Bali, Indonesia is one of the most culturally rich places we ever visited! It’s one of the best places to experience religion, language, food, and activities all in the same space!
Looking to experience cultural things to do in Bali? Here are our favorite things to do:
6 Incredible Cultural Attractions in Bali, Indonesia
1. Take a local boat ride from Sanur Beach
Our host, Polyn, owns a local boat docked on Sanur Beach.
She let us take it out for the day and we took it around the south part of the island. Surprisingly, we were able to pack ELEVEN of us plus one cooler filled with Bintang beers.
Along the way we saw windsurfers, parasailers, and practically every other water sport you can think up. The coolest – and totally most dangerous – was this toy and our friends said it was banned in the States. I believe them.
I wish I had more pictures to share of this boat ride, but we were too busy enjoying ourselves!
*Unless you can score a boat from a Bali local, I’ve posted a link here to a similar boat cruise you can do!
2. Visit Hindu Temples with your Friends
You won’t find a shortage of temples on the island because 83% of Bali’s population are Hindus.
We were lucky enough to visit when the Balinese were celebrating the new year (Galungan/Kuningan) so there were people of all ages flooding into the temples with colorful offerings and incense.
Because of this special event, tourists like us needed to wear something to cover our legs, as well as stay in the back as to not distract the worshippers.
We visited two notable temples: Tirtagangga Water Palace and Pura Goa Lawah (at the base of a bat cave!). We even visited a beach on East Bali and were surprised to discover people worshipping on the beach!
Pura Goa Lawah (Bat Cave Temple)
Tirtagangga Water Palace
3. Dive into the icy waters of Git Git Waterfall
Git Git Waterfall is located in North Bali. This waterfall in Bali did not disappoint!
We took a 15-minute trail past little tourist shops (where I totally bought a painting for too much) and arrived at this incredible view. BAM. We spent the evening under the waterfall and jumping into the pools nearby.
All except for me (Emily) of course, because my body decided it wanted a fever earlier that morning. All in all, it was a very cheap way to have a great day.
4. Eat (a lot) of food at Pasar Malam/The Grove
If we weren’t out exploring the island, you would find us sitting around eating food.
During our time, we visited two spots in particular that need some recognition. The first is a night market called “Pasar Malam”, which not surprisingly translates to “Night Market” in Indonesian.
It’s located on the southeast side of the island, in the Sanur neighborhood. Here, we tried all sorts of new foods like deep-fried jackfruit/bananas/*everything*, fresh mango smoothies, and classic bakso.
Everything is incredibly cheap, but be prepared to pay tourist prices.
Our other favorite place is an outdoor food court called Sanur Beach Grove. Here, there are tables and benches set up inside a grass-covered lawn, and little food shops line the perimeter of the grove.
We were told that these little stands were actually extensions of larger restaurants around Bali. This is awesome because we get to try different kinds of food without running around the whole island!
We all favorited a dish called sate babi (barbecued pork) and drank lots of Bintang. This was a great place to end our day, listen to the crashing waves, and look at the twinkling lights as the sun went down.
5. Play in the crashing waves at the best Bali Beaches
Our Superhost, Polyn, took us to a place on the east side of Bali called Virgin Beach. We spent the entire afternoon playing in the waves, walking up and down the beach, and ordering food from our beach chairs.
This place was meant for lazy beachgoers like us – unlike the pristine beaches, we had all to ourselves in West Timor. But no complaints here! We spent our afternoon napping, eating food, and playing in the waves.
Looking back on our trip, this was probably my favorite day because we got to experience a simple Bali paradise. Don’t forget your beach umbrellas!
Another incredible beach area to check out is the amazing Uluwatu beaches, located in the southern part of the island. Padang Padang beach was a gorgeous place to watch the sunset, and the climb down to the beach was an adventure in itself!
6. Watch your final sunset at the iconic Tanah Lot
After a full week of activities, we still felt like we didn’t see enough of Bali!
Therefore, on our way to the airport to return to Jakarta, we wanted to stop at one final place.
Tanah Lot is an iconic view of Hindu temples on the west side of Bali.
During sunset, the place is packed like sardines with people just waiting for the sun to touch the horizon. Honestly, we get it!
This is one of the most romantic things to do in Bali for couples. Watching the sunset over the crashing waves of the seaside temple is a once in a lifetime experience!
Berty took some time to take portraits and get a great final shot of our favorite Bali family. We couldn’t think of a better way to end our trip!
Want more of Indonesia? Check out other blog posts here!
Thank you again Polyn for playing Superhost and showing us the best! When you come to Seattle, we will all return the favor and treat you to the best that the Pacific Northwest has to offer!
What adventure will you take next? With who? Berty and I are planning our Fall for adventures around the PNW so let us know where you think we should go!
Thanks for reading everyone!
Photos: Berty Mandagie
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