The best things to do in Bali let you glimpse what makes Indonesia unique. There’s just something about the island of gods that makes visitors fall head over heels.
The activities you can do are plenty and diverse, so much so that every type of traveller can find something for themself here. Whether you are newlyweds, solo wanderlusts, hikers, holidaymakers, etc., you will find your time in Bali worthwhile.
However, without careful planning, it may be easier to pinpoint the best places to see in Bali for your travel itinerary. Therefore, CabinZero will introduce you to the marvellous ways to spend your time in this enchanting place.
Overview Of Bali
When you want to find paradise on Earth, you come to Bali. Photo by Kimberly McNeilus on Pexels
Bali is the most popular destination in all of Indonesia. It’s the definition of an island paradise and a hidden gem. There are always adventure opportunities at every corner, thanks to the nation’s diversity.
Since the 1960s, the exotic Indonesian island has slowly become one of Asia’s most popular destinations. Among over 17,000 islands in Indonesia, Bali makes a name for itself thanks to its spectacular volcanic landscape, tropical beaches and lush green jungle.
Best Things To Do In Bali: Learn To Appreciate The Island Of The Gods
The top thing to do in Bali is to get closer to nature and the people. Balinese are warm, friendly and welcoming. They are happy to help you learn about their culture and arts.
The best time to visit Bali is between May-September (dry season). Around this time of the year, the weather is sunny and warm, ideal for most activities. The rainy season is unpredictable, but travel prices can be lower.
1. Take A Trip To Nusa Penida Island
If you go to Indonesia, you should pay attention to Nusa Penida, Bali’s less well-known sister. Photo by Darren Lawrence on Pexels
Take a speedboat, and within 45 minutes, you will reach this small island. As of writing, there is a required entrance fee. The levy is IDR 25,000 (£1.37) per adult and IDR 15,000 (£0.8) per child. The small fee grants access to Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan, and Nusa Ceningan.
The rates make sense as it helps preserve the rugged beauty and iconic landscapes. When you visit beautiful attractions such as Kelingking Beach, you will find it’s worth it. It’s a small price to pay for a day trip to this small paradise off the Eastern Coast.
The first thing, and perhaps the top thing to do in Bali, is visit Kelingking Beach. This is where you can view the breathtaking scenery of a “T-rex” shaped cliff surrounded by crystal blue water.
If you want to explore a little bit further, you can take a day trip to Nusa Dua. Compared to Penida’s rugged state, it is a more touristy experience. Thus the destination is the better choice for families.
2. Take Memorable Snaps Of The Rice Terraces
The rice terraces are more than a podcast-perfect place. They offer a glimpse of the locals’ life. Photo by Szabolcs Toth on Pexels
Rice is a staple of many Asian countries. And there is bound to be breathtaking scenery from these bountiful yields. The Tegalalang Rice Terraces in the north of Ubud are stuff made of legends: awe-inspiring level after level of artistically spread rice fields in a lush scenery.
It has been the delight of many travellers' and photographers and the best place to go in Bali. The deep green colour surrounded by mountainous landscape evokes a mystic and magical feeling inside any beholder.
The hike is about 30 minutes to an hour, depending on your pace. Besides exploring the levels and taking podcast-perfect snaps, there are many activities to enjoy: having fun with the swings, interacting with the farmers in the local villages, sipping coconut water, etc.
If you want to get lost in many rice terraces such as this, there are loads of choices. For instance, you can go to Rendang (East Bali), Jatiluwih (Penebel), Pererenan (Canggu), etc.
3. Do Some Temple Hopping
Hidden within wondrous landscapes are the most beautiful buildings in the world. Photo by umike_foto - stock.adobe.com
You may have heard Bali referred to as “the island of the gods”. The fact that more than 20,000 temples are dotted across the place earns Bali this nickname. A must-do thing in Bali and all of Indonesia is exploring a few of them.
Most Balinese are Hindus. Thus there is a vast array of Puras (temples). Buddhist temples such as Brahma Vihara Arama are few and far between. Be aware that you must wear a sarong, as most temples require.
To get started, you can’t go wrong with Tanah Lot, a famous Hindu sea temple perched high on an outcrop against crashing waves. The sunset's red sky, clear clouds and gentle breezes will immerse everyone in serene tranquillity.
Uluwatu Temple is another solid choice. Come to this attraction 70 metres above sea level, and you can witness its majesty. There are many ceremonies to observe; one example is Kecak Dance, a traditional dance.
4. Spend A Lazy Day In Seminyak
A view of Potato Head Beach Club on Seminyak beach - a tourist hotspot. Photo by Ern Gan on Unsplash
If partying and nightlife are what you are looking for, taking a trip to Seminyak is the best thing to do in Bali. Reaching this beach resort destination will take about 30 minutes from the Bali airport via Taxi.
The traffic can get quite congested, but it’s to be expected given the place's popularity. It’s not the best stay for the culture, but you can lodge in another area and plan a trip here.
The sophisticated beach vibes are out of this world. From beach bars and boutique shops to dinners, everything won’t disappoint. Seminyak is also famous for the epic brunch scene. All the funky cafes and eateries are killing it!
5. Let Yourself Be At Ease At Canggu - The Hipper Hotspot
Canggu is a hipster’s paradise, thanks to the cool cafes and hip boutiques. Photo by Cassie Gallegos on Unsplash
When you need some liveliness, you come to Canggu. The resort village is perhaps more well-known for Tanah Lot Temple and Mt. Batuh, but there is more to it than that. It’s now one of the best places to go in Bali, alongside Ubud and Seminyak.
Why do people flock to this once fisherman’s village? Mainly it’s the laid-back vibe and a mix of activities: surfing spots, cool bars, window shopping, etc. A day in Canggu - the hippest place in Bali - is never dull.
Seminyak has better beaches, but Canggu excels in other aspects. Both places have a vibrant surf and café scene, but the latter offers more street art, local artisan markets and adrenaline activities.
Once you are done relaxing at the beach bars and pools, take a stroll to La Laguna Gypsy Market. Even if you don’t intend to buy anything, the fairy-like atmosphere is worth experiencing.
Did you know that Canggu has a foodie tour? That says a lot about the dining quality of the area. So if you want to sample the best traditional Indonesian fare, you know where to look.
6. Beat The Heat At A Bali Waterpark
Getting wet in one of Bali’s top waterparks is a great way to make the most of your time. Photo by Birute Vijeikiene - stock.adobe.com
There’s nothing like good fun for the whole family as a trip to Waterbom, the best waterpark in Bali. Many things make it among the best places to go in Bali.
The waterpark is full of green space, and the food is made on-site with fresh ingredients. It is also the first Bali tourism facility to be certificated carbon-neutral.
Are you a thrill-seeker? Then try “The Climax” - Asia’s steepest slide. You prefer chilling instead? Float your day away at the “Lazy River”, then. There’s something for everyone to enjoy.
A day pass prices between IDR 500,000-750,000 (£28-42) for a single adult. Spending a day in the 38,000 sq m of wild rides, slides, restaurants, and facilities will leave you with fun memories.
7. Restore The Balance With Self-Care
Bali has around 1,200 spas, making it a place with one of the highest densities of spas in the world. Photo by Tienko Dima on Unsplash
It’s easy to pamper yourself with a Balinese massage as the service is so widely available and affordable. A session of one hour at a luxury centre may cost about €50-70. It’s a must-do thing in Bali once you set foot on this wonderful island.
The price can be as low as €3 or less At the street massage parlours. However, the cleanliness and quality won’t be up to par, so we recommend going for places that are at least €5-8.
If you want to be safe, go to reputable spas highly reviewed on various platforms. Having a massage at the hotels is another excellent choice. But you will have to pay the government and service tax. On the other hand, they often include oil, post-massage showers, foot scrubs, etc., in the package.
8. Level Up Your IG Game With The Bali Swings
The thrilling sensation of flying and falling is elevated thanks to the inspiring green backdrops. Photo by Dima Anikin - stock.adobe.com
There are now many Bali swing complexes around. But nothing beats the original one in Ubud. The swing that started it all is located in Jl. Dewi Saraswati. It lets you soar high from 10m and even 75m above ground. While in the air, you’ll be treated to a breathtaking trees valley and a river view.
Striking a post while riding the swings overlooking the beautiful landscapes is a must-do thing in Bali. Most places would have dresses for hire. You can even book a flying dress photoshoot if you want more memorable snaps.
Other variations evolve from the first swing, Namely the Bali nest and bed swing. The concepts are the same: a nest-like swing or suspended bed connected to a platform where people come to take a picture.
If you want to visit other Bali swings, there are many good choices: Aloha Ubud, Wanagiri Hidden Hills, etc. Ubud swing at Zen Hideaway is one of the less tourist-pack ones and requires booking in advance.
9. Get Close And Personal With The Rare Animals
Want to see Mr Tiger here in the flesh? Come to Bali Safari and Marine Park. Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash
Do you want to see more than 100 rare and endangered animals? Bali Safari and Marine Park fit the bill (don’t confuse it with Bali Zoo). This is where you can see some of the fascinating creatures on Earth, from the white tiger to the komodo dragon. Your kids will love it!
Safari and Marine Park has loads of opportunities for fun: aquariums, a waterpark, elephant riding, safari tours, live performances, etc. One of the most popular ones is a night safari journey for an exciting evening. There’s even a hotel to enjoy your trip even more.
Ticket costs start from IDR 800,000 (About £44) - excluding services such as feeding. The price is pretty hefty, but it is the best place to go in Bali for a very entertaining and educational experience. Whether you are a couple or come with family and friends, you will have a good time here.
10. Learn About The Ubud Culture & Arts
Ubud is the capital, the heart and soul of Bali's artistic and cultural experience. Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash
In terms of all thing culture and arts, Ubud is Bali’s top attraction. Everything to see and do here is spiritual and magical in an extraordinary way. The first thing most people do is take a stroll to savour the ambience and atmosphere.
Ubud Art Market is a great starting point (It’s time to put those haggling skills into use). A shopping trip to the immersive markets offers insight into the locals’ life. If you want to see more art shops, consider visiting Sukawati, Guwang art markets and Jalan Raya Ubud main street.
Ubud Monkey Forest is among the most popular destinations in Indonesia. The sanctuary is a 12.5 hectares Hindu complex where monkeys roam around freely. For the locals, it’s a way to connect with nature following the traditional Balinese philosophy of Tri Hita Karana.
If you want to learn something, there is a course covering that subject: painting, wood making, yoga, dancing, etc. If you are eager to learn a local craft or attend cooking classes, there are many chances to do so in Ubud.
11. Dive And Snorkel To Explore The Underwater World
The scenery under Bali’s sea is nothing short of marvellous. Photo by Sebastian Pena Lambarri on Unsplash
Water sports are prevalent on the island. This is no surprise, as Balu is known for its world-class beach and surfing destinations. But it would be a shame to miss marine life when you plan to check off all the best things to do in Bali.
The best parts? It doesn’t take much to dive and snorkel. Just hit the seaside, don the necessary equipment and hit the water. For better experience and safety, it’s advisable to sign up for a tour with professional guides.
If you want a more accessible way to explore the sea, opt for sea walking or riding an underwater scooter. You don’t need to have experience or skills in scuba diving; it’s family-friendly to boot.
Gili Trawangan is a popular destination for a side trip from Bali. All you have to do is take a fast boat, and within 1-3 hours, you will enjoy the island’s beaches, diving spots, epic sunset, etc.
12. Hike The Roofs Of Bali
Watching a sunrise or sunset over mount Batur is a one-of-a-kind experience. Photo by astrosystem - stock.adobe.com
Indonesia has close to 150 volcanoes, some of which are still active. It is a waste not to climb one of them. Trekking mount Agung and mount Batur for the sunrise view at the top is among the must-do things in Bali.
Once you reach the peak, the reward is an awe-inspiring view of the whole of Bali. It’s like watching from a plane window, except without any glass between you and the spreading view below.
Mount Agung and mount Batur lie 3,000 and 1,700 metres above sea level, respectively. Keep in mind that both of these are active volcanoes. Therefore, you should check the activity levels before hiking.
The highest peak of Bali, mount Agung, would take 3-7 hours to trek, depending on your route. It’s a challenging hike. Go to the Western slope, and you will find Besakih Temple, Bali’s most significant and holiest temple. The locals believe that the gods are still living on this mountain.
Mount Batur is in North Bali. Compared to Agung, it’s a more leisurely trek that typically takes around 1-3 hours, depending on your pace. After a long day, we advise you to savour the hot springs at Toya Devasya or Banjar Hot Spring.
13. Clean Your Souls With Hidden-Away Waterfalls
In many corners of Bali lie various refreshing and soul-cleansing waterfalls. Photo by Nichapa - stock.adobe.com
No matter where you are based, chasing waterfalls is always the top thing to do in Bali. The hidden treasures behind lush greenery and mountainous valley are worth exploring to soothe tired souls.
Some waterfalls require trekking and exploring off-the-beaten tracks to get there. Some are more accessible, lying on well-trodden pathways. Whether you are adventurous or want to be chilled, there’s a waterfall for you out there in Bali.
If you want a place with more peace or tranquillity, consider taking a trip to lesser-known waterfalls such as Jembong. On the other hand, Tegenungan Waterfall is the most visited. Once you view the sun shining through the 30 metres cascade, you gain a new appreciation for the island’s natural beauty.
14. Be Mindful With Yoga And Healing Practices
Bali is an ideal destination to heal and nurture yourself. Photo by LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS - stock.adobe.com
Bali and yoga are the two most iconic duos. Having a stretch or two is a good idea if you want peace of mind from the lively and busy days. Plus, it’s a great way to connect with your spiritual self.
There are many retreats and yoga courses to choose from. The most beautiful yoga studios gather around Canggu, Seminyak, Uluwatu, and Ubud. All the courses and workshops are affordable, just like the whole of Bali itself.
While at it, consider trying Bali Usada, traditional healing therapy. Made famous by the movie Eat, Pray, Love (2010), it is now a sought-after and top thing to do in Bali. The traditional healers will help you regain your balance with various local methods: silent retreat, holistic yoga, natural herbs, etc.
15. Hire A Scooter To Get Around
Once you get the hang of it, you don’t want to travel around Bali any other way. Photo by LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS - stock.adobe.com
The traffic on main tourist streets can be horrendous; a scooter can take half the time a car or bus needs to go somewhere. Most areas, especially Ubud, have tourists riding around on a scooter. Why not try hiring one for yourself?
The freedom and fun factor make it a must-do thing in Bali. You are no longer bound by any taxi or public transport. Now it’s your choice to go anywhere at any time.
Accidents can happen. For safety, always wear a helmet. And if you are not an experienced driver, start with the quiet, less-crowded roads. Always purchase travel insurance beforehand.
Depending on the vehicles, prices start from IDR 50,000 (£2.8) for 24 hours. Like hiring a car in Paris or anywhere else, remember to have an international driver’s licence. Consider getting a driving lesson with the locals if you are still not confident.
Hiring a private driver is always an option. It will be pricier, but the money’s worth it. Either way, freely exploring Bali’s most unique locations on wheels is a blast, and you won’t regret it.
Travelling is more than just going and coming. You better understand the country and the people with each thing you see and do. With every activity you cross off the best things to do in Bali list, you slowly appreciate Bali more.
Bali is a beautiful destination. Even David Bowie wanted to have his ashes scattered in this place. Be sure to tell us about your adventure in this great island nation in the comment below. And please spread the word so that more people can go on these fantastic adventures.