You have your tickets, accommodation and a list of must-hit restaurants, but now.. What things can you do in Bali to fill your days?
The island is packed with adventures, activities, amazing food and spots to relax. There is something new to do every day!
From the tip of the North to the far South, here are all the best things to do in Bali for a fun-packed memorable escape.
Get your notes app at the ready, you don’t want to forget these.
Dip Your Toes in the Sand of Bali’s Best Beaches
What’s a tropical island adventure without scouring the island for all the best beaches?
Bali is lucky enough to be home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. White sand, crystal blue waters, towering cliff sides, black volcanic sands, mountain range views.. There is every type of beach, for every type of traveler.
Whether you are on an extended trip or just a short stop-over, exploring some of the island’s incredible beaches is one of the best things to do in Bali. You can relax, take in the natural beauty and perhaps even get in some exercise – if you choose an Uluwatu cliffside spot.
Let’s Chase Some Waterfalls
My favourite adventurous activity in Bali is exploring all of the hidden – and well known – waterfalls of the island. There are 16 towering and magical waterfalls in Bali that you can walk to. Some have a more challenging descent and are not that family friendly.
Pack your comfortable shoes, your cozzie and a towel so you can dip into the glistening natural springs, dance under the powerful fall and enjoy immersing in the stunning jungle surroundings that encompass Bali’s waterfalls.
Tackle the harder to reach spots or take it easy at one of the nicely paved entry waterfalls, each of the sites have their own wonder and touch of magic that will make it a memorable experience for everyone.
For the locals, expats and tourists alike, sunset is the time where you stop what you are doing and enjoy the unbelievable beauty of Bali.
Heading out to the nearest beach, or one of the far-off Uluwatu cliff top bars, sunset is the most popular time for relaxing, sipping and dancing. Grab your mates and head to your nearest sunset spot to bask in the glory of mother nature.
After a day of work, exploring or just laying around the pool, I can’t think of a better thing to do in Bali to end a hot island day.
Watch a Movie Under the Stars
When the dry season rolls around and we are promised long, dry, starry nights, outdoor movies become the hit of the town!
Packed with bean bags, blankets and a huge projector screen, you can watch cult classics and your favourite holiday movies in a truly tropical and fun setting. The best known spots are La Laguna and The Lawn in Canggu, but there are plenty of hotspots that are tagging onto the trend and hosting movie nights beside the beach and under the stars.
Ideal for a date night or get-together with friends, you can drink, eat and chat all whilst watching a must-see movie. This is definitely at the top of my list of things to do in Bali during the dry season.
Island Hop Around the Archipelago
A trip to Bali is nothing without an adventure around the neighbouring islands. Nusa Pendia, the Gilis, Lombok, Flores.. The possibilities are endless.
In a short boat ride, or in some cases a quick flight, you will reach a whole new beautiful place to explore and enjoy. Magnificent beaches, thick jungles, rolling hillsides and busy local towns are waiting to be found. With the same currency, language and no need for extra visas, this is a great way to be able to take a holiday within a holiday and check out a new place.
I highly recommend staying on Gili Air for a relaxing and romantic stay, Nusa Penida for a more adventurous trip, and Flores for the getaway of a lifetime. Island hopping is one of the best things to do during a trip to Bali.
Explore Under the Sea
Diving and snorkelling are some of the most popular pastimes on the island. When you get tired of the stunning views and incredible landscapes, you can dip below the ocean and be taken away by the majestic sea life.
There are plenty of spots around the island for beginners, advanced and professional divers to be able to wander the underwater world of the ocean to find unique creatures, thriving sea life and sunken shipwrecks – even some man-made gardens and statues.
Similarly for snorkelers, there are popular right off the beach spots, or you can take a day trip, to really take advantage of Bali’s stunning underwater life for an unforgettable experience.
I love heading up to Menjangan Island for a really immersive and mind blowing snorkelling day. Make a trip out of it and stay up North is a private villa with stunning views of the ocean and mountain scenery.
Kick Back at the Spa
I don’t know about you, but where I’m from spa days are for birthdays or the rich and famous, not something your average Joe can do whenever they want. Well, prepare to be amazed, because in Bali it’s exactly what every average Joe can do.
From a cheap and traditional Balinese massage to a more pricey and luxurious day spa experience in a resort, the act of relaxing and pampering doesn’t need to cost a bundle.
Put together a group of friends or head out solo to your favourite spa for some well deserved pampering and primping. Arguably the best thing to do in Bali.
Take a Balinese Cooking Class
I really hope that during your trip to Bali you take the chance on some of the local dishes. Filled with fresh ingredients, spices and meats, you are going to remember the tastes forever – so why not take the flavour home with you?
Alongside a talented chef you can learn all the tricks of the trade to recreating those magnificent dishes at home. From nasi goreng to pisang goreng, sate ayam to sambal matah, you can master the kitchen to truly stun your friends back home.
Immerse in Traditional Balinese Entertainment
The local Balinese are some of the most hardworking and self-less people I have met in my travels. They rise early in the morning with little to no opportunity to relax until late at night, all for a miniscule wage. They deserve to have some fun, and they know how to do it right.
Balinese entertainment includes shows, music, dancing and laughing. From the ultra-traditional kecak dance to barong dancing and gamelan music, if you get to witness just one of these incredible performances, it is an experience you will never forget.
Head to Ubud for some of the most popular shows, or out to Uluwatu for a sunset kecak dance that will set your soul on fire – literally.
Visit a Traditional Healer
We all have a random ache, weird pain or suspicious rash that no amount of Western medicine or consultation can heal. Next stop, one of Bali’s traditional healers.
Using massage, herbal medicine and offerings to the spirits, after just one touch these magical healers – traditionally men but also women – are able to pinpoint the spot of an ailment and provide some healing wisdom to help you make the pain go away.
For the spring chickens among us, even if you don’t have a problem, a trip to a healer can give you some insight into your life through palm reading and chakra alignment. It is one of the most unique things to do in Bali.
On a full-day spiritual tour you can cleanse and visit a healer all in one.
Wander the Monkey Forest
Despite the bad press of monkey thieves in Bali, I think wandering the Monkey Forest and witnessing the furry terrors running wild around the jungle is one of the must-do things in Bali.
Leave your personal belongings in the car and enter into the world of the monkeys. Surrounded by towering trees, thick jungles and ancient temples have your phone at the ready to get some great pictures.
For the brave animal-lovers you can even buy some snacks to feed the monkeys and let them climb over you.
Laze the Day Away in a Beach Club
There’s no better way to enjoy the beautiful beaches than to lounge in luxury at one of Bali’s best beach clubs.
All of the popular tourist areas – Canggu, Seminyak, Kuta and Uluwatu have beach clubs offering a lazy experience like no other. You can set up on a private sunbed, bale or booth and enjoy a stocked menu of snacks, tasty cocktails, the bright island sun – even a refreshing swimming pool – all whilst looking out over the ocean with direct access to the sand.
From the morning until sunset you can bask in decadence at one of the island’s most opulent spots.
My personal favourites include Cafe Del Mar in Canggu, La Brisa in Echo Beach, Karma Kandara in Uluwatu and KU DE TA in Seminyak.
Sip Coffee in Canggu
Canggu is the perfect spot for all-day brunch with your friends, cafe-bouncing and sipping on the best beans in town. The beachside town is inundated with chic and trendy cafes where you can get every type of coffee from charcoal to beetroot to turmeric.
Every coffee-lover needs to spend a day in Canggu exploring the cafes and their fabulous coffee offerings.
Rent an Ultra-Luxurious Villa
This may not be on the top of the list for backpackers and nomads, but for those who are heading to Bali for a once-in-a-lifetime trip and want to really live the good life, renting an incredible villa with your friends is a must!
Across the island the scenery is dotted with some of the most insanely opulent and decadent villas you will ever see.
These 5* properties are perfect for a few nights rental where you can live like a celeb, enjoy in-house BBQs with your loved ones and soak up the crazy views – which I’m sure are there. Packed with absurd amenities that will have your jaw dropping, renting a ridiculously luxurious villa is one of the best things to do in Bali.
Head to the Ocean for Water Sports
A great activity in Bali for families and thrill-seekers is a day of adrenaline pumping water sports.
Sanur and Nusa Dua are the most popular spots for these activities with paragliding, doughnuts, banana boats and jet skis available through tour operators.
This is the perfect day-out for families travelling with older kids!
Visit a Hindu Temple
A trip to a traditional temple will really help you to appreciate the Balinese culture and their Hindu beliefs. Dressed for the occasion – with a sarong and covered shoulders – you can wander the religious home to find beautiful architecture, statues and offerings.
Some of the most popular temples to visit are Pura Tanah Lot, Pura Taman Saraswati and Pura Luhur Uluwatu. Although regularly visited by tourists these are still active places of worship, if you are there at the right time you can see the locals celebrating their Gods with offerings, music and prayers.
This is a great thing to do in Bali to be able to learn more about the island.
Stretch It Out in a Yoga Class
Even island life can have some tensions building up in your body. Long motorbike rides, wonky beach walks and air-conditioned rooms can all make your body stiff and awkward, but nothing a yoga class can’t sort out.
All of the popular towns have renowned yoga studios where you can join in a simple daily flow or take a more advanced technical class.
If you are lucky enough to be in Ubud for a yoga session then not only will you enjoy a relaxing class, you can also bask in the stunning rice paddy views that many of the studios boast.
Hike a Volcano
Bali is, surprisingly, home to numerous volcanoes. Hiking Mount Batur is the perfect thing to do in Bali for an adventurous traveller.
Before the sun has even begun to rise, you will get started on the volcano trail led by a local and knowledge guide – never attempt it without a guide – heading to the summit for some of the most magnificent views.
Just as you reach the summit and you feel like you never want to move again, the sun will start to peep out on the horizon, and you will forget all about the pain. Along with the provided hot beverage and boiled egg, hiking Mount Batur is one of Bali’s most extraordinary activities.
Soak in the Hot Springs
You must take a day trip to explore the natural hot springs of Bali! The most popular hot springs on the island are located in the North of Bali, but there are also some in the hills of East.
Perfect for an adventurous yet relaxing excursion, you can laze in the naturally warm waters overlooking incredible views of expansive countryside, or quiet local temples. You will come away feeling calm and de-stressed – bliss!
Shop til You Drop
Give in to your little nagging retail therapy monster and spend a day exploring the malls of Bali.
Seminyak is the most common hotspot for some serious shopping with a range of branded stores, independent boutiques and local market stalls. There are also an impressive number of huge shopping centres in Kuta that will give your wallet some exercise.
Whether you are shopping for yourself or for souvenirs to take to your loved ones back home, you will be able to find everything you need – and more!
Unwind With a Traditional Balinese Massage
It is absolute sacrilege to step foot on Bali island and not take the chance on a traditional Balinese massage.
From the cheap and cheerful spas along the streets to the ultimate luxurious day spas, every Balinese masseuse uses the same technique of pressure points, deep strokes and essential oils that will have all your worries melting away.
By far one of my favourite things to do in Bali, I want you all to promise you will try a Balinese massage during your stay.
Tackle the Ocean in a Surfing Lesson
You don’t need to have any previous experience or skills to enjoy a surf lesson. If the ocean is calling to you and you want to attempt to ride those waves, there are many surf schools all over the island that have talented instructors.
Providing the board, rash guard and training, for a small price you can learn the ways of the ocean and how to surf it like a pro.
Take a Jewellery Class
As someone who is always decked out in bling, taking a jewellery class where you can learn the intricate art of creating a special piece of jewellery from silver sounds like one of the best things to do in Bali.
In Ubud, Canggu and Sanur there are dedicated spaces for these creative classes. You will be set up with all the materials and tools you need to learn how to manipulate metal into a shape and design you want. Alongside a skillful artisan, you can create a unique and personal piece of jewellery that will hold memories of your Bali adventure.
Go Dolphin Spotting in Lovina
There is nothing better than connecting with nature – especially when it is nature you won’t find at home.
A trip to Lovina will take you through jungles, mountains and local villages until you reach the perfect black volcanic sand beaches. Arrange for an overnight trip, so you can wake up early the next morning to head out in a traditional fishing boat for some dolphin spotting.
If you aren’t lucky enough to see the prancing, jumping animals, you will at least get to witness an incredible sunrise! Totally worth the early wake up call.
Tuck In To a Seaview Brunch
I’m all for a meal between breakfast and lunch, and if it comes with a stunning ocean view in a sumptuous resort – sign me up!
Some of my favourite spots for an incredibly luxurious and decadent brunch are The Mulia and Starfish Bloo within the W Seminyak Resort. Both offering an ultra-fresh, tasty and fun set-up for a seaview meal, you can get together with your friends for a catch up over food.
Along with fruity cocktails and ice-cold beers, I can’t think of a better brunch setting.
Explore Mount Batur by Bicycle
You’ve already hiked Mount Batur, now it’s time to explore the volcano’s surrounding area by bicycle.
Suitable for children and adults up to 65, it is the perfect thing to do in Bali for the whole family. Passing by local villages, temples and stunning scenery, you can learn more about the island’s culture whilst enjoying the ultra-fresh air and getting some exercise.
At a steady downhill pace the tour will start at the base of Mount Batur, ending up in Ubud for a tasty lunch and more incredible views.
Make a Splash in the Water Park
Entertaining the kids on hot island days can be a challenge. Luckily, Bali is packed with fun-filled children’s activities including water parks!
The famous Water Bom is located in Kuta – and is my personal number 1 choice – but there are also other huge parks in Canggu, Uluwatu and Sanur. Fun for all the family, you can get your heart racing down steep slides, float around the lazy river and get soaked under a waterfall.
Packed with activities, restaurants, sunbeds and swimming pools, a day at the water park is a must-do for any Bali trip.
Pig Out in a Local Warung
We all love the uber expensive and luxurious restaurants, but you don’t want to miss out on the flavours available at the super affordable local warungs.
Serving up classic nasi goreng, gado-gado, nasi campur and mie goreng, for a couple of dollars you can order a huge Indonesian feast with an iced tea on the side. Try something new, meet the friendly owners and give back to the community – a win, win, win.
Party the Night Away
Let the night continue after some sunset drinks and head to one of Bali’s buzzing clubs or bars.
I love Canggu for a night out, but Seminyak and Kuta also have a thriving nightlife packed with dancing, great music and every type of drink. With open-air bars, themed clubs and underground spots, even beach bars, there is a place for everyone to party the night away until the early hours of the morning.
Swing Through the Jungle
Instagram is filled with pictures of beautiful girls in floaty dresses swinging high above the treetops in the jungles of Ubud. And you can hop on the bandwagon..
The jungle swings are a great thing to do in Bali for an awesome, adrenaline pumping experience without being too crazy or scary. Flying above the jungle you can have a moment of feeling like Tarzan, as well as getting some idyllic pictures for your feed.
This is another fun thing to do with kids in Bali.
Find the Gateway to Heaven
Everyone knows the ‘Gateway to Heaven’, it is probably the most famous picture spot on the island. Located within the Pura Lempuyang temple in the East of Bali, it isn’t as dramatic as the pictures make it seem – but that doesn’t mean it isn’t beautiful!
If you aren’t bothered about a picture and would just like to enjoy the temple and scenery, I highly recommend taking a day trip to see the beautiful temple.
Haggle for Goods at the Local Market
Part of the fun of wandering the local markets is haggling with the stall owners. Not only is it expected, it’s also encouraged! The owners love to haggle and you can get an even better price if you throw in a few Indonesian words.
Sukawati Market is a great spot to buy some homemade wares, knock-off designer and sarongs to take back home as souvenirs.
Dine on Fresh Seafood on the Sand
Jimbaran is the home to all of the island’s fresh seafood. With fish straight off the boat, in the early morning the market thrives with restaurants purchasing their seafood for the day’s menu.
But don’t worry, you won’t need to continue your haggling methods. I recommend heading to the beach just before sunset for a beachside meal of fresh fish and traditional Balinese marinades. As the sunsets into the ocean you can have your toes in the sand, digging into a huge feast of fish, side dishes and tasty cocktails.
If you only do one thing on this list related to food, make sure it is this!
Watch a Live Band
One of the things you may not know about Bali is that it is home to a thriving music scene.
From Ubud to Uluwatu there are bars, restaurants and clubs that host nightly gigs for some of the island’s best bands. Pull up with friends for an ice-cold beer and night of dancing to live tunes from a talented local group.
In Seminyak, The Orchard is one of the best places for live music with an English pub vibe – just like home.
Custom Design Your Own Clothes and Shoes
One of the most creative things to do in Bali is to make use of the skills of the local artisans to design your own custom clothes and accessories.
Whether you wish to copy a piece you already own, or want to design something entirely new, there are tailors and leather masters across the island who are waiting to make your dreams come true.
For those, like me, who are artistically challenged, have no fear, the tailors will be able to assist in creating the design to your specifications.
Get a Tattoo
If you are below 18, scroll away now, I do not want to be your bad influence.
For those of age, Bali is packed full of incredible tattoo studios that are world-renowned for some of the most detailed and real-life tattoos.
Canggu is the current hub of tattoo activity with studios dotted every few meters of Batu Bolong. Whether you are looking to have a teeny-tiny memory tatt, or a huge piece, there are pros for every style on the island.
Do some research on Instagram and get yourself a forever-lasting Bali souvenir.
Lounge in an Infinity Pool
Every tropical getaway deserves a pool day, and if you’re going to lounge do it in style!
One of the most relaxing things to do in Bali is to spend a lazy day enjoying the sun around one of the island’s glorious pools. From Jungle Fish in Ubud to oneeighty° in Uluwatu, Bali’s infinity pools are some of the most beautiful in the world.
With 5* service, a huge menu and a luxurious atmosphere, you can spend a day cooling off in glistening waters overlooking stunning views of the jungles or the ocean.
BRB – grabbing my bathing suit and heading out the door.
Sample the Stinky Fruit – Durian
I’m going to end this enormous list of things to do in Bali with something I have never done.. And that’s try durian.
I simply refuse to try something that is banned from airplanes purely because of the smell. However, it is a delicacy and treasured fruit that locals consider a real treat!
Whether you pick it up from a seller on the side of the road or at the supermarket, be prepared for an intense smell but a sweet and creamy taste.
To really have an all-round Bali experience, you need to sample durian – but I’m happy with my not all-round experience for now..
Now, you can’t tell me you don’t have anything to do during your days in Bali.
If you are looking for a cultural experience – visit a temple or healer. If you want to relax – lounge at a beach club or have a spa day. For every type of traveler and preference, Bali has an activity for you.
Some of the best things to do in Bali include disconnecting from the world and immersing into the island’s tropical nature.