Megan Bryant is a passionate writer and traveler who has combined her two loves to help others fulfill their traveling dreams. When she isn’t writing, she’s usually curled up with her 3 Dachshunds and a good book or planning her next adventure—wherever that may be.
The island of Bali in Indonesia is a tropical paradise with beautiful beaches, lush green rice fields, and colorful traditions that only add to the natural beauty.
But what makes Bali such a great vacation destination is the fact that the island has something for everyone. Surfers can ride the waves in Uluwatu, hikers can trek up Bali’s active volcanoes, Mount Agung and Mount Batur, cyclists can take a tour through the traditional villages, and those who enjoy relaxing can spread out on the beach or hit up one of Bali’s many, many spas.
No matter what your preferences, Bali has you covered. And if you’re planning a trip to the Island of the Gods, then here are 16 places and attractions that you won’t want to miss!
Balangan in southwest Bali is home to some of the island’s best waves, making it a popular stop for surfers. Despite popular belief, not many of Bali’s beaches have that turquoise water that belongs on the front of postcards. But Balangan has just that. If you’re looking for a beach to relax on with inviting waters that actually make you want to swim, then Balangan is the spot for you.
Bali Swing, Ubud
One of the most Instagrammable attractions in Bali is the rice terrace swings in Ubud. If you’ve done any sort of research on Bali, then you would have seen countless photos of people swinging over the Tegallang Rice Terraces. And if it’s your first time on the island, then it’s only right that you get your photo taken, too. The most popular swing is the Alas Harum, which overlooks Tegallalang. However, the swing hype has caught on, and you’ll now find swings in many locations all over Bali.
Campuhan Ridge Walk, Ubud
The Campuhan Ridge Walk in the heart of Ubud is one of the island’s very few accessible walking trails. But its beauty really makes up for the lack of options. The paved trail of the Campuhan Ride Walk takes you through breathtaking lush green valleys that are best observed at sunrise before the Bali sun is at its hottest.
Danau Beratan, Bedugul
If Bali’s heat ever gets too much, head up to Bedugul on the north side of the island, as the temperature is a few degrees cooler thanks to its slightly higher altitude. While you’re there enjoying the cool breeze, be sure to check out Danau Beratan, the second-largest lake on the island.
Danau Beratan is nestled beside Mount Beratan and Mount Catur and is home to the iconic Pura Ulun Danu Beratan temple that sits in the center of the lake. If you’re lucky, you may even get to witness a mountain fog creeping over the lake, which creates the illusion that the temple is floating.
GWK Cultural Park, South Kuta
One of Bali’s newest—and most cultural—attractions is the Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park (GWK). GWK is home to one of the tallest monuments in the world, a statue of Wisnu ( principal Hindu deity) riding a garuda, which stands 122 meters tall. You can see the GWK statue from various points all over Bali, but it’s most spectacular when you’re looking up at it from its base.
The GWK park also features other stone carvings, plus nightly Kecak dances, ogoh ogoh parades, and even segway tours.
Jatiluwih Rice Terraces
Bali is known for its rice fields, but one of the best—and arguably the most beautiful—is Jatiluwih. The rice fields in Ubud are a popular choice amongst tourists; however, with tourists come crowds, which often ruin the experience and beauty of the fields. If you want to escape the crowds, head to Jatiluwih in Tabanan, as the rice fields span as far as the eye can see. You can even have a peaceful lunch overlooking the greenery.
Kelingking Beach, Nusa Penida
Another famous and Instagrammable Bali location is Kelingking Beach on the neighboring island of Nusa Penida. Kelingking is by far one of Bali’s most stunning beaches, as it features white sand, clear turquoise water, and the iconic emerald-green cliff that towers over the waters below. Nusa Penida is roughly a 40-minute boat trip from mainland Bali, but in my opinion, the journey is well worth it.
On Bali’s northern coast is the resort area of Lovina, which offers dolphin sightings, black sand beaches, and colorful coral reefs. Most people visit Lovina to head out on a dolphin-watching tour, but snorkeling and diving are other popular activities that you can take part in.
Mount Batur, Kintamani
Mount Batur is one of Bali’s most famous volcanoes, and you can actually hike up it to see one of the best sunrises you’ll ever encounter in your life. Your trip up the active volcano will start bright and early at 3 AM, where you’ll be picked up and dropped off at Mount Batur’s base, ready to start your hike to the top. By the time you’ve reached its peak, the sun will be rising, and you’ll get to see Bali from a completely different perspective.
Bali is a tourist hot spot, and if you ever want to escape the crowds of Kuta, Seminyak, or Canggu, then Nusa Dua is an excellent choice. Nusa Dua in southeast Bali has beautiful—and quiet—sandy beaches (my favorite is Niko Beach), plenty of tasty restaurants, and gated resorts that offer a level of luxury that you won’t find anywhere else on the island.
Pura Lempuyang, Karangasem
Yet another iconic Instagrammable Bali spot is the Pura Lempuyang temple—the oldest Hindu temple in Bali. Pura Lempuyang is known as the “Gateway to Heaven” and is perched on top of Mount Lempuyang in the northern region of Karagasem. A visit to the Pura Lempuyang does require you to climb 1,700 steps, but the views of the nearby volcanoes, ocean, and valleys will instantly make you forget how much you were struggling just a few minutes ago.
Pura Tirta Empul, Tampaksiring
If you want to immerse yourself in the Bali culture, then a trip to the Tirta Empul—Bali’s most popular water temple—will help you do just that. Tirta Empul is a sacred place for the Balinese, and its holy springs welcome hundreds of locals and tourists each and every day. The reason most people visit Tirta Empul, however, is to take part in a water purification ceremony where you bathe in the waters to rid yourself of negative energy.
Double Six, Seminyak
During your trip to Bali, you’ll witness some of the most beautiful sunsets, and Double Six Beach in Seminyak is an excellent place to sit back with a Bintang and watch the show unfold. The most popular sunset bar on the beach is La Plancha, a Chiringuito-styled bar with colorful bean bags and umbrellas spread out across the sand. La Plancha does get extremely busy, so it’s best to get there early to secure a table.
Tanah Lot is an iconic and important temple in Bali, and its seaside setting with crashing waves, rocky islets, and incredible sunsets only adds to its allure. Tanah Lot is an ancient Hindu shrine built in the 16th century. Although tourists can’t actually enter the temple, you can see it from a distance and walk across to it when the tide is low.
Tukad Cepung Waterfall
Bali has a few beautiful waterfalls, but the lighting at Tukad Cepung places it well above the rest. Tukad Cepung is famous for its streams of light that burst through the rock at certain points of the day. Although the waterfall does require a short hike to get there, once you reach the cave and cool off in the waters, you’ll be happy you made the journey.
One of my favorite temples in Bali is the Uluwatu Temple, which has some of the most incredible plunging sea cliff views. Dating back to the 10th century, the Uluwatu Temple is believed to protect Bali from evil sea spirits, with its resident monkey’s help, that is. The monkeys at the Uluwatu Temple are known for stealing people’s belongings, so keep everything stashed away when walking through the temple’s grounds.
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