6 Things First-Time Travellers Should Know About Bali

BY Pelago by Singapore Airlines


First time in Bali

Bali is undoubtedly the perfect place for those looking to experience a tropical paradise with a little bit of everything. From incredible landscapes and stunning beaches to lush jungles and epic waterfalls, there’s so much to discover. Apart from exploring its natural wonders, a deep dive into its local culture and spirituality is just as compelling and exciting. However you wish to experience the island, there’s always something in store for every traveller, especially first-time visitors. 

1. Ubud’s perfect for a slice of traditional Balinese culture

If you’re visiting Bali for the first time, you’ll most likely want to see all the touristy spots and top attractions. But for those set on experiencing a more traditional and laidback atmosphere, the town of Ubud awaits you. This laidback place is known to be the heart of the island, where you can explore Bali’s traditional arts, culture, and history.

Feast your eyes on Ubud’s iconic landscapes, from tropical rainforests and jungles to terraced rice paddies and majestic Hindu temples. You also don’t want to miss out on visiting its famous sacred monkey forest inhabited by thousands of playful long-tailed Macaques. Ultimately, this town nestled in the highlands of Bali offers breathtaking views that will make your first trip to the Island of the Gods worthwhile and unforgettable. 

2. Underwater adventures? Nusa Islands, no doubt

One of the most fun activities in Bali involves dipping in its unspoiled waters. You can find most of the best beaches in the southern part of Bali, in places like Jimbaran, Kuta, and the Bukit Peninsula. Heads up, though. These places are typically busy and jam-packed with people, especially during peak season. 

Alternatively, escape to the Nusa Islands, which offer some of the most beautiful and diverse coral reefs in the whole world. The unspoiled islands of Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida boast clear waters and fine white sand. Here, you can enjoy activities like snorkelling with manta rays and turtles and guided scuba diving adventures to beach hopping tours via speedboat. What’s not to love? 

3. Mount Batur offers Bali’s best sunrise

Image credit: Anatoliy Shostak

The best way to witness the sanguine sunrises in Bali is on a trekking tour to Mount Batur. This active volcano in the Kintamani region offers scenic views of Lake Batur’s crystal clear waters, mountains, and healing hot springs. This two-hour hike up the summit allows you to sit atop a sea of clouds while waiting for the sun to rise. On your way down, your friendly guide will lead you to a Balinese plantation to wrap up the tour. Here, nibble on a wide variety of delicious local coffees and teas with some biscuits.

4. Bali oozes wellness and spirituality

Bali’s zen-like atmosphere makes it a spiritual haven for all walks of life. Thanks to abundant vegetation, ancient temples, and tropical rainforests, tapping into your inner holistic side makes it more inviting. If you’re visiting Bali for the first time, you don’t want to miss out on experiencing a healing and wellness retreat to feed your soul. 

The best place to immerse yourself in traditional Balinese practices would be in Ubud, home to shamanic healers, yogis, and wellness practitioners. A broad spectrum of healing techniques await you on your spiritual journey. Some of these include the melukat bathing ritual for an aura cleansing and psychic healing to help you connect with your higher self. 

5. Traditional Balinese cuisine is big on organic produce

Image credit: Soren Funk

Any traveller that sets foot in a new destination will always look forward to trying new flavours. Thus, first-timers in Bali will surely savour the essence of the island with every meal served almost anywhere. But, for those looking for a palace to enjoy fresh seafood and native dishes, you’re in for a treat at Bale Udang Mang Engking. This scenic floating restaurant tucked away in Denpasar, the capital city of Bali, takes your dining experience to the next level. 

Your food journey doesn’t stop there. You can also take a more hands-on approach to learn about traditional Balinese cuisine in a cooking workshop. Witness a different side of the island that not many tourists get to experience – at an organic farm in the Tegallalang Rice Terraces. Here, you’ll meet friendly locals who’ll teach you different food prep techniques in Balinese fashion. 

6. Bali’s local markets are a shopaholic’s haven

Bali’s local markets are a shopaholic’s haven

Image credit: Artem Beliaikin

Obviously, a trip to Bali wouldn’t be complete without a bit of retail therapy. The best places to shop on the island are local markets, street shops, and small boutiques. You can find these over at Denpasar, Canggu, Ubud, and Seminyak, among other towns. Put your haggling skills to the test and get the best deals on local snacks, handmade crafts, jewelry, clothing, and furniture. Not only are you bringing home unique souvenirs for your friends and family, but you’re also taking a piece of the island with you. Think of it as your way of helping out local artisans and entrepreneurs, too.

Now go forth and start preparing for your Bali trip. It’s going to be the first of many adventures on the island!

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