Bali’s Top 5 Rated Tourist Attractions
Bali is one of the most beautiful and well-known tourist destinations in the Indonesian archipelago. A trip here enlivens the senses. In the thick tropical air, the enticing scent of incense and clove oil lingers. Traditional gamelan music jangles against the hum of mopeds as peanuts sizzle at roadside booths, petal-strewn offerings smoulder on busy sidewalks, and petal-strewn offerings smoulder on busy sidewalks.
Despite the noise and turmoil of the main tourist places, the island is rich in natural beauty, with attractions to suit all types of visitors. Surfers come for the world-famous swells, hikers for the misty waterfalls, and bikers for the beautiful landscapes brimming with rice terraces and quaint villages.
Pura Tanah Lot
Pura Tanah Lot (“Pura” meaning temple in Balinese) is one of Bali’s most famous temples, located 20 kilometres northwest of Kuta. All who arrive are wowed by its magnificent beachfront setting on a rocky islet surrounded by pounding surf. It is one of the most revered of all the island’s sea temples to the Balinese people. (Pura Besakih is Bali’s largest and holiest Hindu temple, but local hagglers have recently harassed visitors.) Thousands of visitors from Kuta, Legian, and Sanur go to the temple every evening to watch the sun set behind the temple via a maze of alleyways lined with souvenir vendors.
Pura Tanah Lot was erected in the early 16th century and is said to have been inspired by the priest Nirartha, who requested local fisherman to build a temple here after spending the night on the rocky ledge. Although foreigners are not permitted to visit any of the temples, during low tide, you may walk over to the main temple, and it’s great to meander along the trails snapping photographs and taking in the gorgeous scenery.
After seeing the numerous temples and shrines, take some time to unwind at one of the clifftop eateries and cafés and try the renowned Kopi luwak (civet coffee). Friendly civets nap on the tables at several of the cafés, providing amusing Instagram-worthy photo opportunities. You may walk from Tanah Lot to picturesque Batu Bolong, another sea temple located on a rocky outcrop with an eroding causeway connecting it to the coast, via tropically planted walkways. Dress appropriately and wear a sarong and sash while visiting any temples in Bali.
Hundreds of people begin the climb up Mount Batur’s 1,700-meter peak every day in the predawn darkness of Bali to see the sun rise above the lush tapestry of mist-shrouded mountains and the caldera far below. The hike to the peak to see the dawn has long been on the list of top things to do in Bali, and it is located in the Kintamani District in Bali’s central highlands, approximately an hour’s drive from Ubud. The trek is quite easy and takes around two to three hours if done on well-marked routes. A picnic meal cooked under the steam from the active volcano is usually included on guided treks. On a clear day, the views across the Batur caldera, the surrounding mountain range, and lovely Lake Batur, the island’s major supply of irrigation water, are breathtaking.
It’s important to have sturdy hiking shoes, and it’s also a good idea to dress in layers because the weather can be cold before daybreak. A vacation here may also be combined with a visit to Pura Ulun Danu Batur, one of Bali’s most significant temples, on the lake’s northwest side, and a therapeutic bath in hot springs in the picturesque town of Toya Bungkah on the lake’s banks.
Uluwatu Temple (Pura Luhur Uluwatu) is one of Bali’s most famous temples, due to its spectacular clifftop position, which overlooks one of the island’s greatest surf areas. “Ulu” means “point” or “land’s end” in Balinese, and “Watu” means “rock,” making the temple’s position on the Bukit Peninsula, on the island’s southwestern tip, a suitable name. Sunset is the finest time to come, as it is at Pura Tanah Lot, when the sky and water sparkle in the late afternoon light.
The temple appears to be megalithic in nature, dating from approximately the 10th century, according to archaeological findings. The temple is said to defend Bali from evil sea spirits, and the monkeys who live in the jungle surrounding the temple’s entrance are said to protect it from negative effects (keep your belongings securely stashed away from their nimble fingers). From the temple’s entrance, a beautiful road snakes its way to the temple, offering spectacular views along the way. Only Hindu worshipers are permitted to enter the temple, but the stunning location and daily sunset Kecak dance performances make it well worth the trip. Kuta is around 25 kilometres away from the shrine.
Ubud Monkey Forest Editor’s Pick
The Monkey Forest, also known as the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, is one of the best things to do in Ubud, Bali, and is only a 10-minute walk south of the town centre. If you’re an animal lover or a photographer, it’s also one of the greatest locations to visit in Bali.
A big part of the appeal is the vivid jungle setting where the monkeys wander free, in addition to the amusing battalions of grey long-tailed macaques that call this home. Paved paths go through deep forests of large banyan and nutmeg trees, with moss-covered sculptures and old temples looming through the dense vegetation, giving the area a magical aura.
The woodland is meant to symbolise the peaceful coexistence of people and animals. It also protects endangered flora and acts as a study centre for macaque behaviour, particularly social interaction. The 14th-century Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal, one of three temples found here, is located on the southwest edge of the forest, where hundreds of monkeys swing through the trees and scramble over the walls. Pura Beji, an old bathing temple nestled next to a calm stream in the northwest of the forest, provides a lovely setting for viewing the monkeys’ activities. When visiting the forest, keep your things safe and avoid making direct eye contact (or smiling) with the animals, since this might be misinterpreted as a sign of hostility. It’s also a good idea to stay away from the area if you’re bringing food.
Ubud Art & Culture
Ubud is the hub of Balinese art and culture, and was made famous by the book and film Eat, Pray, Love. The neighbouring royal palaces and temples were the major sponsors of the contemporary Balinese art movement, which began here. Several great local museums and galleries now commemorate the development and traditions of the city. Many collections are located in traditional Balinese houses surrounded by beautiful tropical gardens, making art viewing extremely pleasurable. The Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA) and the Neka Art Museum, both within walking distance of the Ubud Monkey Forest, are excellent places to start for an overview of Balinese art. Traditional to modern works, such as kris (ceremonial daggers), photography, and classical wayang (puppet-figure) paintings, are represented in both collections.
Setia Darma House of Masks & Puppets, featuring ceremonial masks from Asia and beyond; Museum Puri Lukisan, spanning a range of Balinese artistic styles; and the Don Antonio Blanco Museum, at the artist’s former home and studio, are among the other art galleries and museums in the Ubud area that might be of interest to art lovers. If you like to browse for art, the Ubud Art Market is a must-see. One of the main tourist attractions in town, this maze of booths is brimming with carvings, sculptures, jewellery, sarongs, paintings, and homewares. Bargaining is crucial, and a decent rule of thumb is to start with half the asking price and work your way up, constantly smiling. The Puri Saren Royal Ubud Palace, which is located just across from the market, is well worth a visit. One of the best things to do in Bali at night — especially for families — is to see a traditional Balinese dance performance.
If you’re a budding artist or have kids in tow, you may enrol in a local village’s art workshop, which can involve traditional painting, mask-making, and jewelry-making. This is one of the most popular activities for families in Bali.