Bali, the Island of the Gods, is one of the most popular tourism destinations in Indonesia. From sitting on the beach through to visiting temples or enjoying the great restaurants and nightlife there are plenty of things to do in Bali. Of course with so much on offer it can be hard to decide what to do.
To make it easier to make your Bali travel itinerary I’ve created the ultimate to do list. The guide has a list of things to do for every type of traveller, so whether you are a backpacker or a family with young children there will be something here for you.
Things to do in Bali
1 – Bali Temples: Find Out More
2 – Palaces and Sightseeing: Find Out More
3 – Waterfalls and Natural Springs: Find Out More
4 – Events and Cultural Activities: Find Out More
5 – Family Friendly: Find Out More
6 – For Kids: Find Out More
7 – Hiking and Climbing: Find Out More
8 – Diving and Snorkeling: Find Out More
9 – Surfing Spots: Find Out More
10 – Action and Adventure: Find Out More
11 – Bars and Nightclubs: Find Out More
Let’s get going with the complete list of things to do in Bali. I hope this gives you inspiration for places to visit and things to do when you’re on the island.
Bali was once split into eight kingdoms. Each kingdom had its own royal family, its palaces and temples. While still in use to this day, many of the main temples and palaces have become popular tourist attractions. In fact I’d go as far as saying a few of them are simply a must see if you are visiting Bali for the first time.
Tanah Lot temple complex is perched atop a rocky island just off the coast of Bali. It is one of the most popular Hindu temples in Bali, especially around sunset when the sun sinks beneath the ocean lighting up the temple. If you come for the sunset you can also catch a traditional fire dance, which are held at 6:30 every evening.
Price: Rp30,000 for adult
Rp15,000 for a child.
Located on a peninsula and built on the edge of a cliff Uluwatu is a small temple complex with beautiful views of the ocean. The temple is famous for its sunsets and the monkeys that will steal your jewellery and bite your sandals. Every 210-days a large Pawuk ceremony is held at the temple, which is attended by the royal family. Fire dances are held at the temple every evening.
Price: Rp20,000 per person
Ulun Danu Beratan
Ulun Danu Beratan is one of the most photographed temples in Bali. The temple complex juts out into Lake Beratan, which is in the highlands of Bali. If you come early in the morning fog swirls above the waters of the lake. For the best views visit Ulun Danu during the wet season.
Price: Rp30,000 for an adult
Rp15,000 for a child
Located 4km East of Ubud, Goa Gajah, Elephant Cave, is a temple cave that dates back to the 11th century. The entrance of the cave has been carved into the image of a head, so it is almost like you are walking into the figures mouth. Near the exit to the caves are two bathing pools. Read the Complete Guide to Goa Gajah for more information about the temple.
Price: Rp10,000 for an adult
Rp5,000 for a child
Tirta Empul is a water temple that attracts both Buddhist and Hindu worshippers. The temple is located on top of some natural hot springs in the village of Manukaya in Central Bali. The highlight of the temple is a large stone pool, which is filled by 13 sculpted spouts that line the edge of two pools. You can read about my visit to Tirta Empul here.
Price: Rp15,000 per person
Batukaru temple is in the highlands of Bali surrounded by rainforest and set against the backdrop of Batukaru. The location is isolated, so even though it is one of the largest Hindu temples in Bali, it is also one of the most tranquil. Batukaru is always busy with local worshippers, but very few tourists.
Price: Rp15,000 per person
Gunung Kawi Sebatu
Gunung Kawi Sebatu is one of those few temples in Bali that you could really call a hidden gem and if you’re in the area it should be included on your list of things to do in Bali. The temple is built around a series of pools filled with carp and lotuses and surrounded by open courtyards. If you’re in Bali at the right time you can attend one of the large ceremonies that are held at the temple every first full moon of the Balinese calendar. Find out when the next festival will be held and more about Gunung Kawi Sebatu here.
Price: Rp15,000 per person
Lempuyang is located in the highlands of Bali on the peak of Mount Lempuyang. It is one of the oldest temples on the island and is often referred to as the ‘mother temple.’ Getting to the temple is a steep climb, there are 1,700 steps, and you need to be reasonably fit. The view from the top of Mount Lempuyang is worth it though and if you arrive on a clear day you can even see Mount Rinjani in Lombok.
Price: Rp15,000 per person
Palaces and Sightseeing
Tirta Gangga water palace is a little slice of heaven in Bali. The setting is beautiful with fountains, lakes and natural pools filled with carp. You are naturally led around the palace grounds on a journey where you use stepping-stones to cross the pools and follow small winding paths around the edges of the lakes. If you bring your swimming stuff you can even take a dip in the swimming pool filled with fresh spring water. It’s a really beautiful place. You can find some more pictures of the site and a video I made about Tirta Gangga Water Palace here.
Price: Rp20,000 per person
Ujung water palace
Another water palace in Karangasam, Ujung predates Tirta Gangga. Everything is designed in and around a large series of pools that take up most of the palace grounds. High steps surround the complex giving you views over the palace to the ocean that stretches to the horizon. On a clear day the white buildings, blue sea and green vegetation make for a beautiful setting.
Price: Rp10,000 per person
Taman Gili Kerta Gosa
The highlight of Taman Gili Kerta Gosa is two renovated pavilions. One of the pavilions used to be the Supreme Court of the Klungkung Kingdom, the second building is known as the ‘floating pavilion’ and was a meeting place for dignitaries. Both pavilions are built in the traditional Balinese style and the interiors have beautiful paintings on the ceiling.
Price: Rp12,000 for an adult
Rp6,000 for a child
Garuda Wisnu Kencana
The Garuda Wisnu Kencana is spread over 240 hectares of land. The park is larger than life with colossal statues built from stone. It’s both imposing and breathtaking and makes you feel very, very small. It’s a nice place to visit if you want to take a stroll out in the open and see something different. At the end of the tour of the park you can watch a traditional Balinese dance performance.
Price: Rp100,000 for an adult
Located in the heart of Ubud, Monkey Forest is one of the city’s most popular tourist destinations in the city. The area is calm and peaceful with broad paths surrounded by forest that contain chattering monkeys. In fact monkeys are one of the main tourism attractions. There are also Hindu temples within the park and it’s common to see Balinese in local dress visiting the temples. Don’t forget to try the Campuhan Ridge Walk if you’re in the city.
Price: Rp30,000 for an adult
Rp20,000 for a child
Waterfalls and Natural Springs
Jembong Waterfall is one of the best, least visited, waterfalls in Bali. The waterfall is located in Singaraja regency and is just a stones throw away from Git Git, so you can easily see both falls in a day. It’s easy to spend an hour around Jemblong soaking in the pool and enjoying the beautiful surroundings.
Price: Rp10,000 per person
Git Git waterfall
It’s an 800-meter trek from the road to reach Git Git, a twin waterfall located in the North of Bali. The fall tumbles 35 meters into a deep canyon and is surrounded by a forest filled with wild monkeys. Along the path to the waterfall you’ll find tourist stalls, but the place is never too busy.
Price: Rp10,000 for an adult
To reach Blahmantung waterfall you need to drive through Tabanan, Bali’s rice basket. The journey is one of breathtaking scenery. The actual waterfall is located close to the picturesque farming village of Pupuan. Arriving at the waterfall though is the highlight of the trip. The 50-meter waterfall is one of the most impressive in Bali. The waterfall is surrounded by greenery and the waters feed a vertical garden that grows up the cliff face. Remember to bring your swimming stuff as you can actually swim in the pool.
Price: Rp10,000 per person.
Munduk waterfall is in the highlands of Bali. Coffee and clove plantations surround the region and the scent hangs in the air. Getting to Munduk waterfall requires a trek along muddy paths. While the view of the waterfall is great, it’s impossible to swim here, as the pool is shallow.
Price: Rp10,000 per person
Aling Aling waterfall
Aling Aling is a 20-minute drive from Lovina and is one of the best waterfalls in the North of Bali. It’s a bit of a walk from the road, but well worth it. The waterfall is large, cool and the pool is refreshing to swim in. If you’re looking for an adrenalin rush you can actually slide down the waterfall or even jump into the pool. The best time to visit is early in the morning. Be careful when you visit though as during the wet season the area is prone to flash floods.
Price: Rp 100,000 for a private guide
Singsing waterfall is located in the North of Bali close to Lovina (where you can do the dolphin watching). Unlike many of the waterfalls on this list, Singsing waterfall is easy to visit. It’s the perfect addition to a day trip in the North of Bali. The waterfall is not very busy and there’s always the chance that you’ll have the place to yourself.
Carat waterfall is located in Singaraja regency, but the waterfall is a lot less famous than Sekumpul, which makes reaching Carat waterfall a bit of an adventure. First you need to cross a bamboo bridge and follow a path along the top of steep cliffs, before descending down to the waterfall.
Price: Free, though it’s a good idea to hire a guide.
Nungnung waterfall is a place to visit if you like to trek. The walk down to the waterfall is steep with uneven steps. Though there is a concrete path, rock falls have destroyed part of the path and you need to jump the railings for the final section to the waterfall. Once you get to the bottom it’s all worth it. The waterfall is quiet, picturesque. Take your time relaxing in the pool, before the tough hike back to the top.
Price: Rp15,000 per person
Kunung waterfall is located close to the small hamlet of the same name. It’s a 3km hike from the main road down a slippery path to reach Kuning waterfall. The path cuts through the middle of a clove plantation. As you approach the waterfall the valley opens up before you giving you an amazing view of the falls. You can swim here, but the pool is quite shallow.
Price: Free (but you might need a guide)
Sekumpel waterfall is one of the biggest (and best) waterfalls in Bali. The waterfall is located in Singaraja regency. You can see the waterfall almost as soon as you leave the road. It’s an amazing view, the water for almost 100-meters into the canyon below. Of course you still need to get to the waterfall, which is a 30-minute walk. Bring your swimming things, there’s nothing more refreshing than a dip in the ice-cold water after a long hot walk. Read about my experience visiting Sekumpul waterfall.
Price: Rp15,000 per person
Yeh Mampeh waterfall
Yeh Mampeh waterfall is a good choice for families with young children. The waterfall is located close to the small village of Les and is an easy drive from Ubud. The path to the waterfall is flat and well marked with clear signs pointing the way. The waterfall is one of the tallest waterfalls in Bali and the setting is beautiful. If you’re careful it’s possible to stand directly under the falls, though the power of the water is strong.
Price: Rp20,000 for adult
Rp10,000 for child
Juwuk Manis waterfall
Juwuk Manis waterfall is a beautiful isolated waterfall in the Jembran Regency. The waterfall is an 800-meter trek from the village of Manggissari along a slippery path, but the journey is worth it. The water at the falls is cold and crystal clear. Luwuk Manis waterfall is only five-meters high. You can splash around in the small pool and take a shower under the falls.
When you think of hot springs images of the steaming baths in Iceland probably come to mind. Yet Bali, with all its volcanoes, has some great natural hot springs. So if you’re looking for things to do in Bali and you are desperate for a relaxing swim in a hot pool the visiting one of these natural springs should be top of your list of things to do.
Banjar hot spring
Banjar hot springs is located 5km inland from the town of Lovina and is one of the highlights of the North of Bali. This complex of hot springs was built centuries ago. Arriving at the springs feels like you’re stepping into an Indiana Jones movie. The entire complex is centered on three large freshwater pools. In the main pool water gushes from the mouth of eight stone Naga (mythical dragon like creatures). It’s a beautiful spot to relax and swim. Arrive early or during weekdays to avoid the large crowds.
Toya Devasya hot spring
Perched on the edge of Batur Lake, these hot springs offer an infinity pool experience with great views (you should definitely bring your camera). The resort and spa has several pools of different temperatures, so you can jump between them if you get too hot. Although the pools are well maintained and clean, the changing rooms and toilets need improving. This should definitely be on your ‘to do list’ after hiking Mount Batur.
Price: Rp150,000 per person
You can’t plan to attend a Balinese funeral on your holiday, but should you be in Bali when a large one is held you should definitely attend. These funerals are very public events and offer an interesting insight into the local culture. I’ve only ever attended one Balinese funeral, which was for a member of Ubud’s royal family, and it’s something that I will always remember. The funeral was attended by thousands of people. There was a huge parade, which ended in a funeral pyre.
Nyepi is a Hindu celebration and national holiday that is held to celebrate the beginning of the Balinese New Year. The celebrations for Nyepi are held over a period of six days. The actual day of Nyepi isn’t very exciting as all the shops are closed, flights stopped and you are expected to be silent (the translation of Nyepi is ‘to keep silent). However, there are lots of parades and rituals surrounding Nyepi day that will interest you.
If you are looking for a form of entertainment that is loved in the villages of Indonesia then you should look no further than buffalo racing. Traditionally buffalo racing was held at the end of the rice-harvesting season and was a chance for farmers to show off their buffalo and come together as a community. Buffalo racing is still a very popular past time and the biggest event in Bali is Makepung, which is held in the province of Jamberang. The buffalo-racing season starts in July and ends in November.
Gamelan is the traditional music of Indonesia. The music is percussion focused with bamboo xylophones and gongs playing a central part of most orchestras. A lot of the best Gamelan performances will be accompanied by dance performances. You can see evening Gamelan performances at many of the main temples in Bali. Should you choose, you can also join a Gamelan and dance workshop to learn more about the music and try your hand at this for yourself.
“Perang pandan” or Makere-Kere is a ritual held to celebrate the Hindu God Indra who is the God of War. During the event young men, teenagers up to the age of 30, from the village battle each other in single combat. Each combatant is armed with a prickled Pendanus leaf (a palm leaf that is used as a sword) and a woven shield. The custom is unique to the village of Tenganan and the event is held on Ngusaba Sambah, normally held at the beginning of June. The village of Tenganan is also famous for its Gringsing fabric that is woven in the village.
The Kecak Fire dance is based on a traditional Balinese trance ritual performed by groups of males. The modern version of the Kecak that you can see performed all across Bali was actually developed in the 1930’s, by a German named Walter Spies in coordination with a group of artists, as a performance for Western tourists. Since its creation Kecak has combined old Hindu temples with dance, music and theatre for visiting tourists. One of the best places to see a performance is at Uluwatu temple.
Mepantigan is a traditional Balinese martial art. It’s a bit like a mix between judo and wrestling and involves throwing your opponent onto the ground. The big difference with this martial art though is that instead of judo mats, Mepantigan is often practiced in the mud (this is why a lot of people call it Balinese Mud Wrestling). If you’re interested in learning this martial art you can join Mepantigan classes. Alternatively you can join one of the family friendly Mepantigan day trips.
If you’re looking for an alternative way to find your inner peace while you are visiting Ubud then a trip to a local healer might be just what you are after. Of course local healers don’t just deal with your emotional and psychological issues, you can also find healers can also help with physical ailments (think expert masseuse).
The Bali Kite Festival is a seasonal Hindu religious festival held in July. The festival, intended to send a message to the gods to ask for a bountiful harvest, is held around Sanur Beach. This is one of the major cultural highlights of the year and teams of 70 to 80 people gather together to fly kites that can be up to 10 meters in length. In addition to the huge kites each team has its own Gamelan orchestra and dancers.
Taking a ride on the Odyssey Submarine feels a bit like stepping into an aquarium. Large Perspex windows line each side of the submarine giving passengers a chance to stare out into the underwater world. This large battery-powered submarine can fit up to 36 passengers. The submarine will go down to depths of 90 feet and the trip lasts approximately 45-minutes.
One of the most popular activities in the North of Bali is dolphin watching in Lovina. Dolphins come close to the shore of Lovina at sunrise to feed on shoals of fish. Heading out into the ocean at sunrise with the outline of Bali behind you is a memorable experience. However, it does get very busy on the waves and there can be 20 boats or more searching for dolphins. It feels a bit like an aquatic version of ‘Where’s Wally.’
Glass Bottomed Boat
If the idea of getting into a submarine makes you feel claustrophobic then a glass bottom boat is an easy alternative. There are lots of different companies that offer tours with glass bottom boats on Bali and the surrounding islands. Two of the most popular tours are the ‘Lembongan Island Tour’ and the tour of ‘Turtle Island.’
Charlie’s Chocolate Factory
Visiting Charlie’s Chocolate Factory was one of my favourite things to do in Bali. This factory is like a place transplanted from an adventure story or Lord of the Rings. Everything about the complex is memorable. The buildings have a unique architectural style that is hard to explain. There’s a pirate boat for children, three huge swings and a Goose named Agus. The location is picturesque, surrounded by palm trees with a view out to the ocean. Find out more about Charlie’s Chocolate Factory and things to do around Candidasa.
Bali Treetop Adventure is really a large adventure playground (though it’s also suitable for children). The park is set among the treetops of the forest and everything is linked up through a mix of suspended bridges, spider nets, flying swings and flying foxes. Swing, hoist, balance and jump your way through the park. This is a great option for families where the kids have a lot of energy and the parents want to enjoy a bit of nature.
Waterbom is a 4-hectare site of rides, attractions, pools and fun slides. The park is located in the middle of Kuta and is the number one waterpark in South East Asia. This is the kind of place that will provide hours of fun for families with young children (you’ll probably have a lot of fun there as well even if you don’t have kids).
Be a Mahout
If you’ve ever dreamed of becoming an elephant trainer then you’re going to enjoy the chance to be a Mahout at the Bali Zoo. The day starts early with washing, cleaning and feeding the elephants. Then after you’ve finished doing this you get taught how to be a Mahout. The lesson includes how to ride and guide your elephant, before you go on a cross-country ride. It’s a nice program that gives extra funding for the Bali Zoo, which goes towards caring for the animals. If you don’t want to learn to be a Mahout you can always just take an hour-long ride on one of the Sumatran elephants.
Bali has a great variety of tasty local dishes and if you join a cooking class you can learn how to make some of them for yourself. These cooking classes aren’t just about the preparation though, most classes start with a tour of the local market. You learn about the ingredients that go into the local food as well as how to get them. Then once you’ve finished the shopping it’s on to the cooking. Of course you also get to eat the dish you make at the end of the class.
Learning to cook local dishes is one of my favorite activities… Every holiday has to end, but if you learn how to cook a local dish you can relive those memories every night (and Balinese food is so tasty).
Eco tour, the Green Village
The Green Village is a luxury eco-village and school constructed entirely from bamboo. A tour of the area is an enchanting opportunity to see just what can be created from bamboo. From the six floor buildings built into the edge of ravines to a beautiful bamboo bridge, this site is going to inspire and amaze you. In addition to a tour of the community you can also join one of the many building workshops held at the bamboo factory. These workshops offer a hands-on opportunity to see and learn how these buildings are created.
The founder and funder of the Green Village was John Hardy, an artist who made his fortune producing high quality silver jewellery in Bali. A trip to the Green Village combines well with a visit to the John Hardy Silver Workshop where you can not only see some more examples of beautiful architecture, but also see how hand made silver jewellery is produced. It’s an interesting experience and the showroom is very beautiful.
Pod Chocolate Tour
If you’re anything like me then you enjoy an occasional (well, frequent) bite of chocolate. At Pod Bali Chocolate, close to Ubud, you can learn everything about how chocolate is made from the farm through to the chocolate bar. This complete tour of the boutique factory ends with the chance to create your own chocolate. This is a perfect day out for families with young kids or even just people with a sweet tooth.
Create your own perfume
Beautiful perfume makes for a great present, but have you ever thought about creating your own scent? At L’atelier Parfums et Creations you have the chance to make your very own unique perfume. During the workshop you are taught the basics about perfume creation before being given the freedom to create a unique perfume of your very own using ingredients from across Indonesia. At the end of the workshop you are given a bottle of the perfume you created. This one is really good for the girls (well, I suppose some men might like it as well)!
Atlas pearl farm
The Atlas Pearl farm is located in the North of Bali in the fishing village of Pemuteran. A visit to the pearl farm offers you the chance to see and learn about oyster breeding and cultivation. You see a demonstration of pearl seeding and you can even go snorkeling to see how everything works underwater. At the end of the tour you’re taken to the showroom where you can buy some pearl jewellery, but there’s no hard sell here. You don’t have to purchase anything if you don’t want to.
Ubud Rice Field Trek
Trekking through the rice fields of Bali in the early morning is a very peaceful way to start the day. Most treks start close to sunrise when the temperature is still cool and you can see the dew on the rice. When I took a walking tour in Ubud the surroundings were picturesque and I found it very interesting watching the early morning activities of locals as they start their day. While I’m not going to recommend any one company, I will say that this is something you should try for yourself.
Adopt a turtle
In between Kuta and Sanur on the small island of Serangan is a small turtle sanctuary. It’s a small project intent on conserving the turtle population around the island. For Rp100,000 you can adopt one of the baby turtles at the sanctuary and release it into the wild. You can always say things could be better, but the Turtle Program is a good concept. The local community benefits from receiving money from tourists and turtles get saved and put back into the ocean. For that reason alone this is a nice program to participate in. It’s also something that kids really enjoy.
If you want to go a little further and see a little more then an early morning cycling tour is a nice alternative to a walking tour. Most cycling tours around Ubud offer a mix of the on and off-road experience. Tours around Ubud often take you through the Bamboo forest and the smaller villages surrounding the city. If you’re more adventurous it’s possible to join long off road day tours (but you need to be extra fit to join them).
Yoga in Ubud
Visit any café in Ubud and you will see people dressed in skintight clothing preparing for or returning from their last yoga class. It’s one of the most popular past times in the city and there are classes for all experience levels. One of the most popular places for Yoga in Ubud is the Yoga Barn. The setting is beautiful and the teachers professional. However, the Yoga Barn does get very packed so arrive early if you plan to attend a class.
Try Kopi Luwak
Kopi Luwak is one of the most expensive types of coffees in the world. It’s produced in a strange way… First a civit, a small ferret like creature, eats the coffee beans. Then once it’s gone through the civit’s tummy and out the other end you get Kopi Luwak. During the colonial era the local farmers, who were too poor to afford fresh coffee beans, drank this. Nowadays you have to be rich to drink coffee Luwak every day (humans are funny creatures). If you are a coffee lover you can visit one of the plantations around Bali where Kopi Luwak is produced and try some of it for yourself.
Hiking and Climbing
At more than 3,000 meters above sea level, Gunung Agung is the highest mountain on Bali. It is also the most physically demanding mountain to climb. There are two main routes up Mount Agung, the first is from Pura Pasar Agung that takes you to the crater rim (2,866 meters above sea level) and the second is the less popular, but more difficult route that leaves from Pura Besakih and takes you all the way to the absolute summit. Whilt the Pura Besakih route is the hardest route it does offer easily the best views.
Mount Batur volcano
Mount Batur is located in the Kintamani region of Bali. The volcano rises 1,700 meters above sea level and is by most standards a pretty easy climb (it takes around 2-hours to get to the top). From the peak you get a great view over the lake and surrounding hills, which looks special at sunrise. Unfortunately the local Climbing Association that manages Mount Batur act a bit like a local mafia and are known for hassling tourists hiking the volcano by themselves. To avoid problems it’s advisable to take a guide.
Mount Batukaru is an extinct volcano that rises 2,276 meters above sea level and is forested all the way to the peak. There are three main routes to climb Batukaru, though all the routes meet at the same point at the top. You can climb from Wongayagede, Sarinbuana and Sanda. Whichever route you take it’s an interesting climb. Depending on how fit you are it will take 3-6 hours to climb the volcano. Keep in mind that it’s very dangerous, and inadvisable, to climb during the wet season (October – March).
Diving and Snorkeling
Liberty ship wreck
The wreck of the USS Liberty is one of the best dive sites in Bali. Located just off the coast of Tulamben, the wreck lies between 5-30 meters below the surface of the ocean. Given the great range in depth, this dive site has something for all types of people from first timers through to experienced divers. The wreck is home to lots of different types of fish from bump-head parrotfish, barracuda and napoleon wrasse.
Just a short 10-minute walk away from the wreck of USS Liberty is the drop off known as Tulamben wall. The dive starts on a steep sand slope that changes into a wall formed from an old lava flow that drops 60 meters down into the ocean. The coral on the old lava flow is home to scorpion fish, nudibranches, moray eels and octopus. White–tip reef sharks, Napoleon Wrasse and big file fish are all more common here than at USS Liberty.
Located within easy driving distance of Gilimanuk, in the northwestern tip of Bali, is the Island of Menjangan. The Menjangan Island National Park offers a total of 15 different dive sites around the island that offer you the chance to do everything fro wall diving through to exploring coral reefs populates with sponges, turtles, clown fish and giant gorgonians. With clear visibility, little current and warm waters this is a great spot for beginner divers.
The turquoise waters of Crystal Bay are sheltered from the ocean almost ensuring great visibility, while the deep drop off into the ocean attracts large sea creatures. Crystal Bay is most famous for the giant Mola Mola (Sun Fish), which measure up to 3 meters or more. However, you can also find several types of shark and moray eels here as well. If you want to see the Mola Mola, the best time to visit is from June to October. This is one of the most famous dive spots, so if you like diving you have to add this to your list of things to do in Bali!
Manta Point is in a large open bay located off the southeast end of Nusa Penida. The highlight of Manta Point is the large manta rays that patrol this stretch of coast. The best place to see the manta rays is the large boulder. This is where the small wrasse can be found that eat parasites off the bodies of the manta rays. During the wet season, due to the currents, Manta Point gets overrun with plastic bags and other rubbish. The ride here can also be quite rough and if there’s a swell the current can be strong.
Malibu Point is located off the coast of Nusa Penida. The site has a steep sandy floor that goes down to a depth of 40 meters. With a gentle current, Malibu Point makes for a relaxing drift dive. The highlight of the area is the sharks, though you can also find tuna, red tooth triggerfish and giant reef rays here. In addition to the diving, it’s also possible to do snorkeling and free diving here.
Sental Nusa Penida
Sental Point is a reef dive located off the northern coast of Nusa Penida. The reef is between 3-25 meters deep and slopes down steeply, with some stretches of wall, before levelling out at the bottom. Visibility at this dive site is normally very good and at around 25 meters it’s possible to see barracuda, tuna and white and black tip reef sharks. Between July and September it is even possible to find Mola-Mola here.
Lipah Bay, which is famous for its Japanese wreck, is located 3km to the East of Jemeluk. Although not much is known about the ship, the wreck appears to be an old steel tugboat. The dive site is easily accessible from the shore, being just 15 meters out to sea. The wreck lies between 6-10 meters below the water making it a good spot for first time divers. Lipah Bay also has a coral reef that can be easily explored on a dive. It’s best to visit the site on a calm day, because the sandy floor can make visibility a problem.
Blue Lagoon is located in a small seaside village a one-hour drive from Sanur. It is a dive site that is perfect for all different experience levels. The dive starts on a sandy slope at a depth of 5 meters and gently descends to 20 meters. At 20 meters you can find a scattered reef and just where the bay ends you find the wall (this sudden drop off that creates a strong color contrast in the ocean gives the lagoon its name). There are a lot of small fish to see around the bay. Shark and turtles can also be found around the dive site.
Secret Bay is located in the West of Bali facing Java in Gilimanuk. The bay is around 2km wide and has two small islands at the mouth. The site is perfect for beginner divers as there’s almost no current and the dive depth ranges from 2-12 meters depending on the tide. Secret Bay is a muck dive (there’s no coral to see) and is popular with underwater photographers who come here for the macro life. Some of the things that you can expect to see here include seahorses, frog fish, nudibranch and leaf scorpion fish.
Many people come to Bali specifically to learn how to surf. It’s one of the classic things to do in Bali. If this sounds like you then Kuta Beach is probably what what you are after. It is one of the most popular (and crowded) surf spots in Bali. There are a couple of different surf spots on the beach. Most beginners will choose to surf the beach break, where the swell is normally between 1-2 meters. A little further offshore (800 meters away) you can find a reef break which is popular with more experienced surfers.
Canggu is popular with surfers and it’s a lot less crowded than Kuta. There are a total of five main breaks along a couple of hundred-meter stretch of coastline. The different breaks offer something for every experience level and style. The most famous break is Batu Bolong and offers consistent swell for surfers.
Uluwatu Beach is located on the southern tip of Bali, at the bottom of towering cliffs. The four breaks found here offer arguably the best surf anywhere in Bali. The beach can get quite crowded when the swell is around a meter, but quickly empties out when the large waves come crashing in. That’s good new for experienced surfers, because the most famous, Outside Corner, can only be surfed when the swell is around 2-meter high.
Just a bit further up the headland from Uluwatu is Padang-Padang. This break is known as the Balinese Pipeline and it’s one of the most dangerous waves in Bali. The long barreling wave runs over a very shallow reef and the best surf is found when the swell is between 1-2 meters. Close to the main break is the less well known Padang-Padang Rights, which is suitable for beginners and intermediate surfers.
Keramas is a long black sandy beach located to the North-East of Denpasar. It’s a shallow, powerful right hand reef break. The average swell here ranges from 0.5-2 meters and at its peak it’s possible to surf the barrel. Though you can surf Keramas on any tide, the best time to come here is in the early morning during the dry season.
Serangan Beach is located on the island of Serangan close to the village of the same name. The sandy white beach is beautiful and never too busy. The best time to come here for the surf is during the wet season. The break is a strong right-hander with the best waves being around 1-meter high. It’s suitable for beginners and intermediates and a fun place to bring the family.
Action and Adventure
Bali has a lot of waterfalls to explore. If you want to visit them and get an adrenalin rush then a day of canyoning could be just what you are after. There are a lot of companies that offer these packages around Bali and most of them start from $100 all-inclusive for a day. Most packages include abseiling down waterfalls, diving into pools, swimming, sliding and zip lining.
Ubud ATV ride
There are a lot of ways you can explore Ubud, but taking a ride on the back of an ATV has to be one of the most exhilarating. Most tours last about two hours and take you through the rice terraces, jungle paths and creek beds. The landscape you drive through is picturesque and the routes are just difficult enough to make it enjoyable for all experience levels. Don’t worry if you’ve never ridden an ATV before, after a few spins around the testing track you will be comfortable driving the 250cc ATV’s.
White water rafting
White water rafting is an extremely popular activity for people visiting Bali. There are three main rivers where you can do this activity. The first is Melangit River, which is located in Klungkung. The rapids here are mostly level 2-3 (suitable for beginner/ intermediate). The second river is Ayung, which is located close to Ubud. The majority of the rapids here are also level 2-3. The last and final river is Telaga Waja. This is the easiest river for rafting and most of the rapids here are level 1-2, though you can find more powerful rapids.
AJ Hackett offers the one and only bungy jump in Bali. The 45-meter high tower, located inside the grounds of the Double Six Night Club, is relatively small by international standards. The views over the ocean and the beach make up for this though. You can bungee jump at any time of day and it’s possible to do tandem jumps as well as other more adrenalin inducing jumps (for instance you can ride off the top on a BMX). Bungee jumps at AJ Hackett start from $80 and upwards.
Every year from May through to October as the southerly trade winds pick up local paragliders take to the air along the southern coast of the Bukit Peninsula. The 12km of ridge are a mix of nature and five star resorts and offer beautiful views. This is a great place to experience a tandem paraglide or even join a paragliding course. This is something that is suitable for everyone from novice through to advanced paragliders.
Thanks to the strong monsoon winds Kite surfing has become a popular sport in Bali. The kite surfing season lasts from May through to September and most surfers are based around the area of Sanur and Canggu. The best place to find a kite surfing school is around Sanur. It’s possible to book everything from one-day introduction courses through to weeklong intensive classes. This is definitely something for people who love the open ocean and the adrenalin that comes with speed.
If you are looking for an unusual aquatic experience then you should have a go at the water jetpack. The pack, which is strapped to your back, uses high-density propulsion to blast you into the air above the water. A ride with the water jetpack lasts about 15-minutes and looks like a lot of fun. Though you do spend the first 15 minutes learning how to master the machine. Expect to spend most of your time launching yourself into the water and struggling to balance. This is just one of the many things to do around Nusa Dua.
Off-Road Enduro and Dirt Bike
The mountainous-forested terrain of Bali is perfect for off road Enduro and dirt bikes. Companies operating in this niche offer packages ranging from one day tours around areas like Nusa Dua and Batur through to multi day trips. The packages will take you through picturesque landscapes of jungle, forest, rice paddies and waterfalls. Packages cater to everyone from novice through to advanced riders.
Bars and Nightclubs
Woobar, at W Retreat and Spa Bali, offers a blend of entertainment that combines delicious food, tasty drinks, high fashion and music. The setting is open planned with palm trees dotted between the seating. Woobar is open all day and transforms into a club in the evening getting especially busy over the weekend.
Puri Santrian Bar
Puri Santrian is an upscale beachside bar and restaurant located in Sanur. The bar is more of a place to relax than party. With four large swimming pools and lazy day beds it’s easy to unwind. If you are looking for something a bit different then you can chill out on one of the floating pavilions surrounded by the ocean.
Mirror Lounge and Bar
Mirror Lounge and Bar is one of the most popular club on the island at the moment and top of many people’s list of things to do in Bali. Located in the heart of Seminyak. With its gothic interior design, arched roof and large stain glass windows the club has the appearance of a chapel. It gets packed over the weekend and you’ll need to dress up (or at least leave your sandals at home) if you want to enter here.
Vin+ Seminyak is part of a chain of retail wine stores found all over Indonesia. The Seminyak outlet has a striking bamboo design with a large indoor seating area, courtyard and lounge. The premises stocks over 300 varieties of wine. The food here is also very tasty making it a good choice for lunch and dinner.
This small private beach is a great place to catch the sunset when you visit Bali. The only way to access the beach as a member of the general public is to take the long winding stairs all the way down the cliff. It’s quite a walk, but it’s worth it! The club offers great food and drinks in a relaxed tropical atmosphere.
The Bamboo Bar
The Bamboo Bar is a chic restaurant and lounge. As you’d imagine from the name the interior is all designed from bamboo, while the furniture is a mix of natural wood and wicker. The bar has a relaxed atmosphere and the restaurant has the kind of menu you’d expect from a high-end bar. With live bands playing into the evening the bar offers a nice alternative to the bustling clubs of Kuta.
The Potato Head Beachclub is located in Seminyak. One of the first things that strikes you about Potato Head is the architecture. From the front, the building, which is based on the design of the Coliseum, is covered in a multi colored layer of wooden teak shutters. The back of Potato Head meanwhile has a modern open plan design with a large swimming pool, terrace and dance floor. During the day Potato Head has a relaxed vibe, while in the night the premises changes into a club.
El Kabron is a bar and restaurant located in Uluwatu in the South of Bali. The bar rests at the top of the cliffs and offers great views over the ocean, which makes it especially busy around sunset. There’s an entrance fee of Rp350,000 per person to El Kabron. The fee covers your meal and your first drink. The menu here is Spanish, with tapas, paella and other popular dishes alongside the tasty cocktails.
Ku De Ta
Ku De Ta is an upscale restaurant and nightclub set on the beachfront in Seminyak. This is another of those places where you can watch the sunset while eating gourmet food and drinking tasty cocktails. Though the venue is laid back in the evenings, Ku De Ta turns into a bustling upscale club at night.
Even though this might seem like a long list, it’s just a small sample of the wide range of things that you can do in Bali.
What was your favourite place to visit in Bali? Did I miss anything from the list? Let me know your favourite things to do in Bali in the comments below.