Bali is full of beautiful beaches to explore – and restaurants with views to die for | Ian Trower / Alamy Stock Photo
Rich in natural beauty, culture and history, this bewitching Indonesian island has something for everyone. From mountain villages and paddy fields to temples and beaches – the essence of Bali is captured in these must-visit attractions.
This place is a temple, a lush forest and the natural habitat of hundreds of monkeys. Tourists are drawn to this spot for the charm, fresh, cool air and the company of playful monkeys throughout the visit.
Sitting at the edge of a magnificent cliff, this awe-inspiring temple has more cultural value than meets the eye. As a tourist you get to learn about the local customs on your visit, with traditional dance and drama performances taking place at sunset.
Tanah Lot Temple is a religious and cultural landmark, cherished for its natural beauty. Perched on an offshore rock, it has an idyllic backdrop of ocean, and is itself a spectacular place for a selfie, especially at sunset. On this guided tour, you’ll get to explore the temple and see the best of Ubud though the eyes of a local.
Locals believe that the sacred water flowing at the Tirta Empul Temple has the power to heal and cleanse their bodies and souls. Soaking in the spring water in this serene and historic temple is an experience not to be missed.
This integral neighbourhood is where you can find virtually anything – from humble traditional shops to high-end designer boutiques. This neighbourhood also has its share of idyllic beaches, lined with vibrant bars and restaurants that stay open until late.
Ubud is the cultural hub of Bali and home to many traditional artists producing unique and authentic products that represent the island. Tourists can find anything here, from art pieces to humble souvenirs.
Besakih Temple, Bali’s largest, sits on the slopes of the island’s highest mountain, Mount Agung. The complex comprises 86 temples that are more than 1,000 years old. Each year, the temple hosts more than 70 religious ceremonies or celebrations attended by Hindu devotees from all over the island.
Probably best known for its appearance in the movie Eat, Pray, Love (2010), this once-hidden gem lives up to the hype. A perfect nook where you can chill by the sand, swim past awesome rocky structures or surf the waves off the cliffs.
A two-hour hike up the mountain will bring you to the island’s best spot for basking in the sunshine’s first rays. Watch the sunrise with Mount Abang and Batur Lake in the background. Highly Instagrammable.
Ubud used to be a royal town, so it’s not surprising that the area is packed with stunning palaces that still stand as cultural and historical landmarks. The Ubud Royal Palace, or Puri Saren Ubud, is among the biggest and can be found in the heart of the neighbourhood.
Beyond the sparkling blue ocean and white, smooth sand, Pandawa Beach is also a cultural landmark; a place that hosts splendid figures of the five heroic Pandawa characters from the Mahabharata epic, and a venue for cultural performances including the famous kecak, or fire dance. You can also enjoy a fun day out canoeing on the calm waters.
This huge cave, also a Buddhist temple, is covered in carved stories and sacred figures. The temple features a large bathing pool, built to cleanse the soul and ward off evil spirits, so legend has it.
Tanjung Benoa is by far the most popular spot for watersports in Bali, where tourists can find virtually every beach and ocean activity, including banana boating, sea walking, flyboarding and scuba diving. The area is also packed with luxurious resorts for those who’d like to stay the night.
The seaside restaurants lining up along Jimbaran Bay serve the island’s best and freshest seafood dishes. Most restaurants have candle-lit outdoor seating areas, where you can dine and chill with your feet in the sand.
This mountain village boasts a clean, green environment, fresh, cool air and charming natural attractions. The waterfalls and hills make Munduk a popular trekking destination, and during the colonial era it was the favourite mountain retreat of the Dutch, hence the European architecture, historic buildings and flourishing commodities.
This may not be the island’s best in terms of natural beauty (although it’s still pretty incredible), but Kuta Beach is world-famous, and with good reason. Today it is one of the liveliest spots on the island, offering countless fun activities – from surfing to eating and shopping, from dawn to late at night.
A substantial cultural park in Bali, Garuda Wisnu Kencana has many different attractions to enjoy — exhibition halls, gigantic folklore-inspired statues, street theatre, festival park and much more. Revolving around the Garuda character of the Mahabharata epic, you can also learn the legend that shapes many aspects of the Balinese culture in a fun and entertaining way.