Thinking of what to do and where to go in Bali can be overwhelming as you’re simply spoilt for choice. If I’m being honest it’s really difficult, maybe even impossible, to see all that Bali has to offer on a short trip.
I wasn’t able to do everything I wanted to do in Bali but I’m happy because it’s given me an excuse to return.
Here are 10 of the best things to do in Bali:
1. Tegallalang Rice Terrace
Bali is known for its gloriously green and luxurious rice paddies. You can find lush greenery all over the rural parts of Bali, but Ubud is a popular destination for rice fields.
Tegallalang rice terrace is an iconic rice terrace situated in Tegallalang Village north of Ubud Bali.
This rice terrace was absolutely breath-taking. The views were unreal, just like you see in pictures. There are plenty of cafes for you to relax and basque in the glorious views.
You can also take a trek, swing on one of the many swings, or take a quad bike tour.
It’s best to get to the Tegallalang as early as possible as it gets really crowded with tourists by midday. We got there at opening time 7am and it was quiet and easy to trek around.
Wear walking shoes!!! Don’t be like me and wear flip flops. There are loads of puddles, stairs and insects. We came across a newt but were lucky enough not to encounter rice paddy snakes.
We paid nothing to enter Tegallalang but had to give donations to enter some parts of the terrace. The donation you give is up to you, but I wouldn’t give more than 50,000 IDR which I felt was a sufficient amount.
2. Bali Swing
Can you really visit Bali without visiting the famous Bali swing? Bali Swing is not only a great photo opportunity but is actually a really fun adrenaline rush.
Situated just outside of Ubud, Bali Swing has a series of jungle swings ranging from 10m to 78m above the ground – really high. The view is gorgeous and overlooks a river, waterfall and lush greenery.
The thrill of this swing is unforgettable and you should definitely give it a try if you’re not too afraid of heights! It was one of my best experiences in Bali.
There are also numerous hanging nests at the location if you really can’t face the swing.
Entrance to the swing is 35 dollars or the equivalence in Indonesian Rupiah. This includes access to all swings and nests, drinks and a Balinese buffet. For a few dollars more you can pay for professional pictures which they can send straight to your phone.
A word of advice, get there at 8, as soon as it opens! If you get caught at midday the queues are super long and the afternoon sun is very hot! You’ve been warned.
3. Sunset Watching
The sunset in Bali are incredible. A beautiful mix of yellows, pinks and purples, they light up the skies.
I might be cheating with this being on the list as you’ll inevitably experience a sunset. However it makes such a difference finding a good sunset watching spot. Don’t sleep on the Balinese sunset.
My personal recommendations for a sunset viewing would be:
- Rock Bar at Ayana Resort and Spa, Jimbaran
- Woo Bar, The W Hotel, Seminyak
- Potato Head – Seminyak
- Bonfire on the Beach, Sundays Beach Club, Uluwatu
- Double-Six Sunset Rooftop Bar, Seminyak
There are so many sunset watching beach clubs and bars so do your research, but the above are famous for their views.
4. Cooking Class
Might sound boring to some but the cooking class I attended was some of the most fun I had. It was a real insight to Balinese culture and we made some damn good food. And if you know me, you know that I love food.
After researching, I decided to go with Paon Cooking Class Ubud and it was a great decision. The cooking school offers two classes; a morning class which you go to the market with them and select the produce, or an evening class without the market trip.
As our time in Ubud was short we went with the evening class. This was a perfect decision as we cooked in an open air kitchen overlooking the jungle. We finished cooking our meal just in time to eat under the purple sunset.
Under the guidance of Paon’s Indonesian gourmet chef, we prepared an 8 course menu. This included chicken satay on bamboo sticks, mushroom broth soup, steamed tuna wrapped in banana leaves. Desert was boiled banana with palm sugar syrup.
We learnt Balinese techniques such as using a Bali Blender (pestle and mortar), grilling the satay on an open fire grill, and steaming the tuna wrapped in banana leaf.
The food was incredible! So fresh and delicious. Definitely do your research but if in Ubud I highly recommend Paon.
The class cost 350,000 IDR (£18.50) and included pick up and drop off to your hotel in Ubud and a recipe booklet.
You can’t come to Bali and not get a cheap massage! You can get 60 – 90 minute long massages for under $10.
Or, you can indulge in a luxury spa day – so worth it!
You can find cheap massage parlours all over Bali and even on the beaches in some areas. I have listed some luxury spas that are worth visiting if you want to splash the cash:
- So Spa, Nusa Dua
- Lembah Spa, Viceroy Hotel Ubud
- Fivelements, Ubud
- Four Seasons, Ubud
- Butter & Scrub Spa, Jimbaran
- The Spa at the Edge, Uluwatu
There are too many beautiful spas to name. As my best friend would say ‘do your googles’ and you will find a spa that is perfect for you.
6. Monkey Forest
I feel like a hypocrite telling you to go to the Monkey Forest when I was too chicken to do it.
I really enjoy encountering wild animals, however monkeys are not always my favourite. They can be very naughty and pesky and the monkeys in monkey forest are known to try and steal your bits and bobs and bite you!
I really wanted a calm and relaxing holiday for my first trip to Bali so monkey forest was well and truly crossed off my list! I will however visit on a future trip to Bali.
Monkey Forest is located in Ubud and is the sanctuary or natural habitat of Balinese long tailed Monkey a home to around 750 monkeys.
It’s a highly recommended experience by many.
The seas surrounding Bali are full of vibrant coral reef and buzzing sea life.
You can swim with Manta Rays in Nusa Dua at Manta Point. This is the only snorkelling point in Bali where Manta Rays are sighted frequently.
Shark Point in Serangan offers swimming with sharks. And Mangrove Point in Nusa Lembongan is great for snorkelling with a wide variety of fish.
Although it’s not Bali, I snorkelled in Gili Trawangan, Lombok. Turtle Point in Gili T was absolutely unreal. At one point I was swimming with 7 huge turtles. It was an experience of a lifetime.
Utilise the clear and brimming coral reefs of Bali.
8. Floating Breakfast
Floating breakfast is just one of those things I associate with Bali. Once niche, floating breakfast is now very popular and is offered in a lot of resorts.
A really relaxing and fun was to enjoy breakfast. You can enjoy this in the privacy of your own villa or in a hotel pool resort.
I enjoyed a floating breakfast during my stay at Ayana Resort and Spa, it was only available to guests of the Villa.
Kamandalu Resort in Ubud offers a floating breakfast for non-guests. See details on their website here.
9. Chase Waterfalls
DO go chasing waterfalls! Bali is home to many gorgeous waterfalls. You can find them all over the island, so the good news is that you don’t have to travel far to find a waterfall in Bali.
A list of some of the best waterfalls in Bali:
- Tegenungan, Ubud
- Tibumana, Ubud
- Tukad Cepung, Ubud
- NungNung, NungNung Village
- GitGit Waterfall, Singaraja
- Sekumpul Waterfall, Buleleng
Bali is home to more than 139 Volcanos, most are active and can erupt at any time. Two volcanos that offer a guided trek are Mount Batur and Mount Agung.
Mount Batur is an easy trek and takes around two hours to reach the summit. You can then basque in the views of the Lake Batur and explore the rim of the crater.
Mount Agung is slightly more difficult and you’ll need to be in some kind of shape to climb. The Agung trek starts at 2.30am and takes between two and four hours to reach the summit.
The surrounding villages have hot volcanic springs that you can visit and and are said to be medicinal.
I hope you find this useful. There are so many more activities that Bali has to offer.
Please feel free to comment with feedback or questions.