There are so many fun things to do in Bali and after years of travelling here I have decided to pull together a list of the 25 things to do in Bali which I believe are a ‘must-do- when in Bali.
Bali is one of my favourite places in the world. So much so, I’ve visited this magical island three times in the past decade, at various stages on my life. Twice for backpacking, and another time on a trip to explore the alternative side to this wonderful island.
The wonderful Indonesian island of Bali, is known for many things, but some of my favourite things to do in Bali include mountains, volcanoes, rice paddies, surf, coral reefs and temples. When I visited Bali the last time I spent a wonderful two weeks in Bali, exploring every corner of the island, finding all the fun things to do in Bali.
The island has always been close to my heart, after it was one of the first islands I visited on my first backpacking trip after sixth form and ever since I have loved returning whenever I visit south east asia.
So you’ve got your trip booked, but what now? It’s time to plan your Bali itinerary including my favourite 25 things to do in Bali…..
An Overview: 25 Things to do in Bali
Once you land in Bali, will you arrive to Denpasar Airport which is close to the beachside city of Kuta on the south of the island. Kuta has lively bars, night clubs and trendy restaurants, while Seminyak, Sanur and Nusa Dua are popular resort towns and are great for surfing too. The best surfing spots on the island are Padang Padang and Uluwatu, so whether you are a pro or want to learn make sure you add a stop here.
Then if you head further inland you’ll come across the gorgeous intimate town of Ubud, a hillside town known for its spa treatments, yoga, monkey forest and buddha bowls. It’s also where a lot of the yoga retreats and meditation centres are on the island, so is perfect if you want some time to relax and recoup.
And if you love the ocean as much as me, head off the island for a stop at one of the islands many coral reefs teeming with marine life. You could head to Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air, or even go to the amazing island of Nusa Lembongan, an island located southeast of Bali, and where I saw some of the most amazing coral reefs in the world.
Bali is part of the Coral Triangle, the area with the highest biodiversity of marine species and in this area alone, over 500 reef-building coral species can be found so it’s perfect for budding scuba divers, or snorkelers.
I love everything that this small island has to offer, from temples to swings, and juice bars to rice terraces. The island is also known for its yoga and meditation retreats, offering hundreds of classes a day, yoga retreats and co-working spaces for digital nomads.
Here are my favourite things to do in Bali….
- Head to a yoga retreat in Ubud
- Wander through Monkey Forest
- Visit the world heritage site The Elephant Cave
- Climb the active volcano Mount Batur
- Take a dip at Tibumana Waterfall
- Take a boat over to the Gili Islands
- Go on a snorkelling day trip and spot sea turtles
- Take a visit to Tanah Lot Temple
- See impressive architecture at Besakih Temple
- Jump on another boat and head to Nusa Lembongan
- Enjoy island life on Nusa Penida
- Stay a night in the unique Bali Bubble hotel
- Be cliche and head to the Bali Swing
- Watch traditional dance at Uluwatu temple
- Marvel at the stunning Tegallalang rice terraces
- Take a stroll around Pura Tirta Empul
- Take a visit to Pura Gunung Kawi
- Party the night away in Kuta
- Take in the views at Kanto Lampo Waterfall
- Laze around at Jungle Fish retreat
- Become Instagram famous at Handara Gate
- Take a Balinese cooking class
- Relax on Balangan Beach
- Head to Jatiluwih
- Grab a Balinese massage
READ MORE: Ultimate Guide to one week in Bali Itinerary
25 Things to do in Bali
1. Head to a yoga retreat in Ubud
One of my favourite places in Bali is Ubud. This is where you want to go for amazing food, yoga and rice field adventures. And it’s also home to monkey forest and stunning temples, as well as hundreds of juice bars, yoga studios and wellness retreats. I love Ubud but it can get quite busy so if you can, go out of season to really enjoy it’s comforts.
2. Wander through Monkey Forest
As with my point above when in Bali, you should take a walk through monkey forest. The complex is full of over 500 monkeys and the three temples that still stand here date from the 14th century. Entry is 50,000 IDR (at point of publication, I imagine it will increase over the years!) but make sure you keep your wits about you, as the monkeys are super cheeky and are so used to tourists now, they will take any belongings left around, and even take sunglasses off the top of your head. BEWARE! Don’t bring in any food and keep valuables like cameras attached to you.
3. Visit the world heritage site The Elephant Cave
Goa Gajah, or Elephant Cave, is located on the island of Bali near Ubud and built in the 9th century, as a sanctuary and a Buddhist and Hindu temple. Despite its iconic name you won’t find any elephants here but you will find amazing patterns and demons carved into the rocks.
4. Climb the active volcano Mount Batur and watch the sunrise
This is worth the views – TRUST ME! I may mean an early start but it’s worth it when you look out across Bali and see the best scenes I’ve ever seen! We hiked this in the early hours of the morning to watch the sunrise and it was takes about two hours to the summit. Your guide will supply torches and usually a snack to eat at the top which cost about 300,000 IDR per person.
5. Take a dip at Tibumana Waterfall
There are so many wonderful waterfalls in Bali, but if you want to see one, make sure you stop by at Tibumana Waterfall. The waterfall drop from plant ferns in to a bright blue pool at the bottom, and it’s just magical. This is another fun thing to do in Bali! Why not spend some time here wading in the beautiful water, take a dip under the falls, or get out your camera to get a great shot, perfect for Instagram.
25 Things to do in Bali
6. Take a boat over to the Gili Islands
One of the top 5 things to do in Bali, that isn’t actually on the island of Bali, is to visit the Gili Islands! There are three islands to choose from including: Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno and all are worth a visit. I’ve visited Gili T and Gili, and found them both super different, Gili T was the party island, whereas Gili M was like a paradise island where we spent days resting and relaxing. Getting to the islands is easy and it takes about two hours to reach the islands. The island is perfect for snorkelling, eating amazing food and meeting the locals.
7. Go in search of turtles at Padang Bai
If you love snorkeling or scuba diving, a trip to Padang Bai is the best place to go in Bali. There are an array of dive sites with different coral reefs to explore and an amazing array of fish and marine life to see including sharks, turtles and manta rays. And if you want, you can also get PADI certified!
8. Take a visit to Tanah Lot Temple
Another beautiful wonder of Bali is the Tanah Lot Temple. It’s possibly one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen and is one of the most popular places to visit in Bali! Tanah Lot is a Hindu temple located on top of a rock formation, which is separated from the mainland by the tide. When the tide comes in the rocks become an island, making it a beautiful sight to be seen. Oh and the sunsets here are insane!
9. See impressive architecture at Besakih Temple
Another fun thing to do in Bali is visiting the iconic Besakih, another Balinese Hindu Pura temple. The temple has a lot significance for the Balinese locals, and tourists should be reminded with respect, as it is a religious site. The majestic background is stunning and from the Besakih Temple you can even see Mount Agung, Bali’s most famous active volcano from the site.
25 Things to do in Bali
10. Jump on another boat and head to Nusa Lembongan
A little island just off the East coast of Bali is the wonderful Nusa Lembongan where it feels a world away from the tourist centre of Kuta and Ubud. On this gorgeous island you can expect jungle-like mangrove forests, and is also the most wonderful place to go snorkelling and scuba-diving! This is the best place to also see and swim with Manta Rays!
11. Enjoy island life on Nusa Penida
If you’ve been on Instagram at any point in the past decade, you will have seen the shot of Nusa Penida, taken at the Kelingking Beach viewpoint. Similar to Nusa Lembongan, this island offers a retreat from the chaos of the mainland, set alongside white sandy beaches, amazing snorkelling (with Manta Rays!) and forests. Make sure you go to Broken Beach and Blue Stairs for the views.
12. Stay a night in the unique Bali Bubble hotel
One of the most famous places to stay in Bali is the Bali Bubble Hotel in Uluwatu. The accommodation comprises of six transparent bubble tents located at Nyang Nyang Beach Uluwatu. The Bali Bubble Hotel is amazing and all you need it a bed and views across the Indian Ocean.
13. Be cliche and head to the Bali Swing
You can’t go to Bali without heading to the Bali Swing just outside Ubud. It’s an Instagrammers paradise and beware as this place gets busy so go at opening time. It also has that beautiful soft light which is perfect for getting a photo without harsh contrasts and shadows.
14. Watch the traditional Kecak dance at Uluwatu temple
Uluwatu Temple is possibly the most beautiful temple in Bali standing 70 metres above the sea, on the edge of a cliff. Uluwatu Temple overlooks the raging waters below and offers visitors the most spectacular views of the ocean. The stunning architecture and its monkey population makes this spot popular. BUT REMEMBER keep your camera strapped to you, and be open to losing your sunglasses!
15. Marvel at the stunning Tegallalang rice terraces
Another bucket list adventure you cannot miss on a trip to Bali is a visit to the iconic rice paddies. The most famous rice paddies in Bali are Tegallalang, because of its stunning terraces that make it look like a stairway. When we visited, we grabbed a coffee at the cafe overlooking the rice terraces and admired the views and the workers collecting the rice. This was one of my favourite things to do in Bali.
25 Things to do in Bali
16. Take a stroll around Pura Tirta Empul
If you’ve ever watched the iconic film Eat Pray Love film, you will have seen the Tirta Empul temple, just outside Ubud. This is the best place to go and watch the locals as they pray and bathe in this incredible water temple, due to the waters which are said to be sacred and Hindus from all over Bali come here to bathe.
17. Take a visit to Pura Gunung Kawi
Another fun thing to do in Bali is a visit to the temple of Pura Gunung Kawi. This is where you can find carvings into the side of a cliff and surrounded by vast rice terraces. It is a great place to see and explore authentic Balinese culture. It’s beautiful and a popular place to visit!
18. Party the night away in Kuta
One of the most fun things to do in Bali is head out for a night in Kuta! Bali’s top nightlife venues and best clubs are spread throughout Kuta, Legian and Seminyak. My favourite place in Kuta is Sky Garden Lounge; there are a range of different venues within the super club, where you can hang out, drink and dine, the complex’s top floor is where everybody heads first.
19. Take in the views at Kanto Lampo Waterfall
Kanto Lampo waterfall is one of the most popular waterfalls in Bali, as the waterfall cascades over the rocks. It is a great opportunity to get an under waterfall shot for your Instagram and take a dip to cool down in the midday sun.
20. Laze around at Jungle Fish retreat
Another fun things to do in Bali is head to Jungle Fish Bar in Ubud which houses a pool, restaurant and social hot spot. The bar is typically Balinese and you can grab cocktails, eat amazing food and go for a swim in their swim-up pool bar. They also often have live music and a DJ.
25 Things to do in Bali
21. Become Instagram famous at Handara Gate
Another iconic Instagram shot to capture whilst in Bali has to be Handara Gate! But an interesting fact, which many people don’t know that it’s actually just a glorified entrance to a golf club. It’s not a religious monument but it certainly is beautiful.
22. Take a Balinese cooking class
A trip to Bali is not complete without challenging yourself with a Balinese cooking class. I would recommend getting booked in for a cooking course, and a market tour, so you can get hands on experience. It was one of my favourite things to do in Bali!
23. Relax on Balangan Beach
After all this exploring, during your trip to the wonderful island of Bali, it’s probably about time you actually relaxed. For true relaxation, make sure you head to Balangan beach, which is a beautiful place to chill out after a week of exploring and perfect for relaxing and recouping.
24. Head to Jatiluwih
Another famous rice terrace worth visiting is Jatiluwih, a Unesco World Heritage site. The rice terraces go on for miles and the background of Bratan, an active volcano on the island. It’s the perfect place to go for a walk, grab a coffee and explore the local areas.
25. Grab a Balinese massage
And lastly, but not least, a holiday in Bali just wouldn’t be complete without a traditional Balinese massage! Make sure you get booked in for a Balinese massage which includes dynamic movements, aromatic essential oils and acupressure techniques.
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