It’s no secret that everybody on the H4C team LOVES Bali. And we know you love Bali too (because you’re reading this guide to the best things to see and do in Bali!). So, we’ve rounded up the top 24 things to see, do and experience in Bali for a tropical holiday or honeymoon that is pure perfection.
If you’re planning a trip to Bali, you’re in for a treat! This island paradise offers a wide range of activities and attractions for every type of traveller. Whether you’re dreaming of long, lazy days on the beach, indulging in delicious cuisine, or immersing yourself in the island’s vibrant culture, Bali has something for everyone. From exploring the stunning natural scenery to experiencing the vibrant nightlife, this guide to the best things to see and do in Bali will help you make the most of your time on the Island of the Gods!
Sip and savour at Bali’s restaurants and bars
Bali is a foodie haven, and indulging i the unique dining experiences that fuse food, fun and hedonism is a must-do when you visit. Case in point: Seminyak restaurant, De Maria, which blends modern Italian fare with late-night DJ-led pizza parties. The restaurant openings in Bali are always at lightspeed, and there’s always plenty of incredible new dining venues to discover.
Penny Lane in Canggu is another example, offering a stylish island vibe in a setting that is an Instagram-lovers’ dream. They serve up a menu and drinks list to keep you lingering a whole lot longer than just a pic from the ‘Gram, though.
While in Canggu, try out the innovative Japanese dishes at Billy Ho, a restaurant venture by acclaimed chef and restaurateur Will Meyrick (creator of Bali’s much-loved Sarong and Mama San).
NOTE: Bali is renowned for its diverse and exciting food and beverage offerings, with a plethora of bars and restaurants to explore. While this travel guide covers a variety of must-do attractions and activities in Bali, for in-depth look at Bali’s finest gourmet restaurants, be sure to check out our guide to Bali’s Best Gourmet Restaurants for a comprehensive look at the must-visit culinary experiences on the island.
Discover a beach paradise
Beautiful swathes of sand and sea circle the island. The Bukit Peninsula is home to some of Bali’s best surf breaks as well as some of Bali’s most pristine beaches, like Balangan Beach, the perfect place for kicking back and watching surfers hit the waves. Suluban Beach, also known as Blue Point Uluwatu and Pantai Suluban, is another stunning beach and is world-renowned for its left-hand point break. Non-surfers also love to visit during low tide to explore the Suluban Beach Cave.
Bingin Beach is a gorgeous stretch of coast lined with rocks, moss, and little tide pools – a magnificent place to watch the sunset and stick around for dinner at one of the local restaurants that do a seafood BBQ, toes in the sand.
Thomas Beach (also known as Padang Padang Beach) is the perfect place in Uluwatu to rent an umbrella, grab a drink, and enjoy the views of a glittering turquoise ocean. Located next to well-known surf break Impossibles, the scene is an iconic surfer’s paradise (it may be one of the busiest beaches on the Bukit Peninsula, but it’s also one of the most beautiful).
For a (semi) secret treasure, head to Bias Tugal, also called Pantai Kecil (Little Beach), located on the East coast (easily accessible from Ubud or Canggu via scooter or driver) for a more secluded beach experience. Often deserted beyond a few tourists and vendors, you’ll need to make your way down a 500-meter rocky path to reach the swaying coconut trees and sun, but trust us, the views are worth the hike!
Stay with a local family
Immerse yourself in the authentic Balinese culture by staying with a local family. When visiting Bali, it is truly worthwhile to understand the island and its people. By staying with a local family, you can experience their daily lives, assist them with their work, and savour the delicious food they enjoy. The Bali Homestay Program, established in 2001, offers an opportunity to immerse yourself in genuine Balinese village life, culture, and cuisine. Additionally, the program supports essential initiatives such as funding schools, improving living standards through house refurbishments, and assisting children with single parents or in orphanages.
Explore lush green rice terraces and fields
Using their ancient subak system, which allows freshwater to run from local sources through water temples and down to agricultural land, Balinese farmers have created beautiful works of art out of the local terrain, with rice terraces that weave around the natural contours of the land.
A drive to Tegalalang Rice Terraces yields one of the most picturesque sights in Bali. Surrounded by coconut and banana trees, the working rice terraces are truly breathtaking, especially right at first light if you get there early enough to beat the crowds.
The Jatiluwih Rice Terraces are another great place to take in stunning rice field views – and get some exercise! With different walking routes ranging from one to five hours (by foot or by bicycle), you might just run across a farmer or cluster of cows resting in the shade – all framed by sweeping views of Mount Batukaru.
Discover Sideman Valley
Sidemen Valley in East Bali offers a serene and untouched landscape filled with lush green rice terraces, traditional villages, and working farms. Unlike the bustling beach clubs and bars of South Bali, Sidemen Valley provides a nostalgic glimpse into the Bali of the past. The climate in this valley is slightly cooler than the coastal areas, making it ideal for exploring mountain-top temples, trekking through rice fields, and hiking up active volcanoes.
Despite its off-the-grid location, Sidemen Valley is home to stunning boutique resorts that are consciously built using natural materials. Visitors can also enjoy cultural excursions, farm-to-table dining experiences, and a variety of outdoor adventures.
Sacred sites and temple hopping
With the lush landscape dotted with Hindu temples and ancient ruins, it’s never too difficult to find a way to connect with the spiritual pulse of the island and the traditional, ceremonial way Balinese way of life.
One of the temples considered to be a staple of Bali’s “spiritual pillars” Uluwatu Temple, is perched on the edge of a cliff 70 meters above the Indian Ocean. Home to (some very naughty!) monkeys considered to be the temple’s protectors, the temple lies near an amphitheatre where daily traditional Kecak fire dances are performed for the public every evening. Word to the wise: plan ahead to avoid the traffic as the performance always attracts a huge crowd!
A visit Tanah Lot to gaze across at its temples perched high on a rocky outcrop facing the ocean is a must. It’s one of Bali’s most photographed scenes, and a sacred pilgrimage site to the Balinese – access to the temple is at low tide, and for a small fee, you can receive a blessing from the temple’s priest. Stick around for sunset, and you’ll be rewarded with an incredible scene.
Other sites of interest include the 9th-century ruins of Goa Gajah, or Elephant Cave, near Ubud; sacred Tirta Empul where you can bathe in sacred waters purported to cleanse the body and mind; the rock carvings of Gunung Kawi northeast of Ubud; and the most important centre of religious activities for Balinese, the Besakih Temple on the slopes of Mount Agung in eastern Bali.
Enjoy a couples’ spa treatment
The Balinese are renowned as experts in traditional massage and relaxation techniques, and the island is home to a sophisticated array of spa destinations that cater perfectly for romantic relaxation. Indulging in spa treatments while in Bali is an absolute must-do, not only because of the great value, but also because some of the wellness centres are truly divine and unlike anything you’d find at home!
Visit Prana Spa in Seminyak for Ayurvedic body treatments, where you can indulge in a couple’s private suite fit for ancient royalty and a selection of soothing massages.
Bodyworks, also in Seminyak, is a favourite with ex-pats who love the exotic vibe and divine treatments on offer, many using traditional Indonesian healing techniques (try the Mandi Lulur, a Balinese massage and body scrub using turmeric, sandalwood, cinnamon, ground nuts, rice and yoghurt).
In Ubud, Bliss Ubud Spa offer an affordable yet luxurious option and a fabulously indulgent menu, all in a beautiful environment surrounded by rice paddies.
#Hashtag Bali’s most Instagrammable locations
Bali’s natural beauty makes for the ultimate Instagram highlight. Snap a perfect picture for the ‘Gram on one of Bali’s famous jungle swings, like the daring LeKaja Bali Swing, located in the village of Carang Sari about 8 kilometres north of Ubud. Or head straight to Bali Swing Adventure & Leisure Park which has purpose-built swings and installations for posing – couples can even cuddle up in a giant birds nest.
The lovely and lush Campuhan River Walk in Ubud is another regular on Instagram’s discovery feed (fashionable tourists and influencers are often snapped strolling along the meandering mountain-top path).
Or take it next level and get a powerful picture at Bali’s ethereal “Gates of Heaven” at Lempuyang Temple in east Bali, one of the oldest and most sacred temples on the island.
White Water Rafting Ubud
White-water river rafting on the two main rivers, the Ayung River (close to Ubud) and the Telaga Waja River in the East of the island is one of Bali’s most popular adventure activities. The rapids are suitable for beginners to intermediates, and you pass through some of the most beautiful scenery in the highlands of Bali, with the rivers coursing through lush jungle-clad valleys.
Find the Green Cliffs and Grotto of Undisan
This one is a hidden gem, and you’ll want to be on the mood to head out on a road trip further afield to find the Green Cliffs and Grotto of Undisan – towering walls of moss housing a ravine. Located in Undisan Village in Bangli, getting there is an adventure in itself. Still, if you can find this hidden paradise, you’ll have the chance to swim, explore the caves and enjoy a peaceful moment in an emerald paradise.
Visit Nusa Dua’s Water Blow
If you’re ready for a different splash of excitement, head to the Water Blow at Nusa Dua, where the crashing waves of the Indian Ocean are forced upward between the narrow cracks of a rock cliff in a powerful burst.
Learn to surf
With such gorgeous beaches, how could Bali not inspire surfing dreams? While there are spots all over the place to watch skilled surfers ride the waves, if you’re new to the sport, you’ll want to aim for beaches with softer terrain like Kuta Beach. While it is one of the more crowded spots, the sand will be kinder to those who are feeling a bit skittish about their abilities.
Old Man’s Beach in Canggu is the perfect place to try out a broad collection of boards available for rent on the beach (and finish with celebratory drinks at popular Old Man’s Bar). Bingin Beach is another excellent place to try out your surf skills, but the reef is a bit sharp here, so surf booties are recommended. Bingin can be a bit fickle and tide sensitive, so your best bet for a great experience is to ask a local surfer if the water is safe for newbies and ask one of the (many) local instructors or schools for a guide to go with you – you’ll find their friendly faces all along the beach, and their prices are reasonable.
Reconnect with yoga and wellness
The Yoga Barn in Ubud is a yogi’s heaven and the ideal place to begin your wellness journey in Bali, with a wide variety of classes and workshops – meditation for those wishing to slow down, power yoga for couples looking to break a sweat, and ecstatic dance for a dynamic duo looking to embark on a new adventure!
Ther’s also luxury escapes tailored for couples wanting an extended time of relaxation. One World Retreats in Ubud offers exceptional and luxurious wellness journeys combining ancient modalities from yoga to Ayurvedic healing, and richly rewarding cultural experiences to align with your goals of rejuvenation and connection.
Closer to the coast, Desa Seni in Canggu is the perfect place for a little TLC with their combination of Eastern and Western European healing styles. They offer a variety of yoga classes – and certifications, for some of you more dedicated yogis, a picture-perfect setting in an oasis of green farmland.
And in Sanur is the lovely Khao Shala where daily yoga classes happen in a lovely Shala attached to a divine day spa (they have a yoga and spa package – highly recommended!)
Enjoy a romantic dinner on the beach
What could be more romantic than a candlelit dinner on the beach, with the water lapping at the shore close by and a starry night sky overhead? Jimbaran Bay is the go-to destination for laidback beach dining, with nightly seafood BBQs, served up right along the shoreline with your feet in the sand. Wherever you dine along the peaceful bay here, you’ll find your dinner to be fresh, just-plucked-from-the-ocean delicious. Jimbaran-style prawns are an absolute must-try, and if you’re looking to go all out, try the lobster! And when ordering, you’ll want to save some room for corn. You’ll see “corn men” all along the beach (serving either a spicy or sweet, buttery slathering on top).
Go island hopping
For your next Bali adventure, catch a morning boat to Nusa Penida, a still-developing outlying island off Bali, and visit Kelingking Beach for a jaw-droppingly beautiful clifftop view of natural land formation and a secluded white sand beach framed by electric-blue waves. Take the bamboo stairs down the shore if you have time. Next, head to Angel’s Billabong and Broken Beach for more lovely views (swimming here is not recommended as the waves, while gorgeous, are incredibly powerful), or take the trek down to Diamond Beach and explore among the rocks.
Nusa Lembongan is a perfect island destination for lovers of surf, sun and sand. It’s peaceful and very laidback, and a little over an hour’s boat ride away from Bali’s coastal enclave of Sanur. Check out dreamy beaches via scooter or dive deep with snorkelling adventures. Ride along the yellow suspension bridge to the neighbouring island of Nusa Ceningan and enjoy a view back to your island home-away-from-home from across the water while having a drink at Ceningan Cliffs Restaurant.
The Gili Islands consist of three small islands, each with their own personality. Gili Air and Gili Trawangan are known for bohemian vibes, beach bungalows, beach parties and watersports (Gili T is one of Indonesia’s top dive destinations!), while the quieter, more peaceful Gili Meno is a top choice to escape and relax, swim with sea turtles at Turtle Point or snorkel the man-made underwater statues that were made in 2017 to encourage coral growth and help save the reefs of Indonesia. All three are well connected by a public boat that ferries passengers between islands, and you can also hop over to nearby Lombok (30 minutes by boat) to explore bat caves, ride horses on the beach, and explore lush greenery.
The Gili Islands are entirely non-motorized (only walking, biking, or horse carts here!), so prepare to be on island mode! The most convenient way from Bali is by fast boat, and you can expect the journey to take around 3 1/2 – 4 hours.
Party from day to night
Bali may offer relaxed tropical living and beachy perfection during the day, but the island really heats up at night! Try some of Bali’s nightlife at trendy hotspots that can take you from sunset drinks through to late-night grooves.
The Lawn in Canggu is a favourite for a sunset session, a place to share nibbles and drinks and swim in the infinity pool with views out over a black sand beach, the ocean soundtrack vying for attention as night sets in and the place turns into a pumping party spot.
For lovely days that turn into spectacular nights, find your way to Woo Bar in Seminyak. Arrive early and grab an all-day pass to lounge on plush beds in luxury, then settle in for fun to come. With delicious bites during the day and an exciting club-vibe with talented international DJs at night, you’re sure to find your island groove (you’ll find it beachside at W Bali, one of the island’s coolest art and music-driven hotel resorts).
If you’re on Bali’s southern tip, a sundowner at El Kabron, perched on the edge of Pecatu Cliffs in Uluwatu on the Bukit Peninsula, is a must. An infinity pool overlooks the endless horizon of the Indian Ocean, and the cool tunes will seduce you into staying to dance the night away.
All-day fiestas can be found at Motel Mexicola in Seminyak, a super-popular cantina-style Mexican restaurant with lurid decor, excellent food and the island’s best margaritas – it’s always a good time that cranks up into an all-night party. The area also boasts La Favela, an uber-popular haunt for great drinks and great music, or Mirror, a lounge/nightclub attracting world-class DJs with an out-of-this-world atmosphere (it’s one of the most pumping places on the island after hours).
Get your adrenaline pumping
It’s time to get dirty. Go paintballing in one of Bali’s many paintball-battle arenas or try Mepantigan mud wrestling, a Balinese form of martial arts that nearly went extinct (there’s a bunch of great tour operators on the island that include it on their itineraries). When it’s time for a rinse off, skim the surface of the ocean by kite surfing or try out the watersports as well as tandem paragliding or parasailing in Nusa Dua and Sanur.
For a slower form of thrills that gets you out into the local countryside, take a cycling tour through the villages in Ubud. There are many local tour guides around town (check out Happy Bike Tours).
Have a Cellar Door tasting at a Balinese winery
While the tropical climate of Bali isn’t well-known for producing wine, the island does have several wineries that produce top-notch wines from several grape varieties that flourish in the volcanic soil. Their specialty? Sweet wines and fruity flavours. Visit the cellar door of the oldest winery in Bali, Hatten Wines, in the peaceful coastal town of Sanur, where you can sample the island’s best wine. Or ask them about one of their Adventure Tours where you’ll start at Sanur for a pairing session or journey to the other side of Bali visiting their vineyard.
Bali is also home to Artisan Estate Winery and Plaga Winery where the owner oversees the combination of Australian and Chilean grapes for an exceptional blend. Also, Sababay Winery is known for grapes that grow in dry, sunny weather, yielding a delicious taste with a Balinese flair.
Learn to cook Balinese food
As you’ll find on your trip, many of the locals are more than happy to share their customs and culture with you! Take time to learn some of their traditional cooking techniques and dishes and bring them home with you. Locals run many of Bali’s cooking classes, and you can sometimes even cook with them in their own homes, giving you the chance to experience a truly authentic Balinese mealtime. The aforementioned Happy Bike Tours (pictured) in Ubud also offer the one such option, with a fantastic cooking class held in their traditional family compound.
You can also take classes in larger groups all over Bali. Australian-born writer, restaurateur and local legend Janet de Neefe runs a fabulous cooking class at the Casa Luna Cooking School in Ubud, where you can unlock the healing power of spices or learn to create one of Bali’s best-kept secret recipes.
Go chasing waterfalls
Perfect swimming spots, natural slip and slides, hidden grottoes. It’s no secret that Bali is home to of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world, and we’re ready to dive in!
Sekumpul Waterfall in Singaraja is considered Bali’s most beautiful waterfall. It is a bit of a hike; conditions can be slippery and physically challenging. However, the reward is worth it: consisting of seven different falls, Sekampul Waterfall is a magnificent sight and a great place to get lost in the greenery of Bali.
Witness powerful movement and sound at the Tegenungan Waterfall, close to Ubud, a beautiful natural escape with lots of natural springs perfect for a dip. For those who want to go waterfall sliding, Aling Aling Waterfall is a 35-metre slide into crystal waters. Searching for someplace divine? Set in a cove of rock and forest, Tukad Cepung Waterfall will shower you in a burst of light at certain peaks during the day – the makings of a heavenly experience!
Spend a day at a beach or jungle club
Relaxing days turn into exciting parties that last all night at Bali’s most iconic beach clubs. Grab a cabana, day bed, or pool booth and spend a day in Ibiza (in Bali!) at Café del Mar in Canggu, or head over to an old favourite, Sundays Beach Club on the Bukit Peninsula and check-in for the whole day – the beach club is accessed down a cliff by inclinator and an entrance fee, but the breathtaking setting, white sand beach set the scene for classy food and drinks, and a variety of water-based activities. Stay until night falls and cuddle up on the sand by the firepit as the music kicks in.
Couples staying away from the beachfront can still find the same kind of scene in the cliffs or the jungle – there are a few select places that encapsulate the mood and vibe of a beach club to perfection! Jungle Fish is Ubud’s answer to a beach club, offering an infinity pool, awesome music and beach club vibes dished up in a lush and beautiful valley setting. You can find it hidden away at Chapung Sebali resort (entry fee applies for non-guests).
Explore Bali’s quiet East Coast
While Bali is continually growing in its tourist popularity all over the island, there are still a few areas that are less travelled, like East Bali. Take some time away from the bustling crowds to visit the Taman Ujung Water Palace, a series of royal structures connected by bridges that cross over three ponds. Or take a trip to the Tirta Gangga Water Garden and meander through the vast collection of ponds, statues, carvings, and fountains.
More than anything though, the East coast of Bali is a diver’s paradise – Tulamben, Amed, Candidasa and Padang Bai offer superb dive sites, scuba schools reefs and shipwrecks to explore in one of the most peaceful – and underrated – pockets of Bali.
Melt into Bali’s famous sunset
The island’s sunsets are serious showstoppers if you time it right you could witness magic unfold every single day.
Watching a sunset (or five!) in Bali is definitely a must-do and beautiful long beach in Seminyak is one of Bali’s most popular sundowner locations, and it’s home to a number of great bars and hotels from where to find the perfect perch. Take a stroll along the sand to find our all-time favourite restaurant, La Lacciola, with its soaring thatched roof and open-air pavilion from which to take in the kaleidoscope with a cocktail and a meal. Spend an afternoon and evening slowing down and reconnecting with one another here, and we can guarantee you’ll want to come back for more.
Or, for simple pleasures, do as the long-timers do and head to one of the more rustic bars that line the beach closer to Legian and Kuta, where locals congregate each evening to sail kites and play on the shoreline. Pull up a beanbag on the sand, barefoot, Bintang in hand (set your sights on La Plancha’s iconic colourful umbrellas) and watch the glorious evening unfold.
Shop ’til you drop
While there’s still the cheap and cheery clothing and souvenirs of street-side hawker stalls lining the streets of every town in Bali, in recent years the island has grown and evolved into a trendsetting style central when it comes to fashion and homewares. Seminyak’s hip boutiques house internationally renowned fashion labels and stores that rival an interior designer’s dream. While over in Canggu, you can find some fantastic furnishing shops for some serious retail therapy (Bungalow Living is a must visit for beautiful art, cushions and decor treasures). Getting lost in the markets and back streets of Ubud will uncover some unique treasures, too – as the centre of arts in Bali, you’ll find everything from paintings to textiles, fashion and artisan jewellery as well as traditional crafts to bring home.
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