When thinking of Bali, one often immediately thinks of luxury spa treatments and infinity pools next to broad white beaches – at least I do (or did). Yes, your holiday in Bali could look like that, if you have enough money to afford that.
My trip to Bali looked a lot different. I drove all over the little island, visiting countless temples, waterfalls, and lava beaches. I started out in the south of Bali, which is by far the most popular region amongst tourist – and for good reason. Here are 5 of my personal highlights in South Bali.
1. Pura Luhur temple (Uluwatu)
There are plenty of temples in Bali, so why Pura Luhur? Apart from it being one of the nine temples that are believed to protect against evil, the special thing about it is that it is located on top of a 70m high cliff. Not only does it look absolutely stunning from father away, but when in the temple complex, you also have an incredible view.
As always when visiting a temple, make sure to respect worshippers and the customs, such as wearing a Sarong.
Kuta is located south of Denpasar and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Bali. Even though you will probably meet more Australians than Indonesians, it is still worth a visit.
Especially because it is so popular amongst tourists, Kuta offers a great nightlife with a large variety of clubs, bars, pubs, and more.
But Kuta is more than just a party place – if you want to go surfing, Kuta is the place to go. Both Kuta beach and Canggu beach are famous for their big waves and their beautiful beaches. If you want to go swimming, look out for the signs because the sea can be very rough.
3. Catch a boat to the Gili Gili Islands
Visiting the Gili Gili Islands is almost a must (hence the title of this article). If you are looking for white beaches, a relaxed atmosphere, beautiful sunsets and serenity, this is your ideal place.
There are three islands: each one is a little different and has a different atmosphere.
- Gili Meno
This is the smallest out of the three islands and perfect for you, if you are looking for a romantic getaway. Gili Meno looks the way you imagine Bora Bora to look – crystal clear water, soft sand and palm trees scattered across the beach. Gili Meno is also perfect for snorkeling and diving, but if you want to party and get drunk, this is definitely not the right place for you.
- Gili Trawangan
Feeling like partying? Welcome to Gili Trawangan. Every night, a different locale hosts a party, allowing for equal profit amongst the different clubs and bars. If you are fed up with partying, you can take a snorkeling or diving lessons for relatively little money or take a walk around the island (which only takes about two hours).
- Gili Air
Gili Air is opposite Lombok, promising you stunning views. This island is almost like Gili Meno and Gili Trawangan mixed together – you have plenty of opportunities to party, but the Meno’s tranquility. Here too you can find cheap snorkeling and diving schools and beautiful marine life.
4. Water Blow (Nusa Dua)
The water blow is a definite must-see if you are into nature (but then again, who isn’t?). If there are strong currents, a huge wave is channeled upwards due to the narrowing rock.
To get to the spectacle, you have to “climb” a cliff – of course you can also watch it from a distance. If you decide to watch it from close-up, be aware that the rocks can be slippery and that you will most likely get soaked.
5. Garuda Wisnu Kencana Statue
This statue is located in a cultural park dedicated to the Hindu God Vishnu, who the statue also represents. The massive statues of Vishnu and Garuda are currently only about 25% done, but are already around 23m high.
Once the statue is finished, Vishnu will be 120m high, covered in gold, and riding on Garuda, which will have a wing span alone of 64m.