Bali is Indonesia’s best known island and has been attracting visitors from around the world for many years. A visit to this island is like living a dream; the warm, azure-blue waters, the fresh, lush greenery and incredible sights and experiences are enough to have you wanting to go back for more. This volcanic island is about as close to Paradise as you can get on this Earth and it attracts surfers, explorers, sunbathers, swimmers and more every year.
The current, average exchange rate is 10,000 Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) to 1.03 Singapore Dollar and there is no time difference between Singapore and Bali. To ensure you are getting the most out of your trip, we’ve created a Bali Tourism Guide; it will give you tips and inspiration on what to do and where to go.
There is an abundance of exploration to be done in Bali; from hilltop temples, animal sanctuaries, beaches and more, boredom is not an option. We’ve rounded up a list of the top things to do in Bali, including amazing beaches and places to visit.
Often referred to as The Island of the Gods, The Island of a Thousand Temples or Bali Dwipa, Bali is an island with a strong sense of spirituality. This part of its personality can be seen in the many, beautiful temples on the island. Tanah Lot Temple is likely the most famous of the Bali temples; it sits offshore on a rock and is believed to have been floated there by a famous holy man named Nirartha. This ancient Hindu temple cannot be entered by visitors (Balinese only), but if you visit at low tide you will be able to walk over the rocks to the temple area. Whilst you may not be able enter, you will be able to watch the evening Kecak dances at 18.30.
Desa Beraban, Kecamatan Kediri, Beraban, Indonesia
Image Source: Madeleine Deaton
A beautiful way to spend some time in Bali is by visiting the Uluwatu Temple; believed to be one of the 6 spiritual pillars of Bali, this temple is tactically protected by monkeys. Uluwatu Temple is 250 feet above sea level, so the views from this hill top temple are known to be quite sensational. This temple can provide quite the romantic setting, especially when the sun starts to go down. The temple is an ideal place to visit in Bali for those looking to learn more about the culture of the island as there are daily Kecak performances. Furthermore, Uluwatu Temple is an architectural wonder of its own; the coral shaded bricks are lined with delicate, detailed carvings of characters from Bali’s mythological history. The temple is open from 08.00 to 19.00 and costs 10,000IDR to enter; you are also able to borrow a sash or cover to comply with dress code rules.
Jl. Raya Uluwatu | Southern part of Bali, Pecatu 80361, Indonesia
Besakih Temple Bali’s Mother Temple and has been for over 1,000 years; this temple is located up Mount Agung and is part of a special Balinese pilgrimage. This vast temple has seven different areas, each one dedicated to one of the seven layers of the universe (Hindu belief); visitors of any background or religion are only able to enter Pura Besakih as the others are reserved for pilgrims. Whilst exploring the temple you will notice that the complex is made up of 86 different buildings and many intricate and beautiful sculptures. The temple is open from 08.00 to 17.00 officially, but as a place of worship it is actually open 24 hours. Entrance to the complex is 10,000IDR and camera or video use are 1,000IDR and 2,500 respectively.
Desa Besakih, Kecamatan Rendang, Kec. Karangasem, Bali, Indonesia
Image Source: Deni Saputra
Tirta Gangga, designed by the last Raja of Karangasem: Anak Agung Anglurah Ketut Karangasem, in 1948, is a beautiful, peaceful water garden that should not be missed on your visit to Bali. The name means water of the Ganges and is one of the most romantic gardens in the world. The waters of the Ganges in India are known for their healing powers and the rumour is that if you bathe in the Tirta Gangga on a full moon you will be blessed with youth or your ailments will be cured.
There are three separate areas of the gardens, whose design reflect classic Balinese and Chinese architecture; each level has its own unique beauty. These beautiful features include swimming pools, ponds, water towers and the once Royal Palace of the Raja. Experience incredible views of the rolling hills and rice paddies that surround Tirta Gangga. The cost of admission for this sight in Bali is 20,000IDR per person and the gardens are open 24 hours.
Jl. Abang-Amlapura, Karangasem 80852, Indonesia
Image Source: Ken Marshall
Bali is famous for rolling green hills that are actually rice paddies; however, the Tegalalang Rice Terraces in Ubud are known to be the most sensational. The rice paddies use the Subak irrigation system, which were developed by the holy man Rsi Markandeya in the eighth century. This quintessential Balinese attraction is owned by a kind, friendly farmer, who only charges a small fee for you to explore the ancient Balinese lands. Additionally, you can explore the neighbouring village of Pakudui where you will be able to purchase souvenirs.
Between Tegalalang and Ubud, Ubud 80517, Indonesia
Also in Tegallalang is the Elephant Safari Park, here you can get up close and personal with the world’s largest out of water mammal. Unlike many safari parks around the world these elephants are treated with care and respect; the park is part of the Conservations Breeding Specialist Group and also works with conservation and release projects. When you visit you will be able to ride, feed and have photos taken with the elephants as well as learn more about these gentle, mysterious animals and the activities of the park. There are mini shows and beautiful restaurants on site; it is open from 08.00 to 18.00 and admission is approximately 87,000IDR for adults.
This park is operated by Bali Adventurer Tours who also offer a range of other activities, such as white water rafting. Visit the website to find out more.
Jalan Elephant Park Taro, Taro Village, Tegallalang, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
This idyllic island is home to many species of animal and at the Bali Safari and Marine Park you will be able to see over 60 species of animals. Living in this safari park are endangered animals such as the Orang Utan, Komodo Dragon and Bali Mynah. There are ample opportunities to interact with the animals, whether it is by watching one of the animal shows or by feeding them, these experiences will leave a lasting memory. Alternatively, you can ride the safari bus and tour the park; the large animal enclosures replicate the natural habitat of creatures such as Himalayan bears, wildebeest, lions and many more.
The Bali Safari and Marine Park is a great day out for all; there is also a small theme park, a number of restaurants and learning facilities that will teach you about the creatures and Bali. Opening times are from 09.00-19.00 and prices start at approximately 52,000IDR, however, different experiences will alter the cost (visit their website for more details).
Jl. Profesor Ida Bagus Mantra km 19,8, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia
Image Source: Rudy Herman
Bali’s animal fun does not stop at parks and safaris, you can also see the native creatures in their natural habitat. The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary can be found in the Mandala Wisata Wanara Wana and is the home of a number of grey-haired macaques. Witness the monkeys interact with one another, swing from vine to vine and relax in the shade. However, visitors must be warned that these monkeys are devilish creatures and have been known to steal your belongings. It is important not to carry any food or water with you, and avoid eye contact and smiling (especially showing your teeth) as the animals can take this as a sign of something more aggressive. Admission to the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary is 30,000/20,000IDR for adults and children and it is open daily from 08.30-18.00.
Jalan Monkey Forest, Padangtegal, Ubud 80571, Indonesia
There are an innumerable amount of things to do in Bali, and other sights to see and attractions include a visit to the Bali Bird Park to see the 300 species native to the island. Alternatively, a trip to the Atlas Pearl Farm will allow you to see and learn about how Pearls for jewellery are cultivated. Or for another taste of Balinese culture, visit the ARMA (Agung Rai Museum of Art) and spend time observing and enjoying colourful pieces of modern art.
If you’re looking for a trek then take the walk to the Blahmantung Waterfall and swim in the waters that surround this beautiful sight. Or for a different kind of trek, try the SeaWalk where you will be weighted down and be able to take a walk along the sea beds.
“Bali is a huge island, and a diverse one. Try other, non-typical tourist experiences by heading as far north as you can, away from hectic, hot spots like Denpasar, Kuta and Seminyak. Start your adventures in Ubud, with its tranquil rice fields, then head even farther afield to Candidasa, Kinatamni or mountains like Batur and Agung, if you have time.”
Image Source: Richard Minton
The Ubud Traditional Art Market, also known as Pasar Seni Ubud, is a large market that is open daily and sells an array of classic Balinese items. This includes many handmade goods such as silk scarfs, lightweight shirts, woven bags and hats, kites, sculptures and more. These items are one of a kind and cannot be bought anywhere else in the world; perhaps this is why it is such a popular destination for visitors looking to experience true Balinese culture. The market featured in the popular Eat, Pray, Love movie, so you may recognise it when you get there. We recommend multiple trips to this market as it is almost too large to get around in one day, without having to rush.
Jalan Raya and Monkey Forest Road, Ubud 80571, Indonesia
“Everything you read or watched in Eat, Pray, Love about Bali? It’s all true. This Indonesian island is home to forested mountains and volcanoes, breathtaking rice fields, sandy white beaches and beautiful coral reefs. From Ibiza-style beach clubs to adrenaline-pumping water sports and zen yoga retreats – there’s something for everybody!”
Visitors to Bali tend to all have at least one thing in common: they want to experience the tropical waters and sandy beaches of the island. A visit to the coastline will have you soaking up the sun, practicing surfing and spotting the creatures that live in this crystal clear waters. There are a number of popular beaches and islands in Bali that we recommend visiting and we have listed them below.
Kuta Beach is one of the most well-known beaches in Bali, most probably because the waters provide the perfect conditions for surfing. The waves are high and currents are strong, so if you’re not the most confident of swimmers, take caution. The fun doesn’t stop when the sun goes down in Kuta, as there are a large number of bars and restaurants where you can spend your evenings.
Sanur Beach is several miles of blue lined white sandy shore, speckled with small coral. This beach is in the south of the island and the waters are a lot tamer than other areas so if you want to go for a swim, this is the ideal spot.
Balagan Beach is not ideal for swimming, owing to its strong current, but it is perfect for a quieter, low-key experience. It is nearby to Uluwatu and your journey there will have you travelling through traditional Balinese villages, so you will be able to catch a glimpse of local life.
“Bali, the island of gods is not just about picking up the Chang Beer singlet at Kuta Poppes Street. Skip that busy winding souvenirs lane and head to the beach to snorkel or scuba dive (even if you don't know how, there's always beginners’ course that takes you only 1 full day) and sip the tropical cocktail to indulge and absorb a true vacation.”
By Sy Yuan
Image Source:Mohammad Raihan Mazumder
The Gili Islands are just off the coast of Bali and each of the three islands offers a unique experience to those visiting. The islands are called: Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno. All motorised transport is banned on the islands, so the only way to get around is by foot, bicycle or hitching a ride in one of the pony-carts (their version of a taxi!). All of the islands are accessible by boat and there are plenty of operators on the mainland (mainly leaving from Pandang Bai) and between the islands.
This is the largest of the Gili Islands and known as the place to go for a party. However, it is still a beautiful location for those looking to relax and do some snorkelling or scuba diving. Other activities to be done on the island include horse riding, general exploration and enjoying games and BBQs on the beach.
As its name would suggest, this island is far more relaxing and serene than Gili T. Take a moment to truly indulge your inner self by lying down and basking in your surroundings. Gili Air is very small and we recommend taking a trek around the whole island. This off-the beaten path trek takes approximately 2.5 hours, so make sure you take enough supplies, especially water. As with the others islands, snorkelling and scuba diving opportunities on Gili Air are in abundance; you may even spot the sea turtles that live around this island.
Another much smaller island, Gili Meno, Air, is very small and known as escape for those wanting to retreat from the stresses of everyday life. Additionally, this island is a popular destination for honeymooners owing to its secluded surroundings.
The islands of Indonesia each have their own cultural heritage that can be seen and tasted through their food. There are several dishes that we don’t think you should miss and a few places where you can try them (and other bits). We’ve created a list below to help guide your food journey through Bali.
Lawar: a combination of coconut, garlic and chill mixed in with either pork or chicken meat.
Nasi Ayam or Nasi Campur: this is Bali’s most famous rice dish and includes rice and meat (chicken, tuna or tofu) and if you want an extra bit of heat then you just as for more samba.
Bebek Betutu: this is as beautiful to look at as it is to eat. It is a whole chicken or duck that is stuffed with Balinese spices, enclosed in banana leaves and then slow-baked by being buried in a coal fire for over 6 hours.
Guling: this is for those who love pork.
Babi Guling is a classic Balinese dish that is made of slow, spit-roasted pork, stuffed with spices such as turmeric, pepper and lemongrass.
Sates: these are marinated, skewered meats served with a spicy sauce. Your sates can be made up of different meats or tofu if you are a vegetarian. If you want to try a true Bali sate then opt for the lilit version, where the meat is minced, placed on sugarcane (or bamboo or lemongrass) and covered in coconut shavings.
Other typically Balinese dishes include: tempe and tahu, pepes and tum. We recommend you try the seafood dishes that are sold on all of the beaches; the fish will be freshly caught and prepared in front of you. Jimbaran Bay is a favourite destination of locals to pick up seafood.
“If you’re thinking of having the freshest seafood in Bali, look no further than Jimbaran Bay. There is an endless number of seafood restaurants where you can choose from and prices here are a little cheaper compared to the Kuta area. The best part? Seafood by the beach! Kate and I had front row seats as we enjoyed the fresh prawns and crabs while the sun set in the distance. A perfect way to end the evening!"
We’ve listed a few highly rated restaurants that serve only the most authentic Balinese food, but if you want further ideas, ask your hotel concierge.
Nightlife in Bali is in abundance; there are beach clubs, beach bars and night clubs that will provide the right sort of experience for everyone. The Balinese know how to throw a party; there are no official closing times, so clubs sometimes will carry on the party until the sun comes up. It is a fairly safe destination, but as always keep an eye on your belongings and drinks. We’ve come up with a list a few of our favourite destinations, but if you are in need of more advice locals (especially taxi drivers) will be happy to share some tips.
“Forget the usual beach bars in Bali. Look out for probably the first bespoke cocktail bar there - Baker Street Social. Even the bar's name doesn't sound like a bar. Hidden on the 2nd floor of a barber shop (Shearlock Barbershop), these guys serve up mean, crafted cocktails that are a cut above all the usual tiki beach drinks.”
By Seth Lui
Single Fin (Jl. Labuan Sait Pantai Suluban, Uluwatu, Pecatu 80361, Indonesia) – visit on a Wednesday evening to see acoustic sets, DJs and live bands performing. You can get a great cocktail here and they are open from 10.00 to 22.00 on Monday to Tuesday and Thursday to Saturday. On Wednesday they are open until midnight and on Sunday they are open until 1am.
Skygarden (61JI. Legian, Kuta, Indonesia) – this is not your typical nightclub, it is popular for tourists and for good reason. There are several floors, some serving food and others playing loud, upbeat, popular music. The top floor is usually the favourite among those who visit as it hosts a huge buffet with a large selection of food that is all yours for a very small price. They are open from 17.00-03.00 daily.
“Bali is everything for everyone. Romantic escapes for loved up couples, family breaks full of safe excursions, or a wild weekend for the backpackers en route from Thailand, to Australia. Bali really is something special. The party crowd tend to head to Kuta, and more frequently out to Seminyak, so if you're thinking of hitting some crazy nightlife, that's your spot.”
By Johnny Ward
La Favela (Jalan Kayu Aya No.177X, Kabupaten Badung, Bali, Indonesia) – this bar is a lovely place to have drinks with your friends and family; the bar has a calm atmosphere and you can spend the evening talking under the twinkling fairy lights. It is open from 11.00 to 22.00 daily.
Unique Rooftop Bar at Rimba Jimbaran Bali (Rimba Resort, Jimbaran, Indonesia) – this bard is set atop the Rimba Resort, a five star hotel providing a classy, sophisticated evening experience. When you’re spending your evening at this bar you will be able to look out over beautiful views of the Uluwatu Hills. The bar is open from 11.00-01.00 daily.
Mirror Nightclub (Jl. Petitenget no. 106 | Seminyak, Kerobokan, Denpasar 80361, Indonesia) – this club offers a somewhat strange, but intriguing experience; the club is lined with mirrors that make up part of the laser light show to accompany your clubbing experience. The club is open Wednesday to Saturday from 23.00 to 05.00.
With a tropical Paradise comes a range of luxury hotels that complement the beautiful environment Bali provides. The Mulia Bali is a favourite of celebrities around the world, owing to its high quality level of comfort and service as well as its iconic, astounding swimming pool. Alternatively, the W Retreat & Spa in Seminyak is a contemporary twist on traditional Balinese comfort; it is right by the beach so you will not have to walk far to spend your day by the ocean.
The Ayana Resort and Spa is one of the more rustic hotels in Bali; the décor consists of a lot of dark woods, light floors and grand canopies. The average cost of these hotels ranges from SG$400 to $700 per night’s stay, but this could vary depending on whether you visit during the peak or off-peak season.
Mid-range hotels in Bali do not mean you will be sacrificing a high level of quality and comfort. For a true Balinese experience, the Warwick Ibah Luxury Villas & Spas uniquely blends classic Balinese architecture and décor in every room. It is very exclusive with only 17 rooms, so book in advance to avoid disappointment. The Padma Resort in Ubud is a large open plan resort, designed to let in as much natural light and air to ensure your experience is as peaceful and authentic as possible. This hotel is family friendly and includes a full service spa, two restaurants and swimming pool on-site.
Komaneka at Monkey Forest is located within the forest and has exceptionally high ratings from previous guests. With a full service spa on site and outside bath tubs, this hotel really is ideal for romantics and those looking to relax and recline. These mid-range priced hotels in Bali all cost between, on average, SG$200-300 per night stay.
There are hundreds of budget hotel options in Bali; the area is popular with backpackers and those travelling the globe so you can expect to have a good array of options. For less than $50 per night stay (on average) you can stay in hotels and villas that are still of a high quality. For example, the Capung Sakti Houses in Ubud include a full service spa (on-site) and this Bali hotel is very close to the Ubud Market and Ubud Monkey Forest.
Alternatively, for less than SG$100 per night stay (on average) the Bali Bohemia is a brightly coloured, rustic accommodation option in Ubud. This hotel has a restaurant, outdoor pool, complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast and guests will have free WiFi in public areas. The staff are multilingual and always on hand to help with anything or share any advice. Or the Pesantian Villa & Warung is a contemporary twist on Balinese hospitality; it has an outdoor pool and restaurant onsite and is less than 10km away from the ARMA Museum.
For more information about other hotels in Bali, explore the Expedia website further. There are so many different options, each with their own unique conception of classic Balinese culture for you to choose from.
Taxis are the most useful and reliable method of transport in Bali. Bluebird Taxi Group is known to be a trustworthy, metered taxi service; these taxis are bright blue and can be hailed down in the streets or ordered (+62 (0) 361 701 111). Be wary of imposter taxis, as copy cats have taken to painting their taxis blue to scam tourists. Also, keep an eye out with our taxis as they may “forget” to switch on the meter or offer to show you around the island at a “low price”; clearly agree your fare before you get in and start your journey.
We do recommend using taxis as opposed to other methods of transport as they are usually the best option (besides walking). Or if you’re a bit more daring and want to try something new, hop on an Ojek (a motorbike); try to avoid the busy towns when riding these and stick to the countryside.
Image Source: Richard Friedericks
The weather in Bali is warm all year round (25°C-30°C), so if that’s what you are looking for then you are in luck. However, it does have two distinct seasons: rainy and dry, that could affect your decision about when to go. Things get a little more expensive during Christmas and New Year, as well as July and August. April to June and September are known to be the best time to visit Bali as it is dry season and prices tend to drop a little; the climate makes these months great for those looking to participate in water sports.
If you’re looking for flights to Bali, then explore the Expedia Singapore website for more prices and times for your trip to Bali. There are a number of airlines that fly to Denpasar Airport in Bali, including Air Asia and Jetstar.
Image Source: Matt_Weibo
Featured Image Source: Thomas Depenbusch