5 Areas Worth Exploring in Bali, Indonesia

Newbies to Bali often ask what areas are worth/not worth exploring in Bali.  As is the case with just about everywhere in the world, some places are highly overrated, while others often don’t get the attention they deserve.  Read on for 5 areas in Bali that continue to draw us back and are totally worth getting lost in!

1. Uluwatu – Home to a stunning temple on the cliffs of southern Bali, Uluwatu is a definite must for every traveller to Bali.  It’s a short drive from the Kuta/Airport area (30 minutes-ish), and is best experienced during sunset.  The area around the Uluwatu temple is also worth exploring, which is best done by motorbike.  The scenery in the area is stunning, and the crowds have remained low over the years.  Accommodations in the Uluwatu area range from cheap bungalows for surf bums, up to 5-star resorts for the rich and famous.  Padang Padang beach is definitely worth a visit (Read The Best of Bali’s Southern Beaches), and can easily be combined with a day trip to the area.  **WARNING**  When visiting the temple, be sure to put anything “loose” away, such as earrings, caps, necklaces, and sunglasses.  Don’t set your bag or purse down anywhere, as the monkeys who reside here are in constant search of food, and goods to trade for food!

2. Ubud – The art centre of Bali, Ubud is just what you’re looking for when you need a change of scenery from the southern beaches.  Located higher in the mountains of central Bali, Ubud is a vibrant green all year round, loaded with rice paddies and moss covered stone.  While it will take a good part of 2 hours to get there from the Kuta/Airport area by car or taxi, a motorbike will see the time cut to nearly half.  A bit cooler than the south, you’ll likely be spending most of your time in Ubud either sipping tea at a riverside restaurant, cycling down side roads that cut through rice paddies, or wandering through countless markets and art shops.  It’s in Ubud where you’ll find that perfect piece of art to bring home, whether it be a painting, stone work, wood carving, or jewellery.  While art is a major draw to Ubud, it’s also home to the every popular Monkey Forest, and a number of temples worth visiting, such as Goa Gajah.  **Despite the countless number of women looking for The Medicine Man – Ketut Liyer, it’s still possible to find the peace and tranquility you ventured to Ubud for.  If time and money permits, stay a night or two at a five-star resort.  Try Kupu Kupu Barong, or Alila Villas Ubud.

3. Kuta & Legian – Almost every first timer to Bali will visit and spend some time in the Kuta/Legian area.  It offers the most comfort for tourists, with accommodations and restaurants for everybody’s budget.  A normal day in the Kuta area will consist of a lot of beach time, either tanning, surfing, or drinking, combined with some shopping and eating afterwards.  There really is no reason to leave the beach in Kuta or Legian, as food and drink are just steps away, and massages, pedicures, and manicures are so cheap you can have multiple per day.  However, when a break from the sun is needed, Kuta and Legian have many streets and side streets littered with shops, restaurants, pubs, and Circle K’s to widdle the day away.  After a late afternoon shower and nap, your biggest stresses will be deciding where to have a sunset cocktail, and then where to eat afterwards.  **Kuta, to say the least, is not necessarily the cultural, idyllic experience you came to Bali for.  However, it still has its fair share of Balinese ceremonies and is an experience that can’t go un-had if visiting Bali.  When Kuta and Legian become too much, take a day trip or more to #1, 2, 4, or 5!!

4. Jimbaran – Just south of the airport, Jimbaran is close enough to Kuta that it may just be the break you need when the crowds become too much.  An old fishing village, ships still bring in fresh catch every morning, which is then sold at the restaurants on the beach in the evening.  The Jimbaran area is quiet, but not too quiet, and you won’t have trouble finding a spot on the beach to lay your sarong.  Villa rentals are common in Jimbaran, along with a number of 5 star resorts, often frequented by celebrities.  The Four Seasons Jimbaran has won many awards, and if it fits your budget, would definitely be worth a night or two.  If a day in Jimbaran sounds too quiet and laid back for you, make sure you don’t leave Bali without having a seafood dinner on the beach!

5. Sanur – Often said to be for retired folk, Sanur is still completely worth a visit!  Located on the east side of southern Bali, a taxi ride to Sanur will take about 30 minutes from the Kuta/Airport area.  A quiet and relaxed feel to it, Sanur is home to Bali’s annual kite festival, which flies every July.  Giant kites are flown for weeks on end during this time of year, and are so big that they have to be transported on the back of trucks!  The streets of Sanur offer some great shopping for gifts to bring back home, and there are number of first-class restaurants that will suck you back on your next visit to Bali.  The long stretch of beach at Sanur has gorgeous white sand, and is nearly deserted, aside from the large number of boats and jet skis.  The 5km boardwalk along the beach is ideal for jogging and cycling, and there are countless options for water sports.  While some people regard Sanur as a bit too “sleepy” to spend some time at, it’s completely worth exploring for a day to escape the chaos of Kuta.

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Categories: Bali, Destination Guides, Tips For Travellers

Author:Thomas & Katherine

A love for travel, adventure, and photography. We just can't help but write about it!

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