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  • Writer's pictureMatt B

The Top 10 Things To Do in Bali

The Balinese culture is a combination of many arts and skills, besides their extraordinary talent in dancing and painting, they also excel at impressive woodcarvings and ceramic making. This harmonious blend of art can be seen on temples as well as traditional homes which usually have full decorated roofs called tajug .

Bali's main street, Jalan Legian which is lined with shops and cafés is a great place to start for any traveller. From there you can easily make your way to nearby beaches, temples or traditional villages depending on your interest. In this article we present 10 must-do things in Bali.

#1 Surf the perfect waves at Uluwatu

The surfing in Bali is world-renowned, especially off the south and west coasts. Uluwatu near Kuta Beach is a legendary spot with steep breaks and powerful waves that is generally considered the best of all.

Bali's volcanic sand beaches are some of the most beautiful in the world, and water temperatures range from 22°C (71°F) to 30°C (86°F). While surfing is possible year-round, it's most consistent during April to October when tropical lows lead to strong winds for most of the day.

#2 Enjoy the surroundings at Tanah Lot

Tanah Lot is a major tourist attraction on Bali's south coast, and offers great sunset views over the Indian Ocean. A Hindu temple built on an offshore rock is accessible by boat or trail but can be crowded with visitors during the day.

The best time to go is early in the morning when it's not crowded and you can enjoy stunning views of both the sun rising above the Balinese countryside as well as glowing over the Indian Ocean. It's also possible to visit Tanah Lot at night, but keep in mind that this is part of a morning or late afternoon, and you can get there by car, motorbike or bicycle. A walking trail goes around the rock and has many Hindu statues and altars to see, but also some tacky gift shops and restaurants which you can skip if you follow the path all the way out to a little parking area away from the temple itself.

You can easily rent motorbikes or bicycles to make your way, and this will allow you to see things in the area like Tirta Gangga (water palace) which is also beautiful.

#3 Witness an active volcano at Mount Batur

Mount Batur is a massive volcano making up the entire southern tip of Bali. There is a small lake inside with hot springs where you can sit and watch the bubbling mud.

The main crater, Danau Batur, has a rim rising about 1,000 meters (3,300 feet) above sea level. Visitors hike around the rim to take in views of the lake and volcanoes on the island, including Mount Abang to the west. You will likely see many locals offering horseback rides as well as motorbike tours, but walking is a better option for those who want to enjoy some peaceful time communing with nature.

Be prepared for strong sulphur smells from the lake which you'll get used to after a while. The water is also extremely hot so swimming is not allowed!

#4 Take in the culture at Batubulan

Batubulan, near Denpasar, has artisans making traditional Balinese carvings and selling statues, masks and other carvings in addition to souvenirs you can take back home.

Depending on where you are coming from these may be expensive so it's good to shop around for the best prices. The Balinese people are generally very honest so there is no risk of getting ripped off.

#5 Explore the rice terraces at Jatiluwih

The UNESCO World Heritage site of Jatiluwih on Bali's north side has ancient irrigation systems for terraced fields that are still used today. The rice paddies are a bright green contrasting with the brown slopes in between, and they stretch as far as you can see from one side of the island to the other.

Locals often change the water from their irrigation channels into ponds where you can take a break from walking around to enjoy some local snacks like fried bananas or corn on the cob. If you get thirsty, coconut water is also abundant and can be bought for next to nothing from many small carts by the side of the road.

#6 Enjoy the views at Pura Luhur Batukaru

Pura Luhur Batukaru, one of several temples in Bali's holiest mountains, has spectacular views over the southern half of Bali from a peak above 1,000 meters (3,300 feet).

This is one you'd have to pay for a tour guide in order to get here. The Balinese people love their tours and you'll find that they do not need to be asked twice if they see you looking lost.

#7 Cycle the roads in Ubud

The town of Ubud in Bali's central highlands has wide dirt roads through the rice terraces that are perfect for cycling around. If you're not comfortable on a regular bike or don't think you can manage without gears, there are plenty of places where you can hire bikes with gears.

Guided tours are available which take in all the highlights like Monkey Forest, Ubud Palace, and Tegallalang rice terraces. Most provide lunch as well making it a full day activity!

#8 Visit Mount Batur at sunrise

Mount Batur, a massive volcano south of Kintamani along the north side of Bali, is most beautiful at sunrise when you can see the sun come up over one of the most amazing panoramas in all Indonesia.

Sunrises are best at around 6-7AM so be sure to climb up during the night before. Keep in mind that it will be very cold early in the morning. Bring warm clothes even if you don't think you'll need them!

9. Attend a ceremony at Uluwatu Temple

The Pura Luhur Uluwatu temple, on Bali's southwesternmost tip, is set on the cliffs overlooking Jimbaran Bay. The temple has multiple Hindu ceremonies daily which are open to spectators, and you might even see some special ones like fire dances or weddings.

The Balinese people are very kind but be respectful of the culture on your visit here by wearing modest clothing that covers everything except your face and hands. If possible wear clothes that cover them too!

10. Get lost in Kuta's maze of shopping malls

Kuta on Bali's south side has multiple touristy shopping malls that are easy to get lost in if you don't know where you're going. There are clothes, souvenirs, restaurants and household items for sale everywhere you turn so there is no shortage of options if you like shopping.

Kuta is also where many of Bali's nightlife venues are located. There are bars and clubs open until the early morning for those looking to party in Bali, or relax with a massage after a day in the sun.

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