Where to visit in Bali will depend a lot on your travel style. The south of Bali, particularly around the coast, is, for the most part, inundated with tourists. Expect crowded beaches, inflated prices and not much of the authentic Bali. Having said that, the area is easily accessible from Denpasar Airport and boasts some beautiful resorts... so don’t write it off too quickly.
“Off the beaten track” is kind of hard to find in Bali, it’s a small island with a lot of travellers wanting to explore it. But it is possible to immerse yourself in the culture and visit places that lie a little further under the radar than the Southern beaches.
With that in mind, this is what I’d recommend...
Amed is a coastal area on the East coast of Bali, about a 2.5-3 hour drive from Denpasar. Collectively referred to as Amed, but the area is made up of several small villages including Amed, Jemeluk, Bunutan and Lipah. The area has a small town vibe, great black sand beaches and beautiful sunsets. It’s also a great spot for diving and snorkelling if that’s what takes your fancy.
Lovina really refers to Lovina beach, but there are several small villages along the beach. Located in the very North of Bali, you’ll find beautiful sunsets, dolphin watching and some great day trips. For me, the beach was a little too full of boats to appreciate fully, but there’s some great snorkelling and diving in the area. From here you’ll be able to visit waterfalls, lakes and temples.
The real reason I keep coming back to Bali. Ubud is by no means off the beaten track, far from it. But as the cultural hub of the island, it can’t be missed. Staying for 2 or 3 days, I can understand why people often miss the appeal of the town but the key is to stay a little longer and get into the swing of it. The first time I visited Bali I based myself in Ubud for a month, travelling for weekends and short stays elsewhere but always returning to my Bali home. Day trips to waterfalls, massages and yoga classes can all be achieved by visiting Ubud, but the real treat comes from doing nothing. The café culture in Ubud is what draws me back every time.. the ability to sit, overlooking rice paddies while reading book and having a coffee is where you’ll find real pleasure here.
A great little village just outside Ubud. It offers loads of accommodation and café choices, without the traffic of motorbikes or pedestrians. A really small town feel with some of the best eateries in Ubud. I recommend staying here if you fancy waking up surrounded by rice paddies and insects humming rather than motorbike horns.