A popular tourist destination amongst beach seekers, reveler, surfers and trekkers, Bali has something for everybody. One of the most naturally beautiful places on earth, it is known for its breathtaking scenery, diverse wildlife, Hindu culture and sights, and its thriving multiculturalism. Most travellers head to the beach resorts of Kuta, Legian Seminyak and Sanur, but there is much more of this island to explore, particularly on its eastern and northern coasts.
Tanah Lot Temple
One of Bali’s most iconic sights, before it became a Mecca for Instagrammers, the Tanah Lot Temple was a major Hindu pilgrimage temple, a function it still fulfills today. Built into a distinct rock formation, the temple was believed to have been built at some point during the 16th Century although there is some ambiguity surrounding this. Now one of Bali’s most recognisable cultural icons, one only needs to take one look at this jaw-dropping temple to see why.
More commonly known in the West as the Elephant Cave, little-to-nothing is known about the origins of the Goa Gajah, although it is believed to have been built at some point during the 9th Century. One of Bali’s many cultural gems, the Goa Gajah is a beautifully detailed complex adorned with both Buddhist and Hindu symbols, thereby adding to its mystique. Rediscovered in the 1950s by Dutch archaeologists, the complex is one of the island’s most fascinating destinations, due to both its mystery and sheer physical beauty.
A popular trekking site, this active volcano is one of Bali’s most spectacular sights. There are fewer more awe-inspiring activities to do on the island than a sunrise trek along the volcano’s caldera. For those who can brave the excruciatingly early wake-up time to do so (around 2.30 AM!) this is an experience they are unlikely to forget.
One of the most recognisable buildings in Bali, Ubud Palace is the former residence of the area’s real family. Built after an earthquake in 1917, the vast Palace Complex is the main centre-piece of Ubud and it is easy to see why. It is a great place to take a long, leisurely stroll. The complex is also known for it’s dance performances in the evenings, well worth seeing for first-time visitors.
Ubud Monkey Forest
One of Bali’s stranger attractions is Goa Gala-Gala, an underground private residence built over a 15-year period during the mid-20th Century. Now open to the public, it is well-worth a visit as one of the island’s more unusual yet nonetheless impressive sites. A real oddity on the paradise-like island.
Tegallalang Rice Terraces
Taman Festival Park
Another spectacular sight, Sekumpul Waterfalls has become a particularly popular hot spot for jungle trekking amongst tourists, and it isn’t hard to see why. A spectacular sight to behold, it is the perfect place to end a long, arduous trek as a great place to swim and a scenic wonder.