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Some hate it, many love it – Bali is still a traveler’s paradise and a great introduction to traveling in South East Asia. For female solo travelers, it is incredibly safe, for Australians it is easy to reach for a long weekend, and for surfers and divers alike it offers a paradise above and below the waves.
What to do in Bali? What not to do should be the correct question. I have asked some of my favorite travel bloggers what their top things to do in Bali are and what you shouldn’t miss – whether it is your first, second or tenth trip to the Island of Gods.
Jump ahead to the various sections for the best beaches, waterfalls, sporty activities, what to do in Ubud, Balinese culture, ethical animal encounters and of course sunset spots in Bali.
Top Things to do in Bali
Favorite Beaches in Bali
1. Kelingking Beach, Nusa Penida
If you want to see one of the most breathtaking beaches in the world, and you happen to be in Bali, you must take a day trip to Kelingking beach, on the southwestern coast of Nusa Penida.
The easiest way to get to Kelingking beach is by taking a speedboat from Sanur Beach to Nusa Penida. The ride will take about 40-50 minutes.
Once you get to the island, your best option is to hire a moped. Take extra care while driving and be ready for a bumpy ride as many of the roads are full of holes and rocks. It will take you around 45 minutes to get to the magical viewpoint.
When you reach the parking area, you simply have to walk downhill to find yourself in front of a stunning view: an incredible white beach framed by imposing, cliffs and deep aquamarine waters.
If you are not scared of heights and quite fit, you can embrace yourself for the steep walk to the beach. This hike shouldn’t be underestimated: you need to be extremely careful as there are only railings made from sticks and bamboo to help you on the way down, and they are not well maintained.
The walk will take you about an hour, and depending on the tide and conditions, the waves waiting for you can be gigantic and show the true power of nature.
2. Sanur Boardwalk
One of the best things to do when you visit Sanur, Bali is to use the Sanur promenade or boardwalk. It allows you to get a real feel for this Bali coastal town. It has very easy access as you can enter the boardwalk from all Gangs (laneways) off the main road of Jl. Danau Tamblingan.
My advice would be to start at one end and travel to the other. Best way to see everything along the way is to hire a pushbike. In the Bali heat, it’s too hot to walk. Plus, the boardwalk is over 7km’s long.
Along the way, you’ll see tons of places to eat and drink. And if seafood is a favorite, you can eat lobster, prawns, and fish straight from the grill. It’s delicious. Stop for some local shopping at the markets too. There are even fixed price stalls in the north at Baruna Beach Markets if you don’t like bargaining.
3. Diamond Beach, Nusa Penida
If you spend time on lovely Nusa Penida south of Bali, you must visit Diamond Beach on the eastern side of the island. When you go from the parking lot towards the beach, several viewpoints are providing great views of Diamond Beach. Just looking down at it from above is spectacular!
Steep cliffs beautifully surround the white-sanded beach and the diamond-shaped rocks in the turquoise waters. Watching the natural landscape is mesmerizing.
To explore the beach itself, you have to walk down a staircase cut into the cliffs. It is fairly easy but still takes a few minutes getting down. It is worth it though, and you will be rewarded with soft sand and the most incredible sight. For that extra cool Instagram photo, there is even a swing with a view of the sea just before you get to the beach.
Our favorite spot in Bali is Amed and its beautiful black sand beach. The sand is a dark black color due to the volcanic deposits in the soil and it’s a stark contrast to the white sand beaches usually seen throughout Bali. The volcano also makes for a striking backdrop and Amed is a beautiful spot to stay.
Located in the North East, Amed is about a 3-hour drive from the airport, and it’s popular with travelers who want to escape the busy tourist areas. It’s certainly not boring though and the area is a popular diving and snorkeling spot and even has a Japanese shipwreck with some amazing marine life.
5. Bingin Beach
Bali has no shortcoming of stunning beaches but one of my clear favorites is Bingin Beach on the Bukit Peninsula. You have to brave a steep climb that gets you down to the actual beach, but it is oh so worth it!
Get a snack at Kelly’s Warung and hire an umbrella from Tom Tom’s at the end of the beach and you are set for the day. The water is turquoise, the sand is white and the sunset is also pretty spectacular. And for those who like hopping on a board – this is one of the places for surfing in Bali!
Balinese Cultural Activities
6. Visit a Balinese Healer
Look, I’m not gonna lie, this visit was sparked 90% from watching Eat, Pray, Love and 10% from my own, general sense of curiosity. Is it a sham? Am I actually going to get healed? What do I even need healing from beside my own curiosity?
What unfolded in the next day, literally, blew my socks off. I’m a spiritual type of gal, but at the same time, I’m also hugely skeptical. The healer looked at me and cringed. No joke. He cringed at me like he just ate a lemon and was suffering from the sour aftertaste. He told me that I never finish what I start and that is my greatest downfall. He just told the story of my life 15 seconds after he met me. He also told me that I wouldn’t progress much in life until I worked on correct this awful habit. Truth be told, this scared the living hell out of me. So, I asked him what he could do. He said, the most he can do is help restore balance in my body, but the rest was up to me.
The next day, I embarked on a 3-hour journey deep into the Bali countryside where my energy would be thrown back into balance with the aid of meditation and river cleansing. I never believed much in this, but I can tell you one thing, I walked out of the river with a renewed sense of energy and felt like I was floating above the ground. It almost felt like a fresh start. The rest was up to me.
Healer’s details: Mangku Made, Mobile: +62 813 38687768
7. Balinese Cooking Class
Balinese food is world-renowned but for many, that doesn’t go beyond smoothie bowls and nasi goreng. Mind you, there is so much more to the local cuisine and short of eating the entire menu at local warungs there is no better way to explore the island’s cuisine than by doing a cooking class.
Learn how to make local favorites like Soto Ayam and Pisang Goreng, steam fish and chicken in banana leaves, and give your arms a workout while making the famous Bali Bumbu spice mix. A cooking class is one of the most delicious and fun things to do in Bali.
8. Balinese Massage
Bali is known for massages and its spa culture in general. Balinese women have it down to an art and everything the island has to offer is not only used in its cuisine but also for treatments. Avocados, rice, turmeric, and lemongrass are not only used for cooking but to nourish the body from the outside as well.
You will find little spas and massages places literally on every corner. Massages in Bali are usually good value for money so you can either opt for one every day or splurge on an afternoon at one of many chic hotel spas. A must is a classic Balinese massage, a cream bath to nourish your hair, and of course the oh so Insta-worthy flower bath.
Where to find the best spas in Bali.
9. Traditional Dance
Are you interested in the cultural side of Bali? Then getting tickets to a traditional Balinese dance performance should be your next step straight after finding where to stay in Bali (ok, you can eat something in between too!).
The tickets usually sell like hotcakes, so it’s wise to book them in advance. Luckily, there are shows several times a week. The Balinese dance performance is an ancient art and one of the typical Ubud activities, the cultural center of Bali. Indonesian girls, who want to become the professional Bali dancers, start to practice the unique dance moves from the very young age.
There are a few types of Balinese dances telling different stories. Legong Dance is one of the most graceful dances combining several traditional stories. I recommend watching this performance at the Ubud Palace. The beautiful Palace with its warm colors and textures is a perfect backdrop for a mystical and touching performance. Another famous dance is Kecak, performed by as many as 100 men, accompanied by live music.
Best Bali Waterfalls
10. Tibumana Waterfall
Bali is home to many waterfalls, some of which are overrun by tourists while others remain untouched. Tibumana waterfall is one of Bali’s best-hidden gems, nestled deep in the Balinese jungle. Only 15km from Ubud or 40km from Canggu, this spot is easily reachable for a day trip from anywhere in Bali.
Entry will cost you around $1 and the walk from the car park is only 10 minutes. This walk is relatively flat, making it one of the easier waterfalls in Bali to access.
Arriving early at Tibumana waterfall will allow you to have the place to yourself. At first light, only the lifeguard is there for those who are brave enough and wish to go in for a swim. There are lockers available for 50 cents if you require one, perfect for dropping off your valuables before you take a dip. The linear flow of this waterfall makes it extremely photogenic and captivating to watch.
There is a small local Warung located beside the car park where you can grab your morning coffee on the way out.
11. Munduk Waterfall
Munduk is Bali’s hidden gem located high up in the mountains, with a cooler climate and relaxed atmosphere. The village itself is raw and rugged, and relatively undiscovered. It’s nature at its best!
Arguably the best thing to do in Munduk is to explore the waterfalls in the area, namely the Munduk Waterfall. You’ll be spoilt for choice as there are 3 cascading waterfalls all flowing from this one, however, Munduk Waterfall is the most impressive.
Getting to the Munduk Waterfall, otherwise known as Red Coral Waterfall, is a short 15-minute walk through a lush forest. There is a $1 entrance fee which is a small price to pay for what is one of the most picturesque waterfalls in Bali.
From the Munduk Waterfall, you have the option to continue further into the forest and explore Melanting Waterfall or Golden Valley Waterfall which are both a short walk away.
12. Nungnung Waterfall
Choosing what to do and where to go exploring in Bali is likely to be a formidable task since every corner of this island is filled with temples, rice fields, waterfalls, beaches, lakes… you name it.
I have one piece of advice for you – don’t miss visiting Nungnung waterfall! There are many waterfalls all over Bali, and normally the closest ones to tourist hotspots are quite busy, to the extent that either you visit at 6 am, or you’ll be sharing that dream spot with thousands of others. Nungnung is about 1,5 hours from Ubud and Canggu, and a further half an hour walk each way. This means that even visiting in the middle of the day you won’t find many people here since most opt for waterfalls requiring easy walks.
You’ll have to walk up and down 500 steps but I can promise it’s 100% worth it! The waterfall is about 50 meters high and there’s a pool on the bottom where you can go swimming, but be careful as the currents are very strong. It’s an unforgettable place!
The Crowded Planet
13. Banyumala Twin Waterfall
Banyumala Twin Waterfall is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Bali. Located in North Bali, Banyumala doesn’t attract many tourists, making it the perfect place to escape the crowds.
If you’re coming from Ubud, look out for the sign on the right side of Jalan Raya Wanagiri. The road leading to the parking lot is in extremely bad condition with lots of potholes, so you might want to hire a driver to take you there.
Before entering, you will have to pay a small fee of IDR 20K. The 15 minutes trek is mostly downhill but luckily isn’t too strenuous. Once you reach the waterfalls, you will be greeted with the cold water spray which is so refreshing after the hike.
The twin waterfalls flow directly into a large plunge pool which is perfect for a swim. Most people only visit the main area, but if you explore further, you will come across three other waterfalls that are completely deserted. Seeing Banyumala Twin Waterfall is definitely one of the top things to do in Bali!
Getting active in Bali
14. Yoga in Bali
One of the best things to do in Bali is to try out yoga. If you are new to yoga, Bali is a great place to try it and see if you like it. If you are an advanced yogi, then Bali is the perfect place to come and zen out.
While there are yoga studios all over Bali and places to practice in every town, my favorite place was Ubud. Ubud is the spiritual mecca of the island and you’ll find plenty of yoga studios to practice. Many studios are located in the quiet part of town or even set in the lush jungle – perfect for yoga practice and downward dog.
My absolute favorite studio is Intuitive Flow. This is a very small studio, but the views over the jungle at Intuitive Flow set the mood for any yoga session. It’s location away from town creates a quiet and peaceful environment. A drop-in class starts at IDR 100k.
15. Mount Batur Hike
“Pain is temporary, pride is forever,” I kept repeating to myself almost like a mantra while climbing up the steep and slippery paths that led to the summit of Bali’s Mount Batur.
I was picked up at my homestay around 2 am by a chatty host who drove me to the foot of Mount Batur. In complete darkness, after meeting my cheerful guide Nova (who made me remember his name by asking “Soo… you know Casa-Nova, right?”), I was ready to start going up. The hike wasn’t easy, and if it wasn’t for the guide (whom I tipped generously when the trip was over), probably I wouldn’t have made it. Remember good walking shoes, have sugary snacks with you (my dates ended up serving as a first-aid kit for a girl who almost fainted on the trail) and get some sleep before the trip!
Was the climb worth it? Absolutely, yes. No need to elaborate on the breakfast served on the top of the mountain – a banana is a banana, a piece of toast is… what it is. But the views were stunning. You do feel like “the king of the world”, silently admiring the sights. It’s almost like your voice would startle the rising run.
16. Surfing in Canggu
Canggu has recently become very popular among surfers with its three main surf spots: Echo Beach, Batu Bolong, and Berawa.
Batu Bolong or Old Man’s is the easiest one, a reef break with slow and forgiving waves. It’s a great place for beginners and intermediate surfers. You will have plenty of time to get in the right position, paddle a little to get it and then to get up on your board. The big advantage is that waves are long enough, so you will get the opportunity to improve skills and maneuvers without much fear.
If you have never tried surfing before, there are many surf schools where you can take classes and learn how to catch a wave. Another advantage of this place is that there are plenty of parking spaces as well as restaurants where you can grab a beer after your surf session. The only thing that is not so good about Old Man’s is that it attracts a lot of people and tends to get crowded.
17. Biking through the Rice Paddies
When most people think of Bali, they think of crystal clear beaches and awe-inspiring temples. While Bali has that in spades, it’s also a fantastic destination for adventure activities.
One of my favorite things to do in Bali was going on a guided bike tour through the countryside of Ubud. It’s a great way to get off the beaten path and experience the more rural parts of Bali. We started at Kintamani Volcano and rode through lush rice paddies and traditional villages, stopping at temples and sights along the way. The guide offered great insights into the Balinese culture and made sure to explain everything we were seeing.
It was a great way to experience a quieter side of Bali. The best part about the tour… it’s downhill the entire way!
18. Whitewater Rafting
Whitewater rafting in the Ayung River in Ubud is a super active adventure for those seeking a little bit of an adrenaline rush! This experience is not only exciting, but the river also winds through some incredibly green and beautiful areas of Bali.
If you’re nervous (like I was) that this could be too dangerous, don’t worry. The difficulty of the rafting changes based on the season. During the dry season (May to September), the water is lower and the activity is considered easier and less dangerous. During the rainy season (Octobre to April), the ride is a bit bumpier and considered more difficult.
I do recommend that you know how to swim before doing this activity.
Tours usually include life jackets and all the gear necessary for rafting as well as changing rooms, towels, and showers for after rafting. Make sure to bring a waterproof camera to capture the wild moments as well as some of the gorgeous views.
Things to do in Ubud
19. Campuhan Ridge Walk
To escape from the hustle and bustle of central Ubud, do the Campuhan Ridge Walk, a relaxing walk through nature. Along your walk, you’ll hear a river flowing to your right and lots of trees, grass, and nature all around. The ridge is up on top of a hill so you can see the greenery and long grass disappearing into the depths of the Earth on one side of the path. It’s truly beautiful and one of the best things to do in Ubud.
The path is well defined and not too hilly so this should be fine for all ages and fitness levels, in whatever footwear you feel comfortable in. What’s more, you can take this as fast or as slow as you like. At a normal pace, you could walk to one end and back again in less than an hour. At the end of the trail, there’s Karsa Kafe where you can enjoy a cold drink in a beautiful and peaceful setting before walking back again.
20. Glamping in Ubud
Nestled amongst paddy fields and jungle is Sandat Glamping a dreamy spot perfect for relaxing and being at one with nature. Luxurious safari tents with private plunge pools make for a unique experience.
Fall asleep to the sounds of the jungle and wake up to a special Balinese breakfast. Order ‘room service’ or venture out from your private paradise to the restaurant. A huge bamboo structure with open sides, it shows off Sandat’s eco-friendly vision.
The tents have a very stylish interior and the bathroom has the most beautiful views of the jungle. Cool off in the plunge pool and explore the local area by bike. Rehydrate with a refreshing mango smoothie or order sundowners using a personalized bell allocated to your tent. There are no phones or TVs at Sandat, as to be expected from an experience in the wilderness, but who needs modern technology when you have the stars to gaze at and the jungle to admire?!
21. Rice field Walk
One of our favorite things to do in Ubud, Bali’s cultural heart, is to explore the area’s expansive green rice fields. There’s no better way to see rural Bali than on foot following one of the many trails which wind through beautiful farmland.
Two of our three best Ubud rice field walks start right in the center of town and in just a few minutes you’ll find yourself amongst some stunning scenery. In high season they’re popular footpaths for tourists and locals alike but you’ll still never find them to be over-crowded. Another thing that makes these two walks so great is the selection of coffee shops and small restaurants you’ll come across on your way. Our favorite for rice field views included Cafe Pomegranate and Karsa Kafe.
Our third favorite field walk is in nearby Penestanan, a small and friendly village just a 10-minute drive from Ubud town. Starting at Paddy Point Restaurant to the North, this is where to head for a more off the beaten path experience. You’ll see more local farmers than tourists here.
22. Treehouse Stay
If you’ve ever wanted to spend a night in a treehouse, there are seemingly endless options in Bali. Luxury treehouse retreats, remote hideaways overlooking the ocean, and rustic eco-lodges to suit every budget. One of my favorite experiences in Bali was staying in a woven bamboo nest treehouse in Ubud.
It was set in a bright green rice paddy that looked like something straight out of Eat, Pray, Love. I felt incredibly close to nature, listening to the sounds of birds and insects just outside, and waking up to natural light. It was also fun and a little scary climbing into my “room” with the help of a ladder, and feeling the whole structure sway.
Although some of the treehouses you can stay in are pretty luxurious in Bali, many are available to book on Airbnb and cost less than the price of a hostel!
23. Tegalalang Rice Terraces
The Tegalalan Rice Terraces in Ubud, Bali are a world UNESCO site and renowned for not only the stunning landscape but also their interesting history. They also encompass Tri Hita Karana, the basic Balinese philosophy of life, that prioritizes harmony in 3 central aspects. The rice paddies also still use the traditional Balinese irrigation system which makes them even more special.
Albeit being a bit of a tourist trap these days you can still have a lovely experience at the rice paddies if you give them a chance. Mornings are the best time to visit with golden light streaming through the abundance of palm trees and almost no one in sight. Stroll through the endless terraces or go on one of the Instagram famous Bali swings, there is plenty to do and see at the Tegalalang rice terraces. There is no official entrance fee but if you come later in the day you will be asked for donations by the locals.
Most Beautiful Temples in Bali
24. Tanah Lot Temple
Tanah Lot is yet another ancient Hindu temple and one of Bali’s most important sights. During high tide it sits surrounded by waves, however, during low tide, you can cross and get a close up look.
While visitors cannot get onto the actual temple ground there are plenty of viewpoints around that are not to be missed and make for a great photo spot. As with all Balinese temples, you will need to dress appropriately and wear a sarong and sash.
25. Uluwatu Temple
Uluwatu Temple might be one of the most beautiful Hindu temples I’ve ever seen. Make sure to visit at sunset, because the stunning effect of the sun going down next to the looming temple on a cliff jutting out into the ocean is a once-in-a-lifetime view.
Arrive around an hour before sunset to enjoy wandering around the majestic temples and make your way to the end of the cliff-walk before finding your sunset spot. As you walk around, watch out for the hundreds of monkeys that live on the temple grounds; Hindu worshippers believe that the monkeys’ presence protects the temple from harm so the macaques are revered.
However, nowadays they’re stealthy thieves and will want to nab your sunglasses, phone or camera so keep your distance! You’ll notice that the temple is at its busiest at sunset, but for good reason, so it’s worth bearing the crowds. Just make sure to find your own little spot with a view to relax as the sun goes down and enjoy.
26. Goa Gajah Temple
The Goa Gajah Temple is one of the most beautiful and unique temples you can find in Bali. Its history dates back to the 11th century and it is only a few-minute drive from Ubud. Probably the most extraordinary part of this impressive temple is the Elephant Cave. With its elephant statue located at the entrance of the cave, the cave is considered the highlight of the Goa Gajah temple and also its name giver.
Mind you, the beautiful nature in which the temple complex is located is worth a visit too. In addition to small jungle-like areas, you will find a large number of wonderful trees and great viewpoints.
The small entrance fee of IDR 50k also includes the rental of a sarong, which must be worn during your visit to the temple. An inexpensive thing to do which means you can also visit the Goa Gajah temple when you travel Bali on a budget.
27. Pura Gunung Kawi
Carved into the steep sheer rock face of the beautiful Pakerisan River valley, Pura Gunung Kawi is one of the most mysterious and ancient sites in Bali. Believed to have been built in the early 11th century, this temple compound is a memorial to members of the Balinese royalty of the time.
There are numerous temples sites located all over the island, but this collection of historic shrines is an interesting sight offering a glimpse into Balinese culture like no other. It is certainly worth the time and effort required to visit. Gunung Kawi is around 18 kilometers from Ubud, and can easily be reached by scooter.
A Rai of Light
27. Pura Lempuyang Luhur
The Lempuyang Temple is one of Bali’s most important temples and probably best known for its iconic Gate of Heaven. From this gate, you have a stunning view over Mount Agung and easily see why it is such a well-liked photo spot.
Lately, Instagrammers have come under a bit of fire for showing the gate with a reflection looking like a body of water when many visitors may have been disappointed as there is no water in front of the gate. In fact, it is a clever Balinese who sits there making a reflection with a mirror while taking your picture. For money of course – quite ingenious if you ask me.
And for those who are not into altered reality or long lines, come very early in the morning and you can still get a beautiful shot reflection or not.
28. Tirta Empul
The Pura Tirta Empul is a temple where you can experience purification through bathing from its holy water. A big part of the Hindu practicing Balinese culture and this water temple is one of the most important temples in Bali.
Before entering the temple, you will be required to change clothes using the sarongs provided at the entrance. It is already included in the entrance fee so you don’t have to pay any extra for that.
The practice of purification starts with an offering to a small shrine within the complex. If you want to take part in the purification, you must bring offerings with you. Afterward, guests are directed to the small rectangular pond with 13 sprouts. The first eleven sprouts are used for purification only while the last two are used for funeral rituals. Believers press their hands together, bow, and pray. After this, people start bathing using the water from the sprout as part of the purification process.
This practice started more than a thousand years back and stems from the time of Warmadewa Dynasty. Dedicated to Vishnu, a Hindu God, this is where you can witness a local culture that stood the test of time.
Ethical Animal Encounters
29. Releasing turtles in Purmeteran
In Bali, many places claim to help in the conservation of turtles but in Pemuteran they take this to the next level. Reef Seen Bali includes the local community, working with fisherman and locals who notify them when turtles are seen laying eggs.
They are collected, reburied in the sand for 45-60 days until they hatch and after a month they are released into the wild. The center is open to the public and entrance costs IDR 25k for a ticket that lasts for a week. They conduct regular tours showing the whole process from hatching to release. There is also one large turtle, Buddy who was a pet to some local children. As he is too old for rehabilitation, he now has his own tank and you can see him being fed between 4.30 & 5.30pm. For a donation, you can release your ‘own’ turtle between in the mornings if there are any available. It is so nice to see the tiny turtles swimming out to sea on their voyage to freedom.
30. Menjangan Island
Bali isn’t all about seeing gorgeous rice terraces and staying at amazing infinity pool resorts overlooking the jungle. If you head up to the coast in the northwest of Bali, you will find Menjangan Island. Menjangan island is part of a protected marine reserve in the Bali Barat National Park. Because it is a marine reserve, you will find some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving in the area. The south side of the island is home to a gigantic drop off that is great for scuba divers and snorkelers looking for some variety in their underwater experience.
The island is also known as “Deer Island” as it is home to a population of barking deer! To see the deer and snorkel or scuba dive around this island, all you need to do is book a day tour from the coastal town of Pemuteran/ Labuhan Lalang. Day trips for snorkeling generally cost around $35-40 and include lunch as well as a guide to take you out into the water as well as show you around the island. You can hike up to the top of the island for a spectacular view out over the water as well as take some photos of the deer living on the island. If you are looking for an awesome day trip on Bali- Menjangan Island is the place to go!
Unearth the Voyage
31. Snorkeling with Mantas
There’s nothing quite like snorkeling with Manta Rays on Nusa Penida! Manta Point on Nusa Penida is where you will find these beautiful creatures. You’ll need to book a boat driver to take you who will also guide you to where you can find them. Being able to swim right alongside the giant Mantas in the open ocean is an incredible experience. The creatures are just as curious as us, so they’re sure to swim right up to you!
Since Manta Point is such a hotspot for the Manta Rays, you’re sure to have more than a few swimming around you. Swimming with the Manta Rays is intimidating at first, although it’s an unforgettable experience and you’ll be so glad that you did it. Be sure to also head there in the morning so that you have the whole area to yourself without any other boats or tourists around.
32. Monkey Forest
Of all the “typical” banana pancake trail activities in Bali, the Ubud monkey forest was frankly one of my favorites. It’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like: a patch of rainforest smack dab in the middle of Ubud, absolutely teeming with monkeys. It’s as fun (and terrifying, if you aren’t into rabies) as it sounds.
The monkey forest’s real name is Mandala Wisata Wenara Wana (or Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary). There is a Hindu temple inside the forest, as well, and it’s darn cool seeing the macaques climbing all over its walls.
While the monkey forest is a definite tourist trap (I think I saw one or two fancy cameras stolen by the feisty primates), it’s also a nice green space. Ubud, despite its reputation as a serene rainforest getaway, is almost as full of motorbike and tourist traffic as the rest of Bali. The monkey forest is a lovely break from the commotion. You can spend an hour or two strolling around, clinging to your belongings for dear life, and trying not to piss off the adorable residents.
Getting here is easy as you just have to follow Monkey Forest Road! It was easily walkable from most hostels in central Ubud and the entrance fee is IDR 80k.
33. Scuba Diving
While some flock to Bali to get their surf on, others like myself head to the island for diving. Bali and its surrounding islands are known for their beautiful underwater world and there is something for each taste and level of diving.
Tulamben has the incredible USAT Liberty Wreck while the Nusa islands are home to mantas and the elusive Mola Mola, also called sunfish. Suit up because waters tend to get chilly around Bali (at least for my taste) and don’t forget to bring your camera – Nemo & Co await.
Drinks for Sunset & Sunrise
34. Sundowner at MU Infinity Pool
If there’s one thing that Bali is famous for it, I would argue that it’s its unbelievably colorful and mesmerizing sunsets. And personally, my favorite way to enjoy a sunset is with a drink in my hand, while relaxing in an infinity pool!
That’s why Uluwatu is my top destination on the island, and Mu Resort is one of the best places to stay. It’s a small boutique hotel tucked away near Bingin’ beach, and the whole property is completely gorgeous. While the rooms are affordably luxurious, the real highlight is the infinity pool offering stunning views of the Bali coastline. Every night the sun sets beneath the horizon and changes the sky to a gorgeous variety of pastel colors. I stayed at MU Resort my very first trip to Bali and experienced a sunset swim there, and now it’s always something I recommend to all my friends planning a trip to Indonesia. Trust me – it’ll be a highlight of your Bali vacation!
Jones around the World
35. La Barisa
Beach clubs and Bali are synonymous and the new kid on the block is La Barisa in Canggu. Made out of wood and bamboo the structure resembles Neverland from Hook even though Peter Pan is substituted by ripped surfers flocking here after frolicking in the waves of Echo Beach.
For those who don’t like a dip in the ocean, La Barisa has a pool and loungers – for a fee of course – and alternatively, you can have a sundowner at the bar on in one their beach bean bags. Prices are as it goes with most Bali beach clubs on the pricier side but the view is worth the splurge.
Mind you, compared to all the other beach clubs in Bali, La Barisa looks like a beach bar should look like (at least in my books): driftwood chic and no need for heels!
36. Floating Breakfast
Have you even been to Bali if you didn’t take a picture of you and your floating breakfast? My friend Jane has written all about how precarious this endeavor really is offered by so many hotels.
Mind you, this didn’t stop the team behind Cabina to base their entire concept around a floating breakfast. Various breakfast/brunch options are on offer and of course, someone will give you a helping hand to take the picture-perfect Instagram shot of you and your munchies in the pool.
37. Potato Head Beach Club
With a large lawn, an infinity pool that could star on the cover of any glossy magazine, 4 restaurants, and 4 bars Potato Head Beach Club in Seminyak is an excellent option to spend a day and watch the sunset over the sea.
Quite fashionable, the dress code is casual and prices are not as crazy as you might expect from such a place. Of course, if you decide to visit from Kuta, keep in mind which means of transport you choose to get there. If you go during rush hour, a taxi is a very bad option, because it can take 1,5 hours to cover a trip that would usually last 10 minutes.
When you are there, look at the open-air amphitheater-shaped structure designed by the Indonesian architect Andra Matin. The facade has been made with hundreds of colorful shutters collected in various parts of the country. A wonderful design well-worth the visit alone.
38. Have a drink at Single Fin
If you’re wondering where to stay in Bali, then I would recommend spending at least a few nights in Uluwatu. This is an incredibly scenic spot on the south of the island in the Bukit Peninsula, known for its striking temples and excellent surf.
While you are here, make sure you head to Single Fin for a sundowner session. This bar has a stunning location, set on the Uluwatu cliffs. Here you can watch the surfers from above while you sip a cocktail or a Bintang, as the sun sets into the ocean. The best day to go is Sunday, for the now famous Sunday Sessions, featuring great DJs and live music – a must-do on your Bali bucket list!
A Lovely Planet
39. Sundays Beach Club
Formerly belonging to Finn’s, Sundays Beach Club has moved to the Bukit and opened its doors. The location is incredibly beautiful: white sand, turquoise water, and a view to be savored while you are taking the cable car down to the beach.
The beach club offers watersport equipment, beanbags, and plenty of loungers. Come early if you want a first-row beach spot, otherwise, you might get stuck in one of their not so charming back corners – unfortunately, spots cannot be reserved, unless you stay at the adjacent Ungasan Clifftop Resort.
They also a big restaurant and there are plenty of nibbles to pass the time. Entrance fee is 400k which includes a towel and a 200k food/drink voucher.
40. Explore Beyond Bali
While there are so many cool things to do in Bali, sometimes you have to leave to appreciate what you have and to explore what the rest of Indonesia has to offer.
From Bali, it is easy to head to neighboring Lombok but there are also many direct flights to some of the coolest spots in the country like Komodo, Raja Ampat, and Borneo.
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