Top 5 Destinations to Visit in Bali

Exhausting all the memorable places to visit in Bali will take you weeks. Although Bali is just one of Indonesia's more than 17,000 islands, it claims a majority of the tourism in Indonesia. Many visitors never leave the island, and for good reason.

Despite the popularity and abundance of development, Bali certainly isn't all concrete. Green vines and blooming flowers keep the air smelling like paradise, assuming you aren't too close to one of the busy roads. The volcanic beauty and Hindu vibe have kept Bali at the top for honeymoon destinations in Asia.

  • 01 of 05

    South Bali Beaches

    Kuta Beach, Bali
    ••• Crowded Kuta Beach in Bali, Indonesia. Photo by Greg Rodgers

    Perhaps the primary reason that people come to the island, the beaches in South Bali are wide with great sand and famous surf. Kuta is the party epicenter with plenty of nightclubs and places to compare notes about the day's surfing lessons. While rambunctious and certainly a little obnoxious, Kuta is close to the airport and is often the first stop for newcomers in Bali.

    Fortunately, the sprawl in Kuta has only partially consumed neighboring beaches; there are still plenty of quiet and romantic places where electronic music doesn't thump. Tuban, Legian, and Seminyak are popular beach alternatives to Kuta and are more upscale than their fishbowl-drinking neighbor.

  • 02 of 05

    Ubud

    Although busier than ever before thanks to additional fame from the hit movie Eat, Pray, Love, Ubud still manages to cling onto some of its charm and serves as Bali's cultural hub. A monkey forest, numerous temples, and great atmosphere make Ubud hard to leave.

    Ubud is a center for holistic healing; plenty of healers, artists, and creative people have settled around Ubud lending a healthy, peaceful vibe. Boutique shops, galleries, and spas abound in town. Ubud is considered the obvious choice for seeing a traditional Balinese dance performance.

    While in Ubud be sure to check out the nearby Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave) temple which dates back to the 11th century.

  • 03 of 05

    Kintamani Region

    The green Kintamani Region north of Ubud in the eastern part of Bali is an excellent escape for some time away from the beaches. Mount Batur rises above the landscape of green rainforest and volcanic lakes. Small villages line Mount Batur and the lake; you'll have plenty of opportunities to buy handmade goods and see the local way of life. Pura Pencak Penulisan -- Bali's oldest Hindu temple -- sits at the top of 333 leg-burning stairs and offers a picturesque view of the island.

    If climbing stairs or an active volcano aren't your thing, you can just soak in the volcanic hot springs and enjoy the scenery. The Kintamani region can be seen on a day trip from Ubud.

  • 04 of 05

    Lovina

    The calm water, black-sand beaches, and dolphin watching draw people to Lovina's relaxed atmosphere on the northwest coast of Bali. Lovina is famous for dolphin-spotting boat excursions. The diving is excellent in Lovina; many dive shops offer the usual PADI certification classes as well as day dives.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Tulamben

    The small fishing village of Tulamben on the northeast coast of Bali is famous for the wreck of the USAT Liberty, a US Army transport ship that was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in 1942. The damaged ship was brought back to Bali for repairs, however, the Liberty sank at the beach in 1963 when Mount Agung erupted.

    Today, the Liberty is a very popular dive site as it is one of the world's few shallow, beach-accessible shipwrecks. Snorkelers can see the top of the ship at a depth of 15 feet