Bali is easily one of the most scenic and diverse vacation destinations in the world, with the right blend of natural scenery and thriving, cosmopolitan attractions in an urban setting. Those who are new to Bali, and to the many interesting activities that it offers to visitors, might be overwhelmed by the sheer number and type of opportunities available. Five things, though, stand out as the best items on any Bali vacation to-do list, and they’ll surely appeal to all kinds of visitors throughout the year.
1. Learn to Surf, or Find the Perfect Wave
Bali’s oceanfront attractions are numerous, but perhaps none of those attractions are as thrilling as the waves at Kuta Beach. Once known only as a place to go backpacking through the natural landscape, Kuta has emerged as one of the best and most popular surfing destinations in the world. Best of all, it hosts a thriving combination of local Bali residents and tourists from all around the world.
Use Kuta Beach’s perfect waves as an excuse to take beginner surfing lessons or, if surfing isn’t a new skill, head right out into the water and catch the perfect wave. Legends will likely be written about what follows.
2. Leave the Waves Behind and Go Scuba Diving
Between April and December, the near-perfect visibility below the water in Bali makes it a must-see scuba diving destination. With stunning reefs and a bevy of aquatic life that simply can’t be seen in many other parts of the world, this is an experience that will be memorable for a lifetime. Plenty of scuba diving guides, instructors, and destinations, await travelers throughout Bali.
3. Go on an Elephant Safari Tour
If Bali’s number one attraction is its stunning beaches, surfing locations, and scuba diving scenery, then a close second is the relationship between local residents and the elephants that have long been a signature part of the Bali experience. Visitors to Bali should make it a point to take an elephant tour of their destination at some point during their vacation. Popular packages pair this engaging tour with either a stop at Bali’s zoo or an “elephant talent show” performance that is not to be missed.
4. Take a Trip Through Ubud
Ubud is a thriving community, and largely a throwback to an earlier way of life that sustained Bali’s residents for generations prior to its time as a top tourist destination. Ubud is home to many small villages, artistic destinations that span from ceramics shops to cooking classes, and even a few rice paddies. Best of all, it’s a great way to get a real sense of the local culture and interact with native Bali residents who live just a bit off the beaten path. Most people prefer to explore this area via bike, but a walking expedition is certainly plausible as well.
5. Explore the Local Cuisine with a Passion
Bali’s food is just as memorable and must-see as any of its natural features, surfing lessons, or Ubud-style cooking classes. Boosted by Indonesian heritage, there’s something for each palette and each traveler’s unique perspective on what makes a great, inventive, and completely distinct meal. Avoid chain restaurants and explore the smaller, authentic cafes and dinner spots that Bali has to offer its many annual visitors.
6. Bonus: Relax, Unplug, and Unwind
Bali is a destination that is best enjoyed without the hassle and hustle of everyday life. Visitors can rent some of Bali’s luxury villas and stop thinking about their smartphones, business meetings, dedicated host servers, and cloud-based data, and simply take in the local culture for all that it’s worth. There will be plenty of time to catch up on work and other pursuits when this vacation full of surfing, tasting, exploring, and scuba diving, has come to a close.