Top 10 Bali: Mind-Blowing Destinations in Indonesia

standing between duffelbagspouse Bali Temple Gates-01

Top 10 Bali Destinations

No two Top 10 Bali’s and Indonesia’s lists will or should be the same. There is no shortage of things to do on the island of Bali, with or without kids. We didn’t plan to do much. I wanted to hang out around the pool, do a little yoga, and eat some delicious healthy food. But Bali’s energy took hold, and we found ourselves looking to immerse ourselves in the culture. If you had told me I would go to Bali, I wouldn’t have believed you. There are so many things to see and do that it should be on your list of places to visit while stationed in Asia.

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standing-between-military-spouse-Bali-Temple-Gates-01-519x311 Top 10 Bali: Mind-Blowing Destinations in Indonesia
Pura-Dalani-Temple-Bali-Indonesia-1024x498 Top 10 Bali: Mind-Blowing Destinations in Indonesia

Top 10: Bali, Indonesia

A Shortlist of fun activities on the island

You can snorkel, ride a horse, elephant, or scooter. You can get a daily massage, shop, hike, or drink until you drop. Or you can walk on the ocean floor or skip the waves on a surfboard, paddle board, or speedboat. Or you could do absolutely nothing at all by the pool, the bar, or the beach.


hire-a-car Top 10 Bali: Mind-Blowing Destinations in Indonesia

1. In Bali, hire a car for the day

One of the most cost-effective and efficient purchases we made on our recent trip to Bali was to hire a driver. I originally purchased the service via Viator for $79.00 per day. I had planned to just chill the rest of the time, but having access to a car and driver changed all that. We had access to his services for up to 12 hours. The fee also included WI-FI, unlimited gas, and bottled water.

We had the same driver for two days through a company. We paid him directly on the third day—the best day. He arrived with a cooler full of beer and promised to show us HIS island. He took us to a few places off the beaten path. It’s a top 10 Bali, Indonesia, excursion.

Ubud-Rice-Fields Top 10 Bali: Mind-Blowing Destinations in Indonesia
Ubud-Beji-Resort Top 10 Bali: Mind-Blowing Destinations in Indonesia
The Beji Ubud Resort is an enchanting and charming boutique hotel, set in the heart of picturesque Ubud at the junction of two rivers and in the spiritual and cultural heartland of Bali.

2. Spend a Few Days in Ubud

Ubud is the spiritual center of Bali. Ubud’s name means medicine in Balinese and refers to the healing power of Ubud’s sacred grounds. Beji simply means Springwater,” located on the valley slope opposite the hotel. Most people only visit Ubud for a few hours, but I feel that’s a HUGE mistake. It takes a day or two to understand and benefit from the energy that that place has. It isn’t called Bali’s spiritual center for nothing. There are tons of delicious restaurants, temples, yoga, and spirituality centers, as well as dense jungles and rice terraces.

mount-batur Top 10 Bali: Mind-Blowing Destinations in Indonesia

3. Hike Bali’s Kintamani Volcano

4. Lake Batur


Talk about the Top 10 in Bali, Indonesia. Kintamani Volcano strikes an imposing figure against the drifts of white clouds that hover above it. There are many hiking trails around the volcano and Mount Batur, as well as amazing waterfalls and remote villages to explore.

kopi-luwac Top 10 Bali: Mind-Blowing Destinations in Indonesia

5. Cat Poop Coffee in Bali

A plantation tour wasn’t originally on my top 10 Bali list. But our driver suggested it would be the best way to try the famous coffee and a ton of other coffees and teas for free. We walked through a small plantation where they grew mangos, durian fruit, coffee, and many other spices and fruits used to make coffee. We learned about coffee production and met the animal famous for putting Kopi Luwak on the map. In the end, we tasted all the teas and coffees above and a few new ones, and we were given the opportunity to purchase them.

Kopi Luwak is made with the coffee beans that are ingested by the palm civet and defecated. The beans are gathered up, processed, thoroughly cleaned, and roasted. Something chemical happens that makes the beans one of the most highly prized coffees in the world.

You may also be interested in the 20 Things I Learned in Bali, Indonesia.

monkey-sanctuary Top 10 Bali: Mind-Blowing Destinations in Indonesia

6. Hang Out in the Sacred Monkey Forest

Neither of us is ever interested in having the local wildlife on our backs, but we have no problem watching other people risk life and limb. But you can’t visit Bali for the first time without seeing the monkeys in the Sacred Monkey Forest. (click for video.) They are pretty tame (compared to the ones at Uluwatu). They will snatch up your bananas or your bag if they smell bananas. Otherwise, they aren’t really interested in the humans who walk around trying to take pictures of them. I had more than a few turns away from my camera, letting me know who was in charge.

duffelbagspouse-travels-Tanah-Lot-1 Top 10 Bali: Mind-Blowing Destinations in Indonesia

7. Take in Tanah Lot Temple at Sunset

This temple was high on my list because of its dramatic location on the sea. We waited in a very long line, thinking we were waiting to visit the temple. The line, however, was to get yet another blessing with rice on your forehead and a chance to climb a few steps that were blocked off. The top 10 views of the Bali temple are from either side (or by sea, if you’re lucky). Skip the line unless you are interested in being blessed and cleansed. Wear sturdy shoes and arrive shortly before sunset for the best experience. The temples at Uluwatu and Besakih are also beautiful.

Chows Top 10 Bali: Mind-Blowing Destinations in Indonesia

8. Eat at Fat Chow’s

Balinese food is delicious. We ate lots of satays, marinated, skewered, and grilled meats served with spicy sauces. We ate yummy Nasi Goreng, steamed rice stir-fried with scrambled eggs, diced beef, strips of chicken, shrimp, anchovies, lamb, crab, green peas, onions, shallots, and a blend of sweet soy sauce, or kecap manis, and hot chili sauce. But we loved Fat Chows after stumbling on it by accident. Fat Chows was down a side street, opposite a wall of street tags. Ultimately, it became our favorite restaurant while we were in Kuta—we ate there three times.

Bali Fusion Food 

Fat Chows has a delicious assortment of Asian fusion tapas (spiced ramen-wrapped shrimp and meats wrapped in banana leaves, omg) as well as entrees and delicious cocktails. Honestly, if I could only eat one burger for the rest of my life, it would probably be the one I ate at Fat Chows. The bread was toasted perfectly, the toppings were savory and delicious, and the burger was grilled to perfection. I won’t forget it anytime soon.

Take a look at My Favorite Foods and Drinks Across Asia for some more food porn and inspiration for wherever you live now.

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9. Experience Ulun Dani Temple

One of the top 10 Bali activities is visiting the temples. They are gorgeous. And Ulun Dani Temple is no exception. It sits on the edge of Lake Batur and always seems shrouded in mist. For the more adventurous, rent a speedboat tour on the lake for a different perspective.

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10. Trek Through the Bali Rice Terraces

I had initially planned to trek through the Tegallalang Rice Terraces. It rained, and it was extremely muddy to get down to it. Our driver suggested we go to Jatiluwih instead, and I’m glad he did. Any rice terrace in Bali is beautiful, but there were fewer people at Jatiluwih, and we actually even got a chance to watch the backbreaking work in action. It was so beautiful that even a little rain and, you guessed it, a little mud couldn’t spoil the experience.

There are a lot of places we should visit while stationed in Asia. Bali is just one of the places I’d recommend.

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37 thoughts on “Top 10 Bali: Mind-Blowing Destinations in Indonesia

  1. I am a few weeks away from my first trip to Bali. I an staying in Ubud. Its fun to read about your experiences there. ?

  2. Every time I come to your blog I get and intense urge to quit my job lol. I literally had to get up and find something to eat after ready about Fat Chow’s. I’m so adding this to my bucket list and will refer back to your top 10 when I finally make it! 🙂

    1. Glad to know its working. Bali is definitely a must see if you get to this part of the world. We must have eaten at Fat Chow’s three times that week. Would have been more if there weren’t so many other delicious places to eat.

    1. I highly recommend it. Its not as expensive as I thought. You can have a wonderful adventure whether you want to lie on the beach or climb up the side of Mount Kitamani.

    1. Bali’s interior like the mountains and forests are stunning. I really enjoyed the peace and tranquility around these so much more than the beaches.

    1. Bali is amazing and relatively inexpensive to visit, stay and eat. We were very surprised at how far the US dollar went and how accommodating the people are. We hope to go back again one day soon.

  3. I am sure that I will enjoy exploring Bali especially the temples! I hope to visit in the future with my husband in tow! I would most definitely love to experience the local food.

    1. Its nice to see the differences in temples all across Asia. Unlike South Korea, you don’t have to work as hard to get to temples in Bali… for the most part.

  4. I’ve never been to Bali and it would be nice to know how to tour and where to start! Thanks for this lovely guide. I think Bali is a beautiful place to visit.

    1. I would love to go back. Its a beautiful island, especially the interior’s forests and mountains.

    1. The monkeys are amazing. They are so smart, won’t even acknowledge you if they don’t see some food they can steal from you. They’re a hoot.

    1. Both are amazing, especially the temples which are so serene. I’d go back to Bali in heart beat just to stay in one of the lovely villas with my own pool.

  5. I have ALWAYS wanted to go to Bali. I just want to go and immerse myself in their culture.

    1. Bali is stunning. I loved it. You can still get lost in the culture or party like its 1999. On our trip we did a little of both. What really surprised me was how cheap it was to shop, I wish I had brought a bigger suitcase.

  6. Everything looks lovely. The photo of the mountain reminded me of home and of Mayon Volcano. This list could be a guide in case I would draft my own itinerary in case I go to Bali.

    1. I hope so. Everyone’s Bali to do list is different, but I think if you can do these things you can’t help but have a wonderful week there.

  7. I love your point of view, different from mine but so interesting! I also wrote about my trip in Bali, and it was similar to yours. I wish I could see more of your pics!

    1. lol, I’m curious, what was different in our point of view? Thank you for reading and appreciating the post.

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