Ev­ery­thing you need to know about Bali

Bali has a wow fac­tor for tourists and is aim­ing to at­tract a whop­ping seven mil­lion vis­i­tors this year. Belinda Jack­son re­ports on the at­trac­tions of the In­done­sian is­land.

Paradise - - Contents -

Whether you love to surf or shop, dive or chill out, Bali sat­is­fies its many and var­ied ad­mir­ers. It’s an epic shop­ping stopover, a top-notch din­ing des­ti­na­tion, and stay op­tions range from vast trop­i­cal vil­las to fam­ily-friendly ho­tels.

EXPLAINER

Bali com­prises sev­eral ar­eas. In this guide we cover Kuta, Seminyak and Canggu (pro­nounced 'Changgu').

Down­town Kuta is just five kilo­me­tres north of Bali's main air­port, near Den­pasar, with up­mar­ket Seminyak an­other four kilo­me­tres north. New kid on the block, Canggu is an­other 10 kilo­me­tres fur­ther up Bali’s western coast­line from Seminyak, through green rice pad­dies.

As a rule of thumb, Kuta is a mag­net for back­pack­ers and bud­get par­ty­go­ers, while Seminyak at­tracts a more up­mar­ket crowd. Fast-grow­ing Canggu used to be the sleepy surfers’ es­cape, but is now it­self boom­ing ( in­done­sia.travel ).

GET­TING AROUND

Don’t let south­ern Bali’s short dis­tances fool you: the nar­row roads are crammed with mopeds, carts, taxis and pedes­tri­ans, which makes for slow go­ing. Avoid the morn­ing and af­ter­noon peak hours.

At the air­port, com­pa­nies will meet you and fast-track you through cus­toms to your trans­fer car wait­ing out­side: pre-book

be­fore you travel (bali­air­port. com).

Taxis are cheap and plen­ti­ful: ei­ther ask for the me­ter to be turned on, or agree a price be­fore­hand. For the in­trepid or the short of time, mopeds or mo­tor­bikes will also give you a lift for a few ru­piah.

Note that a jalan is a street, and a gang is a con­nect­ing al­ley­way. Also, streets change their names as they pass through dif­fer­ent ar­eas. And if you’re not con­fused yet, some names have been up­dated over the years, such as Seminyak’s so-called Eat Street, Jalan Kaya Ayu, which is also known as Jalan Laks­mana and even Jalan Oberoi (whew!).

SIGHTS

It’s easy to tap into Bali’s wel­com­ing re­li­gious cul­ture: Pura Petitenget is a beau­ti­ful sea­side tem­ple ( pura) where you’ll spot devo­tees gather­ing on the is­land’s many sig­nif­i­cant dates. On Kuta beach, you’ll find small puras that re­ceive of­fer­ings from lo­cals ev­ery morn­ing and evening.

De­spite its re­cent fame, Canggu is still a surfers’ par­adise for the famed reef breaks off Echo Beach. Early morn­ing sees surfers scan­ning the waves, while the black-sand beach is a mag­net for walk­ers, pho­tog­ra­phers and board rid­ers all day long.

The three ar­eas of Kuta, Seminyak and Canggu are all set on the coast, with wide beaches that beg for long walks.

Shin­ing bright ... Bali is pop­u­lar with tourists, and it's no won­der with sights like this sun­set framed by a wa­ter tem­ple.

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