The land of gods, as it’s popularly known, Bali is in everyone’s bucket list of travel. Bali is so rich with everything you can possibly ask from a tropical resort island. White sandy beaches, rugged coastlines, green terraces of paddy fields, world class surfing sites, amazing diving spots, picturesque lakes… you can find them all in Bali.
Apart from that, Bali is also unique with its deeply spiritual culture. Balinese mostly embrace Hindu religion and they show it clearly in their everyday life. Lots of puras (temples), daily prayers with beautiful offerings, and also cultural villages and traditions make Bali win travel awards every year.
The incredible South Bali
The main magnet of Bali is definitely its southern part. Apart from its wonderful beaches, this area is also the most accessible one because Ngurah Rai International Airport is located here. You can enjoy Kuta, Legian, Sanur, Seminyak, Tanah Lot, Uluwatu, Pandawa, and many more wonderful beaches in this area. There are wide range of accommodation and facilities here, from cheap to the most expensive upscale suites.
West Bali is the main entry point of the island from Java from its Gilimanuk port. The western part of Bali counts on its rich culture and rugged landscape. There are small village of Pemuteran that has several waterfront resorts. The West Bali National Part is located on the borth-westerly part of the island.
North Bali is popular with its black sandy beach, especially in Lovina Beach. Lovina is not only about the beach, as it also has wonderful marine life in its reef. Singaraja is the biggest city in North Bali, it is talso the former capital of the region. Seririt is popular as a pit stop for traveler who want to travel from one part of the island to the others.
East Bali is mostly known for its rich cultural heritage, even among other Bali regions. You can find the majestic Besakih temple with the backdrop of Mount Agung. Tirta Gangga Mountains is the place of water palace and the iconic and stunning rice terraces. Klungkung is a town with massive cultural and historical importance.
This region is famous for its scenic lakes; Bratan, Bujan, Tamblingan. As in many locations in Bali, there are also temples that blend well with the environment. The most iconic example is Pura Ulun Danu Bratan. Instead of ruining the wonderful natural scenery, this temple gives an additional beauty to the misty lake. Ubud, the center of art and dance in the foothills, is also located in this region.
The Southern Islands
On the southeast of Bali, there are three small islands; Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Penida, and Nusa Ceningan. They are only 15 kilometers away from the mainland Bali. Nusa Lembongan is the most popular among the tourists for its wonderful surfing spots. Nusa Penida is the biggest island among the three and haven’t been developed intensely. Nusa Ceningan is a small island between Penida and Lembongan.
Nyepi, the Day of total silence
Nyepi is balinese’s day of silence, commemorated a day before Balinese New Year (Isakawarsa) celebration. Nyepi si observed from 6 a.m. to 6 a.m. the following morning with total silence. They usually also fast and meditate. During Nyepi, there are restrictions such as no lighting fire, no working, no traveling, no entertainment, and some even no talking or eating at all.
Galungan is a Balinese ceremony celebrating the victory of dharma over adharma (that is celebrated as Dhiwali by many Hindu communities all over the world). Galungan is celebrated for ten days and the pinnacle is called Kuningan. The most obvious sign of Galungan is penjor, a bamboo pole with ornaments and offering at the end of it. Penjor is erected at the side of the road.
Ayam Betutu is the most popular dish from Bali. A whole chicken is filled with spicy ingredients before then being wrapped with banana leaves. The stuffed chicken is then being roasted slowly for 24 hours. The result is that an authentic taste, soft texture, and rather spicy.
Best place to enjoy Ayam Bertutu:
- RM Ayam Betutu Khas Gilimanuk – Jalan Raya Tuban No. 2X, Tuban, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia
- Ayam Betutu Pak Man – Jl. Kubu Anyar No.72x, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia
- Ayam Betutu Ibu Nia – Jl. Merdeka No.1, Sumerta Kelod, Denpasar Tim., Kota Denpasar, Bali 80235, Indonesia
Sate lilit is not a typical Indonesian satay. In most places, satay is made from skewered meat (mostly chicken and lamb). However, sate lilit is made from minced meat (pork, chicken, fish, or beef) that is mixed with special seasonings. The meat then being pasted on a lemongrass stalk and then grilled slowly with special seasonings.
Best place to enjoy sate lilit:
- Sate Lilit Tuna Klungkung – Jalan Pulau Bungin, Pedungan, Denpasar Selatan, Pedungan, Denpasar
- Merta Sari Restaurant Persinggahan – Jl. Kresna, Pesinggahan, Dawan, Kabupaten Klungkung
- Gourmet Sate House – Jl. Dewi Sri No.101, Legian, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung
How to get to Bali
Bali is accessible by many ways. The easiest, of course, is by air. Bali is also accessible overland from Java, albeit having to ferry from Banyuwangi to Gilimanuk. Bali is also a popular destination for tourist who love sailing.
Bay Air. The main gateway to enter Bali is Ngurah rai International Airport. Apart from serving flight from and to all over Indonesia, this airport is also connected with many big cities around the world.
By land. If you opt to get to Bali by land, you have to prepare for a long trip. Mengwi Bus Station is located in Tabanan, quite close to Denpasar. This station is the main hub that connect bali with neighboring islands.
By Sea. Bali has several public seaports. Gilimanuk and Padangbai ports are the biggest ones. There are also Benoa, Amuk, Celukan Bawang, and Tribuana ports.
Get Around Bali
Exploring Bali can be a bit challenging considering its size. There is Perama Bus that offer cheap transportation from one place to another, with offices in many tourist destination areas. However, public transport like buses are prone to traffic congestion in popular areas. However, taxi in main urban area is dependable and the fare is quite reasonable because of the fierce competition.
If you want total freedom when exploring the island, you can rent a car or a motorcycle. Riding a rental motorcycle can be frightening if you haven’t got used to the traffic in Indonesia. The longer you rent, the cheaper the price. You’ll need an International Driving Permit to rent vehicles in Bali.
Road infrastructure in Bali already connects all part of the island. If you want to enjoy white beaches and wonderful surfing spots, you definitely need to go to South Bali. Sanur, Kuta, Seminyak, Uluwatu, Tanah Lot, Pandawa beaches will satisfy you.
Going north, you will encounter more cultural centers of Bali in Tegalalang, Gianyar, Bali, Besakih, Ubud, and Bangli. In the western part, you will find a mountainous landscape with two volcanoes; Batur and Agung. Lake Batur in Kintamani is the largest lake in Bali. Moving a bit north, you will find the panoramic lakes (Bratan, Buyan, and Tamblingan).
Moving west on the north coast, you will find black sandy beach in Lovina. In the nortewesterly part of the island, there is a national park. Just south of the park, Gilimanuk Port connect this island with Java. From there you can return to South Bali or Denpasar via south ring road.
Best Hotels in Bali
- W Bali – Jl. Petitenget Kerobokan, Seminyak, Bali – Starts from IDR5,182,649.
- Viceroy Bali – Jl. Lanyahan, Br. Nagi, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali – Starts from IDR8,530,123.
- The Lovina Bali Resort – Jl. Mas Lovina, Kalibukbuk Lovina, Kecamatan Buleleng, Anturan, Kec. Buleleng, Singaraja, Bali – Starts from IDR1,268,586.
- Munduk Moding Plantation Nature Resort & Spa – Jl. Asah Gobleg, Gobleg, Banjar, Kabupaten Buleleng, Bali – Starts from IDR2,290,271.
- The Damai – Jl. Damai, Kayu Putih, Kayu Putih, Lovina, Kabupaten Buleleng, Bali – Starts from IDR1505,461.