13 Best Things to Do in Bali (Indonesia)
It’s tough to run out of things to do in Bali.
While exploring Bali, you can take a guided tour to get more information on the local villages you’ll be visiting or go it alone and make your own adventure.
From beach clubs and adrenaline-pumping activities to tranquil temples and yoga studios, Bali has something for everyone.
13 Can’t-Miss Experiences in Bali
1. Ubud Monkey Forest
The Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud is undoubtedly an unforgettable experience.
The monkey forest is full of long-tailed macaques in their natural habitat.
However, rather than just being friendly, you should be prepared for them to steal anything you’ve got on you, from food and water bottles to sunglasses and hats.
Inside the forest are three temples, including Pura Bejiwhich, an ancient bathing temple, which is an excellent spot for watching the monkeys play.
2. Stop by Famous Temples
It’s nearly impossible to explore Bali without stopping at some of the beautiful Hindu temples.
For example, Uluwatu Temple, located in South Bali, offers breathtaking ocean views from atop the 70-meter cliffs.
Constructed in the 10th century, Uluwatu protects against evil sea spirits. The best time to visit is at sunset, where you can catch a Kecak dance performance.
The Tirta Empul Temple has been around since the 1st century and centers around a mountain spring-fed pool used for cleansing rituals.
You can participate in a cleansing ritual here, but be sure to speak with a guide about proper etiquette before doing so.
Additionally, Pura Tanah Lot Temple sits on a rocky outcrop cut off from the mainland.
Also known as the Sea Temple, this Hindu temple offers guided tours and self-guided exploration, but you’ll need to visit during low tide, as you cannot reach it during high tide.
The Ulun Danu Temple is on the western coast of Lake Bratan, and this 17th-century thatched-roof temple is one of the most beautiful temples in Bali.
Dedicated to Dewi Danu, the temple shows Balinese Hindus’ acceptance of Buddhism.
You can admire the temple up close by renting a canoe and paddling out onto the lake.
The lush jungle and coasts of Bali have plenty more temples you can visit.
You can find many of them around other things to do in Bali, and they’re wonderful places to admire the natural beauty of the area.
Just keep in mind that many ancient temples ban tourists from entering the temple complex further than the outer courtyard.
Before visiting, check where you can enter and what other things you need to do to remain respectful.
3. Visit the Idyllic Rice Paddies
The emerald-colored rice fields of Bali are a fantastic photo opportunity and a beautiful place to explore.
Located about 30 minutes North of Ubud, the Tegallalang Rice Terraces are one of the most photographed places in Bali. If you want to avoid entrance and parking fees, you can enjoy views of the fields from one of many restaurants overlooking them.
If you’d like the same kind of view but prefer fewer tourists, you should visit the Jatiluwih rice terraces instead. An hour and a half outside of Ubud, these fields are far less crowded and sit on the hillsides of the Batukaru Mountain Range.
4. Hike Up an Active Volcano
Viewing the sunrise from atop the 1,700-meter Mount Batur should be a major priority while in Bali. In the early morning, guided treks take tourists up steep hiking trails for picturesque views of the mist-covered forest, Lake Batur, and the surrounding areas. While there, you will find that the mountain is actually an active volcano and the local people view it as sacred.
Southeast from Mount Batur is the highest point in Bali, Mount Agung. It erupted as recently as 2019, and the hike to the summit is difficult. However, hiking lovers will appreciate the trail as it is usually less crowded than others.
5. Get a Tan at the Beach
For such a small island, Bali has plenty of world-class beaches. Whether you want to try out some water sports, relax in the sun, go banana boating, or party at a beach club, you’ll be able to find the experience you want.
Kuta Beach is world-famous for surfing because the offshore sandbar creates a great surf break that’s perfect for beginners. You can rent a board, sign up for lessons, and enjoy world-class sunsets at the end of the day.
Nusa Dua Beach on the coast of East Bali is an excellent beach for just about everything. The resort areas offer luxury services to guests, and Nusa Dua beach is perfect for snorkeling, surfing, lounging, and swimming. You can even take a tour on a glass-bottom boat to get a view under the waves of Eastern Bali without getting wet.
Diamond Beach, on the other hand, is a pure white sand beach on the eastern tip of Nusa Penida. While gorgeous, you’ll want to visit during low tide, as the waves and currents can be rough and unpredictable.
Uluwatu Beach is one of the hidden gems of Bali. Located at the base of the cliffs Uluwatu Temple resides on, the small beach is one of the best in the world for surfers. Above the beach sits Karan Boma Cliff, a fantastic vantage point for enjoying sunsets.
Additionally, the white sand beaches of Balangan Beach sit at the bottom of stunning cliffs. It’s an excellent location for soaking up the sun and snorkeling on nearby coral reefs.
In North Bali, you can find the dark sand beach of Lovina. It’s a famous spot for spotting dolphins and is pretty close to some sacred hot springs.
6. Take a Cooking Class
Bumbu Bali is one of the most famous restaurants on the island, specializing in traditional Bali cuisine. Everyone knows one of the best ways to experience a culture is through sampling local dishes, but here you can also cook them.
The restaurant offers cooking classes that include a morning trip to the local markets for ingredients, lessons on cooking a traditional Balinese meal, and a communal lunch. You even get a completion certificate as a souvenir.
7. Get Refreshed Under a Set of Beautiful Waterfalls
One of the most beautiful waterfalls in Bali, Sekumpul Waterfall, is situated in the lush green jungle north of Ubud. The misty falls are a series of seven waterfalls that come down from a jungle cliff.
The hike to the falls can be strenuous and takes around four hours round-trip. Along the way, you’ll pass by rice fields, traditional villages, and tropical jungles. At the end of the day, you can take a dip at the base of the falls and experience Bali far away from all the tourist attractions.
8. Explore The Nusa Islands
If you’re looking to get away from the busy streets of the cities, you should explore the Nusa Islands.
Nusa Lembongan is the most popular and is a wonderful place for surfing, snorkeling, diving, and paddleboarding. You’ll also want to check out Dream Beach, Mushroom Bay, and the Devil’s Tears rock outcrop while you’re here.
Additionally, Nusa Ceningan is famous for its blue lagoon, which you can access by a short bridge from Nusa Lembongan.
There is also Nusa Penida, which is home to stunning rock formations, caves, and a bird sanctuary. Most people visit to go scuba diving and check out turtles, manta rays, and sunfish.
9. Go Shopping in Seminyak
If you’re interested in a fabulous shopping opportunity, you should stop by Seminyak on your trip to Bali. The streets contain tons of chic designer stores and market stalls, and you can find everything here, from the newest designer clothing to surf and skate gear.
Two main shopping malls are in Seminyak as well: Seminyak Square and Seminyak Village. However, the flea markets are where you can find the best deals on trinkets like wood carvings, stone carvings, jewelry, and authentic Balinese clothing.
10. Immerse Yourself in Balinese Art and Culture
If you’re visiting Bali, you owe it to yourself to experience true Balinese culture. Ubud, for example, has plenty of art galleries that are more than worth the trip. Both the Neka Art Museum and the Don Antonio Blanco Museum are in Ubud and are a fantastic way to experience the evolution of art in Bali.
Furthermore, the Ubud Royal Palace contains a cultural stockpile of all things Bali, and Bali’s art, architecture, and literature are on full display at Ubud Palace. The site also hosts frequent traditional dance performances and international events.
11. Find Your Inner Peace and Relax
Bali is well-known for its numerous spas and relaxation resorts, so it would be a shame not to get a Balinese massage while you’re there. Whether in your hotel or downtown, you’ll have no trouble finding a centering massage, foot rub, or head rub at a reasonable price.
Furthermore, central to Hindu culture is the practice of yoga. The Yoga Barn is one of the best places to find your zen, as it has five studios and a range of programs for all skill levels. The center is in Ubud, and you can stop in for a class, book a full retreat, or participate in a detox program.
12. Sink Under the Waves on Menjangan Island
Considered the best snorkeling and diving spot in Bali, Menjangan Island is home to reefs and shipwrecks full of sea life. It’s an amazing spot for wall diving, as some reefs have drop-offs well over 300 feet.
13. Go Spelunking
Goa Gajah, or Elephant Cave, is a sanctuary carved into the rock walls of a hillside. Even more interesting, the entrance goes through the mouth of a stone-carved demon. Inside, you can view carved depictions of Hindu gods, most notably Ganesha, who has the head of an elephant.
Other things to check out in Bali include:
- The Bali Treetop Adventure Park
- Menjangan National Marine Park
- The Gili Islands, like Gili Air
- Bali Swing
- Infinity pool
To truly experience Bali, you’ll need to get out of the busy cities and into the surrounding areas, where everywhere you look, you’ll see picturesque beaches, idyllic landscapes, and fun activities. For extra fun, you can talk to a local family to find even more adventures.
Table of Contents
- 13 Can’t-Miss Experiences in Bali
- 1. Ubud Monkey Forest
- 2. Stop by Famous Temples
- 3. Visit the Idyllic Rice Paddies
- 4. Hike Up an Active Volcano
- 5. Get a Tan at the Beach
- 6. Take a Cooking Class
- 7. Get Refreshed Under a Set of Beautiful Waterfalls
- 8. Explore The Nusa Islands
- 9. Go Shopping in Seminyak
- 10. Immerse Yourself in Balinese Art and Culture
- 11. Find Your Inner Peace and Relax
- 12. Sink Under the Waves on Menjangan Island
- 13. Go Spelunking