So, you’ve finally decided to pack your bags and head to Bali, the land of pristine beaches (including very dirty beaches), delicious food, and breathtaking sights. Oh, the excitement! But wait, where should you go once you land in this tropical paradise? What Bali wonders do you need to explore?
1. Uluwatu: Best places to explore in Bali
Dreamland Beach, Uluwatu
Pedand Pedang Beach, Uluwatu
Uluwatu Beach (Suluban Beach), Uluwatu
2. Ubud: Best places to explore in Bali
Sacred Monkey Forrest, Ubud
History of the Monkey Forrest in Ubud
The Monkey Forest in Ubud, also known as the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, is a fascinating and iconic destination for travelers visiting Bali. This lush and sprawling sanctuary is home to over 700 long-tailed macaque monkeys, who have called this mystical forest home for centuries.
The history of the Monkey Forest dates back to the 14th century, when the powerful Hindu priest, Dang Hyang Nirartha, established a spiritual and meditation site in the heart of the forest. The serene ambiance and natural beauty of the forest made it the perfect place for spiritual contemplation and worship.
Over the years, the Monkey Forest has grown in popularity as a must-see attraction in Bali, drawing curious visitors from around the world. The monkeys are believed to be sacred by the local Balinese people, who view them as protectors of the forest and symbols of harmony and balance.
Monkey Forest Tips
Visitors to the Monkey Forest can wander through the lush greenery, admire ancient temples and statues, and observe the mischievous antics of the monkeys as they swing from tree to tree and interact with each other. However, it is important to be cautious and respectful when visiting the sanctuary, as the monkeys can be bold and sometimes grab items from unsuspecting tourists.
Despite its popularity with tourists, the Monkey Forest remains a place of tranquility and spiritual significance for the local Balinese people. It is a unique and enchanting destination that offers a glimpse into the ancient traditions and natural beauty of Bali. A visit to the Monkey Forest is sure to be a memorable and unforgettable experience for anyone traveling to Ubud
Tip: I recommend spending 2 to 4 hours at the Monkey Forest, which is easy to do especially if you see the monkey dance performance, where performers dress as monkeys.
Tucked away in the lush greenery of Bali’s jungle, Tegenungan Waterfall emerges like a hidden oasis waiting to be discovered. Its cascading waters create a symphony of natural beauty, serenading visitors with the soothing sounds of nature.
What sets Tegenungan apart from other waterfalls in Bali is its magical ambiance, as if time stands still in this ethereal setting. The surrounding jungle adds an element of mystery and adventure, beckoning you to explore its hidden treasures and embrace the wild beauty of Bali.
Tegenungan Waterfall is more than just a natural wonder; it is a sacred sanctuary, a place where the power of nature meets the magic of the soul. It is a reminder of the beauty and power of the world around us, urging us to slow down, breathe deeply, and immerse ourselves in the awe-inspiring wonder of this earthly paradise.
Tip: Don’t miss out on the fabulous pool at the beach club by the waterfall – it’s the perfect spot to grab a drink and relax. You will also find another great pool when you cross the river and climb the staircase to the top of the waterfall.
Best Cafes in Ubud for Foodies
Your taste buds are in for an unforgettable culinary journey in Ubud, where the food is a tantalizing blend of exotic flavors and vibrant colors. From aromatic spices and velvety curries to succulent grilled satay and crisp, fresh produce, every dish is a celebration of Balinese cuisine at its best.
Whether you’re sampling street food from bustling market stalls or dining in chic restaurants featuring creative fusion dishes, each bite offers a taste of the rich culinary heritage of Ubud.
Cafe Lotus is one place you have to visit in Ubud. Just like the Lotus-eaters in Greek mythology, you will never want to leave the place. The cafe is magical and if you are lucky they will even have a Balinese performance going on at Saraswati Temple while you eat!
On my final evening in Ubud, I decided to eat at the enchanting Cafe Lotus and instantly regretted not going there sooner. The food was divine and the atmosphere was nothing short of magical. If only I had visited earlier, I would have made it my nightly haunt during my stay.
The first two nights were spent at another very impressive restaurant, one that I had to go back to again for a second meal.
3. Nusa Penida: Best places to explore in Bali
Nusa Penida is a small island off the coast of Bali, which is more of an unspoiled natural beauty. It’s an island paradise that beckons to be explored. From the rugged cliffs plunging into azure waters, to the vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life, every corner of Nusa Penida is a feast for the senses.
Lose yourself in the labyrinth of lush jungles, trek to hidden waterfalls, or simply laze on the secluded beaches that seem to belong to a world of their own. This is where adventure meets serenity, where every sunset is a masterpiece painted just for you. Explore Nusa Penida and discover a slice of heaven on Earth that will leave you longing for more.
Kelingking Beach, Nusa Penida (Island near Bali)
One of the best things to do in Bali is to take a day tour of Nusa Penida. Kelingking Beach is one of the places you can see on the west coast tour. You probably won’t have the chance to walk down to the beach if you’re on a tour, but you will get to take a memorable photo at this famous lookout.
Tip: It takes about an hour to walk down to the beach from the lookout. That probably means you will have to stay on the island for a couple of days at least, if you want the time to do this. I highly recommend staying on Nusa Penida for 2 nights. That way it should give you enough time to walk down to it. Obviously, on a group tour it is not possible, so if you think this is something you want to do, you will need to organise it outside of the normal Nusa Penida group tour.
Angel’s Billabong, Nusa Penida (near Bali)
Here is another beautiful place they take you to when you go on a group tour – Angel’s Billabong.
Angel’s Billabong in Nusa Penida is a magical natural infinity pool that looks as though it was created by the Gods themselves.
Tucked away in a hidden corner of the island, this stunning tidal pool is a paradise of crystal clear waters, surrounded by dramatic cliffs and lush greenery. Legend has it that Angel’s Billabong is a sacred place where angels come to bathe in the divine waters, hence its heavenly name.
As you make your way down the rugged path towards the pool, you can almost feel the mystical energy in the air, like you’re walking in the footsteps of celestial beings. Once you reach Angel’s Billabong, you’ll be greeted by the sight of the shimmering pool, set against the backdrop of towering cliffs. The water will hopefully be so clear that you can see straight to the bottom, where colorful fish dart in and out of the coral formations.
Angel’s Billabong Tips
Tip: This is another spot where they don’t let hordes of tourists descend down to the beautiful pool of water. But they can’t stop you at other times, say for instance, early in the morning! There are plenty of instagrammers who’ve shown themselves in the waters of Angels’ Billabong. Just be aware that the place can sometimes be very dangerous due to freak waves coming in, so only enter if the sea is ultra calm.
Swimming in Angel’s Billabong is supposed to be a surreal experience, as if you’re floating in a dream world. The cool, refreshing waters washes over you, cleansing your body and soul. You’ll probably feel like you’ve been transported to another realm, a place where magic still exists and anything is possible.
So if you find yourself in Nusa Penida, don’t miss the opportunity to visit Angel’s Billabong. Even if it is just go there to see it as I did. Take in its ethereal beauty and let yourself be carried away by its enchanting charm. Who knows, you may even catch a glimpse of a Goddess or two, around the place or bathing in the sacred waters…
Crystal Bay Beach, Nusa Penida
Crystal Bay in Nusa Penida is a hidden gem that boasts amazing waters and a nice stretch of pristine white sandy beach. There is a small island in the sea not too far from the shoreline, which makes this beach even more beautiful.
It’s supposedly a perfect spot for snorkeling and diving, as the underwater world here is teeming with vibrant coral reefs and colorful marine life. What sets Crystal Bay apart from other beaches in Bali is its unique blend of tranquility and excitement. You can relax on the beach and soak up the sun, or explore the nearby cliffs for stunning panoramic views of the bay.
One of the most fun activities to do at Crystal Bay is to go on a boat tour around the neighboring islands, where you can spot dolphins and even manta rays if you’re lucky. You can also rent a stand-up paddleboard or kayak to explore the bay at your own pace.
I did go for a swim at Crystal Bay. They have change rooms you can go into, but you will have to pay a small fee. Going for a dip here isn’t as relaxed as Pedang Pedand Beach, but I’m sure you won’t be able to resist going for a swim at Crystal Bay. So if you are on a day tour of Nusa Penida, make sure you bring your bathing suit with you.
Crystal Bay truly offers a magical experience that you won’t soon forget.
Tip: After a day of adventure, you can unwind at one of the beachfront restaurants and enjoy fresh seafood while watching the sunset over the horizon. But it’s probably only for those of you lucky enough to stay the night, unless you want to have an early dinner.
4. Bali Temples and Palaces: Best places to explore in Bali
Bali is a destination like no other, offering visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the island’s rich history and culture while experiencing its natural beauty. Whether you’re seeking spiritual enlightenment or simply looking for a unique and memorable vacation, Bali’s temples and palaces are sure to leave a lasting impression.
Bali is home to some of the most enchanting temples and palaces in the world, each with its own unique history and architectural beauty. So you need to visit a few of these special places in Bali.
Uluwatu Temple is located on a cliff above the sea. This temple is famous for its nightly Kecak dance performances, where traditional music and dance are performed against the backdrop of the setting sun. The combination of the ancient temple and the lively performance creates a truly unique and captivating atmosphere
But I haven’t included this temple in my top three because I have my own three favourites. Here’s my top three picks!
One of the most iconic temples in Bali is Tanah Lot, perched on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Indian Ocean. This temple is said to be protected by sea snakes, adding a mystical and intriguing element to its already breathtaking setting. Yep, you can even go inside a cave to see a sacred snake for a small fee. I didn’t do that, but there were others who did. I hate snakes!
Out of all temples I saw in Bali, this one had the most beautiful setting. I highly recommend visiting the place.
Imagine a time long ago, when the mystical island of Bali was shrouded in mystery and enchantment. It is said that Tanah Lot temple was created by a holy priest who had a vision from the gods themselves. The priest was instructed to build a temple on a rocky outcrop in the sea, where he would be able to harness the power of the ocean and protect the island from evil spirits.
Legend has it that as the priest constructed the temple, he was aided by a group of mystical sea snakes, who coiled around the rocks and protected the temple from any harm. These magical creatures are said to still reside around Tanah Lot today, guarding the temple and keeping watch over all who come to visit.
As the sun sets behind the temple, casting a golden glow over the sea, visitors can feel the ancient magic and energy that surrounds Tanah Lot. It is a place of reverence and awe, where the boundaries between the physical and spiritual worlds blur, and the whispers of the past can still be heard on the ocean breeze.
Even on the day when I went, the cloud formations were incredible!
Tirta Empul Temple: Hindu Balinese Water Temple
Believe it or not, but I nearly killed myself here. Yep, I had to go into the water for a purification, but things almost ended badly. As I took my first step into the water I slipped and fell making this huge splash. It was like I slipped on a banana skin. Everyone around me looked very concerned due to the magnitude of the splash, but luckily I was fine. Everyone kept asking me, are you okay?
The Tirta Empul Temple, located in Bali, Indonesia, is a sacred site with a fascinating history that dates back to the 10th century. The temple is dedicated to Vishnu, the Hindu god of water, and is famous for its holy spring water which is believed to have curative properties.
Legend has it that the spring was created by the god Indra, who pierced the earth to create a source of clean water. The water is considered to be both spiritually and physically purifying, and many people come to the temple to participate in a ritual known as “Melukat,” where they bathe and pray in the holy water.
One of the most popular rituals at Tirta Empul involves entering the purification pools and immersing oneself under the water spouts that flow from the sacred spring. The water is believed to cleanse the body and soul of impurities, and many visitors find the experience to be deeply invigorating and refreshing.
Visitors to the temple can also witness traditional Balinese ceremonies and rituals, as well as explore the beautiful architecture and lush gardens that surround the complex. The atmosphere at Tirta Empul is one of tranquility and reverence, making it a must-visit destination for those seeking a spiritual experience in Bali.
So, if you find yourself in Bali and are looking for a unique and memorable experience, be sure to visit the Tirta Empul Temple and take part in the water purification ritual. It’s a truly magical and rejuvenating experience that you won’t soon forget.
Tirta Gangga: Bali Royal Water Palace
Tirta Gangga, also known as the Bali Royal Water Palace, is a true gem hidden amongst the lush rice terraces and tropical gardens of Bali. This enchanting water palace is a stunning blend of Balinese art and architecture, offering visitors a tranquil and awe-inspiring experience unlike any other.
As you enter Tirta Gangga, you will be greeted by cascading fountains, crystal-clear pools, and vibrant flowers that create a sense of serenity and magic. The intricate stone carvings and statues that decorate the palace grounds add to the mystical atmosphere, inviting you to explore and discover the beauty that surrounds you.
One of the highlights of Tirta Gangga is the iconic stepping stones that float atop the main pool, allowing visitors to walk across the water and feel like royalty for a moment. The lush greenery and blossoming water lilies that line the pools provide a picturesque backdrop for stunning photos and peaceful contemplation.
Whether you’re looking to admire the traditional Balinese architecture, relax in the tranquil pools, or simply soak in the beauty of your surroundings, Tirta Gangga is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking a unique and unforgettable experience in Bali. Plan your visit to this magical water palace and immerse yourself in the timeless beauty and serenity of Tirta Gangga.
5. Canggu: Best places to explore in Bali
Canggu in Bali is the ultimate destination for those seeking a cool chic vibe during their stay. This trendy beach town is known for its laid-back atmosphere, picturesque rice paddies, and thriving surf culture.
Imagine hearing the sound of crashing waves, enjoying a morning coffee with stunning ocean views, or spending the day exploring unique boutiques, hip cafes, and beachside bars. Canggu is the perfect place to relax and recharge, surrounded by like-minded travelers and locals who appreciate the beauty of a slower pace of life.
I have to admit, I did have my doubts about including Canggu on this list of Bali Wonders; 5 Best Places to Explore in Bali. But when I started to think about it, I was sold! Here’s why.
Best Beaches in Canggu
The beaches in Canggu are way better thatn those on Kuta and Seminyak. Plus you will see a sea God if you go for a walk along the beach. It was a very hot day when I cae across a lady selling hats next to this statue. I was thinking of buying one because it was boiling and I could feel myself getting burnt.
Then the lady tells me that this was a sea God. I had to buy a hat from her after that. She was also the one who took this photo of me.
The best beaches ain Canggu are probably Batu Bolong Beach, Echo Beach, and Pererenan Beach, where this sea God is located.
FINNS Beach Club, Canggu
What can I say? It’s one of the coolest beach clubs I have ever visited in my life.
It can get pricy, but entry is free!
Canggu Cafes and Restaurants
Island Beach Canggu Restaurant & Bar quickly became my go-to spot for delicious drinks and meals. Whether it was breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you could always find me enjoying a meal at this tropical oasis.
It was so relaxing here. You could also watch the surfers in the sea.
Another place that had great food in Canggu was the restaurant Kong. That’s where I had dinner with the travel blogger Bel Around The World!
Tips for Exploring Bali and Finding Bali Wonders
The biggest tip I can give you is to get yourself a private driver for the whole day or half a day. It’s relatively cheap! For instance, for me it cost about $60-65 Australian for a full day, and $35 for half a day. You don’t need to explore Bali on your own. I found the drivers to be very friendly and most of them know the ins and outs of all the touristy and hidden gem destinations.
One more thing, everyone should explore Ubud shown in this awesome list of Bali wonders. Spend 5 nights in Ubud if you can. I spent three nights there and I could have easily spent two more nights exploring the wonders of this enchanting place.
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