An island destination which is omnipresent on social media, Bali finds its way on most travel bucket lists. With a plethora to choose from, spending even a month in Bali is doing injustice to this incredible action packed land. To make planning tad bit easier for you, we’ve curated a list of the Best of Bali – top attractions, activities, adventure sports and fun things to do!
Click on the image below to pin it!
A destination which has been written about an umpteen number of times, Bali truly deserves all the attention that it garners from tourists and travelers alike. Being an island city offering a vast multitude of experiences covering expansive beaches, volcanic mountains, lush green jungles and charming rice terraces – Bali is all that you want and more.
Pushkaraj and I have both visited Bali in different years and instantly fell in love with every bit of what was on offer. In fact, we still haven’t gotten enough and cannot wait to fly down once again, this time, together.
From being a honeymooners’ paradise to the ultimate island for your next girls’ trip, Bali has something to offer to every type of traveler. If you could take only one trip in your lifetime, we’d say, make it Bali.
Here’s a list of the top attractions, fun things to do and adrenaline pumped activities to indulge in when you’re in Bali. Go ahead and take your pick! =)
(Note: The prices mentioned in this post are indicative and verified as on the date of publishing. We’d recommend that you check with the respective vendors and authorities for exact updated prices based on your travel schedule.)
TOP BALI ATTRACTIONS – PLACES YOU MUST VISIT
SACRED MONKEY FOREST
A place as entertaining as the name suggests, the monkey forest was a delight for all the senses. Watching people interact with the long-tailed macaques in their own style makes for a hilarious people and monkey watching experience. An adventure suited to all types of travelers, you can choose to feed the monkeys or admire from a distance. Either way, get ready to be surrounded and possibly hounded by hundreds of monkeys of all shapes and sizes!
How much: IDR 50,000 per adult
Trailing Abroad tip: When visiting, carry and wear only the bare minimum essentials and leave behind anything that is loose and easy to be picked. Avoid wearing sunglasses and hats as they are likely to get stolen by those mischievous little creatures. Do not carry any food as you can buy bunches of bananas inside to feed the monkeys (a bunch costs approximately IDR 50,000). Do not tease the monkeys and remain calm, composed and friendly. Don’t stare at or make eye contact with monkeys at it intimidates them.
Bali, the Island of the Gods, has tons of oh-so-beautiful temples to visit and admire. In fact, you may run out of things to do in Bali but never the number of temples that you can visit. It is noteworthy that while visiting temples, care should be taken to adorn respectable clothing that covers shoulders and knees. Most temples also provide sarongs that you can borrow for free and return at the end of your temple visit. Here’s our pick of the temples that you must visit when in Bali.
Tanah Lot Temple
Literally translating to ‘Land in the Sea’, Tanah Lot is a water temple standing on a massive rock formed over thousands of years by the winds and the ocean tides. A temple which gets party submerged in the rainy season, Tanah Lot is immensely famous for panoramic views of gorgeous Balinese sunsets.
How much: IDR 60,000 per adult
Trailing Abroad tip: We’d suggest planning your itinerary in a way that you reach Tanah Lot by 4:00 PM, giving you ample time to stroll around the lovely traditional market in the area, lay hands on local crafts as well as catch a breathtaking sunset. Be sure to haggle if you’re shopping though!
Pura Besakih Temple
A prodigious temple complex, often referred to as the mother temple, Pura Besakih is a visual delight. It is the largest Hindu temple in Bali and offers breathtaking views of Mount Agung. Of all the temples we visited in Bali, Pura Besakih was the grandest. The mythical tales and folklore surrounding the temple coupled with the serenity around were magically immersive.
How much: IDR 60,000 per person (ticket includes a mandatory guide)
Trailing Abroad tip: Owing to its vastness and location, this is another spot that makes for a stunning sunset. While visiting, wear walking shoes and expect to climb lots of steps to take in the enchanting enormity of Mount Agung in the back drop. Hiring a local guide is a must, so make the most of it and get your dose of Balinese culture, traditions, customs and religious practices. We’d keep at least 2 hours to do full justice to this magnificent temple complex.
Pura Taman Saraswati Temple
If you’re Instagram addicts like us, chances are that you’ve seen some incredible photos from a temple full of alluring lotus ponds in Bali. The Pura Taman Saraswati temple is a small tranquil temple, located in the heart of Ubud which sends these feel-good vibes through your system as soon as you step foot here. And did we mention those gorgeous lotus ponds already?
How much: Free
Trailing Abroad tip: Slip in a visit to this temple on one of your days in Ubud. It is a small temple and can easily be covered in half an hour. You may be tempted to sip on some coffee while staring at those lotus ponds though.
Tirta Empul temple
Another temple that does the rounds on Instagram quite frequently, the Tirta Empul temple is ideal for those who want to step up their temple chasing game and fully immerse themselves in Balinese culture and rituals. Here you’ll get a chance to take a dip in the holy water just like the locals do.
How much: IDR 15,000 per adult
Trailing Abroad tip: If you decide to take a dip in the holy water, be sure to not gulp in or drink the water to avoid any chances of illness and stomach infections.
While this is only a small snapshot of the many temples you can visit in Bali, if you do have extra time, we’d suggest visiting the picturesque Pura Ulun Danu Bratan temple located on the shores of lake Bratan and the Uluwatu temple located by the pristine Uluwatu beach. Being a little distant from the areas of Bali that you’d most likely be staying at, we suggest visiting these temples if you have extra days at hand.
MOUNT BATUR TREK
Trekking Mount Batur to watch the sun rise over the island of Bali is something that remains at the very top of our never ending bucket list. However, talking from the experiences of friends and fellow travel bloggers who have done the trek, we can definitely say it is an experience not to be missed. Imagine a midnight drive to reach the base of Mount Batur only to trek your way up to watch mother nature in its full glory. We hear that watching those first rays of the fiery sun magically light up Bali is an extraordinary sight from such an altitude. Thankfully for us, we have also been convinced that with a little bit of excitement, energy and will power, this trek is completely do-able by adults of all levels of fitness.
Where: Kintamani district
How much: The cost completely depends on where in Bali you’re staying and how many people you are booking the tour with. To give you an idea, when we enquired, we were quoted around IDR 350,000 per person from Canggu while it costed only IDR 230,000 per person from Ubud (considering two adults and after a lot of haggling of course)
Trailing Abroad tip: We have observed that generally the prices quoted online are steeper and hence we’d recommend booking in person from one of the many tour stalls once you’re in Bali.
TEGALLALANG RICE TERRACES
Alluring lush green rice paddies make Bali one of the most heavenly island destinations to visit. Those soothing steps of green are hard to miss no matter where in Bali you are. Even if you’re enjoying those charming views every now and then while staying at Canggu, a Bali holiday is incomplete without visiting the grandest rice terraces of them all – Tegallalang rice terraces in Ubud.
How much: IDR 10,000 per adult
Trailing Abroad Tip: Give yourself two to three hours and explore the rice terraces by walking across the entire length and breadth on foot. After the soul satisfying experience, reward your taste buds with dragon fruit ice cream available in the local market right outside the lush greens. Avoid wearing your favorite new sneakers, as whatever you wear is going to get muddy and dirty.
BALI ZOO AND THE BALI SAFARI & MARINE PARK
The Bali Zoo as well as the Bali Safari and Marine Park, both offer unique and exciting wildlife experiences. Unlike other zoos, animals here have the freedom to walk around and visitors have the chance to get up close and personal with these untamed beings. Enjoy breakfast with orangutans at the Bali zoo or head for a thrilling night safari at the Marine Park. If that’s not exciting enough, you can even transform into a mahut and spend your day with the friendly giants!
How much: Varies based on experience chosen
Trailing Abroad Tip: If you’re visiting the Bali Zoo, book in advance and wake up to enjoy the first meal of your day with orangutans. If you have to choose between the two parks, we’d recommend Bali Safari and Marine Park.
The water blow is a great spot for catching scenic views and clicking exciting photos while getting splashed with water blowing behind you. The place is frequented by local and tourists who gather to watch and admire massive waves of the Indian Ocean crash onto the edges of limestone rocks creating a picture perfect moment. The place is particularly fun during high tides and the excitement that builds up with each wave makes it worth visiting.
Where: Nusa Dua
How much: Free
Trailing Abroad Tip: We wouldn’t recommend taking special time off your itinerary to visit the water blow. However, if you’re in or around Nusa Dua, do give this a shot. To make your visit worthwhile, go during the high tides and be prepared to be caught off guard and get a little wet! =)
GOA GAJAH CAVES
A massive archaeological site of cultural and historical importance, Goa Gajah literally translates to Elephant caves. The complex is complete with a temple, rice fields, a river, bathing pools, fountains and ancient rock carvings dating back to the 11th century.
How much: IDR 15,000 per adult
Trailing Abroad Tip: Besides visiting the cave temple it is recommended to walk down to the jungle area and enjoy nature at its purest. You’ll surely come back with magnificent photo shots.
Located very close to the Saraswati temple and the Monkey Forest, Ubud Palace finds place in the heart of Ubud and is an attraction not to be missed. Despite being the residence of the Ubud royal family, the front part of the Palace is open to the public to admire well preserved Balinese architecture and delightfully landscaped gardens.
How much: Free
Trailing Abroad Tip: Make the most of Ubud Palace by booking yourself a seat to watch one of the traditional dance performances that take place every evening in the Palace. Note that while the entrance to the Ubud Palace is free, you need to purchase a ticket to watch the dance performances.
Just like the rice terraces, you cannot leave Bali without visiting at least one waterfall. Waterfall chasing is so much fun in this island which is profuse with nature’s bounties. While you’ll be spoilt for choice even for choosing waterfalls in Bali, the Tegenungan waterfall and the Gitgit waterfall are both popular and easily accessible. Swimming under the Tegenungan waterfall was one of the most exciting and refreshing experiences I have ever had! Besides these well-known waterfalls, you can also visit Sekumpul, Aling-Aling, Blahmantung, Carat and Dusun Kuning among many others. If you’re feeling adventurous go on and have fun locating the hidden waterfall of Tukad Cepung!
How much: Varies depending on which waterfall you choose to visit
TA tip: Be prepared to walk lots of steps and wear comfortable clothing. Wake up and visit early to avoid crowds. If you plan to swim under the waterfall (you really should!), carry water shoes, your action camera and an extra pair of clothes.
SWING FAR INTO THE JUNGLE
While browsing through social media, we bet you’ve surely come across phenomenal happy photos of people swinging far into the jungle. And if you’re like us, you’ve wanted to get on that swing to enact that Tarzan and Jane moment too! Such is the power of Instagram and such is the helplessness of the human mind. I simply had to get myself swinging in Bali to bring my soul to peace. The end result? Totally worth it and absolutely blissful. Though the experience is slightly heavy on the pocket, we’d say give it a shot for its unique appeal and extraordinary photo opportunities!
Where: The Bali Swing in Ubud or at the Airbnb accommodation, Zen Hideaway in Ubud
How Much: USD 22 at the Bali Swing for half an hour of swinging to your heart’s content. Prices at Zen Hideaway depend on your reservation at the property itself.
Trailing Abroad tip: A thrilling yet fun incredibly fun experience, this one is not for the faint hearted or for those afraid of heights.
3D DREAM MUSEUM ZONE BALI
Every now and then it is worthwhile to indulge in typical touristy activities and have a gala time posing for fun photos! With over a hundred 3D art murals on display, from Egypt to Venice, this indoor gallery takes you on a tour of the world in a little over an hour. Once in there, you’re not going to be able to stop yourself from putting together funny expressions before every magnificent work of art.
How much: IDR 110,000 per adult
Trailing Abroad tip: Visit with your camera batteries full, memory cards empty and uplifted spirits!
WATCH A PINK BALINESE SUNSET
Contrary to popular belief, some of the best things in life indeed do come for free. Watching a stunning, shimmery candy floss pink Balinese sunset is indeed a top attraction and one of those rewarding things you can do while traveling in Bali. To add the icing on the cake, currently Bali is flooding with awesome cafes and al fresco eateries to catch a glimpse of that envious sunset.
Where: Just set foot in Bali, and you’ll find it everywhere =)
How much: Free
Trailing Abroad tip: Our favourite place to catch a gorgeous Balinese sunset was from a vibrant beach café and bar, La Plancha in Seminyak.
Comfy colourful bean bags + a refreshing drink + shimmery beach + pink sunset = Can we just settle here?
Being a massive island, it is no surprise that tons of beaches come naturally to Bali. However, due to an explosion of tourism, some of the beaches are not very appealing and tend to get extremely crowded. Nevertheless, each beach has its own charm and depending on what you’re in for, do spare some time to admire the shores of Bali. The famous beaches include Kuta for surfing lessons and beach clubs, Seminyak for laid back beach bars and upscale parties, Canggu for tranquility and surfing, Uluwatu for clear and pristine waters, Benoa for water sports and Sanur to avoid flocks of tourists.
Where: All over Bali!
How much: Free
Trailing Abroad tip: Beaches like Kuta and Legian get really crowded, especially in peak tourist seasons of July and August. It is advisable not to have high expectations and not to visit Bali exclusively for its beaches to avoid disappointment. Instead, go with a free mind, enjoy people watching and relax over a can of Bintang!
ACTIVITIES TO INDULGE IN AND FUN THINGS TO DO IN BALI
We both can safely admit that Balinese massages can give even the infamous Thai massages a toss for their money! Having indulged in rejuvenating massages in various countries, our favorite by far has been Bali. Needless to say, you have to treat yourself to a Balinese full body massage. They are awfully relaxing, very easy on the pocket and highly rewarding.
The magical land of Bali is insanely famous for its yoga retreats and it is such a deserving candidate! This nature’s abode is the ideal place to take in fresh air in the midst of hues of green while being surrounded by peaceful temples. If you’re looking for a zen experience, book yourself one of the many yoga classes in Ubud and you’ll come out a different person.
WATCH A TRADITIONAL BALINESE DANCE
For an enriching cultural experience, witnessing a traditional dance performance is a must when visiting Bali. In Ubud, the Barong dance is hugely popular and can be seen at Batubulan village every morning. It depicts the perpetual conflict between the good and the evil. On the other hand, another popular dance show, the Kecak dance is a hypnotic trance which is usually performed in the evenings and involves dancing around fire. For a more synchronized and modern theatrical experience, head to Nusa Dua to watch the famous Devdan show. You will relate to and appreciate what you see a lot more if you do a little homework and read about the significance of and the folklore behind the dance performance before the show begins.
GO FOR A COOKING CLASS
Ever since we got back from Bali, we have been hunting for a dish that could mirror Nasi Goreng and satiate our cravings. Life would be simpler if only we had learnt to cook it up by ourselves! If you’re anything like us, it’s time to get behind the counter and learn how to tantalize your taste buds. Cooking classes are very popular in Bali and are a fun experience for friends and couples to bond over.
TASTE KOPI LUWAK COFFEE
Chances are that you’ve already heard about one of the most expensive and exotic coffees in the world – Kopi Luwak. If not, then well, it might be a little difficult to digest that this coffee is made from defecated coffee beans ingested by a civet. The enzymes released during the digestion process are said to enhance the taste and flavor of the coffee beans! If you’re in Bali, maybe you should just shun all those uneasy thoughts and give this super famous cuppa a chance!
VISIT NEIGHBORING ISLANDS
If the tourist inflow and hustle bustle of mainland Bali squeeze away the peace from your vacation, consider visiting the stunning and scenic neighboring islands of Lombok, Nusa Lembongan and the Gili islands. Being easily accessible from Bali via sea, these islands are fantastic for those who want to explore the world underwater and those looking to dodge the crowds. Since most of these islands are big with plenty to do, we recommend going for staycations instead of opting for daycations.
PARTY AWAY IN BEACH CLUBS AND BARS
Bali takes parties very seriously and you’re likely to find a crazy gig happening no matter what time of the day it is. Whether you fancy partying the night away in clubs or beach brunching with speakers blaring loud, Bali is your ideal getaway. Known for infinity pools by the beach, fancy beach clubs and vibrantly energetic beach bars, you’ll never go wrong with Kuta, Legian and Seminyak if you’re in there for a fun time.
GO SHOPPING IN SEMINYAK
Though I generally limit my shopping while traveling (full disclosure – they are always failed attempts), I just couldn’t get my hands off my wallet in Seminyak! A street full of cute little boutiques tucked in quaint alleys next to cosy cafes radiates the exact vibes you need to hop from one shop to the other. From colourful dream catchers at huge bargains to designer clothes and quirky beach bags, Seminyak is a dangerous place for all shopaholics like me. While we loved the art and handicrafts market in Ubud, Seminyak has its own feel and charm which deserves to be explored.
EAT LIKE THE LOCALS
Nothing puts a wider smile on our faces than relishing a sumptuous meal against a gorgeous backdrop while not breaking the bank. Thankfully, Bali does this better than most places in the world! Go on and sample all those tempting local delicacies at cute little cafes and restaurants which have sprung up in all nooks and corners of Bali. For an authentic feel, try sampling Balinese food at one of the many Warungs which are affordable roadside eateries offering authentic and delicious Balinese savouries. Oh and, did we forget to mention colourful and yummy smoothie bowls? Take our word for this – no one does smoothie bowls quite like the Balinese!
Voted as one of the best water parks in Asia, Waterbom Bali boasts of Asia’s steepest water slide and hosts heaps of exciting water adventures. It is the ideal place to unwind if you have an extra day at hand and just want to splash around and have some fun. This waterpark remains at the very top of our pending Bali bucket list and boy, we are so doing this on the very first day of our next trip!
ADVENTURE SPORTS IN BALI
Being an island destination, it is no surprise that there are abundant water sports to choose from in Bali. However, unlike a lot of other places, most adventure sports are delightfully affordable and well organized in Bali. We loved that there were lockers available to safe keep valuables such as mobile phones in most places. There were also adequately well maintained changing rooms and shower facilities to get the salt off your skin before you head back. Needless to say, we jumped at this opportunity and tried our hand at a couple of sports to pump up some adrenaline.
WHITE WATER RIVER RAFTING
Skip a few heartbeats while rafting across a 10 km stretch of the Ayung river and battling class 2 and class 3 rapids. An incredibly thirlling experience, this one is a must irrespective of your experience and age.
A unique and relatively unheard of activity, sea walking is such a charmer. With spherical head gear you’re all set to meet and greet beings of the underwater world. Walking around a small railing, it is amusing to see all the cute little fish pass by and stare at you. Surely give it a shot if you like making friends with aquatic species, but give it a pass if you tend to get claustrophobic in enclosed surroundings.
It’s such a paradox that despite being the most popular sport in Bali, surfing was one activity neither of us tried. However, known as a surfer’s paradise, surfing is hard to miss no matter which beach you’re headed to in Bali. If you’re new to this sport, head to Kuta for surfing lessons and if you’re a pro, head to Canggu beach to enjoy the waves all to yourself.
OTHER ADVENTURE SPORTS
Besides the above, you can also unleash your adventurous spirit and try parasailing, jetskiing, riding the banana boat or the flying fish. All these sports are best enjoyed at Benoa beach and don’t forget to haggle to make your experience worth its money! Irrespective of what you opt for, you’ll surely have a memorable and action packed holiday!
It was so difficult for us to contain ourselves while writing this post! With countless number of things to do, we just hope to keep adding to this list every time we visit Bali. We’re already thinking of packing our bags, what about you?
Have you visited Bali? How was your experience? Is there any attraction, activity or adventure sport that we missed out on in this post? We’d love to hear about them!
If you enjoyed reading this post, do share it on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest! =)
Click on the image below to pin it!