Bali On a Budget
Bali is home to 4 million people who all hold true to a deeply spiritual and unique culture. With champion surfing, world class resorts and challenging hiking trails, this Indonesian island accommodates travelers from every walk of life. It's often called, "paradise on earth, " and no one disagrees.
SightsThere's never going to be enough time to see every wonder Bali has to offer, but this list is a start. When you see an impromptu temple procession happening, stop and watch it. It may seem like a traffic inconvenience, but people carrying pyramids of fruit, parasols while wearing furred masks is surely a sight unique to Bali. Did you miss it this time? Don't worry - there are dozens everyday in Bali.
If you're searching to dive deeper into the Indonesian culture, head over to Ubud where most of the cultural and historical activities and sights can be found. Walk along the old streets lined with art galleries, theatres full of traditional dance performances, and museums dedicated to the art of the rice fields. You'll learn everything you ever wanted to know abut Bali.
The island is steeped in history surrounding the vibrant rice fields found all around Bali. Visit the Jatiluwih fields to see ancient strains of rice growing from vibrant green land. Tour the fields and see them as the locals do - like a work of art.
For the more laidback crowd, the beaches in South Bali are not to be missed. Limestone cliffs meet white sand and waves nestled in a lush, tropical setting is the stuff vacations are made of. The areas of Kuta, Seminyak, and Canggu are lined with hotels, shops, restaurants, and other amenities for travelers interested in staying near the beach. Many budget travelers choose to stay in Canggu due to lower prices and a relaxed vibe. For more details, see this great guide to everything in Canggu or our guide to the best hostels in Canggu.
No true Bali experience is complete without a temple visit. No, this isn't like going to church on Sundays. Travel to the Pura Luhur Ulu Watu temple for a breathtaking ovcean view, amazing traditions in action, sunset dance performers, and, of course, monkeys. Don't let them near your wallet, though.
All of these amazing sights are just a few of the many reasons why Bali is such a popular destination for everyone. It is great for younger and older travelers. And it's also great for families, too. Plenty of things to do in Bali with teenagers can be found here. Also, the island is very comfortable for younger children, too. Check out this guide to Bali with Kids, as there are plenty of activities for younger kids in the various towns and beaches of Bali.
NeighborhoodsBali is divided into six regions: South Bali (where you'll find Denpasar and Kuta), Central Bali, West Bali, East Bali and the Southeastern Islands. Most likely all of your activities will occur in the South around the beaches of Kuta, Canggu, or the town of Denpasar, but some things like scuba diving and hiking might take you to the East or Southeastern Islands.
ActivitiesNo matter if you're looking for a relaxing vacation or an exciting adventure in a new land, Bali has something for everyone.
For the relaxed version, go for a stroll along the beach, sip a pleasant drink and be sure to get a tradition massage. The special Balinese techniques of long strokes, skin rolling and palm-to-thumb pressure will change your life. Also, yoga is very popular here. Check out this guide to the best yoga retreats in Bali.
For a bigger adventure, there is world-renowned scuba diving in Gilis. Explore the coral reefs, make friends with sea turtles and try to keep up with the majestic manta rays.
If you're water adventures are more of the above surface varieties, Bali is the epicenter of Asian surfing. This is where it all started. During months with the letter "r," go east. Every other time of year, head west. With surfers pretty much everywhere you look, you'll feel right at home.
Food and DiningBali should definitely be on every foodie's bucket list. Beware, however, the spices in Indonesia are not for the weak-hearted. Take your time and caution when diving into new dishes.
While the fancy places probably look more enticing, the smaller local joints usually have better food at better prices. Some dishes to look for include nasi goreng (fried rice), nasi campur (steamed rice with veggies and meat) and mie goreng (fried noodles)
While you're out getting to know Bali, grab some lunch for one of their traditional food carts known as "kaki lima." Literally translated it means "five legs," in reference to the three legs of the cart and the two of the vendor.
If it's western fare you seek, plenty of options are available from pizza to hamburgers to pasta. Plenty of coffee shops are also available, many of which are packed with fellow travelers and expats. For more specific options, check out this list of the best Canggu cafes for digital nomads.
TransportationFor shorter routes to and from Bali, it is recommended to book ahead. The best prices for buses and trains in Indonesia can be found on 12Go. They let you search across all bus, train, and airline routes throughout Asia.
If you plan on leaving your resort, which you should, you'll need to arrange transportation. The simplest option is to ask someone at your hotel if a tour has already been organized.
If you're considering renting a car and driving yourself, bear in mind Bali is a large island with rugged roads. There is a dangerous lack of traffic rules so be very realistic about your driving abilities before deciding to brave it on your own.
There is a public bus system - Perama - and several scheduled shuttle buses. If you'd like the benefits of a scheduled shuttle with the privacy of a taxi, consider hiring a Bemo. These minivans are a traditional, flexible service available to all tourists.
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