Anyone that follows me on Instagram will probably already know that I have recently fallen head over heels in love with a new destination; Bali. South East Asia has always been a place close to my heart, but Bali’s breathtaking beauty, vibrant culture, and incredible spiritual energy touched me in a way I really wasn’t expecting.
I was only in Bali for 5 blissful days, but as with all my blog trips, I try to pack in as much as possible into my itinerary so I can come back with tonnes of tips and recommendations for you all. Looking back, I can’t quite believe how much I saw and how much ground I covered. It was an exotic whirlwind of beautiful sights, tastes, touches and smells.
If you’re planning (or simply dreaming) of a trip to Bali, watch the video of my trip below and check out my 7 incredible things to do there…
Go to a seafood BBQ shack on Jimbaran Bay
Jimbaran Bay is a public beach located near to Bali’s capital of Denpansar. By day Jimbaran Bay looks like many other Balinese beach, but it’s by night that it really comes alive. A smoky haze fills the air and a pink sunset lights the water as the seafood BBQ beach shacks fire up their coals.
A long row of shacks all sit side by side with plastic tables and chairs stretching down to the waterfront. This isn’t a luxury affair, it’s a deliciously authentic slice of Balinese culture that brings generations of Indonesian families together. Kids play football on the beach whilst toddlers play in the sand. Locals and travellers alike are brought together by Bali’s best seafood and this magnificent setting.
2. Be Amazed by Uluwatu Temple
This place feels like the closest I’ve ever been to walking the Great Wall of China. The walk to Uluwatu temple is along a spectacular walled cliffside overlooking the ocean and dramatic cliff faces. The sea is bright blue, pink flowers line the old wall and the exotic scattering of butterflies make this place feel close to nirvana. The temple itself is a little run down and areas are closed off to the public, but a visit here is more about the beautiful surroundings than the temple itself.
Travelista Tip; Beware of the monkeys! They aren’t afraid to grab your belongings. Also remember to dress modestly (knees and shoulders covered) or you’ll be given a rather fetching purple wrap around to wear.
3. Eat, Pray, Love at Padang Padang Beach
Because of their close proximity, it’s a great idea to combine Uluwatu Temple and Padang Padang beach in one trip. Best known for being the beach that Julia Roberts famously graced in Eat, Pray, Love, Padang Padang beach is a charming little cove. The beach is hidden away and only accessible through a narrow walk between two huge rock boulders, so it feels like finding a little paradise of your own. With white sands, water sports and some very casual beach shacks serving up food and refreshments, Padang Padang beach is a great all-day chill out spot.
Travelista tip; If you’re planning to spend the day here, you’ll need to bring your own beach towels.
4. Be Cleansed at Tirtha Empul, Holy Spring Temple
Anyone en route to Ubud should make a pit stop at Tirtha Empul holy spring temple. This large temple complex is famous for it’s holy springs, which Hindus queue up to bath under. The ritual is so popular that the queues spiral around the springs. Heady aromas of incense fill the air and you can feel in the air that this is a deeply religious and spiritual place. It was a privilege to see this and soak up some of the remarkable energy.
5. Catch the Surf at Sulubang Beach
Surfing spots don’t get much better in Bali than Sulubang beach. Surfers come from all over the world to catch the waves here and because of this, the vibe of Sulubang is effortless surf-style chill. Even if you don’t surf (like me), grab a drink in one of the chilled-out cafes overlooking the ocean and watch the hundreds of surfers chase the rip.
6. Explore Ubud’s Jungle
As you approach Ubud the landscape of Bali completely transforms and you are surrounded by lush jungle, bright green panoramas, paddy fields and a majestic ambience that makes this place feel truly magical. There are plenty of options when it comes to getting out into the jungle and various tours can be booked with tourism operators in central Ubud. These tours and treks are a must-do for anyone visiting Ubud.
As part of my stay at Four Seasons Sayan, I went on their ‘a day in the life of a Balinese Rice Farmer’ experience. This half day tour started with a jungle trek and our guide Santika told us all about the local plants and how they are linked to ancient Balinese medicine. We were shown how farmers plant rice in the paddyfields and even got to have a go ourselves!
The tour also included a traditional Balinese breakfast in a Bale by the river and ended with an incredible chakra treatment at the Sacred River Spa. The experience is open to guests and non-guests alike and costs 1,500,000 IDR (£75) for a half-day programme and 2,250,000 (£113) for a full day programme.
7. Go on a Sunrise Trek Up Mount Batur
Embrace your adventurous side with a sunrise trek up Mount Batur, near Ubud. The experience begins with a disorientating 2am pick up and a breakfast of banana fritters and Balinese coffee, before setting off on your hike at 3.30am. It’s pitch black so you’re equipped with torches and 2 guides on a tour of 10. You reach the summit at around 6am, just as the sun is rising.
In exchange for the early start and the pitch-black trek, you are rewarded with the most magical views over the opposing Mount Agung. At the top, guides will cook you eggs boiled in the natural steam from the volcano; a mind-boggling and once-in-a-lifetime experience. The tour costs roughly 300,000 IDR (an incredible £15) and can be booked at any of the tour operators in Ubud.
Bali is one of the most amazing places I have ever visited in the world, and I felt like I have only just scratched the surface of what this exotic paradise has to offer. If you’re planning a trip to Bali, putting everything on here at the top of your list is a great place to start!
Have you travelled to Bali or are you planning on going soon? If you enjoyed my post, found it useful or want to ask me a question, please leave me a comment in the box below! Thank you x
Your pictures are so colourful! Bali looks amazing! I have always considered Bali to be the next place to go, but somehow never made it! Working for an events promotion company in London where travel and trips are such a popular category I am continually getting overwhelmed about where to go next!
Now I know, next stop Bali!
The Luxe Traveler says
This post is a great summary of the many things you can do and places to see in Bali. We are going back again to the island next month and can’t wait to explore more and try some of your recommendations.
Viktoriya and Oksana says
Bali looks and sounds magical!
Evan Code says
I really love your blog. Thanks for sharing this awesome place especially the sunrise trek up mount batur.
Thank you Evan! You’re so welcome 🙂
Lori Elle says
Beautiful photos! I would have found it helpful if you would have shared just a few more details regarding your adventures. I have chronic fatigue syndrome but still want to see the world! How strenuous were your day trips, how long were your walks? What alternatives exist if your excursions were “athletic” vs. casual. Thanks!
I’m travelling to Bali for Christmas and this post/video has already made me mega excited! Woop!
Bali had never really interested me, but after seeing your video I am reconsidering!
Hi Jessica, fab post. Love it.
I am visiting Bali in May through to June. What would you advise on location? Because I would like to travel for the 8 days whilst I am there. During booking would you recommend having the one hotel or various and travel/explore each day?
Thank you. x
Edline chaerany says
here’s have many beautiful place. Thats why i live in Indonesia now :p so many beautifl things
you wrote incredible list of things to do. I was on Bali week before as well and there are really many things to do. I have only one regret of not going for a trek on mount Agung or Batur because of unpleasant weather . I would like to ask you what was the most intense moment you had in Bali?
The colours are truly captivating!! I love the people’s vibrant and cheerful dress!
Thanks Charlotte! Me too! There were so many beautiful colours and sights. I couldn’t put my camera down xx
Kia (@kiahampel) says
What a lovely post. I lived on bali and you captured it in a really really great way 🙂
That’s so nice to hear! Thank you so much Kia xx
I would love to visit Bail on day. Asia just had so many incredible places to visit.
Leonie ♥ Lo On The Go
Add it to the bucket list lovely! One day 🙂 xxx