So you’re heading to Bali, “The Island of the Gods,” for your Yoga Teacher Training?
Then why not take advantage of the free time and explore this paradise to your heart’s content!
Bali is one of over 17,500 islands in Indonesia. Known for its pretty beaches, lush forests, picturesque waterfalls, endless rice paddies, jungles, rivers, volcanoes, and breathtaking landscapes, it is a place where traditional customs and culture get intertwined with mass tourism.
Here is our definitive guide on the places and things you must experience in Bali.
So, let’s get started!
Most Beautiful Temples of Bali
Bali is one of the ideal places in the world to visit Hindu temples. Beautiful carvings of both wood and stone can be admired in the most serene and exotic locations – in the heart of the jungle and even on the side of a cliff overlooking the ocean. Just remember to wear proper attire, and you’re good to go!
Pura Besakih Temple
Named as the “Mother of Temples,” Besakih cannot be missed on your Bali trip. It’s a grand temple complex in East Bali and is located on the southwestern slopes of the active volcano, Mount Agung, 1000 meters above the sea level.
With statues of dragons and many small and big temples known for their distinctive Balinese architecture, exploring the entire site can take a few hours. But do go right till the top, since the views are amazing. You may also hire a tour guide to understand more about the history and cultural meaning of this place.
Tanah Lot Temple
Standing on top of an outcrop amidst constantly crashing waves, this temple is a mere 45–minute drive from Kuta, the beach and resort area in Bali known for surfing and party-centric atmosphere.
The sunsets here are breathtaking, and so is the scenic beauty. Tanah Lot also happens to be the most featured temple on Bali’s postcards. This ancient Hindu shrine is among Bali’s not–to–be–missed highlights, so it should definitely be on your list.
Perched on a clifftop, 70 meters above the sea, the Uluwatu Temple is renowned for its seascapes and traditional dance shows. The shows take place during sundown, allowing you to experience sunset while enjoying the dance.
The Uluwatu Temple, like other Balinese temples, is excellent for witnessing the architecture and sculptures of a rich bygone era. Come here to marvel at one of Bali’s oldest religious buildings and take in the scenic and sunset moments.
Gunung Kawi Temple
Meticulously carved into the face of a cliff, the Gunung Kawi Temple was built in the 11th century AD as a massive tombstone for the royal family.
It is an incredible temple complex featuring old Hindu shrines, but there’s something very unique about being here. It takes you back in time, away from modernity. You genuinely feel like you’re experiencing some of Bali’s history.
The entire compound is also surrounded by lush paddy terraces and a gorgeous green valley. It’s worth exploring!
Believed to predate most of the Hindu temples on the island, the Lempuyang Temple is one of Bali’s oldest and most sacred temples.
The main temple stands at 1,175 meters above sea level, on the peak of Mount Lempuyang in East Bali. If you wish to reach it, it’s a steep climb of over 1,700 steps. But at the top, you’ll be rewarded with a sweeping and unobstructed panoramic view of East Bali’s lush topography.
Beaches Bali Travelers Love The Most
Bali is home to some of the world-famous beaches that are great for sunbathing, snorkeling, surfing, and other water sports. Here are some of the most popular beaches in Bali:
Regarded as Bali’s most famous beach resort destination, the eight kilometers long shoreline of the Kuta Beach attracts both domestic and international visitors.
While at the beach, you can choose a spot to sunbathe, do some surfing or take in the beautiful sunset. You can also go to a spa and get some massage. Overall, Kuta Beach is the place for a pleasant and affordable Bali escape.
Located north of the Kuta Beach, the Legian Beach is at a walking distance along the same strip. The activities are more or less similar to the ones in Kuta, but the prime attraction of this beach is its extravagant nightlife.
This sandy shore is Bali’s most stylish and high–end beach resort area.
To enjoy exotic scenery and a more secluded ambiance compared to the Kuta and Legian beaches to its south, you can walk to the Petitenget Beach and Double Six Beach, both of which are subsections of Seminyak.
The sand here is darker and somewhat greyer. Also, the beach is not ideal for swimming, since the waves can be a little rough with strong undercurrents.
Situated on Bali’s southwestern coast, Jimbaran beach and the famous Jimbaran Bay offer small secluded areas. It also has popular seafood restaurants where you can enjoy memorable sunset dinners.
The soft sand offers a pleasant beach walk experience with picture-postcard memories. All in all, the tranquility and peace you find here is the perfect medicine for all your stress.
Sanur, in East Bali, is known for its quiet, rustic vibes, the calm waves and the coastline that has a mix of grainy to coarse coral sand.
This beach is an ideal place to enjoy swimming. Along with that, you can also do some snorkeling and scuba diving to explore the exotic waters teeming with colorful tropical fish against soft and hard coral reefs.
Dotting the coastline, you can find an assortment of simple shops, restaurants and modern, innovative entertainment venues, thus giving you the best of both worlds, classic and contemporary.
Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan
A 45–minute boat ride southeast from the Sanur Beach brings you to one of the three Nusa Islands, Nusa Lembongan. From here, you can go on a day trip to Nusa Ceningan which is accessible by bridge.
Both these islands have some incredible beaches with crystal clear waters, like Mushroom Bay and Dream Beach in Nusa Lembongan and Song Tepo and Bias Munjul beaches in Nusa Ceningan, to name a few.
The shores are ideal for swimming, surfing, scuba diving, snorkeling, and even cliff jumping. In fact, Nusa Lembongan is considered the best surf destination amongst all the Nusa Islands.
The third among the three Nusa islands is Nusa Penida, which is also the largest. We’ll talk about it a little later in the article. But before that, let’s explore a few more beaches.
Apart from the magnificent clifftop temple, the hilly and exotic limestone region of Uluwatu is home to the gorgeous cliff–fringed coastline. It also has some of Bali’s hidden beaches. Hence it is a great choice if you want to take a break from the crowds of Kuta, Legian, and Seminyak.
Apart from that, Uluwatu is considered a mecca for wave riders. However, most of the surf is on reef breaks, therefore reserved only for advanced surfers.
Nusa Dua is Bali’s most exclusive resort area. The beaches are quiet, clean, well–kept, and mostly secluded. Worth mentioning is the Geger Beach.
The beautiful beaches and the calm blue waters are also a favorite spot among many for swimming and snorkeling trips to the Nusa Dua reef.
Menjangan Island and Pemuteran Bay
If you want to experience marine life at its best, you must visit these places.
Menjangan Island and Pemuteran, in North Bali, are popular among the tourists for their tranquil seascape and crystal clear waters.
Scuba diving and snorkeling are the most common water activities here due to the thriving coral gardens teeming with fish and tropical marine habitats. The experience is further enhanced by the calm currents and excellent visibility year-round.
What adds to the popularity of these two locations are the pearl farms, mangroves and the site of the Bio–Rock Reef Project off the Pemuteran Bay Beach. This two-hectare coastal site has the largest expanse of shallow coral reefs in Bali. It is also the world’s most successful reef restoration project, with artificial coral gardens built over time, some even with statues of goddesses, creating a remarkable and unconventional underwater realm to explore.
If you’re looking for some diving and snorkeling spots in East Bali, then the white sand beaches of Padangbai will not disappoint!
Blue Lagoon, Jepun, Bias Tugel, Padangbai Bay are some of the favorite sites here.
The major draw for snorkelers are the coves and the fringing reefs teeming with vibrant marine life. But extra caution must be taken in some areas since the currents can be strong.
Bali’s Lesser Explored Beaches & Places
Bali is well known, a little too well known, but for good reasons. But when you get out of the dense and touristy areas, there are some hidden gems waiting to be explored.
Amed and Tulamben
The village outskirts of Amed and Tulamben feature quiet shores, spectacular underwater scenery and enchanting sunrises that are not to be missed. Another highlight is the traditional salt farms.
You can also venture out on diving and snorkeling trips to the nearby reefs. During your trips, you must head to the US cargo USAT Liberty shipwreck in Tulamben and a Japanese shipwreck in Amed. Over the years, both these sites have become thriving habitats of tropical fish and various other forms of marine life.
Tirta Gangga and Taman Ujung Water Palaces
A two–and–a–half hour’s journey to the south of Amed, in East Bali, brings you to the island’s two famous water palaces and gardens, the Tirta Gangga, and Taman Ujung.
Taman Ujung is near the coastline and is surrounded by three large ponds. It features a water complex with elegant bridges and pathways that showcase elements of Balinese and European architectures.
Tirta Gangga, on the other hand, is a hillside retreat having fountains, spring-fed pools, ponds, lush tropical gardens, lawns, and ornate statues.
This low–key beach on the northern coast of Bali is known for its black sand shores, calm waves, dolphin watching tours, and dramatic sunsets and sunrises.
Additionally, the adjacent areas are also famous for vineyards and the Brahmavihara–Arama Buddhist monastery. If you are looking for a spot to unwind, then the Banjar Hot Springs in the nearby forested hills is a must-visit.
Perasi Beach or Pasir Putih is a secluded seashore on the island’s east coast. Its serene setting and calm waves help you to relax. You can also participate in different water sport activities like swimming and snorkeling. If that doesn’t appeal to you, you can simply indulge in sunbathing and enjoy the various food items served at the local restaurants and cafes lining the eastern side of the beach.
Surrounded by coffee plantations and dense bamboo forests, this mountain village in East Bali features neatly laid–out rows of traditional houses built according to old Balinese architectural and spatial rules.
If you’re interested in the culture and traditional lifestyle of the Balinese people, you will appreciate this well–preserved village.
Karma Beach (formerly Nammos Beach)
This private beach is located along the southern coast of Bali. A funicular ride will take you to its clean white sands and blue seas. Talking of seas, its crystal clear waters are ideal for swimming.
With its laid–back ambiance, the Karma Beach provides an ideal setting for those who want to escape the crowds and spend their day sipping cocktails, enjoying Mediterranean cuisine and participating in some fun beach activities.
If you are a lover of quiet and exotic beaches, this hidden gem will appeal to you. Due to its remote location and the tough access, which includes a descent of over 300 concrete steps down a cliff face, the beach remains secluded most of the time.
At the base, there are two large limestone caves that have small rock shrines. There are some bat caves as well that further add to the uniqueness of this beach. You can also spot some grey long-tailed macaques here.
With its clear turquoise waters and coarse white sand, the Green Bowl Beach also allows for great swimming, diving and snorkeling sessions, but only during the low tides. During high tides, this small beach gets mostly flooded.
West Bali National Park
With 19,000 hectares of densely forested hills and barren savannahs, most of Bali’s central–western region falls under the West Bali National Park.
This park is home to over 300 different species of birds and animals, including the Javan rusa deer and the rare and endemic Bali starling. Overall, it is an ideal place to find some scenic treats and experience the island’s nature at its best.
Other Must-See Attractions in Bali
Following are some of the other Bali locations that are too precious to miss.
Measuring over 200 sq. km., Nusa Penida is the biggest and the most exotic of the three Nusa islands. It is famous for its unique Hindu temples and picturesque cliff formations and lagoons.
The Pura Goa Giri Putri cave houses a Balinese Hindu temple that sees a steady flow of pilgrims. The temple is set amidst limestone stalactites and stalagmites. There are many other temples, but another unique temple that you must visit here is the Pura Paluang temple that has shrines resembling automobiles.
Now, coming to the natural beauty of this island, there is the famous coastal cliffscape at Kelingking that looks like the dinosaur, Tyrannosaurus Rex. Then there is the remote Atuh Beach and the vast lagoon at Angel’s Billabong. You should also check out the incredible little cove, Broken Beach, and the awesome snorkel spot at Toyapakeh.
But that’s not all! With its crystal clear water and breathtaking landscapes, there is a lot to witness on this island. So, dedicate one of your off–days from the yoga program and enjoy the magic of Nusa Penida.
Bali art markets provide you a glimpse into the incredible creativity and artistry of the island’s craftsmen.
The most visited market is in Ubud, a town known for traditional crafts and dance. In addition to the Ubud Market, you should also pay a visit to the art markets in Sukawati, Guwang, Kumbasari, and Kuta.
At any of these marketplaces, you’ll find unique items like handmade statues, woven cotton bags, baskets, straw hats, colorful silk scarves, and many other hand–crafted pieces. So get ready to discover a treasure trove of handicrafts and artworks designed by talented local craftsmen, all at bargain prices!
Tegallalang Rice Terraces
The Tegallalang Rice Terraces in Ubud are famous for the beautiful panoramic scenes of rice paddies. They also provide an insight into the local way of life.
The terraces offer the perfect opportunity to click memorable photos. But if you are looking to capture more dramatic pictures, then try out the Tegallalang Rice Terrace Swing.
While the vast expanse of stepped, rice paddies of this place serve as a picturesque landscape, the nearby small village of Pakudui is also worth visiting for the extraordinary woodworks and carvings created by the villagers who are avid Balinese craftsmen.
Ubud Monkey Forest
Locally known as the Sacred Monkey Forest of Padangtegal, this natural forest sanctuary is home to grey long-tailed macaques and is one of Ubud’s most popular tourist attractions.
Beautiful ancient temples and statues feature throughout the forest. Since most are under dense foliage with little sunlight, it gives the place its unique mysterious and ancient feel. Guides here are a great source of information about the site and its temples.
Besides being a spot of spiritual and cultural significance, the Ubud Monkey Forest is also known for its conservation efforts. It is a place where scientific research and studies are regularly carried out for observing the health, feeding, and breeding habits of the monkeys.
Walking along the paved pathways of this reserve, you can watch the playful monkeys swinging through canopies, feeding on bananas and lazing in their natural habitat. Overall, this is a fantastic place to visit. So, do take some time out and visit our distant relatives!
Mount Batur Volcano Sunrise Trek
Mount Batur is an active volcano, yet the sunrise trek to its summit happens to be the most popular hike in Bali.
Since this is a challenging trek, it is advisable to hire an official guide before setting out.
Besides climbing a mountain in the cool, early morning darkness and experiencing the remarkable beauty of an active volcano, the bonus of this hike is the glorious sunrise and the stunning morning views of the surrounding crater and lake.
However, if you’re not an early morning person, you can still enjoy the sweeping views over the magnificent volcano, since multiple trek options are available throughout the day.
Bali Safari & Marine Park
Covering over 40 hectares of land, the Bali Safari & Marine Park is the island’s largest and most visited animal theme parks.
It is home to over 80 species of animals from three regions – India, Africa, and Indonesia. Some of the animals which you can spot here are zebras, African hippos, camels, giraffes, ostriches, baboons, lions, Indian white tiger, spotted deers, nilgai, black bucks and Himalayan bears.
The air-conditioned safari trams allow you to see the wildlife living freely in their human-made habitats. You can also click as many photos as you want. Apart from the safari tours, you can play with baby orangutans, view baby sharks, and watch free live animal shows.
A trip to the Bali Safari and Marine Park usually takes up a full day, but it is a fun day out.
Bali experiences a tropical, warm, and humid climate throughout the year. However, in the interiors, the weather is more cloudy and rainy. Also, the northern coast is wetter than the southern one.
The island has two distinctive seasons: Dry and Rainy.
April to October is considered as the dry season, with the rainy season being from November to March.
During the dry months, there is plenty of sunshine with occasional showers. The average maximum and minimum temperatures are 30oC/86oF and 22oC/72oF, respectively.
In the wet season, it rains typically for a couple of hours in the morning, followed by a couple of hours in the afternoon.
Altogether, Bali approximately receives 1,700 mm of rainfall throughout the year, with the maximum being around 320 mm during the wet period and the minimum being below 100 mm in the dry season.
The surrounding water temperature ranges from 27°C/81°F between July and September, to 29°C/84 °F between November and May. Hence, the sea here is warm enough to swim in all year round.
All in all, the best time to visit Bali is from April to June and September. October is not too bad, either.
With sunny weather, clear blue skies and the lowest humidity levels, these months are ideal for outdoor and landscape photography in Bali. Additionally, since these months are just before and after the peak season, you can enjoy the water sport activities and explore the island to your fullest potential.
Being one of the major tourist locations in Southeast Asia, Bali is well connected to the rest of the world by air, sea, and road.
Flights are the ideal way to reach here. The only airport on the island, Denpasar International Airport, is located in the capital city (Denpasar). Many international airlines serve the airport such as Qatar, Emirates, Dragonair, Korean Air, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, to name a few. Hence, the island is linked to most of the continents. Also, there are domestic flights within Indonesia that will take you to Bali.
Now, coming to the road and sea routes, both of these are not highly recommended. To travel to the island by bus or train, you will have to switch to a ferry from one of the closer cities, and the entire journey of 15 – 24 hours can be pretty tiresome.
You can also board a cruise ship to travel to Bali. For that, you’ll first have to take a flight to Singapore, Java or Sumatra, and then from there, book your ship. But like roadways, this is not the most practical option either.
Be it the picturesque landscapes or the rich culture and history, Bali is spellbinding and surreal when it comes to satisfying your desires for a perfect yoga teacher training experience.
It provides an ideal peaceful setting for learning and practicing yoga. With its luxurious spas, lush green fields, clear seas, and warm, friendly people, the natural beauty of this tropical paradise will captivate you both physically and spiritually.
So sign up for yoga teacher training in Bali today and start packing your bags! And oh, do take your camera if you don’t want to miss capturing the heavenly sights!