February 3, 2023

The best of Bali: What it’s like to visit now

7 min read

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(CNN) — Like most major tourist destinations around the world, Bali faced a major economic crisis during the Covid-19 pandemic. From more than 500,000 foreign visitors per month, the number of visitors doubled and tourism workers had no choice but to try to earn a living in the island’s paddy fields and plantations.

But residents of this part of the Ring of Fire are known for their resilience. The Island of the Gods is now rising from the ashes and rebuilding itself along lines that suit the demands of a more conscious journey post-pandemic.

Here are some of the best experiences on offer for travelers to Bali.

Great for fitness

Four Seasons Bali in Sian is set in a landscape of tropical gardens and terraced paddies.

Four Seasons Bali in Sian is set in a landscape of tropical gardens and terraced paddies.

Four Seasons Balinese

In the early 1920s, Ubud was hailed by pioneering immigrants as the artistic center of Bali. A century later it has become even more famous as one of the world’s centers for conscious, healthy living.

The yoga revolution of the early 2000s was a game changer, and today there are more yoga shalas, soul-food restaurants, spas and “mindfulness retreats” per capita than anywhere else on the planet.

Ubud’s sacred monkey forest (Bali’s most popular tourist attraction) is once again drawing crowds. The charming old bazaar has been demolished and will be closed for renovations for some time to come, but the shopping street loop is once again jammed with traffic.

While the town center is clearly thriving once again, a growing number of tourists are finding that the Ayung River’s properties along the unexpectedly primeval jungle-covered valleys are an island paradise. There are better matches he has ever traveled to see.

The Four Seasons of Bali in Sayan Offers the best of both worlds. Set in a landscape of tropical gardens and terraced paddies (still a work in progress), the resort has been a preferred base for VIPs, including Julia Roberts and Barack Obama.

There’s everything you’d expect from a luxury resort, but yoga, massage (including the use of hot stones from the sacred river), meditation, chakra ceremonies and even an irresistibly interesting ” activity” also has an Ubud-inspired offering called Sacred Nap.

When you’re ready to drag yourself away from the resort, just hop into town on the complimentary shuttle (10 minutes) or choose from a wide range of activities or cultural tours.

Perfect for nightlife

Newcomer clan Balikota sits right in the middle of the action.

Newcomer clan Balikota sits right in the middle of the action.

TRIBE Ballykota Beach

Since the early surfers landed in Bali, the town of Kuta has been the center of the party. This fishing village has long since expanded westward to join Legian and Seminyak in the same throng of low-end souvenir shops, bars, spas and tattoo parlors.

It is largely due to Balinese religious sensibilities that the island’s tourist destination has avoided overdevelopment of the high-rise concrete jungle. Balinese Hindus traditionally believe that the world above the tops of the tallest palm trees is owned by the gods, so (with a few 1970s dollar-driven exceptions) breaking the skyline anywhere on the island There are almost no tall buildings for

It was Kota that suffered the most during the pandemic. Quite popular with Australian tourists, the low-key hotel and bar zone around Poppies I and Poppies II became a ghost town almost overnight.

Now less frenzied and less of a magnet for drunken stag nights, Kuta is regaining its lost appeal and is an affordable and centrally located base for family beach and activity holidays as well as nightlife.

Tribe Balikota Beach A sleek, new contemporary style beachfront hotel perfectly positioned for Kota’s live music, cocktail bars and DJ venues. Best of all, the rooftop infinity pool (just looking for a spot with the gods among those towering palms) is the perfect place to soak in the famous Kuta sunset.

Apps like Grab and Gojek (the Asian version of Uber) make getting to nightlife spots in Legian and Seminyak easy, fast and cheap.

Potato Head Beach Club Innovative and dedicated agricultural and food distribution programs were particularly talked about during the lockdown.

Potato Head Desa (which means village) boasts several music venues and pools and no less than five restaurants. The beautifully designed Potato Head Studios (typically incorporating most of the brand’s recycling innovations) also opened during the pandemic.

Perfect for relaxation

Neerjahara is a secluded new resort near Bali's famous Tanah Lot temple.

Neerjahara is a secluded new resort near Bali’s famous Tanah Lot temple.


From the moment you enter the new open. Nirjhra retreat You have a feeling you’ll never want to leave. For a truly blissful escape, this secluded resort (near the peaceful western side of Tanah Lat Temple) has everything you could wish for.

Nirjahara’s Canopy Suites — quirky “treehouses” that are a striking blend of industrial chic and recycled tropical charm — have become design icons of the island’s contemporary architecture.

The resort is barely 30 minutes from the hipster hangout of Canggu and yet feels like a hidden tropical paradise. A babbling river, shady trees and a charming infinity pool invite you to relax. To take that relaxation to an even deeper level, book a massage and “blessing treatment” at the resort’s retreat spa.

Neerjahara is Sanskrit for waterfall and the property is named after the waterfall that flows through the beautiful Yogashala. A popular hike takes in some of the spectacular waterfalls that Bali is known for — especially the 500-step descent into the Nungnung Waterfall Valley (one of Bali’s highest points).

If you’ve still got some energy left, borrow one of the resort’s bicycles for a ride through the paddies or book a surf lesson at beginner-friendly Kedungu Beach… where three more waterfalls tumble from the cliffs straight onto the beach. are

If all this inspires you to explore more widely, Nirjahara’s recently launched traditional superyacht Vela is now available for charter to some of Indonesia’s most remote islands.

Perfect for beaches

Luxury surf company Tropicsurf offers lessons in Jimbaran Bay.

Luxury surf company Tropicsurf offers lessons in Jimbaran Bay.


Ever since American surfer Robert Cook opened his hotel in 1936, tourists have flocked to “shoot the curl” on South Bali’s warm, tropical waves.

Just four kilometers down the coast from Cook’s residence you find the Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay. With 147 secluded bungalows and suites, the resort is reminiscent of a traditional Balinese village with its maze of paved streets and temple-style architecture.

Jimbaran Bay’s curving arc of white sand, free from the crowds of nearby Kuta, lures you away from private plunge pools and resort swimming pools.

Tropicsurf has earned a reputation as one of the most respected luxury surf guiding operations in the business and their Coconut Grove headquarters on Jimbaran Beach is the perfect starting point for your first Bali waves.

Australian resident surf guide Blake MacKinnon has years of experience in South Bali and — with more than a dozen good surf spots just a short boat (or car) ride away — he analyzes the conditions. is to find the most suitable waveform for any given wave. experience level.

Jimbaran is famous for its early morning fish market and seafood restaurants that line the beach around sunset.

If you’re around the market, be sure to stop for a beach breakfast at New Bikini Bowlbut be sure to book a table here for truly unforgettable sundowner cocktails or to light up at the (seriously) upgraded version of Jimbaran Beachfront BBQ. The song.

Perfect for getting off the beaten track

Anyone who has been to Bali and still disputes the title of “most beautiful island in the world” has almost certainly never laid eyes on the palm forests, secluded beaches and jungle heartland of West Bali. .

After a four-hour drive through timeless villages and rice terraces, your heart sinks momentarily when you park in front of a three-meter-high neon-lit security wall: amusement parks, dancing, holiday fast… it An inexplicable introduction to is Lindenberg is lost.one of the most stylish and elegant hideaways on the island.

The property opened in July 2022 and its eight rooms, housed in beautifully designed 20-meter-high wooden towers (palms are unusually tall in West Bali), overlook Bali’s highest What a wonderful beach it can be.

Heading out on a secluded 14km sweep of volcanic sand filled with waves, you’d hardly believe people complain about overcrowded surf spots. The low-key surf town of Medway is just a few minutes’ drive to the west, but the sandy beach in front of the resort is more appealing to beginners as the jagged cliffs of Medway’s Point break away.

The area is an attractive place to just relax, but if you don’t take the time to explore, you’ll be missing out on some amazing experiences. West Bali is home to some truly unexpected places, many of which are virtually unknown to tourists: the world’s most colorful traditional fishing fleet in Perancak; Bali’s own bird of paradise and herds of manjungan deer in the lakes of West Bali National Park; and unforgettable diving and snorkeling at Manjangan Island.

For an alternative to the brutal buffalo chariot race, you can join a fascinating paddy tour with a small herd of pink buffalo — nearly extinct and beyond this small slice of Balinese rural paradise. Rarely seen. West Bali is one of Indonesia’s best kept secrets.

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