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Things You Need to Know When Visiting Bali for the First Time

As a traveler, there are things you need to know before traveling, and one of those things is the place you’re visiting. I assure you you might like a place where you can find beaches, waterfalls, quiet nature, sunshine, iconic landmarks, unique culture, art performance, various food and beverage, and absolutely affordable. You can find those things in the paradise called Bali. Bali is an island located in Indonesia, a part of southeast Asia. The beauty of Bali is unquestionable, many travelers express their positive reviews after visiting this island. So, inserting Bali on your bucket list is a must.

For those of you who want to visit Bali for the first time, this blog is for you, so keep reading. There are so many places to visit in Bali, and this post will tell you the best places that you should not miss on your first visit, culinary you need to try and complete your first journey by not only visiting places but also learning something about the local culture. Without further due let’s move to the list.

Places not to miss in Bali

Kuta Beach

Kuta beach

I am sure that if someone who has ever visited Bali asked to say at least three names of beaches, one of the three should be Kuta Beach. This exotic beach is located close to downtown Denpasar. This beautiful beach you should visit early in Bali, just for refreshment after a long journey to reach Bali. Commonly tourists come to Kuta Beach once their flight lands in Bali since it’s close to the airport.

The waves of Kuta Beach are very good for surfing, that’s why many travelers come with their surfing board there. This beach is so crowded, many people will come here since it is easy to reach. The beautiful moment you should not miss when stepping on this beach is the sunset moment. 

Ulun Danu Beratan Temple

Ulun Danu Beratan Temple

Ulun Danu Beratan Temple is an instagrammable spot in Bali, it is one of the iconic places to visit. If you take a photoshoot with this temple as background, people obviously know that you are in Bali. This temple is located on the edge of the lake with a mountain view behind it. When the water of the lake is high the temple seems to float.

When visiting this temple, you are also able to rent a small boat surrounding the lake. Anyway, this small boat is a nice property for memorable photoshoots. It also offers a beautiful sunset view, you might like it as another sunset moment other than in Kuta Beach.

Bali Handara Gate

Handara Gate

Another iconic spot to visit is Bali Handara Gate. This gate is so popular and has been the image of many Pinterest pins lately. The Handara Gate is located in Jalan Raya Singaraja – Denpasar, Pancasari, Sukasada district, Singaraja regency, Bali. Actually, the Handara Gate is the entrance of Handara Golf & Resort Bali. This resort is part of Bali Handara Hotel. Since many tourists take photos with this gate as background then spread widely through social media, so it turns to be an iconic spot that seems like a historical place.

The hotel management team now charges everyone who enters this place for a photoshoot. You need to pay IDR 20.000 or it is about $1,3. It used to be just a normal gate because such gates commonly exist in many places in Bali like temples, public places, museums, government buildings, schools, etc. It turns out to be iconic since many tourists make it viral through social media.

Tanah Lot Temple

Tanah Lot Temple

Temple and temple again, yes Bali consists of many temples because the majority of Balinese are Hindu. Temple is their place for praying and practicing their religion. Tanah lot is so popular and has a beautiful view. It dramatically engages tourists for its position that stands straight on a huge coral and the sea wave crashing on the coral walls. 

Visitors are also curious about the Balinese religious activities in this temple. Balinese people have so many events related to their religion. It will be more interesting to visit this place when Balinese do the event such as Galungan dan Kuning, so you need to take a look at the Balinese calendar to know their special day or you can also ask hotel staff, they might know about it.

Uluwatu Temple

Uluwatu Temple

Another fascinating temple is the Uluwatu temple. This temple is located on the cliff edge where you can watch the beautiful ocean on the bottom of the cliff. Before entering this temple you have to follow manners in using dress. Visitors are required to wear tops that cover upper body, avoid using tops without covering upper body such as tank top, singlet-shirt, or other similar ones. If you use short pants the guide at Uluwatu Temple will ask you to wear a sarong to cover your body part from waist to ankles with a scarf or shawl is tied at the waist right outside the sarong, but if you use trouser you only asked to use scarf or shawl at the waist.

Anyway, this dress manner is also applied at all temples in Bali. Uluwatu Temple and other temples are holy places for Hindus. So it is important to wear proper cloth to respect the local wisdom.

Garuda Wisnu Kencana

Garuda Wisnu Kencana

Garuda Wisnu Kencana is an iconic landmark, located at the GWK Cultural Park in Badung regency, Bali. In GWK you will find a huge statue of Vishnu, the Hindu God riding a legendary bird Garuda. This park is very large, it is about 60-hectare area, so it is not too crowded. If you want to escape from the crowd, visiting this place is one of the options.

Since the area is very large, it will be very exhausting to explore the park on foot, therefore the park’s authorities provide shuttle buses to surround the GWK area. Before 2018 the parts of the statue are separated into three different locations, the head of Vishnu, hands of Vishnu, and His bird Garuda. Then the statue is completely combined into one shape in 2018, so you have to come to this place to see its new look.

Tegalalang rice field terrace

Bali is not only about beaches, iconic landmarks, and temples, it offers a lot more. Go to Ubud and find the Tegalalang rice field terrace, this is a scenic spot you have to stop by to enjoy another side of the beauty of nature in Bali. Tegalalang rice field terrace offers you a fantastic scenery of rice fields with a traditional Balinese irrigation system. It is located at Jalan Raya Tegallalang, Tegallalang, Gianyar, Bali.  What makes it special is the rice field is structured and neatly stacked which makes a fantastic view. 

You Should Try These Foods When Visiting Bali

Ayam or Bebek Betutu

Bebek Betutu

Ayam means chicken and Bebek means duck. Ayam or Bebek Betutu is an original culinary of Balinese. It is a smoked chicken or duck with traditional seasoning inside. It takes 10 hours to cook these dishes. Betutu is well known all over Bali.

Sate Lilit

sate lilit

Unlike the common sate in Indonesia that puts bamboo sticks, sate lilit Bali uses lemongrass steam. This dish is mashed meat tied on lemongrass steam and then barbecued.

Nasi Campur

Nasi Campur

Nasi Campur means mixed rice, a local favorite food that consists of steamed rice combined with vegetables, fish, or meat in small portions. It has a different flavor for different sellers. It is usually eaten for breakfast by local citizens.

Do these activities in Bali

Photo Hunting

picture hunting

Yep, previously I have told you about places you should visit, taking photos in those areas is an interesting thing to do. Just keep your phone with enough battery or bring your camera anywhere.


Bali has a lot of beaches with fantastic waves, if you stay for a longer time in Bali it is a good time for you to learn surfing. Many local guides provide short courses to learn surfing. You can also do other beach activities such as playing with banana boats, diving, snorkeling, or playing volleyball. 

Watch Kecak Dance

When you search on the internet about Balinese dance, there will be many photos that depict people sitting in a circle with both hands up. It is Kecak Dance, a traditional dance that tells the audience about a story of Rama dan Sita. This traditional dance performance can be watched in Uluwatu Temple, GWK Cultural Park, Tanah Lot, and some other places.

Kecak Dance performance is very popular. You might better buy the ticket three days before showtime because probably the ticket will be sold out if you purchase it close to the date. 

City Touring by Scooter


The best way to explore Bali is by scooter, it is easy and low cost. You can easily find some local vendors who rent scooters. The lack of transportation in Bali encourages many local people to offer scooters for rent. You will find many tourists go anywhere by scooter in Bali, anyway, it is only IDR 50.000 per day to rent a scooter per day.

Etiquette You Need to Know

Tipping in Bali

Bali is well known for friendly citizens, locals will welcome you with a warm smile, and it will be nice to appreciate the workers such as drivers, spa or salon service providers, parking attendants, and others who help you with a tip. Actually, tipping in Bali is not required but will be appreciated, however, the workers in Bali do not earn very much, so a small tip will really help. As an example when you go by taxi with a fare IDR 21.000 then round up by paying IDR 25.000, this is considered a tip for the driver.

Drive on the left side

Unlike America or the other right-driving countries, Indonesia is a left-side driving country. If you are exploring the city by scooter or car, drive on the left side. Don’t forget to wear a helmet or fasten your seat belt and obey the traffic rules. You should avoid tiny roads otherwise you might get lost.

Respect Local Wisdom

Once again I remind you to use proper dress when visiting a temple as explained previously as your respect to local wisdom. If you visit Bali on Nyepi day, you are not allowed to travel from a certain schedule, because on Nyepi day, local citizens are staying at home and the city looks like a lockdown. Just follow the rule to respect the local wisdom.