Bali is one of those places you go to and never want to leave. It is a volcanic island, but one of the most peaceful places in the world. The deep spirituality of Balinese culture is palpable and there are traces of it everywhere, from petals on the street to the scent of incense hanging in the air. Bali is an island of sacred temples, dramatic landscapes, and friendly people, and a holiday in Bali is all about taking it easy, getting lost in nature, and just generally enjoying life. It will draw you in with beautiful sunsets and spectacular sunrises, and keep you wanting more with its food, cultural traditions, and serene atmosphere. A holiday in Bali should be at the top of your list if you need a little rest and relaxation in a beautiful place. South Africans don’t need a visa for Bali or anywhere else in Indonesia.
When it comes to things to do in Bali, you will feel as though you don’t have enough time to see and experience everything you want to about this enchanting island. Bali is a fascinating place with gorgeous temples, spectacular rice paddies and volcanoes, and cultural traditions that are soul stirring to witness. Some of the best things to do in Bali entail fawning over beautiful places, drooling over food, and getting close to nature. Learn how to make Balinese food with a local family. Go on a sunrise hike up Mount Batur. Walk along the Campuhan Ridge in Ubud. Go island hopping on the Nusa and Gili Islands. Trek through steamy tropical jungles to find the Aling Aling and Sekumpul waterfalls. And witness a Kecak dance. Of course you can’t go to Bali without exploring the temples of Tannah Lot, Ulun Danu Beratan, and Uluwatu. You also need to get soulful in a beautiful place, get a Balinese massage, and eat as much food as you can.
You will find many regular shops and more traditional stores in the major cities and towns in Bali. These places will sell every day groceries and essentials, and traditional Balinese handicrafts and fabrics. There are three main shopping malls: Beachwalk Shopping Centre, Discovery Shopping, and Mal Bali Galeria. The markets are the best places for shopping in Bali if you want to find traditional Balinese crafts and fresh fruits and vegetables. In terms of costs in Bali: Hostels start from as little as R40, guest houses and home stays from R100, luxurious camping villages between the paddy fields from R200, and opulent beach resorts and spas from R1000. A meal in an inexpensive restaurant goes for R30 and a three course meal goes for about R80. You can buy a beer for R26 and a bottle of wine for R200. Bus fare is between R20 and R100. Apart from alcohol, which is expensive because of high import taxes, Bali is a really cheap place to travel to.
Renting a bicycle or scooter is definitely the best and easiest way to get around Bali. You can stop to explore easily and you get to feel the warm island air on your skin and see more. There is a public bus that is a cheap and reliable way to get around Bali and metered taxis are widely available. If you want to see more of the island and venture beyond the cities, renting a car is the best form of transport. However, renting a taxi driver for a day can work out cheaper than renting a car. Your hotel should be able to recommend a company.
Accommodation in Bali is not difficult to find. If you want to be near the temples and beaches, southern Bali is where you should stay. You will find chic boutique hotels and guest houses in Seminyak, a town known for its nightlife and amazing diving. If you want accommodation that is more low key, Seminyak also has a fantastic array of backpackers and beach bungalows. Ubud and Gianyar are in the heart of Bali and offer a more authentic cultural experience. If you want to do a lot of snorkelling and scuba diving, Amed and Pemuteran are the best places to stay in Bali. Sanur is good for families and Kuta/Legian is best if you are on a budget. Canggu is generally considered the best place to stay in Bali for first timers.
There are no direct flights to Bali, but connecting flights to Bali leave from all the major cities and towns in South Africa. The flight time from Johannesburg is approximately 15 hours and about 17 hours from Cape Town. Flights to Bali land at Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS) just outside of Denpasar. You will be able to find flights on popular international airlines such as Singapore Airlines, Emirates, and Qatar Airways.
One of the best ways to see the island and have fun doing it is by going on a bike tour. Your first stop is at the famous Tegalalang Rice Terraces where you can breathe in the fresh morning air as the golden glow of the morning sun illuminates its manicured ridges. You will stop off for a breakfast buffet with glorious views of Mount Batur before hopping back on your bike and heading through the countryside in search of coffee plantations and tiny villages where you can meet locals and learn about local life. Go at the right time and you might even get a chance to help locals with the harvest or learn the art of woodcarving.