Bali is a bucket list destination with plenty of attractions, from surfing and catching some time at the beach to exploring temples and villages. Although most people choose to visit Bali for its relaxed environment, there are plenty of things to do in Bali keep you busy.
You’ll either love Bali or hate Bali but there’s no in between. If you are one of those visitors who fall in love with the “Island of the Gods”, you’ll find yourself returning again and again.
So, whether it’s your first time visiting Bali or a return visit where you’re looking for some different things to do in Bali, the team has put together our best suggestions.
- 30 Incredible Things To Do in Bali
- 1- Go surfing in Bali
- 2- Eat Balinese food
- 3- Take a Balinese cooking class
- 4- Go on a Bali river rafting adventure
- 5- Join a Bali yoga retreat
- 6- Visit the Elephant Cave
- 7- Go shopping in Bali
- 8- Go Partying at a Bali Beach Club
- 9- Relax with a Balinese massage
- 10- Sleep with the elephants at Elephant Safari Park
- More Things To Do In Bali
- Amazing Things To Do In Bali
- Short trips from Bali
30 Incredible Things To Do in Bali
1- Go surfing in Bali
Bali is a surfer’s paradise and the lure of the waves attracts serious surfers back again and again.
Whether you’re a serious surfer or travelling with young kids, surfing should be at the top of the list of things to do on your Bali itinerary.
Here’s a fantastic Bali itinerary packed with information on how to organise one month in Bali with four kids under the age of 9!
Bali’s best surf spots are on the southern coast and have serious reef breaks and curls but if you’re a beginner, the sandy breaks in Legian and Kuta are more suitable.
Padang Padang is where you’ll find major surfing championships are held and the iconic breaks of Uluwatu, with its mysterious temple backdrop, is a spot you’ll want to try.
2- Eat Balinese food
Balinese food is flavoursome and totally delicious.
Staple favourites include Mee Goreng, which is fried noodles cooked with vegetables and meat served with a fried egg on top, Nasi Goreng, the rice version of Mee Goreng that the Indonesians love, and Indonesian satay on a stick
Once you get a taste of those yummy Balinese dishes, you’ll be sure to want more.
3- Take a Balinese cooking class
Learning how to cook Balinese food is a great way to delve into the culture as well as take home a new skill and recipes you can prepare at home.
Balinese cooking is not as difficult as it may seem.
The secret is to use fresh ingredients and the right spices.
4- Go on a Bali river rafting adventure
It’s worth the trip up to Ubud, the lush hinterland of Bali, just to do an adventurous Bali river rafting trip on the Ayung River.
River rafting in Bali is a fun experience that older kids will enjoy.
You cruise along tranquil parts of the river past lush green landscape before you’re thrown into a whirling jet of rapids where you paddle for your life.
5- Join a Bali yoga retreat
Relax, unwind and let the cares of the world fall off your shoulders when you check yourself into a Bali yoga retreat for a healing holiday.
Besides the power of the ocean, Ubud’s mystical energy is a magnet for creative people who have set up art galleries, vegan cafes and healing energy studios.
So, if you want to get away for a break, joining a Bali yoga retreat in Ubud is might be the answer.
6- Visit the Elephant Cave
One of the cool things to do in Bali is to explore the Elephant Cave (or Goa Gajah) in Bedulu. It’s a mystical cave near Ubud steeped in legend.
According to legend, it was formed in the 11th century by the nails of a giant named Kebo Iwa. Carved into the rock wall, the cave is accessed through the mouth of a demon, with symbols of Hindu god Shiva and a statue of Ganesha, the god with the elephant head, inside.
7- Go shopping in Bali
One of the fun things to do in Bali is to go shopping in the markets and local shops.
You’ll be happy at how far your dollar will spread and the things you can buy in Bali to take home should encourage you to come with an empty suitcase.
Make sure you put your haggling skills to good use as the shopkeepers in Bali expect you to drive a bargain.
8- Go Partying at a Bali Beach Club
Of all the things to do in Bali, partying at a Bali Beach Club is a fun activity you will love.
Potato Head Beach Club has impressive poolside lounges and is the spot to watch the sunset while sipping on cocktails.
9- Relax with a Balinese massage
Bali is full of spas and massage parlours where you get everything from a foot rub and a head massage to a full body massage.
The best news is a Balinese massage won’t break the bank unless you choose to have one at a spa in a five-star luxury hotel!
10- Sleep with the elephants at Elephant Safari Park
Imagine waking up to the sound of an elephant trumpeting outside your room. It’s a Bali safari experience that is delightful.
More Things To Do In Bali
By Jewels Lynch, Instagrammer @jewelszee
I spent my 40th birthday in Bali, 10 glorious days as typical Aussie tourists with my two teenage daughters. I chose Bali for obvious reasons: it’s affordable, close to home and absolutely beautiful.
I wanted my daughters to experience Bali’s unique culture, beautiful people and amazing things to do in Bali.
11- Horseriding on Echo Beach
When I told my daughters we were headed to Bali, the first thing on their agenda was horse riding on the beach.
We found a small local horse-riding company and did a two-hour ride through paddy fields, villages and past black sandy beaches.
Echo Beach seems like quite the party zone. I’d say when the conditions are right it would have an awesome surf break.
It’s laid back, with lots of young chilled out surfers, backpackers and loud music playing from beach shacks.
It’s the kind of place you’d go with a group of friends to let loose and have some fun.
12- Watching the sunset at Kuta Beach
There is nothing that says ‘classic Bali holiday’ more than a fiery sunset on Kuta Beach.
It is quite a crowded beach, especially at sunset but to me, the crowd is part of the Bali experience.
Fortunately, there are plenty of other uncrowded beaches and islands in Indonesia.
I loved all the people.
They seemed so happy and joyous, enjoying life. I think that each part of Bali offers a unique experience.
Kuta Beach with all its happy travellers waiting for the sun to set is definitely one of them.
There is something really cool about the vibe there at sunset, everyone is just so darn happy.
13- Seeing the sunrise at Sanur Beach
The calm waters of Sanur, with all the colourful boats and the fisherman, are quite special.
It’s one place where you can watch a sunrise over one ocean and then sunset over another ocean.
It’s very special for a photographer who’s always chasing the right light.
Sherbert-coloured skies kissed Mt Batur in the distance as the sunrise was watched by eager visitors on the beach.
14- Visiting Tanah Lot Temple
Even though the rain had set in, we were determined to see some kind of colour in the sky over Tanah Lot Temple.
For a very brief moment, Mother Nature obliged.
Tanah Lot Temple is a rock in the ocean.
You’d be crazy to go to Bali and not visit this unique part of Bali’s culture and history.
At high tide, it looks like it’s floating and at low tide, you can walk out across the rocks for a closer look.
The cheeky monkeys add to the fun of visiting this temple.
Just be sure to hold onto your sunglasses!
15- Exploring Monkey Forest in Ubud
A trip up to Ubud isn’t complete without visiting the cheeky monkeys of the Monkey Forest.
The monkeys are fun to watch, and the place itself is so lush, magical and beautiful.
I managed to get a close-up shot of the monkey using a telephoto lens 70-200 F 2.8 on my Canon 6D, which is a great lens for portraits.
At the Monkey Forest, you’ll see the cheeky things everywhere climbing trees and playing hide-and-seek with tourists.
A simple rule to follow is not to take food with you and do make sure you there’s nothing they could grab (like sunglasses and cameras).
16- See a Nusa Dua Sunrise
Our first sunrise at Nusa Dua was beautiful. We had the whole beach front to ourselves.
It made it all the more special.
I loved the luxurious resorts at Nusa Dua, where we had time to chill out as a family.
17- Take a day trip to Nusa Lembongan
Both my daughters agree that this was pretty much the best day ever and their most favourite place of all.
Our day trip to Nusa Lembongan was wonderful.
It had the clearest water I have seen and we were blessed with perfect weather and we were able to get away from the crowds.
We spent a day cruising around the island in a colourful spider boat with Captain Wayan, stopping along the way at all the best snorkelling spots.
The clarity of the water was amazing, the coral was vibrant and there were fish everywhere.
18- Discover the Jatiluwih Rice Terrace
Admittedly it’s quite a long drive up, about three hours, and we stopped at some beautiful temples along the way.
We visited Gitgit waterfalls, which had three different sections to this natural beauty.
At the final one, we ate some mangosteens we had bought on our walk.
The girls spent at least an hour swimming and standing under the force of the waterfall.
It is so rare to be able to stand under a fall like that as usually, they are too deep.
This was a real treat.
Our final day in Bali and we squeezed in one more sunrise. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end our Bali holiday.
Amazing Things To Do In Bali
By Elisa Detrez, Instagrammer @bestjobers
Bali, the Island of Peace, an invitation to reflect and unwind. That’s why Max and I decided to visit Bali in the first place.
After a year of travelling at high-speed all around Australia, we needed the luxury of taking the time to wonder, wander and reflect.
That was at least our ambition before getting there…here are some stunning Bali photos of our trip.
We didn’t expect to find as much diversity of cultures and landscapes within a relatively small territory.
If our intentions were to sit back and relax, I can say that the plan changed quite a bit once we landed!
There are so many things to do in Bali.
We are avid adventurers and we’re always looking to learn as much as we can about a new destination.
This led us to travel almost all around the island, where we got lost so many times in rice fields.
We also hiked a volcano at night on the island of Java.
I discovered that Bali is a place in which you can live your adventure one day at a time. Don’t stress too much with planning all your trip in advance, enjoy the moment.
I love this flexibility and simplicity of travel. Some of our best memories in these 10 Bali photos.
19- Photograph Mandala of flowers
Bali has a very zen community and a tradition (among others) that attracted all my attention is the mandala of flowers.
This shot was taken at the hotel Hanging Gardens Ubud, where the mandala was standing at the front desk.
I remember being like hypnotised by the harmony created out of this fresh piece of art. I couldn’t get my eyes off!
Every day is a new one to be made with a single aim: to take you on a spiritual journey.
They can be found a bit everywhere on the island but mainly in touristic spots.
I wish I could do that at home!
20- Discover Uluwatu Temple
Bali is an island of religious freedom.
It’s a place that is tolerant about your way of thinking and religious beliefs. Hindus, Muslims and Christians live together in peace.
Bali, also known as the Island of Gods, with over 1000 temples.
This one is one of the most famous, located on a cliff, Pura Luhur Uluwatu is impressive.
While we visited this temple, we were entertained not only by the beauty of the site but also by the selfie craziness!
Many tourists were trying to get the best shot of themselves pushing them always closer from the cliff…What people can do to get the “best” shot!
21- Watch a Kecak dance show
Something not to miss while in Bali is to assist to a traditional dance show. Kecak, legong, barong dance and many others to choose from!
All different they do have something in common though: the beauty of the outfits! Masks, dresses, make up are used in a way to captivate the audience.
The stories told can be a bit difficult to understand for a foreigner but the show is here! The Kecak dance happening at Pura Luhur Uluwatu temple at sunset is a memorable experience of ours!
Seated at the first row, we found ourselves a bit submerged when 40 men gathered in a circle, started to yell “Kecak Kecak Kecak”!
22- Find Tranquillity in Bali’s Rice Fields
Getting lost in the rice terraces is part of every good trip to Bali.
Seeing the rice fields was a beautiful moment.
We did see it a lot on photos or on TV but it is a way different feeling to be standing in front of such stunning scenery.
Serene and peaceful.
I had to find my spot, sit for a while and soak it in! Max took this shot at Gunung Kawi temple, we got there early morning and were the only souls to be found: amazing!
23- See Tirta Empul temple
Tirta Empul temple, which is in the village of Tampaksiring, was one of the best memories of our Balinese trip.
The site is famous for sacred water coming straight from the Earth.
People from all around the island come on a special occasion to have a bath and giving their offering to the Gods.
The day we went was especially crowded, a day full of significance to the believers.
We did feel a bit weird and out of place to observe them while processing through the bath…and I would have felt better to participate in this communion.
It was a possibility but I forgot my swimsuit…#BigRegret
24- Cool off at Blemantung Falls
Bali is small in size but the diversity of its landscapes is huge! The south is mainly dry and hot, while the north is lush and green.
This is where we found our little heaven: Mundunk!
A tiny village located in the mountains and characterised by breathtaking waterfalls!
Here I’m facing Blemantung Falls!
One km further down is Melanting falls which is as impressive.
A visit we won’t soon forget as we got “lost” on the way back to the village!
No signage, no house and the sun getting lower and lower.
For once my sense of direction was better than Max’s one and fortunately as we might be still there wandering through the rainforest!
25- Stay at the Hanging Gardens Ubud
Bali is also the place of incredible luxury hotels and we had to try a few.
Hanging Gardens Ubud was the most amazing resort we stayed in.
Located in the heart of the jungle, 40 minutes from Ubud, this truly unique place reawakened our senses!
The resort has an amazing bi-level infinity pool, which surely has to be the best pool in the world!
This contemporary piece of art left us speechless.
The design of the pool is integrated with its surroundings and has a shape that echoes the terrain, I wanted to spend my whole trip in it!
At sunrise, we were again the only ones there and it was pretty special, with the birds flying around the pool and drinking from it.
26- Stay in a traditional village
In Bali, we had no plan and this was the best.
Usually, we are very organised and there is not much time for the unexpected. For once, we decided to let it go and see.
Thanks to this attitude we met wonderful people, went off the beaten track and lived unforgettable experiences.
I’ll particularly remember that day we stayed in an authentic Javanese village, very far away from the touristic roads.
Mr Paing and his wife Nini hosted us for one day. Mr Paing is a former sulphur miner who changed his life by becoming a tour guide.
With his brother Chunk, they take people to the Kawah Ijen volcano.
Such a great moment we had with all the family in the village.
27- Climb the Kawah Ijen
Indonesia is the place to go for an adventure on a volcano.
Which one to choose, that’s the difficult part! I’m glad to say Kawah Ijen didn’t disappoint.
We flew to Java for two days and went down the heart of the volcano at night to see a very special phenomenon, the blue flames.
It was absolutely magic!
As the sun rises up in the sky, another show started: the contrast between the turquoise acid lake and the yellow sulphur.
We were with the best guides ever, Mr Paing and Chunk who used to work as sulphur miners here in the volcano.
It’s a job I would describe as the worst in the world.
Miners work hard to collect and carry loads of up to 100kg of sulphur on their shoulders for a distance of 4km up and down, three times a day between midnight and midday every day of the year.
They face toxic gas, heat and pain, all that for ridiculous wages of US$13 a day.
I was so happy they decided to change careers and take tourists down to the crater for a living.
At least, they have a better life.
The place is stunning but the reality of these miners had an enormous impact on me so discovering the volcano under the guidance of former miners was a really special experience.
Short trips from Bali
28- Visit Komodo National Park
Not far from Bali is Komodo National Park where you can experience an amazing Komodo diving adventure and see the Komodo dragons on land too.
29- Explore Flores
Looking for somewhere off the beaten track? Flores is a region that was colonised by the Portuguese and is Bali 30 years ago.
Here are some things to do in Flores.