Wanna find yourself? Bali is always a good idea.
A lot of people when they think of Bali, think of beach, sun and parties but Bali is so much more than that. It is so rich when it comes to culture, it’s basically everywhere you turn your head to. There’s a lot to see, a lot to experience when you’re in Bali. From temples, natures best spots, historical sites and so much more.
Its very hard to narrow down to ten places that i loved and that are for sure a must visit. But hey, here we go.
1. Tegallalang Rice Terrace
This place is definitely a must visit in Bali, located quite near Ubud at about 25 minutes car/bike ride from the center. Tegallalang Rice Terraces are one of the most Instagram worthy area but also one of the most famous landscapes of Bali.
Walking around the rice fields is such a nice feeling, you get to experience all the human senses. You smell mother nature through the form of grass, you get to hear the birds gathering around the small waterfalls, feel the breeze from the valley and taste fresh coconut. While nature is nice to be appreciated, around the area, mainly on the roadside you’ve got plenty of souvenir shops who sell traditional Balinese wooden carvings, bamboo treats, clothing and so much more.
A couple of tips i have for you, pack light, be comfortable and have proper shoes and clothes because you do have to hike, make sure to have water with you and off course your camera. I know we all want cute photos for Instagram but i definitely didn’t wear the appropriate clothes to hike the rice fields, i had sandals and a long dress, its slippery and off course sandals don’t help. I struggled so much to hike with sandals and that dress that i took my shoes off and hiked barefoot, i also tied my dress around my thighs because it was a lot better that way to stretch and climb ( bare in mind we went on day that rained).
I’ve enjoyed the rice fields so much, looking back at the pictures makes me wanna go to Bali again. The fields can be enjoyed by everyone, whether you’re a nature fan a painter or even a shopper. That’s the beauty of Bali, there’s something for everyone.
*no entry fee
2. Goa Gajah Temple
Just 10 minutes outside Ubud (driving), Goa Gajah is also known as Elephant Cave due to it’s proximity to the Elephant river. It is known for being a mysterious cave, that they believe to have been built back in the 11th Century, the carvings in the stone a main attraction to tourists.. It was also listed as a tentative UNESCO HERITAGE SITE in 1995. The Elephant cave itself only needs 5 minutes to visit, it is a narrow and dark cave with no light other than a couple of candles next to the elephant. The are around it is gorgeous, you can walk around for a while and appreciate your surroundings.
A few things worth knowing, like any other temples in Bali, you have to dress appropriately. That means that whether your a male or female, you have to cover your legs, so you’ll have to borrow a sarong at the temple entrance (you’ll have to return it at the end of the visit). Another thing to note is that this temple has no signs with historic information’s whatsoever, so if you are into learning more about the culture make sure to book a tour beforehand.
Now, even though you’ll see plenty of tourists around taking photos and all that jazz, please be mindful when there’s protestations happening, it is still a worship place so make sure to be respectful and do not go around photographing people praying.
*It’s open all week, with an entrance fee of 15,000 rupiah (aprox 1.15£).
3. Tirta Gangga Water Palace
This gorgeous water garden was probably the most beautiful thing i had seen. Located in East Bali, Tirta Gangga was built in 1946 during the reign of the royal of the late raja of Karangasem, Anak Agung Anglurah Ketut Karangasem. The gardens have gorgeous pools, flowers, ponds with fishes, statues, water fountains and of course it’s tropical gardens.
Unfortunately due to the location of the gardens, as it is so close to Mount Agung, the gardens had suffered damage from the eruption of the Agung Volcano. They’ve done some major works, but in some statues it is still visible the damage from the lava. While we were in Bali there were some earthquakes related to the vulcanos, so we couldn’t see all the garden as some other temples nearby.
To get in the gardens, there is an entrance fee of approximately 20,000 rupiah and you can also hire a guide for 50,000 rupiah. We did hire a guide and would definitely recommend, once again it is one of those places that has no signs of information. There is also a small pool in which you may swim and relax in, for an additional fee of around 10,000 rupiah. But again, when we visited we were not able to use the pool due to the “imminent” possibility of eruption.
4. Sacred Monkey Forest
Where should i begin, the monkey forest was probably what i was most excited for in before i started planning my travels but way too much googling got me so scared of going there. And hey, there’s literally nothing to be scared of if you follow the rules of the forest, take it from someone that just been there. There’s a lot of horrific stories only about the monkeys, but while i was there i saw nothing wrong happening except the odd stupid person (no judgement ahah).
Ok, i might need to rephrase it. The Sacred Monkey forest is not only a nature reserve but it’s also a Hindu temple and some people don’t respect the rules. Oh and i know people say that rules are meant to be broken, but if the “odd person” wouldn’t break the rules then nothing bad would happen. For example one of the rules is that you don’t bring any plastic bags/ groceries when you enter the forest because the monkeys are curious and will probably try to see and perhaps steal your groceries. After all they’re animals, they look for food. But you’ll still see people walking in with bags when you can leave them at the ticket office, so then you’ll hear people screaming because the monkey stole something.
Let me take you through the rules: 1) Don’t scream and run when a monkey gets close to you; 2) Don’t bring plastic bottles or plastic bags as they will make the monkeys curious; 3) If you want feed the monkeys please just give them bananas, no peanuts, biscuits, bread, or any other human snacks; 4) If you call an animal to eat, don’t pull it back; 5) Don’t touch the monkeys, specially the babies.
My housemate and fellow travel blogger, made a blog post all about the Monkey forest that if you’re interested in going you should have a look. [HERE]
*entrance fee 50.000 rupiah, open daily
5. Tirta Empul
Tirta Empul Temple is a National Cultural Heritage Site located in Central Bali in the village of Manukaya. As the name says, it is a holy temple. Like other Balinese temples, it is divided in three main features: garden, temple gate and the holy water (pools).
Legend say that the waters are purified and curative, so as you can see in the picture above, people line up in the pool to get to the spouts. There are thirteen in total, but the last two are for funerary purposes. Now, even though this sounds quite tempting, i’d suggest you dont get in the water and try to do the ritual yourself. I’m only saying this because its meant to be for strictly meant for pilgrims and devotees and you might offend someone.
Quick tips for your visit, like any other Holy Temple in Bali, make sure to dress appropriately, you’ll have to wrap a sarong around the lower body plus a sash around the waist. The spring water is definitely one of the highlights of this temple, but there’s so much more to it. I’d suggest you book a tour so you get to know the history properly, i’ll only tell you that this temple serves as a legendary setting of a traditional Balinese tale about good versus evil.
You need to pay an entrance fee which is IDR 30.000.
6. Tanah Lot Temple
This one of the most visited temples and is one of Bali’s most important landmarks. Even if you’ve never been to Bali i bet you’ve seen pictures on Instagram of sunsets in this location. It might be just a pretty place to watch the sunset and take a couple of pictures but for the Balinese it is one of the most sacred and venerated sea temple in Bali.
Like a lot of places in Bali it has been over explored, you have numerous souvenirs shops and people selling more on the temple. One good thing is that you can actually walk over to the temple itself if it the sea is at low tide. We weren’t allowed in the temple as non-Balinese people are not allowed to enter and/or unless your intentions are to pray.
Fun fact about the sea temples, when they were built it was intended that you’d be able to see the next sea temple from the top of the temple you were. From Tanah Lot Temple you can see the clifftop site of Pura Ulu Watu, if you look south, it’s not always visible though. Most visitors chose the end of the day to visit the temple in order to see the sunset, when i went there we decided to go earlier to avoid the crounda but if you’re a sunset chaser this temple is a must for you so be there around 17:30.
It has an entry fee of 60.000 IDR/pp plus if you park you car or bike you have to pay extra. You need to wear a sarong to be able to enter the Temple.
7. Tegenungan Waterfall
Bali has quite a few pretty waterfalls, and this one is no stranger to my list of gorgeous waterfalls. If you’re a nature lover and not afraid of cold water like me, then you’re in for and amazing treat. Located just between Ubud and Denpaser, this waterfall is perfect if your staying in any of those areas and is for sure a must visit on your itinerary.
From the entrance to the waterfall is a 5 minute walk down, be prepared for some Cardio (guess you wont need the gym on that day) as you have 168 steps to get through, remember you have to walk back up so take a bottle of water with you as it is very tiring on the way up. When you get down to the waterfall it is just beautiful, the water is super cold like super freeing cold but worth the a dive in. There are loads of cute spots for pictures, there’s toilets and also a lifeguard on set.
Entrance fee of 10.000 IDR/pp. As you get to the entrance you’ll see lot and lots of street vendors, coffee shops, mini delis and souvenir shops. This Waterfall as a parking lot if you need.
8. Turtle conservation centre
Now this one is not for everyone, only if you’re a animal lover, actually concerned with the wellbeing of sea animals and are seeking to help a good cause. Only saying this because i saw a group of people the same day we were there that they main priority was to take cute photos of the turtles and didn’t actually take a bit of their time to understand the project, follow the volunteers for more information and guided visit to the centre and contribute to the this amazing cause.
Be prepared to learn and see some sad stories, some of them with happy endings. You’ll get to see baby turtle, if you’re lucky you might be able to either release them back to the sea or bring them them to the aquarium to grow until ready for the sea.
It was possibly one of the best things i’ve experienced not only in this trip but in my life. I learned so much about the species and how i could contribute to a better environment, was able to bring baby turtles to the tank to grow and get strong for the sea.
Now off course there’s no such thing as a entry fee but you are more than welcomed to give a lil donation and/or buy something from their gift shop, the turtles would appreciate your love, attention a compassion. I would like to also make you aware of the fake conservations centres that are basically a way of making money, i read a few reviews and blog posts about other Conservation Centres in Bali and the Gili islands that were a money making factory and not an actual project to help endangered sea turtles. The one i visited is legit, so you can trust to visit them.
PS: I’ll preach a little bit more about this latter as i have a post coming up following this hipe of the International Earth day and all the hypocrites on Social media that only remember earth on these days to get a few extra likes.
9. Uluwatu temple
There are six key spiritual temples in Bali and Purah Luhur Uluwatu is one of them. The temple is gorgeously located above sea on a steep clif, much like Tanah Lot it is another favourite location within touristes because of its gorgeous sunsets. Yet again, like many other temples it has a lot of significance to the Balinese Culture and belief.
One of the many highlights of visiting this temple is that they have daily performances of Kecak dance when the sun goes down. Kecak is a traditional Balinese dance and music drama, it was initially performed by man but in 2006 woman were introduced to this form of art too. The best time to visit is just before sunset. They perform everyday at the adjacent cliff-top stage between 18:00 to 19:00, you do have to buy a separate ticket to watch the performance.
There are monkeys in and around the temple area, just be aware of your bags and font have your sunglasses holding your hair as they might get stolen buy the fury friends. Another thing to note, once again its is a worship place so me mindful of your actions while you’re visiting.
Entrance fee: 30.000 IDR/pp
10. Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park
Some people might say the park is not worth the visit, and my fellow travel companions for this trip would probably be amongst those, but i found this location to be one of the best ways to learn about the Balinese culture.
Located in Ungasan, the cutural park offers an extended area full of ways to learn more about the Indonesian Culture and beliefs. The big statue that is the main attraction of the park, is Garuda Wisnu Kencana statue the symbol of God Vishnu riding the great Garuda as his trusted companion. The statue is possibly one of the world’s biggest monumental statue.
In the subject of learning more about the Indonesian culture, there are plenty of performances for you to watch. A few of the performances are: Balinese dance, Baron keris Dance, Garuda Wisnu Ballet, Joged Bumbung, Balinese parade, Kencak and so much more. There’s also a movie for the children which tells the story about the adventure of Sang Garuda to get Amerta for saving his mother from slavery.
I found the experience amazing, got to see a bunch of performances and learn more. Entrance fee: 40.000 IDR/pp, but you can buy a package that includes lunch or dinner for 150.000 IDR/pp (website only).
Whether your planning a trip to Bali or just getting some inspo, i hope this blog post helped you in any way. Bali was on number one on my bucket list and i am so glad a thankful that i was able to experience this amazing island. I was in such state of peace you guys have no idea, i had time to explore, relax, meditate, be in contact with nature and animals, sunbathe, learn and find my inner peace while i was there. I would highly recommend Bali if you’re looking for a relaxing yet cultural holiday.