Must-see places in Bali

Date: 2015-10-27
Vibrant, ethereal and bursting with culture, Bali is a combination of luxury and spirituality. With its whiter than white sands and warm blue waters, it is also the epitome of paradise. Yet, despite its promise of surf and sun, this Indonesian treasure offers so much more than the traditional tropical island.
Rice fields of Ubud
If you’re heading to the heart of the island to immerse yourself in Balinese culture, Ubud is the place to invest your time. Set amidst a volcanic backdrop, the bustling little town is dotted with small cafes, craft shops and art galleries. Surrounding Ubud are various rice fields and terraces that offer a unique day trip and a glimpse into true Balinese life. Pop there for the afternoon, sit back with some herbal tea and soak in the atmosphere.
Island hop around the Gili Islands
A destination for families and solo travellers alike, the Gili Islands’ powdery white sands and crystal waters appeal to everyone. Although it’s tempting to spend your days lazing in the sun, there is a great deal to do, with each island offering something different. Hopping from one island to the other is easy via a boat service that loops between the three islands.
Gili Trawangan is better known for its party scene, boasting reggae bars, upscale sunset lounges and beach parties. For this reason, it is more of a draw for backpackers and party lovers. Hiring a bike and cycling around the entire island takes around an hour and is a great way to explore although everywhere is walkable.
Significantly more serene than its neighboring island, Gili Meno is the epitome of piece and quiet. Un-crowded, un-spoilt beaches are the main draw, ideal for honeymooners, families and anyone seeking relaxation. For those of you who like a little more adventure, it takes about one hour to walk the entire length of Meno Island. On the way, look out for green and loggerhead turtles in the water.
The indigenous island of Gili Air is a sanctuary for those who prefer a slower pace on the beach and practising yoga. Bamboo bungalows and small restaurants allow you to eat well on this turquoise shoreline too. Snorkelling is a real pull here and considered a must-do when visiting Gili Air. Along the islands’ east coast, the waters are shallow enough for you to snorkel right off the beach.
Relax on the beach in Depensar
Renowned across the globe for their beauty, relaxing on one of Bali’s beaches is a must when visiting the island. Somewhere between the busy beachfront of Kuta and serene Uluwatu, lie the beaches of Depensar city with its most famous, Sanur, offering something for everyone. Stretched across 5km, the beach is decorated with eclectic bars, shops and array of restaurants. Laidback and full of charm, Sanur beach has maintained the former fishing village ambiance and boasts a lot of history. Not only a great place to catch the morning sunrise, Sanur is also a popular spot for surfing and water sports.
Climb Mount Batur
Rising 1,700m above the island’s eastern side, sacred Mount Batur sits active and is the ultimate experience for any explorer. There’s the option to hike early to make the unforgettable 6am sunrise, or take it at your own pace and enjoy the breathtaking surroundings from every direction during the day. The trek up takes around two hours and there’s three volcano craters to hike around.
Visit a temple
Known as the ‘island of a thousand temples’, Bali’s spiritual and exuberant culture is evident from the minute you touch down. So it goes without saying that visiting a temple during your stay should be on the agenda. Some of the sea temples are famous for their magnificent locations. Pura Luhur Uluwatu Temple is perched 70m above sea level on a steep cliff, which is especially spectacular at sunset.
Below sea level in Tampaksiring, north east of Ubud, is one of Bali’s oldest temples and is a truly special place. Gunung Kawi holds 10 shrines carved from rock and were supposedly created in just one night. Standing tall at 8m high, they cut into the cliff face. Gunung Kawi also features serene gardens and natural springs adding true tranquillity to the ancient surroundings.
Undoubtedly, Bali has lots to offer everyone. With regular flights from the UAE, this is also a popular place to visit at any time of year. For more inspiration on where to travel from Dubai or Abu Dhabi, you might like to order a copy of Short Breaks from

By Laura Crossley

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