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Also known as “the Island of the Gods,” Bali should be on every luxury traveler’s bucket list. This dreamy Indonesian island is home to stunning beaches, vibrant culture and an array of beautiful hotels and resorts. It’s one of my all-time favorite travel destinations – in fact, I’ve been six times (so far). That’s why I’ve created this Bali luxury travel guide to help you make the most of your time on the heavenly island.
Whether you want to surf in Canggu, find yourself in Ubud or treat yourself in Seminyak, your time on the island is sure to be unforgettable. Keep on reading to discover the most beautiful spots, the best experiences and, of course, the most luxurious resorts that Bali has to offer.
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Let’s start with Bali’s spiritual capital: Ubud.
Surrounded by rice terraces and rainforests, Ubud is easily one of the most beautiful areas of Bali. There are no beaches here, but the lush green scenery is sure to capture your heart.
If you’re interested in Balinese culture, this is the place for you. Ubud is home to a myriad of cultural workshops, such as cooking classes, aerial yoga and mindfulness classes. The global bestseller ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ is set here, which tells you all you need to know about the vibe going on in this town.
When it comes to Bali luxury travel, Seminyak is an absolute must-visit. It’s an upscale beach resort town teeming with chic bars, restaurants and beach clubs where you can kick back in style. I can’t get enough.
Canggu is a relaxed coastal village with plenty going on. There’s a definite boho vibe here; hipster beach bars and plant-based cafes line the streets. A growing number of expats are calling Canggu home and it’s easy to see why – the fun, relaxed vibe makes you want to stay forever.
Uluwatu’s gorgeous cliff top views and white sandy beaches make it a little slice of heaven. It’s the perfect place to enjoy some rest and relaxation whilst surrounded by amazing natural beauty. It’s also home to the famous Uluwatu temple where you can watch traditional kecak dancing at 6pm every night.
Jimbaran is a bit of a hidden gem when it comes to Bali luxury travel. It’s a small fishing village just south of Kuta, Bali’s notorious party town. However, unlike its noisy neighbour, Jimbaran is a lesser-known Bali destination full of hidden gems. Its secret beaches are starting to become increasingly popular thanks to the ‘Gram, however, so I recommend you visit soon!
The paradiscal Gili islands aren’t technically part of Bali, but you should definitely visit them whilst you’re here. The largest and most popular island, Gili Trawangan, is a party destination whilst Gili Air and Gili Meno have more relaxed ‘honeymoon’ vibes. All three islands boast immaculate white sand beaches, crystal clear water and unforgettable marine life.
Taxis are the easiest way to get around Bali. Unfortunately, they’re also how most scammers make their money. Here’s how to get around without getting ripped off:
For days when you’re going to be traveling around a lot, it’s a good idea to book a private driver. You should able to book safe, convenient and luxurious private chauffeur services through your hotel so that you can cruise around the island with ease.
Tip: make sure you arrange private pickup from the airport through your hotel. Getting from the airport to your hotel can be a chaotic (and scam-filled) process thanks to local taxi mafia politics, so private pickup saves a ton of hassle.
If I listed every wonderful activity available in Bali, we’d be here all day. Since you probably don’t have that long, I’ve put together an ultimate Bali luxury travel bucket list.
Breakfast in the pool is a quintessential Bali experience. There’s something so wonderfully extravagant about it – not to mention that it’s a pretty incredible photo opportunity. I loved my floating breakfast at the Four Seasons hotel in Jimbaran.
Getting up close and personal with Balinese long-tailed monkeys in Ubud’s sacred forest is a memorable experience, to say the least. Seeing these amazing (and very cheeky) creatures roaming around ancient ruins is a total Jungle Book experience, and one that you shouldn’t miss out on.
The monkeys are uber-sassy and will happily take selfies with you, but keep your valuables in your bag because they’ll happily swipe those, too.
Kelingking Beach, Nusa Penida is the ultimate Balinese Instagram hotspot. I mean, did you even go to Bali if you didn’t snap a photo of the iconic T-Rex-shaped peninsula?
However, Nusa Penida is more than just a photo opp. Tourism is relatively recent to this beautiful island, so it’s a chance to glimpse a quieter and more authentic side of Indonesian life. There’s also some killer snorkelling opportunities.
Accommodation is few and far between on Nusa Penida, so it’s best to visit on a day trip. There are regular boats from Sanur and plenty of organized tours available.
If you only visit one temple in Bali, make it this one. Pura Luhur Lempuyang is one of the oldest Hindu temples in the world and the island’s most sacred cultural site.
It’s actually a complex consisting of seven temples, which form a trail leading to the top of Mount Lempuyang. That sounds intimidating, but it only takes ten (admittedly sweaty) minutes to get to the top. When you arrive, you’ll be rewarded with the sight of the appropriately named Gates of Heaven.
Set aside the best part of a day to visit Pura Luhur Lempuyang. It’s located 2-3 hours away from most of Bali’s main destinations. I recommend getting there early as, unsurprisingly, it’s a very popular attraction and you might have to queue for entry and photos if you decide to sleep in.
Bali is famous for its beach clubs, so you simply can’t do Bali luxury travel without them. Here’s a few of my favorites:
Be honest: you don’t really want to leave Bali without a snap of you soaring over the jungle on a swing, or perched in a nest. Bali Swing Park is home to seven swings, numerous hanging nests and a sky bed to help you capture that picture-perfect moment. The views are incredible and adrenaline junkies can get their kicks on some of the more extreme swings.
Bali is a fantastic place to surf, whether you’re just starting out or a total pro. The Dreamland Peninsula in Uluwatu and Canggu’s Echo Beach are both great beginner spots. Experienced, thrill-seeking surfers should check out Impossibles Beach in Uluwatu for an adrenaline-fuelled session.
Bali is home to some pretty spectacular marine life. The south of the island is better for surfing, but there are incredible reefs and wrecks elsewhere.
Head to Tulamben beach and you can explore the World War II USAT Liberty wreck. Over time, it’s turned into an artificial reef which makes for a pretty incredible underwater experience.
The Gili Islands, meanwhile, are home to some eerie underwater sculptures. If you’re lucky, you might see a turtle while you’re exploring, too.
Bali is full of yoga studios. Whether you want to check out aerial yoga or keep it simple with a mindful vinyasa class, you’ll find something to suit you on the island. Ubud Yoga House is one of the island’s most popular spots. The motto is “yoga for everybody”, so don’t be intimidated if you haven’t practiced before.
One of the best things about Bali is its vibrant cafe culture. There are so many picture-perfect cafes to explore on the island that it’s hard to choose just one, but my guide to the best cafes in Bali will help you to decide!
Jimbaran is one of my favorite places in Bali and it’s home to an incredible “secret” beach. Tegal Wangi Beach is a little off-the-beaten track but it’s worth the visit. It’s not safe to swim here but there’s a hidden cave you can explore and when the tide goes out you can soak in the saltwater rock pools – nature’s very own jacuzzis.
The sheer volume of excellent hotels and resorts in Bali make it a luxury traveler’s paradise. I’ve had the pleasure of staying at many of them. These are the ones I loved the most:
When you close your eyes and think “Bali luxury travel”, you probably think of something a lot like the Four Seasons hotel in Jimbaran. This stunning resort is the perfect place to relax, recharge and totally treat yourself. The service is fantastic; you won’t have to worry about a thing. The cooking class is a lot of fun, too.
If you want to party in Bali’s hottest neighborhood – or just relax in an enormous beachfront pool – stay at the W. There’s always something fun going on here, whether it’s Sunday brunch at the Starfish Bloo restaurant or live DJ sets at the Woobar beach club.
A dreamy resort with opulent villas and an amazing range of healing and spa treatments. From healing touch rituals to yoga and fitness, the Mandapa is a fantastic choice for those seeking an Ubud wellness retreat.
The opulent villas the Four Seasons Ubud are second to none. Nestled in the heart of the Balinese jungle, this beautiful resort was designed with meditation in mind. There’s a giant lotus pond on the rooftop of the main building and a jungle skybridge to explore. This secluded resort really is a piece of paradise – so much so that it was featured on the 2020 Conde Nast Gold list.
Beautiful and romantic, the Oberoi is everything you could want in a tropical beach resort. Their open-air spa is one of the best you’ll come across in Bali and the range of treatments will leave you feeling brand new.
The Munduk Moding Plantation in northern Bali is the perfect place to go when you want to escape civilization and get lost in nature.
It’s a plush resort on a working coffee plantation in the middle of the jungle, so staying here is a very unique experience. It blends Bali luxury travel with authentic cultural experiences in the best possible way. There’s very little tourism in the area, so it’s ultra peaceful. I mean, nothing says “relax” quite like sitting in a private hot tub overlooking the Balinese jungle, does it?
The resort stylishly blends modern architecture with traditional Balinese style and there are daily workshops where you can learn more about the island’s culture.
Bali is a very safe place to travel, as long as you use your common sense. Violent crime against travelers is very low but scams are commonplace. Here are a few tips to help you stay safe:
Last – but by no means least – it’s important to think about what you’re going to take to Bali. Of course, you want to look your best but it’s important to stay safe and protect yourself from that hot Indonesian sun, too.
One of the best ways to protect your skin from sunburn is with a physical barrier. A large sun hat will keep you looking stylish and shield your face from the sun’s rays.
Well, duh. SPF is everything. Make sure you pack plenty of sunscreen with high SPF (a minimum of 30, but 50 is better) and reapply it frequently throughout the day.
You’ll need something to keep your valuables in when you’re wandering around town. Bali is home to many moped-riding thieves who love to snatch phones, wallets and bags. Backpacks are too hard to grab, so they’re less likely to go for you.
When visiting temples and other sacred sites, you’re expecting to dress modestly – which usually means covering your shoulders and knees at the very least. However, Bali is super hot and it’s not always comfortable to do so. The solution? Invest in a light sarong that you can wrap around you when needed.
Cute beach cover ups are another great way to protect your skin and look good at the same time. A total win-win.
Of course, you need some killer sunnies to complete your Bali beach pics and protect your peepers. I firmly believe that you can never have too many pairs of sunglasses, so here are some cute picks:
Now that you’re ready to rock in Bali, why not check out my list of the best Asian destinations for a girls’ trip?
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Your Luxe Lifestyle was founded by luxury world traveler Isabella Garofanelli bringing you the very best the globe has to offer in travel, lifestyle, and wellness.
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