There’s no place on earth like Bali, where tourists from all over the world come for an unforgettable island experience. On top of a seemingly endless list of treats is the incredible variety of Balinese massage spas, food and nature reserves Bali has to offer.
Of course, these past two years have gotten us dreaming about the many things we can do in Bali – for its international prestige, the island is wonderfully close to Singapore, making it an easy holiday option for Singaporeans.
Now that the time is ripe to travel overseas, we marked out some of the must-see sights and must-do activities when you make your long-awaited trip to Bali, whether it's exploring the spiritual temples of Ubud, embracing natural waterfalls or catching the perfect Bali sunset. Let’s go!
1. Spot the famous Balinese monkeys at the Ubud Monkey Forest
While Ubud Monkey Forest is home to the Balinese long-tailed monkey, it’s also known as an important spiritual and conservation site in the rustic village of Padangtegal. In total, there are about 1000 monkeys living in the reserve!
The sanctuary carries a mission to conserve the area based on the Hindu concept of Tri Hita Karana, which refers to three ways to reach spiritual and physical well-being. The doctrine of Tri Hita Karana – which embraces harmonious relationships between humanity, nature and spirituality – permeates the reserve, and you can feel it once you enter its grounds.
The monkey population is divided into seven groups based on location: the main temple entrance group, Michelin group, eastern group, central group, cemeteries group, new forest group and south group. The sanctuary remains an enduring tourist attraction, but it is also a spot for researchers who specialise in animal life and nature, making it an important wildlife destination that’s unique to Bali.
While the Ubud monkeys are harmless, visitors are encouraged not to engage in physical contact or attempt to feed them. Just hang around and watch them in their natural habitat!
Aside from the monkeys, there are three temples to check out. You’re free to visit, explore or simply meditate in their surroundings.
The main temple, Pure Dalem Agung, is a place of worship for the Hindu god Shiva.
The Beji Temple is the worship site for the goddess Gangga, with worshippers using the temple for purification before conducting a religious ceremony. Its third temple, the Prajapati Temple, is adjacent to the cemetery.
Address: Jl. Monkey Forest, Ubud, Kecamatan Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
Operating hours: Daily, 9am-5pm
2. Hike on the breathtaking Mount Agung
Early morning hikes obviously require you to wake up early – which, on a holiday, understandably isn’t easy at all. But on all accounts, it is absolutely worth it to catch a gorgeous Bali sunrise.
The Mount Agung trek is definitely a tough climb. Tougher than, say, Mount Batur, and it’ll be important to take note of the weather before you start your hike! This is a trek meant for those seeking a challenge at a less popular spot – there’s a reason why hiking enthusiasts make a trip to Bali just for this natural wonder.
Bali's dry season is the best time to climb, which usually falls between April to September. Basically, if it rains, it’s best to be cautious.
Be sure to bring some supplies, as the trail will take about a total of 4-5 hours through the dense jungles of Besakih. Basics like sunscreen, insect repellant, a bottle of water, and a good pair of shoes are essential. It can also get real windy at the top during the sunrise so wear a light jacket!
We highly recommend hiring a guide to make the journey easier without getting lost.
Don’t be afraid to stop when it starts to feel daunting. Hiking is meant to be fun after all! The challenge is a reward in itself, but the trek will require some physical endurance to withstand the steep climb.
Travelling to Mount Agung is not difficult if you can book a cab or drive your own car – for the latter, it’s best to park at Pasar Agung Temple, the recommended starting point for the hike. Check with your hotel to see if they have a package that includes transportation to and fro.
Address: Jl. Gunung Agung Besakih, Besakih 80863, Indonesia
Operating hours: No fixed hours, but do check with your hotel on the recommended times to visit.
3. Pamper yourself at Seminyak’s Bodyworks with a Balinese massage
Bali is popular for its seemingly endless options of massage spas. Bodyworks has led the wave for over twenty years, making them a go-to destination for relaxation. They’re still running strong today, having moved to a brand new location on Jalan Leak Sari in Seminyak.
The spa offers incredibly affordable prices on its menu of services, which feature treatments you can only get in Bali.
Their customer service is second-to-none – their team of spa therapists are trained in using traditional methods to help facilitate body healing through a variety of massage types.
For a regular Balinese full body massage (S$31 for 50 minutes, S$41 for 80 minutes), they use essential oils taken from jasmine flowers and incorporate techniques to induce relaxation, targeting tense muscles and knotty aches.
However, dig deep into their selection of treatments and you’ll find some incredible gems! Their exfoliation massage – locally known as Mandi Lulur (S$56) – is a luxurious experience that combines massage and exfoliation practices. The treatment begins with a 75-minute Balinese massage before the therapist coats your entire body in a thick brown paste made of turmeric, sandalwood, cinnamon and rice powder. The paste is then rubbed for ultimate exfoliation. After that, fresh yoghurt is applied to balance your skin’s pH balance.
Looking for other massage treatments? Try the traditional Japanese finger pressure massage (Shiatsu Massage, S$47), hot stone massage (S$52), or an anti-cellulite body scrub infused with green tea, ginkgo biloba, aloe vera and bamboo (S$47). That’s not all they offer: on the menu, you can find separate services for nail care, facials, waxing and hair treatments. As always, be sure to reserve a slot here before your trip!
Address: Jl. Lb. Sari Jl. Petitenget No.3, Seminyak, Kec. Kuta Utara, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361
Operating hours: Daily, 9am-9pm
4. Dive into the vast open waters of Trawangan
Diving may sound like a frightening experience for first-timers. No need to worry, Bali is fully equipped for divers of all stripes. Whether you're going for a fun family outing or checking off a list of must-do experiences, Bali is the perfect place to awaken your sea legs.
The trio of Gili Islands is often a hotspot for divers, but Trawangan is the perfect diver’s destination of the three due to its vast amenities and helpful diving centres. Rest assured that you can opt for courses (starting from S$90+) at the Trawangan Dive Centre if you’d like to learn the basics before taking the plunge.
The sights you’ll be able to see underwater can range from turtles to reef sharks, eagle rays and a stunning variety of marine fish – an experience you can’t get in Singapore. The Professional Association of Diving Instructors also has a landing page with available slots for solo divers, snorkelling activities, beginner courses, and more.
It’s advised that the best time to go diving is sometime between September to November when the island’s not too packed with tourists. If you want to take some time for sunbathing, or to catch the famous Bali sunset, the aptly-named Sunset Beach will be the perfect spot to unwind after a few hours of diving.
Address: Jl Raya Pantai Trawangan Lombok, Nusa Tenggara Bar. 83352
Operating hours: Daily, 7am-11pm
5. Frolick under the Banyumala Twin Waterfall
The Banyumala Twin Waterfall is a hidden gem in Bali — a natural crown jewel located in the north area of the island, a town known to locals as Munduk.
As you can imagine, it’s not a simple trip to make it to the twin waterfalls. It’s most advisable to have a driver who can take you there, or rent a scooter and venture out into the wilderness yourselves. Just don’t get lost!
When you arrive on location, you’ll be greeted by its wooden signage and a ticket booth (it’s IDR 30,000 per person for entry). This will lead you down a path that requires some alertness when walking down – its stairs are made entirely of bamboo.
It’s a 20-minute walk, but you can bet it’s worth it. Its twin waterfalls are truly a sight to behold, with a huge swimming hole at the bottom for some daytime frolicking. While you’re in Munduk, you can also visit the Ulun Danu Bratan, a unique picturesque temple surrounded by water that will take your breath away.
And of course, there must be a feast in your itinerary. Warung Classic is a family-run restaurant with an extensive menu that will cater to both meat-eaters and vegetarians – have you ever tried a vegetarian Nasi Campur? At IDR 35,000, it’s a no-brainer.
Banyumala Twin Waterfall
Q4M2+4MF, Wanagiri, Sukasada, Buleleng Regency, Bali 81161
Jl. Pura Puseh, Munduk, Kec. Banjar, Kabupaten Buleleng, Bali 81152
Banyumala Twin Waterfall
6. Unwind at the spacious Batu Bolong Beach
Two words: coastal village. Canggu is where you should be if you want to get away from the usual touristy crowds to properly unwind.
Canggu’s Batu Bolong Beach offers shimmering brown-grey sand, crystal-clear water, and an unbeatable sunset view you will never find in Singapore. If you find yourself staying at one of Canggu’s several luxurious hotels, the beach is an easy walk away – no need for long drives.
Batu Bolong is also a prime spot for seasoned surfers, but its waves welcome everyone who wants to have a go at them. It will cost about IDR 50,000 ($4.80) to rent a surfboard for two hours at rental store The Sand, and you can negotiate with the local surf shop to book a lesson if you need to get your feet wet the right way.
But if you’re just there to lounge under the sun, you can rent sun loungers and umbrellas from the local bar. Just bring sunscreen and a book to while the time away.
Address: Jl. Pantai Batu Bolong, Canggu, Kec. Kuta Utara, Kabupaten Badung, Bali
Operating hours: 7-11.30am, 4-8pm
It’s been two long years but Singaporeans are finally ready to take the plunge into the paradise of Bali.
The Indonesian island offers a truly unique experience that combines exploration and leisure. So pack your bags and get your documents sorted. It’s time to have a ball in Bali!
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• For starters, you’ll need to take a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test before your departure within a maximum period of 2 x 24 hours before your departure time. along with buying travel insurance with COVID-19 coverage (with minimum coverage of US$25,000).
Once you test negative, print these documents out to keep them with you at all times as well. All of this will take a few days to prepare, so plan ahead of time!
• You must apply for a Single Entry B211 Tourism e-Visa, which will be valid for 60 days. When you apply for the visa, be sure to select “Tourism Visa”, unless you’re planning to mix business with pleasure, in which case, opt for “Business Visa”. More information here.
• Be sure to download Indonesia’s contact tracing app PeduliLindungi and fill up all essential information. This app will be necessary for you to enter public spaces in Batam when prompted. You can verify your vaccination certificate here.
• Your COVID-19 vaccine dose must also be administered at least 14 days before your departure. The verification process for your certificate can take a few days before it’s approved.
• Wearing masks in public is mandatory both indoors and outdoors. Get the latest updates about travelling to Bali here.