They have a saying in Bali, “We have no art. We do everything as beautifully as possible”. It’s true, that in this beautiful Indonesian country, there’s no word in their language for “art” or “artist”. Because there’s simply no need – everyone is an artist and everything is art.
If you’re a lover of warm weather, beautiful beaches, crystal blue seas, history, culture and the most incredibly warm welcomes, then Bali truly is for you. Here’s just ten reasons why Bali should be next, or at least high, on your travel list…
1. The weather is idyllic all year round
Most days on the island of Bali are warm and humid, but not oppressively so. You can expect an average daily temperature of around 31°C. (Phew, hot but not desert hot!) However, despite the all year round warmth, Bali has two main seasons – the wet season and the dry season.
The wet season is generally between October and April, but even so, it doesn’t rain continuously. But when it does, it’s pretty spectacular! Getting caught in a Bali shower is nothing like finding yourself in a downpour without an umbrella in a UK city on the commute home. It’s refreshing, magnificent, awesome and still warm, so you’ll dry off in no time.
However, for the warm weather with lower humidity and less chance of rain, then the best time to visit is between May and August. June, July and August do tend to be windier, so it’s good to keep this in mind – if you’re looking for unspoilt sunbathing-with-a-book perfection, May is probably your best bet.
2. The cost of living is low
Flying to Bali from the UK is lengthy (around 16 hours, with additional stopover time, usually in the Middle East such as Dubai or Doha) and for this reason, costs considerably more than your average flight to mainland Europe.
But Bali is far from average. And once you get there, you can forget worrying about the cost of anything. Accommodation, eating and drinking, travel, excursions and treats such as massages and manicures are all very low cost. If you love shopping for a bargain, markets selling clothes, jewellery and curiosities are also much cheaper than anything you’d find back home in the UK, and there’s always someone willing to barter with you.
Travelling around is also very cost effective and easy, making Bali the ideal place for moving about to see more of what’s on offer.
3. The Balinese hospitality is second to none
Endless smiles, love, warmth and appreciation is the order of the day in Bali. You’ll see locals dressed in traditional clothing, gently going about their day, with genuine smiles, laying small daily offerings onto the floor or leaving them on walls or shrines.
These incredibly pretty, small, square, woven baskets are called Canang Sari and contain flowers, oils, salts, incense and food. They’re offered as a harmonious gift to the gods, asking for goodness and assistance and to help appease the evil.
You’ll find them on the pavements outside shops, temples, hotels and homes, so be careful where you tread!
4. The beaches are quite simply, idyllic
What’s your beach style? Boho and calm? Colourful and bustling? Or perhaps somewhere in between? Either way, never fear, because there’s a beach for everyone in Bali.
Near to the airport, so that you can stretch your legs after that long flight, is the resort of Kuta. Busy and vibrant, you’ll be able to buy cold drinks, the freshest of fruits, sarongs and those all-important boho bracelets for your wrists and ankles from the hawkers that regularly walk the beaches.
Further afield is Seminyak beach. Popular with trendsetters, this hipster beach has a party vibe that extends well into the night time. Best for surfers and confident swimmers as the tide is strong, this beach is exotic, hot and sassy.
If you’re looking for a relaxed, desert island vibe, then look no further than Sanur beach, considered the antithesis of Kuta beach. Or, for five star luxury, it has to be Jimbaran beach.
Or, you could completely wing it, take a look at Google maps and discover your very own beach perfection!
5. There are some amazingly luxurious hotels
Featured: AYANA Resort and Spa, Bali
Forget the Hanging Gardens of Babylon for a moment, and consider the Hanging Gardens of Bali instead. This remote resort is the height (literally, it’s hanging off a steep valley overlooking the Ayung River) of luxury. An ideal retreat from the real world for sure.
Also near the Ayung River, only this time on the banks rather than hanging precariously above it, sits the Coco Shambhala Estate. A flagship hotel, this breathtaking place offers bespoke holistic health programmes, exquisite views and a pure forest hideaway.
If you fancy entering your hotel via a wooden bridge spanning such views as a lotus pond, forest mists, complete greenery and winding rivers, then the Four Seasons at Sayan is for you. Elegance, privacy, luxury and stunning scenery is guaranteed everywhere here.
Whoever said that Bali was just for backpackers!
6. The natural scenery is stunning
You might think of rice fields and lush green expanses when you think of Bali. And you’d be right. But that’s not all that’s on offer in this part of the world. Think waterfalls, volcanoes, breathtakingly rugged coastline and mountains.
Of note are the lush green rice terraces of Jatiluwih in West Bali, which are a UNESCO cultural heritage site. A two hour drive from Kuta, this area was created by local people using no machinery, with a traditional irrigation system in place.
Or, take a visit to the Mount Batur volcano, that’s still very much active. With breathtaking scenery, panoramic views, climbing opportunities and traditional villages dotted about, if you love adventure, you’ll love Mount Batur.
7. The marine life is rich and plentiful
Bali is perfectly suited to those who love exploring the oceans. Snorkelling, diving, dolphin watching – you can do it all here.
It’s best to stick to the organised trips, to make sure you’re staying safe at the same time as respecting nature. Stand out trips for us are the Snorkelling at Blue Lagoon and Tanjung Jepun for amazing underwater coral scenes and the most incredible wildlife and the Nusa Penida Fill Trip – Snorkelling and Land Tour to explore both the Kelingking Beach and the natural Angel’s Billabong pool. Don’t forget your camera!
8. The Balinese love a celebration!
There isn’t a month in Bali when there isn’t a religious or cultural celebration, and you won’t be able to resist joining in with the celebrations. From Chinese New Year in January and the ten day Galungan and Kuningan festival honouring the win of good over evil in February to the Bali Arts Festival in the summer, you’ll be amazed by the colour and celebration that’s dedicated to the annual festival calendar on this amazing island.
9. The cultural scene isn’t to be overlooked
Bali is teeming with temples and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. As Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the famous Eat, Sleep, Pray book partly set in Bali said, “Religious ceremonies are of paramount importance in Bali (an island, don’t forget, with seven unpredictable volcanoes on it – you would pray, too)”.
The Besakih Temple in East Bali, also known as the Mother Temple is a must-see, situated on the slopes of Mount Agung. Or, take a trip to the Taman Ayun Temple, a historical UNESCO site steeped in the history of the past Balinese royal dynasty.
Don’t forget – covering up with a sarong or sash is mandatory for all temple visits, whether male or female.
10. The cuisine is divine
Hidden among all these beautiful beaches, temples, gifts to the gods and warm welcomes is the Balinese cuisine. Perhaps overlooked by all that Bali has to offer, but by no means less impressive, the cuisine here is very diverse.
With plenty of international food on offer, the Balinese do global cuisine very well. It’s almost like you’re in a bustling cosmopolitan city, yet with a backdrop of beaches and lush greenery. Whatever you’re looking for, you’ll find it.
Since Bali is so close geographically to Australia, there’s a definite Aussie theme to many of the higher end restaurants. One, is Sisterfields in super trendy Seminyak. This is an all-day breakfast café, but don’t let that stop you for lunch or dinner, since burgers also feature highly on this menu.
If you’re vegetarian or vegan, then you won’t go hungry in Ubud, the centre of vegan café culture. Clear Café offers everything from freshly made juices and smoothies to divine breakfasts and protein packed salads.
If you’re looking for local food, then hunt down the warungs near to you, serving authentic Indonesian cuisine at a fantastic price. Look out for babi guling, a whole suckling pig roasted over flames, bebek goreng, a crispy duck dish or gado-gado, a vegetable dish served with a satay like peanut sauce.
There’s something for everyone, in Bali!
Fun, adventure, spirituality, warmth and love – whatever you’re looking for, Bali will offer it to you. But watch out, it also has a distinct knack of drawing you in and stealing a piece of your heart. You’ll have no choice but to promise yourself, and Bali, that one day you’ll return to reunite with it…