Enchanting Bali, renowned for its lush rice terraces, pristine coastlines, and captivating spiritual culture, has long attracted travellers seeking a slice of paradise. However, as the island’s popularity soared, so did instances of disrespectful behaviour by some tourists, particularly at some of the island’s most sacred sites. Consequently, authorities have responded with stricter regulations, including a recent ban on tourism activities on Bali’s mountains.
While the once-popular sunrise hikes up Mount Batur and Bali’s highest peak, Mount Agung, are no longer accessible, there are still plenty of ways to experience this captivating destination in a way that’s both conscious and respectful.
Bali has a thriving coffee scene, with production centred around the highlands of Kintamani, where an abundance of rainfall and volcanic soil provide fertile ground for plantations. Many cafes champion Balinese beans and hip spots such as Satu Satu in Canggu and F.R.E.A.K Coffee in Ubud exclusively serve organic blends grown and processed on the island.
Coffee enthusiasts seeking an extraordinary experience would appreciate the omakase coffee tasting at Naughty Goat, where curated flights of coffee are served for guests to sip and sample a degustation of different brews and blends.
Satu Satu, Jalan Raya Pantai Berawa No 36, Canggu, Bali 80361
F.R.E.A.K Coffee, Jl. Hanoman No.19, Ubud, Bali 80571
Naughty Goat, Jl. Dewi Sri No.23, Legian, Kuta, Bali 80361
Set in the picturesque foothills of Mount Batur, Kintamani is a popular local weekend getaway thanks to its cool weather, sprawling lake and stunning sunrises. Explore the rice fields by bike or on foot, take a kayak out on the lake or visit Puncak Penulisan temple, adorned with sculptures dating back to the 11th century. Afterward, unwind at one of the area’s stylish modern cafes for a front-row seat to the staggering views.
Puncak Penulisan, Jalan Raya, Sukawana, Kintamani, Bangli Regency, Bali 80652
Bypass the touristy Campuhan Ridge Walk and explore the serenity of Bali’s equally scenic and less crowded rice terraces. The tranquil Belimbing Rice Terraces showcase lush landscapes and vibrant green fields, providing a stunning backdrop for Bali’s traditional farming practices. Another option is Tirta Gangga Rice Terraces, conveniently located near the famous Tirta Gangga Water Palace, offering a variety of trekking routes starting from an easy hike near the water palace to a more challenging 6-hour trek through local villages.
For a tantalising exploration of Bali’s traditional cuisine, skip the upscale restaurants and dine at a local warung, a no-frills cafe where the food is good value and authentic. Indulge is favourful classics such as babi guling (spice-rubbed, slow-roasted suckling pig), sate lilit ikan (minced fish satay) or bebek betutu (tender, coal-roasted duck cooked in banana and coconut leaves).
Some warungs also offer immersive cooking classes, providing the opportunity to learn about local herbs and spices, how to craft spice pastes and tuck into a traditional meal prepared entirely by your own hands.
Uluwatu, on Bali’s southern tip, delivers mesmerising sunsets night after night. Head to one of the scenic beaches for a late afternoon dip and linger to witness this breath-taking spectacle. For tidal swimming pools or a thriving surf scene visit Padang Padang Beach, or hit the white sandy shores of Thomas Beach to lounge under willowy palm trees. Alternatively, traverse the steep staircases at Bingin Beach for an unrivalled view of the setting sun framed by rugged limestone cliffs. Should you wish to make a night of it, there are warungs for refreshment and seafood barbecue spots.
Skilled Balinese artisans weave their magic at workshops throughout the island, and a day spent browsing local markets is an excellent way to appreciate their creations. Explore the Ubud Traditional Art Market, a treasure trove of handmade goods from Balinese drums to intricate batik fabrics. For an authentic glimpse into Balinese culture and traditions, visit the vibrant Badung Traditional Market in Denpasar for its bustling food stalls and street vendors selling snacks off the back of motorbikes.
If you like what you see, try your hand at making something yourself. Ubud is Bali’s creative heart, and local craftspeople offer classes in everything from jewellery making to wood-carving.
Ubud Traditional Art Market, Jl. Raya Ubud, Ubud, Bali 80571
Badung Traditional Market, Jl. Sulawesi No.1, Dauh Puri Kangin, Denpasar, Bali 80233
Bali’s surf scene is legendary, but for a change of scene, take the 30-minute boat trip from Sanur to Nusa Lembongan, where you’ll find warm, clear waters and beginner-friendly waves. Playgrounds is a sheltered reef break that’s the go-to spot for families, where several locally run surf schools offer half- or full-day sessions. Back on the mainland you can graduate to more challenging waves at Nusa Dua, Legian or Balangan beaches.
Explore the beauty of Bali from our idyllic mountain resort Homm Saranam Baturiti.
If you’re looking for a completely out of the ordinary experience, visit our award-winning, adults-only, ‘no-walls, no-doors’ resort Buahan, a Banyan Tree Escape.