No matter how you enter Bali, for sure you will leave more relaxed and more spirited with a greater desire to see more of the world,
If you are trying to compare Bali with another place in the world, you will most likely struggle to find its ‘pair’. There are other countries that meet its tranquility. There are other beaches that share a similar ambience and there are other places that have a huge variety of budget to pure luxury accommodations. However, Bali stands on its own with an enchanting charm and serenity.
Where is Bali?
The island of Bali (Indonesia) lies east of Java and sits just slightly South of the equator. Bali and Java are separated by the Bali Strait. Australia is to its South-east and to its North-west is Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand. It is a fair distance from the United Arab Emirates, approximately 9 hours flight time.
Bali is the perfect destination for backpackers and luxury holiday seekers alike. The accommodations are widely available for those who do not wish to spend too much money. However, should you wish to find and choose luxury accommodations, you can certainly spend a mini fortune and then some.
Your challenge when visiting Bali? … To get the right mix of relaxation, nature and activities. Depending on where you stay will really determine what activities you will be able to do.
Where to visit in Bali? The short answer is… If you love the beach, sand and sun, the place for you is Kuta Beach. This area is very touristy and somewhat crowded at times. However, it is lively and is a great spot for families.
If, on the other hand, you prefer tranquil and private surroundings with an immense closeness to nature, the Ubud and central Bali region will be most suitable. These are two very popular areas within Bali that are most visited and most importantly nearby to attractions and landmarks. The tourism industry is primary focused in the south.
There are countless activities that you can include in your visit to Bali. To make your visit unforgettable, consider the following recommended activities:
1. UBUD Monkey Forest
Firstly be aware! You are sure to be inundated with monkeys, curious monkeys, hungry monkeys and very bold and brazen monkeys. It is a wondrous place to be. In amongst hundreds of little monkeys all contending for your attention and your food! They WILL climb on you!
You will not need to stay at the Monkey Forest for any longer than a couple of hours. One to two hours is plenty.
Don’t forget to…
leave wrappers, rubbish and anything of importance in the car (or at least within your secured bag). They will find anything not tucked away securely.
Be sure to buy a bundle (if not several) of banana’s from the staff at the Monkey Forest. Remember to bring the right change, just in case they do not have
Bring some wipes/hand sanitiser and wash your hands on the way out! (For those germophobes particularly)
2. Bali Safari & Marine Park
Located in Gianyar (approx. 1 hour drive) North-east of Kuta is Bali Safari & Marine Park. You can enjoy a safari experience, dine surrounded by animals and get up close with some amazing animals including Orang Utan, Komodo, lions, tigers and so on.
The park is part of many World Zoo Associations as well as Conservation Breeding Groups. The conservation efforts support the survival and wellbeing of many Indonesian animal species – such as the conservation and release of Bali Mynah, Sumatran Elephant and Sumatran Tiger.
Clear at least half a day to a full day for the Safari and Marine Park. It is located an hour away from Kuta or Ubud. In this case you can afford to set aside a decent amount of time to spend at the Park.
Don’t forget to…
bring your swimwear in case you choose to spend some time at the Water Park.
3. Kuta Beach
Especially for the beach lovers! Kuta Beach is the most popular destination for beach and sun lovers who visit Bali. The kids will love the beach and you will love the lively atmosphere.
If you are staying nearby Kuta Beach, chances are you may spend a lot of time here and you will become familiar with what the beach area is like. If you choose to stay at a hotel more inland or Central Bali (Ubud area), the distance to Kuta Beach is not so far, however, it is not a short distance either. Your mode of transport from your hotel to Kuta Beach will be typically by way of private (Hotel) Shuttle/Vehicle. In this case, it may become relatively expensive to travel too often. Decide to spend a full day at Kuta Beach to at least make your visit worthwhile. Chances are, you may not return to the beach if you chose to stay inland.
Don’t forget.. to suitably pack your beach bags (including loads of sunscreen)
4. Tegallalang Rice Terraces in Bali
Whilst not your typical landmark or attraction, the Tegallalang Rice Terraces are simply stunning from the point of view that it is not only a symbol and major part of Bali’s livelihood, the Rice Terraces provide a beautiful view across the lush countryside that is a lovely novelty for tourists and visitors. Tegallalang Rice Terraces in Ubud is famous for its rice paddies involving the Subak (traditional Balinese cooperative irrigation system), for which Bali has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status.
The roadside above the Terraces is a well-known spot for tourists to take photos and even buy some local gifts. If you are interested in purchasing postcards, this is a great spot to do so.
Depending on if you shall be climbing up and down the terraces -in some places it gets moist an soft, and in most it is stable and fairly hard to walk on. Assess when you arrive at the Rice Terraces whether or not the whole family will head across the Terraces. If you do, you should really only require 2 hours (entirely) at this destination. However, it is thoroughly enjoyable to sit and have a traditional tea or coffee and watch over the Terraces.
Don’t forget to…
Arrange transport back to your Hotel or onto your next destination. Chances are you have possibly arranged a driver to take you to the Rice Terraces. However, do not ‘get stuck’ at this destination. It is rather difficult to negotiate your departure out of
Remember to bring your small change (Rupiah) for small shopping and tips in case there are not ATM’s available.
5. At least one or more Hindu Temples
There are a significant number of beautifully tranquil temples throughout Indonesia, and difficult to recommend just one. Some of the most visited and picturesque Temples in Bali include the following…
Tanah Lot (Tabanan, West Bali) is a frequently featured temple on a typical Bali postcard. It is also very important to the Indonesians. It is commonly referred to as “the land in the middle of the sea”, it sits off the coast on a majestic rock.
(Karangasem, East Bali) is commonly known as Bali’s “Mother temple”, it is a beautiful complex of different temples and shrines. The temple sits 1,000 metres above sea level. Besakih the largest buddhist temple in Baliwith a perspective leading to several towers.
Pura Tirta Empul Temple (Gianyar, East Bali) A beautiful and another important temple of Bali, Pura Tirta Empul is known for its sacred spring water “with healing properties”. Well revered by the locals, many people climb up to the temple, meditate and take a bath in the main pool (as it is believed to bring good fortune and health). Recommended time
Set aside least 2-3 hours for each Temple, just in case you wish to slowly take in the atmosphere.
Don’t forget to…
Remember your sarong and cover up when you enter the temple. If you do not have a sarong, they are available for rental upon entry.
BONUS Luxury Activity as a MUST-DO
Bali is renowned for its diverse and sophisticated art forms, such as painting, sculpture, woodcarving and handcrafts, should you have the time and the opportunity, definitely try to make some time to visit a sculpture warehouse and/or store. There are many amazing Master Wood carvers through Bali. Wooden Masks and sculptures are specialities throughout Bali. Speak with your driver or hotel about locating some reputable carvers and sculptors.
So, the basics of Bali…
Ensure to find out if you need a visa before you travel to Indonesia.
Contact the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia Dubai on 04 398 5666, or visit them at Street No 2, Al Mina Road, (Dubai) near Al Mankhool.
Indonesian, Balinese and English are the most common language spoken in Indonesia.
The Indonesian Rupiah (1) is valued at .00067 Dhs.
In terms of gratuities, should you wish to tip 10-15Dhs, this would be equivalent to 37,000 – 55,000 Dhs. It is common practice to tip for food preparation and delivery and services, very similar to the practices within the UAE.
The predominant religion practiced in Indonesia is Hindu with other common religions (not as prominent) being Muslim and Christian.
So, when is the best time to travel to Bali?
Because Bali (Indonesia) sits just slightly south of the equator, the weather is fairly consistent all year round. Temperatures throughout the day is typically between 20-33⁰C, however, the mountains tend to have cooler temps. Indonesia receives significant rainfall, particularly in monsoon season, with December through to march being quite wet.
Tips to Great Success in travelling through Bali:
* Always carry cash (Rupiah) on you. Unless you are familiar with the location of the ATM’s, you are best served having money on you.
Visit at least one temple in Bali during your visit.
* Definitely visit at least a Rice Paddy or take a drive through the countryside where you will observe locals tending to their Rice crops and terraces. It is wonderfully interesting.
Where to Stay?
Aerial view of Nusa Dua beach on Bali showing roofs of many hotels and restaurants. It is relatively easy to choose the right hotel. If you wish to stay on or near the beach, you search Kuta Beach (and close surrounding areas). Should you wish to stay inland, research the area’s name and search for accommodation within this area.
Our tips for choosing the right hotel:
Ensure your hotel has a shuttle available upon request (this helps with tours and private drivers etc)
Remember to book a hotel that have a well-considered Room Service. Local Indonesian food is seriously delicious, however, your children may not enjoy their spices and local cuisine as much as you. Ensure your hotel have breakfast included in your package. This makes it easier for the family to fuel up on standard hotel type food.