Bali is one of the most popular premium travel destinations in the world. It receives millions of visitors every year despite the fact that there are over 17,000 islands in the region. This island obviously has something that other tropical islands don’t.
It is Indonesia’s most visited tourist destination since the 1980s, and tourism number has been increasing ever since, bar the last couple of years thanks to covid-19. Moreover, it is also a Coral Triangle island, thanks to its highest biodiversity of marine life.
Here are the 9 incredible reasons why you should visit Bali as your next travel destination.
Astounding beaches and waves for surfing
One of the main reasons people visit Bali is for its amazing beaches and incredible waves for surfing. But there is a catch – you will need to find these beaches first.
There are black sand, golden sand, and white sand beaches with shallow turquoise waters. The most popular beaches on the island are Jimbaran, Dua, Nusa and Uluwatu.
One trick few people know about finding incredible beaches in Bali is talking to the locals. The natives know all the secret beaches that usually don’t feature on social media and guides.
In addition to its beaches, Bali is also home to gentle waves for surfing. Every surfer dreams of surfing on the amazing waves of Bali waters. The most popular spots for beginner surfers include Jimbaran, Seminyak, and Canggu, while advanced surfers tend to enjoy the Uluwatu.
You can organize surfing lessons as well as rent boards on the beaches.
Temples and religious traditions
Indonesia is a religious country, with the majority of its population practicing Balinese Hinduism – a blend of Buddhism and Shivaism. So you will find a lot of religious traces all over the island in form of shrines and temples.
Some of the must-visit temples in Bali include Tanah Lot Temple, Uluwatu Temple, Ulun Danu Beratan Temple, and Tirta Empul Temple.
Tirta Empul is among the largest water temples on the island and is known for its sanctified water known for purification rituals.
Gunung Kawi temple is among the oldest in Bali and it has a beautiful path and 370 descending stone steps.
From a soul-soothing majestic temple up on the hill to grand sea temples overlooking the ocean waters, these temples are a must-visit.
Vegetation-covered mountains and nature trails
Bali is not just about beaches, the island has almost everything to keep you busy indefinitely. So if you are looking for a break away from the waters, you will have lots of foliage-covered mountains to hike.
One of the most popular hiking destinations is Mount Batur. A 2-hour one-trip hike and you will reach this active volcano. The views are amazing, although hikers should be careful of the unpredictable weather that might abruptly end their adventure.
The West Bali National Park on the northwest edge of Bali is also a popular hiking destination. The national park boasts hundreds of different animal species which makes the trip worth it.
If you want to explore the island’s tropical jungles, sprawling rice fields, and beautiful waterfalls, you should take the Sambangan nature hike. Depending on a few factors, these hiking trails will take you through the rice fields, Aling-Aling, Kroya, Kembar, and finally to the Pucuk waterfalls.
Campuhan Ridge Walk is another popular nature trail in Bali and is loved by families and beginners. The ridge is known for its sweeping views of the iconic Bali wilderness and serene countryside living. Stretching nine kilometers, this trail features lots of fresh air and hillsides. It begins at the Campuhan Ridge Walk and proceeds to the verdant fields in Campuhan valley.
Bali has lots of islands nearby for island hopping. The nearest islands are Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Penida, Gili islands, and Nusa Ceningan.
Nusa Penida is famous for its breathtaking landscapes as well as the Kelingking coastal cliffs cape that resembles a T-Rex. For a relaxing, you should visit Nusa Lembongan, which is famous for its chill vibe and great surfing waves. It is also home to a beautiful mangrove forest and cliff jumping. Nusa Lembongan is also the most popular of all the three Nusa islands and is accessible via a boat ride from Benoa Harbor or Sanur in Bali. Apart from surfing and diving, Nusa Lembongan also offers snorkeling and sandy beaches.
Nusa Menjangan is around 100 kilometers from Bali Airport and is within the West Bali National Park. It can be accessed via a fast boat from Labuhan Lalang port. The island is famous for its savannah where the endangered Javan deer is found. But the island is enclosed by calm waters suitable for snorkeling and diving. Water visibility is great year-round, and a boat ride to the northeast of the island will give you a chance to enjoy the impressive views of the popular Sagara Giri Dharma Kencana Temple.
Note that boats to Nusa Menjangan departs from Labuhan Lalang, the national park’s main harbor.
Nusa Caningan is easily accessible from Lembongan because you just cross the picturesque yellow boardwalk bridge on foot. The island has its fair share of great attractions, like the underwater garden with submerged statues and temples, which usually attract scuba divers and underwater scooter riders.
After spending the day exploring the island, you get a chance to relax and unwind in an eco-friendly hotel. These hotels are affordable and have services, practices, and facilities that are sustainable.
One of the most popular eco-friendly accommodations on the island is Maya Ubud Resort and Spa, which operates daily. You can even join the hotel’s tree-planting program. Another eco-friendly hotel is Anahata Villas and Spa Resort, which is recommended for families thanks to its recreational activities such as rice field treks and cycling.
Eco-friendliness, well-being, and health are all part and parcel of Bali. Bagus Jati Health and Well-Being Retreat are known for being a great well-being spot. It is found in the green plush of Tegallagang and was designed to fit into the natural contours of the region’s topography. The establishment has organic gardens where the restaurant gets all its ingredients.
Munduk Moding Plantation is also a popular eco-friendly hotel in Bali. It is perched on a mountain with excellent views of the coffer fields and green hillside.
Fivelements Bali Retreat, another eco-friendly hotel, features a green building constructed from bamboo. Everything about this place is geared towards ecological responsibility, with practices including recycling non-organic water, tree planting, and naturally ventilated interior space.
If you want to stay in a treehouse, the Alchemist is a great option. This treehouse cabin is located close to the beach and makes jungle living a reality. Its limestone walls add to the fairy-tale that is this place. If you are looking to immerse yourself deep in the jungle, there is another option – Villa Pererepan.
Swasti Eco Cottages also offer an eco-friendly experience, having been built from recycled wood. Besides staying here makes it possible to interact with animals such as sheep, goats, and rabbits at the hotel’s organic farm.
In addition to eco-friendly villas, endless lush paddy fields, and white sand beaches, another reason to visit Bali is its diverse and breathtaking variety of wildlife. From endangered big cats to populous geckoes and mischievous monkeys, Bali wildlife is always top of the bucket list for many travelers.
The Komodo dragon is one of the most popular animals in Bali and is believed to be the only surviving relative to the famous dinosaur. These dragons are the most formidable predators in Bali and part of the island’s unique wildlife ecosystem. With sharp teeth, a strong thrashing body, and powerful claws, these giant lizards are extremely dangerous. Apart from its physical attributes, the venom found in its saliva is deadly enough to kill you.
Bali Starling is found in northwest atolls off the shore of Bali. This endangered bird is native to the island and has a snow-white body, a plume of white feathers on its head, and unique blue skin in its eyes.
The tiniest surviving tiger, Sumatran Tigers are located on Sumatran Island. These extremely endangered species are fewer than 400, so make sure you check them out when you are in Indonesia.
Orangutans are also popular wildlife animals in Bali. They are a favorite among tourists due to their friendliness.
Bali is a tropical island, and therefore waterfalls are almost on every corner of the island. If you love nature, you will enjoy Bali’s beautiful cataracts. If you are like most travelers, you will stay in Canggu and Ubud, which will give you a great opportunity to access the greatest Bali waterfalls either via a waterfall tour or by driving yourself by a scooter.
Tegenungan waterfall is perhaps the crowd favorite and the easiest to access since it is just half an hour from Ubud. Unfortunately, this also makes it one of the most crowded waterfalls on the island. Nevertheless, it is still a must-visit waterfall, particularly during early morning hours when there are fewer people. There are usually lots of restaurants and shops around this waterfall that give the place a touristy vibe. The fall drops into a pool from 25 meters high, and due to the currents, it is hard to swim near the waterfall although there are shallow spots where you can take a dip. The entrance fee is 15,000 IDR without a parking fee.
Nung Nung waterfall is also a crowd favorite although it is less known. It is found in central Bali around an hour scooter ride from Ubud. The waterfall is enveloped by lush vegetation and is probably the hardest waterfall to access. The round trip to the fall involves walking down and up descending 500 steps, which can be challenging if you consider the hot and humid climate of Bali.
There are many other waterfalls you can visit in Bali, including Gitgit Waterfall, Tukad Cepung Waterfall, and Tibumana Waterfall just to name a few.
Bali has everything for everyone – historians, archaeologists, nature lovers, marine lovers, and even foodies. There are varieties of foods and eateries on this magical island.
You will be happy to learn that there are options for every dietary need, including vegans. Most of the dining options in Bali have gardens and farms where they grow their own foods.
Balinese food uses different types of species, mixed with fresh veggies, fish, and meat. The cuisine of the island is largely influenced by Indian and Chinese dishes.
Moreover, the island also has lots of cooking schools where you can learn everything you need to know about traditional Balinese food.
If you are a food lover, you enjoy the vibrant local food market, where you can get some of the island’s most popular fruits, vegetables, and spices.
Bali has lots of dishes to sample, you should know that the base for all food on the island is rice. However, every traveler should at least try babi guling (suckling pig), lawar, Bebek betutu (slow-cooked duck), sate lembat, ikan bakar (grilled fish) or be siap sambal matah (chicken in ‘raw’ sambal).
Rice paddles and terraces
Bali is home to breathtaking rice paddies and terraces. Some may say it is just rice fields that is special about them. But there is something incredibly unique about seeing the layers of lush green rice paddles along the hills and seeing young rice sprouting from the muddy fields.
Rice is the staple food of Balinese and Indonesian dishes.
Depending on the time of the year, the rice paddies could be brown or yellow. You can find local rice paddles when you wander around Bali, but Tegalalang Rice Fields is the most popular on the island and is among UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Indonesia. Wander around the rice terraces and then head over to the roadside where you can take in more views from By Café as you sip cold smoothies and juices.
Munduk Rice Terrace is also a popular rice field in Bali. These majestic rice fields are located atop the mountainous range of Munduk at more than 1,000 meters above sea level. Because of this, the terraces are often covered by low-hanging clouds.
There are plenty of things to do in Bali and this list hasn’t even scratched the surface. But if you are planning to visit the island soon, these 9 reasons should be in your bucket list. Whether you are a nature enthusiast, beach lover, archaeologist, historians, foodie, or just a backpacker looking to hike vegetation-covered mountains, Bali has something for everyone.