One of the most well-known of Bali’s beaches is Seminyak Beach and it’s lined with beach clubs where you can sit, cocktail in hand, and gaze out over the Indian Ocean. There are lots of little shops in the area, too, and you can even book yourself a beachfront massage.
Best for beach parties is Kuta Beach, which is lively in the day and even more lively after sundown. During the daytimes, the local surf school attracts young travellers looking to ride the waves. And at night, the sands become a hotspot for local musicians who turn the beach into one big party. You’ll find traditional Indonesian food served up beachside, and international fare like juicy steaks just over the road.
Lying halfway between Seminyak Beach and Kuta Beach is the lesser-known Legian Beach. This is a watersports hotspot, especially for keen surfers and bodyboarders. You can hire all your equipment right here on the beach, so there’s no need to pack your own gear. Entrance to the water is shallow here, so the whole family can get involved in the fun. And for when it’s time to relax, the nearby juice bars offer up cool refreshments.
In Bali’s marketplaces and beachside stalls, you can pick up all sorts of bargain buys, like wooden Balinese crafts, beaded jewellery, handwoven textiles, natural organic soaps, and dreamcatchers. Accessories bearing the Bintang beer brand are also popular. If you’re looking to visit Bali’s most famous market which was featured in the film Eat, Pray, Love, it’s the Ubud Traditional Market near the Monkey Forest.
Barong masks, modelled after the Balinese King of the Spirits, are massively popular souvenirs. They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and from simple to incredibly intricate carvings. Silver jewellery is another good option, especially silver that’s been made into a Gamelan ball. These balls, which are also called harmony balls, feature a chime inside. Locals use them as part of their daily meditation practice.
The main shopping street of Seminyak runs parallel to the beachfront, and it’s a shopper’s paradise. There are lots of designer boutiques and retailers here, and it’s easy to find brands like Frangipani, Enki Eyewear, and MINKPINK. And if you’re looking for everything under one roof, Bali’s malls are the place to be. The Beachwalk shopping centre in Kuta boasts brands like Guess, H&M, Kate Spade, and Lacoste.
Nightlife in Bali isn’t just about drinking and dancing. In fact, you can have a great night out without the booze. Bali’s night markets are buzzing, with opportunities to shop for handicrafts and souvenirs, and grab a bite to eat from a local vendor. You’ll also find cultural performances at the night markets, giving you a chance to learn more about traditional Balinese arts. Alternatively, why not book an evening spa treatment, or take a beachfront stroll under the stars? And if you do fancy a drink or two, Bali’s rooftop lounges are ideal and there are plenty to choose form all over the island.
Bali was once a hippy hotspot, and even now that its visitors are a more diverse bunch, it’s retained that fun, down-to-earth, anything-goes party vibe. The coastal resorts of Kuta and Seminyak are among the most lively destinations on the island. Typically, nights in Bali begin with a traditional Indonesian dinner at a local restaurant before moving to the nightclubs, bars, and beach clubs. Kuta has a well-earned reputation for being wild and free, while Seminyak offers a more upmarket atmosphere.
Rice plays a huge role in Balinese cuisine, and is often steamed and served alongside spiced meats, vegetables, and exotic fruits. Warming spices like black pepper, cumin, clove, and nutmeg are often used, too.
One of the most popular dishes to try is betutu, which is chicken or duck cooked in an iconic Balinese spice blend.
Lawar is a delicious mix of minced meat, fresh veggies and coconut, which are all cooked up in a yummy blend of herbs and spices.
For something a bit different, a Balinese porridge dish, called bubur mengguh, is one to try. Creamy coconut milk and rice form the base, which is topped with the likes of grilled chicken, nuts and beans, forming an interesting combination of sweet and savoury.
One of the most potent drinks in Bali is arrack. Distilled from sugarcane, arrack is similar to a dark rum, with deep and rich flavours. Or for a drink with a difference, brem is a sweet and fruity fermented drink made from sticky rice. And for cocktails, Bali Moon fruit-flavoured liqueurs offer a taste of summer.
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