Information before you go
The list of things to do in Bali can go on and on. If you are an active traveler you can find yourself climbing mountains, standing under a water fall or screaming your lungs out when rushing down one of Bali's rivers.
But if you are the relaxing type you will definitely enjoy the many Bali beaches, a rejuvenating spa treatment or a stroll through the rice fields.
You can be both during your Bali holiday and at the same time visit great sites and learn more about the unique culture.
As mentioned before there are endless things to do here so check out our lists of activities and start planning!
With its location just 8 degrees south of the equator, 3 volcanoes with peaks over 3000 meters in elevation, 7 main rivers and tens of tributaries, 4 volcanic lakes, mountain and mixed-monsoon forest, savanna, mangroves and being entirely surrounded by coral reef makes Bali the ideal island for experiencing some proper adventure.
Here's our list of things to do that are active, adventures or both:
Hiking on Volcanoes
The mountainous landscape offers ideal opportunities to go hiking. Mount Batur and the sacred Mount Agung are the most favorite among hikers, but there are others to climb as well.
Hiking to the summit is mostly done early in the morning so you are rewarded with an unforgettable sunrise. Arrange permits at the villages nearby the mountain or through a tour office in town.
Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
The island is also ideal for diving and snorkeling where you can see many species of marine life such as nudibranchs, white tip sharks, manta rays, barracudas, turtles (952 species of reef fish and 393 coral species).
Most of the diving and snorkeling spots are located along the eastern beaches, Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Penida, Menjangan Island and accessible together with dive operators or traditional fishermen...
Free Diving at Apnea
Tired of carrying all that diving gear? Then it's time to do some serious free diving at Apnea, located in Amed and Tulamben.
Here they organize multi-day free diving courses for beginners, individual training sessions on world-class competition level for advanced free divers and even for surfers, there's a special course to keep your cool while tackling huge waves.
The island is popular for its great waves. The famous surf beaches are located around Kuta beach Bali and Uluwatu, but for the die hard surfers there are also hard to get barrels.
Surfing lessons are possible as well. I had a great surfing lesson in Kuta and now I can’t wait to jump on my board again. If you want to feel totally comfortable on a surfboard in a short period of time or if you are already a keen surfer you can also join a surf camp.
Yoga: Can't live without your daily dose of yoga or always wanted to try it out in a tropical setting? Bali is the ideal place for to experience Vinyasa Flow, Yin & Anusara or Pranayama? What? Yes, there is much more to discover...
Tai Chi: Harmonize mind, spirit, body and breath with Yang Style Chai Chi Chuan in groups or private classes while staying in the mountains for a couple of days or a couple of hours. Here you'll not only learn about the various Tai Chi forms, but also how to use Tai Chi teachings in daily life.
The jungle hiking tours at Bali Jungle Trekking are the perfect way to explore the lakes Tamblingan and Buyan. The hikes of 2 and 3 hours will take you along the lakes and to ancient Balinese temples. To see the lake more up close, you can opt to take a dugout canoe to the finishing point.
If you want to explore more then go for the 4 to 5 hour hike, where your hike will start at the foot of Mount Lesung from where you will enter the ancient rain-forest. The local village guide will tell you the ins and outs of the temples you will bump into along the way.
The River Wild
There are 3 places in Bali, which are perfect for rafting: the Ayung River with II-III rapids, the Melangit River with more than 30 falls and the Telaga Waja River where you slide along waterfalls, rice terraces, winding gorges and the tropical rainforest. There are several companies which offer various white water rafting tours...
Into the bowels of Bali
Come even closer to Bali's unique natural environment and go where nobody goes while off waterfalls, abseiling river gorges, walk on tight ropes and slide down mini falls. Any experience abseiling is not needed and you also don't have to be Arnold Schwarzenegger, instructors will lead you all of the way.
Downhill Mountain biking
One of the best experiences is biking downhill from Mount Batur all the way to Ubud.
Along the way you will pass several types of vegetation, coffee and vanilla plantations, rice fields and traditional Balinese villages where it looks as if time has stood still. It's a great way to experience Bali off the beaten track.
Fly like an Eagle: There are several companies on the island which provide introductory tandem flights and full certification courses such as Exofly and the Bali Paragliders Club where you can also choose to some para-motoring which is the same but then with an engine as a backpack.
Yes, you read it correctly. Climbing giant trees! Meaning that you will be swinging from one treetop to another far above the ground. Once you are geared up you can do several circuits, all with different levels of difficulties and heights.
If you are older than 4 years and higher than 1.10m then you can have a go! So definitely one of the most adventurous things to do for the entire family...
There are a couple of stables available where they organize horse riding tours. There's the Bali horse adventure where they offer 1-5 day pony camps at Pererenan Beach in the Canggu area north of Seminyak and there's the Bali Island Horse stable north of the famous Tanah Lot temple.
Expect to pay around $35 US for one hour horse riding through rice fields or along the famous beaches. Another option is Kuda P Stables in Pererenan village which is Australian owned. Besides rice field and beach tours they also organize pony trips for kids and therapeutic trips for the disabled.
Being such a small island (140 x 80 km) has many benefits and one of them is escaping the hordes of tourists and heading for the rice terraces, mountains, forests and lakes of Bali.
During one day you can see all 4 of them without being stuck in traffic jams, air conditioned shopping malls or crowded restaurants and cafes. Moreover, by travelling off the beaten track and visiting the Balinese wonders of nature you are supporting and creating environmental and cultural awareness which hopefully result in more conservation initiatives.
Here's a list of things to do in Bali that involves everything with nature
I Shot the Sheriff
Together with professional photographer and tour guide, Yande Ardana you will make those stunning travel photos you see in magazines these days.
You can choose from shooting at lakes, rice fields, temples, people, markets, sunrises and sunsets, it's up to you but be aware, his tours start at 4 a.m. Very early, but at the end you will have something very exceptional...
Just north of Ubud Bali every day thousands of white Heron Birds return home before sunset. You can watch them land in their nests so get your camera ready.
better is our beloved Bali Bird Walk, which organizes walking tours around Ubud where over 100 species of birds are found such as the Java Kingfisher, Cinnamon Bittern, the Olive-backed Sunbird and many more...
Trekking to Waterfalls
Where to begin? Bali has many waterfalls which you can visit. Some have easy access such as Git Git Waterfalls while others you will need to do some hiking to get there.
Waterfalls which are worth the hike are, for instance the waterfalls around Munduk and Sing Sing Waterfall located not far from Lovina.
Mayong Village Trekking
In one of our favorite areas in North Bali, Putu Artana organizes 4-hour walks through rice fields, Balinese villages, forests, cocoa plantations while he talks about medicinal plants, Hinduism and culture along the way.
At the end of the walk his wife, Ria, has prepared mouth-watering Balinese dishes.
Mangrove Forests at Sanur or Nusa Lembongan
Not far from Sanur along Jalan Bypass Ngurah Rai at Suwung Kauh you can find the Mangrove Forest Information Center. Here you can find lots of information on the importance of this ecosystem, but the best thing is that there are two trails taking you right through them. You can either choose the 1 hour or the 2 hour walk.
If you are in Nusa Lembongan then you also have the chance to discover the mangroves by boat. There are various local operators in Jungut Batu and Mushroom Bay who will like to cruise you around in a traditional fishing boat.
Visit Bali's northern lakes
One of the nice biggest attractions while staying in Lovina is to go for a day trip to the big lakes in northern Bali.
You can either go for a drive to Lake Batur or go for a round trip along Lake Bratan where you can visit the Temple Ulun Batur, the fruit market and the botanical garden.
From here you can then drive along the twin lakes, Lake Buyan and Lake Tamblingan.
Some Like It Hot
At Banjar not far from Lovina Beach you'll find the 'Banjar Hot Springs' where you can soak into 3 public hot pools and one private pool.
Dragon statues spewing 38 degrees Celsius water will relax you in no-time since it's sulfuric water, ideal for those with skin or muscle/joint problems. Try to avoid going there on the weekends when it can be extremely busy.
Located on a hill in Nusa Dua you'll find a farm site run by the R.O.L.E. Foundation which teaches local Balinese how to farm sustainable and where they teach literacy classes to local women.
Here you can do some hands on learning about Bali's eco-system, medicinal plants, meet the locals and sip fresh organic juice at the Silly Snail Cafe where disadvantaged kids polish their English skills.
Fly like a Butterfly Great thing to do in Bali is to visit the Bali Butterfly park especially, with kids where they'll interact with all sorts of butterflies among lush plants. There's a butterfly nursery and holding area where the kids can learn about the butterfly's life stages and hold huge insects such as the Sumatran Black Rhinoceros Beetle, camouflage insects and various stick insects.
Turtle Conservation & Education Centre in Serangan
Located just south of Sanur on Serangan Island you can learn about the conservation process of rescued and or injured sea turtles and where they also hatch turtles.
If you want, you can hold baby turtles and see other big turtles which will be released once they are fit enough.
Green Camp for kids
While holidaying in Bali you want to have some romantic quality with your wife and wouldn't mind losing the kids to a green camp for a couple of days?
Here they sleep in yurts, go through team building games, make organic chocolate, bike through rice fields, swim in the river, cook over campfires and do night safaris.
Side by Side Organic Farm: This farm in East Bali is dedicated to improving the life of local Balinese woman and their kids. Here you can fish your own prawns for dinner, pick fruits in the orchard, feed the cows and pigs, plant rice, learn how to climb a coconut tree, sleep at the farm and chit chat with the local farmers.
Fields of Gold
Ubud is ideally located in the hills which has resulted in many great walking opportunities. Head to the rice fields in the Campuhan area and just follows the narrow path that will lead you through the fields, along the strings of palm trees and to farmers who are busy working in the fields.
Make sure you stop at Sari Organik for a refreshing juice. Go in the early morning or late afternoon.
Bali National Park
This park is located on the western tip of Bali and is the most important conservation area of the island.
There are treks from 1 or 2 hours to 7 hours. You are not allowed to enter the park without a guide.
Guides can be arranged a day before at the headquarters at Cekik (North-West Bali). Many resorts in Pemuteran can arrange a tour of the park for you as well.
Beaches of Bali
There are plenty of those on the island, some prettier than others, some overcrowded while others are deserted.
Bali is a volcanic island and especially the east and north coast have black beaches while those in the south are golden. Here you'll find our list of 31 Balinese beaches...
The best way to understand the Balinese culture is to immerse yourself in it and be part of whatever the Balinese are taking part in. If you don't get the chance to chit chat we recommend visiting a couple of museums so you get the hang of it or join one of the many courses.
You'll soon find out that the Balinese are actually very religious people and especially woman are extremely busy with keeping up with offering making, prayers and preparing for ceremonies.
There are plenty of courses you can follow to develop your cultural skills such as shadow puppet making, Gamelan playing, wood carving, creating your own jewelry designs, classical painting, basketry, Balinese dancing, flute playing, how to make offerings, mask painting, batik courses, cooking classes (also raw food classes) and even meditation or yoga classes are part of the curriculum.
In the evening you can relax and be a spectator by watching various traditional dances such as the famous Kecak, Barong, Legong or the Wayang Kulit, shadow puppet play. Keep in mind that these dances and performances were initially made for the Gods but have now found a new audience in tourism so some might feel less authentic.
We highly recommend watching one of the many performances in and around Ubud, the epic center of everything that has to do with culture. Most performances start at 7pm and 8pm the latest.
If you have no interest in these dances, but you like to see them practice head over to the Arma Museum where you'll find young kids practicing moving until their hands and feet hurt. Depending on where you stay you can always ask the Balinese where and at what time their 'local music club' has rehearsals.
Bali Arts Festival: This festival always takes place from mid June to mid July where Balinese villages compete with each other in who displays the best art performance. You have the chance to see specialty dances and performances from all of Bali's 9 regencies and every day during this month, something is going on, even foreign artists will show you what they are made of...
Neka Art Museum
The Neka Museum founded by the former school teacher turned into an art collector, Suteja Neka in 1982. The museum shows many artworks by Balinese, other Indonesian and foreign-born artists.
The unique thing about this museum is that its collection is presented in a way that will create understanding about the development of art in Bali over time. The artists, some of which have had great influence all show that Bali's culture and nature was a wonderful inspiration.
Hard to miss his huge studio is located in Penestanan between Antonio Blanco's House and the Neka Museum on Jalan Raya Campuan.
Here you can find colorful paintings about the usual nude females, the unusual nude males, pop art, Balinese scenes, sculptures and lots of other eccentric stuff...
he beautiful and inspiring Bali painting collection of Agung Rai is all nicely displayed at the ARMA Museum. The collections show numerous paintings of various styles from the past to the present.
Painters from other Indonesian islands also have a special place in the museum just as foreign artists that have had great influence in the development of the Balinese art, such as Walter Spies, Rudolph Bonnet and Arie Smit.
The Arma Museum also offers interesting workshops such as Hindu Astrology and Numerology, Modernity in Bali and History of Bali.
In the 1930's when the Balinese art became highly appreciated an important artist Rudolf Bonnet feared all the precious pieces would be shipped abroad. Together with the prince of Ubud he created the Pita Maha foundation which would organize exhibitions internationally and at the same time support local artists in their development.
Over the years the need for modern art rose and which led to the creation of the Puri Lukisan Museum Rudolf Bonnet himself and other Balinese artists donated their work which resulted in a stunning collection.
Many exhibitions are organized today as well. You can also follow workshops here such as painting, wood carving, offering making and dance.
Museum Pasifika: Located in the enclave of Nusa Dua across the street of the Bali Hyatt you'll find this museum, which showcases mostly pieces of art by foreign artists who were inspired by this region of the world in the last century such as Matisse, Gauguin, Theo Meier or Le Mayeur. But can you also find artifacts from the Pacific islands such as masks, costumes, shields, spears and arrows...
This museum is officially called The Blanco Renaissance Museum and consists of 3 stories with mainly paintings of bare-breasted woman. The rooftop includes golden statues of Balinese dancers and next to the main building you'll find the art gallery and the studios, where you might bump into Don Antonio's son, Mario, who loves to paint as well...
At Sanur's only museum you can take a close look at the impressionistic paintings of Adrien Jean Le Mayeur’s travels (1880-1958) around the world and his paintings of Balinese life and especially his beautiful Balinese wife and dancer, Ni Polok.
You can find the museum near the Inna Grand Bali Beach Hotel, in the north part of Sanur...
Setia Dharma House of Masks and Puppets: This is a well kept secret and the place to be for those interested in 1200 masks and 4700 puppets from different parts of Indonesia and other regions in the world. You might be lucky and run into the owner and philanthropist, Pak Prayitno, who would love to tell you about every piece of art on display...
Kertha Gosa Taman Gili This former palace in the heart of Klungkung used to be the most important seat of power from the 17th century to 1908 until the puputan (fight to the death) when Dutch colonial powers razed it to the ground. The Kertha Ghosa pavilion, hall of justice, is the highlight with its Kamasan style painting which depicts punishments in the afterlife...
Museum Negeri Propinsi Bali
Located in the heart of the capital Denpasar you'll find this museum, which was built by the Dutch in 1910 to preserve the Balinese culture. In several pavilions which are copies of palaces you can find artifacts such as costumes, masks, archeological finds, ikat cloths, woodcarvings and paintings.
Volcanic Museum Batur
On the caldera in Kintamani you can learn about Indonesia's ring of fire through interactive games, movies, computer simulations, and there is a theatre which airs movies about Mount Batur and Mount Agung.
This museum doesn't attract a large crowd, who mainly go to Kintamani to admire the view. But if you pop in the have a look you will soon learn the secrets of Mount Batur.
Salt Winning Production
When you drive along the coast of Amed, you will see many bundles of salt for sale. This is locally made sea salt and if you want, you can still see the traditional way of salt productions.. This is locally made sea salt and if you want you can can still see the traditional way of salt productions.
The best place to do so is at Cafe Garam/Hotel Uyah. In their restaurant they have a small display with explanations on how the salt winning is done. If you want to see the real thing walk towards the beach where you will soon realize that it is hard work to get a pinch of salt...
Home > Things to do in Bali
When staying in Ubud you can easily visit the most beautiful cultural sights on the island. Visit Goa Gaja followed by Gunung Kawi, Tirta Empul and Ceking rice fields.Read more
Many say that East Bali is still how Bali used to be with its rice field terraces, little Balinese villages, important temples and other historical sights worth the visit.Read more
If you spend a couple of days at Lovina Beach Bali you should definitely go and check out the sights such as the temples of Buleleng and Singaraja.Read more
Now and then people send us inspiring emails and this generates even more enthusiasm to share all of the things we know about this lovely island in the hope that you can plan your tropical holiday properly and have as such a great time as we always have. Hope to see you there!
When I wrote the mail I never really expected a reply. I might have expected a computer generated but never a personally written one. The information you provided is invaluable, thank you so very much. I have been using your website as a bible through Bali. Through your recommendation, I will be heading to Ubud then follow the sightseeing route to the coast of Candidasa.
WOW...what an awesome website. I could only dream that there would be a website like this for all our travel destinations! You guys have done an fabulous job and now, I am sooo excited about our upcoming trip to Bali. To be honest, I wasn't quite sure Bali was the place for us considering some of the travel warnings (we are Americans). But I can tell from your experiences that the Bali people are so very kind and peaceful.
hi and congratulations on the blog it s brilliant and helpful....we are going to Bali in September with my family (including 2 little girls) so we need to have nice spaceous rooms garden and pool access rooms preferably in Semikyak but not too far from it all...I hope you can recommend a great place thats not full of Australian crowds as we like meeting people from other countries.
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