Best Things To Do in Bali

Bali is one of the paradisiacal destinations of Indonesia, famous for its volcanic mountains, its picturesque rice fields and the coral reefs of the region. I tell you which are the best activities that you can do in this particular destination.

Matías Rodríguez

Matías Rodríguez

11 min read

Best Things To Do in Bali

Nusa Penida - Indonesia |©Enrico Djakman

Protagonist of the longings of the surfers and of the fans to the paradisiacal beaches, Bali is one of the most traditional destinations of Indonesia, especially for the wide variety of attractions that it offers. From discovering the coral reefs located a few kilometers from the coast to the hiking trails that surround its volcanic mountains, it is an island that will not leave visitors indifferent.

Between the best activities that you can make in Bali they are to discover the temple of Tanah Lot and the Sacred Forest of the Monkeys, to visit the Batur Mount to the dawn, to know the temples Besakih and Lempuyang in a guided excursion, to cross the Palace of Ubud, to attend a class of traditional Balinese kitchen, to know the island Nusa Penida and its beaches and to make a private tour of Come, Reza, Ama.

1. Visit the temple of Tanah Lot

Tanah Lot Temple|©Sam Sidran
Tanah Lot Temple|©Sam Sidran

Bali is much more than a destination with paradisiacal landscapes, reason why to explore the island will allow you to discover a rich amalgam of nature and culture. Within this last group, you will be able to know some of the best temples of the island, among which is Tanah Lot.

TanahLot, known to be constructed on the coast, is a cultural and spiritual icon of the region. In addition, this place is one of the main religious buildings of Bali and is very popular at dawn, when the sun is discovered in the horizon, creating a magical scene that you will be able to enjoy specially if you have planned to visit Bali in summer.

The temple of Tanah Lot you can know it on your own or within the framework of a guided excursion. If you opt for this alternative, in general you will be able to also know two other sites that usually are visited together and that are the cascade Kanto Lampo, that is one of the highest of the region, and the Sacred Forest of the Monkeys, a sanctuary inhabited by macaque monkeys that keeps a religious meaning and works in the conservation of the local fauna.

In this sanctuary you will not only be able to tour the site, but also interact with the animals and the forest environment that shelters them. During these excursions, which are among the best tours in Bali, you will usually be transferred in a private bus.

Join a tour of Tanah Lot, Kanto Lampo and the Sacred Monkey Forest

2. Discover Mount Batur at sunrise

Bali Batur|©Jérémie Lochon
Bali Batur|©Jérémie Lochon

One of the best alternatives to discover the natural beauty of Bali is to tour Mount Batur at sunrise. This active volcano, located in the Balinese northeast, offers to the adventurers a unique opportunity to witness the unmissable spectacle of the sunrise in the island. Reaching the summit before sunrise, you will be able to contemplate a wide view that includes Lake Batur and the silhouettes of nearby mountain peaks.

The ascent of Mount Batur, which you can do on your own or on a guided tour, will not only give you a broad perspective of the island, but also offer you a direct connection to the local geology. The lunar landscape at the summit creates an ideal backdrop for you to take some of the best photographs of your trip.

If you choose to reach the summit of Mount Batur on an organized excursion, you can count on the assistance of an expert local guide, which will maximize your experience and save you setbacks, especially if you plan to visit Bali in October or during the spring months, when the rains are very frequent and can complicate your journey through the trails of the mountain.

Also, another alternative that you can find in the island is to cross the Mount Batur in an excursion in all-terrain vehicle, which will add to the experience an additional dose of adrenaline.

Tour Mt. Batur at sunrise

3. Take a traditional Balinese food class

Bebek Betutu|©Kwong Weng Yong
Bebek Betutu|©Kwong Weng Yong

Gastronomy is one of the highlights of Bali and one of the ways to discover this facet is to take a local food class. These experiences will delight your palate and allow you to discover the balance of intense and exotic flavors that characterize the local cuisine.

During the class, you will learn how to prepare emblematic dishes that reflect the diversity and complexity of Balinese cuisine. One of them is the babi guling, a roast pork with a mixture of spices, is a delicacy that stands out in celebrations and festivals, and that you will find in every corner of the island if you have planned to visit Bali during Christmas.

Another outstanding dish is the bebek betutu, a roast duck wrapped in banana leaves and cooked slowly, which is imbued with intense flavors. In addition, the preparation of rendang, a meat simmered in a mixture of coconut milk and spices, is a masterclass in balancing flavors and textures.

Join a traditional Balinese cooking class

4. Tour the Bali Zoo

monkey in the branches|©Kurt Hollstein
monkey in the branches|©Kurt Hollstein

The interactive Bali Zoo, located in Gianyar, offers visitors a unique experience by allowing them to get up close and learn about a wide variety of animal species. Visiting these exhibits, which highlight Indonesia's biodiversity, from lush rainforest to marine ecosystems, will not only allow you to discover local species up close, but also, in some cases, interact with them.

At the zoo you will come face to face with some of the region's most iconic animals, such as the Komodo dragon, which is Indonesia's largest mammal and an endangered species. In addition, you will also encounter elephants, Sumatran tigers, orangutans and crocodiles, especially if you plan to visit Bali in January or during the region's hottest season.

The experience, however, is not limited to observation. In this zoo they will allow you to feed and to know more closely some of these animals. In addition, within the site you can also cycle along the trails with the assistance of an expert local guide and live natural experiences in a protected environment, as happens in Jatiluwih and Kintamani, two protected areas of the island that you can only discover by pedaling.

Join a bike tour in Kintamani

5. Visit the Ubud Palace and attend a Legong dance show

ubud palace|©r_a_i_e
ubud palace|©r_a_i_e

If you want to participate in an indigenous activity, you can't miss visiting the Ubud Palace and complement the experience with a Legong dance show. The palace, known locally as Puri Saren Agung, is an architectural gem that serves as the official residence of the Ubud royal family. Built in the 19th century, the building combines traditional Balinese architecture with unique artistic elements.

The palace gardens and gallery pavilions bear witness to the history of local royalty and offer visitors an authentic glimpse into the lives of the ruling families. Once inside the Ubud Palace, you can witness a Legong dance performance, which is a classical Balinese dance form characterized by the elegance of its movements and the elaborate costumes of the dancers.

This traditional art form tells mythological and folkloric stories through expressive gestures and colorful rhythms. The Legong dance, with its precise movements, is an artistic manifestation that has lasted throughout the centuries, transmitting the cultural wealth of Bali from generation to generation.

Buy a guided tour of the Palace of Ubud with dance show

6. He/she knows the temples Besakih and Lempuyang

Lempuyang temple|©alain01789
Lempuyang temple|©alain01789

Bali is an outstanding place by its spiritual facet and its promotion of the Hinduism and one of alternatives to know this profile is to visit the best temples of the island. Besakih and Lempuyang are two of the main religious buildings of this destination and to make a guided tour to cross them will allow you to dive in the history of which is nicknamed The Island of the Gods.

The Besakih, known as the Mother Temple, is the centerpiece of Balinese Hinduism and the largest on the island. Located on the slopes of Mount Agung, this sacred complex has witnessed centuries of rituals and celebrations, and its architecture offers a unique insight into religious devotion in Bali. Although you have planned a stay of 5 days in Bali or even less, you cannot stop visiting this place.

On the other hand, the Lempuyang Temple, also known as the Gateway to Heaven, is famous for its iconic portal that locates Mount Agung in the background. This temple is the first you will meet of a series of six shrines located along the pilgrimage route to the top of Agung and is one of the testimonies of local spirituality.

Buy a Heaven's Gate tour to visit Besakih and Lempuyang

7. It visits the aquatic park Waterbom Bali

Waterbom-Bali|©Agus Pande
Waterbom-Bali|©Agus Pande

If you plan to visit Bali with children or want to live a different experience on the island, you can not miss the Waterbom Bali water park, which is one of the largest in Asia and will allow you to participate in an adventure full of fun and excitement for the whole family.

Located in Kuta, this park offers a wide range of aquatic attractions to satisfy all the tastes. From adrenaline-filled slides to relaxation areas, Waterbom Bali is a water paradise that combines adrenaline with serenity in a tropical setting.

One of the park's main attractions is the FlowRider, a surfing simulation that allows visitors to test their skills on the waves. For those seeking extreme thrills, the Twin Racers and the Pipeline offer dizzying drops and spectacular turns.

Aside from the water attractions, Waterbom Bali features tropical gardens and lounge areas, creating an ideal environment for relaxing under the Balinese sun. In addition, if you plan to visit Bali for 7 days or even longer, you can buy weekly passes, which are much cheaper than daily tickets.

Join an ATV tour with rafting experience in Bali

8. Tour the waterfalls and rice paddies of Ubud

Rice terraces in Sidemen, Bali.|©Ernesto Sardón Cantos
Rice terraces in Sidemen, Bali.|©Ernesto Sardón Cantos

Touring the waterfalls and rice fields of Ubud in Bali will allow you to immerse yourself in an experience that combines the bounties of the local nature with the traditional richness of the region. Ubud, identified as the cultural heart of Bali, is home to a series of waterfalls and extensive rice fields that tell the story of the traditional Balinese way of life.

The exploration of waterfalls like Tegenungan, with its crystalline waters that are discharged in the middle of tropical jungles, is an opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty that characterizes this region. In addition, also it is one of the best activities to make during the night in Bali, when the lights are extinguished and the way only the rumor of the waters marks it, in a very relaxing experience.

On the other hand, the crossing by the rice fields of Ubud is an activity that will allow you to discover the very essence of the rural life of Bali. The terraced rice fields, with their vibrant green hues, offer a landscape that has been cultivated in a traditional way for generations.

Touring these waterfalls and rice paddies is not only a scenic activity, but also an experience that reflects the deep connection between the Balinese people and their environment. Rice paddies, in particular, are the lifeblood of the island and are revered as a symbol of fertility and prosperity.

Book an excursion to the waterfalls and rice paddies of Ubud

9. Get to know the island of Nusa Penida

Nusa Penida - Indonesia|©Enrico Djakman
Nusa Penida - Indonesia|©Enrico Djakman

One of the best activities that you can do from Bali is to discover the idyllic island of Nusa Penida, a natural paradise that offers a palette of unforgettable experiences. Nusa Penida, known for its scenery and crystal clear waters, is home to cliffs, white sandy beaches and vibrant coral reefs. A visit to iconic sites such as Kelingking Beach, with its dinosaur-shaped rock formation, or Crystal Bay, will reveal the visual diversity that defines the island.

Activities on Nusa Penida are varied. From snorkeling and scuba diving at sites such as Manta Point, where you can discover manta rays, to bird watching in the local forest reserve, there is something for everyone. Likewise, you will also be able to sleep on the island and discover the sunrise, an experience that you will not want to miss if you plan to visit Bali during 10 days or even during a longer stay.

In addition, exploring the cliffs and trails of Nusa Penida is essential to discover hidden treasures such as Angel 's Billabong and Broken Beach. These natural wonders offer panoramic perspectives and the opportunity to connect with the serenity of the surroundings. The island will also offer you opportunities to enjoy the best cruises in Bali.

Participate in an excursion to Nusa Penida

10. Live a rafting experience on the Ayung River.

Bali Rafting|©Alam Amazing Adventures
Bali Rafting|©Alam Amazing Adventures

To live a rafting experience in the Ayung River will allow you to discover an exciting adventure that combines the natural beauty with the adrenaline of the rapid waters. The Ayung River, which meanders through tropical landscapes and steep valleys, offers the perfect setting for an unforgettable experience.

These experiences involve navigating through crystal-clear waters in fast-moving inflatable rafts. Guided by expert local instructors, you will traverse stretches of whitewater and calmer stretches, allowing you to appreciate the diversity of the environment. Keep in mind that these activities are suitable for both beginners and more experienced rafters, as it adapts to different skill levels.

The more serene sections of the tour will also allow you to appreciate the surrounding flora and fauna, as well as enjoy the serenity of the jungle environment, especially if you plan to visit Bali in December, which marks the beginning of summer and, with it, the proliferation of native species in the local waters.

Reserve an experience of rafting in the Ayung River

11. Get to know the locations of Come, Reza, Ama

ashram in Bali|©Kyle Noth
ashram in Bali|©Kyle Noth

If you want to get to know the locations that inspired the famous novel and movie Come, Reza, Ama, you can't miss a private tour of these sites. Following in the footsteps of Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of this story, you can live an experience that offers a transformative journey through the emblematic sites that marked her spiritual quest for self-discovery on the island.

These private tours generally begin in Ubud, where you can explore the local markets and soak up the artistic and spiritual richness of the region. The tour will also take you to visit the Ashram of Ketut Liyer, the medium and spiritual healer who played a significant role in Gilbert's story.

The tour also includes exploration of Bali's tranquil beaches, replicating some stages of history. Locations such as Padang Padang beach, where Elizabeth finds love, and the island of Gili Meno, known for its crystal clear waters and relaxing environment, will offer you an ideal environment for reflection. Finally, this tour will end with dinner at Bambu Indah restaurant, a place chosen by Gilbert in his gastronomic and spiritual quest.

Join an Eat, Pray, Love tour in Bali