Seven Heavenly Things to Do on Bali

I spent a week exploring the beautiful island of Bali. Here are just seven heavenly things you can do there.💜

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Tanah Lot temple on Bali

1. Visit Breathtaking Hindu Temples

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Taman Ayun Temple

Although Indonesia is the world’s largest Muslim country, the island of Bali is unique in that it is primarily Hindu. You will not find many mosques here, but rather beautiful Balinese temples.

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Ulun Danu Beratan temple

Balinese Hindus believe that all creatures possess a spiritual essence, and they seek to find harmony and balance in life by worshiping their ancestors, Buddhist saints, and various forms of God.40772066840_86d2e19d9a_c
42579631911_8e4c7e767b_cCanang sari are daily offerings made by Balinese Hindus to the Gods. These small palm-leaf basket usually contain colored flowers, food, and incense. You’ll find them all over the streets on Bali.40763183420_79006128b1_cDuring my time on Bali, I was able to visit four Hindu temples: Ulun Danu Beratan Temple, Taman Ayun Temple, Pura Taman Saraswati, and Tanah Lot.

Ulun Danu Beratan Temple is a 17th century Hindu temple floating on Lake Beratan, which honors Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, and the lake goddess, Dewi Danu. 27763951977_de23f128d9_c
27763951917_df688b17b9_cThe location is 1200 meters above sea level, which means it’s cool and damp enough to grow temperate fruits and flowers. 🌹🌼27763951827_26d37a6492_c
41733174115_2842dc0053_cAside from viewing the temple from afar, visitors can also take paddle boats around the lake. 40825154110_d4387266c5_cFor a different perspective, my friend Alad even flew his drone over the temple. 41733174305_a2a9454f38_cWe learned minutes later that this wasn’t allowed, but at that point, he had already snapped a few beautiful shots. 💜27839401017_8be2b04e57_cJust a bunch of rule breakers! Hah! 😜27839400997_f8028505df_cCost: The entrance fee was 3.50 USD.

Taman Ayun Temple means “temple in a beautiful garden” and its name surely didn’t disappoint. 42582462912_4bcb92261c_cIn addition to a well-manicured garden, the temple is also surrounded by a tranquil pond. 41915157154_58a0e16b14_cAccess to the holy temple is only permissible during religious ceremonies, so visitors will have to admire it from behind the courtyard walls. 
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Alad even got some drone shots to admire it from above. 😉27839400967_6a51f4f761_cFor modesty’s sake, visitors must cover their shoulders and bare legs with a shawl provided by the temple.42582462982_f2dcbc4ff0_cI also learned that menstruating women are not allowed in Balinese temples, because it perceived to be unclean.42582463032_fa0d176b2d_cCost: Less than 2 USD41915157344_93bcfb009f_cPura Taman Sarasvati is a Hindu temple in Ubud dedicated to the goddess Sarasvati.
40772066680_f87f0a277c_cIt is surrounded by a calming lotus pond…40772066560_6590d615b9_c….and also next to an energizing Starbucks. 😜☕

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because life is about balance 😉

Cost: free to enter

Tanah Lot means “land in the sea” and this stunning coastal temple sits on large jagged rock overlooking the ocean. 28759819008_67534a738c_cThis temple is actually one of seven temples that line the Balinese coast. 40825154290_f482b4b123_cThe seven temples honor the Gods of the sea, and at the base of the Tanah Lot temple there are reportedly venomous sea snakes, which guard the temple from intruders and evil spirits. As you can see from the picture, I think the snakes might have gone out for a coffee break! Hah! 🐍😜

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tons of “intruders” a.k.a. “tourists” visiting the temple 😛

Yes, this temple is a total tourist hot spot! Photo shoots and selfie sticks all over the place! 📸28759819068_9507b48405_cI tried to be just a bit more candid with my photos. 
28759789998_d2319a8d87_cAnyway, despite the crowds, it was still a nice place to grab a coconut, walk the sidewalk that linked the seven temples, and watch the sunset over the coast. ❤28759789808_a6a0a26730_c
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Here’s a short video of the sunset view:

Cost: 3.50 USD 

2. Attend a Traditional Balinese Dance42579632221_ef59e32586_c

Now along with admiring the traditional Hindu temples, one can also witness the many traditional rituals and performances here. While on Bali, I attended a Kecak Fire Dance at the Pura Dalem Temple in Ubud.

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dancing across a bed of hot coals

Kecak is a Balinese music and dance drama depicting an epic battle between the evil King Ravana, prince Rama, and the monkey-like Vanara.

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King Ravana
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monkey-like Vanara

The performance is amplified by over 150 men chanting “chak” in unison. 42579932951_49615dc3e6_cThe men are seated in circular rows around a traditional coconut oil lamp. 41679009765_c92f83f189_cAs the battle commences, the bare-chested men rhythmically chant and wave their arms from side to side.41679770045_7f2a227818_cKecak was originally part of a trance ritual, and this performance not only ends with the death of the evil Ravana, but of a trance dance across a bed of fiery hot coals! 😲🔥

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death of Ravana
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trance dance

Here’s a short video of their performance:

 

3. Heal your Body and Mind with Yoga and Massage

42529816952_f824b18b48_cWhile on Bali, I spent most of my time in the city of Ubud, which is known as a yogi’s dream come true. There are oodles of yoga and wellness studios here to cleanse your mind, body and soul.🧘

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Yoda, the ultimate wellness guru 😉

While in Ubud, I took an acro yoga class at the Yoga Barn.28759660358_62b00cae43_c
27763872697_e079371697_cAlthough they didn’t allow photos during the class, acro yoga is basically a combination of acrobatics and yoga, and you essentially act like a superhero and pretend you’re flying. 😜40901481240_ce13ce11d6The Yoga Barn is also more like a yoga complex, with multiple yoga studios and classes going on all throughout the day. They even have their own on-site restaurant, juice bar, clothing store, and they offer a bunch of other services, including cleanses, spiritual healing, and massage.28759660668_bc8d1dbab4_c28759660168_5e8192ddce_cSpeaking of massage, Bali has an incredible selection of affordable massage parlors, like this one I found near my bungalow. A standard massage is about 7 USD/hour, so you would be silly not to treat yourself while you’re here.27711546067_2045885fc9_cCost: 6 USD per yoga class

4. Enjoy Guilt-Free Vegan Cuisine

Since Bali is all about optimal health, it’s no surprise you’ll find a never-ending selection of chic bistros and healthy vegan cafes here.27763872447_725d921237_c
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27701335327_d026dd468d_cMost restaurants have international fare, cozy seating, and a tranquil atmosphere. My favorites included Atman Kafe, Kafe, Earth Cafe, and Alchemy.

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Bali coffee at Atman Kafe
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cushy seating at Atman Kafe
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fermented tea
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Indian Saag Paneer at Kafe (spinach with cheese, chutney and yogurt)
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shakshuka at Earth Cafe
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avocado toast at Atman Cafe
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DIY salad at Alchemy

Cost: 4-5 USD per entree

5. Learn about Special Balinese Coffee

27763996677_3a60358858_cKopi luwak is an expensive local coffee made right here on Bali. ☕42582463152_6e3465abb5_cKopi luwak is made from beans that have been pooped out by a luwak animal, which is a cat-like creature.27763996697_d4cc489ed4_cAs our local guide informed us, the luwak eats the coffee cherries for its juicy jelly.40825106420_5afc45d549_c
40825106560_50a879ec17_cOnce the animal digests and expels the beans in their poo, the plantation harvests and cleans them to make their coffee. 40825106800_b416b6b264_c
40825106920_5700467df2_cWhile at the coffee plantation, I was able to sample the kopi luwak coffee for a reasonable 4 USD per cup. The coffee had a very aromatic smell, and a sweet, earthy flavor. Very delicious!27764332407_2cb5ef6d20_c

41733207615_0b387cf84f_cBecause the luwak animal can only consume and expel a small quantity of beans, the coffee can normally sell for 100-500 USD per pound! Talk about supply and demand! 😮

40825106860_6cca04a41c_cAt the plantation, I was also able to try some local teas and coffee creations, like mangosteen tea, red rice tea, turmeric tea, and coconut coffee (the favorite of the bunch).27763996597_4238141f25_c27763996687_b8dbb1ece4_cCost: free tour and tea tasting, minus the kopi luwak sample

5. Visit Monkeys in a Sacred Forest

40770851810_cc17f453de_cLong-tailed macaques are endemic to Bali, and many are kept in sacred forests full of Hindu temples. 27708281467_fe2ca456c4_c
40769184690_06ccd9489e_cWhile on Bali, I was able to visit the Sangeh Holy Monkey Forest and the Ubud Monkey Forest.40770624150_4d2ba4e663_cThe Ubud Monkey Forest has about 750 long-tailed monkeys, which are seen as sacred animals according to local mythology. 🐒27711205937_551ccafe91_c

40768427270_c76d2ec8c1_cThe monkeys are cared for by the park staff, whom feed them a local diet of sweet potatoes and bananas. 🍠🍌41854584384_7c9da6bca3_cThe monkeys even have numbers on their chest, so that they can keep track of them.41678444455_6870fea48d_cDuring my visit, for the most part, the monkeys were calmly relaxing in the trees or grooming one another. 41857933714_def8cecf88_c41854994734_362ffb7327_cThat being said, monkeys are cheeky little buggers.40771683280_1c22ea8323_cThey had no problem jumping on people, grabbing at their shoelaces, or opening up their bags to find something interesting. 42576853041_4ee90a5dd5_c

41675204835_0d6ec99340_cFor example, here’s a monkey who got a hold of someone’s hand sanitizer:

My favorite were these two adorable guys playing with the drinking fountain. ❤27711121897_2f274a2641_c
27711121737_808b3a685e_cI don’t think it helps that the caretakers feed the monkeys to get them to pose with people.42577378081_d067de4014_cIn general, just be cautious with what you bring into the forest, and you’ll be just fine. 😀27711206157_f0748e0cbc_c
28698610958_28e5948000_cCost: 3.50 USD28698610888_3ebd4a2547_cSide note: the Sangeh Holy Monkey Forest is similar, but not as impressive, so I would recommend the one in Ubud.

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Sangeh Holy Monkey Forest

7. Take in the Natural Beauty

42529816902_f4a101ed51_cNow, Bali can sometimes be seen as touristy and quite chaotic. There are swarms of motorbikes on the road at any given time and heaps of tourist shops lining each and every street.

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80% of Bali’s livelihood comes from tourism

That being said, it doesn’t take much to escape the crowds and enjoy Bali’s natural beauty in peace. Two of my favorite spots to take in the natural beauty were the Jatiluwih Rice Terraces and the Campuhan Ridge Walk.

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Jatiluwih Rice Terraces

Jatiluwih means “real beautiful” and this flowing hillside of rice terraces is nothing short of spectacular! They’ve even designated it a UNESCO World Heritage Site. What’s more, these contoured terraces have been irrigated in such a way that they distribute water to the entire community of villagers. 40825106740_c8b76d38ed_cNow there is a tourist entrance for viewing the terraces, but what I’d suggest is spending your money at a nearby restaurant instead, where you can enjoy some local cuisine and the spectacular views!
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Cost: 5 USD for a buffet and 2 USD for a beer

The Campuhuan Ridge Walk is a 5-mile nature trail near Ubud. 41858068834_3fe6bec5e8_cIt offers a spectacular view of the tropical foliage, and gorgeous resorts scattered along the hillside.
27711545517_99168ece43_cThe path is also lined with numerous souvenir shops and restaurants.

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art gallery along the ridge walk

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42633040721_d86b3bdda7_c28697632918_b95c8eae07_cI even found this great gelato stand, where I sampled some jamu ice cream made with turmeric, ginger, lime, and coconut.  Very nice and not too much spice! 😉42529816972_36e0a258fa_cAt the end of the ridge walk I found Karsa Kafe, which is a restaurant surrounded by a lily pond overlooking the beautiful rice terraces.

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cute dog drinking from the pond

They had a full food and drink menu, including fresh juices, like this carrot, apple, and ginger combo. 
42527187102_81624f7d6f_zTo get to the ridge walk, you simply enter the Warwick Ibah Luxury Villas and Spa, and look for a sign that says, “going to the hill”.27711275007_fa2d801743_cAnyway, those are just seven heavenly things I found to do on Bali. I’m sure you’d could find oodles more to do as well. ❤

Getting there: Since I stayed in Ubud, which was in the middle of Bali, I chose a ferry/minivan combo, which cost 90,000 rupiah or 6.50 USD. I did need to haggle with the driver to get that price. The trip began at the ferry port on Java, crossed over to Bali, then took about four hours by car to get to Mengweh. 42584013502_af4407dab8_cFrom there I hopped on a motorbike for 4 USD to get the rest of the way.42584013692_fe92d143f0_cGetting around: As I mentioned, Bali is touristy, so there are always taxi drivers willing to give you a ride at a “fair” price. 😜 27763872237_294494a4c9_cLuckily, most cities are pretty walkable. Just be careful of potential road hazards. 41917015254_86c3b98c07_c

Accommodation: While in Ubud, I stayed at Puji Bungalows. For 7 USD/night, I had a beautiful infinity pool overlooking the rice terraces, an air conditioned dorm bed, and a free pancake breakfast. They even organized shuttles to the airport.42634967381_79c0e213ee_c
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27711206437_bd757de9f9_cTour Package: To visit the temples, coffee plantation, and rice terrace, I went on a tour. The tour started at 10am and ended at 8pm. It cost 17 USD, and only included transportation.42633040751_ab740a0376_c
42633040781_e3f549edfa_cThe other option would be to rent a motorbike and drive there solo; however, the traffic all over the island is so terrible, that I didn’t want to risk an accident. I saw three motorbike crashes on my first day alone! The tour also gave me the chance to meet a lovely British couple, and a digital nomad from Miami.28759753148_a94de96847_cAnyway, up next I flew to the island of Flores for some scuba diving. Stay tuned to hear all about the trip! Until then! ❤

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5 thoughts on “Seven Heavenly Things to Do on Bali

  1. Megan, lovely Bali images in pix and words. However, I noticed that you did not seem to say anything about the beaches. I have heard that they are beautiful, and I hsve also read that they are covered in trash. Did you get to any?
    Thanks for all your info.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Suzanne! Thanks for the feedback! I guess I knew that I wanted to go scuba diving in Indonesia and chose to fly to the beach town of Labuan Bajo on Flores instead of staying near the beaches on Bali. I had an incredible experience diving near Flores, so I was super happy with my decision. I made a diving post as well, if you want to check it out. 🙂 And yes, I had also read that the Bali beaches were not as nice as the ones on Lombok or the Gili Islands. Hope that helps! 🙂 Thanks again for following! Take care!

      Like

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