Forget these short lists, there is so much to do in Bali you will spoilt for choice, so I’ve racked up a hefty list of all the best things to do. If you think I’ve left anything out, don’t hesitate to get in contact and let me know!
1) Mount Agung
2) Visit Ubud Tanah Lot
3) Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary
Us tourists might know it as the monkey forest, but its actual name is Mandala Suci Wenara Wana, attracting around 12,000 visitors per month! Fortunately, the prices haven’t shot up, like other areas of Indonesia, meaning entry should only be $3 (unless it has gone up since the time of writing). You can feed the monkeys, but be careful of your hands, don’t approach babies (as the parents might become defensive) and look after your valuables.
4) Ubud Hot Springs & Waterfall Tour
You can’t come to the Indian ocean and not make the most of the beautiful warm sea. If you book yourself on a tour, they will normally pick you up at around 8:30am, giving you time to have a quick breakfast first. Blue Lagoon beach is known in the area for having crystal clear water and largely avoiding pollution, with plenty of fish to spot.
6) Waterbom Bali
I LOVE waterparks, I’m so jealous we don’t have any in the UK (well, that it is too cold to enjoy them). Waterbom is great for families or adults who want to have a laugh! Just make sure to pack some sun tan lotion and some snacks in your bag, as the food is limited and slightly pricey. This waterpark has won awards for being one of the best tourist attractions in Indonesia, so what better reason do you need?
7) Uluwatu Temple
This Hindu temple is located in Uluwatu, dedicated to Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa. Despite it being known as a ‘sea temple’, it’s actually located at the top of a steep cliff, 70 metres above the water as it crashes against the cliff edge. Beyond looking at the beautiful architecture, this is a great spot to watch sunset. There are also plenty of monkeys in the surrounding forest which you will see running over in hope of a tourist feeding them.
8) Ubud Art Market
I love visiting a market while on holiday, while this is a great option to find yourself a summery shirt for the warm weather, a kite to fly through the sky, a hat to cover yourself from the sun or silk scarves which could make for a great present for someone back home. You may also recognise the scenes from the movie Eat Pray Love.
9) Bali Safari and Marine Park
Who doesn’t want to see the local wildlife when on holiday? There are more than 1,000 animals living in this national park, while you can have the full safari experience, climbing into the jeep or van and looking out at these majestic creatures. Some of the animals you can expect include tigers, elephants, lions, hippos and rhinos. Not quite the supposed ‘big five game’ but enough to make you feel like you’ve been on a brilliant safari.
10) Goa Gajah
Absolutely bizarre looking, this cave entrance was built in the 9th century as a sanctuary. If you think the mouth looks a bit bizarre, you’re not wrong, it’s supposed to be a demon. The direction translation of the name is ‘Elephant Cave’, but you won’t see any elephant carvings anywhere, just some incredibly creep yet spectacular demons.
11) Drink from the fountain of youth at Goa Gajah
You’ve already made your way to Goa Gajah to admire the creepy demon sculpture, but while you’re here you might want to try splashing your face with water from the holy ancient pools, which are believed to provide a supposed ‘fountain of youth’. Obviously, take that with a pinch of salt, but you might be in need of splashing your face considering the heat, so why not join in with the tradition.
12)Flying Fish Adventure
How is your fear of heights? Are you a good swimmer? If you’re fine with those questions then you might want to try this daredevil activity, flying forward on a rubber boat, attached to the back of a speed boat. This is a great activity to boost the adrenaline and get yourself pumping on a calm day away from sight seeing.
13) Explore the underground labyrinth Goa Gala-Gala
Located in Hang Tuah, if you were going to miss one thing from this hefty list, this would be it, as it was built based on a fear around the oppressive history and isn’t the most positive atmosphere. The owner has also been known to rip-off tourists, changing the price regularly and deferring quite significantly from the price stated online. Having said all of this, many still find it intriguing, equally terrifying and fascinating, therefore we wanted to include it.
14)Try cat poo coffee
Oh you heard me right! The coffee beans are partially digested coffee cherries, that go through the cats system and the stones are excreted. Kopi Luwak, as it is properly know, goes through the body of the Indonesian Palm Civet. Unlike your normal cuppa, it has been said to taste quite bitter due to the enzymes in the civet’s body changing the flavour of the coffee cherries. You will see this advertised all across Bali, a local delicacy.
15) Get a taste of royalty at Ubud Palace
Puri Saren Agung is one of the most commonly visited tourist attractions in Ubud, built in the 1800’s, by Ida Tjokorda Putu Kandel. Various international events are held here throughout the year, from art to dance and live music to religious celebrations. You can see various traditional dance performances taking place here. It’s open from 8am until 7pm.
16) Watch the Kecak Fire Dance
This Balinese Hindu dance was first ever introduced back in 1930, taking place in a great area to watch sunset. Supposedly the dance doesn’t feel any pain from the fire as they are in a state of trance. There are around 12 dancers who will be performing simultaneously, however the exact number will change day to day. They are actually portraying the story of Ramayana through the form of dance.
17)Visit an abandoned airplane
There are actually 4 abandoned airplanes spread through Bali, all making for a bizarre and fascinating daytime activity. You think an airline would want to keep hold of their Boeing 737 or scrap it for parts, but they have been abandoned for an extensive period of time now. The most popular option is one located next to a limestone quarry, just off Raya Nusa Dua Selatan highway. Of course, you might know the Pandawa beach a little better, the most common reason for people visiting this area. The plane is on private property, so you will have to pay to enter the area, or you can look from afar.
18) Visit an abandoned amusement park
Before you ask the name, it’s Taman Festival Park. Locals believe it to be haunted and won’t take a single step inside, however it’s the man eating crocodiles that lurk within that I’d be a little bit more worried about. The park cost an astonishing $100 million
19) Explore the Uluwatu
This is not a spot everyone gets to visit, it’s actually a hidden gem originally kept among surfers, considering some of the massive waves. You will want to go to Single Fin, before making the rest of the trip by foot. Word of warning, there are steps down, but they are very uneven and can be a tripping hazard, so walk with care. The Suluban cave can only be accessed during low tides (obviously) however it has become a bit of a tourist trap nowadays.
20) Release sea turtles at Kuta Beach
The time of your visit is equally as important, as the nesting season is between March and September and the hatching season is between April and October. This is a conservation programme, but you do have to look out for shady businesses that are trying to make some money from this tourist attraction. Being a conservation project, you can donate some money to their cause. You should normally look to arrive for 4pm.
21) Dinner with sunset at Jimbaran Beach
The views are spectacular, so your biggest question comes to which restaurant. Some of the most popular include Kisik bar and grill, Sundara, Opia dining destination, Unique rooftop bar, Dava steak & seafood restaurant, Sunset beach bar and grill, Bawang Merah beachfront Jimbaran, Rock bar, Above Eleven Bali, Beekini Bowl and Lia cafe. yep, quite a list! But I have gone in order of their ratings on Tripadvisor, so you might want to start with Kisik bar and drop down the list based on availability, food options and pricing.
22) Watch dolphins at Lovina Beach
This is a great activity which involves zero animal cruelty and allows you to see these gorgeous creatures in their natural habitat. Get ready for an early wakeup, with the tour guide stating they can pick you up from your hotel at 3am! Having said that, the majority of people who tried this activity were actually picked up at 6-7am. You will then be driven to Lovina beach, where you will board the boat and head off for a day of dolphin watching.
23) Go white water rafting
24) Walk on the seabed
Perhaps the oddest experience on this list of things to do in Bali, the Bali sea walking is located in Kuta Selatan, as you climb down via a ladder and walk on the sea floor. You will have a helmet on your head, while many people who are nervous about scuba diving see this as a great alternative. You will also be escorted by a professional scuba diver who will look after you and guide you on your sea walk.
25) Underwater Tandem Scooter Ride
Bali must win the award for weirdest activities, with most of them being based underwater. Here is another, as you can explore the sea bed as a couple, great for a honeymoon or a family activity. This can be booked at the same place that offers the fly fishing adventure and the seabed walking. This looks like something out of a bizarre futuristic sea movie, but the photos will be hilarious.
26) Bike around the rice fields
Forget walking everywhere, you can hire some bikes out or go on a bike tour, taking you through the local villages and across the rice fields. The tour takes approximately 2 hours, while you also visit a coffee plantation. Most of the journey is on a downhill path, however there are a couple of hills that will push your energy levels, better not do it on a hangover day!
27) Visit a coffee farm
There are actually quite a lot of coffee farm tours available throughout Bali, so not one particular one I can point to, but the number one voted option on Tripadvisor is the ‘Sunrise in Bali: Mount Batur Hiking and Coffee Plantation Tour’, potentially due to the jaw dropping views from Mount Bajur.
28) Join a Balinese cooking class
I love Asian food, nothing in the world can beat it! Whether it’s Indian, Bangladeshi, Thai, Vietnamese or Balinese, it all tastes so good! Take a cooking class while here and you can impress your friends with some homemade Satay, Babi Guling, Betutu, Lawar, Bubur Mengguh and Urab.
29) Try Some Babi Guling
I tried thinking of a vegetarian alternative so this could be one for everyone, but Bali loves their meat! The Babi Guling is roasted pork, meaning it won’t be available in the Muslim areas of the Indonesian archipelago. It’s incredibly crispy and a favourite among travellers and locals alike.
30) Bamboo Cathedral
Unfortunately, the Big Tree Farms chocolate factory with the giant swing which has decorated Instagram and Facebook profiles for years actually shut down in early 2019. This was a long time coming, with a huge amount of complaints about rude staff and it regularly being closed when it should have been open. However, the bamboo cathedral still remains and you might want to consider a visit if you’re nearby.
31) Hideout Bali – Eco Bamboo House
This might not fit your budget if you’re backpacking (you can head there and sneak some shots), with most guests visiting for their honeymoon. Obviously, if you do want to stay here, you should look to book in advance as it does book up quick. How can you say no to staying in a treehouse?
32) Tasting Chocolate at Pod Chocolate & See A Bear
I feel unsure about advertising this one, as they sell the opportunity to hug the bear, where you can clearly see the bear is exhausted, having to hug tourists all day long, therefore I feel very uneasy about this. Having said that, you should definitely try the great chocolate here and take some home with you. Admire the Sumatran sun bear, but please don’t pay to hug it.
33) Kayaking In South Bali
I do love watersports, which you can probably tell by the constant mentions on this list, but there is something incredibly relaxing about kayaking. The most popular location is along the Ayung river, which lasts 1 hour. Make sure to pack some sun tan lotion, as the heat will beat down and you’re in direct sunlight. You will be guided in a group, tackling 33 sets of rapids.
34) Get a Balinese massage
The best part about getting a massage here is that they are still very cheap! We’re talking about £5 for a full body massage, I could only dream of that price back home. For this reason, it can be tempting to book them throughout the day. I mention £5 ($7USD or $100k local currency), not because you can’t find cheaper, but you don’t want cheaper! You get what you pay for and the very cheap options often put you on dirty sheets, offer terrible massages from untrained staff and they spend half their time on the phone.
35) Catch a ferry to the Gili islands
If you do fancy taking a ferry over, then I recommend having a read of my list of things to do on the Gili Islands. Most ferries head in the morning, while depending on which operator you choose they can take between 1.5-4 hours.
36) Chill at a rooftop pool
These are always the shots you place on Facebook and everyone looks at you with a mix of hatred and jealousy. Some of the best options include Sky 8, Vertigo or Skylight rooftop bar & sunken pool bar.
37) Visit a healer
A huge portion of tourism to Bali is actually around wellness, a growing tourism trend and something they are quickly adapting to. There are various Balinese spiritual healers around, but make sure to go to a legitimate one who has been doing this for a long period of time, rather than one that has seen the increased interest from tourists and has setup something small in their living room.
38) Mepantigan Balinese Mud Games
How do you explain this one? Imagine a massive wrestling match, but all played out in the mud. Yep, a little bit bizarre, but great entertainment! It will normally start off with a traditional dance, a welcome drink and a greeting from the host.
39) Dining in the Bird’s Nest in Ubud
This restaurant has gained a huge reputation over the past 5 years, the dream location for a romantic dinner, popular with honeymooners. As you can guess by the name, it’s shaped like a huge birds nest, while it also offers relative privacy, compared to most restaurants. It is incredibly romantic, but do expect hefty prices.
40) Watch the Sunset at the Rock Bar Ayana Resort
I’ve spoken about sunset a good few times (and will probably a few more), but arguably the most popular spot is the Rock Bar. A few cocktails and some tapas while watching the sun set and you will feel like you’re in paradise!
41) Sunset Cruise
Some of the buildings can block your perfect view of sunset, therefore a cruise offers a great alternative option. You can also enjoy a 3 course meal on the cruise while looking out at the spectacular views.
42) Explore The Underwater World In A Submarine
How often can you say you’ve been in a submarine? Let alone a working one as you float down into the sea. Obviously, this won’t interest everyone, I know Raquel would be petrified to be in a trapped space under the water with a fear of drowning, but something about this activity really excites me, it feels like you’re on a childhood adventure. The company is called the Bali Odyssey Submarine Tour.
43) Swing on ‘The Swing’ at Ombak Sunset
Found at Gili Trawangan, this is a hard one, considering its popularity, but the photo’s are commonly used as wedding or honeymoon shots. It was only built in 2014, but this should be a lesson in clever marketing, as it has brought so much interest and business to the area. Just so you know, it’s in front of the hotel Ombak Sunset, but you don’t need to be staying there to visit the swing.
44) Soak up Bali’s spa treatments
Mud mask on the face, healthy smoothie in hand, cucumber over eyes and relaxing music playing in the background, mock me all you want but that sounds like heaven! You are spoilt for choice for spa’s in Bali, many being based in the hotels, so it’s worth investigating when booking your accommodation.
45) Watch a Traditional Balinese dance show
It could be the 90 minute Devdan show at the Nusa Dua theatre or the Bali Agung show at the Bali theatre, or the Uluwatu temple show, there are so many to pick from. Where ever you are in Bali, be certain that there are traditional dance shows available to watch.
46) Find authentic art at Sukawati Art Market
Open each day from 6am to 6pm, it’s most lively around lunch, but get there early to beat the tourist crowds. The Sukawati art market is filled with colour and vibrance, while it’s also a great place to pick up a souvenir.
47) Float on the sea at Puri Santrian Bar
These sun loungers are out at sea (a benefit to minimal waves here), meaning you can relax on a deck chair in the sea, how cool is that? The hardest part is getting your pina colada out there!
48) Chilling under colourful umbrellas: Big Garden Corner
One of those bucket list items that is boosted by Instagram photos of influencers posing under the colourful umbrellas.
49) Haunted valley waterfall ATV tour
This tour takes approximately 5 hours and is a great daytime activity, while you will be picked up directly from your hotel and dropped off at the end. They have English speaking guides and the reviews are always 5 stars. You’ll see wildlife and beautiful villages, while you can grab yourself a fresh avocado off the ground if they’re in season.