The Ultimate Travel Guide To Bali – Ibiza in the Tropics
Have you heard the rumble in the jungle? The one about Bali?
Well let’s be the one to do the big reveal…Bali, once heavily adorned by the Aussie singlet has managed to re-identify itself as the Asian “uber-cool-boho destination” where every gapper worth their ‘insta-salt’ needs to be seen, wafting about in local sarongs and hanging out in one of the many cool cafes… think Ibiza cool in the tropics. Awesome – Ubud, Balangan Beach and Kerbokan are the places to be seen in interwoven with selfies outside the many temples, royal water gardens, waterfalls, lakes, ocean cliffs and underwater coral gardens…
Lonely Planet describes this miniature paradise as more than just a place; it’s a mood, an aspiration, a tropical state of mind. But lets be honest you had us on the word paradise…
So, where to start?
Bali’s Ngurah Rai international airport which is only 13km south of Denpasar, the island’s ever growing and hectic capital… a perfect starting point for your adventure, acting as a gateway to wherever you plan to go next on the island. Best connected via the international hubs of Singapore, Hong Kong or Jakata.
What you’ll find:
A tiny, untroubled and beautifully landscaped island of 5632 square km. As it is only 8 degrees south of the equator, you can expect a tropical, warm and humid climate all year round with two main distinctive seasons: a dry season (April – October) and rainy season (November – March).
The island is dramatically mountainous and exceptionally fertile as a result of its many active volcanoes. High mountains reaching peaks of over 2000m provide dependable rainfall allowing the island’s ancient and stunningly terraced rice fields to flourish. Head to Ubud to see this in all its glory.
It’s home to beaches of gold, white and black diamond sands all surrounded by beautiful turquoise oceans. It’s not called ‘The Island of The Gods’ for no reason. Best beach destinations are of course Balangan and Kerbokan, for ‘the scene’ or try the islands of Nusa Penida or Lembongan for remoteness.
It’s also part of the Coral Triangle which has one of the highest biodiversity of marine species in the world. In this specific area there are 7 times more reef building coral species than in the entire Caribbean. So don’t forget your snorkel.
Top Things To Do:
Try to coincide your dates with one of Bali’s many culturally infused festivals. The most famous is the food festival in Ubud from the 5 -7th June – yummy and buzzy.
The Indonesian International Film Festival is hosted in Bali from the 24 – 30th September, on the South Kuta Beach. Here you can combine sunbathing with a state of the art outside cinema. Heaven.
There are also many religious festivals including the Hindu Nyepi or ‘day of silence’ which is a day of fasting, meditation and silence. A parade takes place before hand in which demonic statues fill the streets and are burned at the end of the night to symbolise cleansing away any negativity or evil. The silent day follows to allow everyone to reflect and focus on peace.
Breakfast With Elephants
Ride bareback on your BFG for their morning trip to their bathing lake at Elephant Safari Park in Taro. Then enjoy a gourmet breakfast at the park’s restaurant which overlooks the lake where the Sumatran elephants will still be splashing in the water. After, enjoy a safari ride through the lush jungle of Taro. This exclusive interactive experience is offered by Bali Adventure Tours for £74 per traveller.
White Water Rafting on the Ayung River
One for the adrenaline junkies out there. Don’t worry, even on an island famous of its spiritual and relaxation opportunities you can still get your kick of adventure. Let your expert guide lead you between lazy pools perfect for a refreshing swim and Class III falls sure to get your heart pounding. Afterwards enjoy a delicious buffet lunch with stunning valley views. The activity meeting point is Jeh Ajung, Kota Denpasar for £51 per person, offered by True Bali Experience.
Night in the Zoo
Sounds touristy but apparently achieved with complete style… After the sun goes down head to Bali Zoo in Kebun Binatang and discover the zoo’s sights and sounds by night. Hang out with the creatures and critters before tucking into a delicious Balinese dinner next to open air lion enclosures and watching fire dancers putting on a show. Enjoy for £56 at Bali Zoo.
Sunrise trek on Mount Batur
Arrive at the base of the volcano under star light then hike through the salak forest and dense jungle until you reach the top of the 5,663 feet high Mount Batur for breakfast at sunrise. A perfect opportunity to channel the island’s spiritual vibes as you watch the sun come up over the ocean from the best vantage point imaginable. Hike back down, seeing the forest in natural light for the first time, then bathe your feet in hot springs when you reach the bottom. Baliku Tours & Travel can orgainse this for £69 per person.
Yoga on the Beach
If you have ever done yoga you might have closed your eyes when you felt relaxed and imagined yourself on a beautiful beach somewhere on the other side of the world, the waves gently hitting the beach and the sun kissing your skin. Now imagine opening your eyes and that being exactly where you are! This is an absolute must do when in Bali. Choose from 7 different types and levels of yoga starting at only £7 in Sanur, Bali.
Combine Bali With:
Very easy to combine with Sabah and Sarawak, on the Malaysian side of Borneo. Borneo is culturally less developed and gappers like to try their hand here before the fun on the Bali. Borneo is the perfect spot to volunteer with conservation or community based projects – have a look here ->
Very easy to get to Manila and do some island hopping around the 1000’s islands that make up this stunning country. This country is so new to tourists it will require some planning and organising to get about so perfect for the intrepid gapper.
Clearly…goes without saying. Many gappers stop on the way down or up depending on the timings. I would always stop on the way back as Bali is the perfect hangout destination after working your way Oz having maybe worked your way fromSydney to Cape Tribulation.
See You There:
The great thing about Bali is that it can accommodate all shapes and sizes on any particular day to suit the mood…
Just make sure you have enough time to settle into the pace of life to fully appreciate the unique vibe and all on offer.
Quite honestly Leap Towers are packing their bags…first one there buys the beers…