Exotic, spiritual, tropical and awe-inspiring. This is Bali, the lush Island of the gods that captures your soul and leaves you breathless. This magical pocket of Indonesia boasts breathtaking beaches, amazing surf, and stylish resorts, but it is so much more than a fun-in-the-sun retreat. With its ancient temples and palaces, perpetually smiling people, exquisite flower-petal offerings, and gorgeous rice paddies, Bali is a destination like no other.
Bali is bursting with things to see and do, and its ancient and natural wonders earn world-class travel awards year after year.
Here is a list of our top must-try experiences on the “Island of the Gods”:
1. Visit Monkey Temple, Ubud
At the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary there are over 600 long-tailed macaques living in a sacred forest with 115 species of trees. Also known as Ubud’s Monkey Forest, it is a place of scientific research as well as a site of spirituality, with mystical temples hidden across its storied grounds. You’ll be delighted by the antics of the forest’s curious monkey residents.
2. Cocktail at the “Rock Bar” in Jimbaran Bay
Welcome to the Beverly Hills of Bali. This glamorous bar at the celebrated Ayana Hotel is perched on natural rock face 14 meters above stunning Jimbaran Bay. Visit the trendy spot by stepping onto an inclinator that traverses the cliff-face, then watch the sun sink below the sparkling ocean while you sip a finely crafted cocktail. The views of the ocean – and the beautiful people – are unforgettable here.
3. Sunrise on Mount Batur
If you get up super early just once while you’re in Bali, choose the day you journey to the top of Mount Batur. At the top of the majestic volcano in central Bali you’ll watch the sun light up the entire island. From the top you’ll get incredible views into the crater and the crystal clear waters of Lake Batur below. Don’t forget your camera- these views are worth more than a thousand words.
4. Sunset at Tanah Lot Temple
Bali is home to countless Hindu temples, but Tanah Lot is one of the best. Located on the base of a volcanic island on Bali’s rugged west coast, Tanah Lot Temple is one of Bali’s most important landmarks. The temple is an ancient Hindu shrine perched on top of an outcrop, surrounded by constantly crashing waves. The temple is reachable only during low tide. Visit at sunset here, its truly majestic.
5. Witness Balinese Dance
Prepare to be mesmerized by the beautiful ancient dance that combines colourful and ornate costumes with mystical movements and layered percussive sounds. Balinese dance performances are intensely expressive and connected to fascinating Hindu rituals. There are several different types of Balinese dance, each a part of a special religious and artistic story.
6. Lovina’s Black Sand Beach
Relax in the laid-back, quiet coastal town of Lovina, and unwind on its unique black sand beaches. Time moves slowly in this 8km stretch along Bali’s North Coast, making it the perfect place to find tranquility.
7. Explore Rice Paddies by Bicycle
Bicycles are one of the best ways to explore the Ubud area, either alone or with a group. Experience the magical beauty of the Balinese countryside as you cycle through lush green valleys, native Balinese villages, ancient Hindu ceremonial sites, rice fields, secret gardens, and coffee plantations.
8. Seafood Dinner on Jimbaran Beach
There’s nothing more sensual than dining on the beach with your toes in the sand. Colourful fishing boats pass in front of you while you sip a cocktail and enjoy delicious seafood and Balinese specialties freshly prepared. Come to upscale Jimbaran Beach at sunset – you’ll get a view to remember.
9. Batik Making Class in Ubud
Ubud is the arts and crafts capital of Bali, and there’s no better place to create a rewarding piece of art to bring home from your travels. Learn authentic Balinese Batik techniques, tools and dyes to create an original textile design, or to try to master the detail of a traditional one.
10. Indulge in a Balinese Massage
Bliss out and unite your mind, body and spirit with a traditional Balinese massage. By receiving masterful techniques of stretching, long strokes, skin rolling, and palm-and thumb pressure, you’ll get an all-over feeling of calm and tranquility. What could be better than that?