Bursting with creativity and steeped in spirituality – the perfect place to slow down
Bali’s rice terraces, secluded beaches, perfect waves, colourful marine life, towering volcanoes, fascinating Hindu culture and modern tourist buzz mean it offers something for just about everyone.
Soak up the sun or ride the swell off the beaches of Canggu, Nusa Dua or Uluwatu. Breathe deeply and connect with your inner self while doing Vrksasana yoga poses in Ubud or plunge into the hot spring at the foot of Batur Mountain in Kintamani. Go diving and be amazed at the corals, sea turtles and even pelagic fish around Tulamben, Nusa Penida or Menjangan Island. And, of course, don’t miss the chance to catch a magical sunset while sipping cocktails on the beach in Kuta or Seminyak.
Things to do
Have a rice day
Take a short drive from Ubud to enjoy lunch while gazing out upon the Tegalalang rice terraces. Then head to Kintamani to take a dip in the Batur Natural Hotsprings opens in new window next to Batur Lake and enjoy the breathtaking sight of Batur Volcano.
Give meditation a try or do a bit of yoga in the rice fields of Ubud. Dragonfly Village opens in new window offers various retreat packages at a facility that’s equipped with a saltwater pool and a sauna.
The deep end
Take the speedboat from Sanur Beach to Nusa Lembongan; the island (along with neighbouring Nusa Ceningan) with the clearest turquoise waters you’re likely to find. Relax on a sun lounger at Dreamland Beach or dive into the waters of Blue Lagoon at Nusa Ceningan. You can also scuba dive around neighbouring Nusa Penida, known for sightings of mola-mola (ocean sunfish) from about July to September.
The meal thing
Head over to Kedonganan Beach in Jimbaran, where you’ll find rows of restaurants with seaside dining areas. Choose your own fish, crab or prawns and have it prepared the way you like. Feel the cool breezes, marvel at the sound of crashing waves and take in a Balinese dance performance while you dine.
Town of plenty
Take a trip to eastern Bali and visit Tirta Gangga opens in new window, an age-old water garden. Drop in at nearby Tenganan Village opens in new window, where you can experience what kampong life was like in the era before Hinduism took hold here. Watch the annual Mekare-kare (pandan-leaf war), held every year during the fifth month according to the Balinese calendar, and learn more about the painstaking process of making Gringsing woven cloth, which can take years to produce.
Ngurah Rai International Airport opens in new window (Denpasar; DPS)
Distance to Denpasar city centre 13km
Taxi A taxi to Denpasar city centre takes around 30 minutes and costs IDR Rp70,000-Rp90,000. There is a pre-paid taxi counter outside arrivals with fixed prices to destinations around the south of the island.
Back to top
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.
The annual Kite Festival takes place in July. 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.Back to top
Aside from slow private buses and several privately owned shuttle buses, there’s no reliable public transportation in Bali. The most convenient way to get around is by taxi – be sure to use the reliable Blue Bird opens in new window brand, who will use their meter. Watch out for fakes.
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. You can also rent a scooter and motor around like a true local for around IDR Rp50,000 per day.Back to top
Discover more about Bali
"How three days at this Bali retreat finally taught me to sleep well"
You can learn to perfect the art of snoozing on a Bali wellness holiday dedicated to the science of slumber. It’s just one of a growing number of sleep therapy retreats.
Check out this top chef's favourite restaurants in Bali
Chef Ray Adriansyah of the award-winning restaurant Locavore in Ubud, reveals his favourite restaurants and local food haunts in Bali.
The budget-friendly couple's guide to Bali
This is your budget-friendly couple’s guide to living it up on the immensely popular island. Cos at the end of the day, it really is all about the company, right?
An expert’s guide to taking on Bali by yourself
Holidaying on your own in Bali? From the island’s most tranquil yoga spots to the best café for digital nomads, here’s how to do Bali solo.
The wellness hotspots in Bali only the locals know about
From yoga classes and spa treatments to vegan eats and detox cleanses, here's where the locals go for wellbeing on the Indonesian island.
5 Bali resorts that offer so much more than yoga
Rejuvenate your mind and body at these sanctuaries in Bali that offer everything from Ayurvedic treatments to programmes designed to help improve the quality of your sleep.
Two days in Bali: your guide to the best holiday ever
Some of the best things to see and do on the Island of the Gods.
7 fun things to do with kids in Ubud
Think Ubud is just for yogis and soul searchers? Think again. This Balinese town surrounded by serene rice terraces and lush forest is also an unforgettable family paradise.
Heading to Ubud with the family? These are the places to check in and check out
Here are the ideal places for families in Bali's cultural capital - from eco resorts to pizza restaurants. Child-approved!
Bali retreat: The secret to slowing down and stressing less
Bali local yogi Rachel Fearnley reveals her top tips for staying relaxed and the best places to eat well and rest easy in Canggu.
Is Canggu the home of healthy food in Bali?
These wholesome cafes in Canggu serve up feel-good food so delicious, you won't believe that it is guilt-free!
Canggu's best beach clubs
Enjoy a sunset cocktail or spend the day lazing at these cool beach clubs in Bali's hippest holiday town.
Where to go for local flavours in Canggu, Bali
We round up the best places to get a taste of the local cuisine in Bali's coolest foodie destination.
These are Bali's best wellness retreats
Whether you’re looking to perfect your tree pose, meditate or get fit, there’s a feel-good island escape to suit everyone in Bali.
Bali on a budget: Top things to do with kids
Busy entrepreneur and mum of three boys, Paulina Eaborn shares her top tips on the best kid-friendly adventures in Bali that won’t break the bank.
Instagram detox in Bali? Here’s how it went
A serial Instagrammer banned social media during a weekend away in Uluwatu. Did the digital detox leave her with withdrawal symptoms or more connected to her destination?
8 top spots to have brunch in Bali
Skip your hotel’s breakfast buffet, because this is Bali’s best meal of the day. Here are the eight top spots to enjoy brunch across the island.
Eat and retreat: Best ways to wellness in Bali
For anyone seeking a respite from modern life, there are myriad ways to restore one’s mind, body and soul in mystical Bali – whether it’s for a week, a day or an hour.
Foodie's guide to the perfect day in Bali
Amazing cafes have sprung up everywhere on the Indonesian island of Bali. Isabel Leong spends a day in the company of acai bowls, tacos and cold beers.