Bali is an Indonesian island famous for its forested mountains and active volcanoes, scenic rice paddies, waterfalls, beaches and coral reefs. The island is home to religious sites such as Tanah Lot Temple, Uluwatu Temple, Besakih Temple and others.
To the south, the beachside city of Kuta has lively nightlife, while Seminyak, Sanur and Nusa Dua are popular resorts. Beaches in the south tend to have white sand while those in the north and west have black sand. The upland town of Ubud is considered Bali's cultural centre. The island is known for its yoga and meditation retreats. It is Indonesia's main tourist destination.
Bali is the only Hindu-majority province in Muslim-majority Indonesia. It is renowned for its highly developed arts, including traditional and modern dance, sculpture, painting, leather, metalworking, and music. Bali is part of the Coral Triangle, the area with the highest biodiversity of marine species, especially fish and turtles.
In January 2021, TripAdvisor named Bali as the world's top destination.
The Fostenko family has returned from a magical vacation to Bali and we have spoken to Maryna about their time there:
How did you plan your stay?
Our travel agent has put together a great package that turned out to be more affordable than if we had planned the trip ourselves. Our priorities were to spend time in Ubud and Badung. We stayed at Alaya Resort Ubud Hotel. Many people also favour villas, and change them every few days to stay at different locations.
What time of year should you go?
The best time to visit Bali is between April and October, the island's dry season. Although Bali has a fairly even climate all year round, fewer tourists come during the rainy season.
What are some of the places that you have visited?
The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary (Ubud Monkey Forest)
This natural forest sanctuary is a home to a horde of grey long-tailed macaques. Besides watching playful monkeys in their natural habitat, you can take walks along paved forest pathways. The monkeys don’t seem to be afraid of people at all and it is important to watch out as one or two of them may get too close.
Tegallalang Rice Terraces
The Tegallalang Terraces are famous for their beautiful scenes of rice paddies and their innovative irrigation system. Painters and nature lovers enjoy visiting this spot, and there are numerous art kiosks and cafés nearby.
Bali Pulina Coffee Plantation in Gianyar
There are various farms around the island that allow you to experience the famous Kopi Luwak and will showcase the production steps. The world’s most expensive coffee bean is pooped right out of the Indonesian cat-like animal, the Civet. The beans that create Kopi (coffee) Luwak are eaten by these animals and excreted, to be collected by coffee farmers who sell the beans. Kopi Luwak is best savored without milk, cream, or sugar – so you can get a true taste.
The Ubud Palace, officially Puri Saren Agung, was the official residence of the royal family of Ubud. It is one of the most prominent landmarks. It serves as a cultural repository of arts, dance and literature. Featuring well-preserved Balinese architecture and a charming garden setting, the palace was built during the lordship of Tjokorda Putu Kandel (1800–1823). The Ubud Royal Palace is best known among the lovers of Balinese arts as one of the main sites to view traditional dance performances.
The best places to go for local food?
Bali has a variety of local and international foods, at great prices. We enjoyed everything we ate. The Parmesan truffle fries were amazing. Unforgettable taste. We recommend that you also try steamed edamame. There was an excellent cafe called Pison Ubud near our hotel. Loved it.
What have you tried doing for the first time?
We tried surfing and had a great time. However, it is worth taking some lessons first.
Any tips for new travelers?
If time permits, consider visiting neighboring islands with their clear waters and pristine beaches. Notably, Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan, and Nusa Ceningan.
We hope this story will help you plan a great trip to Bali! Whether you like surfing, swimming, hiking, yoga and meditation retreats, or volcanoes, Bali will not disappoint.