30 Incredible Things to Do in Bali
Bali is by fact one of the most (if not the most) popular destinations in Indonesia and in the whole World. Even if visiting Bali has become really cliched these days, it still offers plenty of things to do.
The trick to visiting Bali these days is to get away from Ubud and Kuta, the most famous places in the whole island; if it’s your first time in Bali, you certainly cannot miss these two areas but as soon as you start exploring the countryside and the less Instagram famous places you will find a much better Bali.
If you’re looking for the ultimate list on the things to do and the places to see in Bali, keep reading as in this article we will guide you through this beautiful island, introducing you to some of the most famous places but also to hidden gems you don’t want to miss.
This travel guide to Bali will show you the best things to do and the places to see in Bali, how to make the most of your visit, the places to go to get off the beaten path and basically how to have the trip of a lifetime.
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- 30 Incredible Things to Do in Bali
- The Best Places to See in Bali
Things to Do in Bali
- Go surfing in Kuta
- Diving in Padang Bai
- Practice yoga
- Climb Mount Batur
- Indulge in luxury in Nusa Dua
- Visit Menjangan Island
- Visit Candidasa
- Hike Mount Agung
- Relax in the many Bali’s hot springs
- Spend a day at The Edge
- Go rafting on the Ayung river
- Swim with manta rays in Nusa Penida
- Take a Balinese Cooking Class
- Join a Bali Food Tour
- Visit the Gili Islands
30 Incredible Things to Do in Bali
The Best Places to See in Bali
Tanah Lot Temple
Tanah Lot Temple is one of Bali’s most important landmarks, especially at sunset when people come together for the celebration of this ritual (and to try to take pictures). The best thing about Tanah Lot is that it can be visited only at a certain times because of the nature: at high tide, waves flood the causeways making it impossible to cross while at low tide you can cross to view the base and sip the water from the fountain, since it’s considered sacred.
After centuries of waves crashing at its rock base, Tanah Lot faced the constant threat of erosion and in the ’80s the Government put in place a plan to renovate this landmark, with the help of the Japanese Government. Today, a third of the rock is artificial.
Practical info: Tanah Lot Temple is open from 7 am to 7 pm, and it get really crowded during the day and at sunset. Admission price to Tanah Lot Temple is IDR 20,000 for adult domestic tourists, and IDR 60,000 for adult foreigners. Every 6 months celebrations are held at the Temple, and considered unmissable both for locals and for tourists; dress appropriately if you want to visit the Temple during the celebrations or even on normal days.
Perched on top of a steep cliff approximately 70 metres above sea level, Uluwatu Temple is one of the many temples you can visit in Bali. For a long time, Uluwatu Temple was hardly accessible and after a lightning strike set some parts of the temple on fire, it has been restored and it’s now accessible. One of the most important and famous things not to miss in Uluwatu Temple is the traditional Kecak dance which is scheduled at about 6 pm every evening and tickets cost IDR 100.000 per person; there’s limited seating for the event and it gets usually crowded and busy since it’s only for tourists. Close to the Temple is the Uluwatu Monkey Forest while Uluwatu Beach, under the cliff of the Temple, is known for being one of the best surf points in Bali.
Practical info: Uluwatu Temple is open from 7 am to 9 pm for visitors, but if you wanna pray you can access 24/24. Admission price to Uluwatu Temple is IDR 30000 for adult. Every 6 months celebrations are held at the Temple, and considered unmissable both for locals and for tourists; dress appropriately if you want to visit the Temple during the celebrations or even on normal days.
Ulun Danu Temple
Ulun Danu Temple is also known under the names Pura Ulun Danu Beratan and Floating Temple. Pura Ulun is probably the most famous temple in Bali and after having entered the temple gates, you can visit a whole complex with four sacred buildings devoted to the Hindu gods Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva; the location of this Temple is absolutely stunning, on the shores of Lake Beratan.
Practical info: Ulun Danu Temple is open from 8 am to 5 pm, but if you wanna pray you can access 24/24. Admission price to Ulun Danu Temple is IDR 50000 for adults. Always dress appropriately and behave with respect. Fog may cover the Temple after 3 pm.
Besakih Temple is the largest Hindu temple complex in Bali and it survived the volcanic eruption occurred in 1963, despite its location on the slopes of Mount Agung. Located between rice paddies, mountains and hills, Besakih Temple is visually incredible: a long staircase brings visitors and locals in the the three temples located inside the complex and representing the Hindu trinity.
Practical info: Besakih Temple is open from 8 am to 5 pm, but if you wanna pray you can access 24/24. Admission price to Besakih Temple is IDR 60000 for adults. Always dress appropriately and behave with respect. Every April a ceremony is held at the Temple.
Tegalalang Rice Terraces
The Tegalalang Rice Terrace are one of the most beautiful places to visit in Bali and have been also declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The terrace is absolutely stunning and despite being a touristy attraction, they still remain untouched and locals still work using the same techniques used for centuries. Best time to see the rice terrace at their greenest is in the following months: March, April, September, October. On site, you can eat at the famous Terrace Padi Restaurant.
Practical info: Admission price to the Tegalalang Rice Terrace is 15.000 IDR per person plus 5.000 IDR for parking. Tegalalang Rice Terrace is open officially from 7 am to 6 pm.
Ubud Monkey Forest
The Ubud Monkey Forest is by fact one of the main attractions in Bali; it’s located in the village of Padangtegal, very close to Ubud and at the moment it hosts approx 750 monkeys. In the Forest you can get extremely close to the monkeys and this can also cause problems since monkey’s behaviour can be unpredictable and also aggressive. This means that a visit to the Ubud Monkey Forest should not be done lightly or without caution, always following the recommendations written in the Monkey Forest Tips signs placed everywhere around the Forest.
Practical info: Admission price to the Ubud Monkey Forest is 50.000 IDR per person. Ubud Monkey Forest is open officially from 8.30 am to 6 pm.
The beautiful region of Kintamani is far away from the chaos you can find in Ubud and Kuta and it really deserves to be visited and enjoyed. It’s the area where Mount Batur is located and where the amazing Lake Batur rests in the active caldera. In the area you can also find the Batur Natural Hot Springs, created by the volcanic activity. Even if people usually tend to visit the region just for a day trip, we recommend to spend a few days here and enjoy its beauty.
Practical info: Climbing Batur can be possible if you’re physically fit and it will require proper shoes and equipment since the weather can suddenly change. See more on climbing Mount Batur in the following paragraph of this article.
Jatiluwih Rice Terraces
Jatiluwih Rice Terraces is the biggest rice terraces in Bali and it’s been listed as a UNESCO’s World Heritage Site in June 2012. There are several hikes available and temples hold festivals here every 105 days. There are a few cafes with tables overlooking the terraces, in case you wanna stop and get a picture.
Practical info: Admission price to the Jatiluwih Rice Terraces is 40.000 IDR per person plus 5.000 IDR for parking. The best time to visit is early morning or late afternoon.
Goa Gajah is also known as Elephant Cave Temple and the site is particularly amazing. In fact, Goa Gajah is carved into a rock face and you enter through the mouth of a demon.
Practical info: Admission price to the Goa Gajah Cave is 15.000 IDR per person. The cave is open officially from 8 am to 5 pm. Always remember this is a temple so you need to dress appropriately and behave in a respectful way; Goa Gajah Cave is an active worship site.
Sidemen is a fairly unknown area in Bali where you really feel you’re not… in Bali. Or you feel you’re finally in the real Bali! In fact, this area is full of amazing natural spots such as the Telaga Waja river, Mount Agung (the highest mountain in Bali), the village of Tenganan and so on. We recommend you spend a few days in the Sidemen area, just to experience the authentic Bali, as it used to be before the boom.
Tirta Empul Temple is extremely famous among locals and tourists; the pond has a spring which gives out fresh water regularly and the water is considered sacred and used by Hindus to cleanse their soul. Being the busiest temple in the region, at Tirta Empul there are a lot of facilities and also a lot of people, all year round.
Practical info: Admission price to Tirta Empul Temple is 50.000 IDR per person plus 5.000 IDR for parking. The temple is open from 9 am to 5 pm. Always remember this is a temple so you need to dress appropriately and behave in a respectful way.
Located in the Northern part of the island, the Sekumpul Waterfall is in reality a collection of 7 different waterfalls all in the same place. The path to the waterfall is very well marked from the parking space and it is possible to hike in the area; the biggest thing is that if you’re a hiker you need to hire a guide for the duration of your visit and to hike. The idea is to avoid problems and also help the local economy… and we leave the judgment to you.
Practical info: Despite being a natural attraction, admission price to the Sekumpul Waterfall is 20.000 IDR per person and allows viewing of Sekumpul waterfall only. A medium trekking costs 125.000 IDR per person and includes a guide, the Hidden waterfalls and the Sekumpul waterfall, plus donation to the local village; the long hiking option costs 200.000 IDR per person and includes a guide, the Hidden waterfalls, the Sekumpul waterfall, the Fiji waterfall plus donation to the local village.
Munduk and the waterfalls
Munduk is one of the less touristy places in Bali and it has plenty of opportunities for people looking for nature. The Munduk Waterfall is just one of those opportunities and easily rivals the most famous Sekumpul but without the crazy amount of tourists. In the same area you can hike to Melanting waterfall. The Munduk waterfall loop hike (this is not the official name, which apparently doesn’t really exist) starts in the small village of Munduk, unless you are doing it in reverse.
Practical info: Admission price for Munduk Waterfall is 20.000 IDR per person and extra 5.000 IDR for the car park.
Ubud Palace is located in the center of Ubud and the entry is free. Every evening traditional Balinese dances are organised in the Palace even if the official opening hours is 9 am to 6 pm. We did put the Ubud Palace in the list of things to see because it is unmissable and hard not to notice how big it is.
Gitgit Waterfall is located on the road between Bedugul and Singaraja. The 40-metre-high cascade is impressive and evocative, and when you’ve reach the base you can take a plunge in the pool or just enjoy the view and relax.
Practical info: Admission price to Gitgit Waterfall is 20.000 IDR.
Things to Do in Bali
Go surfing in Kuta
No matter if you’re a pro or a beginner, Bali has a few interesting spots for surfers, Kuta being one of them. Kuta is loved by beginners because of its short waves. Its sister beach, Legian, is more suitable and loved by intermediate and advanced surfers. You can book surf lessons in one of the many schools located in the area.
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Diving in Padang Bai
Padang Bai is the place where people dive in Bali and there are different spots in this area where you can go, either by yourself or with an instructor. The Blue Lagoon is probably the most famous thanks to its two reefs going pretty down while the Jetty is the place where you have to go if you wanna see the craziest fishes and marine plants ever. These two sites are perfect both for beginners and advanced divers while Ferry Channel is only suitable for experienced divers since it starts off shallow. If you wanna experience something unique, dive Turtle Bay: the name says everything, the experience is just amazing!
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There are thousands of place where one can practise yoga in Bali and the whole island is considered a paradise for yoga lovers. We could recommend different places where to practice but we’ve chosen two of them: one is Samadi Bali, a place all about yoga and wellness, where to practice as beginner or expert, where you can get a certification to become a yoga teacher or can challenge yourself with some amazing vegetarian food or the many holistic wellness treatments offered. The other one is the famous The Yoga Barn, located in Ubud. In both cases you can avail of on a pay-as-you basis or by paying a membership. People come from every part of the World and have a different background, so the experience is really enhancing both physically and emotionally.
Climb Mount Batur
Climbing Mount Batur is an experience every serious traveller should do when in Bali. Rising to 5,633 feet, Mount Batur can be hiked by physically-fit hikers in around two hours; it’s always climbed in the morning because it offers an incredible view at the sunrise being a perfect morning workout or, if you’re into photography, an excellent spot for pictures. Remeber: the sun set from 6-6:30 anytime of the year because of the proximity of Bali to the equator.
Part of Mount Batur’s caldera is filled by Danau Batur, Bali’s largest crater lake. Climbing Mount Batur is possible either with or without a guide so don’t be fed up with the idea of only going with an organized tour because that’s not true. You can join one of the many tours or if you’re a hikers you can go by yourself, choosing your route and your timing.
The most famous (and crowded) hiking path starts from the village of Toya Bungkah but if you wanna experience the hike without feeling the pressure of tours and people, then you should start from Pura Jati: this second trail is rugged and hardest, it requires a certain fitness level but it will leave you with pure satisfaction.
Doing the Mount Batur hike without a guide can be discouraging because the locals will tell you it’s too hard and you need a guide and it’s not hard to be given wrong directions on purpose; there aren’t any trail markers but if you’re a hiker the path is very obvious.
Always remember to wear proper shoes (sneakers are not good to climb and hike!) and bring a wind jacket with you ’cause rain can come unexpectedly and the mountain gets extremely slippery. +
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Indulge in luxury in Nusa Dua
If you are not the type of person interested in partying all night and being immersed in chaos but instead you’re looking for some luxurious experience while in Bali, we highly recommend to stay in Nusa Dua. This is the area of Bali with an incredible collection of world-class an international-chain hotels facing the beachfront. Being situated in a slightly remote location, Nusa Dua is secure, exclusive and far from the crowds: for this reason, it’s perfect for people looking for relax and an all-inclusive type of trip.
The downside of this is that Nusa Dua is quite disconnected from the local culture and also quite fake; so said, the whole area around Seminyak and Kuta is also completely disconnected from the local culture and it’s just a hub for tourist and for this reason if you wanna be disconnected from the Balisese culture we strongly recommend Nusa Dua. At least, you won’t be annoyed by chaos and tourists.
Visit Menjangan Island
Menjangan Island is a must is you’re in Bali: a little and uninhabited island, located just a few miles from the coast of Bali. It’s beauty makes it one of the spots you don’t wanna miss. To reach Menjangan Island you need to catch a boat at Labuhan Lalang, in Northern Bali, and book a park guide which will cost you approx 350.000 IDR for the day. Since it’s a National park, you also have to purchase a permit for a cost between 200.000 and 300.000 IDR, depending on when you’re visiting.
Menjangan Beach is the first thing you wanna check once on the Island: blue and pristine water, quietness and on spring time you may encounter deers swimming in the sea. Give dive a try: Menjangan Island is famous for its marine life and you really don’t wanna miss out what nature can offer.
Candidasa is by far one of the less crowded beaches in Bali, being located in Bali’s east coast. Rich in traditional Balinese arts and culture, Candidasa is considered located remotely and for this reason not so many mass tourists flock here, despite its beauty. It’s the perfect place to stay when and if you wanna visit East Bali, which is (as explained above) a true jewel. The lotus lagoon of Candidasa is one of the area’s attractions and so it’s Pasir Putih, a fairly remote and unique white and black beach.
Hike Mount Agung
Mount Agung is the highest mountain in Bali; it may not be as famous as Mount Batur, but if you’re a hiker you really need to put this on your travel list. The trail is significantly hard and challenging and hiking the mountain can take up to 12 hours return, depending on the route you choose. You can start your hike from Pura Pasar Agung and it will take 4–5 hours in total or from Besakih and it will take between 6 and 7 hours: the hike is strenuous and requires an high level of fitness required, for this reason it is recommended for experienced hikers only.
Mount Agung is considered a very sacred place in Hinduism, and for this reason several shrines have been built on the slopes.
Remember: this is not a “leisure” hike, it’s hard, requires a lot of preparation and appropriate clothings/shoes. Do not attempt to climb Mount Agung if you’re not ready.
Also, you can climb Mount Agung without a guide even if everyone will try to sell you a guide or a tour: if you’re experienced and ready, go hike Mount Agung without a guide and you won’t have any problem. If you’re not experienced, first of all you shouldn’t hike Agung but if you decide to give it a try, do it under the surveillance of an expert guide.
Relax in the many Bali’s hot springs
Bali’s hot springs can be found everywhere around the island, and some of them are considered sacred ’cause their water leads directly into the Temples. Do not miss the opportunity to relax in one of the many hot springs around Bali, here’s the two we recommend:
Batur Natural Hot Spring (Toya Bungkah)
Located in the Mount Batur caldera, these hot springs are perfect after you’ve climbed Mount Batur. Even if they’re usually packed, you can still enjoy their beauty and get relaxed; on site, you can find a restaurant serving local specialties and facilities for your stay.
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Belulang Hot Spring
Located in the village of Mengesta in Tabanan,10 km from the Jatiluwih Rice Terraces, the Belulang Hot Spring is a hidden gem mostly attended by locals. The sulfuric water is extremely beneficial for the skin.
Spend a day at The Edge
The Edge is a real Balinese dream and, for this reason, it’s not that accessible, economically. But if you wanna treat yourself (like we did in Mauritius), you should give this place a try. It’s a luxury four-villa hotel, located 500 feet above the Indian Ocean. Every villa comes with an outstanding amount of amenities, such as a butler, a private pool and an epic view of the Indian Ocean. The biggest reason why The Edge is so famous is its cliff-hanging and glass-bottomed pool with a view of the 500ft cliff drop; good news is that you don’t have to be a guest to check out the pool though because the resort also has a bar and lounge open to the public.
Go rafting on the Ayung river
The Ayung river is the widest and longest river in Bali and if you’re up for a real adventure, you can book a rafting tour to enjoy its water. The whole rafting experience is everything but dangerous during the dry season but in the rainy season is only suitable to experts. A great way to experience something different in Bali, considering that the Ayung’s white water rafting trail need approx 2 hours to be completed.
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Swim with manta rays in Nusa Penida
If your dream is to swim with mantas, then head over to Nusa Penida and enjoy one of the many tours offered in the area. The water is so clear that manta rays use to swim there all the time and they are also not afraid of humans (if humans behave correctly), so you really can enjoy your time in the water. There is no specific manta season in Bali (even if it is said that the best time for manta snorkeling in Bali is between May and November but at the same time it is never guaranteed that you will see them.
Book online: Manta snorkeling in Nusa Penida
Take a Balinese Cooking Class
If you like cooking and your first thing when traveling is to taste everything local, indulge in a Balinese cooking class and experience what local food really means. There are thousands of opportunities, this is one we firmly recommend%: it will leave you happy and satisfied!
Join a Bali Food Tour
If cooking is not one of your interests but you like to eat, a food tour is what you need to experience when in Bali. The tour guide will bring you to some of the best places in Bali where to taste the local cuisine, but you may also get a chance to experience different types of cuisine. It’s a good way to know more about the place and the people… and to eat some serious local food!
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Visit the Gili Islands
Visiting the Gili Islands from Bali is extremely popular and convenient: you can plan a daily trip or stay longer to enjoy the beautiful sea and relax. The Gili Islands are a group of 3 small islands, Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. You can go from Bali to the Gili Islands by fast boats and by ferry and the three islands are also connected by boats. Gili Trawangan (known as Gili T) is the party island, Gili Air is the quieter and Gili Meno is the perfect mix among the two.
Do you wanna visit Bali and after having read these top things to do in Bali you wanna book your flight and hotel? Our preferred booking site is Booking.com: it gives you a great overview on the offer, listing every single accommodation in Bali. Also, you pay when you arrive at the hotel and the customer service is always very attentive and available.