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To the Eastern part of the world lies a country having more than 17000 islands, known as Indonesia. The country consists only of islands and has no land connection with any continents. Among the chain of majestic islands, there lies the island of Bali, which is also a part of the Lesser Sunda Islands that shares a maritime border with Australia. Be it its natural attraction or cultural heritage, Bali captivates the hearts of those who have a genuine enthusiasm for adventure. However, before discovering Bali as a tourist destination, let's dig a bit deeper to know the facts about this heavenly destination.
One of the most visited provinces of Indonesia, Bali, is situated on the western side of Sunda Island between Java and Lombok Islands. The capital city, Denpasar, is the most populated area and contains plenty of hotels, restaurants, shopping centers, and commercial streets, that's why it's the best place to stay in Bali, especially when you are a foreigner and a first-time visitor. Further, it's considered the cultural center of Bali, which is also another reason to make this city your station if you want to know everything about Balinese culture.
Indonesia is a Muslim-majority country, whereas Bali is dominant with Balinese Hindu-majority with 87%. It's commonly known for its advanced arts, such as music, traditional dance, metalworking, painting, and sculpture. An Indonesian international film festival is held here, with many international tourists joining the celebration every year. If you go here during the festival, you will get a chance to meet with filmmakers and actors from all over the world.
Besides, Bali is the primary tourist destination in Indonesia. By the 1980s, a notable rise in tourism was recorded. Today tourism-related business makes up to 80% of the Indonesian economy.
Architecture has a significant impact on tourist destinations. It's fantastic for history and architecture lovers, especially those who only travel to observe ancient buildings and ruins worldwide. Bali has prominent architecture represented by skillfully designed temples. According to the Balinese religion, it's believed that gods live on mountains and demons in the sea. Therefore you will find these temples situated near mountains away from the sea.
Historically, Bali stands among the oldest inhabited islands in the world. Bali's early inhabitants were Austronesian people who migrated here from Taiwan in 2000 B.C.E. The stone-made tools found on the western part of the island at Cekik Village dates back to those times. Religiously and culturally, they were Balinese Hindus, which is slightly different from common Hinduism. In Balinese Hinduism, there are nine sects, whereas common Hinduism has only four denominations. Linguistically, Balinese Hinduism is influenced by Sanskrit (an ancient Hindu language). From many inscriptions of 914 CE, the word 'Bali Dwipa' has been discovered, which means Bali Island.
Later Bali came under the colonial control of the Dutch East Indies from the beginning of the 17th century until being occupied by Japan during World War II. When the war ended in 1945, Indonesian nationalists declared independence and fought for independence during the Indonesian National Revolution. As a result, Bali was formally recognized as part of the "Republic of the United States of Indonesia" when Indonesia gained independence in 1949.
Tourism in Bali
Today, Bali has become a tourism hub for Indonesia. The construction of new hotels and restaurants increased tourism in the 1960s, which was further boosted after the opening of Ngurah Rai International Airport in 1970. Although from 2002 to 2005, there was a downfall in tourism due to terrorist attacks, Indonesia managed to regain peace. As a result, from 2008 and onwards, many countries, notably the U.S. government, lifted their travel advisories, and the tourist industry continued to boom. During the Covid Pandemic, Bali saw about an 87% drop in tourists for 2020. However, this trend has reversed, and the tourism sector is recovering.
Reasons why you should visit Bali
When it comes to getting the best vacation experience, everyone has their fantasies depending upon the nature of destinations and activities. You will find ideal beaches with limestone cliffs and milky white sand as you visit Bali. Here you can enjoy water sports, fascinating cultural traditions, scenes of religious spiritualism, adventurous travelling, colorful scenic valleys, mountains, hills, and luxury accommodations at fair prices. Additionally, you'll find beautiful views from the balconies of hotel rooms, ancient and modern art shows, many shopping spots, exceptionally delicious food, and much more.
Best time to visit Bali
The best visiting time of a tourist destination depends on its climate and weather conditions. For example, Bali has two annual seasons, rainy and dry seasons. It's considered the best time to visit Bali during the dry season between April and October. The rainy season can be somewhat uncomfortable for international tourists, but of course, you can still have a fun time.
Let's discover the best things to do in Bali!
Now that we have some basic knowledge about Bali, it's time to discover its most visited and best places. There's a massive list of things to do in Bali throughout the different tourist spots, but if you had to pick the best 10, this is what we would go with.
1.Mount Batur and Lake Batur
Hiking in daylight is pretty ordinary, but have you ever hiked a mountain at night? As the night falls in Bali, many adventure seekers leave their hotel rooms for a journey up to Mount Batur, watching their steps in the dim moonlight. The whole track is about 1700 meters long and should take two to three hours to walk. It would be best if you took a lunch and a bottle of water because you'll be starving as you reach the top of the mountain.
As you get to the peak, you will be amazed to see the glamorous lighting from lava in the volcano, but wait a bit longer for the sunrise because, at the first dawn, you are going to witness a glimpse of some majestic beauty. The wide stretched range of Mount Batur with surrounding greenery and freshwater will stun you. Then, it's time to take some pictures and make this a memorable moment of a lifetime.
Ubud is the cultural heart of Bali. This region is encompassed by various paddies, including terrace rice fields that lead up to the central mountains of Bali. Here, you will find the most significant museums of Bali, including the famous Neka Art Museum with a wide variety of Balinese art galleries.
In addition, there are several spots in the Ubud where cultural and modern dance and music are performed every day. Ubud's tourism got exponentially promoted when it was featured in the 'Eat, Pray, Love.'
3.Sacred Monkey Forest
While you are in Ubud, you should also consider visiting the sacred monkey forest, which is only about a 10-minute walk from the town. Monkeys are the sacred animals in Balinese Hinduism. That's why they have utter freedom with no restrictions. You will find here various species of monkeys, including long-tailed macaques.
There are three 14th-century temples in the southwest part of the forest, one being an ancient bathing temple known as Pura Beji in the northern part of the forest. However, you should protect your belongings and avoid eye contact with animals while trolling in the forest.
On the Southern part of the island, at the edge of a cliff, lies a temple called Uluwatu, which means "land edge rock" in Balinese, a perfect name for such a location. The temple is situated close to the Malini Agro Park; just a 10-minutes from here to the north along the shore will take you to Uluwatu Temple.
Archaeological evidence points to the temple's foundation dating back to the 10th century. It's believed that the temple protects the land from evil spirits from the sea. However, only Hindu worshippers can enter the temple.
Nevertheless, you can still have the best sunset view from the cliff while observing the fascinating Kecak dance performance every day.
Situated in Tabanan 20 km (about 12.5 miles) northwest of Denpasar, Tanah Lot temple is one of the seven sea temples that make a chain of temples to protect the land from evil sea spirits, according to Balinese mythology. One notable fact about these temples is that each remains within the next temple's sight.
Tanah Lot is one of the most popular places to visit in Bali. It can become more crowded in the late afternoons and at sunset since observing a sunset view from the terrace of Tanah Lot temple is one of the best things to do in Bali.
Are you fed up with bustling streets? Take a break and go to Sanur at the Southeastern coastline of Bali, grab a speedboat, and make your way to Nusa Lembongan Island. It's about a 30-minute boat ride. You will get a chance to surf, snorkel, dive, and paddleboard in the crystal-clear ocean. Dream Beach, Devil's Tears, and Mushroom Bay are the top attractions. Right behind Nusa Lembongan, there’s second island, Nusa Ceningan.
Both islands side by side creates a view of a narrow gorge representing it as a breathtaking Blue Lagoon. Both islands are linked via a bridge only accessible to pedestrians and motorbikes.
If you are to explore the ancient culture of Bali, head to Sidemen Valley, about a 70-minute drive from Ubud. The valley is surrounded by small villages that represent the old lifestyle of Balinese cultures.
You can pass a whole day moving through the valley, engaging in different activities, including hiking Mount Agung, rafting the rivers, and cultural dance. However, given the remoteness of Sidemen Valley, it's better to spend a day and a night here to get the best experience.
While getting to the Sidemen Valley, you probably will pass by the Sekumpul Waterfall. We highly recommend you stop here to catch a breath. These falls are a series of seven waterfalls and are considered the most beautiful waterfalls in Bali. The local government has regulated this area and hired employees to collect a small entrance fee from tourists.
Situated in the center of Kuta, Waterbom Park is a perfect place for couples and families. The park is famous for its twisted slides such as Green Viper, Python, Super Bowl, etc. In addition, there are restaurants, tree-shaded sitting areas, gardens full of flowers, and romantic sitting spots for couples.
The small town of Seminyak, located on the coastal line close to Kuta, is a luxurious destination in Bali. The town is known for its luxury hotels, five-star restaurants, cafes, and spas. Balconies of hotel rooms in Seminyak have some of the finest panoramic views of the majestic Indian ocean. Because of their ideal locations and luxurious facilities, Seminyak is one of the best places in Bali to stay, especially for tourists with a larger budget.
We just described 10 of the most incredible things to do in Bali. However, there's still much more to discover. There could be endless hidden jewels of natural wonders in Bali that even many locals haven't explored. If you've read this article head to toe, then you have the enthusiasm of a true traveller. We'd be appreciated if you shared this article with your friends and family who are going to visit Bali so that they can make most of their journey too!
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