Top 30 things in Bali and Lombok

Bali conjures up visions of a tropical island with towering volcanoes shrouded in brooding clouds, sandy beaches fringed with swaying palms and an ancient culture that lives on in the 21st century.

Bali is all these things, not necessarily in Kuta but definitely somewhere on the island. I often observe visitors strolling round Jl. Legian in Kuta getting their bearings and trying to figure out what their next move in going to be. Figuring out what’s available and how to access it is a challenge and the first step is deciding to take a trip and see something.

Looking through my Rough Guide to Bali, which is by the way a very good guide book, I notice they have listed their 30 top things to do in Bali and Lombok. I’ll list them and hope they give you a idea for an activity while you are here.

1. South Lombok beaches – great coastline,sweeping bays, dramatic headlands.
2. Pura Luhur Batukaru – one of Bali’s most beautiful and atmospheric temples located in the highlands.
3. Sunrise from Gunung Batur – sunrise views of Mt. Abang, Mt.Agung and Mt. Rinjani
4. Temple festivals – Bali as 20,000 Hindu temples and all have ceremonies.
5. Kuta nightlife – This part of the island offers a variety of late nightlife entertainment.
6. Nusa Penida’s south coast – Awesome cliffs drop off to the ocean hundreds of meters below.
7. Gunung Agung – The largest and most magnificent volcano located in east Bali.
8. Tenganen – The ancient Bali Aga village where crafts such as ikat weaving are kept alive.
9. Pemuteran – Scuba diving center and traditional fishing boats are the attraction here.
10. Kerta Gosa paintings, Klungkung – Classical Balinese paintings.
11. Rice paddies of Iseh and Sideman – lovely sweeping terraces.
12. Seafood barbecues, Jimbaran – Sit on the beach side tables and enjoy a mountain of freshly grilled seafood.
13. Bali museum, Denpasar – a great collection of exhibits featuring Balinese traditional life.
14. Tirtagangga Water Palace – Situation is tranquil east Bali the gardens features fountains and pools for swimming.
15. Street food – choose from a variety of traditional offering including chicken and turtle sate, bakso and spicy fruit salad.
16. Ubud – Bali’s top inland destination featuring a relaxed environment, arts and crafts as well as fine restaurants.
17. Spas – For those wanting to get away from it all and try something new here’s the answer. Try one of the many traditional massages or baths.
18. Gili Islands – White sandy beaches and clear turquoise water make this great get away spot.
19. Gamelan music – The glong glong rattle rattle is synonymous with Bali for returning visitors.
20. Diving and snorkeling – Shallow reefs and great marine life are very accessible from the beach and using a local with a boat.
21. Sanur – a low key resort area located on Bali’s south coast.
22. Shopping – knock off fashion in Kuta, arts and crafts in Ubud, bargains galore.
23. Tanah Lot – The most photographed temple in Bali perched on a rocky outcrop that is only accessible at low tide.
24. Barong-Rangda dance – This traditional dance is a metaphor for the battle between good and evil, very much a part of the culture.
25. Lombok crafts – featuring textiles, baskets, pottery and furniture.
26. Kecak dance – Performance by torchlight accompanied by a chorus of 50 men.
27. Neka Art Museum Ubud – A collection of the finest art in Bali featuring works from the 17the century to the 1960’s.
28. Learning to paint, cook or dance – Short tourist-oriented courses are accessible and enjoyable for visitors.
29. Pura Meduwa Karang – A great example of northern Bali’s temple architecture.
30. Climbing Rinjani – This challenging multi-day climb takes you through forest, rocky peaks and a crater lake.

Well that’s the list. I think we can all add our own and I’m surprised to think they left out surfing, with the best wave in the world at Desert Point in Lombok and novice friendly Kuta beach right here for beginners to learn on.

I’d like to add East Bali to the list as it for me represents the Bali I imagine, with its lush paddies, towering volcanoes and slow pace of life. Cruising the countryside in Tabanan on a motorbike as this gives a tourist all the freedom you can want and awesome views. For partiers Jalan Dhyana Pura offers more than Kuta in my opinion and for fine dining try Jalan Oberoi ( Laksmana ) in Seminyak.