Top 7 Things To Do In Bali

Bali is one of the most popular destinations in Indonesia, renowned for its arts, traditional and modern dance, dive sites and numerous temples dotted around the island.

The tourism industry has been steadily growing for decades making Bali the wealthiest province in Indonesia today. I visited Bali for 10 days, where I made my way from the South of the island in Nusa Dua, to green and lush Ubud, and ended in the North West at the Bali Barat National Park.

I fell in love with Bali almost instantly and would love to return one day. If you are planning a trip to Bali, and you’re looking for some inspiration, have a look at the list below. I give you my top 7 things to do in Bali no one should miss on their trip to this beautiful island.

Pura Luhur Uluwatu

Pura Luhur Uluwatu is a spectacular sea temple built on the edge of steep cliffs in the south of Bali and gives you spectacular views across the ocean. We took a taxi from Nusa Dua, which took around an hour to get to the temple.

Apart from a small fee to enter the complex, we also paid for an entrance ticket to the Kecak Fire Dance, a traditional Balinese dance. The dance was performed late afternoon while the sun was setting. It is unlike any other dance you’ve ever seen, and it’s definitely worth paying for if you’re planning a visit to the Uluwatu Temple.

Cycling In Ubud

We booked a full day of activities where we would cycle around Ubud in the morning, and join other groups for white water rafting in the afternoon. There were around 10 people in our group, but soon, 6 were falling behind as some of the hills were a bit steep.

The 4 of us continued with our own guide and we saw numerous temples, visited a coffee plantation where we drank coffee made from beans that have passed through the digestive system of a civet cat, rode off the beaten track, and saw a cock fight (I wasn’t too happy about this).

The cycle trip was a great experience and we got a little bit of exercise out of it! To find out more about this activity, check out Allison’s eco cycling tour in Bali post.

White Water Rafting

As part of our adventure day where we cycled in the morning through different parts of Ubud, we joined another group for white water rafting on the Ayung river. Rafting is quite popular in Ubud, and rightly so. It was one of the most fun experiences I’ve had on the island.There were parts where the river was pretty wild, but I never felt in danger. Whenever there was a calm section, we would jump out the boat and let the river drag us along. Halfway through, we all got out and settled at the river bank admiring carvings on the side of the canyon.

At the end of our adventure, we were able to take a shower in some very modern and well kept showers. Shampoo, shower gel and hair-dryers were all available.

Splurge On A Luxury Hotel

Bali is not too expensive, so you won’t break your bank by booking a night in a luxury hotel.

I recommend to just relax, not think of any excursions you ‘have’ to do and just enjoy your time in a fancy hotel, sip a cocktail while dipping your toes in the lukewarm empty swimming pool.

Book a massage at the spa, or watch traditional Balinese dancers while enjoying a delicious meal at your hotel.

Rent A Scooter – And Get Lost

While visiting Ubud, we rented a scooter for 1 day. We loved the idea of riding anywhere we wanted, whenever we wanted instead of having to rely on other people. It was a great experience, until we got lost.

We were told the Water Temple (Tampak Siring) was worth a visit, so we marked it on our map and off we went. After riding for some time, we started to wonder if we were going in the right direction. It was getting close to 4pm and we had no idea where we were.

We ended up riding through small towns no tourist had probably ever seen, and had to stop for 10 minutes, when a procession of local people all dressed in traditional clothing passed through the streets. (We got some funny glances from the locals).

After a while we finally made it to the Water Temple, and we had to ride home in the dark as we had lost so much time. At first it was a bit frightening to be lost after riding for several hours while the sun was setting, but looking back, we saw some amazing sights, and experienced a local procession we would otherwise never have seen.

Tegalalang Rice Terraces

Before we got lost riding on our scooter, we passed the Tegalalang Rice terraces. The terraces are one of the most famous tourist attractions in Ubud and it’s easy to see why.

Lush rice fields wrapped around the beautiful green hills make up the landscape. From street level, you can walk down a small dirt path (can be slippery!) all the way down to admire the fields from below.

The area is very touristy, and it is hard to find parking anywhere (even for your scooter) but it is definitely worth a visit.

Bali Barat National Park

The north of Bali is usually not on many tourist’s itinerary, which is a shame. We stayed at the Menjangan, a resort situated in Bali Barat National Park in North West Bali.

The resort measures 328 hectares, has two restaurants and several accommodation options such as the Monsoon Lodge and the Beach Villas. To get around the resort, there are game cars that will take you from your lodge to any of the other lodges or restaurants while giving you the opportunity to spot some animals from the double decker minibus.

There are many activities such as snorkelling, kayaking and horse riding, and if you want to relax, you can enjoy a massage with the ocean as your backdrop.

If you’re looking for more things to do, check out this post about 101 most awesome things to do in Bali

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Hi! I'm a Belgian travel blogger currently living in Vancouver, Canada after living in the UK for 7 years. I have a keen interest in responsible travel, volunteering and archaeology and I'm always on the lookout for new adventures around the world!

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34 Responses

  1. Wow! I loved reading about your time in Bali. I’m curious, would you say the place is dangerous (I heard mixed things about this issue). Looks absolutely stunning.

    1. Thank you Tom! I’m glad you enjoyed reading my post.
      Bali is definitely not dangerous. I was never scammed and always felt safe walking around. Everyone has a different experience, but if you use common sense, I think you’ll be fine.
      Bali is an amazing place and I would love to go back.

  2. coffee made from beans that have passed through the digestive system of a civet cat… I’m not sure I can process that statement. Was it good? Lovely pictures.

    1. I was a little bit apprehensive at first 🙂 I don’t actually drink coffee, so I can’t really say if it was good or not. To me it tasted like normal coffee, nothing really special about it. I was glad there was no weird smell or taste 🙂

  3. I haven’t visited Bali yet, but if I do, I’ll be sure to take a look at this list. I’m glad that included parts of Bali that seem to be off the beaten path.

    1. We did a few touristy areas, but we went truly off the beaten path while cycling outside Ubud. It was great to see the locals going about their daily activities.

  4. Lies,

    Thanks for giving us an overview about your Bali experience. But I agree with Elena, a travel won’t be complete without trying out their native foods and delicacies 🙂 . Awesome experience nonetheless :).

    1. I feel another blog post coming up 🙂 I’ll make sure to incorporate local cuisine in my next Bali post.

  5. visiting Bali soon. Thanks for sharing this post. I am going to look around and play as much as I can..

  6. i’ve visited uluwatu and the terraced rice padi too! Really breathtaking views there! The national park looks awesome too. Guess I shall plan for a bali trip part 2 soon!

  7. I’ve always thought Bali was just pure Beach. It turns out that there are other attractions which I would like to visit. I hope to tick Bali off in my Bucket list.

  8. You shared excellent tips and so many stunning photos. I will make sure to reference your post on my visit to the area.

  9. I have been to Bali before, but I was not really too happy with the places we visited. I did not see any of the places you listed here! I thought I would not want to return, but after reading your article, I think I missed a lot of the good ones.

  10. Oh, I have not been to Bali. My friends are planning to go this year and I am still thinking about it. I still have to work for the trip. Hopefully, I still get to visit the place. If not this year, some day. 🙂

  11. WOW!!!!
    The place was so amazing and great photos my friend.
    Hope I can visit this place someday and i like the so calm place Ubud.

  12. Love your write up of Bali! I’ve only visited once, on my honeymoon, during which we mainly just chilled at fancy resorts and wandered around Ubud a little, so I will try and do most of these things on my next visit!

  13. Thank you for bringing back the beautiful memories! Bali is just stunning! I was resenting if first as it is a super touristic destination. But then we took a random ride on a scooter, just like you’re describing… It was unbelievable! So many lost authentic spots!

  14. Thank you for bringing back the beautiful memories! Bali is just stunning! I was resenting if first as it is a super touristic destination. But then we took a random ride on a scooter, just like you’re describing… It was unbelievable! So many lost authentic spots!!!

  15. Ive been to Bali this summer and loved Ubud.
    The ricefields and waterfalls are amazing. And the people are so kind

  16. Thanks for the ideas. I’m heading there in April and really like the idea of renting a scooter and going to the rice plantations and Tampak Siring. It looks amazing.

  17. Hi! I just arrived in Bali and liked the sound of your cycling tour structure…and was going to try to book it, but wasn’t positive which company or program you used. If you happen to get this I’m all ears and appreciate it! We’re staying just outside of Ubud, about 10-15 min away by car at a resort, for reference. I’m definitely using your top 7 list as my guide for our 4 days here :).