We want you to come with us to 15 breathtaking places so you can fall in love with Bali even before setting foot on the island because once you do, it will be inevitable. If I had to say in one sentence what is the best of Bali, to me is the simple feeling that you cannot stop smiling and feeling mesmerized with every new thing you discover on the island.
Bali offers an incredibly wide variety of attractions, but this is the best of Bali:
1. Ubud – The people is the best of Bali
Ubud is one of the essential places to visit in Bali. However, more than the cultural vibrancy of this village in the center of the island, the thing I loved the most was the local people. They welcome you with open arms and a smile so pure that it is impossible not to feel like being at home.
They didn’t speak English, but they pointed out a coconut on a 16 feet palm tree and they made the gesture of sipping with a straw. We smiled at them and the man began to climb the palm to cut several coconuts.
Once down, he made a hole with a machete and looked through the rice bushes to make a straw. We gave them a few rupees and we continued our walk, still astonished by their generosity. Without a doubt, the best of Bali is the people.
2. Pura Besakih – the temples are the best of Bali
There are hundreds of temples in Bali and each one is unique. From all the temples, Pura Besakih, known as the Mother Temple, is the most special for the Balinese and the temple that receives more pilgrims in Bali.
This complex consists of 22 different temples, so you need almost an entire day to really get into it. However, its location far from other points of interest means that not many visitors get there.
One of the essential Bali travel tips is not to try to see all the temples on the island. If you don’t have much time, do not worry, there are other incredible things to see. If you still want to visit Pura Besakih and have no means of transportation, the best option is to book this tour.
3. Tegalalang – the rice fields are the best of Bali
How many times have you envisioned yourself walking across the rice terraces before arriving in Bali? The island is filled with rice paddies, but without a doubt, the most popular are Tegalaland, as they are located just half an hour from Ubud and you can get there by bike.
If you have enough time, then I would also recommend that you visit Jatiluwih , the best rice fields in Bali. These rice terraces have been included as a world Heritage Site by UNESCO. Although they are located somewhat further away, if you do not have a motorcycle it is convenient to take a tour.
If you visit the island for the best time to go to Bali, you will see the rice fields at their best.
4. Mount Batur – The volcanoes are best of Bali
Bali is a vibrant island and volcanoes are a fundamental aspect of their landscape and history. The religion and traditions of the Balinese go hand in hand with the activity of their volcanoes. For them , they are not another element of the landscape: volcanoes are sacred gods that they fear and venerate equally.
Out of all the volcanoes of Bali, Mount Batur is usually the most active but now is asleep so it is a huge opportunity to make an unforgettable hike to the summit. With no doubt, this is one of the best tours in Bali.
Once up there, you can witness the sun rising from the sea and admire the highest volcano in Bali, Mt. Agung. For me, this experience was the best of Bali.
5. Nusa Islands – The beaches are the best of Bali
There are beaches of Bali that are quite standard: Padang Padang Beach, Green Bowl, Melasti Beach, Balangan Beach, Pasut Beach or Amed Beach among others.
However, if you want to feel like in paradise, you must take a ferry to the Nusa Islands, a small group of islands belonging to Bali that are quite close to the main island.
These three islands: Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Penida, are famous for their incredible paradisiacal beaches, so they are becoming more popular among travelers.
In short, the best of Bali is not the beaches, but their otherworldly beaches across the Nusa Islands.
6. Tanah Lot –The sunsets are the best of Bali
There is nothing like the sunsets of Bali; the sky literally bursts into flames and all the sky is covered with a powerful palette of oranges, reddish and magenta tones. Although Bali is full of magnificent places to enjoy the sunset, none is comparable to the Tanah Lot temple.
This temple was built on a tiny islet that is only accessible when low tide at sunset. During this time of the day, the monks bless the visitors in a small cave at the base of the temple by placing some grains of rice on their foreheads.
To make it even better, I suggest you try a grilled corncob with spicy sauce from the food stalls while you witness how the sun sets over the sea. Without a doubt, the best of Bali are the sunsets.
7. Ulun Danu Beratan – The Landscapes are the best of Bali
There are many temples on the island, but no temple has such a privileged location in a landscape as Ulun Danu Beratan. With the immense Bedugul Lake at its feet and behind the Bratan volcano, this scene is undoubtedly the best of Bali.
The place is quite and is not usually crowded with tourists since most of the Bali itineraries don’t pass through here because they are a bit far from other points of interest. However, it is totally worth visiting, so if you don’t rent a scooter in Bali, I recommend this tour where you will see other of the main attractions on the island.
8. Monkey Forest – Monkeys are the best of Bali
The first time I saw a wild monkey was at the Monkey Forest and I have to say that despite the incident I had, they are the best of Bali.
You will see them trying to take away things from tourists to exchange them for food, going into deep washing sessions, fighting and playing all day long. After your visit, you will realize that there is not a big difference between them and us. I could spend hours watching their adventures.
But first things first…the incident? I was too confident. I knew that I would never feed them because it is not good for them, but I was wearing a backpack and three of them climbed up my body and when they saw that I had no food, one of them got angry and bit one of my fingers. Luckily I had bought the best travel insurance for Bali before my trip and everything was fine in the end.
9. Nung Nung – the waterfalls are the best of Bali
There’s nothing like refreshing from the stifling Balinese heat under a waterfall. The best waterfalls in Bali are located in the mountains in the northern half of the island, away from the main tourist attractions (in this map of Bali you can find them).
One of the most popular is the NungNung waterfall. This waterfall is renowned for the strength of its water falling about 230 feet and the natural pool at the base where you can have a bath, which makes this natural attraction one of the best of Bali.
10. Ubud Traditional Spa – the massages are the best of Bali
There are hundreds of massage centers in Bali and you will want to try them all. I lost count of how many massages we indulged in, since for a very low price they manage to recharge your batteries for another long day of tourism in Bali.
There are very cheap massages, even for less than IDR50.000 per hour, and others a little more expensive (IDR150.000). You always have the option of taking Balinese luxury massages paying around IDR800.000, like those of Ubud Traditional Spa.
This SPA picks you up by car in your hotel and takes you to their facilities, where you will feel the peace of the place as soon as you enter. The atmosphere is superb and the staff cares even for the smallest detail so you can enjoy and relax. You will only have to choose the type of intensity you want: soft, strong but relaxing or strong, and enjoy the best of Bali, the massages.
11. Dewa Warung – the food is the best of Bali
You will see warungs everywhere; small traditional restaurants that offer homemade food. The star dish of the Balinese kitchen is the Nasi Goreng, a dish of fried rice with eggs and vegetables, and often meat or seafood, which is available in most of the Bali warungs. In addition, I can tell that you won’t get sick of eating Balinese food since the cuisine is the best of Bali.
Out of all the warungs we tried on the island, the Dewa Warung, in Ubud, was the favorite we tried during our 10-day Bali trip. There was a large table on the floor where we sat next to other locals and asked for the same thing they had asked for, to try to learn more about their culture. The best of all was a homemade dessert made of coconut that was recommended by the local cooker.
12. Uluwatu Temple – The traditional dances are the best of Bali
Bali’s traditional dances are a treasure for all the senses, especially when we talk about the Kecak Fire & Trance: experiencing the strong voice of the singers together with the firm and delicate hand movement of the dancers and the mesmerizing fire was for me one of the best experiences of Bali.
This traditional dance is celebrated in many temples of the island, although one of the most popular is the dance show at Uluwatu, where the dance takes place after sunset.
13. Hanging Garden of Bali – The best of Bali are the hotels
Can you imagine that the only thing you see when you open your hotel window is the dense jungle of Bali? The Hanging Garden of Bali is, without doubt, a good example of the wonderful hotel on the island.
This top-notched luxury hotel features private infinity pools in each of the rooms, 3 restaurants, free shuttle to the center of Ubud and decoration that makes it one of the best hotels in Bali.
14. Crystal Bay – The seabed is the best of Bali
Many divers arrive in Bali attracted by the incredible marine life of the island. The Nusa Islands offer the best area to dive in Bali. There are two locations there that are especially interesting.
In Crystal Bay from August to October, you can see the huge Mola Mola, a curious prehistoric fish that feeds on microalgae and is huge.
Another place to dive, also in the Nusa Islands, is Manta Point, where stingrays can be seen throughout the year.
15. Canggu – The best thing of Bali is the atmosphere
The last place we want to take you to discover the best of Bali is Canggu, especially for its incredible surfing atmosphere. It doesn’t matter if you came to Bali to catch waves or not; Spending the afternoon on the beach getting close to a Beach Club or having a coffee in a hipster cafe in the area is something that you will love.
In any case, and even if you don’t intend to do it, I would not miss a surf lesson to see if you can stand on the board.
I hope that these 15 best essentials of Bali made you see and feel why we like Bali so much. I’m sure you’ll love it too.