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7 Awesome Things to Do in Bali, Indonesia

By Two Monkeys Travel - Contributor September 30th, 2018 Posted in Asia Travel Blog, Travel Blog, Travel Guides 27 Comments

Best well-known destination of the country, the Island of the Gods or Island of a Thousand Temples, Bali experience is a combination of salty air, religious beliefs, fascinating structures and culture, and big wide smiles. Lots do to and lots to see, it’s an all in one island experience, balanced life of tranquility and hype. And to give you a picture of how incredible life in Bali is, together, let us discover some of the awesome things to do in Bali, Indonesia!

Did you know?  Bali is arguably the most popular yoga destination in Southeast Asia. The island’s unique Zen atmosphere, the culture of healthy living and the tons of yoga studios available on the island, make for a perfect Bali yoga retreat.

Are you looking for places to stay? Check out our recommendations below:

things to do in Bali
Canang, a daily offering prepared by Balinese Hindu People
All photography supplied by CARLA MANALO

1. Visit the Uluwatu Temple

Why is it one of the best things to do in Bali, Indonesia?

Uluwatu Temple is a Hindu temple built around 17th century. Temple is divided into 3 parts, outer, middle and inner part. Taking photos around the temple is allowed, even taking photos of a worshiper preparing the offerings, since it’s their way of introducing the Hindu Balinese culture to the tourists. But take note that there are some restricted areas like the inner part of the temple which is only accessible for worshipers, considering the area as holy. Sarongs and sashes are provided in the entrance. For tourist wearing trousers, sash will be provided whilst for tourists wearing shorts and skirts, sarongs will be given and must be worn before entering the temple.

things to do in Bali
Sarong and Sash provided at the entrance

The Balinese Hindu Temple is facing the sea and we arrived before sunset. A truly mesmerizing beauty, rested temple on top of a cliff, ocean waves crashing unto the rocks. Group of a devotee, of family, lined up carrying their offerings to the Gods. A day witnessing another form of faith, of different beliefs yet admired. This is for sure one of the best things to do in Bali, Indonesia.

things to do in Bali
Best view at the temple.

Aside from the fascinating views and structures to see in Uluwatu Temple, another thing to watch out are the monkeys. The quick innocent little monkeys that can take away belongings from you. Food and drinks are not allowed in the premise. We have been reminded several times by our tour guide as we approach the area to be alert and be mindful of our things.

things to do in Bali
Offerings prepared by the worshippers
things to do in Bali
Temple from afar

2. Witness the Kecak Dance in Uluwatu

Why is it one of the best things to do in Bali, Indonesia?

Peaceful sight of the temple, sun dipping below the sea horizon, such a spectacular backdrop. After paying visit to the temple, we headed to the small open theater to witness Bali’s Kecak Dance performance, a dance and musical love story of Rama and Shinta. One of the holy dance in Bali, it’s a show not accompanied by Gamelang orchestra. It is performed primarily by men sitting in circle singing “Cak! Cak! Cak!” for an hour. Kecak is a holy dance performed specially during big temple celebrations.

things to do in Bali
Sunset as the backdrop of the Kecak Dance Performance
things to do in Bali
“Cak! Cak! Cak!”

Same story plot as the Ramayana in Prambanan but different music accompanies the story and more witty characters, welcoming guests to participate in the actual play. Hanuman is still my favorite and never fails to tickle our funny bone! Jumping across every corner, even taking selfies with the audience on live performance! And how can I forget the loud chant of “cak! cak!” An open area where loud enchanting voices of men (there’s even a kid in the group) can be heard all over the place. Truly a magnificent showcase of culture, religion and arts preserved and shared to the curious eyes of foreign visitors. This is definitely one thing you shouldn’t miss when visiting Bali. The ever captivating Ramayana experience touched by Balinese own craft of dance, a setting sun and Hindu temple on the backdrop, certified one of the best things to do in Bali!

Check out some of the cool and cheap tours you could do in Bali.

things to do in Bali

3. Farm life in Rumah Desa

Why is it one of the best things to do in Bali, Indonesia?

The simplicity of life in the world of crops, cows, coffee, coconuts, more greenery and other graces of nature, we headed to Tabanan, in Rumah Desa, to see and feel the humble life in the rural. Indeed, a farm atmosphere, walking through the bright green rice fields, a sip of fresh coconut water, mooing cows as they plow the rich soil with all ones might! Herbal medicines are also available in the village. Even the simplest kind of plant has a use. Along the way, our guide picked this leaf and demonstrated how to use it as a toothbrush. Rough texture of the leaf serves as the brush, with sand paper like texture. Nature’s bounty, even the supply of fresh water is free and available. Rumah Desa offers home stay as well. It’s definitely a good way to further explore and experience the real Balinese life in the village. Fun farm activities in the village, a taste of Balinese life at its simplicity, a day or even ‘days’ spent to Rumah Desa is definitely one of the best things to do in Bali, Indonesia.

For further info, you can visit their website at www.rumahdesa.com

things to do in Bali
Paddy fields in Rumah Desa

things to do in Bali

4. Cooking class in Rumah Desa

Why is it one of the best things to do in Bali, Indonesia?

As we continue our tour experience in the village, our feet took us to the kitchen of a typical Balinese family in the village. Coffee has done with one’s hand, we were introduced in the hand labor process of coffee making. Beans roasted pounded and filtered manually. No machines around, just traditional tools used in the whole process, big wooden coffee pounder, a square-shaped strainer, and a wood burning stove.

things to do in Bali

About to have lunch but before that, we helped in the preparation of our own meals. We were introduced to the usual and traditional ingredients used by the locals like ginger, candlenut, nutmeg, turmeric and more. But there is one special ingredient that really amazed my taste buds, the torch ginger flower! Spicy but it has this distinct taste that burst into your mouth and keeps the food more appetizing because of its strange yet hypnotizing flavor and aroma. Truly an unforgettable taste and experience of authentic Balinese cuisines, cooking class in Rumah Desa is definitely one of the best things to do in Bali, Indonesia!

things to do in Bali

5. Visit the Ubud Monkey Forest

Why is it one of the best things to do in Bali, Indonesia?

Ubud Monkey Forest, also named as Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary is located in the town of Ubud. Trivia about Ubud, the name was derived from the Balinese word ‘Ubad’ which means medicine. The monkey forest is home for a number of long-tailed macaques. According to our tour guide, Suria, close to the monkey forest is a hotel where every morning, these monkeys come to the hotel to have their breakfast with the tourists. Monkeys here are territorial so you have to be extra careful with places where you sit on or step into. I witnessed a scenario where a girl was kissed by a monkey and it even climbed up to her head. Then I was told by our guide that the lady sat on the territorial area of the monkeys and it encourages the monkeys to come close to tourist like her, allowing them to intimidate humans. Lesson is you have to respect their territories and follow the safety reminders provided by your own tour guides.

things to do in Bali
A mommy monkey with her baby
things to do in Bali
A surprised lady sitting in the monkey territory

Keep valuables in the bag (sunglasses, water, camera lens cap, and etc.) and never fight over your things if the monkeys already have them. Food is not allowed inside the forest but there are bananas for sale which you can share with the monkeys if you want a close encounter with them (for selfies maybe). I am kinda scared of monkeys so I just watched over and steal some shots with tourist feeding them. But I managed to get close to cute little baby monkeys. A day spent in Ubud Monkey forest is no doubt one of the best things to do in Bali, Indonesia.

things to do in Bali
Cute little monkeys

6. Lunch at Bebek Tepi Sawah

Why is it one of the best things to do in Bali, Indonesia?

After the monkey forest, we had a taste of one of the typical Balinese food, the crispy duck or Bebek in the local tongue. We arrived in Bebek Tepi Sawah to have our lunch. Surrounded by paddy fields, the wind blows and the pounding sound of tall bamboo posts can be heard in the area. We had our lunch in these small huts, crossed-leg sitting on the wooden floor, quite relaxing ambiance of the simple farm life. Refreshing coolers were served first as we waited for the main course. And when it finally came, all eyes on that crispy quarter leg fried duck! It’s definitely a really good native taste, something that you should never dare to miss when visiting Bali. For further info about Bebek Tepi Sawah, please visit their website at www.bebektepisawahrestaurant.com

things to do in Bali

7. Shopping in Kuta

Why is it one of the best things to do in Bali, Indonesia?

From malls to small stalls, it’s just a walk to reach every store in Kuta. My first mall experience in Bali happened in Beachwalk, a few meters away from our hotel, Mercure Kuta Bali. Variety of top-of-the-line imported brands, wide selections of goods for sale, shirts, slippers, gadgets, the typical things you see on malls of course. But it’s my first time to see a vending machine with Havaianas slippers inside! (I don’t think we have that in the Philippines yet). Restaurants, cafes, bars, and coffee shops are even lined up all over the place. If good in bargains, you should try the rows of shops outside the mall area. You can even bargain half the price at most! Sellers are very friendly (based on my experience) so you can probably get good price negotiations and deals. Kuta Beach is a surfer paradise so you get to see lots if surf shops in the area. Tattoo shops can also be found on every corner of Kuta. Shopping in Kuta, this is definitely one of the best things to do in Bali, Indonesia!

things to do in Bali

8. Find accommodation in Bali, Indonesia

Related Articles:

Check out some of the cool and cheap tours you could do in Kuta.

Special thanks to Wonderful Indonesia, Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Indonesia and the whole Indonesian staff for having us in this International Bloggers Trip – Indonesia’s Top Bucket Destinations 2015.

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27 thoughts on “7 Awesome Things to Do in Bali, Indonesia

  1. Don’t forget to visit Lovina Beach, away from the crowds and the touts at Kuta Beach! Lovina is an amazing spot to relax and chill the day away.

  2. I must admit, Bali hasn’t really been on my radar in the past but these photos are making me think otherwise! What an interesting and vibrant place!

  3. Wow Bali looks absolutely incredible.. I really wanna travel all over the world and Bali is definitely on my list! xxx

  4. Being able to see the Kecak dance being performed would be phenomenal! Such an awe inspiring experience!

  5. You have literally listed EVERYTHING I would want to do in a country. Just need to get myself to Bali now. 🙂

  6. That is a simply breathtaking view from the temple! Bali is an incredible destination and one I would love to visit when I have a lot more money 🙂

  7. We are thinking of going to Bali next year, so I will keep all of this in mind.

  8. It would be interesting to see the Ubud Monkey Forest. I’d consider going to check out the Kecak Dance too. It would be such a unique cultural experience.

  9. I didn’t know a lot about Bali so it’s great to read your suggestions. Sounds like an amazing place, and I’d love to visit the Ubud Monkey Forest

  10. Bali is somehere I would absolutely love to visit one day – all those amazing sights to see.

  11. A friend of mine went last year but I couldn’t make it she said it was more awesome than in pictures. I hope to go very soon.

  12. Another place I would love to visit, we cruised through the Straits of Malacca so we were close by but never made it to Indonesia.

  13. I have always wanted to go to Bali. I now need to go just to meet this lose monkeys! Looks amazing! x

  14. Oh wow! I’ve always wanted to go to Bali, but now I want to go even more! There’s just so much diversity in things to do, I’d probably need to be there for a month or something!

  15. Such beautiful photos, as always. I would love to go there, looks like my kind of place to visit

  16. I’d be in my element, I’d love to go to Bali, looks beautiful, the monkeys and the cooking classes amazing. It’s liike a hidden treasure

  17. There are so many places I’d love to travel to.
    I’ve never thought of Bali but it looks amazing and full of great things to do.

  18. We haven’t seen the Uluwatu temple yet, but we saw the Besakih Temple in the east part of the Island and got pleseantly surprised with the place. We surely recommend it, it’s amazing!
    Have you been there?

  19. I have been to Bali twice but missed out on the Uluwatu temple and monkey forest. Thanks for sharing, will check them when i visit next month. For shopping i go the oleh oleh stores , they have really nice collection of souvenirs and other items.

  20. Yep, those monkeys can be really annoying.

    I like to watch them, but from a distance. So much so that I skipped the Monkey Forest when I was in Ubud. I stood at the entrance for about ten minutes, watched a group of them play around and then decided that was enough for me 😉

    1. haha! I’m scared of the monkeys too, Fernando! But I still went in and walked with friends so if I got cornered by the monkeys, at least I’m not alone! haha! the baby monkeys are cute though, look harmless =)

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