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Bali is a beautiful island with so much to offer. From its lush tropical vegetation and stunning beaches to its friendly and welcoming locals, there is no shortage of reasons to fall in love with this place.
With its stunning beaches, verdant rice paddies, and mystical temples, it's no wonder that Bali is a top choice for travelers. This guide has everything you need to know, from when to visit and where to stay to what to eat.
Bali used to be a Buddhist and Hindu paradise until the fourteenth century when it was invaded by the Hindu Majapahit's. But even though all its neighbors have since become Islamic, Bali has remained Hindu to this day.
The Dutch first took an interest in the island back in 1849, and by 1909 they had wrested control of the entire island. However, their occupation was short-lived, as the Japanese took over during World War II. After the war ended and Indonesia declared its independence in 1945, Bali became an independent Republican province.
Since 2010, there's been a renewed interest in traveling to Bali, and tourist numbers have risen tremendously.
Bali gets pretty busy during America's summertime and around the holidays. But things slow down a bit during the rainy season from November to March. And since Bali is primarily Hindu, Ramadan isn't as big of a deal here as it is in other parts of Indonesia.
Nyepi is the biggest holiday of the year, and it's a 24-hour silent day. On this day, no planes take off or land, and no vehicles are allowed on the roads. Electricity is also forbidden. The night before Nyepi, there are parades of males hauling ogoh-ogoh around.
The best waves on the west coast of Bali can be found from May to October. However, the winds shift in October, and the waves on the east coast become better.
Bali has many things to do and see, from soaking up the sun on the beach to exploring the island's many temples and cultural sites. Here are just a few of the many reasons Bali is a must-visit destination.
Are you looking to get your steps in and commune with nature? Then head on over to Pura Besakih. This temple is located on the active volcano Mount Agung, and reaching the trailhead will take several hours. Most people opt to do this as a tour since you'll need a vehicle to get there. Remember that climbing the mountain can be off-limits during certain times of the year, as it is considered a holy site.
Bali is a top destination for scuba divers from all over the world, drawn to its clear waters and incredible underwater landscapes. Liberty wreck is one of the most popular dive spots, where divers can see giant sunfish and manta rays.
The tiny Gili islands are perfect for experienced divers, with the dramatic Tepekong Canyon, walls, and a pinnacle nearby.
Hipster Canggu is the most fabulous, most up-and-coming spot in Bali. Its beaches are wild and beautiful, and its inland areas are full of trendy shops and yoga studios. Luxe villas are all over the rice fields, making it the perfect place to relax and unwind.
There are quite a few natural pools on the island, perfect for the lush, beautiful landscape. Some are on the shores of Lake Batur, which are incredibly energizing to sit in the northeastern mountains.
Another great spot is Air Banjar - on the northern coast near Lovina. This place is perfect for chilling out and enjoying the incredible views.
Kuta is the perfect place to party in Bali. This vibrant neighborhood is famous for its lively nightlife and abundance of hostels and bars. Plus, you can find all the souvenirs you could ever want - even if they're not strictly authentic.
Check out the Ubud Monkey Forest if you're looking for some animal fun while in Ubud. This nature reserve is also home to some sacred temples, so it's an excellent spot for tourists to check out. Just be sure not to follow the crowd and feed the monkeys - this only encourages bad habits.
Fun fact: the island of Bali is named after a water buffalo. The water buffalo are usually out and about working in the fields, so you might get a chance to see them. In Negara, you can watch the locals racing chariots pulled by buffaloes every second Sunday from July to October.
Bali is your perfect destination for surfers. With its world-class waves, the Bukit peninsula is a paradise for surfers. Uluwatu and Padang Padang are just two fantastic spots you'll find here.
A rafting tour on the Ayung River is available for those who are adventurous. This can be done in Ubud, where the river offers spectacular nature among the rice fields. The drive from Nusa Dua is one hour.
Amed and Padang Bai boast some of the best beaches, with powdery sand and rich sea life offshore. So put on a mask and dive underwater to explore the beautiful coral reefs.
Some simple rules must be followed to enjoy the Balinese culture without unintentionally offending respectfully.
Crossing your arms is a surefire way to look like you're looking for a fight. And nobody wants to see that. So keep your arms at your sides. Also, please don't touch the heads of Balinese people because they consider their heads as sacred. If someone asks you to enter their home, remove your shoes.
If you're planning on attending a ceremony at a temple, be sure to stay lower than the presiding priest at all times. Positioning yourself higher than them is a sign of disrespect.
Additionally, do not eat with your left hand - that is impure in the culture. Likewise, please give back change with both hands.
Bali is home to some of the best food in Indonesia. The main difference between Balinese and Indonesian cuisine is the ingredients and spices used in food preparation. Here are some foods you must try while you're in Bali.
Babi guling is one of Bali's most famous dishes, and it's not hard to see why. This dish is made with suckling pig, and it is hand turned on an open fire. The result is a truly unique and delicious meal that you can't find outside of Bali.
Babi guling used to be only found in religious ceremonies or special celebrations. But now, thanks to the increase in tourism, you can see this delicious dish at many restaurants.
If you're a vegetarian, you absolutely must try Gado Gado. You can usually find a vegetarian option for almost any Balinese dish, but this is one that everyone enjoys. This Indonesian dish is easy to make and packed with deliciousness. Kidney beans, Tempeh, cucumbers, tofu, and bean sprouts come together to create a fantastic meal.
Mie Goreng is a delicious and typical stir-fried noodle dish in Indonesia. It has a lot of flavors and a bit of spice. It is similar to the Chinese dish chow Mein. This dish comprises vegetables, eggs, soy sauce, noodles, and meat.
Whole, marinated fish wrapped in banana leaves and steamed? Sounds delicious! You have to try Pepes Ikan while you're in Bali – it's an authentic dish that you won't want to miss.
Even though Balinese cuisine is better known for its meat dishes, the people in Bali are also fantastic at cooking fish. Based on how it's prepared, the fish absorb all the flavors from the spices.
Laklak is a delicious Balinese cake that comes from rice flour. You'll find it in two colors - white and green. They use pandan leaves to give them a green color and light aroma. Laklak makes for a great snack any time of the day, although it's most often eaten for breakfast.
Ubud is the artsy-fartsy center of Bali that everyone gushes about. This charming town is the cultural and artistic center of the island and has many unique shops, galleries, and restaurants. It's also one of the best places to stay in Bali because it's centrally located, making it the perfect base for exploring all the island offers.
Moreover, if you're looking for accommodation in Bali perfect for groups, Kuta and Legian are the places to be. These areas are home to some of the best clubs on the island, so you'll be able to let loose and have a great time.
Additionally, Seminyak is an excellent area to relax. This famous resort town is also home to great nightlife, so check out La Plancha bar. This open-air beachfront bar is the perfect spot to watch the sunset with a cocktail in hand. And don't forget to snap a pic of the colorful umbrellas - they make for a great Instagram post.
Canggu is a fishing town that's a little calmer than Seminyak and Kuta. It is just 6 miles from Kuta. This town is perfect for those who want to enjoy some cultural activities and relaxation by the beach. And don't forget to check out the two-centuries-old temples while you're there.
Lastly, Uluwatu is a place to stay in Bali that's both exclusive and has incredible views. This area is on the south side of the island and boasts high cliffs with breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean. You'll even find some small beaches here, making it the perfect spot to relax and enjoy your vacation.
Many 5-star hotels on the island offer suites and villas with private pools and a private beach. So enjoy the day in the beach club, the swimming pool, or your private plunge pool - Bali is the perfect place for relaxation.
Bali is such a popular destination that many foreigners think it's its own country. The island is famous as one of the best places to vacation. Bali has something for everyone, from its stunning beaches to its vibrant culture.
Lately, Bali has become quite the hotspot for tourists from all over the world. In fact, since 1980, there's been a sharp increase in visitors to the island. And it's no wonder why – with its gorgeous sandy beaches, lush tropical forests, and temples, Bali has something for everyone. Plus, this tourism has helped boost the local economy by a whopping 80%.
The Indonesian International Film Festival is an annual event that offers a window into the country's culture. Bali is the perfect place to witness the combination of adventure and leisure. With its dizzying mix of spiritual awakening and partying, this island is where folks from all over come to have a good time.
There are a few ways to get around the island, but you'll need to figure out which option works best. It's also good to have Google Maps downloaded on your device.
However, traffic on the island can be pretty terrible, especially if you're trying to get around on a motorcycle. Many find it unbearable at times, but it's still the best way to get around if you don't want to be stuck in traffic.
Renting a scooter is another excellent option. But, if you've never driven here before, be prepared for a heart-pounding experience. The roads are rough.
Furthermore, you can hire a private driver or rent a car to get around. Drivers in Bali know the local roads and traffic laws inside out. Or, if you're feeling adventurous, flag down a taxi – make sure to go with a reputable company, like Blue Bird Taksi.
Don't worry about safety if you're thinking about backpacking through Bali. It's a safe place to travel, even if you're going solo. You're unlikely to experience any violence, but you should be aware of petty theft. Keep your belongings close, and you'll be fine.
Additionally, when in doubt, always trust your gut instinct. For example, if a cab driver seems shady, stop the car and get out! And if your hotel is looking a little too shabby for comfort, it's probably time to find a new place.
Before you set off on your travels, make sure you have copies of all your important documents, like your passport and ID. And be sure to let your loved ones know your plans so they can keep track of your whereabouts.