Blacksmith soldering traditional jewelry in Bali, Indonesia - featured image

Shopping in Bali is both an adventure in tradition and a discovery of culture. Whether bargaining in local markets or hunting down the ultimate designer handbag sale, your shopping experience is guaranteed to include scores of traditional handicrafts, antiques, artwork and jewelry, charming boutiques and mega shopping malls. The best shopping spots in Bali open early and close late, and some never close at all!

AGODA EXTRA: Jewelry-making is an integral piece of Bali culture. Goldsmith and silversmith skills are passed down through generations of families. Custom jewelry shops and classes have popped up across the island, but the most concentrated clusters of Balinese jewelers are in Ubud and Sanur.

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Tanah Lot temple in Bali

Bali was officially discovered in the 16th century by Portuguese sailors, but the island’s roots in Indian, Chinese and Hindu culture can be traced back centuries before that. More than 4 million people now inhabit the island, which garners 80 percent of its economy from tourism. For this reason, natives strive to protect the region’s rich culture through local artistry, native music and efforts to preserve thousands of treasured and ancient landmarks in Bali.

AGODA EXTRA: Late musician David Bowie loved Indonesia so much that he recorded the song “Tumble and Twirl” in 1984 about his journeys there; before his death in 2016, he asked that his ashes be scattered on the island of Bali in accordance with Buddhist rituals.

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Whether you end up in Canggu or Denpasar, Kuta or Nusa Dua, the food in Bali is guaranteed to be a star attraction! Culinary traditions on Indonesia’s most popular island embrace local spices, as well as Hindu customs, and this combination sets Balinese food apart from any other regional delicacies. Markets, fruit vendors, festivals and cooking schools line the streets and alleyways of Bali. Follow locals to find prize-winning warungs (food stands), or ask long-time expats for directions to the most charming restaurants in town.

AGODA EXTRA: Bali is home to the largest pack of instant noodles ever made. In 2005, PT Indofood Sukses Makmur Tbk in Semarapura entered the Guinness World Records with an exact replica of a Mi Goreng-flavored Indomie that measured 340 X 235.5 X 47 centimeters (133.8 X 92.7 X 18.5 inches) and weighed 664.94 kilograms (1,465.9 pounds). Complete with seasoning packets, the noodles were prepared on 84 stoves by 325 people and served to local residents in one giant stainless steel bowl – gaining PT Indofood yet another entry into the books for the largest bowl of noodles ever prepared AND eaten!

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Make the most of your time by deciding what you’d like to do and where to stay in Bali before you get there, and then plan your days around where the fun is! If you’re more apt to spend your time snorkeling and beach-bumming, head south. If hiking and nature are more your cup of tea, point your compass north and northeast.

AGODA EXTRA: Bali is famous for its stunning white sand beaches, but did you know that many of the island’s coastal regions are actually covered in black sand? The peculiar attractions were formed from the cooled lava of Mount Agung, giving Bali’s famous beachfront sunsets a whole new appeal!

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Ancient stone gateway in Bali

Holidays in Bali’s southernmost parts, like Kuta, Ubud and Sindhu, almost plan themselves, but going beyond Bali for group travel, backpacking and family holidays might require some help from locals. Day trip destinations and tours in Bali encompass every aspect of the island’s culture and diversity. Line up a beach and temple excursion, or set your sights on mountains and waterfalls.

AGODA EXTRA: Bali is an island, but it is a province, too. The entire region consists of the main island of Bali and a cluster of smaller islands, each worth a visit. Take a half-hour boat ride off the east coast to Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan for a day trip of surfing, snorkeling, roaming country roads and soaking up rays on some of the quietest beaches in Bali.

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The key to navigating one of the world’s most popular tropical paradises is absorbing it one region at a time. With six different areas to explore, Bali attractions offer sunbathing and diving in the south and nature and hiking to the north. Go east to discover an active volcano, or head west to trek through a national park. No matter where you go, you’ll be surrounded by the 4 million people that occupy the island and will learn immediately why the Balinese are considered some of the most hospitable and charming people in the world!

AGODA EXTRA: Religion plays an integral role in the daily lives of the Balinese. Tens of thousands of ancient shrines, or puras, are still used by locals today to honor gods of both land and sea. Many “sea temples” date back to the 16th century, and together they form a chain around the coast of Bali. The complex system of temples is how Bali became known as the Island of the Gods.

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