- Ulun Danu Bratan Temple
- Goa Gadja (Elephant Cave)
- Klungkung (Semarapura)
- Lake Batur
- Mount Batur
- Nusa Lembongan
- Pura Kehen
- Jatiluwih Rice Terraces
- Tirta Empul Temple
- Tanah Lot Temple
- Tirta Gangga
- Mandala Suci Wenara Wana
- Garuda Wisnu Kencana
- Padangbai Blue Lagoon
- Uluwatu Temple
- Gates of Heaven
- Gunung Kawi Temple
- Bali Safari and Marine Park
- Sukawati’s Hidden Canyon
Who ever said there was nothing wonderful about a simple fishing village? You’ll find Amed in northeast Bali and it’s a great place to relax by the sea while you enjoy some fresh fish grilled on the beach. We recommend taking a trip in a local sea boat or perhaps adventuring a bit further on a snorkelling or diving trip to one of the village’s great spots, including Lipah Beach and Jemeluck Bay. Along with colourful, curious marine fauna, such as starfish, seahorses and even a few Mimi Octopuses, you’ll also be shocked to discover an underwater temple!
This area is dominated by Gunung Agung volcano, which is sometimes referred to as ‘the navel of the world.’ Along its peaks, you’ll spot rainforests as well as traditional rice terraces. And if that’s not enough to make you want to visit, Amed is also home to some of the best views in the local area, especially at sunset.
Ulun Danu Bratan Temple
It’s out in the water that you’ll find one of this area’s most impressive attractions. Ulun Danu Bratan Temple is dedicated to the goddess of water, Dewi Danu, who supposedly provides the local area with fertile soil via constant irrigation. The temple was built in 1633 and consists of several buildings dotted across multiple islands. Inside, you’ll find an altar used for religious celebrations.
The temple is half Buddhist, half Hindu, and looks as if it’s floating on water. It’s also famous for its picturesque, seven-level tower. Back on the shores of the lake, you can also admire a lush garden filled with flowers and plants. The reflection of the temple in the surrounding water has become symbolic of Bali, and you’ll find it on the back of Indonesian Rupiah banknotes. This is a great starting point to navigate the mountain roads on the way to nearby lakes and the Munduk Waterfalls.
A tourist village and arts centre thanks to its creative fervour, it’s no coincidence that galleries and museums are very popular here. Puri Lukisan is the oldest museum in Bali and houses a fantastic collection of artworks by the Bali movement. Ubud is a must-visit destination, where luxuriant nature comes into contact with intriguing architecture, such as the Royal Palace.
Ubud is also home to some amazing, deliciously seasoned Balinese cuisine. We also recommend visiting its many temples and cycling through the local rice fields.
Goa Gadja (Elephant Cave)
Welcome to a real symbol of Bali and Indonesia, Goa Gadja Temple, also known as the Elephant Cave. This temple is located in an archaeological park approximately two kilometres from the town of Ubud. Dutch archaeologists discovered this mysterious and fascinating cave surrounded by several Hindu temples in 1923, although it actually dates all the way back to around 1100.
The cave entrance features a demonic mouth, depicting the Hindu god Bhoma and symbolises the passage into the underworld. While in a niche on the left-hand side, you’ll spot Ganesh, the Hindu elephant-shaped deity. Inside the archaeological park, women are often busy kneading rice dough and turning it into decorations, while others weave green palms together to make baskets to offer to the deities.
Officially called Semarapura but commonly known by its traditional name Klungkung, this district capital is home to the historical Puri Agung Semarapura (Klungkung Palace), which is a relic you absolutely have to visit. Once the centre of Bali’s most important kingdom, the city is still home to this majestic palace, as well as a few historic royal temples and a lively market.
Klungkung Palace has had a very troubled past. Following an attack by the Dutch, little is left of the original building or Court of Justice, whose ceiling has been restored several times and contains some incredibly interesting works of art, including panels depicting demonic battle scenes.
Mass tourism hasn’t yet reached Nusa Lembongan, which is a small island not far from Bali occupying around 12 square kilometres. Ferries arrive from Sanur onto heavenly beaches lined with tall, lush palm trees. We recommend a spot of snorkelling in order to explore the seabed or perhaps even a stroll to the local wonders nestled in this gem of an island. This is also a great place get to know more about the important traditions and habits that govern everyday life in Bali.
Nusa is also a paradise for surfers and divers. Some days, you might even cross paths with turtles relaxing in the sun. One of the island beaches that’s definitely worth a visit is Mushroom Bay, with its soft, white sand, as well as Sunset Beach, which boasts some truly unparalleled sunsets. The island is also home to artisan shops and waterfront restaurants where you can enjoy a break and some tasty traditional dishes.
Jatiluwih Rice Terraces
The word Jatiluwih is a combination of the words ‘really’ and ‘beautiful’ in the Balinese language. The views offered from the rice terraces – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – leave no room for doubt. When the rice is ready to be harvested, the plants turn from green to dark yellow with a reddish tinge. This mix of colours makes for an unforgettable sight across this vast area, which is located about forty kilometres from Bali.
Here, you can appreciate the rhythm of daily local life. You will find locals bent over crops, concentrating, while they plant seeds and harvest rice. And shortly after sunset, it’s often time for a refreshing dip in one of the many irrigation channels.
Tirta Empul Temple
Tanah Lot Temple
Just 40 kilometres from Ubud is what they call the ‘temple of temples.’ Tanah Lot means ‘land [in the] sea,’ which is a very accurate description. You’ll find this temple perched on a cliff overlooking the sea and it looks like it belongs on a postcard thanks to natural light that contrasts with the waves below. Underneath the temple is a cave and a freshwater spring, which is fairly unusual, given that the temple is surrounded by salt water. This place of worship is definitely worth a visit to discover its many myths and legends.
The temple may have been built by the Balinese people after Saint Danghyang Nirarta spent a night in the area. Legend also has it that the temple was once connected to the mainland by a bridge, until it was destroyed by rough sea waves.
Mandala Suci Wenara Wana
Although it has a fairly lengthy official name, Mandala Suci Wenara Wana is also known as Ubud Monkey Forest. This is a proper sanctuary for Balinese monkeys, famous for their long tails. It is one of the most popular attractions on the island, welcoming tens of thousands of tourists every year. These monkeys – with reddish fur on their backs and white bellies – are the real stars of the show, although we recommend keeping your wits about you!
The monkeys are friendly but also mischievous and it is not uncommon for tourists to realise something has gone missing (wallets, sunglasses, phones or cameras). In the forest, you can relax and stroll through twelve hectares of land home to around 186 species of plants. We also recommend visiting the three Hindu temples, the most famous of which is the Holy Spring Temple.
Garuda Wisnu Kencana
Another iconic monument worth a visit is Garuda Wisnu Kencana, which depicts the Hindu deity Vishnu riding the legendary bird Garuda – a symbol of wisdom. The statue is 120 metres tall and 64 metres wide, making it 30 metres taller than the Statue of Liberty. It took over 20 years to build and cost nearly 100 million euros. The statue also features intricate mosaics that took over two hours to complete.
You’ll find the monument in an archaeological park on the Bukit peninsula, which is a limestone plateau in south Bali about 15 kilometres from the beaches of Kuta. The area occupies over 60 hectares and is very quiet, making it the perfect place to relax and go for a stroll while you admire the fountains, statues and gardens. We also recommend taking advantage of the bus service, given the size of the park.
Padangbai Blue Lagoon
Another temple bound to leave you speechless is Uluwatu, which sits perched on a cliff at a height of about 75 meters above the Java Sea on the southernmost tip of Bali. The temple is immersed in an unparalleled natural setting. According to legend, the rock belongs to the water goddess Dewi Danu's petrified barque.
The temple has a very interesting history. It was supposedly built to protect the island from evil spirits. However, legend has it that the temple also once hosted the Hindu traveller Danghyang Dwijendra, who spent the final days of his life there. The best time to visit Uluwatu is at sunset, when you can take full advantage of the natural light and atmosphere, for a magical evening filled with contemplation.
Gates of Heaven
Gunung Kawi Temple
Bali Safari and Marine Park
Bali’s Timeless Beauty
There’s no doubt you’ll find yourself speechless during your trip to Bali. Here, you can immerse yourself in the daily life of a diverse, welcoming population. Days here are colourful and fast-paced, with so many parties, ceremonies, markets and attractions to experience. Just think, Bali is home to at least 20,000 temples waiting to be discovered. And once you’re done exploring, you can take a dip in the crystal clear sea or perhaps grab a board, flippers and a snorkel. What are you waiting for? Get ready to dive headfirst into an amazing vacation!