One of the most popular tourist destinations for those in nearby Australia, the Indonesian island of Bali offers visitors a gateway into a tropical paradise. There’s something for everyone in Bali, whether you want to spend your days lounging by an infinity pool in a world-class resort, trekking up mountains and exploring archeological sites, or getting up close and personal with monkeys in their natural habitat.
Home to picturesque landscapes, historic buildings, and welcoming local people willing to share their culture, Bali should definitely be on your bucket list. Here are 10 amazing and unforgettable things to do while on the island.
10 Chill With Monkeys In The Sacred Monkey Forest
There are a lot of questionable animal experiences on the market for travelers, but one that you can be sure is ethical is a visit to the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud. The long-tailed macaques that call the sanctuary home aren’t confined to cages. As you walk through the majestic forest, you’ll see them swinging from the trees, walking across the paths, and sitting on the railings.
Be warned: these monkeys are known for being cheeky. Visitors are advised against bringing food, drink, or anything that they don’t want to be stolen into the forest.
9 Get Zen At Tanah Lot Temple
Though Indonesia is an Islamic nation, the island of Bali is predominantly Hindu and features several stunning temples. One of the most iconic is Tanah Lot, which resides on top of a rock that’s surrounded by the open sea.
One of the most important sea temples in Bali, Tanah Lot pays tribute to the guardian spirits of the sea and is a sight not to be missed around sunset. The shore boasts a variety of restaurants and other visitor’s leisure facilities where you can watch the sunset behind the spectacular temple.
8 Check Out The Tegallalang Rice Terraces
There are a few rice terraces that you can visit while in Bali. Among the most scenic are the rice terraces of Tegallalang in the hilly region of Ubud. The terraces spread across the valley, just north from the Ubud main center.
You’ll have the option of venturing down into the rice fields, chatting to farmers, and experiencing the paddies up close. Some visitors choose to simply take in the view of the rice fields from the top of the valley, and browse through the roadside stalls offering an eclectic range of souvenirs.
7 Browse In The Ubud Art Market
While in Ubud, you’ll want to pay a visit to the iconic art market, which is one of Bali’s top landmarks. Just across the road from the Ubud Royal Palace, the market is home to stalls selling a range of locally crafted goods produced in the neighboring villages.
Here, you will find everything from handmade woven bags to silk scarves, lightweight shirts, kites, statues, baskets, hats, and endless other handcrafted items made by local vendors. The market was also featured in the movie Eat Pray Love starring Julia Roberts.
6 Explore Goa Gajah
There is plenty for history buffs to do in Bali, including visiting the archeological site known as Goa Gajah. On the complex is a fascinating meditational cave, as well as a temple and a courtyard filled with ancient stone relics. There are also bathing pools and sculpted fountains to see in the courtyard.
The name Goa Gajah translates to Elephant Cave, even though you won’t find any elephants here. What you will find, though, are picturesque rice fields and streams leading to the nearby Petanu River from the southern end of the complex.
5 Watch A Balinese Dance
While on the island, be sure to immerse yourself in the local culture of the Balinese people. Watching a traditional Balinese dance is an experience you’ll never forget, and there are several places where you can go to witness the iconic performance.
There are traditional dances held at the Ubud Palace, where local girls wear ceremonial attire and tell old stories with their bodies and facial expressions. You can also visit the Pura Luhu Uluwatu Temple, where the famous Kecak Dance is performed by over one hundred men in the amphitheater.
4 Eat Your Way Through A Gourmet Food Safari
Bali is home to an array of world-class resorts serving up a range of international dishes, but the local cuisine is also pretty delicious and definitely worth trying. There are gourmet food safari tours you can take which will guide you to a series of restaurants where you can try the most scrumptious local dishes.
If you fall in love with the food in Bali, you can also take a cooking class. Grab fresh produce from local markets and follow the masters as they pass along the skills required to nail the signature dishes in Balinese cuisine.
3 Get Pampered At A Spa
For some people, Bali is a destination full of adventure and excitement. For others, it’s the ultimate relaxing escape. The island is packed with day spas, and many of their price lists are far cheaper than what most westerners are used to. Whatever treatment you’re after, you’re sure to find it here.
One of the most popular ways to pamper yourself is with a cream bath, which is a hair treatment that many local women use daily. It features a massage of the head, neck, and shoulders, followed by a homemade mask painted on the hair, followed by rejuvenating steam treatment, and finally followed with even more massaging and conditioning.
2 Hike Mount Batur
If you are looking for something more adventurous to do in Bali, we’d suggest a hike up the iconic Mount Batur. In truth, the hike isn’t overly challenging—you don’t even need proper hiking gear to do it. But it’s still a thrilling experience—Mount Batur is an active volcano, and the peak boasts sublime views of the surrounding landscape.
The hike up to the top will take a few hours, but when you reach the peak, you’ll be rewarded with banana sandwiches (and a gorgeous view). There is a 3 a.m. start involved, but it’s all part of the fun!
1 Stroll Through The Botanic Gardens
Nature enthusiasts will love Bali for many reasons. From the forests to the famous beaches, the landscape is simply breathtaking. If you want to admire even more native flora, head to the Botanic Gardens in Bedugul.
Not your usual botanic garden, this one is nestled in the mountains and home to a bamboo forest, in addition to pristine gardens. There’s also the TreeTop Adventure Park in the gardens, where you can swing through the trees like George of the Jungle. To make a day of it, get an early start and bring up a picnic lunch.