Bali is a living postcard, an Indonesian paradise that feels like a fantasy. Soak up the sun on a stretch of fine white sand, or commune with the tropical creatures as you dive along coral ridges or the colorful wreck of a WWII war ship.
By: Roberto Caligaris
Bali is the most popular island holiday destination in the Indonesian archipelago, with good reason. Here you’ll experience a fine combination of sandy beaches and rolling surf, an ancient culture known for its warm hospitality, and exotic temples and palaces set against stunning natural backdrops.
Travel inland and towering volcanoes and pristine jungles await with plenty to see and do, although most can’t stay away from the beach for long. Meal times on Bali offer endless choice of local or far-flung cuisine and, after sunset, famous hotspots come to life offering exciting clubbing scenes and packed dancefloors.
Yes, Bali has beaches, surfing, diving, and resorts great and small, but it's the essence of Bali – and the Balinese – that makes it so much more than just a fun-in-the-sun retreat. It is possible to take the cliché of the smiling Balinese too far but, in reality, the inhabitants of this small island are indeed a generous, genuinely warm people. There's also a fun, sly sense of humor behind the smiles. Upon seeing a bald tourist, many locals exclaim 'bung ujan', which means today's rain is cancelled – it's their way of saying that the hairless head is like a clear sky.
Besakih Temple is 3,280 ft. high on the southwestern slopes of Mount Agung. Besakih is an artistic and unique complex that comprises at least 86 temples, which includes the main temple, Pura Penataran Agung (the Great Temple of State), and 18 others. Besakih is the biggest and holiest of the island's temples and is surrounded by breathtaking and scenic rice paddies, hills, mountains, streams, and more. It was nominated as a World Heritage Site in 1995, but as yet remains unvested. There are at least 70 ceremonies or religious celebrations held each year here, as each shrine has its own anniversary, plus the big holidays based on the 210-day Balinese Hindu calendar system.
Uluwatu Temple, or Pura Luhur Uluwatu, is one of six key temples believed to be Bali's spiritual pillars. It is renowned for its magnificent location, perched on top of a steep cliff approximately 70 meters above sea level. This temple also shares the splendid sunset backdrops as that of Tanah Lot Temple, another important sea temple located on the island's western shores. Uluwatu us the most popular area on Bali's Bukit peninsula, best known of the namesake landmark cliff-top temple. The hilly limestone region is home to Bali's most scenic luxury villas and resorts, with facilities on the towering cliff, which overlook the Indian Ocean and its magnificent sunsets.
The Tegallalang Rice Terraces in Ubud are famous for their beautiful scenes of rice paddies involving subak, the traditional Balinese cooperative irrigation system, which, according to history, was passed down by a revered holy man named Rsi Markandeya in the eighth century. The terraces form the three most splendid terraced landscapes in Ubud's shared region, with the others being in the villages of Pejeng and Campuhan. Tegallalang alone has an outlook that spreads down before you and away to the rice terraces on the slopes across the valley. The high roadside location is cool and breezy; it is a well known-spot for tourists to stop and take pictures. Painters and nature lovers also enjoy visiting this spot, and there are numerous art kiosks and cafes near the ledge offering their ware.
Kuta Beach is located on the western side of the island's narrow isthmus. It is considered Bali's most famous beach resort destination. Kuta Beach is also minutes away from the Ngurah Rau International Airport in Tuban. The nearest resorts of Tuban, Legian and Seminyak are all within close walking distance.
The Ubud Monkey Forest is one of Bali's several gray long-tailed macaque-inhabited forests. The forest is perhaps the best known amongst the rest, due to its community-based management and location. It lies on the fringes of the Ubud main center, and is overseen by the Padangtegal village. The Ubud Monkey Forest serves as a natural attraction and silent witness to the advent of tourism in the town. It remains a natural landmark and one of the 'must sees' while visiting the area.
Sate or Satay are marinated, skewered and grilled meats, which are served with spicy sauce and may consist of diced or sliced chicken, goat, mutton, beef, pork, fish, tofu, eggs or minced blends. Bali's own variant is sate lilit, made from minced beef, chicken, fish, pork or even turtle meat, which is then mixed with coconut, coconut milk and a rich blend of vegetables and spices.
Pepes is an Indonesian Sudanese cooking method which uses banana leaf as food wrappings. The small package is sewed with thin bamboo sticks at both ends and either steam cooked, boiled or grilled it is most commonly used to prepare fish as pepes ikan. Tum takes on a different form, with the wrapping folded and stitched at one top end and usually steam-cooked.
Nasi Goreng is Indonesia's fried rice, one of the nation's most notable dishes. Nasi Goreng is pre-steamed rice stir-fried with a combination of meats and vegetables, ranging from scrambled eggs, diced beef, strips of chicken, shrimp, anchovies and lamb. The presentation usually features the typical toppings: sliced tomatoes and cucumber, fried shallots, fish or shrimp krupuk crackers and mixed pickles.
The St. Regis Bali Resort resides on the finest white sand beach in the enclave of Nusa Dua, affording unsurpassed beachfront splendor. Boasting Bali's best address and bordering the magnificent Indian Ocean, be secured by understated Balinese-inspired living. Each of the significant beachfront Strand Villas offer a private gate to your own beach.
The Viceroy Bali is a family owned and operated resort in Ubud consisting of 25 luxuriously appointed private pool villas. The resort is majestically situated in Bali's "Valley of the Kings," an appellation given by locals for the generations of Balinese royalty who have resided in the nearby villages. It is also well known by sophisticated international travelers as one of the world's secret tropical hideaways. The Viceroy is respected by its many guests as a destination that places emphasis on the best pf privacy and comfort.
The Anantara Seminyak Resort is an elegant retreat Bali hotel situated in a prime beachfront location. Discover the joys of Bali's upscale enclave and awaken to the rustle of a sea breeze through coconut palms at The Anantara Seminyak Resort. Toast the world famous Seminyak sunsets from your private balcony.