Bali - The Tropical Getaway
Indonesia is a nation which has more than 17,000 islands and most of them are still unexplored and untouched. The major attraction for people visiting Indonesia is however Bali, Island of the Gods. Bali has always been a very popular tourist destination. And when you reach Bali you will realise why. The tropical hideaway is full of temples, active volcanoes, gorgeous beaches, waterfalls and rice fields. Add to this, the intriguing cultural experiences, plethora of food options, adventure activities and warm people, and you realise that there are too many things to do and too little time. Most of the people visit Bali for 6-7 days and so they have no option but to prioritise their list so that they are able to experience and see the best of Bali. Let’s take a look at the island’s top attractions.
Tegalalang Rice Terrace – Gorgeous green rice terraces spread across acres of land, is one of the most beautiful sights you will witness in Bali. There are many such rice paddies here, but Tegalalang and Jatiluwih rice terraces are the most popular and picturesque amongst them. Tegalalang situated near Ubud is more approachable and therefore most visited. You can go down and enjoy the fields from close or sit in restaurant and enjoy the view from above. While you are there, don’t miss the swing ride. There is a wobbly swing hung between two palm trees and while swinging you can enjoy the sweeping and breathtaking price paddies. An experience which should not be missed. The rice terraces are open 24 hours but the restaurants close at 18:00
Uluwatu Temple – Bali has many temples spread all over the island and some of them are quite spectacular. Uluwatu is one of the nine directional temples of Bali. It is situated on the edge of a majestic cliff and gives you encompassing views of the Indian Ocean. The temple does not have much to offer. What attracts hordes of tourists to this place is the enchanting views and the traditional fire and Kecak dance which is performed every day with the background of beautiful sunset.
Mount Batur – Indonesia has the largest number of volcanoes in the world. Mount Agung is an active volcano in Bali which keeps erupting at regular interval. But the volcano which attracts visitors is Mount Batur. Situated in Kintamani, north-eastern part of the Bali, it attracts a lot of visitors especially those who want to hike. You have to climb for two hours on a relatively steep hike and how you manage depends on your physical fitness. It is best to go with the local guides as the trekking has to start in the dark if you hope to reach the summit in time to see the amazing and golden sunrise. The volcano is also active but it last erupted in 2000 and there is an enormous crater. The black lava spread can still be seen. May to July are the best seasons to visit Mount Batur.
Sekumpul Waterfalls – Waterfalls are my weakness and inspite of having witnessed the best which the world has to offer, I can’t resist visiting them wherever I go. Bali has its fair share of waterfalls. Sekumpul Waterfall is situated in the north of Bali but it can be reached from anywhere in Bali but it’s a day trip. Watching waterfalls is not a cake walk most of the times and here also you have to encounter a three hour tough walk which includes hundreds of stairs. But the view is stunning and worth the effort. You get to see seven narrow misty cascades, all falling in the same water area. The falls are hidden in the dense forest and you have to explore to find them all. The tallest is 80 metres high and all the seven falls have different height and offer unique beauty. Set against the background of lush green vegetation and bamboo forest its breath-taking and worth a visit.
Nusa Islands – Bali is very beautiful but if you want to get away from the traffic and crowd, take a short ferry ride to Nusa Islands. Lembongan, Caningan and Penida are the three Nusa islands. Nusa Lembongan is the most popular, followed by Caningan. You can easily stay in one and take a day trip to another. These are the perfect places if you want to try snorkelling, diving, zipline or surfing. If you want a relaxing trip, you can visit the Dream Beach, the Blue Lagoon, Devils tear, Mahana Point Cliff Jump, Secret Beach and many more exquisite places where you can enjoy picturesque and unspoiled views. Don’t forget to head to The Sand, an open bar and restaurant where you will be able to enjoy excellent food and see the crystal clear light blue water.
Tanah Lot – The scenic and most sacred temple of Bali is about an hour drive from Ubud. It is built on a gigantic rock jutting out of the ocean and with waves crashing all around, it is one of the most unique and beautiful temples of the world as far as the setting goes. The temple is located on an islet which can be reached by foot only when the tide is low. Foreigners are not allowed to enter the temples. But one can roam about and enjoy the extravagant setting and the vivid sunset. It’s definitely a photographers paradise.
Ubud Art Market – The cultural and laid back town of Ubud gives tough competition to the flamboyant Seminyak in terms of popularity as this is where you can see and feel the traditional Balinese culture in lush surroundings. A must visit for all the visitors to Bali is the Ubud Art Market. Beautifully crafted and locally made, the offerings are exotic and reasonable. So head there and splurge in silk scarves, hats, handmade baskets and bags, painting, wood carvings and many more. Don’t forget to bargain. If you have an inclination for monkeys, you can visit the Monkey Forest while you are in Ubud.
Seminyak – Last but not the least is the upscale and extravagant Seminyak. Known for its sprawling villas, luxury hotels, swanky boutiques, fine dining restaurants and high end bars, the fun never stops here. So your trip cannot end without visiting Seminyak and enjoying the fun filled friendly atmosphere. While you are here, don’t forget to visit Seminyak beach for a relatively quiet and stylish experience. Traffic and crowd in peak times can be daunting and so be prepared.
If you have time, there are many other places in Bali where you can visit and appreciate, But if there is time restraint, make a beeline for these charming locations at least.
Another South-Eastern country which deserves a visit is Philippines