Beautiful Bali - A Diverse Island for all Travellers
The beautiful island of Bali needs no introduction. It’s one of the world’s most well known paradise islands. It’s the jewel of Indonesia and the honeymoon capital of Asia. Despite being one of Indonesia’s 1,700 islands, Bali shines brightest in it’s beauty and has millions of travellers flocking there each year.
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Bali’s mass appeal has a lot to do with it’s variation of amazing landscapes. On the little island, just 5,780 km², are golden beaches, volcanic mountains, lush jungle and jaw dropping rice paddies. Additionally, surrounding the island under it’s crystal clear waters are some of the world’s best coral reefs with the highest diversity of marine life.
Tourists also visit for the Bali’s impressive arts scene and fascinating culture. Known as the land of a thousand temples, Bali is home to more than 5,000 stunning examples. Enough to compete with Thailand!
Bali really does have something for everyone, from the budget backpacker to the high end sun seeker. We enjoyed exploring the island for 3 weeks and plan to go back again next year.
With soft golden sands in the south and striking black sands in the north and west, Bali has plenty of beaches to choose from.
For surfers and party goers, Kuta Beach is a popular choice with it’s big waves and late night club scene. If luxury accommodation is your thing then palm tree lined Nusa Dua Beach will impress.
It’s still possible to find secret hideaways in contrast to the crowds of Kuta. The best example would be small and quiet Balangan Beach. Passing through local villages and cattle fields to get there is part of it’s rural appeal.
However, our favourite was hammock swinging Nusa Lembongan, an even smaller island, 7km from the shores of Bali. Still largely undeveloped when compared to the rest of Bali, Nusa Lembongan has numerous natural windswept beaches. Parts of the island are untouched by development so it’s worth hiring a bicycle and get exploring.
The Volcanic Mountains
Bali isn’t all about lazy days on the beach and sipping cocktails. For the adventurous few, Bali’s soaring volcanic mountains are a trekkers paradise. The three most popular peaks are Agung, Batur and Batukaru.
The highest at 3,031m is Agung, the most challenging trek in Bali. The Balinese consider Agung to be the centre of the world and all the island’s temples point towards it. After the eruption in 1964, killing 1500 people, you can see why the Balinese pay their respects to this active volcano.
The second highest is Batukaru. As an extinct volcano, it’s slopes are covered in lush jungle, making it a different type of climb to heavyweight Agung, but still a challenge. It’s remote location will also appeal to those wishing to shy away from the tourist masses.
Bali’s most popular climb is up iconic mount Batur. It’s relatively short and easy assent makes it our choice for those wishing for a bit of adventure on their Bali trip. Despite it’s ease, it does not come without it’s rewards. On the way up you’ll pass three steam clouded craters, lava flows, and steam fissures. If you’re lucky you may even see congregating Macaque monkeys by the larger crater.
However, it’s sometimes deemed unsafe to trek due to being one of Indonesia’s most active volcanoes! Though that’s not a problem because with nearby awesome accommodation options like Toya Devasya Hot Spring and Camping Resort booked through www.traveloka.com, you’ll still be able to enjoy Batur’s beauty.
The Coral Reefs
Did you know that Bali’s coral reefs are part of The Coral Triangle, the global centre of marine biodiversity? With the abundance of marine life off Bali’s shores, the diving and snorkeling opportunities are some of the best in the world.
Easy snorkeling highlights include the calm family friendly waters of Blue Lagoon near Padang Bai, and Sanur where snorkeling day trips to Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan are available.
For the more adventurous snorkelers and divers we’d recommend uninhabited Menjangen Island, part of the Bali Barat National Park. The park is home to 100 species of coral where surgeon fish, angel fish, moray eels, scorpion fish, lion fish and turtles thrive!
Tulamben has to be the most distinctive snorkeling/diving experience you can get in Bali. Laying on Tulamben’s black sand bottom is the United States Army Transport Liberty shipwreck. Look for lion fish, scorpion fish and blue spotted stingrays!
The Arts and Culture
Bali has a fantastic traditional arts and craft scene. For those with an interest, head to Ubud, the artistic and cultural heart of Bali.
Ubud is crammed full of markets and galleries selling local masterpieces at very reasonable prices. Being keen collectors of art from around the world, we purchased two huge paintings which are currently gracing the walls of our London apartment.
Other artistic sites of interest include the nearby villages of Celuk, renowned for it’s gold and silver crafting, and Mass, with it’s famous carvers of mahogany, teak, hibiscus and ebony wood.
Ubud is a wonderful town to explore with an alternative and artsy vibe. Amongst the quirky coffee shops and excellent accommodation options, you’ll find Ubud Palace, the residence of Bali’s Royal family, and temples such as Pura Taman Saraswati.
Bali offer’s so much more than what we’ve covered in this post. It’s impressive diversity in a relatively small and easy to navigate island make it the perfect vacation destination for any type of traveller.