Whether this is your first trip to the Island of Gods or you’ve already fallen in love and coming back for more, Bali is a destination that won’t disappoint.
With a great mix of culture, world-class resorts, adventure sports and internationally acclaimed restaurants you won’t be short of exciting things to see and do.
Ubud used to be known as the hippie capital of Bali due its wide selection of yoga retreats and health food stores. The ‘hippie’ wave has subsided these days, but Ubud remains a great escape from the hustle and bustle of Seminyak and Kuta.
Taking part in a traditional Balinese cooking class is a great way to absorb the culture. Most tours start with a trip to the local market to purchase your fresh produce for the day, followed by a hands-on cooking experience.
The Sacred Monkey Forest is another popular destination in Ubud. Hundreds of monkeys live in the forest, tasked with protecting the area from evil spirits. You can purchase food for the monkeys at the entrance to the forest, but be warned: They are not afraid of humans. If you manage to get past the gate masters (the monkeys) there are three ancient temples to visit as well.
2. Sunset in Uluwatu
Uluwatu is arguably the best place to watch the sunset in Bali. Get there early and grab a spot at the famous Rock Bar at Ayana Resort. This bar is perched upon the cliffs, offering views of the ocean as far as the eye can see. With world-class DJs and signature cocktails in abundance, Rock Bar promises a sunset you won’t forget.
3. Elephant safari park
Get up close and personal with the endangered beauties at what’s known as the world’s best elephant park. It’s a sanctuary for elephants rescued from deforestation in central and southern Sumatra. It’s ideal for a family day out. Watch the elephants play in the bathing pools, enjoy educational shows and even hand feed them!
4. Water sports
There are countless water sports you can enjoy in Bali, but white water rafting has to be one of the most popular. The Ayung River is a great spot to do it; the journey down the river is picturesque and the guide will point out places of interest along the way.
If learning to surf is more your thing, head to Canggu. Here you will find countless surf schools along the beach and the waters here are known to be calmer than those of Kuta and Seminyak.
5. Ride a bike through rice paddies
There is no better way to take in the scenery of Bali’s picturesque and sprawling rice paddies than to actually go through them. Explore them on a guided tour with several transport options available – bike, horseback or even a casual hike.
6. Volcano trek
Volcano trekking is an activity you simply must do. For first timers a great option is Mount Batur. Enjoy this once in a lifetime hike to the top of the volcano and experience a sunrise like no other.
7. Spa treatments
Bali has innumerable day spas for you to indulge in, but an old fave among many tourists is Bodyworks. They offer a range of massage treatments including many traditional Balinese options, manicures, pedicures and facials. Bookings are essential as this place gets busy.
Feeling like you want to treat yourself a little more? Head to Goldust Beauty Lounge where you can get a 24-karat gold facial. Yes, it is as decadent as it sounds.
8. Tanah Lot temple
Tanah Lot temple sits proudly on a rock formation above the ocean and is one of the most well-known temples in Bali. Visit at twilight to have unobstructed views of a spectacular ocean sunset.
9. Shop Till You Drop
Seminyak is the shopping capital of Bali. Head to Laksmana Street for a great range of Australian and international designers; and if you’re after something a little more unique, head to one of the leather tailors. They can whip up almost anything in just a couple of days, from shoes to jackets, all made to measure.
Silver is also a hot commodity in Bali. Visit the local markets in Ubud or Seminyak to find sterling silver treasures at a fraction of the price you’d pay at home.
10. Eat & Drink
Bali is a foodie’s paradise. From internationally-acclaimed 5-star restaurants to local treasures, Bali has the mix to impress. For an impressive dinner try Sardine, an open air restaurant overlooking rice paddies serving fresh seafood and locally grown vegetables. For a hearty brunch and top-notch coffee head to Revolver Espresso or Sisterfields, both located in the heart of Seminyak. Read our guide to the top 10 Restaurants in Bali here
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