Bali, known as the Island of the Gods, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and it’s easy to see why. From its pristine beaches and stunning rice terraces to its vibrant culture and rich history, Bali offers something for everyone. As a first-time visitor, you might feel overwhelmed by the choices available, but have no fear! This guide will take you through some of the top highlights you cannot miss on your first trip to Bali. From busy and popular Seminyak to the serene beauty of Ubud, we’ve got you covered. So pack your bags, grab the sunscreen, and get ready to experience the magic of Bali.
When planning your first trip to Bali, the accommodation options can be overwhelming. There are plenty of places to choose from luxury villas to boutique hotels. Not to mention, the price points all vary greatly. But, no matter what type of accommodation you’re looking for, there’s bound to be something for you in Bali.
Let’s look at some of the top accommodation places and what sets them apart:
Where to stay in Bali
Where you stay in Bali is an important part of your holiday experience. Whether you’re looking for fun family resorts, chic beachfront boutique hideaways, or an unbeatable budget option – Bali has something for everyone. Depending on your preference and budget, accommodation can range from basic to luxurious.
Luxury Resorts: If you’re after a 5-star getaway to relax and rejuvenate, then luxury resorts are the way to go. These hotels provide well-appointed rooms with elegant furnishings and luxury amenities, including multiple restaurants, bars, spas, business centers, and more. Many are located near top tourist attractions like beaches, temples, museums, etc., and areas with prime shopping opportunities for those who want to take advantage of Bali’s amazing handicrafts.
Boutique Hotels: For a more intimate atmosphere with excellent service, try a boutique hotel. These hotels provide a unique twist on traditional accommodation with great hospitality, stunning views, and fantastic facilities such as bars and restaurants overlooking the sea or pools surrounded by tropical palm trees!
Villas: For those looking for ultimate privacy on holiday, renting a villa is perhaps the best option. Villas come in various sizes to suit large groups or families and small couples alike – many have their private swimming pools, so it’s like having your paradise! Plus, they often include staff members like gardeners or housekeepers, so all you have to do is kick back, relax & enjoy all that Bali has to offer!
Guesthouses & Hostels: If you’re on a budget, there are plenty of great options for cheap accommodation in Bali, including guesthouses & hostels, which offer great value for money while still providing all the essentials!
Recommended hotels and resorts
Accommodations in Bali can range from budget homestays to luxury villas and resorts, making it easy to find suitable accommodations for any traveler. Depending on location, facilities, services, and amenities, prices can vary greatly. Here are some of the best-recommended hotels and resorts in Bali for first-time visitors:
- Tanah Gajah by Hadiprana – Situated amongst the rice paddies of Ubud, this boutique hotel offers spacious rooms with private balconies offering stunning views. Guests can also enjoy a pool, spa treatments, and gourmet restaurants.
- Alila Seminyak – One of Bali’s most luxurious beachfront resorts located on Seminyak’s famous “Eat Street” in the Petitenget district. Its chic design combines traditional Indonesian style with modern amenities such as a rooftop bar and pool terrace with views over Seminyak Beach.
- The Villas at Ayana Resort – A private collection of luxury villas within Ayana Resort in Jimbaran Bay offers unobstructed ocean views, an outdoor lounge area, a full kitchen, and ensuite bathrooms with spa bathtubs.
- The Anantara Resort Uluwatu – Overlooking the Indian Ocean on Bali’s Bukit Peninsula, this charming boutique resort provides four accommodation categories ranging from classic Balinese cottages to lavish, luxurious villas with private pools overlooking the sea below. Guests will also enjoy the resort’s infinity pool with stunning ocean views, perfect for sunset drinks after a day at the beach!
Bali is home to many beautiful and historical sights, making it a great travel destination for both new and experienced travelers. For first-time visitors, many must-see attractions should be included in their itinerary. From exploring the ancient structures of the Uluwatu Temple to taking stunning views of the Tanah Lot beach, there are plenty of sightseeing activities for you to enjoy in Bali.
Let’s have a look at some of the most popular sightseeing spots in Bali:
Ubud is a small town located in Bali, Indonesia, and it is a popular tourist destination. Ubud is an ideal spot to find yourself amidst authentic Balinese culture, scenery, and architecture. This beautiful village is surrounded by green fields, rice paddies, and lush rain forests that have featured prominently in many movies such as “Eat Pray Love.”
Ubud has much to offer in terms of sightseeing and activities. The town is renowned for its excellent cultural experiences, with many cultural events such as the famous Royal Palace ceremonies and the mesmerizing traditional Balinese dances. The Ubud markets are another great attraction for those looking for locally crafted products or souvenirs to take home.
Nature lovers will find plenty of activities, from visiting temples, hot springs, and the gorgeous Tegalalang Rice terrace to hiking through the spectacular Mount Batur volcano or strolling through the Campuhan Ridge walking trail, which offers breathtaking views of Ubud themselves.
Tanah Lot is one of Bali’s most iconic landmarks and a must-see stop for all visitors. The temple is set on a large rock, surrounded by crashing waves, and offers beautiful views during the day and sunset. It is said to have been built in the 16th century by Hindu priest Danghyang Nirartha, making it one of Bali’s earliest religious sites.
Although you can’t enter the temple complex due to religious rituals, you can admire its amazing architecture from outside and marvel at the black sand beach and stunning sunsets every evening. Before leaving Tanah Lot Temple, explore local markets where you will find various handmade products such as souvenirs, jewelry, textiles, and other popular crafts.
Uluwatu Temple, or Pura Luhur Uluwatu, is an iconic temple situated on the cliff’s edge. Built in the 11th century, this temple stands at the far south end of Bali Island and is considered one of Bali’s nine spiritual directional temples. The main attraction of this temple is its sweeping views, particularly during sunset. You can also watch a traditional Balinese Kecak Fire Dance early in the evening and even hire tour guides who will tell you tales about local traditions, folklore, and myths. Uluwatu Temple has been awarded as one of Bali’s most beautiful temples and one that should not be missed on your holiday!
Aside from Uluwatu Temple’s breathtaking views, its notable features include two asymmetrical gates known as Kandika named Jembawana Puthuh and Jero Giling, respectively. It also houses three gangga (meru) shrines dedicated to the gods associated with the Mahabharata epic, such as Dewi Sri Ratih (goddess of love), Dewi Sri Ganges (goddess of wealth), and Wisnu (the God of creation). Guests will find various intricately carved statues depicting Hindu gods scattered around the main courtyard as they admire the architecture or explore its many chambers and corridors called Wantilan.
Bali is a miraculous destination, full of unique opportunities to explore, relax and create unforgettable memories. There is so much to discover in Bali that it can be difficult to choose what to do, which is why so many first-time visitors appreciate a suggested list of activities.
From the beaches and waterfalls to the temples and cultural experiences, here are the highlights to look out for in Bali:
Surfing is an exhilarating water sport enjoyed by people of all ages in many parts of the world. Most commonly, it is performed on a surfboard and utilizes the power of ocean waves to propel riders forward and provide an enjoyable ride. It can also be done on other bodyboards, windsurfers, or paddle boards.
To prepare for a successful surfing session, it is important to consider your equipment and make sure that your gear fits correctly, adjust your stance correctly on the board, understand safety guidelines and ocean conditions (currents, tides, etc.), be aware of other water users around you and the type of wave you are riding. With the right knowledge and preparation, surfing can bring hours of great rides that will be remembered forever!
Snorkeling is a popular water activity for people of all skill levels in Bali. It involves swimming along the surface of the water while wearing a diving mask and snorkel designed to provide an unobstructed view of underwater surroundings. Snorkeling requires minimal equipment, is relatively inexpensive, and can be done in most seas or lakes with shallow or clear waters. Snorkelers will view breathtaking coral reefs, vibrant marine life, remarkable wrecks, and thousands of fish.
When planning a snorkel excursion, it’s important to consider several things:
- The quality of the water you plan to enter;
- current conditions at the location;
- Entry fees are charged by marine parks where it may be necessary to follow specific rules;
- Other visitors who may be snorkeling in the same area;
- optimal weather or seasons for specific locations;
- As well as rental costs for necessary gear.
To ensure a pleasant experience, most good operators will provide guidance and instruction on the proper use and maintenance of equipment such as fins, flotation devices, wetsuits, and masks. But it’s also essential to ensure your fitness is up to standard before entering open waters.
Trekking is a great way to explore the outdoors and connect with nature. It can be done almost anywhere, from your backyard to the highest mountain ranges. Trekking involves walking or hiking through rugged terrain and can range from a day trip to multi-day expeditions over all types of terrain, including forests, mountains, deserts, rivers, and glaciers. Trekking is an excellent exercise that tests your physical endurance and allows you to see some of the most extraordinary and breathtaking landscapes on earth – making it a truly rewarding activity for adventurers of any age.
Regardless of your skill level, there are suitable treks for all ages and abilities. Before setting out on any trekking journey, it’s important to do some research and adequately prepare yourself for what lies ahead. This includes:
- Analyzing weather forecasts
- Research the best routes and features available in the area you will cover.
- Familiarizing yourself with relevant environmental hazards, such as wildlife or local threats
- Packing gear that will keep you safe such as navigational aids (maps/GPS), adequate food/water supplies, first aid equipment (or hire guides), and communication devices so that family/friends know where you are and when they should expect your return.
With proper preparation and safety in mind, there’s no better way to explore Mother Nature than by going on exciting adventures like trekking through her beautiful lands!
If you are a first-time visitor to Bali, you are in for a treat. Bali offers a variety of amazing food experiences. From traditional Indonesian dishes like Nasi Goreng to seafood specialties like Sate Lilit Ikan, you can try all kinds of unique and delicious dishes. Whether you are looking for a luxurious dinner or a casual street food snack, there are plenty of options to explore in Bali.
Traditional Balinese cuisine
Traditional Balinese cuisine, commonly referred to as “Bali food,” is very popular among visitors to the island. The most popular dishes are the local version of nasi campur (rice with a selection of side dishes) and satay – both can be found at almost any warung (small eatery) across the island. Typical ingredients in traditional Balinese cooking include tempeh (soybean cake), vegetables, and seafood. Spices like ginger, galangal, and chili play an important role in flavoring meat dishes and simmering rice and salads.
When sampling traditional foods, it is often beneficial to visit one of the tourist-oriented restaurants that specialize in local specialties like lawar (finely chopped and spiced vegetables or minced pork served with coconut sauce and grated coconut), bebek betutu (spicy duck steamed in banana leaves) or ayam bumbu Bali (chicken cooked with a range of spices).
While these are all delicious examples of Balinese cuisine, it should also be remembered that many other regional specialties across the island are waiting to be discovered.
Bali has a vibrant culinary scene, meaning your options to explore the local delicacies are virtually endless! Being one of the world’s top tourist destinations and the home to a myriad of different cultures, local food offerings in Bali range from traditional Indonesian fare to international-standard dining experiences. Whether you’re looking for casual street eats or high-end restaurants and cafes, here are some of our favorite places to get an authentic taste of Bali.
- Locals Favorites: Homey, simple cafes offering super-fresh seafood or Balinese specialties like Babi Guling – roasted stuffed suckling pig – you can’t go wrong by trying something new here.
- Renowned Restaurants: If you’re looking for something fancier, some restaurants have long been renowned for their fresh seafood – from expensive lobster to tuna sashimi. These places show off Bali’s bounty from the sea. Alternatively, with years of expertise and experience under their belt, there are also spots known for delivering exemplary Indonesian dishes.
- International Cuisine: With rapid development across the island due to its increasing popularity as a tourist destination over the past decade, numerous international cuisines have also started popping up around Bali. Whether Italian pizza ovens pumping out fresh Neapolitan tenders in Seminyak or tucked away Thai hidden gems in Ubud populated with verdant greenery and wooden furnishings, wherever you go, there will be something to tantalize your tastebuds.
Street food is a source of international cuisine that has expanded far beyond its humble beginnings as inexpensive, ready-to-eat food sold directly to customers in public locations. Different cultures and countries offer their unique flourishes on the theme of street food, making it one of the most vibrant and versatile elements of global cuisine.
In Bali, street food is an integral part of the culture. All over the island you can find small vendors selling a wide variety of snacks and meals, from nasi goreng (Indonesian fried rice) to seafood specialties like sate lilit ikan (fish satay). Bakso carts serve up delicious and affordable meatballs, while mie goreng stalls offer savory Indonesian-style stir-fried noodles.
Bali is an incredibly popular destination for shoppers, as the island offers a wide variety of goods both in traditional markets and modern shopping malls. From handmade wooden souvenirs to silver jewelry and clothing, you will surely find something to take home after your trip.
As well as stores and markets, Bali offers plenty of craft workshops and traditional markets where you can purchase unique, handmade items.
Local markets are a great option for finding fresh produce, unique gifts, and specialty items and supporting the local economy. Farmer’s markets often provide a variety of local produce grown by farmers in the area. You can expect freshly picked fruits, vegetables, and flowers from local farmers or their gardens at these markets. You will also find locally made cheese, baked goods, and eggs collected on the same day you buy them.
Antique stores or consignment shops offer a great selection of older pieces that can charm your home. Boutique stores may have recently made handmade jewelry or accessories constructed with special materials such as glass beading; these unique items can make lovely gifts for special occasions.
Whether you’re looking for a special souvenir or the perfect gift for someone, Bali has plenty of shops to explore. With cultural influences of Chinese, European, and Middle Eastern descent, Bali offers shoppers a wide range of goods and multicultural craftsmanship. Brilliantly colored sarongs, exquisite jewelry, intricately carved artifacts, and handcrafted batiks are just some of the treasures that await.
Regarding souvenirs, there are plenty of local specialty stores where the young and adventurous can find something unique and eye-catching. There is an excellent selection at the art markets in Ubud, Sanur, or Seminyak for more sophisticated items such as antiques or silver jewelry.
If you are interested in traditional arts such as woodcarving or stone carving, then take a stroll around Denpasar, where you can find numerous artisans specializing in producing quality masterpieces with classic Balinese design motifs. Furthermore, if you want something to keep cool while shopping in balmy Bali weather, grab a straw hat at one of the many roadside stalls selling every imaginable. To add more uniqueness to your shopping experience, why not visit villages where pottery making is still an ancient traditional craft passed down from generation through cutting-edge modern techniques?
Before leaving, it pays to shop around – prices vary between stores, so take time to look at what’s on offer before buying elsewhere! There’s always a bargain to be found if you look hard enough!
Bali is a great place to shop, with several modern and trendy shopping malls across the island. Many of these malls are located away from the touristy areas of Kuta and Ubud, offering an alternative shopping experience for those looking for something different. The following is a list of some of Bali’s most popular shopping malls:
- Mall Bali Galeria in Kuta: Home to over 200 international and local brands, including Zara, Topshop, H&M, Uniqlo, and other international favorites.
- Seminyak Square in Seminyak: This open-air mall is a great place to explore Balinese fashion, with more than 30 clothing stores.
- Beachwalk Shopping Center in Kuta: This beachfront mall features a range of international brands, as well as food courts, cinemas, and more.