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  • Nomadic Siddhu

15 Must visit Attractions in Bali

Updated: Aug 23, 2021

Bali is a beautiful island in Indonesia and an extremely popular backpacking destination. There are so many things to see and do, from hiking volcanoes to rice fields and beaches that it’s easy to be overwhelmed and not know what to visit.

Despite the clamour and chaos of the main tourist areas, the island is rich in natural beauty, with attractions for every kind of traveller. Surfers come for the legendary swells, hikers can trek up jungly volcanic peaks to misty waterfalls, and cyclists can bike through lush landscapes bristling with rice terraces and traditional villages.

The island's rich arts scene is another top draw, and if relaxation is your top priority, the shopping in Bali and spa treatments are fabulous — and affordable. Spirituality adds yet another layer to Bali's allure, and seeing the magnificent temples and sacred Hindu ceremonies are top things to do in Bali.

The essence of this bewitching Indonesian island is captured in these must visit attractions.

1. Ulu Watu Temple

A trip to see the magnificent sunset at the Uluwatu Temple in Uluwatu should be on everyone’s Bali bucket list. The temple offers the most amazing views of both the ocean and skyline.

Perched on a rock which overlooks the Indian Ocean, imagine how the sunset can be from here. Moreover, get here to see the traditional Kecak dance, one of the places in Bali you should not miss! At sunset, the stage is lively with this incredible Balinese fire dance.

The locals believe that the divine trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, become one at Uluwatu, and so the temples is a place of worship of Rudra, the Balinese Hindu god of all elements and protector against evil sea spirits.

Uluwatu's beaches are incredibly beautiful, but it is ultimately a surfing destination because of its tricky waves. These are not suitable for swimming. So if you aren’t inclined to go surfing in Uluwatu, keep in mind that it’s mostly a destination to relax and there isn’t much to do around here.

The best time to visit Uluwatu beach and Uluwatu temple are before sunset. It's a fantastic view of orange, yellow, and red hues illuminating the sky while the ocean calmly flows below.

How to Reach

You can reach the temple from Bali Airport via JL Raya Uluwatu Pecatu, taking you around 45 minutes. Or take a cab that will cost you approx 300,000 IDR or board the Perama bus. You can also take scooters to reach the temple at an affordable price.

Address : Pecatu, South Kuta, Badung Regency, Bali

Timings : 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Entry Fee : Adults: IDR 30,000, Children: IDR 20,000

2. Tanah Lot

About 20 kilometres northwest of Kuta, Pura Tanah Lot ("Pura" means temple in Balinese) is one of Bali's most iconic temples. Its spectacular seaside setting, on a rocky islet surrounded by crashing waves wows all who visit.

For the Balinese people, it is one of the most sacred of all the island's sea temples. Every evening, throngs of tourists from Kuta, Legian, and Sanur find their way through a labyrinth of lanes lined by souvenir sellers to watch the sun setting behind the temple.

Although foreigners can't enter any of the temples, you can walk across to the main temple at low tide, and it's fun to wander along the paths taking photos and soaking up the magnificent setting.

There is a dress code that is informally enforced at Tanah Lot. Women are required to cover their legs, usually with a sarong or a kebaya (native Indonesian dress) along with covering their shoulders (such as the use of a scarf). Men must follow the same rules, along with wearing an udeng (Balinese headdress made from folded clothes).

How to Reach

Because it is an important tourist destination, Tanah Lot is easy accessible. If you are using public transport, it is just a 45-minute drive from Kuta or Seminyak and a 30-40 minute from Ubud. During the pre-sunset and post-sunset rush, these timings can extend by almost an hour because traffic builds up and it stretches for kilometres on end with bumper-to-bumper traffic. I'd suggest that you plan your travel in such a way that you avoid these traffic hours.

Address : Beraban, Kediri, Tabanan Regency, Bali

Timings : 7:00 AM - 7:00PM

Entry Fee : Indonesians: Adults: IDR 20,000, Children: IDR 1,500, Foreigners: Adults: IDR 60,000, Children: IDR 30,000

3. Mount Batur

In 2012, UNESCO announced Mount Batur Caldera, the collapsed top at the top, as a part of the Global Geo-parks Network, an effort to preserve the planet's geological heritage. The volcano is a popular trekking destination amongst tourists and locals alike. Because of its beautiful views and relatively ease to climb, Mount Batur is considered a must-visit attraction in Bali.

How to Reach

Mount Batur is located in the north-east quarter of Bali. It is approximately 3 hours from Kuta by road, 2 and half hours from Seminyak, and 1 and a half hours from Ubud. There are local buses that go to Kintamani, but it might be best to hire a taxi for the whole journey.

Address : South Batur, Kintamani, Bangli Regency, Bali

Timings : All Day

Entry Fee : Shared treks: IDR 550,000, Private treks: IDR 750,000 - IDR 900,000

4. The Nusa Islands

If you're craving a slower-paced Bali, without the crowds, traffic, and tourist touts, the Nusa Islands are where you'll find it.

The most popular of the three islands is Nusa Lembongan, about 20 kilometres offshore from Sanur and easily accessible by speedboat. Surfing, snorkelling, diving, kayaking, and stand up paddle boarding are the main activities here, and the top attractions include beautiful Dream Beach; Mushroom Bay; and the Devil's Tears rock outcrop, with views of crashing surf erupting over the rocks. Many locals still make their living from seaweed farming, and you can watch them harvesting it by the shore.

The neighbouring island, Nusa Ceningan, lies just over a bridge from Nusa Lembongan, with a beautiful blue lagoon.

The largest of the island trio, Nusa Penida, is a quick boat ride away. Rock formations, caves, and a bird sanctuary are Nusa Penida's top draws, and diving is one of the most popular things to do here, with the chance to see manta rays, sunfish, and turtles. Don't miss the steep hike down to Kelinking Beach, also known as T-Rex Bay, to bask on your own slice of golden sand backed by soaring sea cliffs — it's one of the top beaches in Asia.

Accommodation on the islands ranges from rustic huts to luxury villas.

How to Reach

From Bali you can book a fast boat from Sanur harbour directly to Nusa Lembongan or Nusa Penida. There are many competing tours and they charge around 150,000 IDR one way or 250,000 IDR for a return ticket.

The fast boats take roughly 30 minutes to reach either Nusa Lembongan or Nusa Penida from Bali, and they are a smooth enough ride depending on the weather.

To cross over to Nusa Ceningan there’s only one option and that’s to drive across the big Yellow Bridge!

Address: Jungutbatu, Nusapenida, Klungkung Regency, Bali,

Ideal Duration: 1-2 days

Best Time: March to September

Timings: All day

5. Ubud Monkey Forest

Only 10 minutes' walk south of the town centre in Ubud, Bali, the Monkey Forest, also known as the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, is one of the top things to do in Ubud. It's also one of the best places to visit in Bali if you're an animal lover or photographer.

Besides the entertaining troops of grey long-tailed macaques that make their home here, a large part of the appeal is the evocative jungle setting where the monkeys roam free. Paved pathways lead through thick forests of giant banyan and nutmeg trees, where moss-covered statues and ancient temples loom through the dense foliage, imparting an almost mystical feel.

The forest is intended to represent the harmonious coexistence between humans and animals. It also conserves rare plants and is used as a location for researching macaque behaviour, particularly their social interaction.

On the southwest side of the forest is one of the three temples found here, the 14th-century Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal, where hundreds of monkeys swing through the trees and clamber over the walls.

How to Reach

Ubud Monkey Forest Sanctuary is located at a walkable distance of around 2 km from downtown Ubud. You can also reach this sanctuary from Raya Ubud, the town's main street by renting a car and turning south continuing downhill till you reach Jalan Hanoman where the sanctuary can be seen on the right side.

Address : Jalan Monkey Forest, Padangtegal, Ubud, Gianyar, Bali

Timings : 8:30 AM - 5:30 PM

Entry Fee : Adults: IDR 50,000, Children: IDR 40,000

6. Goa Gajah

The Goa Gajah ‘Elephant Cave’ is an archaeological site on the cool western borders of Bedulu Village, 6 km out of central Ubud. To the unknowing, Goa Gajah’s name can be slightly misleading, often creating an impression that the site is a gigantic dwelling full of elephants.

The Goa Gajah caves are spread across a vast area, surrounded by lush jungle and architectural wonders that amplify the magnificence of the caves. It is also a spiritual and cultural attraction filled with Buddhist and Shaivite relics and carvings. A wide-eyed demon-like structure welcomes you at the cave entrance, which further leads to a serene pool inside. The intricate stonework makes this a must-visit for anyone looking for a glimpse into Indonesian architecture and heritage.

There is a strict dress code that is to be followed by every visitor coming to Goa Gajah caves. Since it is a temple area, it is compulsory that you cover your knees and chest before entering the complex of the caves. It is compulsory for both men and women.

If you are wearing something otherwise, you will get a sarong (scarf) to cover your body while purchasing the ticket. The cost of Sarong is included in the ticket cost.

How to Reach

Goa Gajah caves are located 6 km from Ubud, and approximately 30 km from Seminyak. If you are travelling from Ubud, you can hire a taxi which is the best and most convenient mode of transport. You can also hire a bike which is a cheaper way to reach Goa Gajah. There is cab facility available if you are travelling from Seminyak.

Once you reach the drop-off point, you need to climb down the stairs to reach the main temple complex of Goa Gajah Caves.

Address : Jalan Raya Goa Gajah, Pejeng Kawan, Tampaksiring, Gianyar, Bali

Timings : 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Entry Fee : Adults: IDR 15,000, Children: IDR 7,500

7. Tirta Empul Temple

This traditional spring water temple is a peaceful oasis not far from Ubud and the Tegallalang rice terraces. It’s a sacred place for Hindus, and the water is supposed to be spiritually cleansing.

Whether you bathe in the holy water, look at the traditional Hindu temples and architecture, or simply walk around and enjoy the gardens and tranquillity it is definitely worth a visit whilst in Bali!

Once built as places of worship, over time the ancient monuments of Bali have become star tourist spots as not only temples but also beautiful works of art. Pura Tirta Empul or the Holy Water Temple is one such temple, highly cited and visited by both locals and tourists alike. A gorgeous 10th-century structure dedicated to Lord Vishnu, it is revered by the Balinese Hindus. Tirta Empul's rich lore and legend, and the mystery behind its healing spring draw curious travellers here from all over the world.

Similar to the dress code for other temples in Bali, a sarong is required to enter Tirta Empul. It is fine if you forget to carry one though; sarongs can be rented at the temple's entrance in exchange for a small donation. Also, while a regular sarong is alright for exploring the temple premises, a special green sarong is required to enter the purification pools.

How to Reach

The Pura Tirta Empul Temple located in Manukaya Village, district of Tampaksiring, Bali is quite close to Ubud and Denpasar. It is also relatively easy to get to. You can either rent a car or hire a taxi to the temple. The drive from Ubud to Tirta Empul could take 30 minutes and from Denpasar around one hour.

Address : Jl. Tirta, Manukaya, Tampaksiring, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali

Timings : 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Entry Fee : Adults: IDR 15,000, Children: IDR 7,500

8. Kuta Beach

Kuta beach heralded the era of tourism in Bali. A few minutes away from the Bali airport, Kuta attracts hundreds of visitors to its golden sands and surf waves making it one of the busiest and liveliest beaches the country has to offer. A plethora of cheap options for accommodation, food and beach clubs make this ideal for young travellers seeking a fun beach holiday.

Kuta Beach is popular for its jaw-dropping sunsets and vibrant nightlife. It is quite deservedly one of the best-known tourist areas of Bali. It is a fun destination that can cater to a mixed bag of travellers. It is continually developing and adding to its popularity. Kuta Beach is clean, well-maintained and safe, despite all the aggressive beach vendors.

This may not be the island’s best in terms of natural beauty (although it’s still pretty incredible), but Kuta Beach is world-famous, and with good reason. Today it is one of the liveliest spots on the island, offering countless fun activities – from surfing to eating and shopping, from dawn to late at night.

How to reach

Kuta Beach is very close to Denpasar Airport. A taxi ride to the beach will take 15 minutes from the airport. There are pre-paid taxis available at the airport and metered taxis available right outside. Alternatively, you can also catch a bemo (a public van) outside the airport to Kuta Beach.

Kuta is also well connected by bus routes to almost all areas of Bali. Once in Kuta, you might find it difficult to navigate the traffic, as the region has very small lanes. The best option is to commute on foot or to rent motorbikes.

Address: Jl. Raya Kuta, Kuta, KabupatenBadung, Bali

Timings : 9:00 AM - 9:00 PM

Entry Fee : Free

9. Tegallalang Rice Terraces

The Tegallalang Rice Fields in Ubud, Bali is a break away from the typical commercialised structures, offering a calm, beautiful scene of rice terraces that gently melt into paddy fields across the valley. Capture some exquisite photographs of the landscape, have coffee at one of the quaint little cafes or take a little detour through the Pakudui village nearby for some intricate wooden crafts.

The Tegallalang Rice Terraces are located about 20 minutes north of Ubud in Bali, and are a popular stop with those visiting Kintamani which falls on the same road. The road twists and turns into Tegallalang at 600 m above sea level, allowing for cool breeze and pleasant weather to add to the pleasant panorama. The rich culture here is complemented by the timeless quality of the valley. One can always see the local farmer tending to his crops in the unique oblique steps of system irrigation perfectly set into the sides of the hills in the valley.

The best time to visit Tegallalang Rice Terraces is April, May, June and September. This would allow you to avoid the throngs of tourists that come in with the holiday rush. Early morning to catch the sunrise is the best time of the day to visit the rice fields.

How to Reach

From Denpasar, one can take a cab to Ubud. It costs around IDR 320,000 and takes 2 hours. Also one can rent a scooter for about IDR 120,000 per day and drive to the terrace.

Cabs and minivans are also available with minivans being the cheapest option at IDR 500,000 for six people. It takes about 5-20 minutes to reach the Tegallalang Rice Terraces, depending on where you stay in Ubud.

Address : Jl. Raya Tegallalang, Tegallalang, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali

Time required : 2-3 hours

Entry Fee : 15,000 IDR

10. Ubud Art Market

Located right opposite the Puri Saren Royal Palace, Ubud Art Market is the ideal place to buy something authentic from ikat woven skirts and woodcarvings to oil lamps and brass statuettes, this market has all kinds of handicrafts. With relatively higher quality and greater variety of products, this market is popular with both locals and foreigners. As always, bargaining is a must.

Located right in the heart of the city, Ubud Art Market is also called the Pasar Seni Ubud. Home to a variety of products and assortments, Ubud Art Market is a traditional market alive with its narrow lanes, sellers, colourful merchandise and buyers who come from across the world. The highlight of visiting the Ubud Market, however, is its local essence that is hard to find in any mall or shopping complexes. Many of the products and goods sold in the Ubud Market are made in the neighbouring villages of Tegallalang, Pengosekan, Peliatan and seminyak shop. The proximity of the production coupled with the market’s central location and reasonable prices make the Ubud Art Market a must-visit when shopping for traditional items, souvenirs and interacting with the local population.

How to Reach

The Ubud Art Market is easily accessible, though if you are traveller it would be a good idea to hire a car. If you are driving yourself then you would have to park at a spot and walk to the market. In case, of a hired cab, you will be dropped off at the market itself and the driver can pick you up again once you are done.

Address : Jl. Raya Ubud No.35, Ubud, Kecamatan Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali

Timings : 6:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Entry Fee : Free

11. Seminyak Shopping

Bali is known for its flamboyant designers and fabulous shopping, and you'll find the best examples of Balinese design along the busy streets of Seminyak. Cutting-edge designer fashion, surf and swimwear, jewellery, furniture, and homewares are just some of the items you can buy at the chic shops and busy market stalls here.

Top boutiques include Biasa, Magali Pascal, and Bamboo Blonde, while Kody & Ko sells colourful, quirky art and homeware. Sea Gypsy is a favourite for jewellery, and Drifter Surf Shop & Cafe offers a collection of surf and skateboard gear.

The two main shopping malls are Seminyak Square and Seminyak Village, but you'll probably find better deals in the smaller shops lining the streets. If you're really seeking a bargain, head to the Seminyak Flea Markets near Seminyak Square, where you'll find stalls crammed with clothing, jewellery, carvings, and handicrafts.

11. Nusa Dua Beach

Often described as an 'All Inclusive' beach, Nusa Dua has everything one could ask for - shopping complexes, high-end hotels, museums, even an 18-hole golf course! The pristine white sand and blue waters provide an awe-inspiring scene to rejuvenate your senses, and the additional facilities of spas and water-sports make this an ideal location for both the honeymooning couples and travelling families.

Nusa Dua Beach is a clean and serene beach with blue water and silvery sand in Bali. The beauty of this place will leave enchanted and the various water activities will add the required amount of adventure in your trip. You will also be able to explore the rich marine life including colourful Corals and fishes that habitat under the sea. The rustling of the waves crashing on the shore along with the sweet salty fragrance lingering in the air makes Nusa Dua Beach an ideal retreat.

How to reach

By Air: The nearest airport to reach Nusa Dua Beach is Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali which is well connected with all the major cities in the world. The distance between the two is around 12 km which can easily be covered by hiring a cab or a taxi.

By Road: Nusa Dua Beach is located 40 km south of Denpasar, the provincial capital of Bali. You can even reach Nusa Dua Beach from Kuta area which is around 20 km away and Jimbaran which is around 15 km away by hailing a cab or taxi. Public transport is not very regular in this area, but some bemos from Tegal terminal in Denpasar do run that will drop you here. You can even rent a scooter and find your own way to reach the beach.

Address : Kawasan Pariwisata Nusa Dua, Denpasar, Bali,

Timings : All Day

Entry Fee : No Entry Fee

12. Sekumpul Waterfall

In the Singaraja region, about 66 kilometres north of Ubud, Sekumpul Waterfall is considered by many to be Bali's most beautiful falls. The waterfall is actually a series of about seven falls, cascading like long misty veils over the lip of a lush, jungle-clad cliff.

Note that if you choose to drive yourself here, locals might try and stop you well before the entrance, demanding exorbitant entrance and parking fees. It's a good idea to hire a local guide who knows how to negotiate these roadblocks and access the correct trail-head to the falls.

The three- to four-hour round-trip trek passes by rice terraces and local villages rimmed with rambutan and durian trees, and continues through dense tropical jungle. It can be strenuous in parts, as you need to hike down slippery steps and slosh through a river, but once you arrive, you can cool off with a refreshing swim at the base of the falls.

This is a great adventure for nature lovers who want a taste of wild Bali far from the touristy resorts.

How to Reach

Sekumpul is located over 70 kilometres from Denpasar and it takes around two and a half hours to reach by road. It takes around the same time to reach Sekumpul from Ubud. If you are coming from Kuta, it will take over three hours by road.

While following the road, you might have trouble finding signs towards the waterfalls. In that case, ask the locals for directions. You’re especially bound to find people while crossing Lemukih village which is 2 kilometres from Sekumpul. You'll know you're on the right track when you spot a large parking lot. Some people prefer to hire a driver for this journey, as reaching Sekumpul includes a lot of mountainous driving. The roads are poor at multiple points, and depending on the time of travel, you might hit a lot of traffic. During the last 30 minutes of the drive to the falls, the mountainous roads follow one lane, with steep drops on each side.

Address : Sawan, Buleleng Regency, Bali

Timings : All Day

Entry Fee : No Entry Fee

13. Lovina Beach

Bali might be known as Indonesia’s party island, but not all of its beaches have that notorious wild vibe. At Lovina Beach in north-western Bali, you’ll find a much more laidback atmosphere where people can lay back and enjoy the feeling of sand in their toes and sun on their skin instead. It’s quieter than most tourist hotspots, but that is exactly Lovina Beach’s charm. The exquisite beach consists of seven small villages like Pemaron, Anturan, Kalibukbuk (the liveliest village of the lot), Temukus, and Kaliasem along its 10 kilometre stretch. Instead of Bali’s usual white sand beaches, you’re treated here with narrow, black sand beaches which have calm waters ideal for swimming and relaxing in the waves.

Lovina Beach is most popular for dolphin watching, snorkelling, and enjoying the calm of traditional Indonesian life. Dolphin sightings are an everyday affair, and you’ll certainly find yourself encouraged by everyone from shopkeepers to hotel staff, to give it a shot. Lovina Beach has its options of bars and cafes for the partying, but for the most part, it’s a great little nook to spend time with friends, family, and loved ones in a quiet getaway.

The ideal time to visit Lovina Beach is from April to September when you’ll find fewer crowds, meaning a more budget holiday. The beach weather is still pleasant as this is the time right after the high season before the monsoon rains kick in.

How to Reach

Lovina Beach is located 9 kilometres (20 minutes) from Singaraja. It is easily accessible by road with fairly limited traffic in this part of Bali. If you are travelling from Singaraja, you can take a bus from Sangket Terminal to Kalibukbuk for around IDR 15,000. If you are travelling from south Bali, you can take a bus from Denpasar to Singaraja and continue on to Kalibukbuk, although this trip will take a greater part of the day. There are buses that travel daily from here to Kuta and Ubud for around IDR 125,000 which will take around 3 hours.

From the airport, a taxi will cost around IDR 450,000 to Lovina Beach. While travelling within Lovina Beach, it’s best to hire a motorcycle for the day. This will cost around IDR 50,000 to IDR 90,000, but the roads are quite fun with much lesser crowds than south Bali.

Address : Lovina Beach, Anturan, Buleleng Regency, Bali

Timings : All Day

Entry Fee : No Entry Fee

14. Tukad Cepung Waterfall

Located in Tembuku in Bangli regency, Tukad Cepung waterfalls is a must-visit for the breathtaking view it offers. After a steep 15-minute trek, one needs to wade through waist-deep water and gravel to reach the site. The effort is worth it however; the majestic waterfalls crashing while sunlight streams in through the canopy overhead gives it a magical vibe.

Tukad Cepung Waterfall is a magical waterfall which is sure to leave one spellbound with its beauty. The highlight is the glistening rays of the sun which falls on water, giving us the illusion of a rainbow that is ethereal. The waterfall projects from between the rocks, which makes the whole setting peaceful and tranquil. All this makes Tukad Cepung Waterfall a star among all the attractions on the island, and a must-visit place in Bali.

Soak yourself in the beautiful waterfall as you bask in the glory of the glistening rays of the sun. Many locals and tourists often flock here to admire the beauty and also click some amazing Instagram worthy snapshots.

It is recommended to visit the Tukad Cepung Waterfall during the dry season since the water tends to go quite deep during the monsoons.

How to Reach

Tukad Cepung Waterfall is easily accessible from any part of the island, and the journey to the place is almost as beautiful as the attraction itself. However, there is no mode of public transportation, so one needs to hire a private taxi to reach the place. The drive takes approximately one hour to one and a half-hour.

Address : Jl. Tembuku, Dusun Penida Kelod, Tembuku, Kabupaten Bangli, Bali

Timings : 6:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Entry Fees : IDR 10000 to IDR 15000

15. Besakih Temple

Known as Bali's 'Mother Temple', Pura Besakih is a majestic Hindu temple complex perched on the slopes of Mount Agung in Bali. The complex houses 23 separate temples and is believed to be at least 2000 years old.

Sat in the lap of nature, nestled in between rice paddies, hillsides and streams, Besakih Temple adds to the feeling of serenity the temple is known for. The primary deities of this beautiful temple are Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu. This huge temple complex comprises of around 86 temple shrines. Out of this, there are three main temples which are dedicated to the trinity in Hindu mythology, that is- Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva.

How to Reach

Besakih Temple is located at a high altitude of almost 1000 meters above sea level on the slopes of the famous Mount Agung. If one is travelling from Kuta, Seminyak, Jimbaran, and Denpasar then take the Kusamba Bypass to Klungkung. There is no public transport available to reach Besakih Temple so it is advisable to hire a private car to the place.

Address : Besakih, Rendang, Karangasem, Bali

Timings : 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Entry Fee : IDR: 15,000

You should spend at least 2 weeks to experience these must visit attractions in Bali. But if you want to explore more of Bali apart from the above, 3 weeks should be ideal.

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