The Ultimate Bucket List Guide to Bali

By: Sarah

Note: If you're short on time and just want my top picks on things to do, eat, and drink in Bali then scroll to the bottom of this article. 

A dragon boat off the coast of Lombok

A dragon boat off the coast of Lombok

I traveled across the world to find my paradise, and finally found it on the last stop in my year abroad. Bali is heaven on earth.  

Indonesia has over 17,000 islands strung like a strand of pearls on a glittering turquoise sea. Yet it was Bali that I landed on. By the first morning on the island, I knew that I had found something special. As if it were a fairytale, I had met my true love.

Tegallalang Rice Terrace

Tegallalang Rice Terrace

In many ways Bali seems too perfect to be real. Every moment spent on the “Island of the Gods” is radiating with spiritual energy. Several times a day women dressed in sarongs artfully arrange woven baskets of rice and flowers, then place them outside to protect their homes. On the streets, white and pink Plumeria flowers are scattered everywhere like a fragrant snow. Here, exceptional living becomes the norm, as everything is brought to a new level of beauty.

Getting blessed on Bali

Getting blessed on Bali

It’s not just Bali that is full of charm. The less touristic, neighboring island of Lombok is also fascinating; its where tropical rainforests meet Austronesia savannahs. I enjoyed two nights at Hotel Tugu Lombok checking several items off of my bucket list; a bath in flower petals, a sunset dinner in a day bed, and a ride on a traditional Indonesian dragonhead boat. Hotel Tugu is truly a secret delight where every detail and decoration represents classic Indonesian Hindu legends. There was no finer luxury than spending my nights in a suite inspired by the tales of Mahabharata, and enjoying world-class local cuisine under a silvery moon and a million stars. It was as if time stood still in my own desert island dreamland.

Tea time at Dwaraka Villas

Tea time at Dwaraka Villas

And suddenly, in what seems like both a day and eternity, my year long trip around the world comes to an end. I’m not sad it’s over; I’m happy it happened. Traveling is the greatest teacher that one can have, and I hope that more people are encouraged to not wait another moment to take their trip of a lifetime. Because if not now, then when will you? I found my paradise. Have you?

My top things to do and eat in Bali

Eat:

  • La Laguna - A gypsy themed restaurant with a beachfront view and great Spanish cuisine - lalagunabali.com

  • Dahana – Excellent Japanese cuisine - dahanabali.com

  • Ji Terrace – Indonesian cuisine in a traditional Balinese setting - tuguhotels.com

Lunch at Dwaraka Villas

Lunch at Dwaraka Villas

Drink:

  • The Lawn - Ibiza vibes at this trendy pool bar with a beachfront view - thelawncanggu.com

  • Ku De Ta - Excellent cocktails and infinity pool - kudeta.com

  • Sundara - Upscale, outdoor dining inside a 5 star restaurant. Infinity pool and beach view - sundarabali.com

The Lawn Pool Bar in Canggu, Bali

The Lawn Pool Bar in Canggu, Bali

Do:

  • Snorkel in the Gili Islands

  • Watch the Kecak dance at Pura Luhur Uluwatu (everyday at sunset)

  • See (or feed!) wild monkeys at Monkey Forest

  • Bathe in the sacred springs at Tirta Empul

  • Take an Indonesian cooking class

Snorkeling off the coast of the Gili Islands

Snorkeling off the coast of the Gili Islands

Explore:

  • Nusa Islands – Three islands of adventure that are a 20 min ride from Bali. Witness underwater Buddha statues while snorkeling.

  • Gili Islands – Three coral-fringed islands with a colorful underwater world.

  • Lombok – Long stretches of white sand beaches, virgin landscape with thatched roofed huts where local life continues as it has for centuries.

Dinner on Lombok

Dinner on Lombok

Stay:

Night time at the bubble hotel 

Night time at the bubble hotel 


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