The Best of Bali
Visiting Bali is an experience unlike any other. This paradise of an island, part of the Indonesian archipelago, evokes a sense of luxury, spirituality and relaxation with its intricate temples, picturesque beaches, posh bars and fancy resorts. But there is so much to do, see and eat on this volcanic island that you will want the occasional break from just chilling.
Journey to Bali
Even though Bali is an increasingly popular destination for Indians, there isn’t a direct flight to the island just yet. Our journey with Air Asia took us via Kuala Lumpur to Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar, Bali in 10 hours. Air Asia has a designated ‘Quiet Zone’ on their flights, where only passengers over the age of 10 were seated. Since it is located right after the Premium Flatbed cabin, we were also one of the first to get our food served. The flight served as an excellent introduction to the luxury and peace that Bali was about to offer us upon landing.
The IZE Seminyak, a chic, modern hotel located in the most lively and trendy neighbourhood – Seminyak, has a beautiful poolside. Enjoying their delectable pool-side cocktails and munching on their delicious Mango Pork Belly Salad among the young and chic crowd at this property is one of the best ways to spend a lazy day in Bali.
Le Meridien, a luxury hotel located only steps away from the pristine waters of Jimbaran Bay on the southwestern coast of the island, has beautiful hotel rooms that open up to the pools. They also create gelato flavours from the best local Balinese ingredients. Yummy gelato and a beach view from the hotel room? Couldn’t get more relaxing!
Hinduism is an integral part of the daily lives of the Balinese. It is evident in the fact that there are over 10,000 temples and religious shrines on this island. So no trip to Bali would be complete without a visit to a temple, or ‘Pura’ as they are known locally.
While each temple and shrine has its beauty, charm and story, the Tanah Lot stands. ‘Tanah Lot’ translates into ‘Land (in the) Sea’ in the Balinese language. And this temple is precisely that – an ancient Hindu shrine perched amidst constant crashing waves. Get some great shots of the sunset against this sight that is a must-see when on the island.
No one can ever get tired of looking at the beautiful blues at Bali’s coasts and plush greens of the rice fields. But Ubud Market brings a whole new set of colour for the eyes to enjoy. Popularly known for featuring in the famed movie ‘Eat Pray Love’, the market, locally known as ‘Pasar Seni Ubud’ brings artisans and craftsmen from around the island to the centre of Ubud to showcase their delightful handicrafts.
From jewellery to paintings, masks and hats to kites, this market is a great place to get gifts and souvenirs to take back home. Sample local produce like rambutans, or delicacies like bubur injin (a black rice pudding), Gado-Gado (a peanut dip), laklak (chewy pancakes topped with sugar and roasted coconut). It can be challenging to walk past all the luring calls to find the right shops with Balinese specialities, but it is worth it once you do stumble upon the right stalls. Also, don’t forget to haggle!
For when you need a break from relaxing
The mountainous terrain is fit for fans of adventure sports, picturesque beaches crashing with waves beckon surfers, underwater life as beautiful as the one on the island!
ATV Quad bike riding
Bali looks tiny on the world map, but the island has over five different types of terrain. And while renting a car with a driver is an inexpensive and the preferred way of exploring the diverse landscape, ATV Quad Bikes are an adventurous alternative. Driving through rice fields, plantations, jungles, mud tracks on the easy-to-operate and fully automatic quads was a superb way get our adrenaline pumping. The quad bikes also allowed us to venture off the beaten path into depths of quaint villages in Desa Kerta and Payangan.
It would be erroneous to find yourself on an island with waters as blue as Bali and not explore the healthy corals and vibrant underwater life. And being surrounded by great snorkelling spots around the island, there is no excuse to miss out on the activity. Catch some reef sharks, turtles and a variety of eels and pufferfish at PadangBai, on the eastern coast of the island. Or head to Nusa Penida to swim with graceful manta rays or Mola Mola (sunfish). One of the most popular spots for snorkelling lies at Tulamben – The USAT Liberty Shipwreck. This 40-year-old US cargo wreck site that is visible from the surface of the water has now become home to a plethora of marine biodiversity.
Nusa Penida is an island tinier than Bali sitting just a 90-minute jukung (boat) ride south-east of the latter. This nearly untouched part of Indonesia holds a hidden gem. The Angel’s Billabong is a natural infinity pool. The emerald and turquoise tones of the water blend in with the deep blue sea. Make sure to plan your trip to this remarkable sight during a low tide to be able to get that perfect Instagram worthy shot of yourself in the pool.
Food, Fish, Fruit
Bali is filled with trendy restaurants, homely local joints, hip cafés, and modern bars. While it is hard to have a bad dining experience on the island, there are some spots that stand out.
Kynd Community, Seminyak
The Lawn, Canggu
This beach-side property offers a fare of international flavours with a Balinese twist. It is a beautiful Balinese hotspot to soak up the 180º beach view alongside delicious food or to take a dip in the pool with a couple of drinks.
Rock Bar is one of the top sunset spots in the world! And it isn’t hard to see why. Perched atop the characteristic rock formations on a secluded limestone cliff along the pristine blue waters of Jimbaran, the Rock Bar boasts unparalleled views of the Indian Ocean.
The food and drink keep up with the glamorous vibe of this place. It is a beautiful spot to unwind after a long day of adventure and sun-soaking.
Travel to Bali to relax, or travel to Bali for the adrenaline-inducing activities. Travel to Bali for the food, or travel to Bali party. But go to Bali and have the best time of your life.