50+ top things to do in Bali: The Ultimate Bali Bucket List

It’s no secret Bali is a very popular tourist destination, Trip Advisor crowned it the World’s Best Destination in 2017! With a mix of family-friendly activities, cultural spots, beach clubs, great surf and amazing cuisine its no wonder people are flocking here in the masses. This diverse, eclectic island is just waiting for you to discover it – no matter what kind of traveller you are.

After the huge success of our Bali Travel Guide, finally, we are bringing you a list of the top things to do in Bali! Here is our ultimate Bali bucket list!

 

Related: Ultimate Bucketlist for South Africa

 


 


50+ top things to do in Bali: The Ultimate Bali Bucket List

Bali and yoga go hand in hand.  Long before Eat, Pray, Love yogis headed to paradise to spend their days deep in practice amongst the rice fields in Ubud. Post the famous movie there are healing centres, retreats, fitness clubs and hotels all offering daily yoga classes taught by both locals and expats who  now call bali home.  Many boutique hotels now offer free morning yoga especially in Ubud, like The Sankara and Suarti Boutique Village.

WHERE: Desa Seni (Canggu), Yoga Barn (Ubud)
HOW MUCH: $10- $15
TIPS: Take advantage of free yoga classes many of the boutique hotels

Go paragliding

Are you feeling adventurous? Undoubtedly one of the best things to do when travelling to Bali is to experience paragliding or parasailing and explore the landscape from the sky. Take the afternoon off to drift across the stunning Bali skylines over the clear blue sea of Pandawa beach and admire the island from a very different angle.

WHERE: Nusa Dua
HOW MUCH: $45+
OUR PICKS: Watersports Package, Tandem Parasailing

Photo by Dmytro Mamon from Pexels

Immerse yourself in a wellness retreat

There are many benefits of a wellness retreat, why not combine these enriching activities with a relaxing stay in Bali. There are many retreats throughout Bali that cater to all wellness types including, holistic, surf, yoga, detox, fitness, women’s only with a varying degree of budgets. These renewing experiences are all about personalising your retreat with your individual wellness needs, with most offering nourishing meals, activities, coaches and Ayurvedic and Spa treatments.

WHERE: Ubud, Canggu, Seminyak
HOW MUCH: $800+
OUR PICKS: Pineapple House, Fivelements

See a traditional Balinese Dance

Bali is rich in culture, this can be seen in its traditional ceremonies and iconic art performances. Head to Uluwatu to experience The Kecak Fire Dance at sunset where performers use dominant human vocals in place of gamelan instruments to accompany the dramatic dance. Your visit to the island won’t be complete without seeing a show, and the best place to do so is at the cliff-top amphitheatre located just south of the Uluwatu Temple on Bali’s southern Bukit peninsula. There will also be chances in Ubud as an alternative.

WHERE: Uluwatu, Ubud
HOW MUCH: $20-$50
OUR PICKS:  Sunset Uluwatu Kecak Fire Dance, Balinese Traditional Barong Dance

Climb Mt Batur

The most popular trek in Bali is most definitely Mt Batur, rise at 2 am and venture up to the summit for a glorious sunset. The hike takes about 2 hours and most tours include coffee and a light breaky for the price of around 45 USD. You can organise your trek whilst you are in Bali at most street vendors or head here to book before you arrive.

WHERE: Mt Batur (central Bali)- Pick up from Hotel
HOW MUCH: Starting from $40
OUR PICKS: Sunrise Trek, Mt Batur Trekking

Take a bike ride tour through Ubud

Escape the hustle and embark on a rural discovery of the local villages that surround Ubud. There are options for both half and full day eco-educational cycling tours and are a great way to see the magic of Bali! Escape the tourist areas and see the real Bali learning directly from the locals. You will visit family compounds, rice paddies, markets and learn about local life. Lunch, snacks, and a coffee break are usually included.

WHERE: Ubud
HOW MUCH: $30-$50
OUR PICKS: Bali Hai Bike Tours, Eco- Tours

Eat Local Cuisine ie Nasi Campur

The culinary landscape of Indonesia is as diverse as its culture and showcases spices, chilli and aromatics. Favourites include Babi Guling, Gado Gado, Mie Goreng and Bakso. My top pick though is Nasi Campur (pronounced ‘champoor’), which translates to rice with assorted goodies. This is often tempe, a curry, Balinese vegetables and water spinach.

WHERE: Everywhere!
HOW MUCH: Starting from $2
OUR PICKS: Warung Murah, Warung Biah Biah, Warung Sopa, Warung Yogya

Do a cooking class

I believe to truly immerse yourself in a country, you must understand its food culture and what better way to do that than a hands-on cooking class. Start with a visit to the morning market to learn about local produce and pick up ingredients for your cook. Using recipes handed down through the generations, you’ll learn about authentic Balinese culture, try traditional preparation techniques, sample essential spices before finishing up with the feast!

WHERE: Ubud, Seminyak, Canggu
HOW MUCH: Starting from $35
OUR PICKS: Bumbu Bali, Casa Luna Cooking School, Urban Farm

Learn to surf

There are many beaches in Bali that don’t have big swell making them the perfect spots for learning to surf. I recently learnt to surf at Batu Belong in Canggu by Sunny Surf & Stay who I HIGHLY recommend.  It is a great and freeing skill to learn! They cater specifically for beginners and intermediate surfers who want to learn how to surf or improve their surfing in a fun and safe environment. There are also many retreats and camps that combine surfing and yoga in an all-inclusive deal. Check out Pineapple House.

WHERE: Canggu, Seminyak, Sanur, Uluwatu, Kuta
HOW MUCH: Starting from $20
OUR PICKS: Sunny Surf and Stay, Mojo Surf

Take a day trip to Nusa Penida

Nusa Penida is a biggest of the three Nusa islands located off mainland Bali. You can get to Nusa Penida by boat and takes around 20 mins. There are many places to organise a day trip in Bali. There are beautiful waters and beaches to visit but the most iconic reason made famous by Instagram is to see  Kelingking point!

WHERE: Nusa Penida- Island off the coast of Bali
HOW MUCH: $70

Get your Padi

Curious to discover the underwater world? Why not do it in paradise,  PADI Discover Scuba allows you to experience the thrill of diving under the care and close supervision of a PADI Instructor. It’s perfect if you are not sure if diving is for you this way you can try it for the day and see. From there . you can gain your full Padi Course which takes around 4 days.

WHERE: Padang Bai
HOW MUCH: Starting from $350

Visit the Amazing Waterfalls

There is something so special about discovering waterfalls and being in nature! There are many great waterfalls in Bali to discover, in the North of Bali Sekumpful Waterfall is located towards the Bedugul area. Due to its height and force, it is definitely one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Bali. For an unbelievable swim head to Banyumala Twin Waterfall which is around 57km from Ubud.

WHERE: North of Bali and near Ubud
HOW MUCH: You can hire a private driver to take you or join a tour. Prices start from $30

Have Sunday drinks at Rock Bar

Perched atop distinctive rock formations along Jimbaran’s pristine sunset coast, Rock Bar Bali is a popular sunset spot that is part of the Ayana grounds in Jimbaran Bay. Showcasing unparalleled views from 14 meters above the Indian Ocean, Rock Bar is accessible via AYANA’s dramatic cliff side inclinator.

WHERE: Jimbaran Bay
HOW MUCH: Cocktails start at $17
TIPS: The view here is amazing go for Sunset to make it extra special

Learn about the Hindu Culture

Although multi-religious, Bali is predominantly Hindu. Originally from Java, this blend of  Shivaism and Buddhism is fascinating, spiritual and complex.
In Balinese Hinduism, the indigenous beliefs manifest in the belief that nature is “power” and each element is subject to influence from spirits with ancestry worship playing a huge page.  Spirits and ancestors are treated with respect, with daily offerings (Canang Sari) that are made from betel leaf and topped with colourful flowers that all have symbolic meaning.  These are then placed in temples, shrines, in front of stalls and even in their cars! Head to Uluwatu temple’s cliff-top amphitheatre for a special performance of the Kecak dance.

Explore the awe-inspiring rice terraces

Whilst you are visiting Ubud make sure you venture to the iconic Tegalalang rice terrace. The rice terrace is a short 20-minute drive north of Ubud which can be organised by a driver in town or from your hotel.

Stay in a beach bungalow

Head to the Gili Islands for uninterrupted island life complete with beach bungalow living. The Gili Islands are made of three islands, the main one is Gili Trawangan then Gili Meno and Gili Air. These are the best places to stay in a cheap beach bungalow! See our top picks below.


WHERE:
Gili Islands
HOW MUCH: From $20 a night
OUR PICKS: 
Le PirateGili Kulemba BungalowIsland BeachPondok Santi EstateGili Treehouses

Eat from a ‘Window’

As mentioned above you must try the local cuisine to experience the true culture of Bali. Why not take it one step further and eat where and how the locals do! Nasi Bunkas! It like traditional take away and translates to rice wrapped in banana leaf. Nowadays though its most likely rice wrapped in brown paper. This can be experienced from street vendors or warungs (local cafes) that have food on displays in large windows. Some can look a bit off putting but if you know where to go you will experience some of the tastiest food of your life!

Try and speak some Bahasa

A fun thing to do in Bali when visiting is to try and speak Indonesian! There are many benefits to learning the basics when visiting a new country. Indonesia is an easier language to learn as well so why not try a couple of words, the locals appreciate it and if they think you are more than a regular ‘tourist’ they won’t try to rip you off as much! Try this app to help you learn the basics.

Yes: Ya
No: Tidak
One more: Satu Lagi
Thank you: Terima Kasih
How much: Berupa
I don’t want: Saya Tidak Mau
Food: Makan
Drink: Minum
Very Cold: Dingin Sekali
Delicious: Enak

Visit Kintamani Volcano

There are many Kintamani tours available so you can enjoy the breathtaking view of an active volcano and lake Batur. The trips usually include a visit to a  Balinese traditional house compound, art village, monkey forest, a pass-through Tegallalang rice terrace, coffee plantation stop, before a lunch at the famous Kintamani viewing spot! Alternatively, you could hire a car or driver to drive directly to the volcano.

Indulge in daily spa treatments

One of the top things to do in Bali is to indulge and pamper yourself! There is an abundance of spas in Bali ranging from budget to luxury which all offer packages, famous Balinese massages, hair treatments and many others.  Since the prices are much more competitive than in western countries its often people splurge for full spa days. Here are some of the most luxurious spas- Bodyworks, Prana,  Fivelements, Away and Golddust.

WHERE: Everywhere
HOW MUCH: Treatments can start from $6

Visit Tanah Lot- a Balinese Iconic Temple

Visiting Tanah Lot Pura(temple) at sunset is a very popular thing to do in Bali, with most tourists opting for a tour or hiring a driver to take them to this iconic location.  Tanah Lot means Land in The Sea,  which is very fitting with its unique offshore settings. Tanah Lot is located in Tabanan, around 18 km away from Seminyak.

WHERE: Tabanan
HOW MUCH: Entry is $6 and then you have the price for your driver. You can also get an inclusive tour for
OUR PICKS: Tanah Lot Tour

Stay on Nusa Lembongan

One of the best things to do in Bali is to leave it for a more relaxed island life! Head the small island of Nusa Lembongan for uninterrupted paradise. With no traffic or hawkers on the island, this place is fast becoming a popular sanctuary for surfing, diving and snorkelling.  It also has some of the clearest you will find anywhere,  with a very vivid shade of blue.


HOW TO GET THERE:
From Sanur or Pandang Bai take a speedboat with. Alternatively, you can take a local boat.
HOW MUCH:  $30 one way for speedboat
WHERE TO STAY: Royal Retreat Villa’s Lembongan, Svaha Private Villas CeninganBukit Ancak Lembongan Villa

Pick up a bargain at Ubud Markets

One the top things to do in Bali for the shopper is to visit The Ubud Art Market! A huge maze of artisan and handcrafts. It’s open every day from 6am to 6pm and the best time to visit in as early as possible- the crowds will be less, as will the heat and when its less busy the vendor often offer a better price. The markets are located opposite the Royal Ubud Palace, at Jalan Raya Ubud No.35, but most taxi drivers will know it if you just say ‘Ubud Market’.

Head to the Gili Islands

Head to the Gili Islands for uninterrupted island life complete with beach bungalow living. The Gili Island is made up of three islands, the main one is The Gili Islands are a group of 3 tiny islands – Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air – in Indonesia, near the coast of northwest Lombok Island. Characterized by sandy beaches fringed with palm trees, they’re known for their coral reefs just offshore. On the smallest island of Gili Meno, sea turtles swim at Turtle Point. At Gili Trawangan, the largest island, a sunken ship sits at Wreck Point near Mentigi Beach and don’t miss the famous swing at sunset.

Have a seafood feast at Sunset in on Jimbaran Beach

One of the top things to do in Bali is to have a seafood feast on Jimbaran Beach over sunset. An abundance of seafood restaurants lines Pantai Muaya, offering fresh grilled seafood and yummy Balinese sauces.

Cafe hop in Seminyak

Seminyak is home to some amazing dining options the cafe/coffee scene is pretty spectacular as well, with new cafes opening every 6 months. I have spent countless hours cafe hopping and searching for that strong wifi connection and good coffee us nomads lust over! Read more here for the best cafes in Seminyak.

TOP PICKS: Kynd, Coffee Cartel, Sister Fields, Corner House, Revolver, Kim Soo

Shop til you drop!

One of the best things to do in Seminyak is to shop! Once Bali shopping equalled cheap knockoffs, Bintang singlets and tie-dyed sarongs. All these still exist in the abundance at markets, but there is now also a more sophisticated shopping experience. From high-end boutiques, incredible homewares, inspiring custom pieces and surf shops scattered through the heart of Seminyak and surrounding areas.

Stay in a private Villa

Bali is the perfect place to choose to stay in a private villa, there are so many wonderful choices that are actually affordable. Here you can have luxurious privacy without the hefty price tag! From private pool villas to traditional Balinese style, or villas with multiple bedrooms and services like cooks and drivers for families. There is something for everyone!

TOP PICKS: Palm House, Fella Villas, Alam Bidadari, Suarti Boutique Villas, Sanakra Villas

Stay in a private Treehouse

Staying in this unique bamboo home in the midst of the lush rice terraces is a completely unique experience. Wake up with the birds chirping in the morning and enjoy the incredible view over the quiet rice terraces from your bedroom. This is the perfect adventure for travellers wanting to escape the crowded cities and experience real Bali. If treehouses aren’t your thing there are lots of beautiful bamboo bungalows in Ubud as well.

WHERE: Ubud
HOW MUCH: $250+
OUR PICKS: Treehouse Airbnb

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One of the dreamiest locations ✨

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Check the waves and explore Uluwatu

Uluwatu is the surfer HQ with a relaxed vibe thanks to the surf culture. Hire a motorbike and spend your days checking all the surf spots. Finish the day by visiting one of the beach clubs for sunset drinks.

Become a local in Canggu

Once just a small town for surfers, Canggu is now a hip town with an abundance of villas, restaurants, cafes and shops.  It a great place to stay for long periods of time. Rent a private villa for a month and work from cafes, surf and do yoga.

Have sunset cocktails at the iconic beach clubs

Whether you are living it up in Seminyak or Canggu, venturing down south, or Island-hopping Bali has a beach club for you! Spend the day relaxing on your private day beds with innovative cocktails and cool beats.

OUR PICKS: Sundays Beach Club, Finns, La Laguna, La Plancha, Potato Head, The Lawn

Escapes the crowds and head to Sanur

A quieter and more relaxed coastal area. Around 30 mins from the airport, it sits on the opposite side of the island to Kuta.  A long stretch of beach that offers shallow blue waters. The main street Jalan Tamblingan is home to restaurants, shops and hotels. We stayed at Wirasana Bali on the main street for under $30 a night!

Get adventurous and go white water rafting

Looking for something a little bit more thrilling? One of the top things to do in Bali for the adventurer is to get wet and wild and enjoy a thrilling white water rafting trip along the enigmatic Ayung River in Ubud.

Experience the big swing in Ubud

A fun thing to do in Bali is the big swing in Ubud. You would have seen the magnificent photos on Instagram, huge swings over the lush rice fields of Ubud. It’s a fairly new playground boasting a number of giant swings with spectacular views below. Once you are in Ubud you can organise with a driver to take you to the spot or book a tour here.

Snorkel at Blue Lagoon

One of the best places for snorkelling in Bali is Blue Lagoon located in Padang Bai. This spot is also popular for getting your Padi or diving. The snorkeling area has a sandy bottom and is home to one of Bali’s coral reefs. While you are exploring the reef, expect to see cuttle fish, angel fish, cow fish and moray eels.

Visit Tirta Empul

Although slightly undiscovered by many tourists there are many top things to do in Bali in the North. Head North to discover one of the largest and busiest water temples in Indonesia. The Tirta Empul was founded in 926 A.D. and is dedicated to Vishnu, who is the Hindu god of water. The name meaning ‘holy water spring’ is located in the village of Manukaya serving as a national cultural heritage site. Many people visit the temple for ritual purification.

Hot Air Balloon over Ubud

Enjoy a new but very unique experience in Ubud, Chedi Club Tanah Gajah now offers Hot Air Ballooning. Throughout the months of June to November, each flight climbs a thrilling 50 metres over rice fields and floats at the end of a tether and lasts for around 10 minutes. This truly awe-inspiring ride comes with panoramic views of nature including lush tropical forest, Agung Volcano, and  Mt Batur as well as breakfast for morning guests and tea and cake for afternoon flights.

What are your favourite things to do in Bali? Comment below.

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top things to do in Bali
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