Indonesia, the Emerald of the Equator with just over 252 million people living on 17,000 islands. Famous for its rich history and hundreds of unique cultures and languages, natural beauty, and biodiversity. Most people travel for adventure to Indonesia’s island province, Bali to explore the rice paddies, volcanic mountains, beaches and Hindu temples among many other amazing things to do. With limited time to explore all of Bali here is what you can do in just a few days.
Legian Beach is the stretch of gold and silver sand that continues north of the coast of famous Kuta Beach, and ends just where Seminyak Beach starts. Set between these two of Bali’s most famous beaches, Legian has a mix of the surfing Mecca scenes of Kuta and the partying crowd of Seminyak, and is an ideal recreational place where you can shop, swim and go for leisurely walks along boutique and restaurant-lined streets.
Discover the natural beauty and ancient relics of the Balinese midlands. Start the day with a visit to Pura Taman Ayun, the 17th-century temple of Mengwi set amidst ponds full of lotus blossoms. The large temples and multi-tiered shrines are surrounded by a wide, elegant moat. Continue to Bedugul, a village in the central highlands famous for its stunning beauty and three lakes. Stroll through a traditional market with a myriad of fruits, vegetables, orchids, exotic spices and souvenirs. At the nearby Lake Bratan, take a photo of the Ulun Danu temple, built on small islands in a serene lake. Head south to the famous UNESCO-listed rice terraces of Jatiluwih. Trek through the green-stepped rice fields and learn about the Subak irrigation system preserved by Balinese farmers for centuries.
Many tourists make a quick, guided daytrip to see Mount Batur standing tall at 5,000-foot, still-active volcano near the northwestern village of Kintamani—but it’s a much better idea to take your time getting there with a car and driver. This will allow you to stop along the way at the artistic villages of Celuk, Mas, and Batubulan where Bali’s famous sliver-workers, wood-carvers, and stone carvers practice their crafts. You’ll know it’s time to park and get out the camera when you see a sign for “Penelokan”—follow it, and you’ll come to a viewing area set at the edge of the crater. From here, you’ll look out across the spectacular Lake Batur, green coffee and clove plantations, and the soaring, still-smoldering cone of the volcano. To avoid the mad “Kintamani Tour” lunchtime rush, arrive after 3 pm and you’ll have the whole place to yourself.
UNESCO lists Bali’s rice terrace fields and subak irrigation system as a cultural landscape of Bali. Although not the protected World Heritage site (which is less accessible from the town center), Subak Sok Wayah is a narrow pathway that winds its way from Ubud town center out to the unspoiled rice terrace fields. Along the route are organic cafes, small souvenir stalls, and art galleries. The pathway gets a lot less touristy the further away from the town center it goes, and it is even possible to loop around and enter the town from the opposite side. You can also rent a bike to travel down the pathway, which cuts between the vibrant, green terraced rice fields.
The postcard-perfect beaches of Sanur are truly idyllic, the realization of all those daydreams about Bali beach vacations. More laid-back than neighboring vacation destinations, Sanur is the type of place where hip Europeans who have outgrown the party scene come to recharge. Every year, the endless blue skies are peppered with flecks of vibrant color during the International Kite Festival.
Uluwatu Temple, or Pura Luhur Uluwatu, one of six key temples believed to be Bali’s spiritual pillars, is renowned for its magnificent location, perched on top of a steep cliff approximately 70 metres above sea level. This temple also shares the splendid sunset backdrops as that of Tanah Lot Temple, another important sea temple located in the island’s western shores. Pura Luhur Uluwatu is definitely one of the top places on the island to go to for sunset delights, with direct views overlooking the beautiful Indian Ocean and daily Kecak dance performances. Balinese architecture, traditionally-designed gateways, and ancient sculptures add to Uluwatu Temple’s appeal.
Bali offers something for everyone, beach, diving, surfing, forest, mountains, great food, nice spas, many budget options, make sure to add the Emerald of The Equator to your Bucket List!
Greetings from Bali, Indonesia! #LetsGetWanderlust