Bali is undeniably one of the most popular and evocative tourist destinations in the entire Indonesian archipelago. The intoxicating fragrance of incense and clove oil hangs in the thick tropical air the moment you arrived in Bali. Vendors of peanuts are everywhere at the roadside stalls, traditional gamelan music jangles against the noise of mopeds, and petal-strewn offerings on sidewalks. Despite the chaos and clamor of the busy main tourist areas, the island is abundant in natural beauty with different attractions for every kind of tourist. Surfers come for the interesting swells, hikers like trekking up a volcanic peak down to the misty waterfalls, cyclists love to bike in green landscapes like rice terraces and traditional villages. If you’re into shopping, there are tons of shopping malls in Bali and Spa treatment that are fabulous and affordable. And if you’re traveling with family, private Villas in Bali is a must-try for more comfortable travel. The island’s rich arts scene and spirituality is another top draw in Bali, Indonesia. You need to see the magnificent temples and attending sacred Hindu ceremonies as these are the top things to do. After the book and film Eat, Pray, Love spotlighted the Bali, tourists from all over the world increased its number but you if you want to experience the old Bali, you must stray off the beaten track. Here are the top-rated tourist attraction in Bali.
- Pura Tanah Lot
Pura Tanah Lot (Pura means temple in Balinese), is about 20 kilometers northwest of Kuta, Pura Tanah Lot and is one of Bali’s most iconic temples. It has a spectacular seaside setting on a rocky islet and is surrounded by the big waves. It is treated as one of the most sacred of all island’s sea temples for the people of Bali. Every morning, a large densely packed crowd of tourists from Kuta, Sanur, and Legian find their way thru lanes lined by souvenir sellers to watch the sunrise behind the temple.
Foreigners aren’t allowed to enter any of the temples but you can walk across the main temple during low tide, and it’s fun to wander along the paths taking photos and appreciating the natural beauty of the island. Once you’re done with various shrines and temple tours, you can now relax at the clifftop restaurants and cafes and even try their famous Kopi Luwak (civet coffee).
- Mount Batur
If you’re into hiking, Mount Batur should be on top of your list. Every morning, hundred of combined locals and tourists, trek up the 1,700-meter summit of Mount Batur to experience the magnificent view of sunrise above the lush mosaic of mountains. This active volcano is located in the District of Kintamani in Central Highlands of Bali. It’s an hour’s drive from Ubud, and hiking to the summit of Mount Batur is one of the best things to do in Bali. The hike is first-timer friendly as it is relatively easy to climb and usually takes about two to three hours only. You should also try cooking eggs by the steam from the active volcano. During daytime, you’ll be amazed by the surrounding mountain range, the great Lake Batur which is the island’s main source of irrigation water.
You should wear proper shoes for hiking and it’s good to wear layers as the temperature can be cool before Bali’s predawn.
- Uluwatu Temple
Because of its magnificent clifftop setting, Uluwatu Temple (Pura Luhur Uluwatu) is one of Bali’s most famous temples. Lies over plunging sea cliffs above the Island’s best surf spots. Just like the Pura Tanah Lot, the best time to visit here is during the sunset.
The temple is said to be of megalithic origin and dating around the 10th century based on the archaeological finds. The temple is believed to be protected from evil sea spirits while the monkeys who dwell near the entrance of the forest are believed to guard the temple against bad influences. Hindu worshippers are the ones allowed to enter the temple but the breathtaking setting and the sunset Kecak dance performances that are showing here daily are more enough reasons to visit.
- Ubud Monkey Forest
Also known as the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, this monkey forest in South of the town center in Ubud is one of the top attractions for the tourist and liked by the animal lovers and photographers. Aside from the entertainment given by the monkeys, the jungle setting is a large part of the appeal where the monkeys freely roam around. The forest also serves as a place to study the behavior of macaque, particularly their social interaction. It’s also a place for the plant’s conservation.
You’ll find one of the three temples in the forest on the southwest side of the forest, the 14th-century Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal, where thousand of monkeys swing and roam around the area. While on the northwest side of the forest, you’ll see an ancient bathing temple, the Pura Beji. During your visit, make sure not to make a direct eye contact with the animals and even smiling is prohibited, as this can be interpreted as a sign of aggression. It is also advisable not to bring any food.
- Ubud Art and Culture
Ubud is the epicenter of Balinese art and culture. This is also the place where the modern Balinese art movement was born with the surrounding temples and royal palaces serve as the main patrons. Today, some of the best galleries and museums celebrate its traditions and evolution. If you’re into art, you’ll enjoy the art gazing here, as many collections are housed in Balinese buildings.
To have a glimpse of the Balinese art, first on your list should be the Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA) and the Neka Art Museum, which is located near Ubud Monkey Forest.
If you love shopping for art, you shouldn’t miss out the Ubud Art Market. It has tons of stalls brimming with sculptures, carvings, sarongs, jewellery, homewares, and paintings. This is one of the top tourist attractions in town.