There’s an unspoken rule in Bali: Where there are iconic ancient Hindu temples and tropical panoramas, a deluge of tourists is sure to follow. But don’t let this deter you from exploring the Indonesian island’s largess of cultural treasures—sites like the cliffside Uluwatu Temple and the sacred pools of Tirta Empul maintain their enrapturing qualities no matter the visitor count. If you need a primer on Bali’s essential sights (with tips to side-step the madding crowd) along with a few hidden and up-and-coming gems, you’ve come to the right place. Here is our list of the very best things to do in Bali.
Nyang Nyang Beach
In Bali, the words “south” and “secluded” are rarely uttered in the same sentence, but Nyang Nyang Beach, in Uluwatu, indeed fills the bill. White sands, greenery-lined cliffs, and the astonishing absence of crowds await—if you’re dedicated enough to find it. Who knows, you might get lucky and have the coast all to yourself. If you’ve lamented how overrun Bali’s main beaches have become nowadays, Nyang Nyang is the respite you’ve been looking for.
Gunung Kawi Temple
Gunung Kawi is an 11th-century complex of courtyards and cliff-carved shrines along the Pakerisan River, near Ubud. Theories and myths surround the ancient Hindu site—legend has it that a ferocious warrior named Kebo Iwa carved the intricate reliefs with his fingernails, for instance—which adds to its allure. Getting down to this jungle-enshrouded marvel will require some serious walking (there are some 300 steps), but the reward—especially in the quieter morning hours—is immense.
Sukawati Art Market
Sukawati Art Market is a cheaper and quieter alternative to nearby Ubud Market and other popular locales in southern Bali. There is an impressive array of handcrafted artworks for sale, from framed paintings of local farm life to large wooden sculptures of Hindu deities. Without the intimidating crowds, it’s an ideal place to flex your bargaining skills on vibrant patterned dresses and accessories, home goods, and tote bags for all tastes.
Banyu Wana Amertha Waterfall
Banyu Wana Amertha Waterfall, a recently opened Northern Bali attraction, is a little hard to get to. You’ll need to drive at least 90 minutes from Ubud and take a winding, 20-minute hike through a banana plantation. But once you’ve completed the journey, you’ll be rewarded handsomely with a lush forest hiding a quartet of grand waterfalls that are somehow not overrun by crowds. The main waterfall is the most spectacular—a verdant rock amphitheater with misty streams cascading down to a shallow pool.
On an island full of natural beauty, Mount Batur (or “Gunung Batur”) and its serene surroundings might be the most dramatic destination of all. The 5,600-foot volcanic marvel contains Bali’s largest crater lake—a splendid cycling site and slopes ripe for hiking with picturesque villages along the way. The sunrise, as seen from the peak, is spectacular. Not for the faint of heart—or anyone who loathes early-morning wake-up calls—the ascent takes around two hours. But once you’ve reached the top, you might witness one of the most majestic mist-sheathed vistas you’ve ever seen.
Pura Lempuyang Luhur
Located far from the tourist hubbub of Ubud, Lempuyang Temple is a sacred seven-temple complex in eastern Bali best known for the Gateway to Heaven that perfectly frames the formidable Mount Agung, the island’s tallest peak. This is one of the most majestic sights in Bali—come for sunrise for the best, least crowdede results—and it’s also a significant Hindu temple. Entrance requires a donation, a sarong (also available on loan), and a 40,000 rupiah ($3) round-trip jeep shuttle up the steep mountainside.
Tukad Cepung Waterfall
Tukad Cepung, located in East Bali, is one of the island’s most photogenic falls, a small site leaving a major impression on travelers willing to scale the numerous steps and crossings to see it. The trump card here is drawcard is the natural light show which occurs in the earlier portion of the day. Arrive mid- to late morning for less crowded encounters, as snap-happy tourists start to flood the area by noon.
Ubud Monkey Forest
This tourist magnet might look like an open-air zoo attraction, but Ubud Monkey Forest is actually a holy site with a 1000-plus band of long-tailed Balinese macaques in their natural habitat. As cantankerous as some of the monkeys can be—dangling jewelry, bags, and conspicuous food will invite aggressive sticky fingers—the primates are considered sacred by Balinese Hindus who come to pray in the complex’s three ancient temples.
Beji Guwang Hidden Canyon
Beji Guwang Hidden Canyon, a Sukawati-based ravine and sacred Balinese site, feels hidden in plain sight. Beyond the ticketed entrance is a series of mid-rise canyons lining the Oos River: prepare to climb, wade, swim, and scale your way through a rocky-tropical landscape not seen anywhere else on the island. Guides are necessary for safety and if possible, avoid rainy season as the currents can rise to dangerous levels—the canyon closes on days when it’s especially hazardous.
Making up part of the West Bali National Park, Menjangan Island is a tiny, less-trodden gem eight miles off the northwestern coast of Bali. Nicknamed “Deer Island” for the numerous Javan rusa deer ambling about, it’s uncrowded and largely uninhabited, and its fringing coral reefs make it among the best diving and snorkeling spots in Greater Bali. On land, wild but approachable deer sashay around the island and take chest-high dips in the beach water.
Tegalalang Rice Terrace
Tegalalang Rice Terrace, 20 minutes north of Ubud, is one of Bali’s most photogenic—and most-visited—destinations. The UNESCO World Heritage Site contains wide, undulating layers of rice paddies, kept alive by an ancient, sophisticated irrigation system and farmers who tend the terraces just as previous generations have done for millennia. You can explore this area freely. Take a short stroll or navigate its entire length; descend to some of the lower slopes (if the farmers don’t mind) for a different vantage point; or grab a seat at an open-air cafe when you need a break.
Uluwatu Temple, in Bali’s extreme south in Pecatu Village, is a crucial ancient site that has protected Hindu islanders from evil spirits since 900 AD. Its location is the main draw for tourists: some 230 feet up on a precipitous cliff’s edge, with the powerful waves of Uluwatu Beach lapping at its base. The sunsets here are among Bali’s most sensational. As an add-on, the daily kecak dance performances (about $7), with chants, costumed performances, and rings of fire, make the setting even more enchanting.
Tirta Empul (“Holy Spring”), an important sacred water temple for more than 1,000 years, contains a warren of shrines, gates, courtyards, and purification pools where Balinese Hindus “baptize” themselves underneath a succession of waterspouts. Equally popular with travelers, the temple commands a 15,000 rupiah ($1) entry fee and the wearing of a sarong.
Banyumala Twin Waterfalls
Tucked deep in the lush North Bali highlands are the Banyumala Twin Waterfalls, a mighty pair of 11-story-tall falls that cascade into a natural pool. The far-out location—at least two hours from the main drags of Ubud and Seminyak—and the steep hike keep the crowds delightfully low. This spot is perfect for anyone in search of Bali’s raw natural beauty—sans the typical tourist pack. Come early to maximize your time.
Thomas Beach, located in the south of Bali not far from Uluwatu, is a long, sprawling, white-sand beach flanked by willowy palm trees. It’s managed to keep itself a well-guarded secret, drawing only the most curious travelers. The steps down to the beach put some visitors off—those who do manage them will find all the more space to spread out and sip on fresh coconut water from one of the vendors.
Although Tirta Gangga ($2 entry), a former palace turned lavish water gardens, looks like it has existed for several centuries, it was actually conceived in 1946 by the royal Karangasem family. But its far-reaching east Bali location hasn’t stopped travelers from exploring its magical fountains, shrubs, sculptures, and flowers, or positioning themselves on the octagonal stepping stones and feeding the carp. There are also stone spring water pools and you can even swim in one of them.
Echo Beach, Batu Bolong’s immediate northern neighbor, shares a lot of its attributes; among them, charcoal brown sand, stellar surf breaks, and bounteous eating and drinking options. But Echo feels less developed, and the waves are bigger and better for surf enthusiasts. Locals and an increasing number of tourists are congregating here more, but you’ll still have ample breathing space to lay, gaze, meander, or dip your toes in the water.
If exploring Bali’s paradiscal scenery is a priority, a visit to Sekumpul Waterfall is practically essential. It is considered by many to be the island’s finest waterfall destination. Like most North Bali waterfalls, accessing Sekumpul will require some sweat. It’ll take around an hour to walk the trails and make your way down the verdant ravine, but once you do you’ll be rewarded with a vast expanse of idyllic tropical landscapes, and grand-scale falls, which appear to pour from the heavens.
Pantai Pasir Putih
Wedged between two headlands, Pantai Pasir Putih (or White Sand Beach) is known as one of Bali’s best “secret” beaches—though the word has definitely gotten out. Those in the know travel here to east Bali to enjoy a more laid-back experience and access to perfectly blue waters—attributes hard to come by in the popular western beaches. The water is more than fine: the clarity is among the best seen around the island, and is calm enough for leisurely swims and snorkels.
Article by : https://www.cntraveler.com/gallery/best-things-to-do-in-bali
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