Top 10 Things to See and Do in Bali, Indonesia

Bali is known as the “Island of the Gods.” It is a paradise of stunning beaches, rich culture, and spiritual experiences. It offers many activities for travelers seeking adventure, relaxation, and cultural immersion. 

Here are the top 10 things to see and do in Bali, Indonesia.

1. Visit the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary

Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary

The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud is a fascinating destination that offers a unique glimpse into Bali’s natural and spiritual heritage. Spread over 27 acres, the sanctuary is home to over 700 Balinese long-tailed monkeys, known as macaques, who roam freely within its lush greenery. 

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Balinese long-tailed monkeys

Visitors to the sanctuary can observe the monkeys in their natural habitat, interacting with each other and their surroundings. Respecting the monkeys’ space and avoiding feeding them is important, as this can disrupt their natural behavior.

The sanctuary is not just a tourist attraction but also a place of spiritual significance, with three ancient temples located within its grounds.

a place of spiritual significance

As you wander through the sanctuary, you’ll encounter ancient temples, such as the Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal temple, which dates back to the 14th century. The local community still actively uses these temples for spiritual rituals and ceremonies, adding to the mystical atmosphere of the sanctuary.

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2. Explore Ubud’s Art and Culture

Ubud is widely regarded as Bali’s cultural heart, offering a wealth of art galleries, museums, and traditional dance performances. The town has long been a magnet for artists, drawn to its stunning landscapes and vibrant cultural scene.

Agung Rai Museum of Art

The Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA) is a must-visit destination for art enthusiasts. It showcases a collection of traditional and contemporary Balinese art and hosts regular cultural events and performances, providing visitors with a deeper insight into Balinese culture.

Neka Art Museum

Another highlight of Ubud’s cultural scene is the Neka Art Museum, which houses a vast collection of Balinese art, including paintings, sculptures, and textiles. The museum’s tranquil gardens and traditional architecture make it a peaceful place to explore and reflect.

In addition to its art galleries, Ubud is also known for its traditional dance performances, which are held regularly at venues throughout the town. These performances, which often tell stories from Hindu mythology, are a captivating glimpse into Balinese culture and should not be missed.

3. Discover Bali’s Rice Terraces

Bali's Rice Terraces

Bali’s rice terraces are not only a stunning sight to behold but also a testament to the island’s centuries-old agricultural traditions. The Tegallalang Rice Terraces, located near Ubud, are perhaps the most famous, with their dramatic terraced slopes and intricate irrigation system. 

Visitors to the terraces can stroll along the narrow pathways that crisscross the fields, offering panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

terraces can stroll along the narrow pathways

Beyond Tegallalang, the Jatiluwih Rice Terraces offer a more tranquil experience with their expansive fields and lush greenery. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Jatiluwih terraces are a prime example of Bali’s sustainable farming practices, which have sustained the island’s population for generations.

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4. Experience Balinese Temples

Bali is home to some of the most iconic temples in Indonesia, each offering a glimpse into the island’s spiritual and architectural heritage. 

Uluwatu Temple

The Uluwatu Temple, perched on a cliff overlooking the Indian Ocean, is known for its stunning location and traditional Kecak dance performances at sunset. The temple is dedicated to the spirits of the sea, and its cliffside setting offers breathtaking views of the ocean below.

Tanah Lot

Tanah Lot is another must-visit temple in Bali, famous for its offshore setting and dramatic sunsets. The temple is located on a rocky outcrop that is only accessible at low tide, adding to its mystique and allure. Visitors can explore the temple grounds and witness the beauty of the temple against the backdrop of the setting sun.


Besakih, known as the “Mother Temple” of Bali, is the largest and holiest temple on the island, with its complex of temples and shrines offering a glimpse into Balinese Hinduism. Located on the slopes of Mount Agung, Bali’s highest volcano, Besakih is a place of pilgrimage for Hindus from across Indonesia, who come to pray and seek blessings.

5. Relax on Bali’s Beautiful Beaches

Relax on Bali's Beautiful Beaches

Bali is renowned for its stunning beaches, each offering its own unique charm and attractions. Kuta Beach, located on the island’s southern coast, is perhaps the most famous, with its golden sands and lively atmosphere. 

The beach is a popular destination for surfers, with its waves attracting surfers of all levels from around the world. Kuta Beach is also known for its vibrant nightlife, with a plethora of bars, restaurants, and nightclubs lining the beachfront.

Seminyak Beach

Seminyak Beach, located just north of Kuta, offers a more upscale beach experience, with its luxury resorts and beach clubs. The beach is known for its stunning sunsets, which can be enjoyed from the comfort of a beachfront lounge chair or while sipping a cocktail at one of the many beachfront bars.

Nusa Dua Beach

Nusa Dua Beach, located on the southeastern coast of Bali, is known for its calm waters and white sands, making it an ideal destination for families and those seeking a peaceful beach getaway. The beach is lined with luxury resorts and hotels, offering a range of amenities and activities for visitors to enjoy.

6. Enjoy Water Sports and Activities

Bali’s crystal-clear waters and diverse marine life make it a paradise for water sports enthusiasts. Surfing is a popular activity, with spots like Uluwatu and Padang Padang offering world-class waves for surfers of all levels. 

Beginners can take lessons from one of the many surf schools located along the coast, while experienced surfers can test their skills on some of Bali’s more challenging breaks.

Snorkeling and diving are also popular activities in Bali, with the island’s warm waters teeming with colorful coral reefs and tropical fish. Sites like the USS Liberty Shipwreck in Tulamben offer a glimpse into Bali’s underwater world, with the wreck attracting divers from around the world.

For a unique experience, visitors can try whitewater rafting on the Ayung River, which winds its way through Bali’s lush jungle and steep gorges. The river offers a mix of calm waters and exhilarating rapids, making it suitable for both beginners and experienced rafters.

7. Discover Bali’s Waterfalls

Gitgit Waterfall

Bali is home to some of the most stunning waterfalls in Indonesia, each offering a refreshing escape from the tropical heat. Gitgit Waterfall, located in North Bali, is perhaps the most famous, with its picturesque setting and cool, cascading waters. Visitors can swim in the pool at the waterfall’s base or simply relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the surroundings.

Tegenungan Waterfall

Tegenungan Waterfall, located near Ubud, is another must-visit waterfall, with its impressive cascade of water plunging into a shallow pool below. The waterfall is surrounded by lush greenery, making it a peaceful place to relax and unwind.

Sekumpul Waterfall, located in the northern part of Bali, is a hidden gem that requires a bit of effort to reach but is well worth the journey. The waterfall is surrounded by lush jungle and pristine streams, offering a serene setting for swimming and picnicking.

8. Experience Balinese Cuisine

Nasi Goreng

Bali’s culinary scene is as diverse as its culture, with a blend of traditional Balinese flavors and international influences. Nasi Goreng, a traditional Indonesian fried rice dish, is a must-try for first-time visitors. Made with rice, egg, vegetables, and a blend of spices, Nasi Goreng is a flavorful and satisfying dish that is often served with chicken, shrimp, or vegetables.

Sate Lilit

Sate Lilit is another local favorite. It features minced meat (usually fish, chicken, or pork) mixed with grated coconut, coconut milk, and a blend of spices. The mixture is then grilled around a bamboo skewer, resulting in a delicious and aromatic satay.

Babi Guling, a Balinese suckling pig dish, is a must-try for meat lovers. The pig is seasoned with a blend of spices, including turmeric, coriander, and lemongrass, before being roasted on a spit until crispy and golden brown. Babi Guling is often served with rice and a variety of side dishes, making it a hearty and flavorful meal.

For a taste of Bali’s street food scene, visitors can explore local food markets like Ubud Market and Sukawati Art Market. These markets offer a variety of dishes and snacks, from traditional Balinese fare to international cuisine, all prepared fresh and served with a smile.

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9. Shop for Local Handicrafts

Shop for Local Handicrafts

Bali is a shopper’s paradise, with a wide range of traditional handicrafts and souvenirs. Batik, a traditional Indonesian fabric, is popular for those looking to take home a piece of Balinese culture. The intricate designs and vibrant batik colors make it a unique and beautiful souvenir.

Wood carvings are another popular souvenir in Bali. Skilled artisans create intricate designs and motifs that reflect the island’s artistic heritage. From small figurines to larger sculptures, Bali’s wood carvings are a testament to the island’s rich artistic tradition.

Silver jewelry is another favorite among visitors to Bali. Artists in Ubud and other craft villages create stunning pieces using traditional techniques. Bali’s silver jewelry is known for its quality and craftsmanship, from simple rings and earrings to elaborate necklaces and bracelets.

For a truly authentic shopping experience, visitors can explore local markets like Ubud Market and Sukawati Art Market. These markets offer a variety of handicrafts and souvenirs at affordable prices, including batik, wood carvings, and silver jewelry. Bargaining is common in Bali’s markets, so don’t hesitate to negotiate for the best price.

10. Relax and Rejuvenate with Spa Treatments

Bali is renowned for its world-class spas, offering a range of traditional treatments and therapies to relax and rejuvenate the body and mind. Balinese massage is popular for those seeking relaxation, with its gentle stretching and acupressure techniques. The massage is often performed using aromatic oils, which help to relax the muscles and calm the mind.

Body scrubs are another popular spa treatment in Bali. Natural ingredients like coffee and coconut exfoliate the skin and leave it feeling soft and smooth. The scrubs are often followed by a relaxing soak in a flower bath, where guests can unwind amidst a sea of fragrant petals.

For a truly indulgent experience, visitors can opt for a spa package, which may include a combination of treatments such as massages, body scrubs, facials, and reflexology. These packages are designed to pamper the body and soul, leaving guests feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.


Bali offers travelers a wealth of experiences, from its stunning natural landscapes to its rich cultural heritage. Whether exploring ancient temples, relaxing on beautiful beaches, or indulging in traditional cuisine, Bali promises a memorable and enriching experience. 

With its warm hospitality and vibrant atmosphere, Bali truly lives up to its reputation as the “Island of the Gods.”

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