Bali

A spiritual journey through lush paddy fields, monkey temples and cliff top shrines

Overview

“Om swastiastu”. You’ll hear the Sanskrit greeting everywhere among the smiling Balinese. Offer this traditional hello and you’ll enjoy a reaction of genuine glee. Meaning something along the lines of “peace from God”, it’s very much in keeping with the spirit of Bali. This gem of the Indonesian archipelago is known as the island of the gods and it’s easy to see why. The emerald green rice terraces, forested volcanic mountains and towering cliffs are almost painfully beautiful, dotted throughout with tiered pagodas, exquisite temples and hidden shrines reflecting a deep adherence to Hinduism entwined into the daily lives of the Balinese.

People here are extremely conservative, and this becomes immediately apparent, especially outside the heavily touristed areas around Seminyak and Kuta, which are best avoided in your discovery of an authentic Bali. The biggest crowds congregate in the dry season May to September, and then again around the period December and January. The wet monsoon season lasts October through May and apart from the Christmas and New Year peak, can be considered low season. March to May and October to November are magical times to travel – costs are lower, crowds are fewer and as you watch raindrops dripping off the elephant ear palms and revel in the relief humidity, you will relax, whether you want to or not.

 

Luscious Ubud

A favoured hotspot, not least since its starring role in ‘Eat, Pray, Love’, Ubud is an absolute must for the low season. Nestled among rice paddies, rainforests, and steep ravines, it’s a centre for traditional crafts and dance. The picturesque Campuhan Ridge Walk is gorgeous undertaken early in the morning or just before sunset. At The Pyramids of Chi sound healing centre you’ll spend an hour transcending through an energetic musical vibration. Take time to explore the sacred Monkey Forest, where 14th century temples sit within dense foliage and make a home for hundreds of long-tailed macaques. Just take care not to look any of the primates directly in the eye, and keep your snacks well out of reach.

 

 Your Beach of Choice

Each traveller’s idea of a perfect beach is different, so choose carefully. The popular sands around Canggu, Seminyak, Kuta are fabulous for Instagram shots of you and your pals enjoying cocktails and sun loungers at upmarket Finns Club, Ku De Ta and Café del Mar. If you are looking for something more pristine, it is worth venturing further to check out the cliffs at Yeh Gangga, the surf at Keramas, Amed in the north east for incredible snorkelling, or the beautiful island of Nusa Penida.

 

The Great Indoors

Even in the wet monsoon, you’ll find sunny periods for much of the day, but to dodge the showers, there are loads of brilliant options. Bali is renowned for its super chilled yoga retreats. Whether you’re a dedicated yogi or beginner on the mat, take a single class or stay for a week and be at one among paradisial surroundings and spiritual vibes. Get inspired by Bali’s community of artists, keeping ancient traditions alive and pushing boundaries. Bajra Sandhi in a Denpasar park showcases spectacular feats of architecture; Le Mayeur Museum home of Adrien-Jean features furniture sculpted with Hindu legends; and Tugu Hotel houses a stunning collection of Indonesian art and antiquities. Or just while away the hours in Bali’s many cocktail bars, coffee shops or fragrant local restaurants.


Low Season Saving

Up to 50% versus Peak Season


Tourist:Local Ratio

Peak Season

Low Season

1.5:1
1:1


Major Airport

Bali Ngurah Rai International Airport, DPS

Low Season Months

Jan Feb
26°C
90mm
9hrs
Mar
27°C
90mm
9hrs
Apr
27°C
70mm
9hrs
May
28°C
70mm
8hrs
Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct
27°C
60mm
8hrs
Nov
27°C
70mm
8hrs
Dec

Hotels

Top Experiences

Climb Mount Batur

This very sacred mountain rises to 1717m above sea level and can be climbed, if you’ve got the fitness levels, in time for an unforgettable sunrise. Take in spectacular views from the peak and tuck into a well-deserved breakfast beside the steam of an active volcano.

Water Palaces

The quintessential image of Bali, Tirta Gangga was built for the royal family of Karangasem and the water is said to be from the River Ganges herself. Often less crowded, you may prefer the more remote but no less stunning Taman Ujung tucked away on the eastern coast.

Massage

Indulge in a wonderful pampering Balinese treatment complete with Indian Ayurvedic techniques and local herbal scrubs all in a serene setting. Full of ritual, massages are given to brides before a wedding, and are available for you at a fraction of the price back home.

Insider Tips

  • During low season, in March or April, Bali celebrates Nyepi or the Day of Silence. No public facilities are open for 24 hours. The run up though is a chance to experience ritualistic ceremonies, painted statues, and locals banging pots to chase away demons.
  • Don’t be surprised to see congested roads and stationery traffic, families on bikes, taxis, trucks with chicken. Low season brings something of a relief to this situation. Canggu to Ubud is usually 30 minutes, but can take 4 hours in high season rush hour.
  • There are some amazing upmarket eateries, but don’t miss the local warungs. These are family run cafes or stalls with a few tables, simple décor and delicious home-cooked food at low prices. Skip tap water and salad, but do try nasi campur – a bit of everything.

Good To Know

  • Take advantage of low season shopping without the crowds. Bring an empty suitcase and fill it with hand-made treasures at very low prices. Jewellery, silver, clothing, coffee, and local art are all great buys. Don’t forget to politely haggle, it’s part of the experience.
  • Surfers flock to the shores, especially in dry season, but low season swells won’t disappoint for those in the know. Pro surfers head to south facing Green Bowl, Serangan, or black-sanded Keramas. Learn to surf course run throughout the year if you’re a newbie.
  • Hire a car to fully explore Bali’s diversity. Alternatively, Bluebird taxis are pretty reliable, or opt for Gojek, a local "Uber" with motorbikes, which is a good way to beat traffic jams. Booking a driver for a full day can work out more economical than single fares.

Food & Drink

Zest, Ubud

££

A completely plant-based restaurant that’s so good even carnivores will love it! Beautiful open-air organic restaurant with beautiful artistic touches and sweeping jungle views. Often featuring live music.

Sundara, Jimbaran Bay

£££££

The stunning beach club at Jimbaran’s Four Seasons. It’s an upmarket hideaway for daylong relaxation or sun-downers. Dine on fresh seafood on the sun-kissed deck or in an intimate beach-front gazebo.

Babi Guling Suckling Pig

££££

One of Bali’s most famed dishes. The pig is stuffed and infused with a spicy concoction typically involving turmeric, coriander seeds, lemongrass, black pepper and garlic, and traditionally spit roasted.

Reviews

1 Review. Leave new

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