Who has never thought of taking a trip to Bali? Everyone knows that the Island of Gods, as Bali is known, is one of the most amazing places in the world. In fact, there’s a lot to do in Bali besides enjoying its beautiful beaches. Of course, the perfect waves and amazing beaches are some of the highlights of the island, but there is much more to enjoy in this beautiful Indonesian destination: rice fields, tropical forests, volcanoes, beautiful religious temples… The list goes on!

Yes, there is beauty everywhere and the island of Bali is really big: it takes at least 3 hours by car to travel from north to south, not counting the traffic – which can be quite intense. Therefore, it is nice to plan ahead and choose the attractions that cannot be left out of your itinerary.

Here you will find 10 places you must visit in Bali. 

  1. Rice Terraces

Bali wouldn’t be Bali without its magnificent rice fields. Just imagine the sight of green plantations between the hills forming a step-like view. Not a bad Instagrammable view, right?

You can find rice paddies with breathtaking panoramic views across Bali, but most are in rural areas around Ubud, in the central part of the island. The most famous rice terraces are the Tegallalang and the UNESCO World Heritage Site Jatiluwih Rice Fields. There are also beautiful fields around the Canggu area. 

You will see that rice cultivation is quite typical as you travel around the island. They are the basis of livelihood for many families and also form beautiful landscapes that use an irrigation method invented centuries ago. 

Some of these terraces have become major tourist attractions. Visitors can walk the trails through the rice fields to explore its different parts and visit small villages. In recent years these terraces have also gained some restaurants overlooking the plantations, as well as huge swings to enjoy their view.

  1. Uluwatu Temple

One of the main attractions in Bali is the Uluwatu Temple, a Balinese temple that is located at one end of the island, on the edge of a cliff and by the sea. The temple is considered one of the spiritual pillars of Bali and it is a mystical and beautiful place to visit in the late afternoon, when the sun goes down. 

The view from the temple is breathtaking even if it’s not during sunset. The seaside landscape and the Uluwatu temple itself make it one of Bali’s main tourist attractions, the island’s postcard! Not to mention how fun and adorable the monkeys that live in the temple are! Just be careful with your belongings because they try to snatch from you anything they can, including sunglasses, hats, jewelry and so on. 

The awe-inspiring scenery and wildlife are not the only reasons to visit Uluwatu Temple. Another attraction of the temple is to watch the Kecak Dance, a Balinese drama that mixes dance and music. The music captivates and the hand and arm movements the dancers use to tell the story and are incredibly expressive. Their spectacular and colorful costumes are also a highlight of the show. It’s a great experience to watch the show as the sun sets in the background with the amazing panoramic views from the top of the cliff overlooking the vast ocean. 

  1. Tanah Lot

Tanah Lot Temple is one of the most iconic and sacred places to visit during a trip to Bali. Its spectacular location, built in rocks that are “in the middle of the sea” and surrounded by waves crashing on its walls, offers incredible views and one of the best sunsets on the island. 

It’s not possible to visit all places inside the temple because there are some private prayer spaces not opened to the general public. However, when the tide is low, it is possible to walk to the main temple, but the temple is isolated in the middle of the sea when the tide is high.

  1. Besakih Temple

Located at the foot of Mount Agung, the highest mountain on the island with an altitude of about 1,000 meters. Surrounded by stunning scenery, Besakih Temple is nestled among vast rice paddies, mountains, hills, and streams.

The Besakih Temple is considered the most sacred and recognized as the mother of all temples in Bali. It is a huge complex of 86 temples that are over 1,000 years old. Its most outstanding temple is the Penataran Agung, built on 7 levels that represent the layers of the universe, in which only the followers of this religion can climb. It hosts more than 70 religious ceremonies or celebrations each year, attended by people from all over the island.

  1. Mount Batur

Bali has several volcanoes as it is located in what is known as the Pacific Ring of Fire, an area with great volcanic and seismic activity. The 1717-meter Batur volcano in the Kintamani region is the highest on the island and although it remains active, its last eruption was in 1964.

You can do a two-hour hike to the top of the Batur volcano to reach the best place in Bali to see the sunrise. The excursion, which runs along well-marked trails, is relatively easy and is done with a guide. On a clear day, the views are spectacular, with the caldera of the volcano, the surrounding mountain range, and Lake Batur. For those who like outdoor activities, it can be a good option for a tour on the island! 

  1. Sekumpul Waterfall

If exploring the natural beauties of Bali is your cup of tea, then you can’t miss the Sekumpul waterfall, which is considered one of the best to visit on the island. Located north of Ubud, it is made up of 7 waterfalls. As with most of the waterfalls in North Bali, getting to Sekumpul will take some effort. It takes about an hour to walk the trails. 

Sekumpul is great for nature lovers who want to experience a wilder Bali away from the tourist hubs. It is a good idea to hire a local guide to visit this place.

  1. Ubud

Ubud is one of the favorite places of many people visiting Bali Bali. Located in the central part of the island, it is the perfect place to visit many points of interest in Bali. It’s the perfect area if you don’t want to keep moving from one place to another and prefer to settle in just one place. 

Ubud itself is the cultural center of Bali and home to many traditional artists who make unique and authentic products that represent the island. Although it doesn’t have beaches, Ubud has many attractions such as the Ubud Palace, Monkey Forest, Ubud Market (a bustling market full of souvenirs, gifts, sarongs and so on), art galleries, craft centers, and much more. Traditional Balinese dance performances are held at night, and are highly recommended. In addition, the city of Ubud has hotels with great infrastructure, good restaurants and beautiful rice fields around. 

  1. Seminyak

If you’re a nature lover but also can’t miss a good drink and a night out, don’t worry: Bali has it all. With a very pleasant atmosphere, several restaurants, shops and beach clubs, as well as good places to enjoy the nightlife, Seminyak is the place people go to when they want to enjoy the fancy side of Bali.  

In the busy streets of Seminyak you will find the best place in Bali for shopping: cutting-edge designer fashion, swimwear and surfing suits, jewelry, furniture and home goods are just a few of the items in Seminyak’s boutiques and stalls. The two main shopping centers are Seminyak Square and Seminyak Village, although you’ll probably find cheaper prices in the smaller shops on the main streets. 

This neighborhood also has idyllic white-sand beaches lined with vibrant bars, restaurants and beach clubs that stay open late. Every day hundreds of people gather at the beach clubs in the late afternoon to drink to the sound of DJ’s and enjoy unforgettable sunsets. Later, people flock to the best nightclubs in Bali to dance the night away. Seminyak is the perfect place for those looking to enjoy a wild night out or just for families looking for good restaurants with a more modern and western style dinner. 

Beach club in Seminyak

  1. Nusa Penida

If you want to take a break from the crowds in Bali, a good option is to head to Nusa Penida, the largest of the three Nusa islands off mainland Bali.

The island is just a short boat ride away and amazes visitors with its secluded beaches with crystal clear turquoise waters, waterfalls, lush vegetation, jungle roads and breathtaking views from its viewpoints.

Kelingking beach in Nusa Penida

It is also an essential destination for diving enthusiasts, since the waters of Nusa Penida have a very rich marine life. It is possible to see the famous manta rays, stingrays, whale sharks, turtles and many tropical fishes. Nusa Penida is one of the most beautiful tourist spots in Bali and the visit is totally worth it!

Although Nusa penida is smaller than Bali, it is difficult to visit the main attractions on your own due to the very narrow and winding roads on the island. It’s advisable to hire a tour guide that takes you to the main spots. This way you can save time and make the most of what the island has to offer while someone else takes care of the logistics for you. This is the best option especially for someone who doesn’t have a lot of time to enjoy Nusa Penida but still wants to visit as most places as possible.

  1. Gili Islands

To finish the trip the best way, we recommend taking an excursion to the Gili Islands, about 2 hours by fast boat from the port of Bali. The 3 Gili Islands – Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air – are very quiet. No cars, everything is done on foot, bicycle or horse-drawn carriages. Perfect places to relax and enjoy sunset, seafood, beaches, snorkeling and diving..