They call it the ‘Island of the Gods’. Step out of reality into this irresistible tropical gem, just one of over 17,000 islands in the Indonesian archipelago. It’s been a place of legend and romance since the first travellers arrived. The glorious scenery - volcanic peaks, tropical jungle, emerald-green rice terraces, bubbling springs and exotic beaches - is part of the equation. Bali has them all – unspoilt and unrationed. But, more than that, Bali can seem wrapped in an aura of a sometimes almost spiritual tranquillity. Put it down to the devout Hindu faith of the Balinese, their thousands of temples and palaces, ancient culture, perpetual festivals and the island’s haunting and all-pervading gamelan music and dance. Unique among Indonesia’s 17,000 islands, Bali holds true to its reputation as a destination apart – one touched with a little magic.
When the lure of the beach bores and the pool palls, Bali’s has a host of more demanding activities. There’s paragliding and bungee-jumping at Kuta, white-water rafting on the Ayung and other rivers, as well as mountain-biking, rainforest and village trekking and river rafting in wonderfully scenic surroundings. Or perhaps horse-riding through the rice fields, a short elephant forest safari – or a visit to the beautiful Bali Barat National Park. Bali is blessed with fabulous beaches, warm seas, thousands of temples, great shopping and friendly easygoing people for whom life and tradition are one, merged in a unique everyday celebration of art, dance, sculpture, spectacular festivals and religious rituals.
Nightlife & Party with Locals
A pulsating party scene runs nightly in the lively Kuta and Seminyak areas. Sanur and Nusa Dua offer a more sedate mood. Kuta’s nightlife spans names like the Hard Rock Café, Paddy’s Irish pub (with disco) and the Apache Reggae - while Seminyak hosts a cluster of trendy nightspots popular with westerners and locals alike (the Double Six dance club boasts Bali’s biggest open-air dance floor, a swimming pool and even bungee-jumping). Some Nusa Dua hotels feature notable nightclubs. Evening entertainment in Sanur is limited to a few drinking spots and a dance club.
Gourmet Cuisine & Dining Out
Its variety of spices and methods of preparation reflect Bali’s rich culinary traditions. Balinese and Javanese cuisine (varying in authenticity according to setting!) is on offer at a host of hotels, restaurants and local cafés. Appetising regional alternatives like Chinese cuisine feature at many restaurants and food-stalls - while European and American dishes are mostly served in hotels. In popular Kuta’s countless dining venues you can graze the world. A kaleidoscope of cuisines in quieter Sanur extends to independent restaurants frequented by visitors and more affluent Bali residents alike. Many of exclusive Nusa Dua’s leading restaurants are housed within the hotels. The Jimbaran area is noted for its seafood outlets.
World''''s Best Scuba Dive Sites
Bali is well-known among scuba divers for its diverse marine life and superb visibility and drop-offs. Main dive areas are the Badung Strait and Nusa Penida Island, Tulamben and Cemeluk and Mejangan Island. The Bali side of the Badung Strait is perfect for beginners, while Nusa Penida’s currents make it more suited to experienced divers. In both areas the fish life is quite good, with pelagics and sharks as well as clearer, colder water around Nusa Penida. The northeast has some of the best and most varied coral. Accessible from the shore at Tulamben, the WWII wreck of the Liberty is home to an abundance of relatively tame fish. Menjagan Island is in a secluded national park with beautiful dives in excellent visibility.
It’s a long way to go - but for a long stay or as part of a Far East holiday Bali is a destination whose safe beaches, cosmopolitan hotels, vibrant colours, exotic festivals, music and dance will all have enormous appeal for younger travellers.