Best Things To Do in Bali
You want it? Bali's got it. For relaxation, simply stay put at your resort of choice, which will most likely boast a beautiful beach, an exotic spa and an array of dining options. For adventure, traverse this magical island in search of hidden shrines and ancient temples – Tirta Empul Temple is a traveler favorite. And for families, Waterbom offers exhilarating rides.
Updated December 28, 2018
- #1View all Photos#1 in BaliChurches/Religious Sites, Monuments and Memorials, SightseeingTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDChurches/Religious Sites, Monuments and Memorials, SightseeingTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
While Bali's other temples may be larger or more jaw-dropping, Tirta Empul, which can be translated as "Holy Water Spring," possesses a unique serenity that cannot be matched. This active prayer site inspires both Balinese Hindus and visitors of different beliefs. While there are several shrines and other structures on the premises, the temple's tranquility is best seen in the large rectangular pool at the complex's center. You'll see worshipers enter the water to pray, so be respectful of the Balinese customs and do not disrupt them. Travelers, too, are welcome to enter the water, known for being a holy mountain spring. Keep in mind, though, that you're expected to enter the water fully clothed (and must wear a sarong as well; they are available to rent for free on-site), so visitors suggest bringing a change of clothes along.
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Travelers rave about Uluwatu Temple's stunning cliffside locale and beautiful architecture. This combination is rendered only more dramatic by the crashing of waves more than 200-some feet below. But don't think that you'll have this isolated sanctuary to yourself. Uluwatu Temple is popular with not only tourists and locals but also some sneaky monkeys – many visitors warned to be on the lookout for the monkeys, who snatch up things like hats, purses and glasses from unsuspecting travelers.
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Most jaws drop at the sight of Tanah Lot Temple. This stunning religious complex (and impressive architectural feat) sits on a gigantic jagged rock that rises out of the ocean on Bali's southern coast. And while you'll have to wait for low tide to reach the temple, many say it's worth it, adding that snapping a photo of Tanah Lot Temple at sunset is a must. There are also many stalls with vendors nearby selling everything from food and drinks to souvenirs.
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Once upon a time, Jimbaran was a quiet and quaint fishing village with an equally humble shoreline – but that's no longer the case. Signaled by the oceanfront perch of the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay, this town is now one of Bali's most luxurious destinations. Aside from the opulent resorts that reside here, the town has gained acclaim for its succulent seafood and sandy shoreline. Many travelers come for a romantic sunset dinner on the sand, but they also note that this experience isn't cheap.
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Those who want to break up their beach time with some healthy exercise will want to venture to Kintamani. Located near the island's northeastern coast, 40-some miles north of Kuta, Kintamani is a gorgeous region that boasts a towering (and active) volcano and a large lake. Both landscape features are named "Batur," and their pairing makes for dramatic scenery. The two also offer an array of adventures for intrepid travelers. You can hike up Mount Batur for a bird's-eye view or take a boat out on the water. Many travelers recommend hiring a local guide once you reach one of its small lakeside towns or arranging a daytrip through your hotel in advance. You also shouldn't miss Pura Ulun Danu Batur, one of Bali's most important temples, which is located on the lake's southwestern shore.
- #6View all PhotosfreeKuta#6 in BaliEntertainment and Nightlife, Shopping, Free, Neighborhood/AreaTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDEntertainment and Nightlife, Shopping, Free, Neighborhood/AreaTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
Touristy? Yes. Fun? Absolutely. Kuta has swiftly become Bali's most popular beach town, and with that title comes the responsibility of feeding and entertaining flocks of visitors. Restaurants, bars, stores, spas and even a water park provide travelers with numerous diversions during the day and night. Still, the No. 1 attraction in this town is Kuta Beach. The sandy shore is a prime playground for surfers, sunbathers, swimmers, kite-flyers and more. This isn't the isolated Balinese beach that you've dreamt about, but it has plenty going for it.
- #7View all PhotosfreeSanur Beach#7 in BaliBeaches, Free, Neighborhood/AreaTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDBeaches, Free, Neighborhood/AreaTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
Sanur Beach attracts both locals and tourists alike with its soft sand and quaint boardwalk. Lacking the activity of rowdy Kuta Beach, these sands offer gentle surf that families with small children will appreciate, plus a more laid-back atmosphere. The shore's accessibility and conveniently located eateries and shops make Sanur an appealing option. Recent travelers were impressed by not only the calm water at this beach but also the colorful display of kites flying high in the sky. If you want to fly your own, travelers say a number of nearby vendors sell them for just that purpose.
- #8View all PhotosfreeNusa Dua#8 in BaliBeaches, Recreation, Free, Neighborhood/AreaTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDBeaches, Recreation, Free, Neighborhood/AreaTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
On the eastern side of the Bukit Peninsula, Nusa Dua is Bali's capital and tourist hub. With several golf courses, numerous spas and a handful of luxury resorts (including the St. Regis and Conrad Bali), this region competes with Jimbaran for wealthy patrons. However, all of the amenities and facilities can make Nusa Dua seem too artificial for some visitors. You won't find an abandoned coastline or a small fishing village here. Still, most travelers appreciate Geger Beach, the area's public shore. Some, however, say that the vendors hawking massage services can be a bit obnoxious and that in recent times, the beach has gotten a little dirty.
- #9View all Photos#9 in BaliParks and Gardens, SightseeingTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDParks and Gardens, SightseeingTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
The beautiful Tegalalang Rice Terrace, located north of Ubud, is actually an ancient irrigation system, dating back to the eighth century. Its series of sloping rice paddies just begs to be photographed, and indeed, the terrace is one of the most popular attractions among camera-toting tourists in this region of Bali. Plus, its elevation gives it a cooler climate, which is a nice change of pace from other areas of the island.
- #10View all Photos#10 in BaliHiking, Natural Wonders, Sightseeing, ToursTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDHiking, Natural Wonders, Sightseeing, ToursTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
Gunung Kawi refers to a set of 10 shrines that are cut from a rock face in Bali's lush Tampaksiring region. The shrines are each about 25 feet tall, and thought to be memorials to Bali's 11th-century royals. According to lore, they were carved from the cliff face in just one night by Kebo Iwa, a legendary Balinese figure. Visiting the site will include some exertion: there are 270-plus steps to climb.
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If you're with traveling with children, a trip to Waterbom is a must. With adrenaline-pumping rides like the Boomerang, Superbowl and Pipeline, kids will love the variety of slides at this water park. For a change of (much slower) pace, ride along the Lazy River. Recent visitors loved their time at this water park, with everyone noting that kids, teens and adults all enjoyed the fun slides and water features. Travelers were also impressed with the cleanliness of the park and the service from the staff.
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