A Vacation to Bali
There’s a reason Bali is considered paradise. Known for its white-sand beaches, beautiful dives and tropical jungles, this Indonesian island has been luring visitors from across the globe for decades. It’s the perfect place to unwind and commune with nature. Bali is by far Indonesia’s most popular tourist destination, winning Travel and Leisure’s Best Island Award in 2010. And aside from Bali’s environmental beauty, the island has a rich artistic and cultural history worthy of exploration. Plus, locals are famously kind and laid back. As they say in Bali, “seng ken-ken” or “no worries!” The only question is where do you begin your Balinese adventure?
When most people think of Bali, they think of gorgeous blue water and white sand. This small island is known for hosting some of the best beaches on the planet – and Seminyak Beach and Petitenget Beach are considered some of greatest on the island. These beaches are also famed with the best, most breathtaking sunsets in Bali. It’s one of the luxury locations on the island, with fantastic hotels and resorts. This is the place for high-end spas and shopping. Once you step on the beach, you’ll see why — endless sand in either direction. It’s a fun location to mingle with the visiting glitterati. There are plenty of activities to partake in as well. Look around for snorkel and scuba diving instructors alongside the beach. Or just watch the sun fade at the end of lovely day of beach tranquility.
Right by the beach is Pura Petitenget, a pretty Balinese temple that hosts gorgeous beachside ceremonies. Stop by to get a glimpse of the traditional rituals, which have taken place since the 16th century. Or if you’re looking for something on the more adventurous side, Seminyak is home to the best bungee jumping in Bali. The 45-meter drop is over a pool, right by the beach. Go at night if you’d prefer to jump to the sounds of thumping drums. Take the plunge for only $79 USD.
Over the years, Bali has vastly improved their culinary fare and developed world-class dining. To splurge on a meal, look to the restaurants of Seminyak. Even though some meals are considered expensive by Balinese standards, the food is still a great value on the international scale. As the area has increased in popularity, most poor restaurants won’t last in the competitive tourist environment very long. If you’re looking to indulge in fine dining visit Metis, Sardine or Sarong. There’s some wonderful nightlife in Seminyak as well. Some clubs feature swimming pools and gardens. Many have stunning beach views or direct access to the shoreline. What better way to sip a cocktail then with your toes in the sand?
Bali is more than beaches. It’s an island with a complex history and culture. Ubud is a small town comprised of village clusters that’s considered the cultural capital of Bali. It’s an artistic center, with plenty of dance performances, galleries, architecture and workshops to explore. The city is sprawling and growing everyday. If you plan to spend some good amount time in Ubud (you can easily spend an entire week around town), a bike tour is a nice way to orient yourself and determine where you’d to explore more thoroughly. Or you can get a private driver for small group tours.
There are plenty of interesting historical sites worth visiting. The Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave) dates back to the 9th century; it’s distinguished by it’s entrance, which has been carved to look like a demon’s mouth. This nominated UNESCO World Heritage site also features statues, waterfalls and rice fields. Or stop by and explore Tirta Empul, a holy Balinese temple built on hot springs. Inside you can see them bubble in the temple’s courtyard. These hot springs are said to be purifying and many Balinese come here to bathe and spiritually cleanse.
Ubud is also the perfect place to indulge in a famed Balinese massage. The distinctively firm treatments are much more affordable than their Western counterparts – and Bali is considered one of the best spa locations in Asia. Balinese massages specialize in acupressure, reflexology and aromatherapy. After hours of traveling and flights, it’s the lovely way to indulge.
Other popular activities in Ubud include cooking classes, whitewater rafting, abseiling, yoga and shopping. It’s a great town to explore the island and discover the deep cultural history outside the captivating beaches. Bali has now become a great destination for tourists of any budget, with towns to fit backpackers, luxury travelers and anyone in between. Your perfect trip is just flight away.
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