Bali is a huge tourist destination, attracting visitors from all over the world - and with good reason.
Beautiful white sandy beaches, incredible restaurants, a vibrant and colourful culture and importantly, given the number of digital nomads that choose to hang out here, it has excellent wifi!
Here are my top picks for the things you can't miss when visiting one of my favourite islands.
find your own hidden beach
Sure, you could hang out at Seminyak or Kuta beach for your two weeks of sun, but for those seeking a little more isolation, there are dozens of stunning tropical beaches just a moto-taxi ride away.
My favourite? Green Bowl, on the south coast of the island. Idyllic white sand, turquoise waters and lush rainforest. It's kind of perfect, no? One word of advice, to reach the beach requires a long walk down steep stairs - either buy all you need from the shop at the top or accept you'll have to pay the beach hawkers. You will not want to climb back up more than once!
Two others you can't miss are Padang Padang and Pandawa beaches, but be sure to check out this article for some great suggestions on other hidden and hard-to-reach but stunning beaches in Bali.
sunset drinks at la plancha
Perched on the west coast of the island, Seminyak and its long, wide beach is an ideal spot to watch a wold-famous sunset over the ocean. But if you want to make it truly epic, there's only one place to go - La Plancha.
A bar with more coloured bean bags than a pre-school and dozens of beautiful sun shades, this place gets busy - so make sure you arrive with at least an hour to spare before the sun goes down.
And whilst you wait for the main event, indulge in one of their fantastic cocktails - served in the eternally hipster-friendly jam jar, of course!
If Seminyak and Kuta are all about sun, sand and cocktails, Ubud is the place to go to find a peaceful side to Bali. Lush green rice fields and spectacular rainforest, it's the colour palette of nature.
Spend your days exploring rice terraces, beautiful waterfalls, playing with monkeys and enjoying incredible scenery.
For more information, check out our article on what to do in Ubud.
discover uluwatu temple at sunset
Sunsets and sunrises - there are few more perfect times of day for a photographer.
And when you're in Bali, there are few places better than Uluwatu Temple to watch the sun fall below the horizon - just aim to arrive a good hour before sunset, as the changing colours are quite amazing and, as this is a rather large site, you'll want plenty of time to enjoy it from every angle.
Just a little word of warning - beware the monkeys! Unfortunately, a few too many tourists have taken to feeding them, and so the monkeys now firmly believe that anything not securely stored in a bag is fair game!
Entrance cost: Rp. 40,000. You will be expected to cover up when visiting the temple, but sarongs are provided.
take to the surf
Back in 2009, Bali was where I learnt to surf. Warm waters, calm ocean and cheap board rental - whilst Kuta may not be everybody's cup of tea, there's no denying that it is absolutely ideal for beginners!
Peak surf season is between April and September, when the swell is at its biggest, but newbies will be pleased to hear that you can find consistent small waves even in the wet season (November to March), making this an ideal time to learn.
Beginners should head to Kuta, Seminyak and Legian beaches where you will find nothing but sand underfoot and the waves are small. As always, take note of warning flags along the coast - even usually calm waters have been known to turn nasty.
If you've never encountered a surf board before, a few lessons wouldn't be a bad idea, but otherwise you can find board rental along the above mentioned beaches - expect to pay around Rp. 100,000 for one day's rental, or 600,000 for the week.
But Bali is not just for beginners. In fact, it has a number of world-class waves that attract die-hard surfers from around the world. I am not going to pretend that I am one of these (on a previous trip I visited Green Point with a board and upon discovering how far I had to paddle out, settled on a beer and the view instead!) so should you want to know where these waves are, check out this post, from people that can, you know, properly surf!
embrace the colour and the culture
With the influx of tourism, the face of Bali continues to change. And yet, the local Balinese have not abandoned their traditions.
The air is permeated by the smell of incense, and you can go but a few steps along any street before you'll catch sight one of the thousands of beautiful offerings left daily by the island's Hindus.
For a further insight into the local culture, be sure to make time to watch a performance of Balinese dance. These shows are held all over the island, but for a truly memorable experience head to the GWK Cultural Park and watch a performance of the famous Kecak.
Held beneath the 75ft bust of Vishnu (an important Hindu deity), this dance is in equal parts fascinating and haunting. You may not understand the words that are spoken, but an evening spent here provides a fantastic insight into Balinese culture.
Stay at a Boutique Hotel
Long-time readers of Along Dusty Roads will know that we often opt for locally-run guest houses rather than hotels. Yet, whilst plenty of these exist in Bali, even we'd recommend that this is the place to go boutique!
Bali is teeming with beautifully designed hotels that cater to all tastes - and they're not expensive!
During our time here, we stayed at Tijili in Seminyak - and I could not recommend it highly enough! Beautiful rooms, a stunning pool area and an impressive breakfast buffet. Click here to make a reservation.
PLAN YOUR TRIP TO BALI
As with many places in the world, it's the dry season that attracts the visitors, with July and August attracting thousands of visitors to the island.
Of course, if you have no choice but to visit then, you'll still have an amazing time, but bear in mind that if you can visit between April - June or in September, you'll have the best of both worlds - it's still dry season, it's slightly less humid, and room prices and villa rentals can be 30-50% cheaper than during the peak summer months.
Bali's international airport is a hub for flights arriving from Asian destinations, and whilst there are currently no direct flights, there are several indirect departures per day from a variety of British airports - with return journeys costing as little as £340, even last minute. To browse the best value flights from airports near you, click here.
And don't forget to check out our '22 things to know before you go' post, full of useful things to help you make the most out of your Bali adventure!
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Along Dusty Roads visited Indonesia as part of a project with Skyscanner and the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism - all views, spelling mistakes and photos are our own.