Hey guys so we spent a few long weeks travelling up and down Bali and here’s a list of our top things to do and places to see. Starting with my top temple and and a few notes on places to skip out.
Anything which has Pura means temple generally and every area has implements of water on it.
Bali is predominantly a Hindu country and believe strongly in the Trimurti -Bhramha, Vishnu & Shiva.
Therefore respect and appropriate dressing is required and most places offer sarongs for sale or donation rent
Tirta Gangga Temple – Now this was my top place to see, much larger in size than I expected it to be.
Beautiful gardens, stepping stones over a pond full of fishes, great waterfalls and lotus ponds.
Easily spend half a day here.
Area – Karangasem
Entry Cost- 20000 IDR
Take a 10 minutes drive from here and you can spend some time at Ujung Water Palace. This is really peaceful and quiet nothing spectacular but nice. Large walking grounds on a water lake. Large scale but do note it has lots of stairs if you want to get a view at the top. Entrance fee is 50,000IDR which is a little pricey for what it actually is but nice if you just want to read a book and kill a few hours
Entry is 30,000IDR and sarongs are available for borrow for free (but pop in a little donation)
Area : Tampaksiring
Tirta Empul generally known as the holy spring water temple. Here you can bathe with the fishes and pay tributes to the holy water. A beautiful serene setting amongst nature and intricately carved god statues.Not too far from Tirta Empul is Gunung Kawi.
Entrance is 15000IDR
Again this isn’t for the weak and tired and there are hundreds of steps, but they really do lead to a paradise so well worth it. Beautiful carvings inside the cliffs. We really could have spent the whole day here easily, if only the rain had stopped chugging it down making the stairs very slippery.3. Rice Paddies – Jatiluwih or Tegalalang.
Now there both kind of the same to be honest so if your short on time, just cut the long journey over to Jatiliuwih and head to the local rice paddies of tegalalang instead.
But if you have the time and love a good old stroll head to Jatiluwih as this is definitely a larger scale and more high up. You get plenty of views which Tegalalang doesn’t offer. You do have to pay 60,000IDR per car just for an entry here (which I think is a bit pricey for what you see) but all in all a great day.
There is also a lovely restaurant at Jatiluwih and this really is the farming district.
We only went to Jatiluwih once but spend some relaxing and hiking time in Tegalalang numerous amounts of time. This really isnt far from ubud entre at all, and really easy to get to.
4. Ubud Centre
We really loved our stay in UBUD primarily because it was such a central location and as we had hired a motorbike everything was literally in driving distance.
There is plenty to do here in the centre itself without having to travel far out.
You have the Ubud Markets, Monkey Forest & Saraswati Temple amongst numerous quirky and edgy Warangs (local eateries) restaurants, bars and huts. And of course the every so cheap balinease massages. Yeap an hour for £5-20 at most in the most remote and beautiful serene settings.Ubud Market – This is on the main Jalan and you can buy pretty much any souvenirs for anyone here. From Jewelry, clothings, bags, incense, tea, herbs, exotics fruits to your typical souvenirs.
Don’t forget to haggle and simply walk away, you will most likely be offered the price you say or matched by another stall member. GREAT TIP is to go during opening times. Its a balinease saying that the first customer of the day brings good luck and they most often give you a really good deal if you get there first
Ubud Palace just a 2 minute stroll from the markets and allthough its not very big in size and has quite a few tourists around, its nice to just pop by and see this. Entry is free and it has some beautiful carved stone idols.
Monkey Forest – Entrence fee is 20,000IDR per person
This is a great way to spend half or a full day at the forest. But bear in mind the Monkeys here are very CHEEKY and quite rough. I had one literally creep out of nowhere and start pulling my hair. S be sure to leave any sunglasses, dangling jewelry or bits and bobs at the hotel. Although there are guards dotted around the place be careful not to interact too much with the monkeys or give direct eye contact as they can deem this to be intimidating or threatening.
But the place itself is very nicely decorated and a great way to chill out. Try to avoid rush hour timings as it can get crowded pretty easily here.
This actually is a really simple setting. Easiest way to find it is to look for the restaurant (CAFE LOTUS) with the view of a huge pond of lotuses. This is nice to see if your just walking by and want to take a few pictures as the place itself is fairly small but again intricately designed. Free entry and great to see if your just passing or strolling by.
Now I am a total beach bum. Give me the sun sea and sand im a happy bunny. But not all of Balis beaches his the spot for me. Im afraid seminyak, legian an kuta had to be the worst of the bunch. And we literally did trek around the island by bike so tested them all. But remember only the west side of the coast can catch the sunrise and sunset, you cannot the this on the east side beaches.
Typically the west coast beaches aren’t of the cleanest anyway. The sand is quite white but has essence of volanic ash masking it black/grey in areas But the main reason I disliked this beach is due to pollution.
I guess too many tourists in Kuta region make this very dirty and mucky for my taste. I personally didn’t even swim in the water but its pretty much surfers tide here. But this is great for sunset views and evening strolls.
Wheras the beach beaches We found to be was NUSA DUA. This is definitely the more luxurious side of Bali where all the private resorts and clear white sands tend to be. The sand here is most certainly softer and you can even spot some starfishes and corals as the tides are sooo calm. This is a tourist hub though, expect to pay premium prices for drinks and hiring out benches or loungers. Most hotels provide these for free.
Sanur Beach is slightly north of Nusa Dua and on the other side of the airport highway – This is also very clear waters, but the sand tends to be slightly more grainy here. Also catch the fast boats to the Gili Islands and the nearby Nusa Lembongnan Island from here.
These are great in location from the airport so ideal for short stays or for those who don’t want to travel too much.
Pantai Pandawa – Uluwatu beaches. Not to far from Uluwatu temple (which we wasnt a huge fan of, its mediocre compared to the rest of the island) but pandawa beach was one of our favorites spots.
Beautiful clear waters and hardly any tourists. Great for honeymooners. You have to pay an entrance fee here i think it was about 20,000IDR but all in all worth the trip down. Theres a few warungs you can eat at here too.
Now we get to the fun part. Bali has soooo many hidden beaches and paradises you can literally spend hours in them. And also hours finding some of them. Some are really remote and hidden.
Have a look at Melasti beach, as we hit the rainy season we was lucky enough to see the waterfall and the beach both hitting together. Virgin beach is also really nice. You have to pay a fee here also and the beach is a walk down from the car park, but very secluded and peaceful. A locals hang out so you can mingle with them.
Green Bowl Beach, No this was crazy! I think i nearly died. The amount of steps and stairs here literally left me gasping but what a beautiful beach it was. There is also a little temple inside the cave here and BEWARE lots of bats!
The waters are super calm.
There where lots of little beaches that we passed Geger beach, Balagnan, along with others. But you really need a motorbike for most of these but these are VERY cheap to hire and i would highly recommend it to see the true Bali.
We didnt head over to Amed or Lovina but I hear this is the spot for dolphin spotting and the volcanic beaches.
6.Shopping in Legain/Kuta/Seminyak
So this whole area is pretty much the very touristy, with most of them being australian (think the magaluf of britain)
But its full of great road side Spas, market shops. Dont forget to haggle. They literally will try to charge the double of what you can buy in Ubud so keep that in mind. But a huge number of eateries.
Seminyak is the more trendy, boutique end. Things here are more highly priced but the service is equally great. A flea market is also based here and the beach front tends to be less party goer more relaxing. The W resort hotel was one of our favorites during our stay. Luxurious and perfect for honeymooners. They have a really nice chill out area for the evenings and potato head beach club is close by along with other trendy beach bars.
Set in the middle is Legian Street. This is the shopping end of the ridge, where you have an array of shops one after the other. More hippy side of the street where dream catchers and shisha cafes take over the bloom.
I can vouch for the best breakfast buffet in Bali was found at the Sun Island resort! They have such a huge range of choices and a gorgeous rooftop pool to enjoy. And a bonus Pool party in the evening!
A little further down is the fetch of Kuta. This has the shopping mall and the in between legian and kuta are is the strip of clubs. Sky gardens was an amazing experience and a must visit for a one roof does it all experience. From a buffet dinner, Casino, numerous club rooms, live gigs to the best DJ’s of the country. They have great offers on but to be honest all the clubs are of very high standard here, You can buy imported drinks for reasonable prices and just have a good night all in all.
We also visited one of the many luwak coffee plantations. This was just included in our tour package but I would personally have missed this out. It was a five minute walk through the plantation and then given lots of different teas & coffees to try out. Although this was free, to try out we really didn’t feel that comfortable not leaving a donation or buying something in return for their time. The Luwaks here did appear to be in good care and condition so we did end up buying a £30 sahet of tea (VERY OVERPRICED AS WE SAW THE SAME THING IN UBUD CENTRE FOR 2.50!!!!) but I know of other plantations where you shouldn’t particularly FUND it further as the luwaks are not in good care, so do book this accordingly. And don’t feel pressurized to buy anything particularly if they are not being treated well.
Batur hot springs is also really nice to see. It is far up north from Ubud but worth the visit time providing. Here you can also see beautiful views of the range and volanco.
Ulun Danu Temple
This was nice enough but pretty much like all the other temples and another entrance fee to see the same sort of thing. Only thing is this is set around a lake. Tourists cant even enter most of the areas as its only open to Balinease people, so if your short on time, I would give this one a miss.
Another one I would probably leave out is the Taman Ayun Temple. Its nice but not much to do unless you have a tour guide explaining the history behind the place. (luckily we did otherwise we would have got bored)
But overall Bali is an amazing place, there are hundreds of village temples and all the locals are the freindliest people we have ever come across. Definately a place I would love to visit once again in the near future,
Any questions please message me or pop in the post below and I will try get back to you 🙂 x