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What Bali, Indonesia is Known For and Famous For

Bali is one of the world’s most popular holiday destinations. It is an island in the enclave of Indonesia and is one of the over 17,500 islands that make up the country.

Bali attracts a wide variety of visitors and it is the most visited island in Indonesia. Bali is climbing the ranks as one of the world’s most popular travel destinations. US News has Bali as the 15th best place in the world to visit.

Bali is best known for surfing, beaches, mountainous jungle rainforest, temples, yoga, Hinduism, spirituality, scuba diving, the vibe of the island, and for being a tropical island paradise. Bali has become world-renowned for its fantastic surf, breathtaking shoreline, lush jungle rainforest, volcanic and mountainous terrain, mouth exploding food, and intoxicating culture.

Here are a few things that you can expect to find or experience while you are in Bali. 

a photo of the rice paddies in Bali, Indonesia

TROPICAL PARADISE

Bali is a true tropical island paradise. The island checks off everything on the list for what makes a place a tropical island wonderland. Warm crystal clear ocean water, white sandy beaches lined with palm and coconut trees, and we haven’t even gotten off the beach! Cheap drinks, affordable, and a friendly and wonderfully colorful culture. Make Bali one of the best places on earth. No wonder it is called the Island Of The Gods.

The island is home to ancient temples, lush jungle, two active volcanoes, rice terraces, incredible food, and of course beaches.

The Balinese people and culture are also a large contributing factor as to why the island is such a paradise. Friendly, warm, and welcoming not to mention skilled craftspeople.

Bali has been compared to Hawaii on crack. Bali is also a fraction of the price of Hawaii. A month in Bali will probably set you back 1000-2000 thousand dollars, whereas that’s a week in Maui.

 

BEAUTY

Bali is well known around the globe for how gorgeous the whole island is. It is a rugged volcanic island covered in dense jungle rainforest just south of the equator. The island is home to almost every kind of natural beauty in the world; mountains, water, rainforest, waterfalls; you name it, Bali probably has it. 

The smell of the island is also something that you will not forget. It adds to the overall beauty of the island. The scent of incense wafting from all the temples combined with the scent of blossoming flowers and salty sea air strike all of your senses when touring this fantastic island.

The first time you set off and explore the island, you will realize that there is something beautiful around every corner.

Temples that are thousands of years old that nature is trying to reclaim, rice paddies that capture the light just right, and scenery found in travel magazines.

One of the island’s most notable and defining features is its coastline. The island has incredible limestone formations alongside white and black sand beaches.

Bali is one of the most naturally stunning places in the world.

a photo of rice paddies in Bali, Indonesia with a person walking through the field

RICE PADDIES

The rice fields, terraces, and paddies are a significant part of the island. The locals still use cultivating techniques that are hundreds of years old. They plow the ground with ox and hand plant the rice seedlings.  They do this twice a year as the island has two harvest seasons.

Tourists have become enthralled by the rice terraces and fields. With some farms and families now turning their fields into camping and glamping accommodations for the millions of tourists that flock to the island each year. 

Spending time at one of the rice paddies or terraces will feel as though you have been teleported back in time. 

Bali’s picturesque rice terraces have blown up on Instagram, boosting the reputation of Bali even more. You can find millions of photos on Instagram of Bali, and a considerable percentage of the photos will display the island’s rice paddy terraces.

Rice is the predominant grain found in Asia, and it is served at pretty much every meal.

an aerial photo of a beach in Indonesia

BEACHES

One of Bali’s most well-known facts is how amazing its beaches are. The island is home to some fantastic beaches that offer visitors a wide variety of things to do, from sunbathing, surfing, snorkeling, diving, and everything in between.

The beaches in Bali offer tropical sun, inviting water, and have been a significant draw for tourists for about 100 years. 

The beaches in Bali come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes from some with more coarse sand and others with sand that is soft and powdery. White sandy beaches, black sandy beaches you can find your perfect beach here somewhere!

Check Out Some Notable Beaches:

  • Seminyak Beach
  • Kuta Beach
  • Pasir Putih Beach
  • Sanur Beach
  • Padang Padang
  • Balian Beach
  • Blue Point Beach

 

WORLD-CLASS SURFING

Bali has had almost a 100-year relationship with surfing. The first recorded surfer was an American in the 1930s by the name of Bob Koke. 

Since then Bali has become one of the world’s top surfing destinations.

The coastline of the island offers surfers some of the best waves in the world throughout the year. There is surfing for all people of levels from beginners to professionals. 

The peak season for surfing in Bali is the dry season (May – September) when the island receives some of its biggest swells. 

Check out some of the best spots in Bali any time of year here!

 

CULTURE

Besides the fact that Bali is a tropical island paradise, the culture and people who inhabit the island make the trip even better.

The Balinese people have a culture that makes the island even more inviting. Friendly strangers with smiles on their faces and willing to help whenever possible.

The culture in Bali has developed over thousands of years, influenced by different cultures, beliefs, and religions. All of these impacts in the past centuries have left Bali with its own unique culture.

The Balinese people are perhaps best known for their dances, like Legong dance, Gambuh dance play, Baris dance, and countless others. 

The people of Bali are also known for their sculpting, plays, and shadow puppet theatre. 

Hinduism and Buddhism have heavily influenced the Balinese culture. The island is home to its very own version of Hinduism called Balinese Hinduism. 

a photo of food in Bali with a variety of different dishes

FOOD

On top of the culture, Bali has some amazing skills in the kitchen which have given us some tasty dishes like the suckling pig, Mie Goreng, Sate Skewers, Laklak, Nasi Campur, Nasi Tepeng, and Bubur Sumsum

Make sure you try as many local dishes as possible. The flavors are amazing, no matter what you are eating. Fish, meats, and veggies are so delicious here thanks to all of the naturally occurring spices that can be found on the island and neighboring islands. These are after all called the spice islands for a  reason. 

Make sure you try and eat like a local, there is lots of burger and western-style food places but try and skip these as they often aren’t as good as the local dishes.

 

TEMPLES 

Bali is known as the land of a Thousand Temples. However, there are more than 10,000 temples throughout the island.

A great way to experience Balinese culture is to visit one of the island’s temples. Temples are a significant part of Bali and the Balinese culture.

Visiting some of the island’s temples is a great way to gain valuable insight into this beautiful culture and immerse yourself in a different world.

The island’s temples are still as important to the Balinese people today as they were thousands of years ago.

Religion still plays a big part in Bali and if you are visiting some temples, remember there is some etiquette to follow while there.

a photo of a temple entrance in Bali, Indonesia

  • You will have to pay an entrance fee for most places.
  • There is a dress code at all of the temples
  • Wear a sarong (you can usually get one at the temple)
  • Cover shoulders and back
  • Respect Worshipers
  • Women need to respect Cuntaka this is the Balinese word for (dirty). Women who are on their periods, people who have had family pass away recently, or people bleeding from wounds or childbirth are asked not to visit the temples. 

Noteworthy temples to check out:

  1. Tanah Lot Temple 
  2. Ulun Danu Beratan Temple
  3. Uluwatu  Temple 
  4. Goa Gajah ( Elephant Cave ) 
  5. Tirta Empul Temple (Water Temple)
  6. Taman Saraswati Temple
  7. Besakih Temple
  8. Lempuyang Temple
  9. Gunung Lebah Temple
  10. Kehen Temple
  11. Vihara Dharmayana Temple
  12. Samuan Tiga Temple
  13. Meduwe Karang Temple
  14. Pura Maduwe Karang
  15. Pura Gunung Kawi

 

CHEAP

For most people coming from western countries, Bali is still incredibly cheap, especially compared to back home. Prices in Bali are comparable to Thailand’s more popular destinations like Bangkok and Phuket.

Bali has seen prices rise as the island has become more popular with tourists over the last 60 years. Just like most places in the world things continue to get more expensive. 

However, prices in Bali remain relatively low. So, all travelers, whether solo or families, can still get a luxurious vacation for a fraction of what it would cost in plenty of other countries.

For around $2,000 USD a month you can live like a king with cooks and cleaners in a 2 bedroom villa walking distance to the beach.

If you are a solo traveler and not fancy you can probably get your trip to under $1,000 for the month. 

 

SHOPPING

Thanks to the low prices in Indonesia and Bali, westerners have taken advantage of the cheap deals that can be found on almost everything on the island. Clothing and textiles are some of the big money savers, as well as traditional art. 

A common practice on the island is bartering for better prices, with so many street shops prices on the island remain super competitive. 

The classic walk away and I’ll buy it from the store next door trick still works quite well here.

 

Check out this site for more information on how to barter while in Bali here!

a photo of large couple's swing in Bali

TOP VACATION DESTINATION

Bali has become one of the globe’s hottest travel destinations. Bali attracts thrill-seekers, newlyweds, families, and everyone looking for a tropical island paradise. 

Bali’s Instagramability has become world-renowned from couples sharing photos of incredibly styled infinity pools on the edge of the jungle. To the ancient temples that are scattered throughout the island. Social media influencers have been increasing the presence of the island on the web, making it even more of a top vacation destination.

Bali is the most visited island in Indonesia. The island accounts for 40% of all international travel to Indonesia. Bali welcomed 6.6 million visitors in 2019 and was projected to expect even more in 2020 and 2021, but we all know how that ended. 

Bali’s popularity has skyrocketed for a multitude of different reasons; its inexpensive, beautiful, and friendly culture, breathtaking scenery, tons of water activities, and lots of entertainment have all added to Bail’s prowess. 

Bali is Hawaii on steroids.

a elephant statue in Bali

HINDUISM

While Indonesia is predominately Muslim, with almost 90% of the population identifying as so. Making Indonesia the largest Muslim country in the world.

Bali is predominantly Hindu with over 80% of the population following Balinese Hinduism.

Hinduism was brought to the island between 1000-1500 years ago by traders from India. Over the thousands of years, it grew into its own form of Hinduism giving us Balinese Hinduism.

Balinese Hinduism is not quite the same as Indian Hinduism although they share a lot in common. Incorporating many of the same core beliefs, rituals, and practices.

The island has also been heavily influenced by Buddhism. You can still find some Buddhist temples throughout the island. 

 

YOGA

Bali has become internationally known for being a great place to go for a yoga retreat or just to take it up while on the island. 

Bali has a long history of being a pretty spiritual place. With both Hinduism and Buddhism being a major part of daily life for the locals for thousands of years.

The island offers a ton of variety in each yoga studio, although most are set in the greenery of lush jungle, there are a few that offer ocean views. 

Yoga studios have sprung up all over the island with a large concentration of them in the township of Ubud. 

Some Notable Yoga Studios

  1. Power of Now Oasis, Sanur 
  2. Gokul Yoga Bali, Mengwi
  3. Samadi Bali, Canggu
  4. Prana Spa Bali, Seminyak
  5. The Yoga Barn, Ubud
  6. Blue Earth Village
  7. Morning Light Yoga
  8. Ubud Yoga House
  9. Radiantly Alive
  10. The Practice

 

MARINE LIFE & DIVING

Bali has become a hotspot for scuba diving and snorkeling worldwide for a few reasons. The first is how affordable it is and the second is how incredibly rich the waters that surround the island are. 

Bali and Indonesia as a whole have some of the best diving in the world thanks to the richness of the seas that surround the country’s 17,500 islands.  

Indonesia’s marine life is incredible, with more than 350 different types of coral in its waters. With coral reefs comes an abundance of life. Indonesia has more than 3,000 different types of fish and more than 850 different types of sharks and rays. Bali has lots of unique aquatic marine species like clown and sunfish (mola mola), sea turtles, manta rays, and more than 3,000 different species of Nudibranchs and so much more. To sum it up, there’s a lot of sea life!

Indonesia is the second most biodiverse country in the world behind Brazil 

Scuba diving prices are very affordable all over the island, and will commonly set you back about $60 USD for 2 dives if you know how to dive. Training is still very inexpensive at around $500 for your PADI certification which includes around 4 dives and sometimes a 5th as a bonus. Compared to getting your scuba certification in the US or Europe, Bali is a fraction of the price

If you are in Bali don’t miss the chance to get into the water to see some of the world’s most unique marine life firsthand. 

a photo of the beautiful pristine blue ocean water in Bali with the sun setting in the distance

THE OCEAN

The ocean is probably the best-known thing about Bali. The ocean is why so many people come to this island. Whether you come to Bali for surfing, water sports, diving, fishing, swimming, or boating. The shore and coastline of Bali is truly its most defining feature. 

The ocean and sea that surround the island are considered to be some of the richest in the world. The waters off the coast are home to millions of fish from thousands of different species some of which can only be found off the coast of Bali. 

The island is one of the few places on earth you can swim alongside some of the ocean’s biggest sea creatures like the Manta Ray or the Mola Mola, aka the sunfish.
The ocean also dishes up some of the best seafood you will find anywhere in the world. Lots of old fishing villages throughout the island all still share their connection to the sea.

 

The water off its coast is warm year-round and requires you to wear nothing more than board shorts and a UV-blocking shirt or a bikini.

 

LUXURY ON A BUDGET

One of the biggest things which keep attracting people from around the world to Bali is the fact that you can get a luxury vacation on a budget.

Renting a villa with multiple bedrooms that is a 5-10 minute walk to the beach can be done for cheaper than you pay for a one-bedroom apartment in most major US cities.

Did we mention it comes with a pool and can come with cooks, cleaners, drivers, and gardeners?

Bali’s wide variety of different accommodation options allows for everyone on all types of budgets to enjoy the island. You can get as much or as little luxury as you want.

The island also has hotels and resorts which can cost hundreds and even thousands of dollars a night.

But Bali has great budget options for those looking for a good time that won’t break the bank. Hostels can cost under $5 USD a night in a dorm room. 

There are lots of options in between as well with hotels, home rentals, resorts, and AirBnBs.

Luxury doesn’t end with the accommodation, but local meals are still pretty cheap and delicious beyond belief, although prices have started to increase steadily.

Bali also has lots of spas throughout the island that offer amazing spa treatments which cannot be missed. The massages are a fraction of the price they are in North America and Europe.

Bali is a hotspot for newlywed couples on their honeymoons from around the world as you can get a luxurious vacation at a very affordable price.

a photo of an ocean temple in Bali, Indonesia

THE VIBE

It is hard to describe the overall atmosphere of Bali as everyone has a different experience when visiting. Although Bali is your typical tropical resort vacation destination with its own flair. The overall vibe of the island is pretty laid back and easygoing, you are after all on one of the nicest islands in the world. You can expect to find different ambiances in different parts of the island.  Religion has also played a major role in the feel and vibe of the island, spiritualism is very present everywhere.

Here’s a brief description of a few different areas of the Bali island:

Kuta 

Where the party originally started in Bali and continues to rage on. One of the first areas of the island to see major development. This is where you can find absolutely everything you need from the accommodation, spas, bars, clubs, and restaurants. This is the part of the island where you will find the famed Kuta Beach. Kuta beach has surfing and bars along the beach, it’s a great spot to spend a day or a week. It is usually a little busy though. This is one part of the island where you will always find something going on.

Seminyak

A little north of Kuta you will find Seminyak. Seminyak is a little more upscale with designer shops, fancier restaurants, and chic bars and clubs. Seminyak also has some nicer accommodation with more villas, and higher-end hotels. It is also more common to start seeing ex-pat starting to take up shop. Seminyak shares a lot in common with Kuta with bars and restaurants all over the place and good surf, but in some other instances, it can feel that you are on a totally different island. The Neighbourhood is a little bit pricier and a little bit quieter.

Canggu

A new upcoming neighborhood. Lowkey vibes, good surf, and great beaches. One of the hottest areas on the island and it’s popular with ex-pats. Canggu has some of Bali’s most famous sights like the world-famous Tanah Lot Temple. Tanah Lot Temple is one of the most well-known temples on the whole island.

Jimbaran

An old fishing village turned into one of the more pricey parts of the island. Home to some of the most expensive resorts and accommodation on the island. Amazing seafood and surfing in the area. The seafood alone is worth spending some time down here. The beaches here are great as well with some great surf spots. 

Ubud

The town of Ubud is known for its famous temples, rice terraces, art, and is one of the best places on the island to see one of the Balinese traditional dances. The area is at the cultural heart of the island.

Uluwatu 

Uluwatu is in the southernmost part of Bali’s Bukit Peninsula of Bali and is where you can find the famed Pura Luhur Uluwatu Temple. The area is known for its cliffs and amazing views of the ocean. This is the part of town that visitors are always pleasantly surprised by how lovely this part of the island is. This part of the island seems to have been forgotten by the tourists. It is a great place to get lost for a few days and experience Bali authentically. 

These are just a few of the areas on the island where you will probably end up, not to mention a few others, rent a scooter and explore yourself and find what part of the island you vibe most with.

 

TOURISTY

Bali has become very touristy over the last few decades. This newfound popularity has made some people feel that Bali isn’t what it used to be.

Lots of visitors have come and will continue to come to Bali, and not be completely thrilled by the island and feel as they did not receive their slice of untouched paradise. (My Mom is one of these people) 

Yes, it happens, But when a place like Bali blows up it loses some of what had made it so special.

This relatively tiny island welcomes more than 6 million guests each year and is home to 4 million inhabitants.

Saying that, it is still absolutely breathtaking. 

Social Media has also made the island blow up in popularity, and the photos seen online are giving people an unreal expectation of Bali, as photos are often edited.

The island is still incredible, but buyer be wary. 

One of the worst things with the throngs of tourists is the creation of mountain garbage waste. This has become one of the biggest issues people who visit the island are discovering. 

The two worst things in Bali are the tourists (looking mainly at you, Australia) and the plastic waste is everywhere and it is disappointing.

 

NIGHTLIFE

Bali has some of the best nightlife in all of Indonesia and even tops some lists for the best partying in South East Asia.

The international status of Bali has made it a party hub for travelers looking to have a good time. The island has some good clubs which have hosted international DJs and other entertainers. The cheap prices in Bali also help not break the bank when you are partying at the bar or club although the bills can still add up surprisingly quickly. 

Bali is also a little bit less conservative than its neighboring islands of Lombok and Java, both of which have predominantly Muslim populations where drinking is frowned upon.

Most of the nightlife found in Bali is still on the west side of the island with the largest concentration in Kuta, although Legian, Seminyak, and Canggu all have some good places for a night out on the town. 

However, nightclubs, pubs, bars, and beach bars are all over the island. 

It is easy to have a good time anywhere on the island, there are local watering holes all over the island.

a photo of the garbage on the beach in Bali, Indonesia

GARBAGE

The truth and ugly face of Bali is the mountains of garbage that the tourists and locals have created. The island does not have a great way of dealing with its waste, and tons of it ends up in the sea and ocean waters surrounding the island. 

This has led to excess trash ending up on Bali’s shores. 

Western countries are also to blame because some have been shipping their garbage to countries like Indonesia instead of dealing with it at home perpetuating the problem even further. 

Bali has a massive problem with garbage and plastic pollution. 

Beaches in Bali are littered with garbage and plastics, experts think that as much as 60 tonnes of plastic wash up on some of the island’s most popular beaches each day.

The problem is only getting worse due to bad waste management and garbage in our oceans. 

Check out The Guardian’s post for more here!

 

Final Thoughts

Well, hope that you have gained some insight into what Bali is truly like and known for other than what you have seen on Instagram or Facebook. 

Bali is still a beautiful place and if you go, please try and help the island out by recycling and sharing the wealth that brought you there with some of the locals of which there is still some major poverty on the island as well as all over Indonesia.