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Beautiful, cultural and exotic, Bali is the ultimate holiday destination. The “Island of the Gods”, as it is nicknamed, Bali is an exquisite jewel nestled in the heart of Indonesia, just off the east coast of Java.
Part of the “Ring of Fire”, Bali is dominated by Mount Agung, the huge active volcano that dominates the skyline. But it is Bali’s stunning coastal landscapes that attract visitors from across the world; lined with soft, sandy beaches and lapped by turquoise seas, Bali is a genuine tropical island paradise. The popularity of destinations like Kuta, Jimbaran, Seminyak and Nusa Dua have led to Bali becoming Indonesia’s most popular tourist destination, and one of the world’s most desirable islands.
While Bali’s beaches are rightly famous, due in part to their popularity with international surfers, this blissful island offers much more than just sun, sea and sand. Bali also has exquisite culture, with ornate temples, charming people, unique cuisine and stunning examples of traditional art and architecture all across the island. Whether you are traveling to Bali to eat, pray or simply lie on the beach, the “Island of the Gods” is the perfect destination.
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The island's most famous stretch of sand, Kuta Beach is a haven for sun-worshippers and surfers. Just a short stroll from the many shops, bars and restaurants of Kuta, the island's main tourist hub, Kuta Beach is the perfect place to unwind during the day and soak up Bali's stunning seascape. The volcanic sands are soft and dark and the waves roll in from the Indian Ocean with rhythmic regularity. Once a quiet fishing village, Kuta has transformed rapidly in recent years, partly due to its close proximity to the international airport in Denpasar. And while the area does become busy in the high season, the quieter resorts of Tuban, Legian and Seminyak are all just a short stroll away.
The Balinese believe strongly in the spiritual qualities water, and the island is famous for its water temples - exquisite religious complexes, many of which jut out into the ocean. Perhaps the most famous of these is Tanah Lot, which is located on a rocky outcrop on Bali's west coast, making it a favorite spot to watch the stunning sunset. Equally spectacular is Uluwatu, a picture postcard temple set on a cliff-top on Bali's southernmost tip, 70 meters above the crashing waves. Further inland, Besakih is Bali's largest temple complex, located 1,000 meters above sea-level on the slopes of Mount Agung. Comprising an amazing 86 temples, Besakih hosts more than 70 spiritual ceremonies every year.
UNESCO-listed Rice Terraces
Rice cultivation in Bali dates back thousands of years, and the impressive methods used to farm the island’s steep volcanic hillsides have created a beautiful terraced landscape. These verdant rice terraces, interspersed with palm trees, create a breath-taking scene and perfect photo opportunity. And when the fields are flooded, the terraces take on an exquisite mirror-like quality, reflecting the surrounding hills and blue skies. UNESCO has inscribed Bali's rice terraces and water systems onto its World Heritage list, mainly due to their system of canals and weirs known as “subak”, which dates back to the 9th Century. Far from the tourist crowds and usually blissfully quiet, these rice terraces are ideal for visitors wanting to discover the traditional side of Bali.
Sacred Monkey Forest
Located in Ubud, the cultural capital of Bali, the Sacred Monkey Forest is a Hindu complex and nature reserve. Covering 12.5 hectares around the village of Padangtegal, local residents consider the forest to be an important spiritual center, as well as an economic, educational and conservation area. The forest is home to approximately 700 Balinese long-tailed monkeys (also known as crab-eating macaques), a small population of deer, and more than 180 different species of tree. It also contains three Hindu temples which are believed to date back to the 14th Century, making the forest a great place for visitors to experience Bali’s natural and spiritual sides.
Bali is now home to a series of fun water parks, providing great options for families seeking a break from the beach. Located in Kuta, Waterbom Bali covers 3.8 hectares are features a collection of 17 slides including The Climax, which is billed as "Asia's steepest slide". Alternatively, Nirmala Water Park is nestled in the center of Bali's Bukit Peninsula and features a series of pools, slides, a lazy river and other activities. Finally, New Kuta Green Park is an expansive attraction with several water rides set amidst landscaped tropical gardens, plus other fun activities such as paintballing, a vertical bungee and 200-meter flying fox ride.
Garuda Wisnu Kencana (GWK) Cultural Park
Located in Ungasan, in the heart of Bali's Bukit Peninsula, Garuda Wisnu Kencana (GWK) is a large cultural park covering approximately 60 hectares. Devoted to the Hindu god Vishnu and Garuda, the mythical bird, this enchanting complex reflects Bali's spiritual side. Guests can stroll through the park and admire the many sculptures on display, including a huge 120-meter-high statue of Vishnu riding on Garuda. The park also contains a series of visitor attractions, including a serene lotus pond which can host large outdoor events, landscaped gardens, an amphitheater for cultural performances, and commercial area with shops, restaurants, a food court and Balinese spa.
Bali Bird Park
Bali Bird Park has been delighting visitors for more than 20 years with its extensive collections of birdlife from Indonesia and around the world. Covering two hectares in Gianyar Regency, the park is divided into several regions that recreate the natural habitats of birds, complete with indigenous plant life. These include areas dedicated to the Indonesian archipelago, Latin America, Africa and Australia. The park is also a conservation center, having successfully bred several rare and endangered species and supporting local release programs. It currently houses more than 40 species of protected Indonesian bird. In addition to its live exhibits, Bali Bird Park also features an open-air restaurant, café and a 4D cinema.
Things to do in Bali