For travellers around the world, Bali is one of the top destinations for a vacation. There are umpteen places to visit in Bali including mesmerising beaches, scenic natural retreats and sacred temples. Truly a delight to explore and discover, the country offers everyone from adventure lovers, trekking enthusiasts, wildlife buffs to spiritual seekers, shopaholics and luxury travellers a vacation of a lifetime. There are a ton of places to visit in Bali and one needs to prepare an itinerary according to interests and budget. Here is a comprehensive list of places to visit in Bali that we wouldn’t miss and hope you don’t either.
Pura Tanah Lot
Counted among the most gorgeous places to visit in Bali, Tanah Lot is a beautiful temple located in Tabanan regency. Built in the 16th century, it is an example of Balinese and Hindu architectural elements and is a delight for photographers.
While foreigners are not allowed inside the temple, one can take a stroll around the area and admire the stunning views of azure waters. Travellers can visit the temple anytime between 10 am to 7:00 pm but we do recommend heading here early in the morning, especially if you want to catch the mesmerising sunrise.
Among the seven most popular temples along the Bali coast, Tanah Lot is included in the list of best places to visit in Bali for all tourists. To reach the temple, one has to cross a bustling local market which is lined with shops selling Balinese souvenirs as well as local delicacies. As is the case with all temples in Bali, it’s strongly recommended to dress modestly and to keep shoulders and legs covered.
Goa Gajah, also known as the ‘elephant cave’ is one of the most sought-after places to visit in Bali for spiritual seekers. With detailed stonework, Buddhist relics and Shaivite carvings, the cave offers an experience unlike any other.
Situated 6km from Ubud, the caves get their name from numerous elephant structures dotting the caves. Intriguing and enthralling, a visit here is sure to stay with you. The caves were built as a meditation centre when the Balinese ruled the land and the elephant structures were said to be protectors of the caves.
Surrounded by a lush forest, Goa Gajah has slowly become a cultural attraction as well as an architectural marvel which offers a peek into the country’s history. Recommended for history lovers and nature-buffs, the caves should be a part of all itineraries which include the best places to visit in Bali.
Pura Luhur Uluwatu
Located in one of Bali’s most popular beaches, Pura Luhur is one of the country’s most revered temples. Included in the list of top places to visit in Bali, the temple is known for its beauty as well as religious importance.
Dating back to the 10th century, it’s said that the temple protects the country from evil spirits and the monkeys in the forest serve as guards to protect the temple. What stands out for travellers are the breathtaking views of the sea and the crimson-hued sky making it one of the most beautiful places to visit in Bali.
It’s important to remember that only Hindus can enter the temple but one can explore the area around the temple and also attend cultural performances which take place here every day. Since it’s located in UluWatu, you will spot numerous visitors trying their hand at windsurfing or lazing around the pristine beach. For those who enjoy quiet places, we definitely recommend a visit here.
Pura Ulun Danu Bratan
The most striking highlight of Pura Ulun Danu Bratan is that it gives travellers an impression of a floating temple. Nestling amidst a gorgeous lake and surrounded by mountains, it’s dedicated to the Hindu trinity of Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva and is one of the most popular places to visit in Bali.
Constructed in traditional Balinese architecture style, it also has traces of Hindu elements and is one of the most interesting places to visit in Bali for architecture buffs. For those who don’t want to visit the temple, a walk along the lakeshore is a must for a glimpse of the gorgeous views. Most Balinese temples are located amidst surreal natural beauty and this one is no different.
Dating back to the 17th century, the lake functions as a reservoir for the entire area and provides water for irrigation and drinking. For travellers visitors Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, we recommend combining Bali Botanic Gardens which are also one of the most stunning places to visit in Bali. This will save you an extra day of travelling. Complete with bamboos, orchids and medicinal plants, the gardens are a great way to admire Bali’s flora and learn more about its native plants.
Bali has numerous places dedicated to Hindu gods and goddesses and Besakih temple is one of the most revered places to visit in Bali. One of the most well known and biggest temples in Bali, it is also referred to as Mother Temple and is believed to have been built around 2,000 years ago. Nestled between hills, streams and rice fields, the temple is dedicated to the Hindu holy trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
The temple complex is home to around 86 clan temples and shrines, all separate but interconnected. The temple holds the distinction of being the only temple in Bali open to people from all castes and is situated on the slopes of Mount Agung, an active volcano.
The temple complex has a number of important places that are frequented by devotees. These include the Pura Penataran Agung, the largest temple in the complex, Pura Batu Tirtha - collection point of holy water, and Setra Agung- Burial grounds. In addition, the central point of the four main temples in the complex, each in one of the directions, is said to be the place where Lord Vishnu descended on earth.
As the temple complex is located at almost 1,000 metres above sea level, it is advisable for visitors to prepare for the height. The temple is one of the most popular places to see in Bali and it is advisable to visit the temple early in the morning to avoid the rush. Local guides can also be hired by devotees to get more information on the history and mythology associated with the temple.
Mount Batur is a favourite with adventure buffs and nature lovers. In fact, Mount Batur is one of the most popular places to visit in Bali if one is looking for trekking opportunities. Overlooking Lake Batur, it’s visited by hundreds of travellers who attempt to climb this majestic beauty.
Owing to natural beauty and spellbinding views, most travellers head here in the morning to catch a glimpse of the dreamy sunrise. If your schedule allows, we highly recommend making time for this experience. An active volcano, it’s said that the last eruption here was reported in the year 2000.
While travellers can head out for a trek on their own, we suggest hiring a guide to enjoy your experience more. Further, the uncharted terrain and unpredictable weather may make the trek more difficult and tourists might find themselves lost in Bali’s lush forests.
If Mount Batur is on your list of places to visit in Bali, we recommend carrying a sturdy pair of shoes and an umbrella for unpredictable rains.
Sanur Beach is one of the lesser-known places to visit in Bali. A perfect option for couples and friends who are looking to spend time amidst nature, Sanur Beach is known for its quiet and laid-back vibe. There are a few restaurants lining the beach which offer local delicacies and allow you to enjoy the warm hospitality of Bali.
Since the beach doesn’t see too many tourists, it’s an ideal spot to enjoy time with your friends or partner without the usual chaos of beaches. If you happen to visit during the weekend, you will see tons of locals who come here to enjoy their day.
A scenic village which is situated in East Bali, Tulamben is popular among tourists as one of the best places to visit in Bali for underwater diving. Since the weather is always suitable for outdoor activities, you can expect clear visibility here. A great place for beginners to start their tryst with diving, it’s recommended that you take training from authorised operators. The most attractive feature of Tulamben beach which makes it one of the most attractive places to visit in Bali is the USAT Liberty shipwreck. The USAT Liberty was a cargo ship which submerged during the second World War.
Divers have an opportunity to explore the shipwreck as well as explore the underwater world including corals, dolphins, octopus and sea turtles. The best way to reach Tulamben is through Kuta and Sanur. It takes almost three to four hours and for travellers to truly enjoy the beauty of the place, it’s recommended to stay the night. For professional divers who have included this in their list of places to visit in Bali, we suggest keeping aside two to three days to explore the area in peace.
If your idea of a perfect vacation is visiting quiet, lesser-known spots, then Nungnung Waterfall needs to be on your list of places to visit in Bali. Nestled in the midst of surreal, dreamy beauty, the waterfall is surrounded by lush, refreshing greenery. Giving travellers a break from the chaos of tourist sites, the waterfall rarely sees any visitors besides locals.
One of the best places to visit in Bali for photographers, the waterfall is also a great picnic spot. We recommend prepping your picnic basket and heading to this gorgeous site to spend an afternoon. The idea of enjoying delicious local delicacies in the middle of nowhere is what dream vacations are made of. We do recommend wearing sturdy shoes since the 500 steps leading to the waterfall can be quite tricky.
Tegalalang Rice Fields
The country’s rice fields are considered to be among the best places to visit in Bali. Promising greenery as far as your eyes can see, rice fields are a photographer’s delight and a nature lover’s dream. It takes about thirty minutes to reach the popular rice fields of Tegallalang or Jatiluwih and one can easily spend one full day here.
Another reason which makes these rice fields one of the best places to visit in Bali is the scenic drive which one needs to take. Long, winding roads, breathtaking views and small waterfalls and creeks make it an experience in itself. There are quite a few restaurants here which offer delicious snacks, refreshing drinks and gorgeous views of the rice fields. We recommend heading here with a guide since he’ll be able to take you to the best sites and cafes at reasonable prices.
For those who’d like to get a closer look at the rice fields, you can request a local farmer who’d be willing to let you inside for a tour. You may have to pay a nominal fee but the amount of information and the stunning views more than cover up for it.
Kuta Beach is one of the most popular places to visit in Bali for beach lovers. Bustling with energy, it sees hundreds of visitors every day and is said to be Bali’s best beach. For those who’d like to experience Bali’s warm culture, happening beach life and scrumptious local cuisine – Kuta is perfect.
Situated close to Legian and Seminyak beaches, Kuta also offers adventure enthusiasts quite an experience including surfing. In fact, Kuta is said to be one of the best places to learn surfing for beginners. For those on a budget trip, Kuta beach is one of the most ideal places to visit in Bali since it offers reasonable accommodation options, cheap food and allows one to have a great time in Bali without spending too much money.
Counted among the most beautiful Bali tourist places, Nusa Penida is an island which is known for gorgeous views and serenity. One of the lesser-known places to see in Bali, it offers travellers a respite from crowded beaches and busy temples.
Most popular for the endangered bird Bali Starling, the other crowd-pullers are Crystal Bay sand beach and the sunset panorama. One of three popular islands, Nusa Penida is gradually becoming popular among off-beat travellers. One can reach the island by taking a boat from the mainland. If this is on your list of places to visit in Bali, we recommend visiting the sister islands of Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Lembongan in the same trip.
With only a few cafes and water sports operators, one can expect a peaceful and quiet experience in this dazzling island. And for those who’d like a little bit of adventure, we recommend trying snorkelling, surfing and scuba diving.
Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary
Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary can be considered to be one of the most popular places to visit in Bali, especially if you are travelling with family. Giving one an unusual experience, travellers visiting the sanctuary can interact with monkeys without any fear.
There are said to be more than 600 Balinese long-tailed monkeys in the forest and over 115 species of trees – quite an experience for nature lovers. Hundreds of travellers visit everyday to spend time amidst nature and also to see these curious creatures in their natural habitat. Another reason why the sanctuary is a big attraction for tourists, is the number of small temples situated in the forest. Said to be constructed in the 14th century, these temples are known for their unique carvings and detailed sculptures which remind one just how protective Balinese are of the environment and animals.
Ubud Art Market
Shopaholics will have a great time in Bali owing to the range of things available. From hand-made soaps, handicrafts, paintings, wood carvings to woven shirts, oil lamps and jewellery – there are a lot of beautiful things that you can take back. Among the best places to visit in Bali for shopping, Ubud Art Market is the most popular.
Busy streets, excited chatter, the aroma of peanuts and other roadside delicacies make Ubud Art Market one of the most lively places in the city. Of course, bargaining is a must and one quote half of the quoted price to ensure you don’t get a sour deal. We recommend taking back brass sculptures, paintings and small knick-knacks which are native to Bali and you won’t find anywhere else.
Ubud Art Market is in close proximity to Puri Saren Royal Ubud Palace which is also among the best places to visit in Bali. If you’d like to explore traditional Balinese culture and art, we recommend heading here after your shopping spree. The palace also hosts vibrant dance performances in the evening and they should definitely be a part of your Balinese itinerary.
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