Dec 23, 2019

10 Can’t-Miss Experiences in Bali

Otherwise known as the “Island of Gods,” Bali is one of the top travel destinations in Southeast Asia. The island offers a mix of mesmerizing waterfalls, stunning beaches, crazy parties, and delicious food. With natural beauty and one-of-a-kind experiences all around the island, it’s no surprise that Bali is quickly becoming one of the most popular places in Indonesia.

Bali is more than a beautiful place to visit. The island also has a deep, rich culture. Unlike the rest of Indonesia, which is mainly Muslim, the island is primarily Balinese Hindu, which means it has its own unique traditions. And that’s part of the reason Bali is known as the “island of 1,000 temples” – most locals have their own temples, and there are hundreds more scattered around the island that you can visit.

From incredible temples to mesmerizing beaches, here are 10 experiences to enjoy in Bali that can’t be missed.


  • Canggu is an up and coming area just north of Seminyak that hasn’t yet been overcome with mass tourism. So it’s still possible to find cheap local eateries, along with an abundance of coffee shops that serve delicious drinks, throughout Canggu.

    However, the reason many people visit the area is its incredible surfing. You can easily rent a surfboard for a couple of hours for about $3.50 or have surf lessons from $25. It’s the ideal place for beginners, but the ocean here also has great breaks for experienced surfers.

  • Ever since Ubud appeared in the blockbuster film Eat, Pray, Love, the city has seen enormous growth in tourism. It’s considered a spiritual place with plenty of vegan restaurants and holistic treatments available.

    And you’ll also find the famous Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud. This place is an experience in itself. Travelers can see over 600 monkeys playing, running, fighting, and mating as they walk along the trails. But don’t bring sunglasses or food – the cheeky monkeys will try to steal it from you, and if you resist, you’ll get bitten.

  • Tegalalang is arguably one of the highlights of Bali. It’s about a 20-minute ride north of Ubud, but you’ll have a full day of exploring once you arrive at this destination. 

    When you visit Tegalalang, you can easily spend a few hours walking around the green cascade of rice paddies. These paddies were built using the ancient Balinese irrigation system called subak, which brings together the community in a cooperative and sustainable way. Travelers can also choose from one of the many swings scattered in the area to test out. It’ll give you an iconic photo as you hang over the terraces.

  • The Gili Islands are located in the northwest of Lombok Island and are made up of Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air. Gili T. is the most popular island – it’s also a party destination – while Meno and Air are quieter and best fit for couples and families.

    If you’d like to explore the sea, you don’t want to miss the opportunity to snorkel around the Gili Islands. Many snorkeling tours will take you to what’s called the turtle point, where you can see majestic sea turtles gently swimming close to you. You can also check out the underwater sculptures in Gili Meno, then finish off your exploration underwater with the Meno Wall, an extensive coral cliff full of marine life.

  • Traveling isn’t only about sightseeing and hopping from one city to the other. If you have the time, it’s also a good idea to focus a little bit on your mind and body and possibly develop a healthier lifestyle. And there’s really no better place for this than Bali.

    Bali is a locale filled with yoga and meditation experiences. While the majority of spiritual practices can be found in Ubud, travelers will undoubtedly find yoga and meditation classes all over the island. Most of them offer drop-in prices, but there are special discounts for monthly memberships.

  • Nusa Penida has yet to be added to the Banana Pancake Trail (which is a list, or trail, of destinations that are popular with Western tourists), but it’s a must-see place to add to your Bali itinerary. When you visit Nusa Penida, you’ll feel like you’re exploring some uncharted territory. Kids will say hello, locals will strike up conversations, and there are no “tourist prices” to be found.

    However, the highlights of the island are the breathtaking beaches lying at the bottom of steep cliffs. To access Kelingking Beach, for instance, you need to go down a 200-meter set of stairs – but the resulting views are spectacular. Make sure you also visit Broken Beach, Atuh Beach, and Crystal Bay.

  • Standing at 1717 meters above sea level, Mount Batur is an imposing active volcano. Don’t worry – the most recent eruption happened in 2000, and it hasn’t been rumbling since. And this makes Mount Batur an incredible hiking opportunity. 

    While you don’t need to be super fit to tackle the hike, it’s advisable to be at least in good shape. Most people choose the sunrise trek, which involves being picked up from your hotel around 2 a.m. and starting the ascent around 3:30 a.m. It takes roughly two hours to reach the summit, where you can explore the impressive crater of Mount Batur after watching the sun rise.

  • A quick online search of Bali’s most beautiful spots will unearth a myriad of waterfalls. Some are easily accessible, and therefore super touristy, while others are somewhat hidden and might require some apt navigation skills to be found. No matter which you prefer, make it a point to visit at least a few of these waterfalls.

    If you choose to hire a driver for a day tour around the island, you’ll definitely visit at least one waterfall (most likely Git Git, Tegenungan, or Aling-Aling), but if you rent a scooter, the possibilities are endless. You can research your options online to narrow down your must-see waterfalls.

  • Developed in the 1930s, Kecak is a traditional Balinese dance inspired by the Ramayana, a Sanskrit story from ancient India. According to that story, the dance explains how Hanuman, the monkey god, helps Prince Rama defeat King Ravana.

    It involves 50 to 150 men wearing checked clothes chanting the words “ke-chak” as a unison choir throughout the performance. It takes around one hour and it can be seen in famous places such as Tanah Lot and Uluwatu Temple.

  • Founded in the 10th century, during the Warmadewa dynasty, the Hindu temple Tirta Empul was built. It’s famous for its holy spring water, which is used for purification rituals. The temple is divided into four main areas and takes around one hour to explore. And it’s a must-see site when you visit Bali.

    The highlight of the temple is Jaba Tengah, the area containing the purification pools (Petirtaan), and it can be accessed by visitors. It’s a busy area, where foreigners and locals join a queue to bathe under the water spouts, and start the cleansing process (melukat).

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