Celebrating Christmas in Bali? Is that a thing? Shiny Christmas balls, that other man with a white beard and the oh so cozy Christmas tree. Mandatory visits with family, tables crammed with way too much food and of course the fantastic sing-along roars of Mariah Carey and Wham in the background! Didn't see you? Didn't see me! Because Christmas is only really fun when you can enjoy it while you are in your swimming trunks, floating in peace on an air mattress with the warm Asian sun on your knees. And that's why we take the plane to Bali, Indonesia† The following spots in Bali are especially for travelers who love Christmas, as long as they are far away from The Netherlands are.
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Okay, they secretly belong to the island of Lombok, but let's start with the most beautiful islands near Bali: the Gili islands. Walking around here makes you feel like you Robinson Crusoe who happened to end up on a bounty island. Life can be so beautiful… Little paradises northwest of Lombok, the Gili Islands are all ideal travel destinations for those eager to escape the Christmas scene. You will celebrate Christmas here in one of the fragrant restaurants, where you will probably hear a Christmas song. What you will especially see and experience is the heavenly tranquility in a truly beautiful environment. The deep blue sea, the laidback atmosphere and the friendly locals are more than worth the flight of about 16 hours. Gili Trawangan is the busiest island of the three, where you can also throw a party. Gili Air is just a bit quieter, but certainly no less cozy, followed by Gili Meno where you will find the most peace. Don't forget to take the opportunity to dive around these islands. Even with Santa hat on!
Also read: Tips for Gilic with our friends at Whatifwefly_
Uluwatu and especially the Uluwatu temple is an absolute must in Indonesia. You will find the Uluwatu temple on the Bukit Badung peninsula, south of Sanur. The temple is very special. Because the temple is built on a very steep and high rock of about 250 m, it offers an amazing view. The perfect place in Bali to celebrate Christmas. The sunset here is simply stunning. Very few other sunsets can match that! The temple consists of coral stone and is one of the most important temples on the island. Near the temple is the beach which is ideal for surfers. The raging waves here are an exciting challenge for any seasoned surfer. Ho ho ho!
Just north of the well-known Kuta is the always sunny Seminyak, an absolute hotspot in Bali to celebrate Christmas. Although an overnight stay here can be a bit more expensive than in most other places in Bali, Seminyak is a rising star among the world travelers† The seaside resort offers everything for a wonderful stay without Christmas worries. The food here is superb, especially the local Balinese cuisine. Don't know the dishes? Then it is time to try Bakso or Lontong. You can also do some Christmas shopping here in one of the many boutiques where you will find just that one Christmas dress that you did not know you were looking for. Also visit the sea temple Pura Petitenget which protects the coastline from evil spirits. Because Seminyak is close to Kuta, a day trip to Kuta is of course a great choice. End the day with a nice dinner on the beach at one of the popular lounge clubs such as KuDeTa or Potato Head, remembering the Dutch trying to get their last ingredients for their Christmas dinner in crowded supermarkets… And oh yes, bring your wallet!
Ubud is something completely different, which is located in the center of Bali, amidst beautiful rice fields. Since the success of the bestseller Eat Pray Love, which partly takes place in Ubud, tourists can no longer be ignored. If you celebrate Christmas in Bali and end up in Ubud, you will find many people who had the same great idea! Ubud is best known as a cultural center and is an artistic town in the middle of the Balinese jungle. Just walk along Monkey Forrest Road where at the end you will find the jungle full of macaques. You will encounter the real Indonesian culture here every day. Colorful religious ceremonies, dance performances and events make Ubud an exuberant place where you can completely disappear. No snowballs and pine needles for a while, but orange robes, painting and a very pleasant climate. In the evening, dive into one of the cozy bars or cafes for a nice cold Bali Hai or Bintang. cheers!
Amed is our last Christmas-less paradise in Bali. No crowded beaches and crowded restaurants and bars here. Until recently, Amed did not even have asphalted roads and is an unknown among the seaside resorts of Indonesia. Take advantage of that! Expansive beaches on the edge of the dense jungle give you every opportunity to recover from the busy Netherlands. From the volcanic island you have a perfect view of Lombok. A day on Amed looks like this: sleep in one of the thatched beach huts on the beach and then score a breakfast at the small eateries. You start the day with a meditation session on the beach and then dive into the lukewarm sea. In the afternoon, try freediving before heading into the evening with a refreshing cocktail on the beach. Christmas has never been so soothing and heartwarming… Merry Christmas!