Oh, Bali... the land of gorgeous beaches, rich culture and scenic nature spots. 😌 There's no denying that this Indonesian island is magical even with throngs of tourists visiting it all the time. Whether you're a first-timer or a repeat traveller, Bali will always have something in store for you. Here are the top 12 things you need to do on a visit to Bali!
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1. Explore Bali's secret beaches
Being a tropical paradise, Bali is scattered with sandy white beaches. However, most times these beaches are so crowded that there's no way for you to have a relaxing, quiet day at the beach. Instead of frequenting beaches like Kuta or Seminyak, why not go off the beaten path and explore the island's secret beaches?
One of the top hidden beaches, Balangan Beach is every surfer's favourite hangout spot. Non-surfers can opt to wriggle their toes in the warm sand, take a quick dip in the blue waters or simply enjoy the scenic view of the wide, open sea! 😁 Another hidden paradise that not many know of is the Blue Lagoon Beach! Located in Padangbai, it's a pleasant, small covey beach that's great for snorkelling and meeting friendly sea creatures?
Address: Padangbai, Manggis, Karangasem Regency, Bali 80871, Indonesia
2. Visit the "Gateway to Heaven"
If you've searched Instagram for scenic photos of Bali, chances are you've seen this iconic picture of a temple amidst the clouds. That's actually Pura Lempuyang, a sacred temple located in the eastern part of Bali.
Located on the slopes of Mt Lempuyang, this is one of Bali's oldest and most highly regarded temples. It's also been nicknamed "Gateway to Heaven" and we can totally see why! On a clear day, you might even get to see Mt Agung, Bali's highest peak.
The main temple is 1,175m above sea level and you'd need to climb some 1,700 steps before reaching the top. More than just an instagrammable spot, it's also a wonderful sight to observe pilgrims on their way up. Take some time here to soak in the calmness, breathe in the fresh mountain air and admire the lush surroundings ☺️
3. Admire rice terraces at Tegalalang
Here's another spot to add to your photo list in Bali - Tegalalang Rice Terraces. Not only do these rice paddies look like they are taken straight out of a postcard, but they are also part of an effective irrigation system. Walk around the charming fields, go on a giant swing, step into one of the cafes here or interact with the local villagers. The best part is, Tegalalang is located just a mere 20 minutes away from the Ubud area, which makes it highly accessible 😊
#HHWT Tip: Visit Tegalalang in the morning before hordes of tourists arrive!
4. Catch the gorgeous sunset at Tanah Lot
Credit: Omar Laribi on Flickr
A must-visit on any Bali travel itinerary, Tanah Lot is one of the most sacred temples in Bali and the best time to visit this ancient temple is during sunset! The temple stands on solid sea rock formation overlooking the Indian ocean. Watch as the sun gently dips and casts a breath-taking silhouette of the temple against the brilliantly orange and lavender-hued sky ☀️
Remember to have your camera ready to capture this amazing sight!
Address: Beraban, Kediri, Tabanan Regency, Bali, Indonesia
5. Visit Bali's iconic sea temple, Uluwatu
Sea temples are abundant in Bali but the Uluwatu Temple stands out from the rest! Perched on top of a steep cliff 70 metres above sea level, the temple is a sad kahyangan, one of six key temples believed to be Bali's spiritual pillars.
Tourists also flock to this sacred place, since the Uluwatu Temple shares the same stunning sunset backdrop as Tanah Lot. The temple compound mainly comprises of intricate Balinese architecture, traditionally-designed gateways, and ancient sculptures that have withstood the test of time.
The main inhabitants of the temple, which are monkeys, are notorious for snatching visitors' belongings, so it's best to travel light!
Address: Pecatu, South Kuta, Badung Regency, Bali, Indonesia
6. Stay in unique accommodations
The island has various unique accommodations with facilities that would appeal to any traveller! Experience village life like never before at Desa Seni Village Resort and stay in antique wooden homes reminiscent that of traditional Indonesian kampung (village) houses.
#HHWT Tip: No need to fret over where to stay in Bali! Check out these 10 awesome family-friendly villas for the best beach vacay ever
Surrounded by paddy fields, this resort is a great place for a short retreat or to just recharge from the stressful city life. Yoga enthusiasts, you're in for a treat! Desa Seni has dedicated yoga instructors that conduct classes at the open aired studio. End your day with a relaxing spa treatment to soothe those aching muscles ?
Address: Jl. Subak Sari No.13, Canggu, Kuta Utara, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Contact: +62 361 8446392 | Website
Or be one with nature at Bambu Indah, an eco-lifestyle boutique hotel tucked away in the vast jungles of Ubud. Once used as Javanese bridal huts over 100 years ago, the teak houses were carefully dismantled before being relocated to Bambu Indah.
Have your pick from quaint wooden houses on stilts, open air treehouses overlooking the lush, green canopy to massive 4-story pagodas!
Address: Banjar Baung, Desa Sayan, Ubud, Sayan, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
Contact: +62 361 977922
For a more luxurious stay, why not rent yourself a villa with a private infinity pool? The Griya Villas & Spa is a tourist favourite, especially amongst newlyweds on their honeymoon and families.
Take in the most magnificent views while sipping on a refreshing glass of juice from your fully stocked minibar or take a quick dip in the pool to beat the heat!
Address: Desa Amed, Bunutan, Abang, Kabupaten Karangasem, Bali 80852, Indonesia
Contact: +62 363 23571
7. Feast on lip-smacking Balinese food
Despite the population being predominantly Hindu, you’ll find yummy halal eateries for your gastronomic pleasure ? For example, the winner of Bali Tourism Awards 2015-2016 in Bali’s Leading Thematic Restaurant, Bale Udang Mang Engking, is really worth a try!
Specialising in prawn dishes, you'll be fascinated by the variety of dishes available from grilled, stewed, steamed, deep fried, and more! You’ll also find squid, carp, beef, chicken, and duck dishes on the menu.
Halal status:Halal-certified, with prayer facilities in establishment
(Kuta) Jln. Nakula No.88 Sunset Road, Kuta 80361, Bali
(Ubud) Jl. Raya Goa Gajah, Banjar Teges Kanginan, Desa Peliatan, Ubud, Bali
Operating Hours: 11am-10pm
Hop on the healthy eating express! Bali Buda strives to serve ‘real food’ from organic sources; everything is grown locally and is made by hand! There's also a small shop in the café that has ranges of natural skincare and household products, supplied by small local businesses throughout Bali.
The cafe also runs a non-profit clinic that provides medical, dental, and birthing services for women, and leads a group called Eco Bali Recycling, dedicated to educating the Indonesian community on environmental issues and becoming part of the solution. So why not fill your rumbling tummies while supporting a great cause?
Halal status: Halal-certified
- 1 Bali Buda Ubud, Jl Jembawan 1 Ubud, Mas, Gianyar
- Bali Buda Kerobokan, Jl Banjar Anyar 24 Kerobokan
- Bali Buda Bukit, Jl Raya Uluwatu Br Wanagiri Nusa Dua, Badung
Operating Hours: 6am-10pm (times may vary at each location)
Balinese people sure love their nasi campur! Warung KNN is definitely the best place to have your fill of fluffy rice and delicious side dishes? The side dishes are usually displayed in a counter, so you only need to choose which dishes you would like to eat with your rice and they will serve it to you.
Pick from 3 different coloured rice; regular white rice, yellow rice (rice cooked with cumin) and red rice, with more than 40 choices of side dishes!
Halal status: Halal-certified
Address: Jl Danau Buyan No.36 Sanur, Bali (across McD Sanur)
Operating Hours: Daily,7am-8.30pm
P.S. Looking for more halal food in Bali? Our guide on 13 amazing halal eateries in Bali will entice you!
8. Take a trip out to Nusa Penida
If you have more time to spare on your Bali vacay, you can't miss a trip out to Nusa Penida Island. With pristine beaches, majestic cliffs and clear waters, this gem of an island will bring you away from the bustling touristy areas in Bali. Not to mention, dozens of instagrammable spots too 😃
One of the top sights in Nusa Penida is this "T-Rex" cliff at Kelingking Beach which resembles a dinosaur. Marvel at the beauty of the limestone rock formations from above and be sure to take as many photos as you like! If you're up for an adventure, head down to the beach where you'll be rewarded with unspoilt white sand and lesser crowd.
Another spot worth visiting in Nusa Penida is Broken Beach. This breathtaking cove was once a massive cave but the roof collapsed and now you get this amazing natural wonder. Unfortunately, you can't jump into the cove for a swim but hiking around it will still be a lovely experience.
Directions: To get to Nusa Penida from Bali, head over to Sanur Beach and take a fast-ferry service to Nusa Penida. The ride costs about 100,000 IDR and will take about 30-40 minutes.
9. Watch the sunrise at Mt Batur
Adventure seekers, this one's for you! Take your Bali vacay a notch higher by climbing one of its iconic volcanoes, Mt Batur. Rising 3,000 metres above sea level, witnessing the marvellous sunrise here is a once-in-a-lifetime experience ?
The climb up isn't easy but the view atop the mountain is so magical that you'll forget all your struggles while climbing it. Even if you don't make it up here by sunrise, the view from Mt Batur is just as impressive ? If you're up for an adventure, we highly recommend that you visit Mt Batur!
#HHWT Tip: After the tiring climb, unwind with a lovely breakfast amidst the clouds.
10. Get splashing at Waterbom Bali
Any kid would go crazy when it comes to playing with water (even mom and dad, right?). Dubbed the No 1 Waterpark in Asia by Trip Advisor, this gigantic waterpark offers various kinds of water attractions for children to adults. 🤣
The Lazy River is the perfect place to chill and enjoy the tropical landscape of the park, while the adventure seekers in the family can try out their latest rides – The Fast and Fierce or The Twin Racers!
Opening hours: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM daily
Address: Jl. Kartika, Tuban, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia
11. Get your adrenaline pumping and go flyboarding in Nusa Dua
Adrenaline junkies, this is for you 😁 Located south of Denpasar, the provincial capital of Bali, Nusa Dua is the epicentre of all things water sports, with flyboarding being the newest extreme fad!
This is probably the closest thing you'll ever get to walking on water or flying across the ocean like Superman! With your feet strapped to the fly board (which is connected to a jet ski by a hose), you'll be propelled high up in the air!Credit: @nikitafima on Instagram
It goes without saying that you'll end up tumbling the first few times while finding your balance, but after a couple of tries, you'll be able to do all sorts of acrobatics like a pro!
12. Attend a traditional Balinese Kecak fire dance
One of Bali's iconic art performances, the Kecak fire dance retells the dramatic story of Prince Rama and his rescue of Princess Sita, who has been kidnapped by the evil King of Lanka.
Credit: Jumilla on Flickr
The explosive performance (pun intended! 🤣) features a chorus of men, who provide the orchestral accompaniment with varied and complex chants. No other instruments are used; only the beats of their palms hitting their chests, thighs, or other parts of their bodies act as the soundtrack for the performance.
Credit: Rollan Budi on Flickr
The dance is usually performed by a group of at least 50 men who dance around in a circle with blazing bamboo torches surrounding them. This is one fiery performance that you can't miss while in Bali 😆
With these 12 best things to do, you can consider your Bali vacay all settled! We hope we've shown you that Bali's more than just beautiful beaches - it's full of awe-inspiring natural scenery, rich culture and plenty of activities. Time to grab your travel buddies and plan for that awesome Bali adventure now!