There are several reasons to visit Bali as there are heavenly lights on a starry night. Being a small island off the coast of Indonesia doesn’t set this hotspot for natural and cultural sights back one bit. In fact, you can actually drive up and down the coast in a single day and can still look forward to new and exotic experiences in the next several months.
There’s no doubt about it. Bali is a mixed bag of idyllic countryside, crystal-clear beach water teeming with colorful marine life, mystic temple ceremonies and a fascinating culture native to the island. If you’re planning to fly to Bali anytime soon, don’t forget to check out at least one of the following sights. Some of them are made for tourists, so expect a number of fellow sightseers trying noisily to get some pictures of the place. Others aren’t as developed as the typical jet-setter would like, but they are perfect for finding peace and relaxation amidst the busy island whose economy depends much on the presence of visitors.
Kuta Kuta is the budget traveler’s go-to destination. Although things have quieted a bit since the bombings in 2002, Kuta still remains one of the top spots for backpackers and families on vacation. Expect a bit of heckling from sidewalk hawkers and shopkeepers selling fake surf gear and pirated DVDs, but a small “No thanks” can shoo them away. Kuta completely redeems itself as you walk towards the coastline, which is still one of the best sights in the entire island, with pearly-white sea foam pounding on shores of fine golden sand.
Ubud If you’re raring to get away from the frantic beach scene in Kuta, drive to central Bali instead and bask peacefully in the cultural wonders of Ubud. All around the locality, you can visit Hindi temples, museums and the palace of the Balinese royal family that feature Ubud’s historical and architectural significance to Bali. You can also purchase a seat at one of the numerous dance-and-music shows followed by a sumptuous and healthy meal of Balinese dishes made from ingredients bought at the local market.
Although Ubud is quickly growing to absorb neighboring places, there are still a lot of sleepy little villages nestled quietly in the midst of lush rice fields. Nusa Lembongan Become a beach bum for an entire week at Nusa Lembongan, a relatively less developed island off mainland Bali. Little has been done to transform Nusa Lembongan into the tourist haven that is usually Kuta and Ubud, which makes it the perfect place for hanging out by the seashore without having to dodge hawkers and street vendors.
The sand is powdery-white in Nusa Lembongan and the water is a clear aquamarine, making swimming, surfing, snorkeling and diving the best activities in this part of Bali. Gunung Agung Towering into the clouds above Bali is Gunung Agung, an active volcano and the highest peak in the island.
The mountain’s western fa?�ade is flanked by healthy greenery thanks to the rainwater brought about by the west wind, but the eastern side is a bit dry and barren. Near Gunung Agung’s summit is Pura Besakih, known as the mother temple and the most important Hindu shrine in the entire Bali. To Pura Besakih there are various routes that can be taken, but only those who are physically fit are rewarded the breathtaking scenarios that wait at the top of the mountain.
Seminyak Luxury is the name of the game in Seminyak. What was once a sleepy backwater village has evolved into the preferred Bali destination for Hollywood royalty and the rest of the rich and famous. Prices are, inarguably, steeper in this part of the island, but are still cheaper than anything you can spend on luxury abroad.
The place is teeming with world-class restaurants offering exotic international cuisines, high-end shop boutiques selling big-name brands and upscale spas and health centers that provide a variety of services, ranging from the traditional Balinese massages to newer, hipper treatments.