The island of Bali is renowned for its beautiful beaches, from the palm-fringed white sands of Sanur, Nusa Dua and Kuta in the south to the striking black sands of the north and west. You could easily spend your entire holiday exploring these beaches, but if you want to discover what else is on offer on the ‘Island of the Gods’, this is a great guide to get you started.
Mt Batur is considered one of the most sacred mountains in Hinduism, and witnessing the dawn from the summit of this 1717-metre peak could be described as a religious experience. Joining a guided expedition will ensure that you’re suitably kitted out for your night-time ascent and your exertions will be rewarded as the sun comes up with incredible views towards neighbouring Mt Agung and out to sea.
If you happen to be in Bali at the time of any major religious festival, you’ll notice a profusion of golden-orange blooms used as decorations and worn as garlands. If you’re paying a visit to Bali’s largest Hindu temple, Pura Besakih, in the east of the island, keep an eye out for the nearby village of Desa Temukus – one of the sites where the marigolds are grown in vast fields of riotous colour – it’s an incredible sight that will provide some Insta-worthy snapshots. The best time to visit is prior to harvest – a week or so before a major ceremony or festival. Dates can vary from year to year, so it’s a good idea to your personal travel manager.
From nasi goreng to babi guling, Bali is a food-lover’s dream, and one of the best ways to experience its many tantalising flavours is by joining a guided food safari. Whether your preference is for authentic street food or high-end restaurants, there’s a food tour to suit your palate and budget, and many can cater to dietary requirements such as vegetarian, gluten-free or nut-free. Some of the most delicious (and surprising) culinary moments can spring from the most unexpected places, such as a roadside sate (satay) stall, so having a local expert introduce you to their favourite spots is a great way to find them.
Given that there are 45 active volcanoes dotting the Balinese landscape, it’s not surprising that the island also has a wealth of hot springs in which you can enjoy a soothing soak. Some of them have been developed into wellness retreats where you can supplement your bathing with a variety of massages and spa treatments, while others mark the sites of important Hindu temples. One of the most scenic is Penatahan Hot Spring near the village of Penebel. Its waters are said to have healing properties thanks to the high mineral content, and its riverside setting, overlooking terraced rice fields, is truly tranquil.
As well as the island of Bali, there are numerous other islands nearby that are close enough to visit as a day trip (although you may quickly wish you could stay longer). The three Gili Islands off the coast of Lombok are a popular centre for water sports such as scuba diving, snorkelling and surfing, while the Nusa Islands are easily reached via a fast boat ride from Sanur. At the opposite end of Bali in the northwest corner, Menjanga is a secluded spot that’s renowned for its calm, clear waters and incredible coral gardens.
Bali is home to some of the loveliest beaches in the world, but if you venture a little further afield, you’ll return home with a greater appreciation and deeper understanding of what makes Bali a truly unique destination. If you’re ready to experience Bali off the beaten track, talk to your personal travel manager today.