The Local Guide to Bali, Indonesia

In this Article


Bali Local Guide Overview:

  • Cultural Must-Do’s

  • What to Eat & Drink in Ho Chi Minh

  • Insider Tips

  • Other Must-Do’s

  • Areas of Bali by Atmoshpere

Bali, also known as the Island of the Gods, is a province of Indonesia located in the westernmost end of the Lesser Sunda Islands.

Known for its picturesque beaches, terraced rice paddies, and stunning temples, Bali is a popular tourist destination that attracts visitors from all over the world.

However, beyond the surface level attractions, Bali is rich in culture, both traditional and contemporary. In this article, we will delve into the cultural aspects of Bali, providing insights on what to do, where to go, and what to see to get a true taste of the local side of things.

Bali's Culture: A Unique Blend of Tradition and Modernity

Bali is a predominantly Hindu island, and religion has played a significant role in shaping the island’s culture.

Balinese Hinduism, which is a blend of Indian Hinduism and indigenous beliefs, is characterized by elaborate rituals, offerings, and ceremonies.

The island’s traditional culture is deeply rooted in the Hindu religion, and visitors can witness this in various forms, from the ornate temple architecture to the Balinese dance performances.

However, Bali’s culture is not limited to its traditional roots. The island has also embraced modernity, which has brought in a range of contemporary art, music, and design.

Bali’s vibrant arts and creative scene showcase the island’s fusion of traditional and contemporary culture, where traditional motifs and techniques are used in modern designs, and contemporary music is infused with traditional instruments.

Cultural To-Dos While in Bali

Traditional Balinese Dance Performance

One of the best ways to experience Bali’s traditional culture is by watching a Balinese dance performance.

These performances are usually held in temples or cultural centers and feature colorful costumes, intricate dance movements, and traditional music.

The most popular dances include the Legong, Barong, and Kecak.

Visit a Traditional Market

Bali’s traditional markets are a haven for foodies and shoppers alike. The markets are filled with colorful stalls selling fresh produce, spices, and handmade crafts. The most famous market in Bali is the Ubud Market, located in the heart of Ubud, where visitors can find everything from souvenirs to traditional Balinese textiles.

Explore the Balinese Architecture

Bali is known for its unique temple architecture, which is characterized by intricate carvings, steep roofs, and towering gates.

Visitors can explore about Balinese architecture by visiting some of the island’s famous temples, such as the Besakih Temple, the Mother Temple of Bali, or the Uluwatu Temple, which sits atop a cliff overlooking the ocean.

Sign up for a locally guided Bali Temple Tour

Local Foods to Try in Bali

Nasi Campur

Nasi Campur is a popular Balinese dish that consists of rice served with a variety of side dishes, including vegetables, meat, and seafood. It’s a great way to sample different flavors of Balinese cuisine in one meal. You can find Nasi Campur at many local restaurants and warungs (food stalls).

Babi Guling

Babi Guling, or roasted suckling pig, is a Balinese specialty that is a must-try for meat lovers. The pig is roasted over a spit until the skin is crispy and the meat is tender. You can find this dish at many warungs and restaurants in Bali, including Warung Babi Guling Pak Dobiel in Seminyak.


Lawar is a traditional Balinese dish made with minced meat (usually pork or chicken) and vegetables, herbs, and spices. It’s a great way to sample the unique flavors of Balinese cuisine. You can find Lawar at many warungs and restaurants in Bali, including Warung Satria in Ubud.

Explore the Best of Bali’s Streetfood with this 10-stop tasting tour.

Best Restaurants to Try in Bali

Bebek Tepi Sawah Ubud

Bebek Tepi Sawah Ubud is a restaurant located in the beautiful town of Ubud in Bali, Indonesia. The restaurant is known for its traditional Balinese cuisine, particularly its crispy duck dish, which is a local specialty.

The restaurant’s atmosphere is peaceful and relaxing, with traditional Balinese decor and a tranquil outdoor seating area overlooking lush rice paddies. The restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor dining options, and the service is attentive and friendly.

Aside from the signature crispy duck dish, Bebek Tepi Sawah Ubud also serves a variety of other Balinese dishes, including traditional soups, curries, and salads. Vegetarian options are also available.

Overall, Bebek Tepi Sawah Ubud is a great place to experience traditional Balinese cuisine in a beautiful and serene setting.

Imbaran Coffee and Snacks Jimbaran

From the delicious food and inviting ambiance, to the electrifying performance by Gatv band, Saudara Coffee Jimbaran provided an unforgettable experience for guests, who were treated to a feast for the senses with the beautiful decor, amazing coffee, scrumptious snacks, and outstanding music that left them thoroughly impressed and eager to return for more.

Cascade Ubud

Cascade Ubud is a luxurious restaurant located in the heart of Ubud, Bali, known for its exquisite cuisine and elegant ambiance. The restaurant is led by its notorious chef, Muhammad Yusuf Milyardi, who is renowned for his innovative approach to Indonesian cuisine.

Chef Milyardi’s menu at Cascade Ubud features a range of Indonesian dishes with a modern twist, using locally sourced, organic ingredients to create unique flavors and textures. The restaurant offers indoor and outdoor seating options, with stunning views of the lush tropical landscape.

The interior of Cascade Ubud is elegant and refined, with contemporary decor and beautiful lighting that adds to the ambiance of the restaurant. The service is impeccable, with attentive staff who are knowledgeable about the menu and provide exceptional service to guests.

Overall, Cascade Ubud is a must-visit destination for food lovers seeking an exquisite dining experience in Bali.

Insider Tips for Bali

Use a Go-Jek app

Go-Jek is an Indonesian ride-hailing app that also offers food delivery, massage services, and more. It’s a popular and convenient way to get around Bali and experience local life.

Visit the Local Markets

Bali has many local markets where you can buy fresh produce, handmade crafts, and souvenirs. The markets are a great place to experience local culture and interact with locals.

Respect Local Customs

Balinese culture is deeply rooted in religion and tradition. It’s important to respect local customs, such as wearing appropriate clothing when visiting temples and not stepping on offerings that are placed on the ground.

Go on The Lovina Dolphin Sightseeing Tour

My favorite excursion to do is the Lovina dolphin sightseeing tour. The group takes a small fishing boat out to sea early in the morning to observe dolphins in their natural habitat.

The tour typically lasts for 2-3 hours, and tourists can enjoy the beautiful sunrise while the local captain scans the water for dolphins.

Once a pod of dolphins is spotted, the boat slowly approaches them, and visitors can watch as the dolphins swim, jump, and play in the water.

Other Must See & Do In Bali

Mount Batur Sunrise Trek

Mount Batur is an active volcano in Bali that offers breathtaking sunrise views. You can join a guided trek to the summit to watch the sunrise over the island.

Tegalalang Rice Terraces

Tegalalang Rice Terraces is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Bali that offers stunning views of rice paddies and traditional irrigation systems. It’s a great place to experience the island’s unique culture and natural beauty.

Tirta Empul

Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Tirta Empul, a temple complex with natural springs water that are believed to have healing powers.

Ubud Monkey Forest

Explore the Ubud Monkey Forest, a nature reserve and temple complex home to hundreds of long-tailed macaques.

Sunset Walk Along Kuta Beach

Take a sunset walk along Kuta Beach and watch the traditional Balinese fire dance performance.

Tanah Lot Temple

Visit the Tanah Lot Temple, a Hindu temple located on a rocky outcrop in the sea, offering stunning views of the ocean and sunset.

Bali’s Neighborhoods by Atmopshere


For those interested in a vibrant nightlife and a variety of restaurants, bars, and shopping options, the area of Kuta, Legian, and Seminyak would be a good choice.

Tranquil, Spirtual

For those seeking a more relaxed and tranquil atmosphere, the areas of Ubud, Sanur, and Canggu offer a more traditional and laid-back experience with beautiful scenery and cultural attractions.

Beachy Activities

For those interested in beach activities and watersports, the areas of Jimbaran, Nusa Dua, and Tanjung Benoa are popular choices with pristine beaches and a variety of water activities.

The Bali Local Guide was written by Ikhwan Heryantono, a professional chef living in Bali.

Find Ikhwan on Instagram

Heading to Bali and wondering where you should stay? Checkout our Top Picks for The Best Hotels in Bali for Conscious Travelers.

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