The Indonesian archipelago has more than 17,000 islands and Bali is the undisputed favorite among them. Famous as the island of gods, Bali is located just over two kilometers from the eastern tip of the island of Java and west of the island of Lombok. The island has earned its reputation as the ultimate tropical paradise, and not without reason. It offers rich natural beauty with beaches, forested volcanic mountains, iconic rice paddies and coral reefs to explore, along with a fascinating culture that is a unique mix of Hindu-Buddhist religion and Balinese customs. The island also allows you to take part in various colorful ceremonies, with magnificent temples welcoming those interested in history and spirituality. It is also known to be home to many talented artists who produce beautiful works of art in paint, stone, wood, silver and anything that can be shaped. With so many things to do, you might be a little confused on your first visit. Don’t worry! We have compiled a list of places to visit in Bali!
The best tourist places to visit in Bali
1. Bali’s Luxury Spa Capital: Seminyak
Located on Bali’s west coast, Seminyak is the center of life for the island’s hordes of expats. This seaside resort is a mix of tourist and residential areas and is very popular for its many restaurants and clubs and for its wealth of creative and design shops and galleries. Enjoy idyllic beaches like Seminyak Beach and Petitenget Beach, luxury spas like Prana Spa or Seminyak Royal Spa, designer boutiques like Auguste The Label or SOUQ, lively restaurants like Lacalaca Cantina Mexicana and Sarong, bars like La Favela and KU DE TA, villas and interesting handicraft and furniture shops open until late.
2. The largest and holiest Hindu temple in Bali – Besakih Temple
Also known as the Mother Temple of Bali, Besakih Temple is the largest of all the temple complexes in Bali. It is Bali’s holiest Hindu temple and is perched at an elevation of approximately 1,000 meters above sea level on the southwestern slopes of Mount Agung, Bali’s highest mountain. This unique temple complex consists of 18 separate shrines, each belonging to different caste groups, which are then surrounded by a central complex with three main temples. The main temples are dedicated to the Hindu trinity: Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu. Pura Besakih is considered to be the foremost of gods paradise of the world (the nine directional temples built to protect the island from evil). One of the best places to visit in Bali, this temple annually hosts more than 70 religious ceremonies or celebrations attended by devotees from all over the island.
3. The most active volcano in Bali – Mount Batur
Mount Batur is actually a volcano within an older, larger volcano; it lies at the center of two concentric calderas northwest of Mount Agung. Located 1,717 meters (5,633 feet) above sea level, this active volcano offers breathtaking views of Lake Batur, the black lava from the last explosion, and the surrounding mountains. Also called Gunung Batur, Mount Batur last erupted in 2000 and is one of the best places to visit in Bali. You can climb this mountain to watch the sun rise over the lush patchwork of mist-shrouded mountains and the caldera far below. Located in the Kintamani district in Bali’s central highlands, about an hour’s drive from Ubud, the two-hour trek to the top will take you to one of the most spectacular landscapes on the island. Many people also combine their trip here with one of Bali’s most important temples, Pura Ulun Danu Batur, which is located on the northwestern shore of the lake.
4. Cultural icon for photography: Pura Tanah Lot
Located offshore, Pura Tanah Lot is one of Bali’s directional temples (paradise of the world) and one of the most famous Hindu temples in Bali. As the temple is built on a large coral rock on the coast of Beraban village in Tabanan regency, it looks spectacular against the backdrop of a dramatic sunset and the sea. Its location has transformed it into a religious and cultural landmark, appreciated for its natural beauty. Immerse yourself in the enchanting beauty of this Hindu pilgrimage site which dates back to the 15th century and was built by a priest named Nirartha. Situated atop an outcrop amidst large waves, Tanah Lot is believed to be a part of Balinese mythology.
5. Natural habitat of Balinese long-tailed monkey: Ubud Monkey Forest
Also known as Mandala Suci Wenara Wana, Ubud Monkey Forest is located in Padangtegal Ubud, Bali. It is a natural forest sanctuary that is home to over 700 long-tailed gray macaques. This complex is a lush forest, site of a temple and is the natural habitat of the Balinese long-tailed monkey (scientific name macaca fascicularis). The Sacred Monkey Forest of Padangtegal or Ubud Monkey Forest spreads over 27 acres of land and is a popular tourist attraction in Ubud. Often visited by over 10,000 tourists a month, it also contains at least 115 different species of trees. Visit Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal Temple as well as a Holy Spring Bathing Temple and another temple used for cremation ceremonies here in Ubud Monkey Forest. You can take great walks along the paved paths through the leafy nutmeg forest or watch the playful monkeys in their natural habitat, swing among the canopies, laze along the paths or feed on bananas. You can also explore the beautiful ancient temples with eerie moss-covered guardian statues.
6. Bali Rice Terraces: Jatiluwih
Enjoy nature on the Jatiluwih rice terraces which are located in the mountainous village of the same name in western Bali. These Balinese carved rice terraces encompass over 600 hectares of rice paddies that follow the flowing topography of the Batukaru mountain range and offer some of the most dramatic and exotic landscapes in Bali. Once a UNESCO World Heritage Site candidate, the Jatiluwih Rice Terraces are maintained by a traditional water management cooperative known as subak, which dates back to the 9th century. Sitting under the gaze of Bratan (a nearby volcano), the terraces offer tourists the chance to enjoy nature and can be a relaxing retreat away from the crowds of the southern beach areas of the island.
7. One of the sad Kahyangan – Uluwatu temple
Known locally as Pura Luhur Uluwatu, Uluwatu Temple is a Balinese Hindu sea temple which is located in Uluwatu in South Kuta, Badung. Built on the tip of a rock, this temple is one of the nine main directional Hindu temples in Bali. It is perched atop a steep cliff some 70 meters above the waves and was founded in the 11th century. Due to its magnificent location, this unique piece of architecture is well known for its stunning sunset backdrops, as dramatic as those of the Tanah Lot Temple. While visiting this tourist spot in Bali, you can take some memorable photos during the golden sunset hours as the higher altitude of the temple offers wider seascapes. Don’t miss the Ganesha statues that flank the entrance to the temple complex and the traditional dance performances that take place every evening at sunset.
8. Home to many unique and authentic pieces: Ubud Art Market
Referred to as Pasar Seni Ubud by the locals, the Ubud Local Market is located directly in the center of Ubud city. The market is the most popular tourist market in Bali and is considered the cultural center of the island. Located at the intersection of Jalan Raya Ubud and Jalan Monkey Forest, the market is home to many traditional artists who produce unique and authentic products that represent the island. Visit the countless small shops here offering a wide range of items such as beautiful silk scarves, lightweight shirts, hand-woven bags, baskets and hats, statues and kites. As one of the best places to visit in Bali, this market brings you the unique art culture of Bali. Most of the goods are produced in the nearby villages of Pengosekan, Tegallalang, Payangan and Peliatan. The market also appeared in the Hollywood film ‘Eat Pray Love’, in a scene with Julia Roberts strolling through her stalls.
These Attractions of Bali It should be on your must visit list!
Rich in natural beauty, art, culture and history, Bali has something for every type of traveller. While some areas of Bali have suffered from excessive trade and excessive tourism in recent years, there are still places to visit in Bali that look untouched by time. Skip the usual hustle and bustle of the main tourist areas and add these hidden gems to your list of top attractions to visit in Bali. If you’ve been to Indonesia’s most scenic and popular tourist islands, tell us about your experiences in the comments below.
Also Read: Learn About Bali Culture Through These 10 Amazing Balinese Temples
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