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What to see and do in Bali – a guide to notable attractions and landmarks

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An exotic province brimming with island attractions, there is no shortage of things to see and do in Bali.  Whether you choose to trek through the Balinese rice terraces, climb the rocky façade of Mount Batur, surf the waves of Kuta or scuba-dive the coastal reefs, you won’t be short of activities to keep you busy.

Desmond Slade

My Destination local expert on


Kecak dance


Flailing-limbs, melodic chanting and ceremonial fire burning; witnessing the Kecak dance – also known as the Ramayana Monkey Chant – is an absolute must in Bali. Developed in the 1930s, this sacred dance is deeply ingrained within the local culture. To witness the Kecak, head south to Uluwatu Temple for 6pm. Performed nightly as the sun draws behind the craggy peninsula, this rigorous sunset chanting is something to remember.


The Sacred Monkey Forest


Outlined by leafy vegetation and ancient wooden temples; the Sacred Monkey Forest is one of Ubud’s – not to mention Bali’s - top attractions.  Home to hundreds of long-tailed macaques, this resident species has found a firm home within the tranquil setting of the nature reserve. Take a stroll through the forest and witness the playful monkeys interacting with you and one another. A word of warning, however, watch out for dangling jewelry, sunglasses or any loose items in backpacks; these monkeys are extremely curious.


Mount Batur


Bubbling with latent activity just beneath the surface, Mount Batur is a towering vision amongst Bali’s mountainous skyline. With daily sunrise trips to the summit, you will be able to soak up sweeping vistas of Lake Batur below, enjoy an invigorating climb to the top and be rewarded with a cooked egg breakfast, steamed directly from the volcanic core of Mount Batur itself.


Taro Village


Without a doubt, jungle trekking is one of the best ways to explore the varied terrain of Bali. However, what better way to do this than on the back of a Sumatran elephant? Brought over from Western Indonesia and dotted around various safari parks and elephant camps on the island, elephants have become a star attraction in Bali. For an authentic experience, visit Taro Village where you will find yourself being led through lush forest trails, botanical gardens and freshly-sculpted lakes.


Menjangan Island


A tiny drop in the Bali Sea, this secluded island is perfect for swimming, snorkeling and scuba-diving, with countless rainbow-colored fish and tropical reefs to explore. Daily tips to the island are offered; however, a combined stay on nearby Pemuteran makes for much more enjoyable trip.


Rip Curl School of Surf


Renowned as a surfer’s destination, no trip to Bali would be complete without an attempt at surfing. Famed for its breaking waves, not to mention its relaxed beach-bar atmosphere, Kuta is the perfect place to learn.  Rip Curl School of Surf offers courses to suit all needs, with levels of expertise from a ‘beach surfer’ beginner to a ‘power surfer’ pro.


Taman Nusa Cultural Center


Situated on 15 hectares of tropical landscape, the Taman Nusa Cultural Center allows a walk through the Indonesian ages. Prehistoric and Bronze Age eras dominate, with reconstructed buildings, temples and compounds offering a glimpse into the country’s varied past. A serene epicenter of local culture, Taman Nusa remains a uniquely hidden gem in Bali.


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