If you’re headed to Bali and don’t know where to go yet or what to do, then fret not! We’ve got a quick list of some of the top Bali tourist spots that everyone has to check out. From temples, markets to palaces – here are the top places to visit:
- Tanah Lot Temple
- Besakih Temple
- Uluwatu Temple
- Ubud Monkey Forest
- Goa Gajah
- Pura Taman Saraswati
- Ubud Royal Palace
- Museum Negeri Propinsi Bali
- Trunyan Village
- Ubud Art Market
Famous for its offshore setting and gorgeous backdrop, Tanah Lot Temple is an ancient Hindu shrine that is definitely one of the top Bali tourist spots.
Onshore, there are several smaller shrines, restaurants, shops and a cultural park that guests can visit – especially when its high tide and impossible to cross the causeways to the Temple.
When it’s low tide, guests can cross to view the legendary Tirta Pabersihan fountain which is the source of holy water for all temples in the area.
- Location: Jalan Raya Tanah Lot, Beraban Village, Kediri, Tabanan
- Operation Hours: 7AM to 5PM (daily)
- Fees: PHP231 per person
- What You Need to Know: Because of its offshore setting, the rocks and waves near the temple may be dangerous. So always practice great caution and obey the warning signs! Also note that there are several lifeguards on duty and that your entrance fee often includes insurance.
Surrounded by breathtaking hills, rice paddies, streams and more, Besakih Temple sits majestically on the southwestern slopes of Mount Agung.
Better known as Bali’s “Mother Temple”, it comprises of over 86 temples – three of which are dedicated to the Hindu Trinity: Pura Penataran Agung, Pura Kiduling Kreteg, and Pura Batu Madeg.
Besakih Temple was nominated as a World Heritage Site, but has yet to make it on the list.
- Location: Besakih Village, Rendang Sub-district, Karangasem District
- Operation Hours: 8AM to 5PM for tourists; open 24/7 for worship
- Fees: PHP228 per person
- What You Need to Know: There are at least 70 religious celebrations that are held at Besakih Temple yearly, as each of the shrines on the property has its own anniversary. Big holidays based on the Balinese Hindu calendar system are also celebrated here.
Overlooking the Indian Ocean, Uluwatu Temple not only dates back to the 10th century, but is also referred to as one of the six temples that are considered the pillars of Bali’s spirituality.
The temple has a small forest that lies ahead of it, where hundreds of monkeys dwell – with locals believing that they protect the temple from evil spirits.
Every evening, from six until seven, a Kecak dance is performed at the adjacent cliff-top stage. While visitors are charged an entrance fee, the sunset backdrop and graceful movements of the performance makes up for it.
- Location: Pecatu Village, Kuta sub-district, Badung Regency
- Operation Hours: 9AM to 6PM for tourists; open 24/7 for worships
- What You Need to Know: If you find yourself a victim of a monkey grabbing any of your belongings, you can lure them gently back in with peanuts or bananas, giving you the opportunity to retrieve your goods.
More popularly known as the Sacred Monkey Forest of Padangtegal, this sanctuary is home to hundreds of grey long-tailed macaques.
Just walking distance from some of Ubud’s resorts and guest houses, the forest allows visitors to see the macaques in their natural habitat, swinging from one branch to another, feeding on bananas and more.
If you choose to walk through the sanctuary, you’ll also come across several ancient temples and statues.
- Location: Jalan Monkey Forest, Padangtegal, Ubud
- Operation Hours: 8AM to 6PM (daily)
- Fees: PHP158 (adults) and PHP115 (kids)
- What You Need to Know: There are plenty of relics and statues scattered around the forest. There is also an ancient bathing temple known as Pura Beji which is next to one of the streams.
5. Goa Gajah
Goa Gajah, known as the Elephant Cave, was built as a place for meditation back in the 11th century.
Contrary to its name, it isn’t a sanctuary for elephants nor does it have anything to do with elephants at all – except for a statue found in one of the caves depicting Ganesh, a Hindu lord depicted by an elephant head.
- Location: Bedulu Village, Jalan Raya Goa Gajah, Blahbatuh, Gianyar
- Operation Hours: 8AM to 4PM (daily)
- Fees: PHP57 (adults) and PHP29 (kids)
- What You Need to Know: Guests don’t need more than an hour to cover the entire area. Goa Gajah entails a courtyard, a cave where priests used to meditate and where you can find cave wall drawings. You will also find several bathing pools and fountains.
Dedicated to the Hindu Goddess Saraswati, the goddess of learning, literature and art, the Pura Taman Saraswati temple is a beautiful and charming place of worship.
Apart from that, its main attractions are its water garden and lotus pond. The temples interiors entail several wood carvings, giant masks, statues of Goddess Saraswati and a statue of the devil Jero Gede Mecaling in front of the temple.
- Location: Jalor Kajeng, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar
- Operation Hours: 7AM to 5PM (daily); 7:30PM- traditional Bali dance
- Fees: No entrance fee
- What You Need to Know: There is no entrance fee to the temple. But you may need to purchase a sarong to cover your knees and ankles. That, and you have to ensure that your shoulders and midriff are also covered.
Editorial credit: Gabor Kovacs Photography/ Shutterstock.com
Located along the main Jalan Raya Ubud road, the Ubud Royal Palace is easily accessible and is often part of one’s itinerary when in Ubud.
Built during the 1800’s, not only is one of the more famous Bali tourist spots, but its also where one can watch an dance performance set against the palace’s Balinese architecture and charming garden settings.
- Location: Jalor Raya Ubud No.8, Ubud
- Operation Hours: 8AM to 7PM (daily)
- Fees: No entrance fee; PHP384 for evening dance performance
- What You Need to Know: The dance show starts at 7:30PM daily, but if you want to get the best seats, best to come as early as 7PM.
Often referred to as Bali Museum, the Museum Negeri Propinsi Bali is Bali’s main museum. Being the oldest and largest museum, there are over 10,000 exhibits spread throughout the property with Balinese architecture and tropical gardens as their backdrop.
In total, it takes an hour or two to go through all the exhibits – all of which give insight to Bali’s art and history. There are traditional paintings, religious artifacts, old textiles, musical instruments and more.
- Location: Jalan Mayor Wisnu, Puputan Badung Square, Denpasar
- Operation Hours: 8AM to 3PM (Mon to Thurs) and 8AM to 12:30PM (Fri)
- Fees: PHP76 (adults) and PHP38 (kids)
- What You Need to Know: The museum is in the heart of Denpasar. And while guides may be helpful (with an extra fee), they aren’t necessarily needed.
Trunyan Village is a remote mountain village on Mount Batur. This indigenous Balinese community is known for its unique burial rites.
As opposed to cremating the deceased, bodies are instead laid out on the ground to rot away in the village’s boneyard.
To get to the burial ground, one must take a boat ride half a kilometer away from the village itself. Bodies are wrapped, and are laid out by a large old tree.
Apparently, the smell the tree gives off along with the mountain’s cool air are what neutralizes the odor of the decomposing bodies.
- Location: Kintamani, Bangli Regency
- Operation Hours: Dependent on tour availed
- Fees: Dependent on tour availed
- What You Need to Know: It may be best to avail of a tour guide so that you can make your way around the community and burial ground easily. Also, bring a camera as the skulls and bones lined up at the burial ground make up for a macabre backdrop.
10. Ubud Art Market
Editorial credit: Pelikh Alexey/ Shutterstock.com
Thanks to its strategic location, Ubud Art Market is the perfect shopping place for Balinese souvenirs and handicrafts. Veer away from the usual postcard and go through several stalls of silk scarves, handmade woven bags, baskets, hats, statues and other handmade goods.
- Location: Jalan Raya Ubud main road, opposite the Puri Saren Ubud Palace
- Operation Hours: 8AM to 5PM (daily)
- Fees: No entrance fee
- What You Need to Know: Ubud Art Market was one of the settings in the Hollywood movie, “Eat Pray Love”. Actress Julia Roberts was shown strolling through the market – which is a tourist attraction both on and off-screen.
Ready to explore one or all of the top Bali tourist spots? Make sure you book your flight and hotel with Traveloka!