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No matter what your idea of holiday is – beaches, mountains, nature, art, history, culture, spirituality or adventure, Bali - the infamous 'Island of the Gods' in Indonesia promises the best of it. The charming island has so much to offer that you'll always find yourself short of time and when you leave you will long to come back again and complete your itinerary.
Here is how you can make the best of your time when in Bali:
Bali’s coastline is home to many ancient temples, with many of them having become iconic landmarks. Set against exotic backdrops, you will find each of these temples facing either the sea, the mountains or towards sunrise. Quiet and peaceful on regular days, these temples are heavily decorated during the festivals and temple anniversaries and are buzzing with traditional dances, gambling and cockfighting – a sight not to miss. Though it is said that there are more temples than homes in Bali, it is impossible to visit them all. However, some of the most famous ones are:
Situated on the western coast of Beraban village, Tanah Lot tops the list of Bali temples because of its surreal offshore setting and picturesque sunset backdrops. Just 45 mins drive from Kuta, this ancient Hindu shrine sits atop a sprouted rock that has the waves constantly crashing to it.
This picture postcard temple is famous among surfers as an exotic surf spot. Sitting on top of a southwest cliff, 70 metres above the sea surface, Uluwata temple offers wider ocean and horizon views, with vivid sunset backdrops.
Known as Bali’s mother temple, Besakih is a huge complex consisting of numerous temples and shrines. Located on the south western slopes of Mount Agung, 1000 metres above sea level, it is considered as the holiest temple in Bali.
The rice terraces of Bali are lush, giving a new meaning to the word green. Rice farming in Bali goes back to Neolithic times and is presently a dominant part of Balinese culture. These rice terraces offer some of the most spectacular and panoramic views of natural landscape.
If you have time to visit just a single rice terrace, Jatiluwih is the most recommended one. This humungous rice field is a UNESCO World Heritage listed and protected site. Situated at 2200 ft above sea level, it has a land area of more than 1500 acres. Early morning and late afternoons is the best time to visit as the place is less crowded and the sun is less harsh, offering spectacular views.
Located just outside of Ubud village, Tegallalang rice fields undoubtedly gives the most gorgeous views of Bali. To soak in the beauty of the rice fields for a longer time, just sit back at one of the cafes nearby for a coffee or a meal as you enjoy the beautiful terraces.
One of Ubud’s most popular attractions, Ubud Monkey Forest is a natural reserve, home to more than 700 grey long tailed macaques. Officially known as Sacred Monkey Forest of Padangtegal, it is considered as an important spiritual, economic and educational conservation center for the village residents. Spread across 12.5 hectares, the Forest is home to 186 trees species. To unwind your day swing on the canopies, and take a stroll across the paved pathways, besides watching mischievous monkeys engage you in their antics.
Travelers that revel in the idea of a beach holiday where they can sip on margaritas, swim or surf the waves while getting that sun tan, Bali is the place to be. Bali has a huge variation in beaches. The island's south has some of the pristine white sand palm fringed beaches on the shores of Seminyak, Kuta and Nusa Dua. Then there are cliff guarded hidden shores of Bingin and Uluwatu. The western coast boasts of black sand while there are some undisturbed coves in between.
Whether you are traveling to Bali with kids or there is a kid in you, Bali Marine and Safari Park offers a fun filled day entertaining visitors of any age group. With more than 60 species of animals, some of the endangered, such as komodo dragon and Sumatran tiger, their Safari ride takes you through the habitats made for all of these animals on safari trams, giving up and up and close view of these animals. Besides the safari, there are free live animal shows and a new Bali Theatre as well.
An active volcano, Mount Batur is a famous sightseeing destination in central highland of Bali. Believed to be a sacred mountain by the locals, Mount Batur, 5633 ft above sea level is a great point for hikers to climb to as the view of the crater and the crystal clear water of Lake Batur below is worth it. Batur Caldera Lake is spread across 13 sqkm offering magnificent views along with sublime Mount Batur range. For those who are high on adventure can trek down along the lake shore to Toya Bungkah, Ulun Danu Batur temple and several hot springs around.
There are plenty of yoga retreats in Bali where you can practice yoga and learn meditation. To relax your fatigued soul, book a deep detox session at a spa. Balinese massage is also quite common in the region as it promises to uplift your mind and soul.
The exotic island of Bali has lot more charm than you can imagine. Create a strategic schedule that helps you squeeze in most out of your day spent in the island. Also, make sure to try out local cuisine and shop in the local markets to create a lasting impression of your Bali trip.
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