Bali is Indonesia’s most famous island and a world-renowned paradise for its scenic rice paddies, fragrant cuisine, secluded beaches and vibrant culture. It is a dizzying mix of spiritual awakening and hard-partying that attracts travellers from all over the globe.
The main urban centres in Bali are Denpasar, the capital; Klungkung, with its wood carving industry and gold and silver workshops; Gianyar, centre of the ceramics and textile industries; and Ubud, a centre for European and American artists. But the majority of the island is rural, dotted with villages and temples, and punctuated by dense jungle gorges running down to the sea.
Tourism is a major industry in Bali and it has changed the island considerably since the mid-2000s. Backpackers first flocked to Bali following the release of Eat Pray Love, and it is now one of the most popular wellness destinations in Asia. It is also a magnet for digital nomads and it’s not uncommon to find foreigners who have moved to Bali semi-permanently.
Beaches are still the main draw for most visitors, but there is much more to this beautiful island. The pristine coastline is complemented by a range of coral reefs, waterfalls and retreats. For a more cultural experience, explore the intricate temples and palaces, or visit Tirta Empul, the largest of Bali’s water temples, where worshippers bathe in streams of sacred spring water. Be sure to try the famous fried bananas, and watch the sunset over the ocean while sipping a Bintang in a beachside bar or warung.