Experience relaxation and adventure rolled into one. Jessica Challoner-Sterland shares a guide to making the most of this stunning Island.
Filled with rich culture, jaw-dropping scenery and friendly people, there’s so much to be explored on this small Indonesian Island. From monuments, temples and thrill-seeking adventure to peaceful spas and yoga retreats, there’s a destination for everyone to enjoy. Bali is a slice of paradise that’s both magical and captivating.
Spend an hour or two soaking up a little culture at Tirta Empul, a 10th-century Holy Spring and Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Cool off in its fresh water which is said to possess magical powers, believed to be the elixir of immortality. A 30-minute drive north of Ubud, Tirta Empul is located close to the town of Tampaksiring.
Bali is renowned for its iconic rice paddies, therefore the famous Tegallalang rice terraces is a must. Located approximately a 20-minute drive from central Ubud, the magical, lush green vistas provide the perfect photo opportunity, so be sure to bring your camera. If you wish to relish the experience and explore further, you can also take a hike down the terraces and up the other side for a small donation.
Marvel at the sights and revel in the peacefulness at Ulun Danu Temple. Built in adoration of the Goddess Danu, the Hindu-Buddhist temple is set within beautifully preserved landscape gardens, surrounded by the highlands of the mountainous Bedugul Regency which sits on Lake Beratan. It’s also a great place to escape the humidity, as the air is crisp and cool.
Head north of Bali to visit one of its many waterfalls. Located off the beaten track, the Banyumala Twin Waterfalls isn’t the easiest to get to so you’d definitely need a local driver to take you there, but boy is it worth it. The Twin Waterfalls are stunning and not overcrowded, but it’s advisable to wear practical footwear as the waterfalls reside down a steep and slippery hill.
Uluwatu Temple is a sight to behold thanks to its magnificent cliffside location, perched high above the Indian Ocean. However, watch out for the monkeys that inhabit the grounds as they occasionally like to photobomb a picture or steal your sunglasses. It’s a go-to destination to watch the sunset whilst enjoying a traditional Kecak dance performance.
If you’re in need of a little downtime after sightseeing, then the Potato Head Beach Club might just be the answer. Enjoy its three bars, three restaurants, large lawn and infinity pool overlooking the Indian Ocean. Open from 10am-2am daily the beach club is an ideal place to unwind, so grab one of the daybeds available (approx. £25 minimum spend). In the evening the club also hosts lively entertainment where you can listen to local and international DJs as you watch the golden sunset.
Eat & Drink
Dine in style whilst enjoying a cocktail and traditional Indonesian cuisine with a twist at Merah Putih. This striking restaurant features an impressive eco-sustainable design with floor-to-ceiling glass windows and contemporary illuminating columns. Using locally sourced produce and the very best aromatic spices, Merah Putih is a wonderful spot to sample traditional Indonesian dishes such as lawar cumi and babi genyol.
Relax and unwind with a bottle of Bintang and tasty tapas at La Plancha. This vibrant and colourful restaurant is a great place to sit and watch the sunset on one of the colourful beanbags as it boasts a laid-back beachfront setting. They also hold lively events including a weekly Sunset Party on Wednesday’s from 8pm until midnight.
Bali is definitely a destination to visit if you’re looking to detox or eat clean. There’s plenty of vegan restaurants and cafes around that offer a wide selection of nutritious and delicious offerings, and KYND Community in Seminyak does just that. Think colourful smoothie bowls, hearty vegan breakfasts and vitamin boosting juices. This cosy hub also features a pink wall with palm tree prints, so it’s easy to understand why this trendy café is popular amongst bloggers.
Located adjacent to the Sacred Monkey Forest and only a short stroll away from central Ubud, Bali Bohemia is a friendly, idyllic and tranquil retreat set away from the hustle and bustle. Stay in one of the nine uniquely decorated huts that surround the beautiful swimming pool and tropical garden. The stunning boutique hotel offers weekly live entertainment in the restaurant, where you can also enjoy a wholesome meal and purchase artwork created by local artists.
Tijili Hotel lies at the heart of Seminyak, an area known for its trendy restaurants and shopping scene. It’s conveniently positioned just five minutes away from the beach and a stone’s throw away from the boutique shops, bars and restaurants. The eclectic hotel attractively blends together contemporary patterns and colours with traditional materials and artwork. The rooms are equally pleasant, each of the four room types are complete with original décor and furnishings for the ultimate cosy retreat.
If you’re after pure luxury, serenity and magnificent views, then Alila Villas Uluwatu won’t disappoint. Located on Bali’s south-west tip on 100-metre high cliffs on the Bukit Peninsula, each of the eco-friendly and beautiful villas comes with a private swimming pool, cabana and vistas overlooking the Indian Ocean. It also boasts two restaurants, a spa, fitness centre and golf course. (www.alilahotels.com/uluwatu)