7 Best Places to Visit in Bali

Bali is an enchanting paradise,  scattered with ancient temples, astounding nature, and friendly locals. It’s rich in natural beauty, from it’s cascading waterfalls to it’s lush jungles, pristine beaches, active volcanoes, and hidden caves, the nature here is incredibly diverse. Bali is a cultural mecca, with ancient traditions that visitors can easily immerse themselves in. Although Bali is pretty touristy compared to other islands in Indonesia, it remains a gem for its timeless beauty and countless opportunities for adventure. Bali has a little something for everyone, so here are my top favorite places in Bali

 

 

 

Tanah Lot Temple

 

Come to this temple if you want a truly ethereal experience. This temple is literally located in the sea, and you have to walk through the ocean to get there. Tanah Lot is an ancient Hindu gem perched amidst constantly crashing waves, and is especially beautiful to visit during sunset. The temple began as a natural rock formation, but over time with the erosion from the waves the temple started to wear, and due to reconstruction part of it is made from artificial rock.

 

 

Crossing the ocean to reach the temple

 

Pura (Temple) Tanah Lot is one of the most important and revered temples in Bali. The history of Tanah Lot starts with the high priest Dang Hyang Nirartha, from the Majapahit Kingdom in East Java who travelled to Bali in 1489 to spread Hinduism. When he arrived he created a shrine for the sea god Baruna. He shared his teachings to the Beraban villagers, but faced resistance, but the priest persisted, and incredibly shifted a large rock he meditated upon out into the sea, then transformed his sashes into sea snakes to guard the temple at its base. The temple’s original name is “Tengah Lod”, or ‘in the sea’.

 

Feeling the crashing waves and seabreeze

 

At high tide, strong waves make a barrier to the walkway and it’s impossible to cross. At low tide you can cross to view the rocky path where you’ll meet priests wearing white robes standing at the front of the temple who bless visitors by sprinkling holy water over their heads and placing a bindi made of rice on the forehead.

 

 

 

Majestic sunset at Tanah Lot

 

 

 

Unfortunately non-Balinese tourists aren’t allowed inside the temple, but the breathtaking views and cultural immersion are what makes this temple worth the visit. Other smaller temples nearby Tanah Lot host prayer sessions for different aspects of the local life, from prosperous rice harvests to rites of passage.

After sunset, you can head over to the Surya Mandala Cultural park to see the fire dancers perform (From 18:30 onwards).

 

Hours: Sun – Sat, 07:00 – 19:00

Location: Jalan Raya Tanah Lot, Beraban Village, Kediri, Tabanan

 

 

Tegenungan Waterfall

 

If you’re a nature lover then you can’t miss out on this spectacular waterfall. Hidden in a lush green jungle, this waterfall is the perfect place to lounge and hear the thundering waters crash all around you. These falls actually have a waterfall pool you can lounge in!

 

About to lounge in the waterfall pool

 

You’ll reach the falls after walking down a lush green trail where you’ll enjoy the impressive valley panorama views with cascading water flows. The water volume at these falls is impressive at almost any time of year, but normally at its strongest during the monsoon season (October to April). The waterfall looks like something out of a film, and for many the thought of hiking through the jungle to a hidden waterfall and then having a relaxing swim is the image of paradise.

 

Hidden in the lush jungle

 

 

Fee: IDR 10,000

Location: Jalan Ir. Sutami, Kemenuh, Sukawati, Kemenuh, Sukawati, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80581, Indonesia

Hours: Sun – Sat, 07:00 – 18:00

 

 

Tegallalang Rice Terrace

 

 

Tegallalang rice terrace is known for its sprawling lush rice paddies that involve subak, the traditional Balinese irrigation system. These terraces offer a scenic outlook that spreads down before you and away to the rice paddies on the slopes across the valley. The high roadside location is a breezy spot and is a great place to take photos.

 

Tegallalang rice terraces offer the perfect photo opportunity

 

These terraces offer the perfect photo opportunity with all its dramatic views. This ancient valley has a timeless feel, despite all the tourism it gets. One of the great things about this place is that it’s totally free to enter. Tegallalang offers the perfect place for a refreshing short trek, and once you reach the top you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the village.

Another cool thing about this place is the cultural immersion you’ll feel once here. These are real rice fields owned and operated by locals who use traditional Balinese irrigation styles, so you get a real feel of what rice harvesting looks like. So don’t miss out on this cultural mecca, despite all the flocks of tourists which can get annoying at times, this place is totally worth the visit for its mesmerizing views and opportunity to see real Balinese culture.

 

Location: Jl. Raya Ceking Tegallalang | Between Tegalalang and Ubud, Ubud 80517, Indonesia

Hours: Sun – Sat, 06:00 – 18:00

 

 

Mt Batur Volcano

 

Mt. Batur is the perfect place in Bali to see the sun rise. Mount Batur is an active volcano and is considered to be sacred by the locals. Make sure to get there when it’s still dark out, around 2 in the morning so you have enough time to make it to the top so you can view the most majestic sun rise. This is an easy medium level trek that takes about 4-5 hours to complete.

 

 

Stopping for a hot coffee at one of the guesthouses overlooking Mt Batur

 

When you reach the top of the volcano you’ll get to see an exquisite sunrise and Lombok island in the distance. You’ll also see the vast crystal clear waters of Lake Batur as well as get a glimpse into the crater of the volcano. After the trek I’d recommend stopping for a soothing cup of coffee at one of the friendly hotels or guesthouses so you can look out at the pristine lake and watch the mists rise from the volcano. Imagine panoramic visuals, crisp mountain air, and the warm feeling of sunlight on your skin.

 

Capturing Mt Batur at sunrise

 

 

Riding a motorbike around the dried lava hills

 

Location: Batur Caldera | Desa Batur, Kintamani 80652, Indonesia

Legian Beach

 

The sunrise at this beach is dazzling and it’s one of the most memorable experiences you’ll have in Bali. So grab your cute bikini and beach bag and take a stroll along the white sands while watching the soft waves crashing against the shore, with moving silhouettes of surfers in the distance. Grab a strawberry daquiri at one of the local beach shacks and lay out in the sand while you watch locals and expats striking yoga poses as the sun begins to set. Watch the flowers used for prayer offerings blow in the winds and land on the water, as the sun becomes a deeper red. Watch as the bright pinks and oranges dance across the sand, as the sun starts to disappear beneath the horizon and the silhouettes in the distance start to fade.   

 

Having a relaxing morning swim at the Island Hostel near Legian beach

 

 

Location: Legian Village, Legian, Indonesia

 

Besakih Temple

 

Also known as the “Mother Temple,” this is the largest and most important temple for Hindus. Located 1,000m up on the slope of Mount Agung, it is one of the oldest temples at 1,000 years old. Besakih is a huge complex of 22 temples, the largest being Pura Penataran Agung.

 

Besakih or “Mother” temple

 

 

Standing on the steps of Besakih while the tradtional women carrying baskets of fruit on their heads walk past

 

The stone base of Pura Penataran Agung and other temples in the complex resemble pyramids. At the top of the complex you can see a wide nature panorama that extends until the ocean. The three main temples are Pura Penataran Agung, dedicated to Sang Hyang Widi Wasa, Pura Kiduling Kreteg which is dedicated to Brahma, and Pura Batu Madeg, dedicated to Wisnu. To the local Balinese a visit to Besakih temple is a special pilgrimage. 

 

 

Besakih is a huge complex with dozens of temples to explore

 

 

Entry Fee: IDR 35,000

Hours: Sun – Sat, 07:00 – 22:00

Location: Jl. Raya Besakih, Karangasem, Indonesia

 

Elephant Caves (Goa Gajah)

 

This ancient 11th century atmospheric cave’s entrance is the carved mouth of a demon. Goa Gajah was built as a spiritual place for meditation. The beautiful limestone pool in front of the cave features several statues of Hindu goddesses holding waterspout vases. When you enter the cave a wave of incense and flowers spikes your senses. Inside the cave you’ll find a black statue of the Hindu god Ganesha that’s covered in incense and other offerings. Three stoic black stone idols sit on the opposite side, wrapped in red, yellow and black sashes.

 

Standing at the menacing mouth of Goa Gajah

 

The northern side of the temple complex is mostly Buddhist while south across the river it’s mostly made of Hindu influences. Some suggest that the term ‘Gajah’ or elephant came from the stone figure of Ganesh inside the temple, who’s head is that of an elephants. Some also think it gets its name from the river Sungai Petanu, which used to be called Elephant River, or perhaps because the face carved at the entrance is thought to resemble an elephant.

 

Here are some incredibly useful travel items to have when in Bali

 

 

 

 

Golden umbrellas are a symbol of protection

 

Entry Fee: 15,000 rupiah for adults/7,500 for children

Hours: Mon – Sun, 08:00 – 16.00

Location: Bedulu Village, Jalan Raya Goa Gajah, Blahbatuh, Gianyar

 

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Comments

  1. Johan says:

    NIce article, but there are so many nice places on Bali to visit, and I know you cant name them all. The reason why non Balinese cant enter Tanah Lot is because it is sacred place and they want to keep it “clean”, Many Balinese say it is already not their temple anymore because of all the tourism. As for temples there are so many, I personally prefer Gunung Kawi in Tampaksiring or Gunung Kawi Sebatu in Tegagalang. When you like the Tegegalang ricefields (again a very touristic place where it is hardly possible to take a picture without people on it) you should go to Jatiluwih, known as the most beautiful ricefields on Bali, but ofcourse it is all personal taste, naming 7 places is not enough :). The waterfalls, also many of them, never been to the one you mentioned but when you would go up north there are Git Git, Sekumpul, Sing Sing to name a view. Whenever you get the chance explore the middle and north of the island so many hidden nice places all around but thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Johan,

      Yes it’s true, there are so many amazing places to visit in Bali, it’s not possible to list all. I think anther reason is that they don’t want any non-Hindus entering the temple. the same happened to me when I was in India and some temples didn’t allow foreigners to enter, since they automatically assume they are not Hindu, which I found to be quite discriminatory. I did happen to find a small local temple near Elephant Safari park which offered an incredible experience, the locals let me take part in ceremonies and have some traditional dishes, it was such a wonderful experience. And thanks for the recommendations, these are some places I’d love to check out next time I’m back in Bali! Xx

  2. Faran says:

    very nice places, will be nice experiences. have a planr to visit in futre Insha Allah

    1. Thanks a lot Faran! Xxx

    2. Hi Faran,

      Thanks a lot! 🙂 I’m so glad you’re planning to come out to this part of Asia, Which all countries are you interested in visiting in SE Asia? Xxx

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