We were on a 7-day trip to Bali 2 weeks back…and loved our time there. I honestly didnt realize that there was so much to do at Bali. I went in with an asumption that its a small island…pretty much like Koh Samui…and beyond 3-4 days it will simply be another wait for the vacation to get over..!
Bali is fantastic…! Great Beaches, so much to see…and more importantly so much to do…
Here is a short video of my version of “The Top 10 Things To Do While At Bali”. The text basically supports the video (or vice versa…suit yourself)
1. Stay at Nusa Dua
Ok…this might come across as “oh…friggin luxury traveller”…but seriously…if you can…stay at Nusa Dua. Its about 20 minutes drive from Kuta and has the most lovely beaches and ofcourse the choicest of 5-star hotels.
You dont really have to send a bomb. We stayed at the Novotel Nusa Dua, which is a brand new hotel and has the most amazing rooms at rocking prices. We stayed in a lovely room…at only USD 65 per night! Check out the pic below.
As an advice, dont opt for cabs in Bali. They are expensive and dont serve much purpose since Bali is quite a safe destination for tourists. Instead, rent out an electronic scooter (rates start at USD 4/day) and drive around..! Highly recommended, even if you are staying at a plush Nusa Dua Hotel
2. Shop your heart out at Kuta and Legian
Kuta and Legian are a shopper’s dream come true. They house everything within themselves…right from the top brands of Roxy, Polo, Crocs etc to traditional Balinese stuff…to even pirated watches and DVDs…! One could easily spend an entire day just window shopping and picking up a whole lot of stuff!
The Discovery Mall is the biggest in Bali and its in Kuta. Pretty Standard mall…but you can grab some good stuff there too. However, most of the traffic heads to Matahari, also in Kuta. Crazy crowd…and the entire ground level is dedicated to touristy stuff..! Bali tees…Bali Sarongs…Bali keychains etc etc…you get the drift..
Definitely recommended for ladies is Uluwatu where one can shop (though at some crazy prices!) for Handmade Balinese Lace. And not to mention the fact that Polo are so damn cheap there. You can grab a Polo Collar Tee for under USD 20!
3. Grab an Indian Meal at Queen’s of India, Nusa Dua
Alright alright..before you people jump at me and accuse me of pseudo-patriotism…I recommend the Queen’s of India (Queen’s Tandoor) in all good faith. its really one of the best Indian food I have had outside of India…and maybe the photos of all celebrities that have visited this place will convince you as well.
Its also won several awards…going all the way upto Best Indonesian Restaurant (or so they claim!). I can guess why…
Its right on the Kuta Road…so you can combine this with your shopping extravagance in Kuta!
At any given time you will find more non-Indians here…than Indians. No need for reservations…and do go for outdoor dining. The weather is always good in the evenings, when at Bali.
4. Desert at BreadTalk
You CANNOT miss this for anything. Breadtalk is one of my favs…and it was awesome to find one at Bali. I realize that this sounds more like…oh…have a burger at McDonalds…because yah..there isnt anything here that you cant find anywhere else.
But you still cant miss it for anything! Its there in the Discovery Mall, Kuta
5. Hard Rock Cafe Hotel
Go to the hard Rock Hotel..not the cafe! It has the CenterStage which hosts a live band every evening. Brilliant fun…though surprisingly when we went…the crowd was kind of dull. You know the kinds that you see at the British Open even when Roger is whopping Nadal’s ass (or vice versa!).
We even had a Roxy Fashion Show, right on the main serving table! Now THAT is something you have to go for..!
6. Go Culture Shopping at Ubud
Ubud is about an hour’s drive from Nusa Dua…about 35 minutes from Kuta. Its basically a village…a cultural village at that. So you have some shops…but mostly houses where people are creating stuff and selling them. So one can shop for Balinese clothes, decorative items, memorabilia etc. Devote a day for this…but plan to leave only around early afternoon.
On your way back you can catch the Black (Volcano) Sand beach of Bali.
7. Spend the day lazing at Kuta Beach
I say this distinctly from the shopping suggestion…because they are just that. Distinct! Both can take a day…and should take a day too.
Kuta Beach is Bali’s heart…and this is where the action is. You will see everything…and if you are lucky..I mean…everythingg…! Arrive here around early afternoon and stay on till early evening, before you head to some nice dining place.
Surf…play…tan…buy random stuff…check out naked bodies..! Take your pick…
Its crowded…but I guess whats what the charm is…!
8. Scuba Diving at Tulamben
Am not a swimmer…! ok…that might have given you an impression that i dont like swimming…so rephrase…I dont know how to swim! But I went scuba diving…and so can you…!!
Bali is apparently a diver’s paradise! I can guess why..! But even for beginners, it offers some great experiences. There are 2 spots for beginners, one at Nusa Dua (dont go for it..unless you just want to do it as a check point)…and the other at Tulamben! The drive to Tulamben is 3 hrs from Nusa Dua…its up north of Bali. Here lies the ship wreck of Liberty.
As a piece of advice, go for PADI instructors. They are the safest…and this trip wont cost you a bomb either. Prices are between USD 60-80 per person for 2 dives, depending on the season! (Caveat: Am not a diver…and hence not a professional. There might be other better alternates to PADI, so when I say safest I am simply comparing them to the multiple divers that claim they are safe, without any certification)
9. Sunset at Kuta Beach
By now, you would have realized my obsession with Kuta. But honestly, it doesnt matter…just catch the sunset anywhere…but do catch it. Bali sky has some fascinating colors that only amplify during the sunset. I preferred Kuta because I like clicking silhouettes, which is easy in a crowded beach as that!
10. Mountain Trekking to the Kintamani (Mount Batur) Volcano
This was the highlight of the trip. Kintamani (Mount Batur) is an active volcano that last went burst in 1996. One basically starts the trek at 2am…and the trek is for 2.5-3.0 hrs…!
Its all done to catch the sunrise! Which is breath-taking, to say the least. Some 100 odd people climb the mountain everyday in peak season!
The mountain is surrounded by Lake Batur, which gives the entire top view a surreal feel…! It is the largest crater lake on the island of Bali.
This ends my list of Top 10 things to do at Bali. Am sure we have missed out on a lot of things…and I do know of a few of them…! But then…this was our kind of vacation.
There are enough other guides that one can use to plan their Bali trip well. Am listing a few of them…which I found useful.