Good news. Tourists don’t have to wait long to hit the beaches after arrival at Ngurah Rai International Airport. The world-famous Kuta Beach is just minutes of drive away from the airport, and it’s a great place to start your day. The area is much more lively at night, but there is no problem finding a decent breakfast at the nearby restaurants or warungs (small, modest, family-run restaurants).
From Kuta, take a relaxed stroll along the beach and arrive at nearby Legian and then Seminyak without even trying. No need to get too attached to these idyllic beaches, as there will be many more to encounter later.
Rent a motorcycle or car with a driver for the day and move a little further inland, to the vibrant artsy spot of Canggu. This neighborhood is a great place to grab lunch. Eat at a restaurant beside the rice fields, enjoying the green, relaxing panorama and fresh air while feasting on Balinese cuisine. Popular choices are Cloud 9 and Red Salt.
In Canggu, the rice fields share the neighborhood with gorgeous beaches. Chill with a drink or coconut shell, or head to the ocean to surf. Canggu has no shortage of spa and massage parlors with prices relatively cheaper than those in Kuta.
Cloud 9, Jalan Subak Canggu, Canggu, Kuta, Bali, +62 0812-3823-6185
Red Salt Cafe, Jalan Munduk Kedungu No.29, Pererenan, Mengwi, Bali, +62 0361 8482666
Not far from the bohemian, youthful Canggu lies one of the island’s most popular spots, located next to another stunning beach, Tanah Lot. This traditional sea temple is loved not only for its cultural importance but also for its panorama of brilliant blue sea, fresh green and majestic rocks.
Afternoons are a great time to visit because many tourists visit the temple at sunset, making the spot overcrowded then. But don’t feel like you’re missing out on a wonderful scene: Bali has no shortage of stunning beaches from which to watch the glorious sun melt into the sea.
As promised, visit mighty beaches from which to wave goodbye to the sun while sinking your feet into the sand and sipping on a coconut. The Bukit Peninsula in the south of Bali is embellished with the island’s most exquisite beaches, only minutes from each other. Seek out Padang Padang Beach, world-famous after its appearance in Eat, Pray, Love. Other popular beaches to surf or relax include the mighty rocky Suluban Beach and surfing-paradise Bingin Beach.
Head over to the Uluwatu Temple for another authentic cultural experience and sunset views. The temple area is home to many playful monkeys, and while they are cute and friendly, be mindful of your belongings as they have an eye for sparkly, colorful things. Tourists can enter the temple area, and guides will gladly explain about the temple, cultural practices, and religious rituals. The Uluwatu Temple often hosts traditional dance performances during sunset.
Stop at Seminyak again for dinner. The place puts on a different face in the evening, with bustling bars, restaurants, and clubs. Most of them stay open until very late. If you fancy shopping in Seminyak you can find everything from local handmade souvenirs to high-end designer products.
Many tourists fancy La Plancha, a bar just by the beach, with beanbag chairs on the sand. The bar gets livelier as the night gets darker, with live music, a DJ, and dancing. For tourists who prefer to drink and chill indoors, Motel Mexicola has been attracting the best crowd with its vibrant interior and finger-licking good Mexican food.
Seminyak is also an ideal place to stay the night, with many luxury resorts and hotels to choose from. It takes less than 30 minutes to reach the airport from there, so is an ideal base for an early-morning departure. If you’re on a budget or prefer a more humble place, head to neighboring Kuta for motels and budget hotels.
La Plancha Beach Bar & Restaurant, Seminyak, Badung Regency, Bali, +62 0878-6141-6310
Motel Mexicola, Kerobokan Kelod, Badung Regency, Bali, +62 (0361) 736688