Known for its gorgeous luxury hotels, resorts, beaches, and experiences across the island, it’s easy to believe that visiting Bali would set your pocketbook back a fair amount. However, that’s not necessarily the case; it’s more than possible to enjoy the best that the island of the Gods have to offer on a budget with a bit of research of where to stay and what to do. Here are five destinations in Bali to get you started:
Seminyak: Waterfalls and an abandoned theme park
Seminyak might be known for its upscale restaurants, great nightlife, upmarket boutiques, but the fringes of the area is also home to an abandoned theme park, Taman Festival. Closed in 2000 (though we hear it was never really open anyway), rumours of cannibalistic crocodiles and bat infested cinemas are abound in this place where vegetation is also wildly overgrown. One for the adrenaline junkies and explorer-wannabes, just be careful where you tread. Alternatively, the the Aling-Aling waterfall is great for cooling off in the summer heat, and it’s just a 20 minute drive from Seminyak.
Stay: the trendy ZEN Rooms Plawa Seminyak right in the heart of Seminyak, from US$26 US per night
Denpasar: The land of turtles
Headquartered in Denpasar, the capital of Bali, the Bali Sea Turtle Society runs a conservation program for endangered sea turtles. Besides rescuing sea turtles in need, they also protect nesting turtles to increase hatching and release rates (this includes relocating turtle nests if need be). Show up and get yourself involved.
Stay: ZEN Rooms Kuta Kubu Anyar, located just 12 minutes from the Ngurah Rai International Airport, from US$15 per night.
Ubud: The cultural heart of Bali
If you need a little break from the beach, head to Ubud for a healthy dose of natural beauty and culture. Just 2.5 kilometres from the centre of Ubud lies Petulu, a village that sees thousands of herons flying in every evening. Just remember to walk quickly under the trees if the herons are already roosting. You can also explore the village and snag a seat at one of the warnings in the paddy fields before the spectacle begins.
There’s also great local food in Ubud and the Campuhan Ridge Walk, which is known for its mellow hiking trails and sweeping hilltop views.
Stay: at the centrally located ZEN Rooms Tukad Mas, close to the Warung Makan Teges, from US$20 per night.
Bedugul: Temples by the lake
Bedugul isn’t a must-see for most people when they visit Bali, whether they’re travelling on a budget or not, and what a shame that is. With Ubud getting increasingly crowded as well, Bedugul offers a real chance to escape from the pressures of modern life, and bring back a little zen. Despite being much further inland, Bedugul is located near Lake Bratan and is home to several temples, including the Pura Ulun Danu Bratan.
Stay: ZEN Rooms Cemara Bedugul is located near the Danau Bratan Lake so you can spend your evening walking along its edge, from US$36 per night.
This article is brought to you by Zen Rooms, the purveyor of the best value for money hotels in South East Asia.
Top image courtesy of Thomas Depenbusch.