When it comes to islands worth visiting in Southeast Asia, few can compete with the allure of Bali; however, if you’re expecting a Utopian pristine paradise, as often is depicted in the movies and popular culture, you’ll be in for a rude awakening. Bali is what it is – unicorns and warts alike. Although there is stunning scenery, world class beaches and enchanting Hindu temples to explore there is also eyesore rubbish piles, filthy beaches and unscrupulous touts to contend with.
If you can visit Bali with realistic expectations it certainly offers up a wide spread of activities and attractions worth visiting.
Consider the following eight things to do in Bali, Indonesia as part of your travel itinerary:
1) Balinese fire and trance performance
2) Exploring the cultural hub of Ubud
3) Visit the Tegalalang Rice Terraces
4) Explore Hindu Temples
5) View Mount Batur from a distance
6) Explore surrounding beaches and islands
7) Visit Monkey Forest Temple
8) Hike up Mount Batur (an active volcano) for a spectacular sunrise viewing
To unwind after a long day of exploring relax at the Rock Bar Bali.
Welcome to Bali, Indonesia!
After spending nearly a year travelling in Southeast Asia, we couldn’t leave without first visiting Bali. We decided to take a 2 week trip to the famed island and split our time between Ubud and Sanur to explore as much as possible.
During one of our first nights on the island, we attended a Balinese fire and trance performance. This dance and music drama originated in the 1930s, depicting stories from Hindu literature.
Ubud is the art and cultural capital of Bali and we enjoyed spending a few days here. Our mornings in the town were spent visiting the various temples, browsing through markets, and soaking in the surroundings.
We also had a chance to visit the Tegalalang Rice Terraces. They were lush, green, and reminded us of our time in Korea because Sam’s apartment overlooked rice terraces.
Bali is mainly Hindu and the island is home to many temples. During our time in Bali we visited the Elephant Temple, which is best known for its menacing cave entrance.
We also visited Gunung Kawi, which is nicknamed the Rock Temple. The rock temple gets its name because of the 10 shrines that were carved into the rock wall and stand 7 meters tall. They are truly a sight to behold.
Well, I am supposed to sprinkle water on my head, so here we go.
During our tour around the island, we stopped at a lookout point where we saw the impressive Mount Batur looming in the horizon. Mount Batur is an active volcano, however, when we learned that it was open to hikers, we decided we were up for the challenge.
Bali is a great jump off point for exploring some of the surrounding beaches and islands. Trips to Lombok, Nusa Lembongan, and the Gili Islands are very easy to arrange. There are plenty of water sports to choose from including snorkeling, free diving, scuba diving, surfing and even kayaking.
Ubud is home to the monkey forest where infamous little macaques roam freely. The monkey forest is home to over 600 monkeys, who over time have lost all fear of man. The monkeys are not shy and will approach people and even climb onto their bodies if they believe you have food. If you’re feeling adventurous and would like to feed the monkeys, you can purchase bananas right at the entrance of the monkey forest.
One of the highlights of our time in Bali, was climbing Mount Batur for sunrise. The morning of the hike, we got up at 2 in the morning and were driven to the base of the volcano. Armed with a trusty guide and flashlights in hand, we began the steep climb that would take close to 2 hours to complete. We took plenty of breaks along the way, but once we finally reached the top, we were rewarded with a rainbow colored sunrise.
Overall, we really enjoyed our time in Bali! It may not have been the quiet paradise that’s depicted in the movies, but it offered culture, natural beauty, and it was a great place to relax.