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From palm-fringed beaches to secluded waterfalls and stunning scenery, it’s impossible to list all of the unforgettable experiences one can have in the breathtaking island of Bali, Indonesia. The mix of cool cafés, trendy bars and golden sand beaches in a luxurious setting of holy temples make this island one of the best destinations to visit in Southeast Asia.
Exploring the island’s authentic and diverse culinary offerings is also a highlight of a trip to Bali, whether you’re visiting for a few days or planning to spend two weeks in Bali.
Food experiences such as tours, specialty restaurant and fine-dining are growing in popularity so here is a beginner’s guide to some of the best beaches and dining options this beguiling island has to offer.
Bali’s Best Beaches
Depending on what your beach activity is, there are plenty of different types of beaches in Bali that cater to the family, the swimmer or just the laid-back beachcomber. Many of them also have beach clubs where you can relax on a day bed, order a fancy cocktail and work on your tan. Check out this Bali Beach Club Guide for a list of the 10 best beach clubs.
The best beaches in Bali, incidentally, are surprisingly not Nusa Dua, Kuta or Sanur. There are other lesser known places which are considered to be the real coastal gems.
Blue Lagoon, East Bali
The eastern seaport of Bali has some collection of pristine hidden beaches of which Blue Lagoon, situated in a small bay is just perfect for snorkeling and diving. The waters are calm and blue at most times of the year, making it the right destination for families and children.
This favourite surf spot along the shoreline of the Bukit peninsula, is also referred to as Pantai Balangan. This stretch features some nearly half a kilometre of golden sand amid reefs and limestone cliffs. The beach shares the boundaries with Dreamland, just a kilometre apart, and is a mecca for surfing enthusiasts from all corners of the world.
This unique beach is hidden under natural limestone formations and can only be reached by a stretch of stairs and long ramps. Nicknamed “Blue Point”, Suluban though difficult to reach is popular with professional surfers and paddle board riders.
Located close to the golf course at Nusa Dua, Geger beach is a haven for sunbathers and swimmers. The sparkling green waters are surprisingly calm at most times, and the string of beachside restaurants makes this beach the perfect Sunday morning getaway.
Also known as Little Beach, Bias Tugal is rather a secluded and laid back beach, perfect for the true adventure lover. Situated near Padangbai, this treasure of a place can be approached by 500 m short trek over a rocky pathway.
Ungasan, is possibly the prettiest beach in south Bali. The catch, however, is that Ungasan is located within the high end Karma Beach, and can be accessed only by paying a hefty entrance fee. Still the price paid is well worth it, as the views from the 150 m cliff face are breathtaking. The sands are fine and soft and the waters an intense azure colour, similar to any Mediterranean beach, which definitely makes it one of the best Bali beaches.
RELATED: Learn more about what to see and do in the Bali Travel Blog
Best Food to Sample in Bali
Indonesia is made up of thousands of islands, with varying cultures and equally diverse culinary traditions. Therefore any vacation in Bali is not complete without preparing your appetite to get ready to explore this vast variety of cuisines and sampling the assortment of culinary delights on offer in the many enticing restaurants. Get ready for your culinary explorations with this complete guide to tipping in Bali.
Here is a beginner’s guide to dishes to look for in Bali:
Satay is a dish of skewered meat, which is marinated, grilled and served with spicy sauces. The meat could comprise of mutton, beef, pork or fish or a blend of some or all. The meat is roasted on sticks made of bamboo, sugarcane or lemongrass and is served with or without sauce.
This all time favourite, consists of roast pig which is stuffed with vegetables and spices, cooked over a charcoal fire. Once prepared after hours of slow cooking, the tender meat is very juicy and delectable. Once difficult to find, it is now widely available in the many warungs and restaurants which specialize in the making of this dish.
This dish consists of large prawns, cooked in spicy sambal sauce. The prawns are actually flash cooked in the sauce, which is made from green and red chilly peppers, sautéed onions topped with coconut milk and a spicy paste known as Bumbu Bali. Garnishing is done with lime leaves and palm sugar.
Nasi Jenggo is a mix of steamed rice,shredded chicken, coconut, noodles all covered in layers of spicy sambal sauce and then with banana leaves. This dish is widely available in every street corner of Kuta, as well as the Kuta beach sidewalk, where local sellers vie with each other to woo customers.
Ayam Betutu, which is chicken or duck wrapped in the bark of the banana tree, and then smoked for a full day in an earthenware pot, is easily the greatest culinary presentation of Bali.
Some of the best versions of this time-consuming delicacy are available in Jalan Nakula, adjacent to Kuta. The dish is served with steamed rice, roasted peanuts and sambal matah, a fiery chilli sauce.
If you love beaches and great food, the tropical island destination of Bali is brimming with both. Don’t miss stopping at one of the warungs, specializing in cuisine from not only Bali, but all parts of Indonesia. As the last remaining Hindu island, the food here is unique and has a ceremonial significance, featuring traces of the Hindu- Buddhist Kingdom which ruled the island for nearly 300 years.
So just get your appetite and sense of adventure ready (mastering a few Indonesian words and phrases is also handy) and head to Bali for an incredible beach and food trip, unlike any you have ever experienced before. To truly live like a local, be sure to check out the many upscale Bali vacation rentals available.
The “Island of the Gods” promises one of the best beach getaways you can dream of.