Travelling to the small island of Bali is on the rise and is one of the hottest tourism destinations. So we wanted to give you our insider tips on all things Bali. For being a relatively small island, there are LOTS of things to see and do while you’re here. It’s a beach lover’s paradise and this island offers much more than you may think. Bali is a great area to relax and rejuvenate with a relaxing vacation.
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Staying here for at least a week is needed in order to take in all of the sights in the area. Two weeks will allow you to see and do more without feeling rushed or stressed. During your time, you will want to ensure you see the following sites:
1. The Gili Islands
The Gili Islands are actually located off of the east coast of Lombok (the island just west of Bali) But are worth a shout-out. If you have the time to spare taking the boat ride to the Gili Islands is something you will not regret. The white sandy coastlines are a beach bum’s dream. This laid-back lifestyle is the place to go if you are looking for some impressive snorkelling, scuba diving and refreshing seaside cocktails.
We did not have the opportunity to head to this area and it is one of our biggest regrets. Learn from our mistakes and be sure to get over to these islands for a truly beautiful experience. When we were scuba diving on Bali’s east coast we kept hearing how amazing this area was from people returning from their trips.
2. Dive The Shipwreck At Tulamben
At the far northeast corner of Bali, you will find the tiny town of Tulamben. While this town itself may be quite sleepy, as soon as you dip below the ocean’s surface you will see a ton of life. Diving in this area is incredibly affordable and there are lots to see and do. In this area, there are 15 dive sites that have been set up for the public.
One of these sites includes a massive WWI cargo ship. It sits just off the coastline just waiting to be explored. It ran aground and the volcano pushed it back out to sea. It still has some of its cargo aboard along with its guns. It ranges from 25 to 100 feet deep making it able to be swam through quite easily.
There is a statue garden below the sea where you can see a cluster of about 20 statues that have since developed reefs around them.
Scuba diving in the area is the main attraction. We didn’t find a lot of activities to do so make sure your hotel has a pool to relax by. Completely immersed in the culture, this tiny town is a step back in time. You can visit the nearby villages to get a truly unique experience while staying in this area.
We stayed at a small diving hotel seconds away from the beach. When we were not diving in the sea we were soaking in the many pools. The hotel provides you with free snorkel gear, although there is not much to see when snorkelling. We paid $25 per guided dive including gear rental.
Tip: Hotels, especially in this area, hate when you book through Agoda.com. The site seems to take a lot of the profits so the actual hotel is left with only a little of what you paid. You will often get less service when booking from this site. In this particular hotel, “less service” meant a separate resort where we were the only people staying at this location and had our own private pool. While we loved the private oasis, we would way rather give the money to the actual business owner than to a big corporation.
3. Monkey Forest
You may have read about our experiences at monkey forest when Myles got punched in the face by a monkey. This was a rare case and in general, these are the only RELATIVELY friendly monkeys on the island.
Hundreds of monkeys congregate in this area due to an abundance of food and attention from tourists. These are wild monkeys so it is important to treat them as such when visiting. They can be vicious if provoked so ensure that you are only there to observe but allow them to jump all over you.
NOTE: If you are like us, you may be worried about the ethical practices in this area. Rest assured that we did our research before going and it is actually OK. The monkeys are not in cages or in any way restricted to the area. They are however overfed by lots of tourists so be sure to avoid buying too many bananas when there.
Also, leave your backpack in your car. These monkeys know that you are helpless at fending them off so they will open your bag and go through it. If you have to bring a bag make sure it doesn’t have a water bottle or hand sanitizer. The monkeys actually drink the hand sanitizer and get drunk off the alcohol.
4. Rice Terraces
The rice terraces in Bali are lush and beautiful, a true sight to behold. There’s a reason these are so popular with tourists. We visited the Tegalalang terraces north of Ubud. You can get a first-hand look at this specialized farming technique while walking the endless trails through the terraces. Just remember which way you took so you don’t get too lost.
You will want to bring your camera as this is a cool spot that provides the perfect backdrop for your Instagram photos. You can take tours through the fields hiking all up to the plantations. We recommend getting here early in the morning to beat the crowds and the heat. Also, be sure to pay tolls depending on how far and where you want to walk.
There are lots of shops in this area that provide some excellent shopping. The items sold are a boho-inspired dream including handmade quilts, dream catchers, lace bags, and more. There are also many restaurants in this area that offer delicious food with an outstanding view.
5. Experience The Food In Ubud
We are huge lovers of all things Ubud. This town is a hippie’s paradise. It has many vegan and vegetarian restaurants set in a lush jungly town. You won’t want to miss this experience as it lives up to its reputation. If you have seen those beautiful resorts tucked amongst the trees in Bali, they were likely taken in this area.
Nearly all of the restaurants will have the most delicious local cuisine. We recommend trying out a different spot every night. You will not be disappointed. The food in this area is incredibly health-focused so it is a dream for those opting for a gluten, dairy, and meat-free diet.
6. Try Surfing In Kuta
Both Myles and I love swimming so it is a wonder we never tried surfing before. When we were in Kuta that quickly changed as we hopped in the water, board in hand and took on the waves. There are lifeguards on duty within specifically designated areas where you can surf. During our first time out we got pushed to the side and stuck in a rip tide. Luckily we knew what to do to get ourselves out of the situation quickly.
Surfing in this area is incredibly rewarding as you step off of the white sandy beach into the warm water. There are tons of surfing classes that you can take that are perfect for beginners. While there are surfboards available for rent on the beach, more advanced surfers can rent the best ones when you walk away from the beach to local surf shops.
7. Go Snorkeling At Amed Beach
Just south of Tulamben you will find the beautiful Amed beach. This is a great place to go for those who are looking to get off the beaten track and head to the more rustic corners of the island. Heading into the water you will find that the clarity in this area is unbeatable compared to other parts of the island. This makes it a snorkeler’s dream. More a group of villages rather than a full town, this is a great place to go to immerse yourself in the culture and everyday life.
8. Immerse Yourself In Local Traditions
This island is full of culture. The moment you land you will notice the offering baskets laid in front of every business and home. There is also impressive architecture and temples throughout the island. We love to experience the traditions and cultures of the places we visit. It’s best to check the policies of the site you’re going to visit. Some will require both men and women to wear a Sarong as a show of respect.
Visit the temples, help to make the offering baskets, and witness traditional shows are just some of the many activities you’ll find on the island. There are many ways that you can be a part of this fantastic culture all of which will undoubtedly better your experience. All of these places are scattered throughout the island and are usually well publicized.
9. Get Flexible With Yoga In Ubud
This island is a yogi’s paradise. With many healthy food options, a boho vibe and tons of yoga retreats scattered around the island you will find all you need in this beautifully warm climate. It’s no wonder this area is especially popular with ex-pats from Canada and the USA.
If you are interested in Yoga this is the place to be. There are classes that range from introductory for people new to the practice to expert Yoga teaching retreats. Not a step out of place, yogis from all over the world congregate on this island to take part in these practices.
10. Sip A Cocktail With Views Of Mount Batur
This is a dormant volcano that you will often find is one of the most popularly talked about places on the island. You can hike up the mountain in about 2 hours and have a picnic at the top with views that will blow your mind. For a unique experience simply sip a nice cocktail with world-class views of the volcano. There is a string of restaurants overlooking the stunning volcano allowing for a picture-perfect lunch location.
11. Take A Dip In The Waterfalls
If you’re heading inland you will find many waterfalls that are all ready to be explored. Small hikes will take you down to the water where you can jump in for a refreshing swim. Some of these waterfalls are quite touristy but if you find yourself off the beaten track you will find stunning more private waterfalls. The Munduk waterfalls house amazing falls that are far less touristy giving you a unique opportunity to explore this beautiful country.
Bali was one of our favourite places in South East Asia. It has everything you want from culture to surfing and even yoga. We know you will love your time in this beautiful place.
Have you been to this island? What are your favourite things to do in Bali? Let us know in the comment section below.
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