7 Amazing Bali Experiences: Don’t Miss The Best Cultural Attractions in Bali

We’re sharing the most amazing Bali experiences to put on your itinerary when you visit this beautiful island in southeast Asia. You’ll discover 7 of the best cultural attractions you won’t want to miss! Keep reading to find out what each offers and why they’re so unforgettable. 

CONTENTS – In this article, you will learn about 7 amazing bali experiences you won’t want to miss, including:

Where is Bali Located?

Bali is a small island (2,232 mi2 / 5,780 km2) in Southeast Asia located in the country of Indonesia. It’s one of the 9 major Lesser Sunda Islands islands, which also include Alor, Flores, Lombok, Sumba, Sumbawa, Timor, and other small islands ). 

Source: Google Maps

You’ll find Indonesia itself north of Australia, alongside the Philippines, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea.

Bali is divided into eight regencies: 

  • Badung
  • Bangli
  • Buleleng
  • Gianyar
  • Karangasem
  • Klungkung
  • Jembrana
  • Tabanan

The capital city is Denpasar. Much of the tourism is in the lower half of the island and especially, the southern panhandle.

This popular tourist destination is known for its gorgeous white sand beaches, incredible temples, and thriving nightlife. 

It’s also rich with cultural attractions. Continue reading to find out which ones to add to your Bali travel itinerary.

Best Cultural Experiences in Bali

The Indonesian archipelago holds a rich history dating back to 2000 BC. You can witness the Influence of Hinduism and Buddhism through Bali’s culture and ancient sites.

The beautiful island of Bali is known as the “Land of the Gods.” Here, you’ll find a myriad of cultural places and events worth visiting. Among these cultural experiences are:

  • Regional dance forms
  • Historical temples
  • Artforms
  • Exceptional landscapes

Bali holds a charismatic aura that will make your trip divine and peaceful. Visiting these cultural places will also help you to get acquainted with the history and traditions of the region. 

To make your planning effortless make sure to check the Bali tour packages

Here is the list of some of the best cultural experiences in Bali.

1. The Holy Bath at Tirta Empul

The sacred Tirta Empul Temple was ingrained in 926 A.D and has been actively used from then till today. 

You’ll find the temple situated in the village of Manukaya, close to the town of Tampaksiring. This holy place is dedicated to Vishnu, the Hindu God of water. 

The water of the Temple is believed to hold the power to heal and have cleaning properties which are thought to discard impurities from the body and soul of anyone who bathes there.

 As one of the magical and crowded water temples in Indonesia, it is a popular cultural attraction in Bali. The Balinese HIndu community proclaims its divine properties.

Within the temple are holy springs believed to be built by the God Indra. The Tirta Empul Temple embraces the shrines of:

  • Brahma (creator): The first god of the Hindu triumvirate (trimurti). Brahma is said to have been born from a golden egg. He created the earth and everything on it by splitting a flower into heaven, earth, and sky. Then, he created man and woman by splitting himself in two.
  • Vishnu (preserver): Another of the gods in the triumvirate, Vishnu is the preserver and protector of the universe, who will restore the balance of good and evil when he returns in troubled times
  • Shiva (destroyer): the third of the three gods in the triumvirate, who is said to have untamed passions ranging from abstinence from worldly pleasures to hedonism. His wife, Parvati, brings him balance. 
  • Indra: the king of heaven (Svarga) and the gods (Devas). Indra is associated with rain, thunder, lightning, storms, flowing rivers, and war.

As such, the Tirta Empul is one of the must-visit cultural places you should visit in Bali. 

2. Visiting Ubud Art Market

Art is a great aspect to know about the region’s culture and inhabitants. The souvenirs sold in the local shops help you get acquainted with the residents and share thoughts. 

The Ubud Art Market is known locally as Puri Saren Royal Ubud Palace. It is a stunning bazaar where you can purchase:

  • High-quality silk scarves
  • Airy shirts
  • Kites
  • Hand-knit bags
  • Handcrafted sculptures
  • Knitted baskets from coconut leaves
  • Hats
  • Other beautiful handmade goods

You will get all the items at amazingly affordable prices.

If you love artisan markets, you might also pay a visit to some of the neighboring villages of Pengosekan, Tegallalang, and Peliatan. All of the goods are made by the locals. 

3. Wayang Kuli- A Balinese Puppet Tradition

Wayang Kulit is a popular shadow puppet show in  Indonesia. It is deeply rooted in the Balinese culture.

The brightly colored puppet shows illustrate the moral stories of Gods to guide people about good and evil. This makes the show all the more captivating. 

You can witness plots knitted around the episodes of Hindu epics, like Ramayana and Mahabharata. The Puppeteer is popularly known as Thalang, and he executes the story with excellence!

Even if you’re not one for puppeteering, The Wayang Kulit is an art form deeply associated with Balinese history and culture. Therefore, you won’t want to miss this cultural experience in Bali.

4. Exploring Ubud Palace

The Ubud Palace is a historical building located in Ubud, Gianyar Regency of Bali. The Palace is a cultural core and was the real residence of the Royal family of Ubud. It is considered to have been built during the kingship of Tjokorda Putu Kandel. 

The inner section of the palace stays open for public visits and boasts amazing spots for sightseeing and capturing photos.  

Ubud Palace is a cultural treasury of arts, literature, and dance. It holds international events like opening ceremonies of the annual Ubud Writers and Readers Festival.

The palace is one of the top tourist hotspots in Bali with good reason. In showcases well-preserved historic Balinese architecture and a verdant garden encircling the complex. 

This is one of our favorite cultural experiences in Bali, so don’t miss it!

5. Tanah Lot Temple 

Tanah Lot is located in Tabana.  It is a famous rock formation with an extraordinary coastal setting and stunning sunset landscape. 

The Temple is an integral part of Balinese mythology and notably influenced by Hinduism over generations. It is one of seven sea temples located on the Balinese coast that are worth visiting to get familiar with the cultural history of the region.

The ancient Hindu pilgrimage temple is a popular tourist destination and cultural site for incredible photography opportunities. It is one of the top cultural places to visit in Bali. Be sure to have your camera with you when you go.

6. Balinese Massage

Traditional Balinese massage is believed to be deeply swayed by Indian Ayurveda and improvised by Indonesian beauty rituals. The Indian influence came with the arrival of Hinduism in the region brought by the Hindu rulers in the region. 

The Balinese massage is amazingly soothing. 

It all starts with applying essential oils to the body, followed by relaxing hand strokes, stretches, and acupressure. There are different varieties of massages and each possesses different therapeutic properties. 

At the end of the massage, you can choose to have a flower bath to make your overall experience heavenly.  

This must be on your bucket list. You will never forget this therapeutic massage experience when visiting Bali. 

7. Kecak Fire Dance

Balinese culture contains many dance forms like Barong dance, Legong dance, and most interesting of all Kecak fire dance. All these dance forms feature the Gamelan orchestra which is known as the foundation of Balinese dances. 

The ancient Hindu epic, Ramayana’s episodes are performed by a group of trained dancers. 

The Kecak Fire Dance show begins at sunset. The performers wear artistically exaggerated costumes. At the end of each performance, the fire is lit during the echoing mantras.

It is a unique form of dance where the art form meets with the history and beliefs of the people in the region. 

Final Thoughts on Bali Experiences & Culture 

Make your trip to Bali exciting and unforgettable, whether it is your family tour, honeymoon, or even bestiemoon. Bali will serve you amazing holy Balinese sites, temples, cultural markets, dances, soothing massages, and everything you can think of. 

You might consider looking to a worldwide tour company for help planning your trip to Bali. That way, you can browse Bali’s travel guide, pre-planned tour packages, and custom-make your trip. 

While you’re in Indonesia, you could also consider nearby destinations and activities, like sailing in Komodo or diving in Banda Neira Island. If your traveling to Bali, make the most of your trip!


Photo credits: Holy Bath – Deborah Bates; Art Market – Riki Risnandar, Puppets – Ratna Fitry, Tanah Lot Temple –  DEZALB, Steffen Zimmermann (Pixabay); Ubud Palace – Niklas Weiss, Massage – Toa Heftiba (Unsplash)

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Jackie Gately

Jackie Gately is a seasoned travel writer, photographer, and marketing consultant who is passionate about travel. She loves casual-luxury experiences, coastal getaways, cultural attractions, and local, wholesome food and wine pairings. A perfect day ends with her toes in the sand or by chasing the sunset with her camera--ideally both.

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