Start planning your historical tour of Bali
Bali may be famous for its picture-perfect beaches, but this island’s historical sites are equally impressive, dating back as far as 2000 BC. Bali is steeped in fascinating history, which can be found among mountains, volcanoes, alongside rivers or inside its many temples. The region’s diverse cities and villages all possess stories dating back generations, and every corner of this island has something to offer for history lovers.
What makes Bali a great destination for history lovers?
Throughout Bali's history, various cultural influences have come together to produce a fascinating lattice of Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim and Christian historical sites. There are temples set into the island's unique geography, often on self-contained islands, up mountains or hidden amid lush, green forests.
The best historical sites in Bali to visit
There are enough historical sites in Bali to fill a dozen itineraries, but we have narrowed it down to the top five. These sites are must-visits for all history buffs in Bali.
Wonder at the Subak Irrigation System
The Subak Irrigation System, located at the Ulun Danu Batur Temple, is a stunning, fascinating historical site that dates back to the 9th century. The rice terraces were designed to sit on the island’s unique geography, and the system is so special, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2012.
Learn about the Japanese Shipwreck
Dive into the deep blue waters off Banyuning Bay on Bali's northeast coast, either with your snorkel or scuba diving kit, and you’ll soon see a Japanese wreck. Learn from locals about the shipwreck's complex, disputed history on a tour, and enjoy the marine wildlife that has blossomed among the underwater ruin.
See awe-inspiring artistry at the Pejaten Pottery Village
This entire village is dedicated to pottery, offering a chance to learn about an historic Balinese art. You’ll get to see the cultural art of ceramic pottery in action, which has been an integral way of life for this village for countless generations.
Relax in the Saraswati Temple
The Saraswati Temple honors the Hindu goddess of knowledge, music, art and wisdom, a historically significant figure to the Balinese culture. This temple has gorgeous lotus-filled ponds, fountains and historical monuments well worth an afternoon’s exploration.
Visit the ancient Mount Kawi temple
Wander through the tropical rainforest and rice terraces in Tampaksiring to these shrines honoring King Anak Wungsu. Carved into the cliffs, these shrines are a window into the 11th century. Visit with a guide to get the best context.
Tips for planning an historical tour of Bali
Visit Bali between April and October to enjoy the island's beautiful dry season. For the best trip, travel during September and October to avoid both the rain and the crowds. Rent a car or motorbike, as the island's public transportation network is not particularly advanced, and leave yourself plenty of time for unplanned excursions—Bali’s historical sites are around every corner.