There is something about Bali that changes how you feel about life, leaving a lasting impression that not many places can. A deeply spiritual island, with the loveliest people proud of their culture, spirituality and traditions. It’s not surprising that Bali’s second name is the Island of the Gods, with its magnificent mountains covered in lush jungle forests, incredible waterfalls, stunning rice paddies, beautiful coastlines some with black sand from the volcanic hills, others pristine white where coral reefs attract the prettiest of sea life. Honestly I get excited about thinking of all the different experiences I had in Bali, and I haven’t even mentioned the places to stay, the villages, the artsy towns with unexpected cool shops and places to eat and drink. The island has something to offer whatever kind of tourist it attracts.
Bali is a province of Indonesia located next to Lombok island, and has a culture like nothing I have personally experienced before. Although it is so close to Indonesia which is a predominantly muslim country, Bali is mostly Hindu which gives it a has a completely different feel.
There’s a general vibe of being at one with the island, the people are incredibly humble and grateful for all they have and as you wake up every morning, even the roosters screaming their lungs out sound happy to be there! In almost every house we passed, we saw temples, some bigger than others, some much more intricate than others, but they all have their own individual place of worship. When walking among these small Balinese villages surrounded by gorgeous rice fields you start to smell the incense coming from the Canang Sari, which are like small baskets made from bamboo and banana trees leaves. The Balinese believe in giving back, so they use these baskets to place offerings, often food related, to thank the gods, an offering known as Banten.
There is so much to capture and tell you about, from the most beautiful sunsets, the spiritual healing and relaxing meditation on offer, to surfing or swimming with Manta-rays, washing rescued gentle giant elephants, right through to the lively unexpected modern towns. But what I feel will be most helpful, is where to stay! So I have captured the places that really stood out and are all quite different in the experience they offer.
Three things I think would be helpful to know when thinking about where to stay:
1 – Bali can get very crowded in the busy towns, and the traffic can be like London in rush hour. So make sure you don’t spends hours going from one hotel to another, by planning on a map hotels that are close to each other. Hotel hopping is a really great way to see different parts of Bali, but make sure you check on the map, otherwise, you can spend half of your day in traffic.
2 – Bali is bigger than you think, it’s a district, which has lots of different towns offering really different experiences. Make sure to visit a few, and not just one! I didn’t get chance to visit all the towns, but my favourites ones were: Ubud, Seminyak, Canggu, Uluwatu, Tabanan.
3 – The weather in Bali is not the same in every location. Ubud can be cloudy and more ‘tropical’, whereas Uluwatu is the complete opposite. So maybe don’t book Ubud thinking you will get a tan.
We can’t wait to return and explore more of the island, but our favourite places are listed below and we will definitely return to a few of these!