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Bali Holiday Guide - Where to go

15th October 2014

Whether you're a beach bum, a foodie, a resort-dweller, a culture buff or a nature-lover, a holiday to Bali can be anything you want it to be. The trick is knowing where to go to find it! Thankfully most of the popular parts of the island are easy to explore on a day trip. Some however might like the sound of getting away from the crowds and discovering a secluded sandy bay. Whatever it is you're looking for, we've pulled together a quick Bali holiday guide so you can create your perfect getaway.

Indonesia Bali surf

If you want to surf... take your surfboard to Uluwatu and join the legions of surfers who flock here. There are numerous beaches in the area touting awesome waves – and the popularity of the area means it’s easy to find surfboard shops, hire boards and supplies. Uluwatu Beach is a favourite, set below Uluwatu Temple on the cliffs above. Suluban Beach is also popular and has great facilities, where laidback and breezy cafes, bars and shops cascade down the cliff face - don't miss the incredible views on offer either. Beginner surfers might prefer a spot like cute little Padang Padang Beach, a short drive down the road and great for swimming too.

If you want a fancy dinner out... there are tonnes of sensational restaurants around Seminyak dishing up incredible food. An upscale part of Bali, this is where you’ll find the best dining atmospheres to soak up – as well as some fantastic table-side views. From fine French food in an intimate leafy setting to top-notch Indonesian flavours by the beach, the options are boundless. Some restaurants are pretty popular so we recommend making a booking if you have your heart set on a particular place and you know it's fancy.

Indonesia resort

If you want the resort life... opt for exclusive Nusa Dua, an enclave of fabulous resorts surrounded by tight security. The vibe here is different to the rest of Bali, but those who are looking to enjoy some downtime in a five-star resort, relax on beautiful beaches and find great service wherever they go will love it. Many of the resorts are perched right on the shores or not far away, and both motorised and non-motorised water sports are easy to find.

If you want true wilderness... make the journey all the way to West Bali National Park. Situated at the very western tip of Bali, it’s a beautiful spot brimming with lush green forest, rolling mountain ranges, clear blue waters and unspoiled beaches. It’s also home to a myriad of wildlife, including the Bali Starling, a bird that's iconic to the island. To explore the park trails, contact the park’s office for a recommended guide - this is actually a rule of entry. If you’d like to stay the night, there’s one official resort on national park grounds called The Menjangan. A small range of others await nearby.

Indonesia Bali temple

If you want culture... head inland to beautiful Ubud, the cultural, spiritual and artistic heart of Bali. Nestled amongst lush green rice paddies, it’s a refreshing escape from the sunny shores. Discover the many arts and crafts villages in the area, watch a traditional Balinese dance show, explore markets and temples, and come face to face with monkeys in the Monkey Forest. A leisurely and scenic wander through the rice paddies could lead you to an organic cafe, a yoga studio or magnificent waterfall.

If you want a secluded beach... your best bet is to head to the northern coast of Bali. Here, there are many quieter and more secluded beaches, from golden and black sand shores to cosy undisturbed coves. There are still various beach resorts and gorgeous villas here, both remote and nestled in unspoiled seaside villages, but you’ll notice that there are fewer options than the bustling southern shores. If you can’t tear yourself away from the south, head west of Seminyak to see the crowds slowly dissipate, or book a resort with a private beach for resort guests only.

Indonesia Bali Kuta

If you want to party... follow the sound of thumping music around Kuta. A renowned nightlife spot, there are always plenty of other tourists around ready to have a good time. Kick back on the golden sands at a beach bar for sunset refreshments, then move on to one of the many bars, clubs and lounges in the nearby streets. You'll discover a handful of rooftop bars, some great beachfront spots, and maybe even some international DJs spinning music inside. From cheap and chirpy haunts to late-night clubs that run till daylight, there's a spot to suit everybody's party style. If you want classier nightlife options, head next door to Seminyak.

Looking for more great Bali holiday ideas? Check out our post on Ten Reasons to Love Bali, these Bali Travel Tips for First Timers, and our consultant Stefanie's Memories of a Balinese Adventure.