Though COVID-19 has stalled many travel plans, we hope our stories can offer inspiration for your current—and future—adventures.
With a jaw-dropping coastline that overlooks the Indian Ocean, Bali provides prime locations to enjoy all manner of rejuvenating aquatic adventures, no matter your age. You can practically walk on water—and under the sea!—in this seemingly magical land. Savor the postcard-worthy colorful sunsets and beaches in varying shades of “wow” (from volcanic black sand to pristine white, with yellow and ash-grey shores in between) as you immerse in the wet and wonderful activities that the island has in store.
At home by Kuta Beach
Pamper yourself with five-star service at The Stones Hotel on the Southern tip of Legian Beach, which will serve as home base for the trip. The Autograph Collection’s beachfront hotel itself boasts a 32,000-square-foot pool oasis, so you’ll be able to luxuriate in the water just outside your room when you’re not enjoying action-packed aqua activities. In-room rainforest showers will keep you relaxed and revived as well. Kuta and Legian Beaches are in close proximity too, when you’re ready to venture out.
Spend part of your time here learning to surf or honing your skills on Kuta Beach’s long stretch of cream-colored sand, with gentler waves than other surfing beaches in Bali. It’s also a great place for a swim if you’re not ready or wanting to hang 10. Stay for a kaleidoscopic sunset as the reflections on the water turn into a rainbow of hues. Head back to the hotel for international cuisine at Stones Kitchen, where you’ll find options fit for any palate—choose from Western, Asian, or authentic Indonesian dishes.
Get ready to dive deep and get up close
You couldn’t ask for a better place to explore underwater life than this part of the island nation’s surrounding shores, part of the Coral Triangle, an area with the highest biodiversity of marine species in the world, including fish and turtles. There are more than 500 reef-building coral species that can be found here.
A family-friendly option is Crystal Bay, where a robust volume of tropical fish can be seen just under the tranquil surface, swimming around magnificent corals. The bay’s location between Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida islands shields it from strong currents, so it’s easily accessible for all levels of snorkelers and scuba divers. The famed Blue Lagoon, a shallow coral reef, makes another easy point of entry for beginners. Consider a night dive, when you’re likely to see rare species such as the leopard shark and red-orange Spanish dancers (large sea slugs) coursing through the waters.
For a more challenging course, book a 12-hour day trip to three Gili islands (Tepekong, Mimpang, and Biaha) to feast your eyes on sharks circling the waters and mola mola, a massive ocean sunfish.
Back on the mainland, replenish with some nourishing, plant-based dishes (from smoothies to bibimbap and even a raw food lasagna) at Sayuri Healing Food, a celebrated addition to the Ubud raw food scene.
Adventure above water and below
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to walk on the ocean floor? Try a sea walking expedition at Nusa Dua, where you’ll don a special helmet that will allow you to breathe normally—and come face to face with colorful fish—as you walk down stairs underwater to the bottom, accompanied by a guide. While similar to scuba diving, this adventure requires no certification, and even non-swimmers can partake in it.
For those looking to get their heartbeat racing over water, take a whitewater rafting trip. Choose from thrillingly twisty trips along the Ayung, Telaga Waja, or Melangit rivers. The relatively calm waters of the Ayung River provide a more serene experience for beginners, while Telaga and Melangit River journeys pick up the pace with speedier rapids for more heart-pumping excitement.
Take in stunning ocean, temple, and sunset views
Don’t leave this westernmost island of the Lesser Sunda archipelago without a trip to the scenic sea temple Tanah Lot, one of the most iconic temples in the country, located about 45 minutes west of Kuta and Seminyak. You’ll find breathtaking views that make the journey there all the more worth it—on a clear day you can see straight across to Uluwatu Temple on the southernmost tip of the Bukit Peninsula.
The temple is set on jagged rocks that jut out into the sea, so plan to go when the tide is out to get there. Grab a drink or snack at one of the nearby joints if you need to wait for the water to subside. Whatever you do, arrive in plenty of time to snag a prime spot for the iconic shot: the sun sinking into the sea beyond the temple walls. Behold as natural beauty and cultural heritage combine to create one of the most unforgettable views in the land.
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