1. Sundays Beach Club
When in Bali, visiting Sunday Beach is a must. For those of you who dream of fabulous beaches, with the clearest turquoise sea and golden sands, and a relaxed, healthy vibe, Sunday Beach has it all. The beach is privately used by residents of the exclusive Ungasan Resort; however it’s accessible to visitors for a daily rate of 300,000rp (approx. £18) per adult and 50,000rp (approx. £3) for children, which when you think about what’s included is an absolute bargain.
For the whole day, guests can relax and enjoy complimentary watersports including kayaking, snorkeling, paddle boarding and more; with full beach club access, complimentary towels and wifi, and travel to and from the beach via a quaint whickered inclinator cabin which will take you through the stunningly lush green trees, whilst you enjoy breathtaking views of the beach and ocean from above. This in itself is a brilliant experience so highly recommended. Plus, when you arrive at the beach, each guest can enjoy deliciously fresh seafood, cocktails, smoothies and more at the beach bar, where they’ll receive 150,000rp complementary credit.
Try the Avocado Dream shake. Deliciously cooling and creamy, it’s full of avocado, coconut milk, vanilla milkshake and a little chocolate syrup mmm…
2. Uluwatu Temples
Depending on where you stay, Bali can have quite a busy, intense atmosphere – especially if you’re spending much time travelling around on the, to put it mildly, crazy roads (or travelling with a PIA ex-boyfriend!) Sometimes it’s nice to go somewhere completely peaceful, where you can walk around enjoying the beauty of nature undisturbed and letting your mind and body unwind.
Peaceful and serene, the Uluwatu Temples are perfect for this. As you walk around the grounds and winding paths, you’ll experience the beautiful, old stone carvings of Balinese Gods, mythological creatures and ancient spiritual sayings over the weathered walls and temples. The temples are surrounded by trees and flowers and, as you follow the winding paths through the trees, walk over the calming bridges and streams, and around the winding paths that lead you over the cliffs to endless views of the ocean, hearing the waves clashing against the rocks below, you can’t help but feel at peace. A great place to go with families or to enjoy meditation.
3. Sekumpul Waterfalls
Difficult to impress? We definitely recommend visiting the Sekumpul Waterfalls as the whole experience - everything from the trip up the winding mountain to get there to the trek across the rice fields; and finally jumping into the cooling pools of water below the waterfalls, with the reflected sunlight bouncing off of the water and creating beautiful rainbows, and surrounded by lush green trees and blue skies – is magical.
Trekking tours available include: sunrise treks; jungle trekking tours; hiking packages; Mayong village walking tours; Jatiluwih rice field trekking tours and more. Whether you’re there for fitness, to relax and clear your mind, or enjoy the breathtaking natural views, there’s something for everybody.
‘One of the best things about going to the waterfalls is actually the journey up the winding rainforest-style mountains. You’ll be surrounded by beautiful trees; stunning views over the island as you climb higher and higher; and an unimaginable change in climates, everything from sunny warm weather to short bursts of heavy rainfalls. Don’t forget to bring a light waterproof jacket!’
If you are going to travel to the waterfalls, especially by scooter, it’s better to leave early in the morning so that you can enjoy the day there and arrive home before nightfall. The weather is temperamental and, although the scooter is certainly the quickest, easiest and most cost-effective way to get there, it will leave you relatively unprotected form the changing climates. This, along with the fact that the roads can be dangerous and the journey takes several hours, means that it’s better to travel home whilst it’s still light.
4. Gili Air Island ‘The Turtle Capital Of The World’
The Gili Islands are some of Bali’s most visited attractions. Comprising of three tiny and secluded islands approx. 1hr off the coast of Bali, near Lombok - Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air – the islands offer visitors the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of watersports and hiking, mingle with the locals, and to enjoy the clear turquoise waters and white sandy beaches surrounded by hilly green mountains – the stresses of the real world a distant memory.
We love Gili Air the most as it’s full of character and great for those wanting to relax on the beach, sunbathe and participate in fun sporting activities, rather than party. There’s an incredible turtle hatchery where you can watch the turtles being born in their natural habitat; Bio Rock reef regeneration projects; and some great restaurants, including an Irish Bar, an authentic Japanese sushi restaurant and, our favourite, Pura Vida – a bamboo bar where you can listen to live bands and jazz music, whist sitting on luxuriously huge pillows and enjoying thin crust pizzas fresh from the wood-fired oven.
For those of you who are more adventurous and strong swimmers, there are also opportunities to go snorkeling, scuba-diving and wonder at the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of swimming with turtles, giant squid, colorfully exotic fishes and many other sea-life in their natural habitat. It’s absolutely beautiful so don’t forget to bring an underwater camera to keep the memories.
Interesting Fact: In an attempt to protect the peaceful atmosphere and unpolluted environment, the islands don’t permit any motor transport so, if you are looking to travel around, you’ll be treated to traditional methods including horse and carts, bicycles and walking.
You can visit for a day trip but many people like to stay overnight for the beach parties and bonfires. You get to the island by boat but be warned: the locals will take your money and say you can come home later at night, around 8-9pm, but you can’t. The last boat back to the mainland leaves at 6pm so, if you’re going to spend the day there, ensure you leave early in the morning so that you can enjoy everything.
If you are staying overnight, try to be on the beach at sunset so that you can enjoy watching the magnificent orange sunset over Bali’s Mount Agung in the west. Unmissable!
5. Watersports at Nusa Dua / Geger Beach
Nusu Dua is lovely - full of white sandy beaches, sparkling crystal clear waters and home to some of the best hotels in the world. The area offers an almost ‘all-inclusive’ experience so is perfect for couples and families looking to relax, have some fun and enjoy the natural beauty and culture of Bali without travelling too far away from the hotel. There’s a selection of nightlife, restaurants, golf courses, cultural temples and opportunities to shop. Plus, the beach offers many opportunities to partake in adrenalin fueled watersports including jet skiing, parascending, speed boating, waterskiing, surfing, fly boarding and more. Something for everybody!
What we love most about this area is that, to begin the activities, a speed boat will take you approx. 100m or so away from the shore to small sand dunes in the middle of the ocean, where you can stand and practice or, if you’re not participating, you can take photos of your friends as they soar high into the air.
The dunes in themselves offer one of the most incredible views on the island as, standing in the middle of the sparking blue ocean, completely dry, with panoramic views of the ocean with its little fishes, the golden beach and charming Balinese huts, the sensation is healing and almost godlike. It’s not somewhere you’d usually think of to go but, trust me, you won’t be disappointed.
Note: The activities here aren’t as cheap as they are in other areas but it remains popular thanks to the wide variety of activities that are available all in the same place.
Visiting Nusa Dua Theatre for a Balinese Cultural Extravaganza
One evening, book some tickets to watch a performance of ‘Devdan, Treasure of the Archipelago’ at the Nusa Dua Theatre. The storyline is fun and enchanting, and is narrated by a man and woman who discover a magical chest filled with items representing each Indonesian island and culture. Plus, with impressive choreography by Indonesian dancers and acrobats; gigantic traditional Balinese puppets; pyrotechnics, rotating stages and artificial rainfall, you can’t help but be excited.
6. Bambu Restaurant & Cooking School
A great place to go for authentic Balinese cooking lessons or lunch.
7. Potato Head Beach Club, Seminyak
Seminyak is THE place to be if you’re looking for some lively Balinese nightlife, with Potato Head Beach Club being the ideal location for a great night out.
The club is home to 3 restaurants; 2 bars; an infinity pool, which looks directly out over the stunning golden sands and far into the Indian Ocean; and a large 500sqm lawn, where many a live band, DJ and foam party has taken place. It’s quite expensive but the atmosphere is lively and vivacious. You can enjoy great live music, lots of fresh seafood and delicious cocktails, and the party extends from day to night, with many people still partying away in the pool at sunset.
8. Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, The Ubud
Spending the morning at the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary is a lovely way to begin the day. To get there, you’ll drive through the Ubud, with its lush green trees and stunningly landscaped rice fields, watching the Balinese farmers at work in their traditionally conical sun hats, expertly woven using the local leaves. Then, upon arrival, you can enjoy relaxing walks around the forest, letting the calming scents of the trees and breathtaking natural woodlands wash over you, whilst cheeky monkeys play games around you; others watching curiously and some, to be polite, getting more than a little bit frisky. It really is a funny and eclectic experience. There’s so much to see and, whilst walking through the forests, you’ll discover lovely stone carvings of ancient sayings, monkeys and Balinese mythical creatures; walk over beautifully hand-carved stone bridges with trickling streams; and pass by traditional temples scattered throughout the sanctuary. For animal lovers, it really is lovely.
Make sure you take off your glasses and any jewellery or shiny belongings before entering the sanctuary. Try to take minimal belongings with you and carry any valuables in a rucksack, fully zipped up and held close to your chest as the monkeys will be attracted to them and try to steal them. If they do, there’s little hope of recovering them unless you pay one of the wardens to collect them for you, if at all.
9. Sanur Beach
Sanur beach is one of the nicer beaches in Bali and full of character. The main beach is located on the eastern side of the island’s isthmus and has a relaxed, coastal atmosphere, where you can lay back, relax and enjoy a refreshing coconut water whilst watching groups of old-school Balinese fishermen walk into the water with their fishing rods high, hoping to catch the fish of the day. Against the beautiful blue skyline, the crystal clear warm waters and the golden sand, they really are a beautiful vision.
This area is perfect for families with young children as the waters are clean, crystal clear and shallow, and the beach isn’t crowded so you can relax and enjoy the sun, safe in the knowledge that your children can play safely in clear view. For those who prefer to be active, the beach also offers a variety of watersports and is only a short stroll away from an eclectic array of restaurants, bars and shops where you can enjoy a variety of entertainment whilst watching the sea; or enjoy Balinese arts and culture.
10. The Rock Bar, Bali
The Rock Bar is located at The Ayana Resort & Spa and, situated on the cliff top 14m above the Indian Ocean, it’s only accessible from Ayana’s private cliff inclinator. It's home to a fantastic restaurant and bar where guests can indulge in some deliciously fresh seafood, cocktails and authentic Balinese cooking lessons, whilst enjoying the stunning views of the Indian Ocean. The bar has a glamorous beachy vibe with a cool (and understatedly excited) atmosphere and stylish dress code; definitely worth visiting. Plus, in the evening, it completely transforms into one of the hottest nightspots in Bali, where guests can socialize and dance the night away, listening to some of the best international DJs and admiring the stunning amber sunsets.