Home to endless rice fields, stunning waterfalls and unique temples, Bali is one of Southeast Asia’s most popular destinations. Some people visit it only for a few weeks while others fall in love with this island’s charm and choose to move here for months or years.
I lived in Bali for 8 months in the past years. I chose it as my home base while I was travelling through Asia. After switching accommodations once every few days for weeks and months on end, it felt like a breath of fresh air to return to Bali and relax.
Also known as the Island of Gods, Bali is an oasis that many people come to love. But why exactly is Bali so popular? Let me tell you why below!
1. It’s budget-friendly
Bali is one of the most affordable destinations in Southeast Asia. The food is cheap and the hotels offer fantastic services at great prices. If you’re traveling during the shoulder season or during the rainy season, you can save even more money.
For example, a meal at a local warung can cost as low as $4 while a room with a private bathroom in a shared villa costs $15. It’s paradise!
2. Incredible infinity pools and villas
Some of the most exquisite and stunning infinity pools and villas are located in Bali. Overlooking the rice fields or with incredible views towards the sea, Bali’s hotels and private villas offer incredible experiences at affordable prices.
You can find excellent hotels all around the island but the most impressive ones are located in the Ubud area. Hotels like Udaya Resort, Camaya Bali or Kamandalu Resort are internet sensations, popular due to countless stunning posts on Instagram. For more Instagrammable hotels in Ubud, click here.
3. Endless rice fields
Have you seen those photos of girls with flowy dresses walking between rice terraces? You can enjoy such a beautiful scenery at Tegalalang Rice Terraces. Don’t worry if you don’t wear dresses or if you’re a man, the views are equally enticing.
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Tegalalang is home to the most popular rice fields, but there are other places, equally beautiful, with fewer tourists. One of those places is Jatiluwih Rice Terrace. Anyway, while exploring the island you’ll come across many rice fields and terraces so just stop and take some photos.
4. Stunning temples
The Balinese temples are an oasis of tranquility. You’ll notice that all the temple names begin with pura, which means walled city or palace. Al temples in Bali are open-air and some of them have stunning gates.
One of the most famous temples in Bali is Pura Lempuyang, also known as Heaven’s Gates. Many people come here to take a photo between the tall gates looking towards Mount Agung.
Another famous temple is Tirta Empul Temple. This is a water temple, famous for its holy spring water. Locals and tourists come here to purify themselves with the holy water by taking a bath in the small pond inside the temple.
Ulun Danu Beratan Temple is also a famous destination for tourists. Located in the northern part of the island, this temple sits on the shore of Beratan Lake. It was built in the 17th century and the temple is dedicated to the gods Vishnu, Shiva and Brjama.
5. Breathtaking waterfalls
When it comes to waterfalls, there are plenty of stunning places to discover. If you’re staying in Ubud make sure to visit the beautiful Tibumana Waterfall, Tukad Cepung Waterfall and Tegenungan Waterfall.
A little bit towards the northern part of the island you’ll find the secluded Leke Leke Waterfall Nung Nung Waterfall. Head North and you’ll arrive at Munduk Waterfall and Banyumala Twin Falls.
These are just a few of Bali’s incredible waterfalls. No matter which one you’ll choose to visit, I’m sure that you’ll fall in love with Bali’s raw beauty.
6. Awe-inspiring volcanoes
Bali is home to two active volcanoes, Mount Agung and Mount Batur. Mount Agung is the highest point on the island (3014 m) and it last erupted in 1964.
On the other hand, Mount Batur is the most active volcano in Bali. It erupts every few years and the last eruption was in 2000. Both volcanoes can be climbed. Climbing Mount Batur is easier than climbing Mount Agung and the hike is more suitable for those with a medium level of fitness.
7. A surfing paradise
Another reason why Bali is so popular is the surfing scene. With awesome waves, the beaches in Canggu and Seminyak are some of the most popular surfing spots. Another popular area is Uluwatu, with its stunning tall cliffs and crystal clear water.
Even though experienced Australian surfers come to Bali each year, this island is also perfect for beginners. Head to Canggu and hire an instructor. With a bit of determination, you can learn the basics in a few lessons.
8. Stunning neighbouring islands
Just a short boat ride away from Bali are some pretty incredible islands. Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan are the closest ones to Bali but Gili Islands and Lombok are also popular destinations.
- Nusa Penida – stop at the famous Kelingking Beach and visit Diamond Beach and Atuh Beach. Another popular place in Nusa Penida is the Broken Beach with its beautiful arch sitting above the sea.
- Nusa Lembongan & Nusa Ceningan – these sister islands are full of wonders. Visit the Devil’s Tear, the Secret Beach and the beautiful Dream Beach.
- Gili Islands – this group of 3 small islands (Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air) are surrounded by the most incredible water. With awesome beach bars, make sure to add them to your itinerary!
- Lombok – Lombok Island is the farthest island from Bali and it can be reached by boat or plane. Hike Mount Rinjani, visit the waterfalls or go surfing. There are lots of activities to do in Lombok!
9. Diverse marine life
One of the reasons why people love Bali is because of its diverse marine life. Bali is great for snorkeling and diving. The best snorkeling beaches in Bali are located in the East, West and Northeast. If snorkeling is one of the reasons why you’re visiting Bali, avoid the rainy season (October to March).
Bali is also a popular diving spot. Places like Nusa Lembongan, Tulamben and Padang Bai are great for diving. Discover colorful fish, beautiful corals and amazing marine life!
10. Vibrant nightlife
Some of the most famous destinations for their nightlife are Seminyak, Denpasar and Ubud. Seminyak is home to lots of awesome beach bars such as Potato Head Beach Club. Another famous beach bar is Finns, located in North Kuta.
Ubud has a more laid-back, bohemian nightlife compared with Seminyak, Denpasar and Kuta. Laughing Buddha, Flava Lounge and No Mas are just a few popular places in Ubud.
11. Unique celebrations and festivals
Have you ever heard about the “Day of Silence” aka Nyepi? Celebrated each year, during Nyepi day everything on the island of Bali is closed and both tourists and locals are not allowed to exit their homes. Yes, you’ve heard that right. Even the airport is closed on this day.
I had the chance to experience Nyepi day a few years ago. The owner of our villa told us a few days before to buy food and anything else we might need because during the Day of Silence restaurants, stores, airports, shopping malls and pretty much everything is closed.
People spend this day with their families and they’re not allowed to work, cook or do any physical activity. It’s pretty interesting to experience this celebration and like this one, there are many other fascinating festivals in Bali. One of them is Galungan.
12. Delicious food and exquisite restaurants
With an explosion of tastes, Bali welcomes you with delicious local dishes and impressive international cuisine. From local warungs to luxurious restaurants, you can certainly find something for your taste in Bali.
Personally, I prefer local food. Eating at warungs is not only cheaper but it also supports the local business and people. Try Nasi Goreng and Satay and you won’t regret it!
13. Friendly locals
Some of the friendliest people I’ve ever met are the Balinese people. Always happy to help in any situation and with big smiles on their faces, the locals living in Bali are super-friendly. Most of them speak good English so making friends won’t be a problem.
Try and ask them about their customs, celebrations and culture and they’ll be more than happy to share with you a piece of their daily life. It’s incredible to learn about a country’s culture directly from its locals.
14. Beautiful beaches
Black sand beaches, hidden beaches, tropical beaches – Bali has it all. In the southern part of the island (Canggu-Seminyak area) the beaches are covered in beautiful black sand, a result of Bali’s volcanic nature.
Bukit Peninsula is home to a few stunning beaches with yellow sand. Tegal Wangi Beach and Nyang Nyang Beach are just two of them. The beaches in the northern part of the island are a bit more remote, away from the hordes of tourists. No matter where you’re planning to stay, Bali will welcome you with a collection of stunning beaches, perfect for swimming and getting a tan.
15. A paradise for those who love yoga
Another reason why you should visit Bali as your next destination is its chill vibe. This island is also a yoga paradise with countless yoga retreats, resorts and instructors.
Some of the best regions in Bali for yoga are Ubud, Canggu, Seminyak and Jimbaran. Surrounded by the ocean, with dense jungles and good vibes, Bali is the perfect destination for those passionate about yoga.
These are just some of the reasons why Bali is so famous. This small corner of paradise attracts millions of tourists each year with its beautiful nature and unparalleled charm.
If you want to go somewhere exotic yet affordable and with a great culture, Bali is the place for you! I lived here for 8 months and I can call this island my second home. You can read more about Indonesia here.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask me in the comments section below. May the travel bug bite you!