The Top Five Places to Visit in and around Bali

“It is more than a place; it’s a mood, an aspiration, a tropical state of mind”.

Lonely Planet nailed it. This is Bali to me. Kuta is the hub of all this chaos and let me tell you, there is more beyond Poppy’s Lane 2, The Bounty, Hard Rock Café and Waterbom Park. If you are there for one week or four, all of the below hot spots can be explored within one holiday in and around the island. Get out of the Kuta vortex and explore the below!

Ulu Watu

Good for: Surfers, Beach Bums, 5-star luxury, honeymooners, backpackers

Ulu Watu is on the Southern tip of the Bukit Peninsula, a cliffside village which looks out to the vast Indian Ocean.

Known for being the surfing mecca of Bali, the beaches along the Bukit Peninsula have waves to suit all types of surfers.

Pura Luhur Uluwatu is a sea temple perched on the edge of the main cliff and is home to hundreds of cheeky monkeys who specialise in stealing hats, sunglasses and water bottles. They tend to give your possesions back if you are happy to swap them for a bag of peanuts sold by the locals. Balinese families come to this age-old temple to worship the gods and at sunset every night local Kecak dancers perform in the temple grounds. Further down the road, local restaurants have set up on the cliff leading down to the waves where travellers can watch surfers tackle rides over the shallow reef, see dolphins jumping out of the surf, get a massage and enjoy a beer on a south facing balcony listening to live local reggae music.

Nusa Lembongan

Good for: Weddings, honeymooners, ocean lovers, culture and backpackers

Only a 30-minute boat ride away from Sanur, this island feels like you are stepping back in time. Local children roam the streets, colourful lanterns sway in the ocean breeze and weathered temples are around every bend. Hire a scooter and venture across the bright yellow bamboo bridge to Nusa Ceninda. There are sand stone cliffs with shrines and 13-metre cliff faces with a jump off into the ocean. Jump onto a local fishing boat for a snorkelling excursion to swim with manta rays between June and September.

Ubud

Good for: Yoga enthusiasts, culture, jungle lovers, hikers

In among lush green rice paddies, thick virgin jungle, Hindu shrines and temples is Ubud. Located in central Bali, Ubud has 5-Star resorts, backpacker style rooms and yoga retreats. Along with small jungle and rice paddy treks in the area, travellers can indulge in spa experiences and visit the nearby Monkey Forest. Ubud is also a good base to stay if you want to hike Mount Batur or Mount Agung – a sought after trek among travellers to see the sunrise.

Lombok

Good for: Hikers, ocean lovers, surf, culture

Many come to Lombok to experience what life was like pre-tourism.

The island boasts surf breaks, hiking trails and white-sand beaches. Reached by boat or plane, Lombok has Indonesia’s second-highest volcano, Gunung Rinjani. At the summit you can find hot springs and a crater lake.

A great way to experience the local culture is to venture to a local market where families sell produce, meat and animals.

Padangbai

Good for: Divers and backpackers

Located on the coast of east Bali, Padangbai is the diving centre. The little fishing village is lined with colourful wooden boats. With plenty of small dive and snorkelling shops, many come here to experience life under the sea, it is the gateway to what lies beneath the ocean’s surface. The reefs around Padangbai are home to species such as moray eels, cuttlefish and green turtles.

After you emerge from the water, check out the boutique cafes sitting around the curvy bay.

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