Let’s just start off with Bali should be on everyone’s bucket list! We fell in love with the island on our first trip, and now it’s a place we’ll keep going back to time and time again. There are so many things to do in Bali; you could easily spend months exploring. We would suggest at least one week in Bali to hit the highlights.
We first visited Bali on our honeymoon back in 2012. We spent a week trying and seeing all the things to do in Bali. On our first trip to Bali, we covered a lot of ground with only one week in Bali. Bali is the perfect destination for everyone from solo travelers, backpackers, couples, families, luxury travel, and one of the best honeymoon destinations.
We’ve traveled to Bali several times and put together some of our favorite things to do in Bali to help plan your Bali itinerary.
Must-Do Things To Do In Bali
1. Take an Unforgettable Trip to Nusa Penida
When it comes to islands, Indonesia truly is blessed. There are remarkably over 17,000 islands in Indonesia for you to explore, with Nusa Penida one of the most beautiful islands in Indonesia.
Nusa Penida is just a short 30 minutes ferry ride away from Bali. The natural paradise is definitely worth a day trip from Bali, although you’ll certainly end up wishing you’d stayed longer! With idyllic spots such as the palm tree-lined Crystal Bay, the beautiful Atuh Beach and the glorious Thousand Islands Viewpoint for you to enjoy. Visiting Nusa Penida is one of the top things to do in Bali! Nusa Penida diving and snorkeling is some of the best in the area as well.
To book Nusa Penida ferry tickets online click here. It’s best to book online in advance to guarantee the lowest price. Whenever we are traveling in Asia we book all of our tickets on 12Go, they are reliable and have the best prices.
- Nusa Penida Ferry price: $12+ USD one way – Book Online Now
Bali to Nusa Penida Day Trip Tours
If you are staying in Bali and want to visit Nusa Penida as a day trip, there are several day tours to join. Here are a few great options:
- Nusa Penida Full Day Trip from Bali – Must Popular Group Tour, includes hotel pickup & lunch | Book Online Now $38
- East Nusa Penida Whole Day Trip – Includes hotel pickup & lunch | Book Online Now $38
- Private Nusa Penida Full Day Trip from Bali – Explore Nusa Penida with a private driver & guide | Book Online Now $70
2. Kick back and relax on any one of Best Beaches in Bali
When it comes to beautiful beaches, Bali has an almost endless number of them for you to visit, with each one appearing to be better than the last. With beautiful turquoise waters surrounding the island, idyllic white sands, and, of course, fantastic weather almost every day of the year, it can be almost impossible to drag yourself away from the beach and explore all the other things to do in Bali!
Not only are the beaches in Bali some of the best in the world, but also one of the best free things to do in Bali. Bring a beach towel and claim a spot on the beach.
For a few Indonesian rupiahs, you can rent a beach chair and umbrella. Better yet would rent a house right on the beach, there are tons of Airbnb listings in Bali that are beachfront. There would be no better place to wake up than at the beach.
Airbnb first-timers, if you sign up through my referral link you get $40 credit when you book your first trip! –>> sign up here!
Top 5 Best Beaches in Bali
- – Kuta Beach: As well as one of the best places to learn how to surf in Bali, Kuta Beach is also renowned for the fantastic sunsets that can be seen from here each evening. While reasonably busy during the day, Kuta is one of Bali’s most famous and popular areas. So if you’re looking for peace and quiet, it might not be your cup of tea. However, if you want to people watch and indulge in some partying in the evenings, Kuta will be right up your alley. Surfing, sunbathing, drinking, shopping – it’s all here on the stunning white sands of Kuta.
- – Nusa Lembongan: Located just a short boat ride away from Bali, the tiny island of Nusa Lembongan has a number of delightful beaches for you to enjoy. Nusa Lembongan is definitely worth visiting if you have the chance. While Jungutbatu Beach is the main beach that everyone heads to, there are lots of other small beaches, secluded beaches to check out, such as at Dream Beach and Sandy Bay.
- – Sanur: With a more peaceful, relaxed feel to it than some of the other beaches in the central tourist areas of Bali, Sanur is ideal for families looking for a quiet vacation. The sandy beach is very soft, and as it can get quite windy, it is a great spot to try your hand at kite surfing. Sanur Beach is not a surfer’s beach, but there are good spots to lie on the shore and work on the tan in between dips. In addition, there is a lovely beachfront promenade to stroll along while taking in the fantastic views, complete with boutique shops and cute bars and cafes.
- – Suluban Beach: An idyllic spot, Suluban Beach is tucked away at the bottom of the Uluwatu cliffs, and the scenery on show is spellbinding. There are lots of clifftop bars and restaurants at Suluban Beach where you can enjoy some brilliant sunsets and take great photos. Lounging on the beach is the favorite activity for many here, but for those who want to hit the waves, the surfing is considered to be top-notch.
- – Canggu: An increasingly popular place to visit, the small village of Canggu has lots of cool cafes, restaurants, and bars to check out, as well as many gorgeous beaches. Canggu is changing rapidly, transforming from a laid back, hipster-type place to a busy hive of activity full of partiers, digital nomads, and the in-crowd. If you’re in search of a deserted beach to explore, skip Canggu, but if you want to be surrounded by an energetic vibe, you’ll love it here. Just be prepared to battle a bit of traffic as you head to the golden sands – where you can even ride a horse along the beach!
3. Rent a Scooter in Bali and Explore all Bali’s Hidden Gems
One of the best ways to explore Bali is to rent a scooter and whizz off to wherever your heart takes you. The island is full of secluded beaches and hidden spots for you to discover, and going by scooter means you’re free to do as you please.
While it is definitely lots of fun driving a scooter around the island, make sure to stay safe, wear a helmet, and follow the rules of the road. There are lots of accidents every year, so it is better to be safe than sorry and have a great time responsibly!
- Average Bali Scooter rental price: 60,000 rupiahs a day
4. Stay in a Bali Treehouse Hotel
When it comes to where to stay in Bali, there really is every type of accommodation available. Staying in a treehouse hotel certainly ranks amongst the most memorable places to stay in Bali! There are a number of treehouse hotels scattered around the island, and they are usually located in secluded spots surrounded by nature.
The hotels themselves look amazing; they are ingeniously made out of bamboo woven together, so have a very natural look. As they are situated in quiet spots surrounded by jungle, the treehouse hotels are perfect for people looking for a relaxing and peaceful vacation.
Recommended Bali Treehouse Hotels:
5. Try Surfing in Bali
As Bali is synonymous with surfing, you have to give it a go. Even if you’ve never tried it before, consider taking surfing lessons in Bali. Bali really is a surfer’s paradise. Everywhere you go on the island, you’ll see people taking to the water and elegantly (or not so elegantly!) riding those waves without a care in the world.
As there are so many great beaches and surf spots in Bali, there are waves that cater to all levels. As such, it doesn’t matter whether you’re an experienced pro or someone who’s always felt like giving it a go but hasn’t got around to it yet.
There is a large surf culture in Bali, and it is very easy to take a surfing lesson. With an instructor on hand, it is much easier to learn the basics and take to your first swell! If you are a beginner just starting on their surf journey, Kuta Beach is probably the best place to learn to surf in Bali. This is because there is a sand bar just in front of the beach, which means the waves are quite small and manageable.
If you’re already quite a confident surfer, then you have slightly more options available to you. Dreamland Beach or Balangan Beach may offer up bit more of a challenge. The waves are somewhat larger at these beaches, and as such, are a bit too advanced for a beginner to try out. They are therefore ideally suited to intermediate surfers, and the setting as always on Bali is absolutely stunning!
Now, if you’re an advanced surfer, Bali is certainly going to be a treat for you! While there are lots of world-class surf spots for you to head to, the two you can’t miss out on are Padang Padang and Uluwatu. One of the most famous waves in the world, the former is a must-do for any surfer. At Uluwatu, you’ll find four different types of wave to ride, each more exhilarating than the last.
As you should now be able to tell, Bali really is the place to try out surfing for the first time if you haven’t before. Just make sure to avoid Padang Padang and Uluwatu on your first go and you should be fine! For many people, going surfing is one of the best things to do in Bali. It certainly is lots of fun and very satisfying when you finally manage to catch your first wave!
6. Visit the Ubud Monkey Forest
Hey there Mr. Monkey! Be prepared to get up and close with the monkeys at the Ubud monkey forest. Whatever you do, don’t buy bananas from the nice ladies out front. We did, and the monkeys were literally crawling up our legs.
Make sure to keep all your bags zipped and don’t wear a hat/sunglasses, the monkeys are known to be naughty thieves.
- Address: Jl. Monkey Forest, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571
- Hours: Open Daily 8:30 am – 6 pm
- Admission: 80,000 IDR for adults and 60,000 IDR for children
Here are a few of the Bali day trips that visit Bali monkey forest:
- Bali Monkey Forest, Mengwi Temple and Tanah Lot Afternoon Tour $58, 5.5 hours duration
- Full Day Bali Island Tour $88, 10 hours duration
- Monkey Forest and Ubud Art Tour $48, 7 hours duration
- Private Ubud Tour: Batubulan Village, Tirta Empul Temple, Monkey Forest with Lunch $55, 8 hours duration
7. Visit Ulun Danu Beratan Temple
Look at that picture! Do I really need to tell you it’s one of the best things to do in Bali? One of the prettiest temples in Bali is the Ulun Danu Beratan temple. The floating temple is just off the shore in Lake Bratan, which is in the center of Bali, 3600 feet above sea level. So, it’s nice and cool compared to the beaches of Bail.
- Address: Danau Beratan, Candikuning, Baturiti, Tabanan Regency, Bali 82191, Indonesia
- Hours: Open Daily 7 am – 7 pm
- Recommended Tour: Bali Water Temples Tour
8. Hike Mount Batur for Sunrise
Set the alarm super early. Hiking Mount Batur starts several hours before the sun rises. The early morning wake-up call is totally worth it once you make it to the top of Mount Batur and you see the sun rising. This is easily one of our favorite things to do in Bali, and we would do it again in a heartbeat.
- Recommended Tour: $45 Mount Batur Sunrise Hike & Hot Springs
Related Article: Hiking Mount Batur at Sunrise
9. Hot Air Balloon Ride over Ubud
Floating high in the sky above endless rice fields, lush rainforests, and with Mount Agung looming impressively on the horizon, taking a hot air balloon ride is a great way to enjoy breathtaking views of Bali.
Currently, there is only one tour provider that offers hot air ballons rides in Ubud. The Ubud hot air balloon experience is worth checking out for the unique views it gives you of the beautiful countryside below. You can book online at GetYourGuide, it sells out often so book in advance. A delicious Balinese dinner was also included. You can find more information about the hot air balloon ride here.
- Address: Jl. Suweta, Bentuyung Sakti, Kec. Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571
- Ubud Hot Air Balloon Ride Cost: $75 | Book Online
- Ubud Hot Air Balloon Ride & Floating Breakfast: $125 | Book Online
10. Visit the Tegallalang Rice Terraces
Gorgeous green rice paddies really exist, and they make for some epic photos. When planning out your things to do in Bali, make sure to schedule a day in the Ubud area for the Tegallalang rice terraces & Ubud Monkey Forest. If you travel with a drone, now is the time to fly! If you don’t have a drone make sure to check out our travel drone guide to find the best one for you.
11. Get a Balinese Massage
After a busy day with all the things to do in Bali, just relax with a Balinese massage. Massages in Bali are not only amazing but super affordable for around $5 for an hour for a Balinese massage.
Most massage parlors offer several types of massages/facials/etc. If you happen to run into some rain in Bali, just go get a massage. You will forget about the rain.
12. Gaze in awe at the stunning Sekumpul Waterfall
Widely considered to be the most beautiful waterfall in Bali, you have to visit Sekumpul if you get the chance! Make sure to check out our waterfalls in Bali article for more waterfalls to chase in Bali.
Sekumpl Waterfall is located just outside of a little village of the same name. The magnificent waterfall is surrounded by lush rainforest, and you’ll definitely hear the thundering roar of the water before you see it. Sekumpul really is stunning to behold, and you’re sure to get lots of fantastic photos of the water cascading down amidst the forest into the pool below.
The only downside to visiting this beautiful, secluded spot is that there are a number of scams that you have to watch out for, with various ‘registration’ points telling you that you have to have a guide with you to visit. You can, however, easily hike through the rainforest to Sekumpul waterfall by yourself without a guide accompanying you. It’s one of the best things to do in Bali, so make sure you don’t miss going when you’re there!
- Address: Sekumpul, Lemukih, Sawan, Kabupaten Buleleng, Bali 81171
- Admission fee: 20,000 rupiah
- $43 Private Tour Sekumpul Waterfall, Beratan Temple, and Twin Lakes
13. Catch a Famous Bali Sunset
There is no better way to end a perfect day in Bali than watching the sunset. Head to the beach and watch the locals come out to play a game of beach soccer, or head to a rooftop bar for happy hour.
One of the best places in Bali to watch the sunset is Kuta Beach, a few other great places for sunset in Bali are:
- SugarSand Sunset Bar in Seminyak
- La Plancha in Seminyak
- Rock Bar in Jimbaran
- Tanah Lot Temple
14. Hike Up Active Volcano Mount Agung and Watch the Sunrise
Towering to a height of 3,031 meters, Mount Agung dominates the Bali skyline and plays an important role in the island’s religious and cultural life, as locals consider it to be the center of the world. Unfortunately, Mount Agung has been off-limits to hikers for quite some time due to frequent eruptions.
There is a four-kilometer exclusion zone from the peak, and due to the unpredictable nature of this volcano, tourists and locals alike are advised to avoid it. If you’re lucky enough to visit when the mountain has settled down, the trek to the top takes around four hours. Lots of people start in the middle of the night so they can watch the sunrise from the summit.
If you’re determined to get some amazing views, you can hike nearby Mount Batur instead. Unlike Mount Agung, this volcano is not dangerous. Although the smaller of the two, it’s still a decent hike and will give you spectacular views of the surrounding ocean, countryside, and steaming silhouette of adjacent Mount Agung. If you get the chance to hike one of these peaks, we would definitely recommend it; it ended up one of our favorite things to do in Bali.
- Address: Mount Agung, Jungutan, Bebandem, Karangasem Regency, Bali
- Recommended Tour: Bali Mount Agung Sunrise Trekking | Book Online Now $90
15. Hike up the rickiest stairs you’ve ever seen at Kelingking and take a photo of the ‘T-Rex’
Located on the west coast of Nusa Penida, secluded Kelingking Beach looks stunning, with its dazzling white sands bordered by glistening turquoise waters. The beach, however, isn’t what most people come here to see. The main attraction which draws visitors to Kelingking is the remarkable T-Rex shaped cliff you can see from the top of the hill overlooking the beach.
To get there, you have to clamber up some of the most uneven steps you’re ever likely to come across! Once you pant your way to the top, you’ll be greeted with an amazing view of Kelingking Beach below and the distinctive cliff that really does look like a T-Rex!
- Address: Bunga Mekar, Nusa Penida, Klungkung Regency, Bali 80771
- Admission fee: 10,000 rupiah
- Ferry price: 250,000 – 325,000 rupiah one way | Book Ferry Tickets Online Now
16. Eat Your Weight In Chicken Satay
Chicken Satay with peanut sauce? Yes, please! Chicken Satay is a must-try dish when in Bali. These tasty little meat skewers are served with a delicious peanut dipping sauce. Once you pop, you can’t stop. Eating chicken satay is one of the best things to do in Bali and one you’ll find yourself doing over and over.
17. Visit Uluwatu Temple
Uluwatu temple is located right on the shore and a perfect place to end a busy day checking out all the things to do in Bali. Make sure to come at least an hour before sunset, so you have enough time to get photos before you lose the light. Beware of the naughty monkeys at the temple.
- Address: Pecatu, South Kuta, Badung Regency, Bali
- Admission: 30,000 IDR for adults and 15,000 IDR for children
- Recommended Tour: $26 Half Day Uluwatu Sunset Tour and Kecak Dance
18. Soar Above the Famous Bali Swing!
If you’re after the ultimate Instagram photo, then you’re definitely going to want to have a go on the famous Bali swing. Swinging out through the air with just the jungle and rice fields below you is a fantastic experience, and the views are breathtaking.
As it has grown in popularity in recent years, you can now find many swings located all around Bali; each of them has a gorgeous view. The original, however, is still the most popular; you’ll find the famous Bali swing located just outside of Ubud.
There are several different packages & swings. The most expensive Bali swing package includes all 6 of their swings, lunch buffet, and drinks for $35 USD without transportation. There are other prices that vary based on where you need transport from. The cheapest option for $15 USD includes a lunch buffet, drinks, some photo points, but does NOT include any of the swings. There is free transfer from Queen’s of India restaurant in Ubud four times a day.
- Address: Jl. Dewi Saraswati No.7, Bongkasa Pertiwi, Abiansemal, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80352
- Admission fee: $15+
19. Watch Kecak Fire Dancers Perform
Simply a must-see when in Bali, the Kecak Fire Dance is incredible to behold, and there are nightly shows at both Uluwatu Temple and in Ubud Town. Based on the Ramayana – a famous Sanskrit epic – the performance involves around 60 people, who chant and tell the story through dance.
With brightly colored costumes on show and lots of drama in terms of the story itself, it certainly makes for a fun and entertaining night out. Watching the traditional performance as the sun sets really does make for a great end to another day in paradise!
- Address: Uluwatu Temple, Pecatu, South Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali
- Admission fee: 100,000 IDR
- Recommended Tour: $26 Half Day Uluwatu Sunset Tour and Kecak Dance
20. Try Yoga in Bali
Get your “Eat Pray Love” on and give yoga a try in Bali. There are tons of yoga retreats in Bali, specifically in Ubud.
21. Soar High Above the Beach Parasailing
Nothing like a good dose of adrenaline to get your day started! Parasailing in Bali is beautiful and one of the cheapest places I’ve found yet. It was $30, but only for a few minutes. Don’t forget to bring your GoPro to get some good photos of the beaches in Bali from above.
22. Visit Tanah Lot
One of our favorite temple in Bali is Tanah Lot, located right on the coast. Tanah Lot is easily reached from the popular Bali beach towns like Kuta/Sanur/Seminyak. The temple at Tanah Lot is set on a rock that has been shaped over time by the tide. It’s one of the most unique temples in Bali.
- Address: Beraban, Kediri, Tabanan Regency, Bali 8217
- Entrance Fee: 60,000 IDR Adults and 30,000 IDR Children
- Recommended Tour: $19 Tanah Lot Private Experience
23. Catch a Ferry to the Gili islands
Hop on a ferry and head to the Gili islands for a few days. The ferry from Bali to the Gili islands is 90 minutes, and prices start at $19 and vary based on departure port. Make sure to book tickets online at 12Go (this is where we always book) to get the lowest price and not have to haggle for prices in person.
The Gili islands are made up of three very small islands: Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air. We visited Gili Trawangan, which is best suited for a younger crowd looking to party. On our next visit to the Gili islands, we plan on visiting either Air or Meno for a quiet relaxing vacation in Bali.
- Gili Islands Ferry Tickets | Book Online Now
24. Marvel at the Elephant Cave’s impressive carvings
Located just outside of Ubud, the Elephant Cave is an incredible archaeological site to visit, and the temple dates all the way back to the 9th century. While it is thought that Hindu priests used the cave as a shrine, there are many different myths and legends swirling around its origins.
A popular tourist attraction, Goa Gajah, as it is known by locals, is a fascinating place to visit. The highlight is undoubtedly the fantastic carvings at the cave entrance. While lots of different symbols and figures have been carved into the stone, the cave actually takes its name from the scary looking elephant one which marks the entrance to the temple!
- Address: Jl Raya Goa Gajah, Desa Bedulu, Ubud 80581
- Admission fee: 50,000 rupiah
25. Party in Kuta
End your Bali vacation with a night out partying in Kuta. Just make sure not to plan too many things to do in Bali the day after. One of our favorite bars is Alleycats, literally located down an alley. The drinks are well priced, and it’s a great place to start the night out. Have you been to Bali? What are your favorite things to do in Bali?
Indonesia is a huge country. It’s actually the 4th most populated country in the world, the world’s largest island country, and home to more than 18,000 islands. So visiting Bali is only a fraction of what Indonesia has to offer, make sure to check out other the wonderful Indonesian destinations.