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Bali is like a pick and mix of sweets and lollies. Yes, you can drink and dance to excess, but you can also take advantage of the cultural smorgasbord of nature, art and spirituality at the Museum Rudana or Besakih Temple. Or explore the wildlife at Bali Safari and Marine Park or Ubud’s Elephant Safari Park.Or if you’re simply looking for some R&R and work on your tan, there are a number of picturesque spots to choose from, including Benoa, Lovina, or Candidasa.

Even aside from the stunning beaches of Kuta, Nusa Dua and Seminyak or the more traditional cultural hub of Ubud, there are towns and smaller islands waiting for you to discover. Lombok Island is a hidden gem, or explore the west coast to find forests, wet rice fields and beautiful natural landscape.

So, if you’ve got a sweet tooth and are greedy by nature, Bali could just be the sweet to satisfy. See… you don’t even have to be a drunken idiot to appreciate it.

Bali's Top 10

10. Kecak Dance Hit Denpasar to see this traditional dance. If the culture doesn’t do it for you, the bare-chested men might!

5. Tanah Lot Temple A beautiful 16th Century holy temple. Bonus – it’s on the beach!

9. Bali Botanical Garden Chillax and take a load off in these peaceful surroundings.

4. Besakih Temple Known as the ‘Mother Temple of Bali’ and perched on Mouth Agung, it is the holiest place on the island.

8. Garuda Wisnu Kencana It’s always good to visit a Buddha. Especially if you ate a bit too much the night before.

3. Kintamani Volcano Daredevils flock to this still-active landmark, which sits on the edge of an 8km wide lake.

7. Uluwatu Temple Located on a clifftop. Little sister of Tanah Lot with must-see views. Stick around for the sunset.

2. Elephant Safari Park Climb aboard these giants and take a tour through the jungles.

6. Tegalalang Rice Terrace Cool down in this breezy nook of Ubud and discover the traditional Bali lifestyle.

1. Bali Safari and Marine Park Animals, entertainment, hands-on experience and a water park. All your pick ’n’ mix favourites in one box!

Bali History

  • Hindu Temple – Bali, famed “Island of the Gods,” is known for its 20,000 Hindu Temples.
  • Nine Directional Temples – Protecting the island and people from dark forces stand the Nine Directional Temples located at strategic points across Bali.
  • Besakih Temple – The Balinese claim the Besakih “mother temple” to be the most important temple.
  • Mount Batur – The volcano of Mount Batur permanently smolders and sometimes produces a large bang and plumes of ashy smoke when pressure is released.
  • Black sand – Black sand covers many coastline beaches in Bali due to the volcanic nature of the island.

Bali Art & Culture

  • Ubud – Several museums can be found in Ubud, Bali’s artistic capital.
  • Bali Bomb Memorial – The Bali Bomb Memorial stands to commemorate the 202 lives take in the first Bali Bomb attack in October 2002.
  • Taman Gili – Taman Gili means “island garden” and is decorated with bales and ponds.
  • Kerta Gosa – The Kerta Gosa pavilion stands as the only piece of Wayang art in all of Bali that survived the fighting Dutch in the early 20th century.
  • Semarapura Museum – A collection of objects from Balinese history are displayed inside the Semarapura Museum.

Bali Shopping

  • Pasar Kumbasari – Located in Bali’s capital of Denpasar, you will find shopping at Pasar Kumbasari offering handicrafts.
  • Matahari – There is plenty of shopping and Swensen’s Ice Cream Cafe waiting for you in Matahari.
  • The Pasar Burung – Pasar Burung is a bird market that also sells small animals.
  • The Pasar Badung – This is where you shop for produce and food from all over the island.

Bali Gay & Lesbian

  • Bacio – An upscale dance venue.
  • Dejavu – Dejavu bar primarily attracts gays and lesbians.
  • Mixwell Lounge & Bar – This bar caters to the gay crowd with live music.
  • Q Bar & Café – Q Bar & Café offers fashion shows, dancers and regular theme nights.
  • Kuta Beach – A nudist beach that usually has

Bali Outdoor

  • Padang Bai – Padang Bai’s Tugal Beach is good for diving and snorkeling.
  • Candidasa – You will find black sand at the beach of Candidasa.
  • Taman Wedhi Budaya – Bali Arts Festival takes place in Taman Wedhi Budaya.
  • Mandala Wisata Wanara Wana – The swath of jungle that a band of grey-haired and greedy long-tailed Balinese macaques call home.
  • Mount Agung – A volcano perched at the highest point in Bali and a popular hiking mountain.

Bali Sport

  • Badminton – Badminton, an Olympic sport, is the most successful sport in Indonesia.
  • Football – Football is Indonesia’s most popular sport.
  • Pencak Silat – Pencak Silat is an Indonesian martial art practiced by many Indonesians.
  • Cycling – The annual Tour d’Indonesia attracts local and foreign cycling teams.
  • Basketball – Basketball is mostly popular among the older children of Indonesia.

Bali Local

Kuta Beach

Beaches, sunsets, shopping and spirituality – it’s all here.

Although Kuta Beach is known as a tourist hub, there are certainly ways to enjoy your time here without feeling like you’re in Australia. Ask a local to point you in the right direction for things to see and do – just be prepared to spare some change for the service.

Barter to your heart’s content along the Discovery Shopping Mall Esplanadewhile taking in the street performances and relaxing at open-air cafés. Pay your respects at Bali Bombing Memorial Monument,before having a drink at the newly renovated Paddy’s: Reloaded.

Then, just when you’ve had one too many cocktails, kick back on the beach and see the sunset from one of the clearest spots in the country.

And yes, the nightlife goes off! You can literally stumble from one bar to the next. And if you want, drinking games, pub crawls and dancing can be a must!

Ubud

Without doubt the cultural heart of the island. Discover traditional and contemporary art at the Arma Museum,before dining in one of their many restaurants or grabbing a drink in the bar.

Explore the best of Bali’s natural world at Bali Bird & Reptile Parkand Bali Zoo.For a more historical viewpoint, Batuan Villageoffers a look at what Bali was like back in the day. You know, when sweeties really were the best things in the world!

Nusa Dua

For private beaches and a varied look at the many cultures living side-by-side in Bali, Nusa Dua is a great place to escape the tourist-centric feel of most of the island. Visit Candraloka Amphitheatre.If there’s nothing happening there, take advantage. Try your hand at some stand-up, or put on a play. Why not? You’re on holiday.

There are also secluded beaches such as Geger Beachwhere you can really let your hair down. And there are still babes to gawk at and food for sale. Heaven! Plus, there are various temples such as Puja Mandala,where you can see different cultures living harmoniously together.

Candidasa

Candidasa is located at Samuh Bugbug Village, 12km from Amlapura, the main town of Karangasem. Don’t expect any bars or clubs here. This is a peaceful island getaway to relax and be quiet. Shhhhh!

You will, however, enjoy nightly dance performances and toured trips to Goa Lawah Temple,which is the home to thousands of fruit bats.

Candidasa is also a great place to eat out, with some top restaurants such as The Lotus Seaview offering a beach-side Balinese feast and just-caught seafood, or cuddle up in Vincent’s for great food and live jazz.

Eat & Drink In Bali

There’s a huge range of places to eat out in Bali. From street food to fine dining, they cater for everyone – from the critics to the just plain starving! If you’re after traditional fare a feast is never far away, or if you’re feeling a bit homesick there’s always a burger or some good old-fashioned fish and chips.

The Lotus Seaview Located on the beach with stunning meals and fresh seafood.

Gado-Gado The perfect spot for a late breakfast or lazy lunch by the sea. Seminyak Beach

B' Couple Bar N' Grill Open 24 hours, you’re never short of a place to chill out with a beer and a burger.

Indus Order the Balinese tapas and feast your eyes on the best view of the Campuhan River.

Dirty Duck Relax in this adorable little hut and try your hand (or mouth) at snails or crispy duck! Fish and chips available for the unadventurous.

Raja’s An award-winning beachfront setting with the best Balinese food around.

Blue Ocean The place of choice for expats, surfers and lovers of fresh seafood and cold beer.

Gabah Restaurant & Bar Located on the sidewalk and offering traditional style food with a little added romance.

Boneka Put your fancy-pants on and order from the French-style menu or stuff yourself at the buffet.

Mama's German Restaurant Loosen that belt buckle for massive servings of sausage, pork-knuckle and giant beers.

Bali Events

Bali’s acclaimed Annual Arts Festival takes place from every second Saturday in June to the second Saturday in July and is a celebration of exhibitions and performances. Be ‘blown away’ by the kite festival (boom-tish!).

The Galungan is the most important holiday for Balinese people, as they believe it is when their gods visit the Earth. This 10 day festival cannot be determined by the Western calendar because it occurs every 210 days so is literally a moveable feast. So fingers crossed you’re there when it pops up. It’s due to take place from 1-11 February in 2012 – and you can work it out after that!

The Balinese saka calendar has a major festival called Nyepi, which is the equivalent to New Year’s Eve in the West. It always falls on the day after the new moon on the ninth month, which you’d think would make it September, but is actually March or April. Regardless, it’s a great excuse to have some fun!

Saraswati Day celebrates the Hindu goddess of knowledge. It takes place twice a year (but again moves around), so be there in roughly April and November if you want to learn something.

June sees Bali host Shakespeare by the Sea with one-off performances of the man’s best works in Blu Lagoon Village, Padang. To see or not to see – that is the question.

The 10th month sees Seminyak, Ubud, and Denpasar host the Q! Film Festival, a gay film festival that attracts increasing numbers every year.

Getting Around

Like most things in Bali, getting around is a breeze. Public buses and bemos (have to be seen to be believed) abound – just be prepared to clamber over people, livestock and spare parts to find a seat. Plus there are also chartered bemos, shuttle buses, taxis, private cars, rented cars, motorcycles and eco-friendly bicycles.

When paying for a taxi service, be sure to know your prices. Some people will try to rip you off!

When To Go

July and August – Temperatures are at their lowest and the weather is dry, but prices are at their highest to match the tourist season.

June or late September – The weather is still cool and dry around this time, but there are fewer crowds and everything is generally a bit cheaper.

What To Miss

The Water – Don’t drink it. Bali belly is not just a fairytale. ‘No ice’ will become your favourite phrase when ordering a drink.

Everyone loves a good grope, but not from a monkey! Hold on to your wallets when visiting safari parks.

Beware of locals asking for cash for private tours.

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