More of a state of mind than a place, the Indonesian island conjures instant thoughts of a tropical paradise with a soft spiritual soul and a healthy dose of mysticism thrown in for good measure. It tops many a traveller’s bucket list and Bali been drawing the visitors for decades but most head straight from the airport out to the main beaches. Many don’t even get past Kuta (the islands main and hugely overdeveloped resort) but there’s so much more to Bali. Yes it’s becoming increasingly more difficult but it’s still possible to find tranquil pockets of unspoilt paradise in Bali if you know where to find it…
The Bali Barat National Park
Located on the Western tip of Bali, this is one of the most important protected areas of the island. A world away from the craziness of Kuta, this is a peaceful and tranquil place offering a mix of varied landscapes – primary monsoon forest, mangrove forest, lowland rain forest, savanna, sea grass vegetation types, coral reefs, sandy beaches, and both shallow and deep sea waters The center of the park is dominated by four volcanic mountains and surround by six villages with a varied ethnic population. Expect to spot wildlife like Wild Boar, Long-tailed Macaque and the highly endangered and very cute Hawksbill turtle!
This beach makes a much more peaceful alternative to the main beaches in Kuta. It’s known to be an excellent beach for surfing adventures due its powerful waves. It’s relatively uncrowded and unspoilt due to it being fairly tricky to reach – the beach is situated under the white stone hill with steep cliff. It’s definitely worth the extra effort though – once reached you’ll be blessed with pristine white sands and beautiful panorama of the Indian Ocean. You can also camp here and enjoy the surroundings without anyone interrupting you or treat yourself and stay in a beautiful nearby Bali villa.
Every traveller wants to find that beautiful hidden beach and to be honest in Bali this is becoming increasingly more difficult. Tegal Wangi is the exception, it’s not a secluded beach but it is much less popular than the other beautiful beaches which reside along the Uluwatu coastal lines. Tegal Wangi has pure white sand, clear blue water two ‘ocean jacuzzis’ which you can only see when it’s not a high tide. Although be aware to reach the beach itself you have to walk down the cliff jumping from one rock to another.
This is popular backpacker spot which offers a small town small alternative to the large scale beach party that is Kuta. Located in Eastern Bali it serves as a ferry port for travel to Lembar on Lombok, The Gilis and other of the Lesser Sunda Islands. The main attractions of this unspoilt place to visit in Bali are its pretty curved bay, good cafes and excellent diving and snorkelling opportunities.
Amed is a long stretch of unspoilt coastline in East Bali which starts from the village of Culik and incorcoparates a series of several small villages. It’s one of those places that tourists have only recently started to discover so has thankfully managed to retain its quiet and relaxing atmosphere. It’s a pretty place with a succession of small, scalloped, grey-sand beaches and travellers -in-the-know visit for the excellent diving and snorkelling and to try a spot of yoga on the uncrowded beaches.
This is another low key place to visit in Bali which offers a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the South. The laid-back 12km stretch of coast located in North Bali is comprised of several narrow stretches of black volcanic sand which attracts divers, snorkelers and dolphin watchers. Kalibukuk is the most developed village but there are still several others smaller villages to explore which offer a very slow, traditional pace of life.
Where to stay
Bali is known for its gorgeous surroundings and plentiful supply of spa hotels and resorts, although if you travel all this way you’ll want to stay at one of the best. Enter the award-winning Ayana resort which is one the best luxury spas in Bali. It was once voted by Conde Nast Traveler readers as one of the World’s Best Spa and here you can choose from signature spa treatments including the Hot Shell Massage, AYANA Fusion, Seven Chakra Dhara and Lava Stone Reflexology. Pure bliss!
Enjoy this beautiful island!