Bali has long been one of the most popular holiday destinations, both for backpackers and luxury tourists, but why? For starters, the island abounds with white tropical beaches perfect for snorkeling, diving, and surfing. In addition, the many street stalls prepare the most delicious (and cheap) food and the island has plenty of cafes, lounge bars and restaurants. So, have you booked your holiday in Bali down? what to see in bali
What to see in Bali: attractions
Temples of Bali
Bali’s main attractions are mainly its various temples, huge rice fields and beautiful volcanoes. Given the Buddhist orientation of the island, the number of temples is so high that you won’t be able to visit them all and that’s why we tell you which ones you can’t miss. Tanah Lot Temple, for example, is most famous for its extraordinary location on a small island on Bali’s east coast (the Tabanan area). Given its location, you won’t actually be able to enter the temple, but from the surrounding mountains you can see the Tanah Lot from many different angles. Would you like to stay and sleep on the west coast? Then take a look at our list of hotels in Tabanan.
Then there’s ulun danu bratan temple, a large complex located west of Lake Bratan, in the heart of Bali. This group of temples is surrounded by water, almost as it floated, and the reflection of the temples on the lake is especially striking at sunset or sunrise. You may want to take a look at the hotels around Lake Bratan. The downside is that the larger the temples the more they can be touristy, so if this isn’t for you, it might be better to visit pura goa lawah temple.
This slightly less well-known temple is also nicknamed the “bat cave” as dozens of bats can be seen around the temple after dusk. Also an old fairy tale tells that this temple hosts a giant royal snake.
Volcanoes in Bali
Do you like adventure? Then climbing the Gunung Agung and Gunung Batur volcanoes could be the activity for you. Admiring the Gunung Agung is not easy though, as it’s a pretty intense climb, but the phenomenal view will make you immediately forget about the climb. Gunung Batur is not easy either, though most people say it’s slightly easier than the Agung. Make sure you are prepared and wear the right shoes before you leave.
You can hike with one of the many guides, who will fight to win your money as soon as you arrive on site, but the trails are clear and it is totally feasible even on your own. If you go on your own however, don’t forget to bring a torrm as the best views from the volcano are early in the morning, before sunrise, and they are truly breathtaking! Check it out here to find a hotel near Gunung Agung or Gunung Batur.
Rice paddies in Bali
Nothing is more typical in Bali than rice paddies. This beautiful green landscape is at the heart of balinese’s irrigation system and is built according to the same principles, with water flowing from field to field to make sure all rice is replenished. You can find the most beautiful rice fields around Jatiluwih, Tirta Gangga and Selat. Rent a scooter to cross the island and pass in front of the rice fields and beautiful natural scenery. This will allow you to see most of the island by deciding your route as well. Cycling in Bali is another perfect way to visit the island’s attractions and enjoy the environment at the same time. If you may be interested in this, here you will find more information about renting bikes or scooters in Bali.
Waterfalls in Bali
The waterfalls are one of the most beautiful natural wonders and Bali overflows with them. Sekumpul Falls are located in a large deep valley, making them a bit difficult to reach, but these powerful, beautiful and clear waterfalls will surprise you. Gitgit Waterfall is the highest in Bali, and with the rainforest in the background, it seems to have come straight out of a fairy tale. Get comfortable and stay overnight at one of these hotels near Gitgit Waterfall.
Do you want to face a challenge? Then the NungNung waterfall is a great feat to accomplish, as it is literally in the middle of nowhere. But in return you will be rewarded by a giant waterfall that ends up in a delightful pond where you can take a nice swim. The falls are suitable to be visited year-round, but given the greater amount of water they are most impressive during the rainy season.
The most beautiful beaches in Bali
For many people, white beaches are the main reason to book a holiday in Bali. With the Indonesian ocean on one side and the Java Sea on the other, tropical beaches surround the entire island. However, to find the best places it is always better to get away from the beaten path. The beautiful beach of Bingin, for example, with white sand and clear azure waters, is located under a cliff and is perfect for surfing.
To get to Nyang-Nyang Beach, you’ll need to go down a flight of rather steep steps, but once you arrive you’ll find yourself rewarded with a quiet beach, far from the hustle and bustle. Aren’t you great sand lovers? Take a look at our article on the best beaches for people who don’t like sand. DO YOU like surfing, diving or snorkeling? Then the following beaches make your case:
Surfing in Bali
Bali is a surfer’s paradise and there is no doubt that you will come across some of them on the beaches. Popular surfing beaches include Padang Beach, due to the challenging waves and beautiful surroundings, and Uluwatu Beach, with its beautiful and fast waves making it one of the best places to surf in Bali. Professional surfers from all over the world come to Bali specifically for this beach. Aren’t you experienced surfers yet? Then we advise you to go to this surf school on Legian beach, where they teach pupils of all levels.
Diving and snorkeling in Bali
Bali gastronomic specialties
As for food, you can go crazy as much as you want in Bali. You will find food stalls everywhere serving hearty meals for very little. The stands are ideal for low-cost travelers, but they’re also a perfect way to discover traditional dishes. Bali is also famous for its fishing tradition and in particular its fishing village Jimbaran. In Jimbaran the beach is transformed into a food paradise every single night, where you can sit on the beach to order the most delicious fish dishes, from lobster to mussels, to giant prawns. It’s quite touristy, but the breathtaking views of the sun setting over the ocean will help you immediately forget about it. Do you love romantic dinners? Then we recommend going to Kisik Bar and Grill, a restaurant where they serve the most exquisite food with excellent service.
Another popular city for foodies in Bali is Ubud. Here you can find authentic Indonesian food, as well as vegetarian and vegan restaurants, and given its popularity in recent years, it now also has some Western-influenced bars. One of our favorite restaurants in Bali is Ibu Rai, which is located on Monkey Forest Street. In this very welcoming place the menu includes all kinds of fusion dishes where Asian, European and Caribbean cuisine merge. Try to make some room for a dessert when you’re here, as the black rice pudding they serve is irresistible.
Do you prefer to prepare your own meal? Then you should book one of Ubud’s many cooking classes. We recommend the Lobong Culinary Experience, where your guide will take you to a traditional Balinese food market and prepare a delicious Indonesian meal with you. Since this cooking class is organized in the guide’s house, it will give you the impression that you can take a peek into real Balinese cuisine and also discover all its flavor!
Yoga in Bali
Ubud, a small village in the Bali plateau, is a mecca for yoga enthusiasts. People come here for the wide range of cultural activities and in general to focus on physical and spiritual health. In Ubud you can breathe peace and there is a great selection of yoga and meditation classes. So if you’re tired of the tight pace of modern life, a yoga retreat in Bali might just be the ideal solution for you. Here you can have a Balinese massage or take a bath with exotic flowers. For cultural relaxation there are places to listen to music and see art exhibitions everywhere.
In Ubud, the emphasis is on consciously living giving the body the rest it needs, eating organic products that strengthen the body and, more importantly, where yoga is practiced and awareness is exercised every single day. Ubud’s most famous yoga paradise is The Yoga Barn, located between rice fields and magnificent mountains. Here you can practice any type of yoga and relax in the spa and thanks to the friendly atmosphere you will meet like-minded travelers! A slightly smaller centre is Radiantly Alive, where courses are a bit more intimate, but also a bit more expensive.
For the non plus ultra of yoga retreats, it’s a good idea to book one of Ubud’s many yoga resorts. The Payogan Villa Resort & Spa for example, where you can enjoy all kinds of quiet activities immersed in luxury, from a room overlooking the beautiful rice fields. A cheaper option is the Shriman Yoga Bungalows, where your day will start with a group yoga session, while admiring the picturesque landscape.