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Things to Do in Indonesia

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Ubud Monkey Forest (Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary)
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796 Tours and Activities

The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary is a Balinese Hindu site at the bottom of Monkey Forest Road and populated by cheeky long-tailed macaques. It's a popular site with visitors to Ubud who come to see the monkeys and the temples within the sanctuary.

There are hundreds of monkeys living in and around the monkey forest. You can purchase food for them at the entrance gate but be warned that the monkeys are aggresive opportunists - particularly in their pursuit of food. They will think nothing of climbing on you or raking through your bag in search of something edible.

There are 3 temples within the forest, Pura Dalem (death temple), the Holy Bathing Temple and Pura Prajapati (funerary or cremation temple). All 3 of these temples are sacred, as is the forest and the monkeys, who are believed to protect the area from evil spirits.

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Tegenungan Waterfall (Air Terjun Tegenungan)
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Not far from Ubud, Tegenungan Waterfall foams in a white cascade over black stone cliffs into a quiet pool. At around 66 feet (20 meters) high, it’s an impressive flow, and that’s not all the site has to offer. Besides climbable cliffs, a secret smaller waterfall, and simple food stalls, a charming grotto houses a sacred spring.
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Elephant Cave (Goa Gajah)
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334 Tours and Activities

One of Bali’s holiest Hindu sites (and one of its most popular attractions) is a grotto with a history dating back more than 1,000 years. Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave) has uncertain origins, but it's believed that it once served as a sanctuary for Hindu priests to meditate or even sleep.

Goa Gajah's entrance makes a menacing first impression, carved in the likeness of a gaping mouth of a demonic creature. The façade of the cave entrance features several relief carvings of various mythological creatures, and while no one is sure what they represent, local lore says that an elephant was the protagonist of the drama depicted in the carvings; hence, the nickname Elephant Cave.

The courtyard just outside the cave has more recently excavated decorative bathing pools, adorned with carvings of partially clad females pouring water from urns. The cave itself is rather small, a T-shaped space with several small ledges and a statue of Ganesh, added after the cave was excavated.

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Ubud Palace (Puri Saren Agung)
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Home of Ubud’s royal family since the late-19th century, Ubud Palace (Puri Saren Palace or Puri Saren Agung) sits in the heart of downtown Ubud near the traditional art market. Explore the pavilions and gardens. There are also traditional Balinese dance performances in the courtyard each evening, a must for any visitor to Indonesia.
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Campuhan Ridge Walk
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The classically Balinese combo of rice fields and river gorges is what makes Ubud’s landscapes so beloved, and the Campuhan Ridge Walk, the best-known walk in Ubud, is the perfect way to appreciate them. Starting at Pura Gunung Lebah, choose between a 2-hour circular route around Campuhan and Sanggingan or a longer hike to Keliki and Taro.
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Saraswati Temple (Pura Taman Saraswati)
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Dedicated to the Hindu goddess of learning, wisdom, music, and art, Ubud’s Saraswati Temple is a beautiful spot for worshippers and visitors alike. Water gardens and lotus ponds flow up to the elegant structure, which is enriched with ornate carvings. The temple makes an atmospheric setting for Balinese dance performances.
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Indonesia National Monument (Monas)
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The National Monument sits in the center of Jakarta’s Merdeka Square and was built to commemorate Indonesia's struggle for independence. The tower’s construction began in 1961 under President Soekarno, and the monument – also known as Monas – was finally opened to the public in July 1971. The tower stands at more than 130 meters tall and is topped with a burning flame, symbolizing that the spirit of the Indonesian people will never be extinguished. The flame is made from bronze metal and coated with gold foil, while the main structure symbolizes a rice pestle and mortar, thereby representing Indonesia’s agricultural history. These objects are also said to symbolize fertility by representing the male and the female. A lift on the southern side of the monument takes visitors up to the viewing platform at 115 meters above ground level. The National Monument is surrounded by a well-kept park, often used for sports and recreational activities.

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Telaga Waja River
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The Telaga Waja River is one of Bali’s two top white-water rafting destinations (the second is the Ayung River). The rafting route covers around 8 miles (13 kilometers), mainly of Class II–III rapids, with the option of shooting a 6-foot (2-meter) man-made dam at the end. The scenery is rural, but less dramatic than the Ayung River gorge.
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National Museum
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The National Museum in Jakarta sits on the western side of Merdeka Square. After various incarnations under a number of different names, the National Museum was opened in 1868. Often referred to as the ‘Elephant Building’ due to the bronze elephant statue at its entrance, this impressive museum houses a huge collection, providing an in-depth insight into Indonesia’s fascinating cultural heritage. The National Museum essentially takes visitors on a journey through Indonesia’s history, from prehistoric times right up to the present day. There are almost 150,000 artifacts on display here, with prehistoric, archaeological, ceramic, ethnographic, numismatic/heraldic, geographic, and colonial collections to explore. A new wing was added to the museum in 2007, with four levels dedicated to the neo-classical colonial era and the origins of mankind in Indonesia, including a model of the Flores ‘hobbit’.

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More Things to Do in Indonesia

Glodok (Jakarta Chinatown)

Glodok (Jakarta Chinatown)

30 Tours and Activities

Located in the Taman Sari neighborhood of the city, Jakarta’s Chinatown is in an area known as Glodok. It lays claim to being the largest Chinatown in Indonesia, and one of the largest in the world. Dating back to the Dutch colonial era, Glodok is best known for its markets, architecture, and temples, as well as being one of the biggest centers for electronics in Jakarta.

Amid the traditional houses and such impressive temples as Da Shi Miao and Vihara Dharma Bhakti, shopping and food are at the heart of Glodok. Visitors can take a stroll through the streets, passing historic buildings and ancient temples, while visiting shops selling modern-day electronics next to those touting traditional Chinese medicines.

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Mt. Agung (Gunung Agung)

Mt. Agung (Gunung Agung)

28 Tours and Activities

Hikers love the challenging mountain trails of Mount Agung, the tallest active volcano in Bali. Its most popular routes—one starting from Besakih, and the other from Pura Pasa Agung—take trekkers through mountain temples and truly rugged terrain. Loose pebble paths and steep cliffs end with epic views of Bali countryside, and a view that visitors argue may be the best place to watch the sunrise in the country.

Guides are recommended—as well as sturdy hiking boots and a warm coat—since navigating the daylong hikes on these uneven vertical trails can be difficult. And with no water along the routes, following an expert beats getting lost.

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Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA)

Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA)

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Ubud’s Agung Rai Museum of Art, or ARMA as it’s more popularly known, is a museum, gallery space and cultural center founded by Agung Rai, a Balinese entrepreneur who got exposed to the world of Balinese art while selling souvenirs in Kuta. Inspired by visits to the Puri Lukisan and Neka museums, Agung Rai began collecting paintings to which he felt a spiritual connection, including works by Balinese and international artists.

Today, that collection makes its home in ARMA, a series of traditional buildings in a vibrant garden setting. It is divided thematically into four sections: Kamasan, Pre-war, European Living in Bali and Modern Traditional. Of particular note is the collection by Russian-born German painter Walter Spies, who came to Bali in 1927 and greatly influenced the 1930s Balinese art movement with his primitivism-style paintings. Also on display are works by Raden Saleh, a pioneer of modern Balinese painting.

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Museum Pasifika

Museum Pasifika

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Nusa Dua’s answer to Ubud’s art museums, Museum Pasifika, which opened in 2006, is dedicated to the art of Asia Pacific. Balinese artists and expatriates working on the island are well-represented, but galleries showcase art and sculptures from Papua, Vanuatu, Polynesia, historical Indo-China, and beyond.
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Plaosan Temples (Candi Plaosan)

Plaosan Temples (Candi Plaosan)

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Ratu Boko Temple

Ratu Boko Temple

11 Tours and Activities
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Museum Puri Lukisan

Museum Puri Lukisan

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One of Ubud’s big three art galleries, Museum Puri Lukisan sits slap-bang in the heart of downtown Ubud. Collections cover not only Balinese paintings and drawings but also wood carvings and work by foreign artists. The Puri Lukisan gallery is also Ubud’s oldest art museum, founded in 1956 by a foundation established in 1936.
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Neka Art Museum

Neka Art Museum

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In Bali’s cultural capital, Ubud, the Neka Art Museum is one of the town’s big three art galleries. Founded by Suteja Neka, its airy pavilions are home to a treasure trove of Balinese and Indonesian art, as well as a collection of wavy daggers known as “keris.” The Balinese Painting Hall is a good place to explore the work of local artists.
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Don Antonio Blanco Museum

Don Antonio Blanco Museum

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Ubud’s Don Antonio Blanco Museum celebrates the colorful life and baroque-erotic work of Philippine-born Spanish artist Antonio Blanco. Blanco arrived in Bali in 1952 and married a famous Balinese dancer. Set on a hill amid elaborate gardens and an aviary, the museum’s architecture, a hybrid of Spanish and Indonesian influences, is a highlight.
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