Are you planning your next travel adventure? If so, Bali should probably be right at the top of your list. It’s always been a popular destination for tourists, and it’s not hard to see why. Bali is one of the islands that make up Indonesia, a country that more than 140 million people call home. The island is serene and relaxed, a far cry from the bustling metropolis of Jakarta over on Java.
Here’s’ why you’ll fall in love with Bali.
Incredible Dining Opportunities
Foodies love Bali. It has some of the best restaurants in the world, attracting the most talented and innovate chefs. Perhaps top of the list is the Kubu restaurant. This establishment (which is dinner only) provides an exceptional setting. Diners sit in small wicker pods overlooking a flowing river nearby. Chefs bring out a selection of dishes based on Mediterranean cuisine. Be sure to book ahead in advance, though – Kubu is usually full by evening.
If you want to try something a little more local, then Blanco par Mandif should be your first port of call. This restaurant specialises in authentic Indonesian food but does so in a unique way. The degustation-style menu is more reminiscent of France than it is the Far East, but it somehow works, thanks to the exceptionally skilled work of the chefs. Call in here if you’re in a large party. The restaurant is in Ubud, the island’s capital.
Lots Of Surf
The vastness of the Pacific ocean surrounds Bali. As a result, waves have a long time to build in size and energy, making the island one of the best places in the world to get some surf. If you’re a surfer or enjoy watersports, the island provides plenty of opportunities to enjoy yourself. You’ll find surf beaches located at Ungasan, Pecatu and Uluwatu, complete with surf rentals and coaches ready to teach you how to ride the waves. Although Indonesia might not be the first place you associate with surfing, Australians brought the sport here way back in the 1930s, and so there is now a rich heritage.
Plenty Of Rooms Available
Although Bali is an island, it’s sparsely populated (relative to many other places in Indonesia). As a result, there is plenty of space for the travel industry to provide accommodation – much more so than in many crowded western resorts. Villas in Seminyak and Ubud offer exceptional value for money.
Adventuring, at heart, is a desire to explore the natural world and experience it in all its glory. And thanks to its unique setting, Bali allows you to do just that. The majority of the island is dominated by huge mountains, serene lakes, and paddies, all topped off by awe-inspiring sunsets. In amongst the natural beauty, you’ll find all sorts of hidden gems, including ancient temples and hidden palaces, waterfalls and unique wildlife. If you’re a photographer, don’t forget to take your camera. Snap panoramic views of the island from a mountaintop, or get up close to an ancient site for a historical shot – the island provides you with infinite possibilities, especially if you run a blog.
Enjoy The Unique Culture
The traditional Balinese calendar works on a 210-day cycle, rather than the standard Gregorian 365 days. Travelers are more likely, therefore, to stumble upon an event of cultural significance. Rites of passage – when children become adults – are particularly entertaining, and some tribes will put on a special show for tourists. You’ll also get to see the burning of effigies and local religious dancing with lots of symbolism.
Sun and sand rarely come cheap. But Bali is an exception. Thanks to low wages, you can get most tourist-related services for a fraction of the price in a Western resort, say Greece. Hotels, restaurants and shops all offer their goods and services at surprisingly discounted rates. Keep your eyes peeled for bargains: the exchange rate is very favorable since many locals would rather hold dollars or euros than their local currency.
Flickr by Joan Campderrós-i-Canas
If you’ve never been to Bali, you’ve probably never seen religious sites that capture the imagination quite like those on the island. The temple complexes were deliberately built in the most stunning locations, besides lakes (or the sea), with mountains providing the backdrop in the distance. The architecture is something to behold. It would be impressive to build temples like these today, but when you consider that many are over a 1,000 years old, you realise the skill and dedication that went into their creation. Many still function today.