cliffs it's absolutely beautiful. Be carful of the monkeys there, they may be cute but they will take your things.
Ubud Monkey Forest:
A must see if you are in Ubud. Not only is the forest beautiful itself but seeing all the monkeys is great. Do be careful with your belongings though as the monkeys can be very cheeky and love to steal your things.
Tegallalang Rice Terraces:
These beautiful green rice fields are a magnificent sight. I highly recommend checking them out whilst in Bali. Although they have become quite a tourist attraction these days, its great to walk around and see how the rice is grown and harvested.
A Tea and Coffee Plantation:
Bali is famous for there coffee and tea. Ludwak coffee is very interesting process to learn about and try. There is also a great range of teas in Bali, some to try are lemongrass, turmeric and pandam tea. Bali has some great plantations were you get to try out and buy a range of teas as well as learn about the processes in which they make it. It's also great supporting the local plantations and businesses.
Not for out of Ubud, Titra Empul is a great temple to visit. It's a little different to the other temples in Bali as it is a water temple. The fresh spring water there is said to purify and cleanse you. This temple is great to learn about the Balinese Hindu religion as well as see all the locals in their place of worship.
North of Denpasar this waterfall is a beautiful day trip. There's a small hike down to the waterfall and a swimming hole at the bottom. It's a great escape from the busy city and nice and refreshing on a hot day. The drive out is quite beautiful as you see some amazing scenery as well as driving through the streets of some small local towns.
How to get around:
Hire a Driver:
This is great and inexpensive way to see all the sights you want to see in Bali. The driver I had in Bali was absolutely lovely and took us everywhere we wanted to go, he even took us into the sight and taught us a lot about Bali, hinduism and life as a local in Bali. You can negotiate prices with the driver before you start your trip but always stick to the price you agree on. I also tipped my driver about $5 which he really appreciated.
There are many scooters on the roads of Bali. I would only recommend this if you are a confident driver as it can be very dangerous. Hiring a scooter can be very cheap and a great way to get to all the locations you want to see around the island. Always wear a helmet if riding on a scooter, the driving in Bali can be hectic.
If you are shopping at a market it is expected to bargain the price. I usually start at about 1/3 of the price they offer at first and then work my way up to about half if I really want the product. Don't be rude to the sales assistants just firm about the price you want, at the end of the day you want to be happy and the shop keeper want to be happy. If you are not happy with the price they are offering simply say no thank you and walk away. At the end of the day though remember that extra dollar you are bargaining over probably can do a lot more for them than it can for you.
Respect the country and the culture you are in. If visiting a temple or somewhere sacred dress according to the dress code and follow the instructions that are in place. Remember that there are a lot of locals living in Bali, don't be rude and respect their beliefs and their culture. You are visiting their country, although they are used to tourists still treat everyone and everything with respect.
One of my favourite aspects about travel is learning about new places and new cultures. Bali is no different, there is so much to see, do and learn about on this island. Go out and learn about Balinese Hindus, the different cities and towns that make up Bali and about the local customs and culture there.
Bali is full of some amazing restaurants which offer all different types of cuisines. Whilst you're Indonesia don't forget to try some of the local dishes whilst you're out. Bali is also known for having some amazing local fruits, teas and coffees, it's worth trying some of these whilst you are there.