Boasting perennial sunshine, miles of golden sandy beaches and a party atmosphere like no other, it’s no wonder Bali is one of the world’s most popular holiday destinations. But this Indonesian isle has so much more to offer than the party resorts of Kuta, Legian and Seminyak.
This lush island is packed full of cultural experiences, great food and truly breath-taking adventures. So if you’re looking for a Balinese adventure a little off the beaten track, check out this guide to some of the island’s less visited, but equally amazing attractions.
Bukit Peninsula, Southern Bali
The Bukit Peninsula is a real surfer’s paradise and wave chasers should head to Ulu Watu beach or Nusa Dua for some phenomenal breaks. The waves are fierce around these waters though, and should only be braved by experienced surfers.
If you’re looking for something a little more peaceful you can get in touch with your spiritual side at Pura Luhur Ulu Watu. This serene temple is perched high on the cliff tops in the south east of the island and offers truly mesmerizing views across the ocean. Just make sure you keep your belongings safe at all times – the temple is awash with monkeys just waiting to scarper with your sunglasses or camera!
And of course, foodies shouldn’t miss the Jimbaran fish markets where you can enjoy some of the best seafood on offer. Early morning is the best time to visit when the stocks have been replenished, but visit Jimbaran in the evening for a truly magnificent sunset.
Bali is famous for its babi guling (suckling pig) delicacy and there’s no better place to enjoy it than at Ibu Oka in the centre of Ubud. Enjoy your cooked pig skin with the other diners on the warung opposite Ubud’s palace, or ask the staff to take you to their ‘secret warung’ for a more intimate and plush dining experience.
If babi guling isn’t adventurous enough for your liking, hire a scooter (or jump on the back of one) and feel the wind in your hair as you whizz up and down the mountainside. On your scooter you can explore the beautiful Bali mountains, or head 16km north where you’ll find the Elephant Safari Park at Desa Taro – the only legitimate conservation park!
Bali is a volcanic island and one of its most impressive volcanoes – Gunung Batur – can be seen at Kintamani. It’s the island’s second highest volcano and traces of black lava can still be seen from its last eruption in 1994. The crater lake alone is well worth the visit, and it’s interesting the bustling villages go about their everyday life so close to this potential disaster zone
If you’re looking for golden sands and a sun haven without the drunken shenanigans of Seminyak and Kuta, Sanur is the place for you. Relax, unwind and soak up the sun there or even try out kite surfing if you’re feeling brave. If you have a little longer to spare, head even further east to the Gili islands where you’ll be rewarded with a beach paradise. You might not be in Bali anymore, but these three islands all boast untouched beauty and there are no cars allowed on the island. A truly blissful getaway!
Photo Courtesy: Indonesia Tourism, Tropical Living