Are you looking for the best things to do in Bali? Or perhaps you just want to know why everyone loves The Island of the Gods so much? We asked a bunch of fellow bloggers what their favorite thing to in Bali was and compiled this awesome list.
Our own trip went from a short stint to a three-week exploration all around Bali. Of course, to properly explore all the fun things there are to do in Bali would take months if not years. With a plethora of things to do in Bali, it’s understandable why so many expats live on the gorgeous Indonesian island these days.
From the beaches to temples, and stunning rice terraces we have you covered. There are lots of adventures to be had in Bali!
The Best Things to do in Bali!
1.) Marvel at Aling Aling Waterfall
One of the top things to do in Bali is to chase waterfalls! Aling Aling waterfall is located in the north of Bali and one of the most impressive waterfalls on the island. It’s quite a distance from Ubud and Canngu, making it less popular than other Bali waterfalls and the perfect spot to enjoy nature. There are also three waterfalls around Aling Aling.
One that you can literally slide down (Kroya waterfall), one that you can cliff jump from, and one that you can just admire (although I have seen videos of some people jumping around it). The one that you can admire and the tallest is Aling Aling. All waterfalls are close together and connected via an easy cement path.
It costs 20,000 IDR to enter and view the waterfalls, but you will need a guide if you want to swim. The guide costs 175,000 IDR and is completely unnecessary and only there to watch you swim and make sure you don’t die. We opted for the viewing ticket only. Although Cam did take a dip in the pools anyway. Don’t forget to stop at the rice fields and snap a photo on the way in, and grab a coconut on the way out!
-The World Pursuit
2.) Walk the Campuhan Ridge Walk
There are many cheap things to do in Ubud, but one of our favorite days was spent walking the Campuhan ridge walk. The ridge walk is a stunning walk through the jungle, overlooking rice terraces and all the glorious landscape from a stone path. If you are a runner it’s also a good spot to get your sweat on before the crowds arrive.
The ridge walk is best done around sunrise or sunset as it is not shaded and can get unbearably hot. If you are a photographer you’ll have to arrive around sunrise for fewer crowds. The walk takes as long as you want to walk. We personally stayed for about an hour enjoying the view and stunning sunset.
You can get to the ridge walk by following the road to IBAH villas. Keep walking until you lay eyes on the beautiful Pura Gunung Lebah Temple and turn there. Keep walking past the temple until space opens up to the ridge.
-The World Pursuit
4.) Dive the USAT Liberty Wreck Dive
If you are a diver, diving the USAT Liberty is definitely one of the most amazing things to do in Bali. If you don’t know how to dive but want to learn, Tulamben and Amed on Bali’s east coast are great and very affordable places to get your PADI Open Water certification. The USAT Liberty is one of the easiest large WWII wreck dives worldwide to dive. Its shallow depth and the practically current free water make this a wreck dive even beginners can do.
With a depth of 12 t0 30 meters, this is also a very interesting wreck to discover for advanced divers. The 125-meter long American cargo ship USAT Liberty was torpedoed and sunk by the Japanese in 1942. It was beached at Tulamben to salve the cargo and left on shore until the eruption of Mount Agung pushed it back in the water in 1963.
Now it’s an amazing dive site, covered in colorful corals and home to many species of marine life. If you have the time I would plan more than one dive here. The Liberty is an excellent site for underwater photography, so make sure to bring your underwater camera. Make sure to bring your dive computer to maximize your bottom time!
5.) Check out Pura Besakih Temple
There are so many beautiful Hindu temples in Bali that it’s hard to visit all of them. Nevertheless if you love temples, one of your top choices should be Pura Besakih. Pura Besakih, situated on the slopes of Mount Agung, was built more than a millennium ago and is considered to be Bali’s Mother Temple. You will need a few hours to explore this gigantic temple complex that consists of 86 individual temples. It’s hard to tell whether the spectacular temples or the fascinating landscape are the main attraction.
The three main temples of Pura Besakih are dedicated to members of the Hindu trinity. Pura Penataran Agung is dedicated to Shiva, Pura Kiduling Kreteg to Brahma, and Pura Batu Madeg to Vishnu. The colors of the banners show you this distinction between the temples. When you visit Pura Besakih, it’s quite probable that you run into some kind of a celebration, since more than 70 ceremonies are held here throughout the year. Beware of local people harassing you at the entrance trying to get you to hire a guide. This is untrue and you just have to ignore them as the only requirement is paying the entrance fee.
6.) Hang Out with Macaque’s in Ubud’s Monkey Forest
With over 12 hectares of land, travelers can spend a whole day exploring the Monkey Forest in Ubud. Wandering through the forest, you’ll stumble upon old statues hidden behind vines, intricate bridges over flowing streams, and even several temples from the 14th century.
Along with these cultural attractions, many people are drawn to the forest to see the Balinese long-tailed macaques. With over 800 monkeys living in the forest, there are plenty of monkeys to observe and enjoy. Especially if you have never been around monkeys before! Please don’t feed the monkeys, it is frowned upon and can lead to monkeys fighting and getting aggressive.
These monkeys are adorable, energetic, mischievous and most of all, wild. Many are seemingly tame due to the number of visitors each day, but it’s important to keep your distance as with all wild animals to avoid getting scratched or bitten.
The monkey forest is open 8:30 am to 6:00 pm every day and costs 50,000 IDR for adults and 40,000 IDR for children.
7.) See the Topeng Dance in Ubud
One of my favorite activities in Ubud is the Topeng dance (or masked dance show), performed at Arma Museum. Seeing a Topeng dance is one of the best things to do in Bali at night. Most people head to see the Traditional Dance at Ubud Palace, but a great alternative option is the Topeng dance.
Masked dances form part of temple ceremonies in Bali. Topeng is an Indonesian form of dance drama in which one or more dancers wear masks and perform ancient stories, often concerning ancient or mythical kings and heroes. It is believed that the use of masks is related to the cult of the ancestors, which considered dancers the interpreters of the gods. The dancer alternates refined and unrefined and movements are accompanied by gamelan music.
In the beginning, expect the show to start off slightly strange as the gamelan sounds take some getting used to. However, once you pay attention to the dancer’s movements you really get to admire it all. Tickets can be bought downtown, at Ubud’s Tourist Information and typically include transportation to the Arma Museum as it is on the outskirts of town.
8.) Explore Bukit Asah Village
Bukit Asah is located in the village Bug Bug, located on the Eastern Coast of Bali. It is approximately a minute drive from Candidasa. Bukit Asah is a breathtaking place to visit, mainly due to its secret white sand beach and the magnificent 360-degree views over the ocean and villages from the cliffs tops.
The place really has to be visited to understand its natural beauty and is one of the best things to do in Bali. The remote location of Bukit Asah makes it a hidden gem to visit in Bali, it remains fairly unknown to tourists and is mostly frequented by locals. There are a number of things to do once in Bukit Asah, here are a few.
Trek up the cliff which will take about one hour, to reach the secret beach it will take an additional 30 minutes. There are no places to stay on this beach, however, camping is available at the top of the cliff. Kapur Bagus is the family who runs Bukit Asah cliff camping, basic tent rental cost approximately $14 per night and a luxury tent with a mattress are around $28. When visiting, try and experience the sunsets and sunrises there, which are truly spectacular. A road has been built and you can also access the beach and cliff top by car.
If you love tropical beaches with picturesque views of cliffs, palm trees, and coves head down the cliff to white sands secret beach (Pasir Putih) the beach is approximately 500 meters long and has several small warungs that serve some tasty local and international choices. There are fishing boats on one part of the beach, that you can hire for a trip around the coastline for one hour.
If you stay in this area for a few days you can explore famous ancient temples such as Goa Lawah, and Lempuyang, not forgetting the numerous local villages and famous salt farmers that live in this area, where you really get to experience the culture and heritage of Bali.
Bukit Asah is an incredible location to drone and for photography enthusiasts so if you’re looking to capture some fantastic shots this is the place to add to your list of places to visit in Bali. This area has some of the best views of Mount Agung volcano, sweeping rice fields, traditional Balinese houses, and local temples.
9.) Explore Banyumala Waterfall
Bali is blessed with hundreds of spectacular waterfalls, but our favorite is tucked away just north of the quiet village of Munduk. Whilst many waterfalls in Bali can get incredibly busy, it’s unlikely you’ll see more than a couple of other people at the stunningly picturesque Banyumala Waterfall, even in the middle of the day.
Getting here isn’t for the faint-hearted, especially if you’re traveling by motorbike. Once you get to the turn from the main road, you’ll realize that the road to the path that leads to the waterfall is 3 km of rocks and what could once be called a road.
The adventure continues when you walk through the lush green forest to be greeted with this huge cascading waterfall. You can take a dip in the pool, but the waterfall is a bit too powerful to swim directly under the falls themselves. The setting is spectacular, and it would be hard not to be wowed by its power and majesty alone.
Banyumala Waterfall is approximately half an hour from Munduk or 1.5 hours from Ubud. We’d recommend hiring a motorbike for absolute freedom, alternatively, you could hire a driver (many will combine several sights in one day)
10.) Visit Pura Lempuyang Temple
If you need some peace and quiet from the main areas of Bali consider visiting Pura Lempuyang Temple. Nestled in Mount Lempuyang in East Bali, it’s one of the oldest and most sacred Hindu temples in Bali.
Pura Lempuyang is a large complex that comprises of seven temples. It’s popular for the first temple, also known as the “Gateway to Heaven.” You’ll recognize the picturesque white and grey gates from social media. If the skies are clear, you can also get an amazing view of Mount Agung.
The fun doesn’t stop at the temple. There are six other temples to explore in the complex if you have the time and stamina. It takes 3+ hours to walk to the others due to the steep stair climbing (over 1440+ stairs) up the mountain. The temples are smaller than the Gateway to Heaven yet still good to visit. You’ll see locals take the trek with baskets of food and visit each of the temples for prayers and offerings.
Due to the remote location, Pura Lempuyang is not crowded and is very peaceful and is one of the best things to do in Bali.
11.) Search for Street Art in Canggu
If you are a street art lover you will be amazed at how much there is to find in Bali! We hired a scooter and spent a few days navigating back streets and beach locations for the best street art in Canggu. These pieces are full of vibrant color and detail and are incredibly impressive. Many of the more popular pieces are by a local artist named Quint; his main focus is young women with an attitude which he captures perfectly, signed with his trademark bold red print.
Undoubtedly the most famous is at Old Man’s restaurant on Batu Balong Beach. As well as being a great spot for sunset, you will see tourists standing next to the iconic blue and white mural for their Instagram-worthy photo.
If you are an Audrey Hepburn fan, inside Think Pink Nail Salon is a large colorful centerpiece by Cube. With so much to choose from, it’s difficult for many to pick a favorite. I personally enjoyed the murals by Batu Balong Beach and would suggest heading there if you have limited time.
12.) Setia Darma House of Masks and Puppets
If you are looking for an unusual thing to do in Bali, head to Setia Darma House of Masks and Puppets in Tegal Bingin, Sukawati. Just a 15-minute drive from the city center of Ubud and often known as Bali’s best-kept secret. Setia Darma houses more than 1300 masks and 5700 puppets from all over the Indonesian archipelago, Africa, China, Japan, and many other countries. The collection is vast and eclectic but draws only a few tourists a day because of a general lack of awareness.
Setia Darma’s mission is to preserve the age-old art form of Indonesian masks and puppets and it is doing a great job at that. The colorful heritage items are properly labeled, stored, and displayed inside Javanese “joglo” houses (which are heritage themselves) surrounding an old Balinese courtyard. As you enter each joglo you get a whiff of Indonesia’s rich tradition of puppetry and mask-making and it makes you want to explore more. Additionally, the museum is surrounded by undulating paddy fields and a tropical Balinese garden making the whole thing a very pretty sight.
The museum is open every day between 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Entry is free even though donations are appreciated.
13.) Experience a Fire and Kecak Dance
Kecak is a Balinese form of dance that combines music and drama. The spectacle is certainly something to see while visiting Bali and is one of the top-rated things to do. The chants of a male chorus forming a ring make a sort of “enclosure” that sets the stage for the show.
Inside the circle are dramatic faces, elaborate costumes, and vivid actors and actresses telling the story depicting a battle from the Ramayana. The most popular place to see this dance is at Uluwatu Temple every night as the sunsets over the ocean.
-The World Pursuit
14.) Escape the Crowds at Pasut Beach
Since Bali is a major tourist destination, many of the most popular beaches can get extremely crowded and it might get difficult to find a quiet spot. If you’re backpacking Bali I highly recommend skipping the main tourist beaches like Kuta and Seminyak and rather to drive up the coast for an hour on a scooter. Dive past Tanah Lot and you will find the beautiful Pasut beach!
Pasut Beach is still relatively undiscovered, but incredibly beautiful. This black-sand beach is wide and long and therefore perfect for a stroll or a nice swim. There are several rock formations along the coast which are great for picture opportunities. There isn’t much around here, but we found one small resort that is a good place to get a drink or a snack at the pool bar.
When I arrived at Pasut beach in the afternoon, I was the only person on the beach! Later in the day, a few more people (especially locals) showed up and enjoyed the beautiful sunset. Its remoteness made this my favorite beach in Bali after exploring the island for three months.
15.) Enjoy Sekumpul Waterfall
Visiting Sekumpul waterfall is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Bali. Standing at 80 meters tall, Sekumpul is a sight to behold, hidden away amongst the dense forest of North Bali.
Although the path to the falls is fairly steep, it’s easily manageable for travelers of all ages. Make sure to take care as the path and steps can be quite slippery. On the way down you’ll pass a brilliant viewpoint, which is the perfect place to stop and admire the majestic waterfall and its beautiful surroundings. It’s also a good place to stop off for a break on the tough walk back up.
To get up close to Sekumpul waterfall you’ll need to cross a shallow river, so be ready to get your feet wet. It’s well worth it though, to witness the raging force of the falls up close. Once you’re there, you’ll be able to truly appreciate why Sekumpul is considered to be one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Bali.
Visiting Sekumpul waterfall costs just 20,000 IDR. Once you arrive at the town entrance at the top of the falls you will have locals telling you to pay 175,000 IDR to enter, however, this is not necessary unless you want a guide. The trek is not hard and you do not need a guide to take you to the waterfall, so just walk past the persistent locals (who even have official shirts on) and continue on your own. Sekumpul is a great waterfall to hit alongside Aling Aling.
16.) Meditate in an Ancient Cave
Goa Ganjah (often referred to as “Elephant Cave.”) is a unique experience you certainly won’t find anywhere else. The site’s exact origins are uncertain but it is thought to have been built as a place for spiritual meditation over a 1000 years ago. Menacing figures were carved into the facade to ward off evil spirits. It is unique as both Hindu and Buddhist influences are seen in the architecture.
Despite its nickname, Goa Ganjah has an absolutely nothing to do with elephants. The name may be in reference to the stone statue of Ganesh (a Hindu god with the head of an elephant) located inside of the cave. In addition to the cave, you can view a large in-ground fountain. I wasn’t brave enough, but I saw other tourists drinking from the fountain which is said to give holy water. Tour guides are also available for a fee, but are not necessary.
To get the entrance of the cave you have to walk down a long flight of stairs. If you are wearing shorts, you will be provided with a sarong to wear for free. If you are visiting Bali with kids, they will be fine in whatever they are wearing. Once you reach the site, you can enter the small, dark, and damp cave. There isn’t much to see inside but it’s still worth going in and admiring the atmosphere of burning incense.
17.) Venture Around Tegallalang Rice Terrace
Bali is famous for its epic, lush green rice terraces, usually dotted with soaring palm trees. If you want to see Bali’s scenery at its best, the Tegallalang Rice Terraces are probably the most famous. When I visited, I was totally blown away by the natural beauty of these jewel-bright rolling hills. They genuinely look like the unbelievable photos you see on Instagram, or a scene right out of Eat Pray Love.
The Tegallalang Rice Terraces are around a 20-minute drive from central Ubud, and the easiest way to get there is to rent a motorbike or hire a driver to take you there and back. They are also included on various day trips and tours.
My top tip for visiting is to get there as early in the morning as possible preferably for sunrise or before 8 am — which may not be possible on a group tour. The rice terraces become very crowded from 8 am onwards. Sunrise will give you the best photo opportunities with the fewest people.
There is a small donation fee to enter Tegallalang Rice Terraces. Plus, depending on how far you walk into the rice terraces, you may come across locals who have set up toll booths asking for small donations (10,000 IDR) to continue walking through the area, so bring some cash with you. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes you don’t mind getting dirty!
18.) Learn How to Roast Indonesian Coffee
Indonesia has some of the best coffee in the world. From Sumatra to Toraja, the climate is perfect for the tasty bean to flourish. I believe that one of the best things to do in Bali concerning the black gold is to learn how to actually roast the green beans. On my last trip to Bali, I headed to magical Ubud to learn how to do home roasting at the wonderfully hipsterish Seniman Coffee Studio. Seniman introduced fourth wave coffee to the island of the gods, so they are game-changers when it comes to the delicious bean.
Apart from the most amazing treats, coffee cupping, an airy and hip interior, and coffee in any style, Seniman also provide coffee roasting and barista courses on request. In the course, you will learn a little bit of theory, like the different local and international coffee producing regions and how to roast the beans to perfection using only a pan, a stove, a whisk and a fan.
While there is work involved in the practical lesson, it is totally worth it. On completion, you get to take your beans home, taste your beans with a handdrip, and also get a free coffee of your choice. I only roast my own beans now and have even started giving them to friends and family.
–Singapore and Beyond
19.) Visit a Local Market in Bali
Visiting a local market in Bali gives you a spectacular insight into seeing daily life and the ingredients and foods that sustain the people of Bali. As a part of a cooking class, I toured a very traditional market in West Bali to see how fresh the ingredients were and how important it was to shop daily in the markets either to pick up a prepared meal for later or to actually buy all the fresh ingredients to make for later.
Balinese markets are fun, colorful, and a wonderful place to photograph some of the daily activities that happen in the marketplaces. Balinese people are not camera shy but it is common courtesy to ask your guide to ask directly if you can take a picture or just point to your camera, smile and nod to see if that is okay with the person(s).
These local market places are fantastic to try some local fruits, snacks or even the street food that is being prepared fresh and ready to eat. At some markets, you’ll also find local crafts, art, and souvenirs (more tourist markets) that a cheap way to find and bargain for something to give as a souvenir or personal gift of your visit to this local market in Bali.
20.) Shop in the Ubud Art Market
Shopping and strolling around the Ubud art market is one of the highlights of our trip to Bali! Ubud Art Market, also known locally as Pasar Seni Ubud, is an artisan market where you can see and buy local handicrafts. Some of the products are even brought in from the neighboring towns in Bali.
Here you can see items for personal use or as souvenirs –- batik (traditional prints that can be found in various clothing), clothes with native or bohemian design, tote bags, and rattan bags, jewelry, among others can all be found here. There are also products for home decoration –- wall art, carvings, and paintings, as well as home items such as mirrors, and soap holders.
Personally, I love the boho-print tops and tote bags, the colorful quilts and the various types of wooden carvings that can be used to display at home. My boyfriend meanwhile was charmed with a set of intricately designed chess set featuring figures from the Hindu mythology.
Visiting the Ubud Art Market is a must if you love shopping or even if you just want to know more about the products of the island. Bali is a beautiful place in Indonesia and this reflects in the aesthetics of the goods sold in the art market.
The Ubud Art Market is located at Jalan Raya Ubud No. 35, just opposite the Royal Ubud Palace. It is open daily from 6 am to 6 pm.
21.) Visit Fish Market in Jimbaran
Don’t even think about buying frozen fish or heading to a fast food restaurant when in Bali. You can get some of the freshest and tastiest fish you have ever known at the Jimbaran fish market.
Jimbaran is world renowned for its fish restaurants. They are set up on the beach at sunset, and the tourists flock there like moths to a flame. But you do not need to follow the herd. You can easily grab your own fish from the market and have a chef at a local eatery cook it up for you. The smell may overwhelm you at first, but it will all be worth it when you taste that fresh fish in your mouth.
Take your cash money and your appetite. There are many fish of varying sizes to choose from, along with prawns, squid, and mahi-mahi. Prepare to barter with the fishmongers for a better price. The market is open each day from 6 am to 3 pm, but the best fish is available in the morning.
22.) Indulge in a cheap massage
A 90-minute massage for 90,000 IDR isn’t just a good deal, it’s an amazing deal for anyone from the west. The streets in Bali are littered with massage parlors and it will not be hard to spot one. When you find the one you like, just walk in and choose from a plethora of different kinds of massages. I usually tried to look for the salons with the best reviews on Google and then went from there. If you leave your massage disappointed it wasn’t like your masseuse back home – remember how much you paid for it and move on.
If you’re on your honeymoon or looking for a romantic thing to do in Bali try upgrading to a more reputable spa for a couples massage. There is a huge difference between a cheap massage in Bali and a proper one in a spa. Sure, it may cost more but you will get better service, cleaner facilities, and an all around more enjoyable experience.
-The World Pursuit
23.) Witness Sunrise at Sanur
Sanur is a seaside town in the southeast of the island, just a 20-minute taxi ride from the Ngurah Rai International Airport. Its main street, Jalan Danau Tamblingan, has lots of shops for car and bike rentals. However, this place is a great one to simply walk as distances are usually short, the streets are quiet, and Sanur has a great beachfront path which goes along the coast, crossing the whole town.
This beach offers shallow waters where jukung fishing boats rest and the aforementioned paved cycling path. Whether you are a morning person or not it will be well worth it to suffer an early rise to admire sunrise at this spot, one of our favorites in Indonesia.
Sanur beach is usually quiet at sunrise, and definitely quieter than other beaches like Kuta or Padang Padang. You’ll likely have all the beach to yourself plus a few other locals and sunrise fanatics.
Other than to enjoy the beach, people visit this destination to engage in yoga and meditation retreats, cooking classes, walking around its day and night markets, diving, shopping, and witnessing the yearly Sanur International Kite Festival at Padang Galak beach.
24.) Enjoy Jatiluwih Rice Terrace
There are many things to do in Bali, but trekking at Jatiluwih Rice Terrace is one of the favorites among visitors. The natural beauty of Jatiluwih Rice Terrace is complete jaw-dropping. You will simply be astonished to see the outstanding scenery of this UNESCO World Heritage Site in Bali. Most Balinese rice terraces and fields are beautiful, but the massive Jatiluwih Rice Terrace is the unique one and worth to visit in North Bali.
It’s possible to trek around the rice terraces. You can select to embark on either a short or long trek depending on your me. It is easy to follow the trekking track of Jatiluwih, and so you can do by yourself without anyone’s help. The best part is you’ll be able to learn the ancient irrigation system which still followed here. You can even enjoy planting and plowing with the workers in the rice fields, they are very inviting.
25.) Party in the Gay Bars of Seminyak
Whilst Indonesia is not really well known as being very gay-friendly, Bali is like the country’s gay oasis. Due to its relaxed Hindu influence over time, Bali has developed quite a vibrant gay scene in Seminyak. Heading to the bars is one of the best things to do in Bali Seminyak.
There are three main gay bars in Bali, all next door to each other on the road called Jalan Camplung Tanduk Arcade. Bali Joe, Mixwell, and Facebar are the main gay bars on this street. Each bar starts as a place to have drinks, with TV screens playing out the latest pop hits. Then from around 11 pm onwards, each bar takes it in turns to show a mix of really funny drag shows and go-go boys dancing on the bar – abs abs abs everywhere you look!
The bars are open until around 3 am and are a lot of fun for everyone. The drag queens in Bali are absolutely hilarious and put on a great show. They have no shame and as well as making you cry out laughing, they also make you feel very welcome and warmly embrace you. This speaks volumes about the mentality of Indonesians generally – they are extremely warm-hearted and hospitable people.
26.) Take a Ferry to the Nusa Islands
I know this technically isn’t a thing to do in Bali, but as the Nusa Islands are only 45 minutes away by boat I figured I would mention it. If you’re getting a bit tired of the massive crowds and are in search of adventure, more beaches, and a rugged experience the Nusa Islands are your calling.
Nusa Ceningan, Nusa Lembongan, and Nusa Penida all make up the Nusa Island group. Nusa Penida island is the largest and most rugged of the three islands. However, it’s still a small and much less crowded version of Bali with dream-worthy turquoise water, rolling hills, epic cliffs, coves, and white sand beaches. Nusa Lembongan is the most popular of the islands and is where you can find many dive shop operators and excursions. While Nusa Ceningan is the smallest of all the islands and serves as a great day trip.
We spent 10 days hopping between all three islands and found each to offer something different. Each is worth a few days of exploration and all are definitely worth the 45 minute speedboat trip over.
–The World Pursuit
27.) Experience the Quintessential Village Life in Sidemen
With endless activities and things to do on Bali, Bali is increasingly becoming populated with tourists from all over the world. Finding traditional and authentic Balinese culture is rare these days unless you intently plan your itinerary to get off the beaten track. I recently traveled to and discovered Sidemen which represented quintessential Bali: rice terraces, local village life, traditional farming, and palm trees and jungles for as far as you can see.
Sidemen is located about an hour east of Ubud and a couple of hours north of Sanur. While being accessible from the main tourist hot spots of Bali, Sidemen remains a world away from the hustling and bustling south. The main “attraction” in Sidemen is to soak in the breathtaking panoramic scenery of the hills and valleys and enjoy the peaceful countryside.
You can sign up for guided trekking/hiking/cycling tours in Tabola town. It is recommended that you spend at least one night in Sidemen to explore the hills and immerse yourself in this enchanting village of traditional Bali. If you wish to experience the beauty of Bali that attracted tourism decades ago in the first place, don’t miss the chance to explore Sidemen while it’s still relatively quiet.
28.) Trek Through the Rainforests of Mount Lesung
Located at the highlands of Bedugul, Bali, Mount Lesung’s protected rainforest is a delightful escape from the tourist hordes and is full of hidden treasures that can only be found with local knowledge.
Several tour operators offer morning treks into the rainforest which last 5-6 hours; this includes spotting wildlife and visiting several sacred temples on the mountain like Bukit Temple at the summit. You’ll also get an amazing view of Bedugul’s “twin lakes”, Lake Buyan and Tamblingan, Munduk village, and more.
The highlight of the trek, at least for me, is the stop at Lake Tamblingan during the descent. Lake Tamblingan is the more attractive of the twin lakes and here you will row across the lake in a traditional dugout canoe. This may not sound like much, but being out on a highland lake feels incredibly refreshing after the heat and humidity of the rainforest.
If you’d like to discover more about the local culture around Bedugul, you can also request for a shorter trek in order to visit a local coffee plantation and observe how coffee is processed.
29.) Surf at Uluwatu Beach
Every year thousands of travelers arrive in Indonesia to enjoy the waves. Given its geographic location and the fact that there are thousands of islands in the country, the conditions for surfing are amazing every year of the year. Depending on the season, the swell strikes one shore or the other.
Bali is not an exception, and being one of the most developed islands for tourism only makes it attracts even more surfers.
One of the most popular surf spots on the island is Uluwatu, located in the south of Bali. Uluwatu has different breaks with waves for all difficulties, but it is not recommended for complete beginners. Uluwatu beach is very beautiful and you can visit the Buddhist temple nearby, which is also called Uluwatu. The Uluwatu temple is located on the top of a cliff, boarding the coastline. Beautiful and nice to expend a morning walking around it.
Surfing in Bali is a must-do during your visit, and if you don’t get the chance of getting to Uluwatu, you can also do it on several other beaches around the island, like Kuta or Canggu. Just rent a big board and step into the ocean, you will not regret trying it!
30.) Search for Abandoned Airplanes
Did you know that there are four abandoned airplanes in Bali? One Boeing 737 is located in the south of Kuta. When I visited the plane a few months ago it was possible to get inside via the back cargo door and explore.
Another abandoned airplane can be found on Bali’s southern peninsula near Pandawa Beach. It is said to be owned by an Australian who wanted to transform it into an airplane restaurant. On top of Gate 88 Mall near Kuta, the back part of a McDonnell Douglas DC-10 can be found.
The least known plane is probably the Boeing 737-200 in the Jembrana region. It is around 100km away from Bali’s main airport and no one really knows how it got there. Click here for more information and photos and directions to the abandoned airplanes on Bali.
31.) Fly High at the Bali Swing
The Bali Swing has become one of the most Instagrammable places in Bali. Although there are many Bali swings all over the island the most well known and frequented are the original just 20 minutes outside of Ubud. If you’re looking for a good Instagram photo while in Bali, you should definitely head here. Sitting in the swing and flying high over the Balinese Jungle is one of the best things you can do in Bali. It’s a bit expensive at $35 but it does give access to 12 swings of varying sizes, fun nests to sit in for pictures, a few other photo stops, and a buffet style dinner with free coffee and tea.
It’s easy to get there via scooter, or choose to pay $6 extra online and they will transfer you to and from your accommodation in Ubud. There is also free transfer service from the “Queens of India” restaurant near the Ubud Palace. It’s recommended to get there as early as possible to avoid the crowds that come to take photos.
32.) Check Out Tegenungan Waterfall
Tegenungan Waterfall is one of the most popular waterfalls in Bali due to the proximity to Ubud. It’s just a 25-30 minute drive from the city center by car or scooter.
The waterfall is easy to get to but requires a short hike down from the parking area. On the way, you can gaze and hear the sound of the pounding water from a distance. There are almost no tourists in the early morning, so my best recommendation is to get here early before 8 am if you want it to yourself.
The water flow is massive, and you can even walk up to the top of the waterfall if you want. If you venture up on the rocks and cliffs you also get another view of the waterfall.
You can get to the waterfall via taxi from Ubud, but it’s best to rent your own scooter since there are other waterfalls and beautiful places all over that you can get to. The admission cost for the waterfall is 15,000 IDR and must be paid in cash.
33.) Practice Yoga
Bali is well known for being an incredibly spiritual place in the world. It’s well known in Indonesia that Bali is the Island of the Gods. It’s often listed as one of the best places around the globe to engage in meditation and yoga. As a full time traveling yogi I was not going to miss my chance at experiencing the many great yoga studios around Bali. Ubud, a town in the middle of the Bali is the spiritual mecca of the island. We spent three lovely weeks here eating vegan food and practicing our downward dog.
A trip to Bali is not complete with at least a stab at trying yoga – beginners are welcomed everywhere! My absolute favorite yoga studio is Intuitive Flow located at the top of the Penestenan Stairs. The views over the jungle here set the mood for any yoga session and it’s location away from town creates a quiet and peaceful environment. A drop in class starts at 100,000 IDR. Make sure to grab a fresh cold coconut in their reception after!
-The World Pursuit
Plan and Pack for Bali
Travel Water Bottle
Plastic pollution is a problem in Bali so it’s best not to contribute to the problem buying plastic water bottles everywhere – plus the water from the taps here is perfectly safe to drink. We’ve shifted to using an insulated aluminum water bottle as it handles the hot sun well.
However, we also love filtered water bottles in areas we’re uncertain of the water supply. Read more about favorite water bottle for travel in our post.
A cover-up is one of those beach vacation clothes you should always travel within your luggage. When packing for a day at the beach, make sure you don’t forget one. Not only do they look cute, but they will also protect you from the suns harsh rays.
Many establishments don’t allow beachgoers to wear just a swimsuit, so this is where the cover-up is essential. Most of my cover-ups come from Pitusa.
If you’re wondering what travel necessities to bring to Bali then good walking shoes should be your top concern.
No matter what you will need a beach bag when heading to the beach. This is to throw in anything like towels, a book, a speaker, sunglasses, snacks, and sunscreen. As full-time travelers, we often use our daypacks for trips to the beach since a tote is unnecessary.
However, a classic tote that everyone has in their closet is a great option for those on short trips or live close to the beach. They also travel well as they can fold flat and lie in your luggage. For family beach goers I recommend a large yet durable beach tote like this one.
Skin cancer is for real! Don’t forget your SPF when traveling around Bali. We recommend ordering some online before leaving the house as you will need it underneath the sun in the summer.
We highly recommend getting an eco friendly sun cream that does not contain harmful chemicals.
Make sure to protect your eyes from the sun. There are a lot of options for sunglasses and everyone should own at least a pair. It’s best to make sure they do have UV protection for the health of your eyes.
We made our first investment in quality polarized sunglasses with a pair of SMITH Optics Lowdown 2. Truthfully, not everyone needs to invest $150 in a pair of sunglasses, but they do make a huge difference from the crappy $10 ones.
Most hotels will provide you with a towel, but they often aren’t suitable or allowed on the beaches. I like to travel with a microfiber towel because they are light and fold up small, and they also don’t cling on to sand our dirt. Here are a few of our favorite travel towels.
Remember that Bali uses the Type C adaptor. Make sure you find a good universal adapter like the one I have to keep you charged. Otherwise, you may be paying for a cheap one once you land.
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