Bali is Indonesia’s top tourist destination. Every year, people come here to relax, spend their holidays, have fun with friends or loved ones and they return, feeling rejuvenated and ready to come back. Bali isn’t just about beachside resorts though. There are many places to visit in Bali and you would need to organise your time accordingly so that you don’t miss out on anything.
Bali’s reputation as a beachside destination however precedes everything else and many come packed with more beachwear than anything else, intending to spend as much time on beaches such as Kuta and Jimbaran. The lesser known regions of Bali towards the East and north are perfect for diving and there’s a lot of ecological diversity to enjoy here. Here’s a list of some of the places to visit in Bali.
It’s an easy bet that most travellers to Bali will find their way to Kuta beach sooner or later. It’s after all, one of the top places to visit in Bali. Kuta beach is one of the most favoured spots for surfers. Every morning, you are bound to find several of them, waiting for that perfect wave as they gaze over the brilliant waters. While there are plenty of vendors selling food and other trinkets, if you’re looking for a more refined experience, then walk up to Kuta Beachwalk where you can find several restaurants and shops.
While we’re still talking of beaches, let’s not forget Seminyak. It’s a scenic and refined beach resort of sorts with villas and resorts along with spas and hip dining spots. Seminyak however is a good surfing spot only for those who are experienced as there are strong undercurrents. There are clubs and bars and other hang out spots where you can watch the brilliant sunsets.
Tanah Lot is one of the most iconic places to visit in Bali. This temple, located on the coast, has an ancient Hindu temple on a clifftop. The setting makes it unique and scenic at the same time. With waves crashing against it continuously for centuries, the cliff had eroded until there were specific preservation efforts taken to ensure that Tanah Lot did not completely disappear. During high tide, visitors are unable to cross and view the rock base but during low tide, it’s possible. Do note that people are not allowed to enter the temple grounds, but the views make up for it entirely.
Have your fill of exotica at the Ubud Monkey Forest, one of the most popular places to visit in Bali. Trek through the forest which is a natural sanctuary for grey long-tailed macaques. There are paved pathways here which lead to the Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal or the Great Temple of Death. The dense trees prevent sunlight from entering, so there’s definitely a mysterious aura around the place. The statues and other relics look ancient thanks to the moss covering them luxuriously. Since this is a sanctuary, there are plenty of monkeys to be found here. Do be careful about wearing shiny or loose jewellery as the monkeys might take a fancy to it.
Among the interesting places to visit in Bali is the Bali Safari and Marine Park. Animals here are allowed to roam freely and you can ride a safari bus to visit the animals. Some of the animals here are Himalayan bears, black bucks, African hippos, ostriches, baboons and lions while the biggest draw would be the Indian white tigers. The safaris give you a chance to view the animals in their natural habitat. There’s also a water park and amusement park adjacent to this, so it’s a great spot for families, especially with children. There are free live animal shows and photo opportunities with some of the animals. A visit to this park can easily take up the whole day so it’s advisable to wear appropriate clothing. and carry water with you so that you stay hydrated.
This is another iconic temple which is near Bedulu village. There’s much to see and explore at this exotic temple which is an archaeological site with a rich historic background. The rock walls are carved with various designs and there are fountains and bathing pools in the main grounds. Like most tourist places, there are kiosks and vendors, selling souvenirs and trinkets as you walk down the steps to the main ground. This temple has both Hindu and Buddhist influences and there’s a sense of serenity in the air as you explore everything. Do remember to wear appropriate clothing to enter the temple.
Verdant rice fields are aplenty in Ubud while the terraced rice fields of Tegallalang offer a breath taking scene. Inhale the fresh, crisp air as you look across the stunning green views. Nearby, there are small villages, particularly Padukui village where Balinese craftsmen create some splendid work in sculpture and wood carving. You can pick up some excellent souvenirs here, although do be wary of pushy vendors.
When you visit Bali, you will realise that there is much more to it than the fancy beach resorts, and the idea of chilling by the beachside with a cocktail in your hand might even seem boring to you. Bali is exciting and at every turn, there’s something interesting and historic to explore and understand. Do note that SOTC has several great offers and deals on Bali packages if you want to book a tour to Bali.