Idyllic beaches, stunning nature and beautiful temples

Bali has long enticed travellers from far and wide, from backpackers, surfers and yogis to culture vultures, foodies and schoolies. This is Southeast Asia's original island paradise: an irresistible package of legendary beaches, spellbinding nature, beautiful local culture and delicious food.

Famous for world-class waves and psychedelic sunsets, Bali’s beach life is as good as it gets. Kuta, Seminyak, Canggu, Uluwatu, Padang Padang, Sanur – with so many options it’s hard to choose one! The island’s other natural attractions are no less enchanting. A journey through Bali’s interior will immerse you in a Garden of Eden–like scenery of flower-strewn temples, pristine waterfalls and sculpted rice terraces, all to the unforgettable backdrop of volcanoes. With traditional Balinese arts and fascinating Hindu culture mixed in with palaces, amazing food and energetic nightlife, it's clear the hype surrounding Bali is well justified.

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Things to do: Bali

  • Aerial view of Manta Bay, Nusa Penida, Bali, Indonesia.

    Island escapes

    Bali has no shortage of island-hopping options. Most popular is the trip across to Nusa Lembongan and neighbouring Nusa Penida. Both are known for their relaxed island vibe, with lovely beaches and excellent diving and snorkelling – including the opportunity to spot mola-mola (ocean sunfish) from around July to September.

  • Rice terraces with Mount Agung in background, Bali, Indonesia.

    Bali's inner beauty

    Don't miss the island's bucolic countryside north of Ubud. It's a drive that'll lead you through iridescent green landscapes of rice paddies, gardens of tropical flowers and river valleys framed by the mighty Mount Agung that looms as its dramatic backdrop.

  • Hindu temples

    Some of Bali's most popular attractions are the beautiful temples found across the island. All feature stunning Balinese-Hindu designs, and many are in spectacular locations overlooking dramatic seascapes and volcanic backdrops. Among the most famous are Tanah Lot, with its memorable setting perched on a rock out to sea, and the elegant royal water temple Pura Taman Ayun.

  • Close-up of various Balinese dishes.

    Balinese cuisine

    Food is one of Bali's undisputed highlights, and you'll find much more on the menu than nasi goreng. Local specialties include nasi campur (assorted banquet), babi guling (roast suckling pig) and bebek betutu (Balinese roast duck). And don’t miss Jimbaran's sunset seafood restaurants overlooking the ocean. You'll find a burgeoning local culinary scene too, with talented Balinese and international chefs whipping up creative Indonesian and fusion cuisine.

  • Woman in yoga pose, with view of water and mountains at sunrise, Bali, Indonesia.

    Yoga and wellness

    A hub for arts, yoga and wellness, Ubud offers the perfect detox to South Bali's beach scene. Among its ornate temples and palaces, you'll find blissful retreats and spas offering yoga, vegetarian cuisine and relaxation treatments to leave you feeling de-stressed and rejuvenated.

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Airport information

Ngurah Rai International Airport (Denpasar; DPS)

Distance to Kuta Beach 7.5km; to Ubud 36km

Taxi A taxi to Bali's most popular beach towns of Kuta and Seminyak costs around IDR Rp120,000 to IDR Rp150,000 and takes around 20 minutes. There is a pre-paid taxi counter outside arrivals with fixed prices to destinations around the south of the island.

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When to go

Located on the equator, Bali enjoys sunshine just about all year round, especially in the coastal areas. The rainy season from October to March means it tends to rain for just a few hours a day, though cloudy skies may last longer. Temperatures dip as you head towards the mountains of central Bali.

Two of Bali's main festivals include the annual Kite Festival in July and the Ubud Writers Festival in October. And all year long, you’re likely to stumble on Balinese Hindu religious ceremonies, held to celebrate almost every aspect of life – if you’re lucky, you might even witness the famed Ngaben/Pelebon cremation ceremony, which tends to involve thousands of people.

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Getting around

Aside from long-distance buses, there are no real public transport options in Bali. However, there are tourist shuttles, such as Kura-Kura and Perama, which operate between Bali's tourist towns.

The most convenient way to get around is by taxi – be sure to use the reliable Blue Bird brand, who will use their meter. Though be aware they are prohibited to operate in some tourist areas such as Ubud and Canggu. GOJEK and Grab are handy ride-share apps, but are only allowed to operate in certain areas.

For longer trips, hire a private car and driver, the fee for which is charged by the day (8-10 hours) – you'll need to negotiate, but expect to pay around IDR Rp500,000 to IDR Rp800,000 per day. You can also rent a scooter and motor around like a true local for around IDR Rp50,000 per day.

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