Between its lush landscapes and ancient temples, it’s no surprise why over 5 million travelers make the trek to the island of Bali each year. During our last trip to visit our artisan partners in Indonesia, we got to experience the allure of this island for ourselves.
Bali is one of those places that just draws you in. You can’t help but stop and appreciate its natural beauty – from rice terraces to rainforests and hidden temples, this whole island is simply enchanting.
We recommend staying in the cultural capital of Ubud. This hub is made up of several villages centered around the islands’ traditional crafts - woodworking, basket weaving, jewelry-making. We could have spent days just wandering the streets, popping into art galleries and workshops.
Beyond the rich craft culture, this island offers so much to explore. Good news, we’ve rounded up our picks for mapping out your bucket-list Bali trip…
TO DO & SEE
Campuhan Ridge Walk: Take a morning walk along the Campuhan Ridge – this peaceful hike gives you incredible views of the island's rolling hills and valleys. Plan to go about an hour before sunrise. It’s pretty exposed up there, so you’ll want to avoid the heat. You'll need about 1.5-2 hours to do the 5-mile walk – if you’re like us, that includes plenty of water and photo breaks.
If you've got some extra time, look for the signs to veer off the path to the Pura Gunung Lebah temple – there's a small bridge over the Campuhan River that will drop you right there.
There are two entrances to the Campuhan Ridge Walk: north and south. The south entrance is more convenient to central Como, but word on the street is that the north entrance has more views.
Tegalalang Rice Terrace: As the staple of Indonesian cuisine, rice paddies are pretty much anywhere and everywhere. But the Tegalalang Rice Terrace is not your average rice terrace – with a steep incline of terraces that border lush rainforests, this place is breathtaking. We could’ve spent hours just hiking through these trails, taking it all in. Be sure to get there early in the morning (we went at 6 A.M.) to beat the crowds.
Ubud Monkey Forest: Home to three Hindu temples and hundreds of macaque monkeys, this reserve makes for quite the experience. We spent an afternoon exploring the stone pathways and bridges, watching the monkeys climbing and jumping from tree to tree. Keep an eye out for your jewelry, water bottles, and sunglasses – the monkeys will be sure to snag them (they’re pretty crafty!).
Nusantara: Meaning “archipelago” in Indonesia, Nusantara features regional dishes from all over the islands of Indonesia. With a menu that’s meant for sharing, order a few big and small plates so you can sample tastes from all over. Our favorites? The the stir-fried banana blossoms from Sulawesi and the grilled squid from Central Java.
A spinoff of the famed Locavore restaurant, this spot tends to book up fast, so go on and book a reservation ahead of time.
Seasalt: For a relaxing lunch, head over to Seminyak’s Seasalt Restaurant. From the white snapper to oven-baked tiger prawns, we couldn’t get enough of their Asian-inspired seafood dishes. Located in the Alila Hotel, this spot is right on the beach, so get ready for some to-die-for views.
Hanging Gardens: Best-known for their infinity pools (yes, there are multiple…) that drop straight into the jungles, this hotel is bucket-list worthy. Thanks to its remote location about 30 minutes from Ubud’s city center, this is one of the few hotels that allows you to experience the dramatic, off-the-beaten-path landscapes of Bali.
For the best views of the valley, head out to the pool deck for a glass of wine around sunset – there’s nothing quite like seeing the temple lights twinkling across the valley.
COMO Uma Ubud: Nestled in the jungles of the Tjampuhan Valley, you’ll find this serene mountain oasis. Between the airy bedrooms, complimentary yoga classes, and Balinese massages, you can’t help but relax during your stay. We're still dreaming about the calming sounds of the frogs and crickets who serenaded us to sleep each night.
GENERAL TRAVEL TIPS
Traffic: The traffic around the island can get pretty bad, so budget some extra time to get places. If you’re up for it, do as the locals do and hop on a scooter - you'll be able to get around a lot faster.
Clothing: With a hot, humid climate, go for breathable fabrics like linen or cotton. Also, we recommend dressing culturally appropriate – long skirts or pants to cover knees and shirts with sleeves.