Doing a Bali helicopter ride was probably the best decision I made while there. I only had a short time in Bali, so I wanted to get a feel for as much of it as I could as quickly as possible. And, what better way to do that than from the air?! This is true in most beautifully scenic places you can go, and especially true in Bali. Seeing the island from the sky gave me a true feel for it and its different parts, and allowed me to see the best view in Bali in just under 35 minutes.
Air Bali does quite a few different helicopter rides, from quick 30 minute southern island tours (what I did) to tours all the way to the Volcano or over to Lombok. One day I hope to do them all! But because it was my first time in Bali, I was stoked to get to know the main touristy areas and southern peninsula from a few hundred meters above.
I was lucky enough to sit in the front seat, an even more excited when I realized that this was a ‘glass bottom’ helicopter of sorts – or, at least a bit of the front floor of the helicopter was see-through. I was already taking photos in my mind as I realized how cool my bare feet looked in front of a transparent floor. I got ALL my cameras ready, and watched in awe as the pilot expertly flipped millions of knobs and switches before lifting us gently off the ground and into the air. Did I mention Air Bali has a perfect safety record?! I mean, I would hope they would, but this is important to note!
From our takeoff point, we first cut through the air directly towards the eastern beaches, before veering slightly north. We spent the first part of the Bali helicopter ride flying over miles of beautiful rice paddies, which extended in every possible direction. I knew about the Bali rice paddies, but nothing could have prepared me for how breathtaking they would be not only in person, but from the sky.
It’s like they’re such a bright shade of green it’s almost fluorescent, each rising above the next in perfect succession. The small pools of water among the green blades simmered in the sunlight as we passed overhead, presenting a little bit of a different view with each passing second.
Next, we flew over to the Tanah Lot Temple, which juts out on a rock just off the coast. We could see the tiny dots of people gathered all around it posing for photos, but we knew we had the best view of all, and totally unobstructed! We made a few loops to provide all the best viewing angles, before moving on to head down the coast.
Next we flew from the Tanah Lot temple all the way down the coast to the Denpasar Airport. We spent time hovering more slowly at higher altitudes to have longer perspectives of the coast, and also much closer to the surf. One of my favorite parts of the Bali helicopter ride was when we sped down the coast fairly fast, just a few dozen meters above the waves, and waved at the surfers as we went by! Everyone waved back, and it was a pretty cool moment to fly right over their heads.
Waving at the surfers // coming up to the airport
After waiting a few minutes for a plane to take off from the Bali airport, it was time to check out the southern tip of the peninsula. This is where all the more idyllic white sand beaches are clear blue water are, and we could quickly tell when we saw the first bright white strip of sand in the distance.
We cruised over lots of these white strips of beach and watched as the landscape turned from relatively flat to green and cliffy, with each beach’s cliffs a bit higher than the previous one. This is the part of Bali that is photographed for the coastal scenes – and for good reason, too! The cliffs grew taller and the water clearer until we reached the pinnacle of our trip – the Uluwatu temple!
The Uluwatu temple is perched on a massive cliff, towering over a pristine surf break below. It’s one of the most popular (and remote) tourist destinations in Bali, and lucky for us we got to get super close in just 15 minutes! We circled it a few times, taking in the views of the greenery, temple, and bright blue water hundreds of feet below.
Some amazing cliff + beach views
(Another) one of my favorite parts of the journey was flying over the crazy cliffs and tiny beach inlets just next to the Uluwatu temple. It’s hard for me to find the proper words to describe this bit, but I think the photos will do it more justice: simply incredible. Around this part of the island were also some of the most incredible accommodations and properties. We saw cliffside resorts, massive villas, and even a clear pod hotel right on the southernmost beaches. Trust me, I set some accom goals for my future Bali trips 😉
After that we flew over the GWK Cultural Park, which just so happened to be hosting the music festival that I was at the night prior. It was breathtaking to be able to see the massive stages from above, which has just been towering over my head and emitting loads of lasers and confetti the night before. The Cultural park is a super interesting place, with massive cliffs cut out to walkways below. It’s at the base of what is most likely the largest and most famous statue of Bali as well, visible from pretty much all over the island in the center of the southern peninsula. After checking out the festival stages we got right up close and personal wit the statue, seemingly within an arm’s reach of the opulent figure and its fanning wings.
See the stages? Those were FULL of people the night before!
The last views we had were over the Nusa Dua and Benoa Bay beaches, which are known for having calm water and tons of waterspouts. We checked out a few more stupidly gorgeous resorts (excuse my language but trust me, it’s appropriate! 😛 ) as well, with huge towers looking over infinity pools looking over the beach. We saw people riding banana boats and wakeboards, creating small white streaks as they glided over the smooth water.
As we came over the final stretch of the loop and back to the heli pad, we had to pick our jaws up off the floor and try to process all the beauty we had just seen. I was spastically switching between my Go Pro, DSLR, and phone for IG stories the entire time, never being swift enough to fully capture each moment before the next. I think I managed to get some good stuff, however – enough to convince you that a Bali helicopter ride if the best way to see the island?! I hope so!
Thanks to AirBali for hosting me on this amazing Bali helicopter tour! All words are completely my own and I adored the trip.