Bali, Indonesia by AsiaRoom and Keys.me
Bali is known worldwide as a great tourist spot not just for beach trips but also for many other reasons. Here are several of them.
Bali Offers a Lot More
Many people who will be traveling to Southeast Asia for the first time might have come upon Bali as a cool tourist destination in Julia Roberts’ Hollywood film entitled “Eat Pray Love” where she did her eating in Italy, praying in India, and loving in Indonesia when she met a guy in one of the beach hangouts in Bali. But the film only paints one teensy-weensy bit of the whole Bali picture, for this Indonesian island of a little over 4 million inhabitant’s offers much more than what popular media pictures.
Where Is Bali?
Bali is both an island and a province of Indonesia, located down south of this archipelago nation. Getting there, you will probably be passing by Indonesia’s capital of Jakarta first if your airline of choice doesn’t have a direct flight option to Bali. From the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, you will land near Bali’s capital of Denpasar where the Denpasar International Airport is located (also known as Ngurah Rai International Airport). Since it’s an island province, many of its tourist attractions could be found along the coastal towns lining up the island, particularly down south. However, there are also notable attractions in the central parts of the island, depending on what you want to happen and experience in your Bali trip.
Not Sure What Kind of Itinerary You Could Have Here?
Here’s a rundown of several modes you can choose from or combine.
It’s a sure thing that barflies and bar-hoppers want to experience the party nightlife scene famous in Bali. This is mainly found in the southern part of the island, particularly in the bustling towns of Kuta and Sanur. Although a few kilometers apart, both towns are favorite destinations of global tourists of all kinds -- from your backpacking twentysomethings to your family holiday vacationers to honeymooning sweethearts or group of friends out on a school or office vacay.
But these party areas are mostly known for their noisy cafes, clubs and bars where people drink the night away. So it might not be a good idea to bring youngsters in some parts of this area, or perhaps try the area of Legian (located between Kuta and Seminyak) for quieter options of sorts. But couples and groups of friends could try bar-hopping in notable bars like the original beach club in Bali called the Potato Head Beach Club or Ku De Ta.
Meanwhile, the more upscale town of Seminyak is also home to some cool beach resorts with equally cool bars to hang out in. La Plancha is one of them, as you will find the colorful bean bag-in-the-sand setup a perfect place to lounge around in while sipping some cocktails and looking at the beautiful Bali sunset. Another great place to try is La Laguna’s garden-scape bohemian bar feel located along Berawa Beach (between the towns of Seminyak and Canggu).
Beach bumming mode
If partying-‘til-you-drop is not your mode of itinerary, then beach bumming is definitely worth trying in Bali’s beautiful coastal area resorts. You can try lounging around the more affordable or mid-range beach resorts located in Kuta, Legian and Seminyak down south but you have to be wary of the huge crowds that these areas attract on a regular basis, especially during their peak season (around June to August).
Down farther south of these usual areas of beach bumming lies the more upscale white sand beach of Jimbaran. But since this is where the 5-star resorts are located, expect the prices to be a bit sky-high as well.
Bukit Peninsula is another area in Bali worth exploring if you’re after surfing, not beach bumming. It’s in the southernmost tip of the province so the shores within the beach here are not ideally good for just lounging around (it’s a bit rocky). As mentioned, this is one of the top surfing spots in the country so there’s a different vibe of beach bumming happening here.
Bali also became synonymous with yoga and meditation stuff in popular mainstream media, and it’s not a surprise since the island is also known for many activities of such nature. Indonesia is a major Muslim country but Bali holds the biggest Hindu population of the country, and they have their own brand of Balinese Hindu culture mixed with the Indonesian culture. This is why the central town of Ubud in Bali is home to the yearly Bali Spirit Festival where international and local yoga instructors, yoga practitioners and like-minded or curious people converge in a weeklong festival full of lessons, wellbeing celebration, meditation, arts and musical workshops/performances/displays, crafts making and selling, healthy cuisine and product bazaars.
Indonesia in itself is a country rich in cultural diversity and heritage. The same could be said of Bali as the province itself carries a rich intersection of cultures that are celebrated in the form of all types of art. This is why Bali is also home to several artistic festivals aside from the meditation festivals and the like. In the area of Ubud, there is a yearly Ubud Writers and Readers Festival that attracts local, regional and international writers, publishers, teachers, and literature lovers. Many internationally renowned writers have graced this event such as Michael Ondaatje, Vikram Seth, Anita Desai, and others. Of course it’s no surprise that American author Elizabeth Gilbert set one part of her Eat Pray Love book (yes, it was a book first) here in Ubud, where Julia Roberts ended up shooting it for the film version.
The Denpasar Arts Center is always teeming with arts enthusiasts who fly in for the annual Bali Arts Festival. This festival is an eclectic mix of festivities where traditional and indigenous arts, crafts and performances are held, as well as more modern versions. If you’re more into a single-arts film mode.
Bali, Indonesia can be very wallet-friendly if you use this guide. AsiaRoom and Keys.me prides itself on being the most affordable hotel, guesthouse, bed and breakfast, home, and resort online source for rooms.
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