Bali is legendary as a must-visit place, especially for lovers. Here are 10 things to know about this special place.
1. Bali has been discovered
First thing to know about Bali - erase the idea that it's the quintessential island of tranquility. Bali replaced serenity with tourism 15 years ago. Don't despair, though: tranquility still abides in Bali. It's cached around the island. . . you just have to know how to find it.
Romantic dinner in a beach cabana is dreamy at The Conrad Bali at Kusa Dua. — Photo courtesy of Conrad Bali
2. Nusa Dua peninsula has yummy resorts
Many resorts on Bali's Nusa Dua peninsula offer seclusion and peace. Palm trees rustle in gentle breezes. Spectacular beaches stretch long distances. Pools with swim-up bars sing a siren song, luring you in. Book a beach resort, choosing one as special as you can afford.
3. Ubud merits exploration
Ubud is a central Bali town famed since the 1930s for its artistic population. Once quiet, Ubud is now beloved by tourists and buzzes with motorbikes. But the town offers many escapes. Duck into an open air café. Find a health spa. Head to Yoga Barn, with its hundreds of classes. Or you might have a drink at Amandari, a resort outside Ubud that is serenity itself, overlooking hills and rice fields.
The lush grounds of luxury resort Amandari are a retreat from Ubud's traffic. — Photo courtesy of Anne Chalfant
4) You can party hard in Bali
Looking for the "non-tranquil" Bali? The rockin' club scene in Kuta is thriving. Sky Garden Lounge is a longtime hot spot; popular clubs cluster nearby. Kuta is an international youth scene, crawling with Australians, Europeans, Brits, Asians and New Zealanders. A smattering of Americans travel the 8,600 miles from the U.S. West Coast to Bali, and the 11, 538 miles from Boston/East Coast.
Seminyak, near Kuta, is also known for nightlife, attracting a crowd of high-fashion devotees and self-styled sophisticates.
5) Drugs: a huge no-no
Sixth fact to know: Face the death penalty in Indonesia if convicted of drug charges. A British woman is currently on trial in Bali.
6) Climate: lovely but humid
Bali is a temperate 68 to 93 degrees year-round. Humidity runs 60 to 85%, with lots of sticky days.
Rice fields in rising mist resemble an impressionist paintings. Bali's high humidity also adds to beauty of sunrises. — Photo courtesy of Anne Chalfant
7) Locals are friendly
Bali's serenity comes partly from its people, some of the sweetest on the planet. Chatting with them can turn your day around. Their dazzling smiles could also turn your life upside down.
8) Hinduism is omnipresent
Balinese Hinduism is practiced by 85 percent of the island's people. Canang sari is a thrice-daily offering. Palm leaf packets wrap flowers and fruit. You see offerings beside trees, in front of shrines - even adorning cars and trucks on days the gods of mechanical things are honored. Some taxi drivers even make offerings at a roadside shrine prior to tangling with traffic. A woman carries offerings to a temple. Balinese Hindus make three offerings a day. — Photo courtesy of Anne Chalfant
9) Buy batiks, jewelry and crafts
Bali has a world class reputation in the arts. Batik, the most uniquely Balinese craft, produces beautiful textiles. Silks and sarongs can be purchased from vendors in stalls, but you'll find higher quaiity goods and less haggling where locals shop. In Kuta, try fabric shops along Jalan Arjuna.
Balinese batik is internationally famous. Hand-decorated panels and yardages of batik fabric can be purchased. — Photo courtesy of Anne Chalfant
The town of Celuk is famed for its silver jewelry. Celuk is between Denpasar, Bali's capital, and Ubud further north. Peruse simple exquisite necklaces, rings, bracelets without being haggled in Celuk's large, home-like shops. Try Puri Kancana for excellent quality.
10) Bali makes a great cruise stop
If you're not sure you want to commit to a chunk of time in Bali, consider sampling it on a cruise. Holland America Line makes two-day port calls to Bali, offered on some of the line's Asia cruises.