Best Things To Do In and around Bali Indonesia
20+ Awesome Things to do in Bali
Right from trekking and hiking up the famed Mt Batur and Mt Rinjani to cafe hopping in Canggu and Seminyak, from zenning out in Ubud to Scuba Diving in the Gili Islands and Nusa Islands, from catching sunrises at the rice terraces in Bali to chasing the famed Bali sunsets, these 20 or so Awesome Things To Do in Bali, should definitely be there on your Bali Travel Bucket List.
PS – This Bali Travel Blog also includes a list of accommodation recommendations for hotspots in and around Bali like Ubud, Canggu, Seminyak, the Nusa Islands, the Gili Islands. Don’t forget to check them out towards the end of this Bali Travel Guide.
Sunrise Trek to Mount Batur (Bali)
Recommended by Chantell from Travel For Your Life
Mount Batur in Bali has one of the most incredible views you can find on the whole island.
It’s best to do the trek to arrive just in time for sunrise. On a clear day you’ll even get to see Mount Rinjani in Lombok from the top. And since it’s an active volcano you can see steam coming from the rocks.
If you’d prefer to organize the trek yourself, just go to Kintamani and ask at the tourist station at the base of Mount Batur to book a guide for the next day. There’s plenty of accommodation in town to stay for the night and you’ll only be sleeping a few hours before starting the trek anyway.
You have to have a guide to do the trek otherwise you’ll be blocked from starting the climb.
Another option is to book a tour from somewhere not too far away like Ubud which will mean your transfer to Batur is included in your ticket price, as well as the guide. They’ll pick you up the night of the trek and drop you back straight away afterwards so it removes the hassle of having to organize anything else like additional accommodation.
The climb itself is relatively short and easy for such a spectacular view.
Riding the waves at Kuta Beach (Bali)
Recommended by Lydia from Lydiascapes Travel
If you are someone who loves the sun, sand, sea and most importantly surfing, then Kuta Beach in Bali is the place to visit!
There are many great surf spots around Bali island to ride the waves, but I would recommend Kuta Beach if you are between a beginner to intermediate surfer, as the waves are not too high and there is a decent number of surfers around to not feel isolated or too remote from other people in the event something happens to you.
Given this is a rather popular beach amongst locals and tourists alike, there are multiple surf shops and beachside bars along the entire beach that you can compare the prices to rent a board with a rashguard provided too ( this is a wet suit you should put on to keep you from getting injured or hurt by the board – very important especially if you are a beginner surfer).
There is always the option of getting a personal coach to train you on the basics and safety tips to note before you head out. Mind you, surfing is a very tiring sport and requires a degree of technique mastering, balance, endurance and loads of energy. So don’t neglect on the refueling of water or fresh coconut before hitting the waves Cain.
Do some prior research on when is high or low tide, and do try to avoid the hottest time of the day between 12-1pm to surf to minimise the chances of getting burnt or worst still, suffer a heat stroke.
Kuta Beach is a great place also due to the convenient continuation of activities you can enjoy at night. The sun sets right over the horizon at this beach and the restaurants, bars and cafes along this beach comes alive at dusk.
So after a full action day of surfing, it’s great to relax and unwind with a drink at your choice cafe and listen to the waves while watching the sunset. The perfect type of experience for all outdoor adventure lovers!
Witnessing a cremation ceremony (Bali)
Recommended by Wendy from The Nomadic Vegan
Ngaben, which means “turning into ash”, is a cremation ceremony that is part of the intricate Hindu funeral ritual followed in Bali. If you ever have the chance to attend one of these ceremonies, don’t miss it. They take place in villages all over the island, usually once a year.
The one that I attended was near the fishing village of Padang Bai. All of the people from the village who had died in the past year, which in this case was 153 people, were cremated together.
The families placed the bones of the deceased in a multi-tiered, tower-like structure called a waddhu. It looked very much like a pagoda but was a temporary structure made from bamboo, paper and wood.
Dozens of men then carried the waddhu to a cemetery, where the bones were transferred to a sarcophagus, called a lembu, which was in the shape of a giant lion. Then the lion was set on fire and the bones of 153 people and all the offerings placed inside for the gods went up in smoke.
A ngaben is a spectacular sight, and foreigners are usually welcome to attend as long as they are respectful. It’s actually quite a festive celebration, so expect lots of music and dancing.
Tirta Gangga (Bali)
Recommended by Clare from Travels in Peru
One of my favourite places I visited while in Bali was the Tirta Gangga Royal Water Garden. It is a former royal palace and was built in 1948 by the Raja of Karangasem. The translation means water from the ganges.
As you first walk in it is an amazing site, very beautiful. There are water fountains, bridges and stepping stones that you walk along to cross certain parts of water.
On a sunny day it is beautiful and certainly a place you can spend some time, whether just sitting on a chair and looking at the fishes swimming or the beautiful flowers or enjoying lunch in the restaurant overlooking the gardens.
If you do not want to do a tour then there is a bus that runs from Kuta to Tirta Gangga daily, normally departing Kuta at 7am and takes around 2 and a half hours. I personally decided to stay 2 nights in Tirta Gangga village so that I could explore the gardens and also the area, which is beautiful. I managed to explore when there was not bus loads of tourists which was great and to see at sunset too with the reflections on the water is amazing.
If you on a Trip To Bali then make sure you visit this magical place, and if you are planning on visiting Bali for the first time, then you definitely ought to check out this 10 Day Ultimate Bali Itinerary for the first time traveller.
You can thank us later in comments 😜
Cafe hopping in Canggu (Bali)
Recommended by Maire from Temples and Treehouses
Canggu is a laidback beach area renowned for its surf spots and cafe culture. It’s more relaxed than neighbouring party hotspots Seminyak and Kuta, but instead you’ll find trendy coffee shops, bars and restaurants. Canggu is all about dreamy beach vibes and cafe and bar hopping. The focus is on smoothie bowls, vegan treats and Instagram-friendly decor.
For brunch, visit Monsieur Spoon, Crate or Cafe Organic. Or if you’re looking for a fashionable bar for cocktails and seaside chic, you can’t go wrong with La Brisa or The Lawn, where you’ll feel a bit like you’re in a music video. My favourite was La Laguna, a Spanish-style beach bar that features incredible views and photogenic gypsy caravans.
High or Afternoon Tea (Bali)
Recommended by Jacklyn from Get Lost With Jackie
One of the best things to do in Bali is indulge in the British tradition of high or afternoon tea. While it may be a bit confusing (British Tea – in Bali?) the fact that Indonesia is the sixth largest world exporter of tea – might connect some dots!
Many of the luxury hotel properties have taken a “Balinese spin” on the British tradition and serve up small Balinese desserts such as “Godoh and Pisang Rai” (fried and steamed bananas) or Bantal (pillow cake) instead of the classic scones and chocolate cake bites that are traditionally served with Afternoon Tea. Being that Bali and Lombok can be hot and humid, you can also expect to be able to order various iced teas, as opposed to the traditional hot teas.
While the Tea services are typically offered as a service alongside a hotel booking – almost any of the hotels that offer the service for their guests, are more than happy to welcome daily visitors to indulge in their High or Afternoon Teas!
Jatiluwih Rice Terraces (Bali)
Recommended by Arnav from Eat | Travel | Live | Repeat
If you are looking for an authentic Indonesian experience with less crowds, Jatiluwih Rice Terraces is the place to be. Declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in June 2012, The Jatiluwih rice terraces located in the middle of Bali near Ganung Batukaru, are the best example of Bali’s outstanding picturesque rice fields.
The Jatiluwih rice terraces comprise over 600 hectares of rice fields following the flowing hillside topography of the Batukaru mountain range. These are well-maintained by a traditional water management cooperatives dating back to the 9th century and passing down the generations, known as the Subak irrigation system.
Luwak Coffee Tasting (Bali)
A lot of people don’t have this on their list, but it gets added somehow. There are plenty of small coffee plantations scattered around Bali, where one can not only go and taste the most expensive coffee in the world – Luwak coffee, but also a variety of different teas, and coffees.
For beginners Luwak coffee is basically cat poo coffee. What basically happens is that the civet cat, feeds on the best coffee berries in the wild. These beans remain intact, but pass through the cats digestive system, where fermentation occurs. When the cat poo’s, the beans are intact, and are collected by locals. After a thorough cycle of washing, cleaning and drying off, the beans are pounded, and dry roasted. And thats how the most expensive coffee in the world is made.
Kecak Dance At Uluwatu Temple (Bali)
Recommended by Mariza from Hop On World
Uluwatu might be most famous for its centuries-old Pura Luhur Uluwatu temple, stunning clifftop views and remarkable sunsets, but one thing to add to your list of things to do whilst here is to watch a Kecak Fire Dance.
The mesmerising performance depicts a battle in which a prince and his helpers defeat an evil king. With more than 75 dancers, it’s a great performance which will leave you sitting at the edge of your seat whilst enjoying the chants, traditional dance and fire tricks.
Tickets can be bought right at the ticket office on the grounds, so there’s no need to book through a third party. Sales start at 17:00 and tickets go for IDR 70,000 – IDR 100,000 (USD$ 5-7), depending on when you visit. The show starts promptly at 18:00, so if you want to get a good seat in the little amphitheatre try to head in a bit earlier.
Oh and a Travel Tip – there are a few sneaky monkeys outside the amphitheatre, so keep your valuables safe in your bag or backpack!
Sunset at Tanha Lot (Bali)
Recommended by Ferna Mae Fernandez from Everywhere With Ferna
Sunset in Tanah Lot is one of the Best Things to do in Bali, Indonesia. This is why it is packed with tourists during sunset time because of the rich in colour with a bright light that disseminates over the water. In addition to this, Tanah Lot is also the most sacred temple in Bali which is formerly known as Tengah Loh that means “in the sea”, thus the beauty of the temple behind the ocean gives a different feeling when visiting. Exceptionally a sunset backdrop that gives a spectacular silhouette image.
It has a huge size in the area so being the most visited temple in Bali, no matter how crowded, a traveller can still do a lot of the things as there are so many spots to stop by and corners to get the full view of the sunset. Like their cave situated at the base of the temple where a donation is a way to get the priests blessings, apart from which a Clifftop restaurant is also open to grab some beers, sit and relax while waiting for the sun to set. This and more are just one of those that you can do while embracing the beauty of the sunset in Tanah Lot.
Sundowners at La Plancha, Seminyak (Bali)
Recommended by Mariza from Hop On World
It’s no secret that Indonesia has some of the best islands in Asia to add to any destination hit-list. And, one of the most diverse islands not to miss here is Bali. With plenty to do, see and love, it’s the perfect getaway for solo travellers, couples and even families.
One of my favourite things to do in Bali is to enjoy the sunset, right on the beach! And the perfect place to do just that is at the trendy La Plancha – a hipster bar in Seminyak.
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The bar has plenty of seating both inside and on the beach. But the best spot to enjoy the vibe is undoubtedly stretched out on one of the many brightly colored bean bags, feet in the sand and cocktail in hand!
La Plancha gets very crowded just before sunset, so be sure to grab your spot early. They have a wide selection of tasty meals and platters, as well as an extensive drinks menu (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic).
USS Liberty Wreck Dive – Tulamben (Bali)
Recommended by Henry Wu from This Life of Travel
The USS Liberty Wreck is one the most famous dive sites in Bali for good reason, and makes for one of the Ultimate Bali Diving experience, that you can think of. If you come to Bali and are an advanced diver, this one is a must! Some history on this ship – The Liberty was a United States Army cargo ship torpedoed by Japanese submarine I-166 in January 1942 and beached on the island of Bali. In 1963 a volcanic eruption moved the ship off the beach into the water, making it the dive site it is today – lying on a sand slope in 9 to 30 m of water.
The wreck is approximately 130 m long with the shallowest part at about 5 m deep and the deepest on the other side of the wreck at about 30 m deep.
If you go very early in the morning, you will see Bumphead parrotfish who sleep there overnight. It’s also the best time to see Mola-Mola, Manta rays, turtles and any Whale Sharks passing through.
Otherwise, the ship is completely covered with anemones, gorgonian fans, and coral. There is an amazing variety of marine life everywhere here such as anglerfish, nudibranchs, ghost pipe fish, shrimp/goby, eels, reat barracuda, Giant groupers, batfish, sweetlips, batfish, fusiliers, and butterflyfish.
It is also an excellent place for a great night dive where you’ll see Spanish dancers, sleeping Bumphead parrotfish in their cocoons, flashlight fish, Bobtail squid, and possibly even phosphorescence!
Monkey Forest Santuary (Ubud)
Recommended by Cazzy from Dream Big Travel Far blog
If you love monkeys, then you’ll love Monkey Forest in Ubud. A visit to the amazing Monkey Forest will give you a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with various monkeys, including cute baby monkeys! This is quite an interactive experience and there are around 700 monkeys in the forest.
You can purchase some bananas and the monkeys will eat them out of your hands, or they’ll even sit on your head or shoulder whilst eating. Monkeys can be random creatures so move slow with them and don’t try and touch the babies or their mums won’t like it. It’s such a fun experience and something everyone should do. Don’t wear any glasses or have anything on you that a monkey can steal- they are crafty!
The Monkey Forest itself is considered sacred by the locals, so definitely treat it with respect. You could easily spend up to two hours here walking around and playing with monkeys. You’ll probably spot other wildlife there too and there are over 150 species of trees. There are lots of eateries, coffee shops and souvenir shops if you need a bite to eat afterwards. This is definitely one of the best things to do in Bali and you’ll get some awesome pictures.
Tegallalang Rice Terraces (Ubud)
Recommended by Amanda from Fly Stay Luxe
No doubt you’ve seen the photos on Instagram of beautiful Balinese rice paddies, stepping down a steep mountain with early morning sun rays peeping through the tall palm trees, and a beautiful lady twirling around wearing a flowy tropical maxi-dress. There are literally hundreds of rice terraces dotted around the mountains of Ubud, but the Tegalalang Rice Terraces are undoubtedly one of the most beautiful in all of Indonesia.
Located 20 minute’s drive north of the artisan town of Ubud, the Tegalalang Rice Terraces are easily accessible by car or bike and is a wonderful place to explore in the heart of Bali. The best time to visit Tegalalang is early morning. The tourist buses tend to start arriving after 10am.
To enter the rice terraces, you will need to pay IDR 15,000 per person (approximately USD 1.20) plus IDR 5,000 for parking. As you explore further into the terraces, you will also be encouraged to pay a small donation (equivalent of 50c) to the farmers that work in the fields.
If wandering around the steep rice terraces is not your thing, there are also many small cafes located on the side of the road, where you can savour a traditional Indonesian meal while enjoying beautiful views over the rice terraces.
Yoga Barn (Ubud)
Recommended by Amanda from Fly Stay Luxe
If there’s one thing Bali is well known for, it’s the relaxing and mindful practice of yoga. Located in the heart of Ubud, Bali’s cultural centre, Yoga Barn offers a calming respite from the bustling streets and markets. A place that is focused on bringing together community and giving back to the island, Yoga Barn has become a popular hotspot amongst local expats and travellers passing through.
Yoga Barn offers 10+ yoga classes daily, including Yin Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Beginners Yoga, Power Yoga, meditation classes, workshops and much more. There is also an onsite Holistic Healing Centre and they host weekly community events, such as movie nights and community buffet dinners. The delicious organic Garden Kafe is one of the best places to eat in Ubud. Guest House accommodation is also available.
Whether you’re a seasoned yogi or absolute beginner, Yoga Barn offers something for everyone, with world-class teachers from countries all over the world. So, if you’re looking for an authentic, cultural experience during your visit to Bali, be sure to check out the Yoga Barn.
If you are wondering about the different things to do in Ubud, then this Guide To Ubud has all your answers.
Diving with Manta Rays and Mola Mola ( Nusa Penida)
Recommended by Campbell and Alya from Stingy Nomads
Nusa Penida is one of 3 islands separated from Bali on the east side by The Bandung Strait. The nutrient rich upwelling here brings exiting marine life over the beautiful coral reefs making for excellent diving. The water around Nusa Penida is fairly cold and the deep-water trench here is renowned as one of the top places in the world to spot mola mola, the giant oceanic sunfish.
The strange looking mola mola looks like a big head swimming around without a body and is the heaviest known bony fish in the world. These fish usually live very deep but they come up to shallow waters from August to October to be cleaned of skin parasites, and divers from all over the world come to see this. Nusa Penida is also an excellent place to dive or snorkel with Manta rays.
We saw plenty of Manta Rays every time we went to the famous dive spot, Manta Point, they often swim close to the surface and I enjoyed snorkeling with them more than diving. Mantas can be seen here all year round, with the peak season from August to October. The pumping currents around Nusa Penida makes for excellent drift dives with beautiful scenery floating over hard and soft corals, gorgonian sea fans and amazing marine life, we saw turtles, reef sharks and some big marble rays.
A Trip to Nusa Lembongan
Recommended by Ron and Michele from Legging It Travel Blog
The perfect getaway from the Bali Mainland is a trip to Lembongan. This can be done as a day trip through many of the transport companies where you go over and spend the time mainly on the boat but also get the opportunity to explore small parts of the Island.
However, to really take in the island it is well worth getting the ferry across from Sanur, and staying for a few days. Ferry companies will pick you up from your hotel and drop you back on your return. Transport around the island is minimal as there are no cars on the island, so you can get the taxi/ buses (open topped trucks from place to place or it really is the perfect place to try a scooter (I do recommend you check your travel insurance).
It costs about $6 Aus to hire a bike for the day and this gives you the freedom to see the whole island. If you do not feel confident enough to do this, there are days trips available as well. Renowned for its surf you will see plenty of bikes rigged up to carry surfboards to the waves but there are many other interesting places to see as well, stunning temples, amazing beaches and really quirky bars.
During the day the Island is busy with day trippers but after about 4pm the area becomes much more relaxed and there are plenty of lovely restaurants and bars to enjoy a cocktail and the stunning sunsets.
A trip to The Gili Islands (Lombok)
Recommended by Sharon from Dive Into Malaysia
Visiting the Gili Islands is the perfect thing to do on your Trip to Bali or Lombok. Located between these two islands, they are convenient to get to from either location but they are much closer to Lombok. There are ferries and boats to take you across. You can take a day trip, especially from Lombok, but I recommend you stay on the islands and explore them all.
There are three Gili Islands: Trawangan, Meno and Air.
They each have their own vibe and I recommend visiting all three. There are many boats between them or you can hire your own. They all have nice beaches, water sport and diving opportunities and plenty of places to eat and stay.
Gili Trawangan is the most popular and known as a party island. It’s the place to go for action and lots of choices. They even have a night market and stick fighting tournaments. Gili Meno is the least busy and populated. It is calm and peaceful and has some extra attractions like a bird park and turtle sanctuary. Gili Air is in the middle of the two. No island is a bad pick and it’s best to base yourself on the island that has the level of popularity that you will most enjoy.
Scuba Diving in the Gilis (Lombok)
Recommended by Arnav from Eat | Travel | Live | Repeat
The three Gili Islands, are literally a scuba divers paradise. With around 30 dive sites surrounding the three Gilis, you can have all sort of dive experiences here. Be it diving and finding yourself surrounded with 20 odd turtles, or seeing some reef sharks casually swimming around, or getting swayed in a current and discovering what flying in water is like!
You can have all sort of amazing experiences here in the waters surrounding the Gilis. There’s definitely a reason why you’ll find that almost every one on the island is a scuba diver, and has experienced the joy of exploring the pristine waters surrounding the three Gilis.
Some of the popular dive sites are Marlin Hill (for turtles), Shark Point (Wreck and Sharks), Seahorse Bay (Macro stuff), among 20 odd other dive sites.
While you are there, I would definitely recommend diving with Manta Dive Gili Air.
Mt. Rinjani Trek (Lombok)
Recommended by Michelle from Full Time Explorer
The best thing I did in Indonesia was the 3 day/2 night Mt. Rinjani Trek in Lombok. Mt. Rinjani is a volcano that stands at 12,224 ft. To this day, it’s one of the most mentally and physically challenging things I’ve ever done.
The first day is a steep uphill climb to the crater rim. I’d only seen volcanos from a distance, and now, I was standing on the rim of an active one! The following morning, we climbed to the summit. I was told that not everyone makes it and people are known to cry at the top. I couldn’t understand why. It didn’t look that difficult from afar.
We woke up at 2:00am ready to climb the remaining 3,370 feet to the summit, and it was brutal. The entire trek is made of volcanic ash. Each time I took a step forward, I slid two steps back. I felt like I was on an elliptical made out of dust. It took nearly four hours to walk a distance I could normally do in less than one hour. Every single step I took I wanted to give up, and I had to mentally fight myself to keep from stopping. When I made it to the top, I looked out over the volcano and the view was stunning. The sun was just starting to hit the mountain and tears formed in my eyes. I’d made it to the top.
Trip to Komodo National Park
Recommended by Sara from Our Kind of Crazy
One of the most exciting experiences we had on our Trip To Bali was going to see the Komodo Dragons. It’s one of the only places in the world where you can see them in the wild, and they are very cool.
First, you fly to Labuan Bajo island to stay the night, and take a boat to Komodo National Park from there. You can choose between several tours to get there. We recommend taking a few stops along the way to check out Flores, the pink beach, and swimming with manta rays on a full day tour.
When you get to Komodo Island, you purchase your ticket, and you decide which hike you want to go on. We did the easy hike, since we had more stops on the way, but that was enough. We saw 5 and even saw a couple babies as well.
The tour guides were great and taught us a lot about them. They also posed us by the Komodo Dragons and got some great pictures for us. These beasts were awesome to watch in the wild, and even more exciting when they were walking through the trees. It’s definitely a stop to add to your list!
Take the ferry across to Java and see the “blue fire” (Ijen)
Recommended by Chantell from Adoration 4 Adventure
One of the most memorable and exciting activities I did while in Indonesia, during my Trip To Bali, was seeing the “blue fire” of the Ijen Crater. The colored flames are caused by sulfur gas and can only be seen at night. They burst out over the top of the volcano, which sits beside the world’s largest acidic lake.
This phenomenal experience is only a half day trip from Denpasar, Bali by bus and ferry to Banyuwangi in East Java. You could either book an all-in-one package from Bali or travel to Banyuwangi yourself and then book a guide once you arrive.
As you will be hiking in the dark, a professional guide is highly recommended. However, if you join a group tour you can negotiate your entrance and tour fee for as little as 270,000 IDR (approximately $20 USD). We paid 13,000 IDR each for the ferry from Gilimanuk, Bali to Banyuwangi, Java then (less than $1 USD).
After two hours of trudging uphill, the guides provide gas masks to make it easier to breathe while staying close to the volcano. The groups descend down into the crater, passing local miners carrying sulfur on their backs. After witnessing the spectacular night-time show, visitors will be further amazed by the sunrise over the turquoise-colored lake.
Planning on extending your trip and exploring Java? In that case check out Things To Do In Java in couple of days.
If you enjoyed reading these 20+ Amazing Things To Do in Bali, you’ll surely love this Ultimate Guide to Bali With Kids, ie. if you have one 😜, and you’ll find this Bali Travel Blog to be quite helpful too.
Don’t forget to Pin these images, and save this Bali Travel Guide including 20+ Awesome Things to do in Bali, for future travel planning.
Where to Stay in Bali – Accommodation Recommendations
Where to Stay in Ubud?
Where to Stay in Seminyak?
Where to Stay in the Gili Islands?
Where to Stay in the Nusa Islands?
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