“The most romantic place on Earth” – Bali is the lucky destination to so often be described this way. If you visit, you’ll see exactly what everyone means when they say so. I did, and it was impossible to disagree.
Every way you look on Bali, there’s beautiful fauna and flora, long and wide beaches, jungles, wonderful resorts and stunning sunsets. People come here for dual delights – to explore the island or enjoy a blissful rest.
I think it’s the perfect place for a solo traveller, as well as families and, of course, couples. Everyone will find something to love in Bali, and today I’m going to give you a head start! These are my picks for the 10 best things to do in Bali.
1. Rent a scooter
Renting a scooter is very popular in Bali – and why not? You will find scooters available everywhere in bigger towns and, once you have one, you open up so many more things to do in Bali.
You can explore the island the way you want to, finding hidden gems that no one knew about before. To rent a scooter, you need to make sure you have the right driving licence. Admittedly, it’s not the safest way to see places if you’re new to driving this way, but it’s an exciting way to get around!
2. Take a bath in Pura Tirta Empul
This temple, according to tradition, is a source of magical power. The holy water makes this place one of the most religious on the island, where the Balinese visit to take a bath. Today, the cleansing ritual can also be performed by anyone, so it’s a must if you want to add something special to your things to do in Bali.
3. Get lost in Tegalalang
Indonesia is the third largest producer of rice in the world, so rice terraces are really common in Bali. It’s the rice fields of Tegalalang that you most often see on postcards, though. Located near Ubud, the best time to visit is in the morning to avoid the crowds. Furthermore, the sunrise makes those beautiful views even more stunning, so it’s a win-win.
4. Admire the sunrise from Gunung Batur
While we’re on the subject of sunrises, let’s not forget Gunung Batur. This is one of the most popular attractions in Bali and you can book your tour from every sales stand. Waking up at 2am to trek in the dark on a volcano doesn’t sound too inviting, but after seeing one of the most spectacular sunrises in the world, you will forget about everything else. Phenomenal colours, views of Bali island waking up to a new day and a picture of Bali’s highest point, Mt Agung, and Batur lake make it all worthwhile.
5. Visit wonderful temples
Bali is the island of thousands of temples and even more chapels on top. Some of them are located in front of houses, but Bali has pretty impressive ones too. One of the prettiest and calmest is Pura Gunung Kawi Sebatu. Alternatively, head to the popular and most photographed Pura Tanah Lot, which is located right by the sea.
Near Ubud you can find Goa Gajah, which is an Elephant Cave. The downside is that you won’t actually find any animals there! The most important and most sacred holy place on the island is Pura Besakih, where many religious celebrations are held.
6. Take a cruise to Nusa Penida or Gili Islands
You can get to Nusa Penida from Bali. This small island has everything: amazing views, beautiful cliffs, sandy beaches with turquoise waters. It’s still a little bit wild and best seen by scooter. If you love camping, Nusa Penida should be top of your things to do in Bali for a few days.
Gili Islands are located near Lombok. You can visit the small and quiet Gili Meno, Gili Trawangan, which is bigger, great for snorkelling and has more of a party vibe, or Gili Air, where you will find a little bit of everything. They are all very beautiful – visit and you’ll feel like you’re in paradise.
7. Discover hidden waterfalls
There are only a few waterfalls in Bali that are well documented in travel guides. The most wonderful and wild ones you need to find on your own, by recommendation from those who find them “by mistake” or locals.
Stunning Sekumpul waterfall, Munduk waterfall, Aling-Aling waterfall, Tukad Caput waterfall or Singsing are harder to find, but once you get there the sights are incredible. It’s hard to beat the sights and sounds of so much water gushing down from above.
The better known waterfalls are GitGit and Tegenungan, but because of that you won’t have the place to yourself.
8. Go dolphin spotting
The best time of day to see dolphins is sunrise. That’s the time when they are closer to the shore to have breakfast. You can book your boat trip from Lovina, at the north of the island, which is the only place you will find them. Dolphins are very friendly and fun-loving mammals, so you can see an amazing show in the morning!
9. Swing in Ubud
This stunning swing in the middle of the jungle is only for the bravest travellers! To use the swing, you have to arrange to meet the owner, preferably on AirBnb (Check here: Zen Hideaway) and if you’re lucky, you’ll get the swing to yourself for half an hour. If it’s not available, you can use the public swing with everyone else at Bali Swing. This experience isn’t so private, but it’s still an adrenaline-filled, fun option for things to do in Bali.
10. Taste the local coffee
You will find a few coffee plantations in Bali where they produce the most expensive coffee in the world – Kopi Luwak. It’s the type of coffee produced from the grains extracted from the excrements of the civet (gyno). Unfortunately, to do so, civets are put into tight cages and forced to eat coffee fruit. On the tours you will see the plantations, find out how the coffee is made and try some samples for yourself.
I’ll be back in my next post to tell all about our holiday in Bali, revealing our hidden gem discoveries and travel itinerary to inspire you. But if you can’t wait for your next fix, check out this guide to Bali in my roundup of where to go in Southeast Asia. And since we’re on the topic, don’t miss these four brilliant Bali yoga retreats, either!
Bali Packing List:
What things to do in Bali make you most want to visit?
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I have always wanted to visit Bali, can’t wait to experience it! I can’t deny my caffeine addiction so I will definitely be checking out the local coffee tours. However, it saddens me knowing that civets are being forced into cages.
As a coffee lover, I really want to try out the Balinese coffee. I want to discover for myself if it is worth the hype. I love this list – it gives me a good idea of the things I need to add to my itinerary. Hopefully, I can visit this place soon!
How can you not rent a scooter if you visit bali right? hihi – we did an amazing stroll around the island and it was quite adventurous, definitely the way to get around! Have to go to Pura Tirta Empul though, totally missed out on it! Didn’t do many temples as well, really just can’t wait to go back!
With your guide, looks like Bali won’t be boring! I hear people say visiting Bali without temples sightseeing isn’t a proper visit. I’ve not read of the magical bath at Pura Tirta Empul, it sounds interesting to me. Cruising to Nusa Penida or Gili Islands sounds fun. I hope to visit Bali one and see for myself why many love it.
I remember the beautiful sunset from Gunung Batur well. Those colours never fail to impress me! I didn’t join other travellers in taking a bath with the locals; for me I didn’t feel right, as it’s a religious ritual for them, and as a non-Hindu, I preferred to simply observe! I did however go to Gili, and really loved my time there.
That TLC song “don’t go chasing waterfalls” comes to mind, with the rebuttal: yes I will, and in Bali! I love dolphins and would love to check them out on the other side of the world from where I grew up seeing them! Cruising anywhere in Bali would be a dream come true, for sure!
This is a really well put list! I did most of the things when i was there but i’ll definitely have to go back and finish off some others!
Amazing beaches, rice fields, scooters, temples, waterfalls, coffee (for the hubby) and sunsets. Check! What a beautiful place so full of gorgeous nature and history. No wonder so many of the people I know honeymoon and vacation there. I can see what you loved it!
Love this list! Bali sounds like a great destination for coffee lovers (me) as I’d love to try the local coffee there! Going dolphin spotting is definitely an activity that I cannot miss when I visit Bali as well. Also, visiting the temples and discovering the hidden waterfalls are on my list too. I hope to visit Bali this year or next year 🙂
I love that there are so many things to do and see in Bali, something for everyone’s taste. I would love to rent a scooter and go around the island at my own pace, discovering local little treasures. The rice terraces look amazing as well, this is what Bali is known best for. And the coffee, I’d love to do a tasting there. I am a big coffee lover!
Hi Adrianna Vogel,
Nice post about Bali, These mention things are such adorable in Bali. I like this post that shared best thing to do in Bali but how did you forget to mention “Bali Safari and Marine Park” in thing to do in Bali.
I think this one should also be in this list.
I was in Bali last year, and would recommend all of these! Except maybe the swing, as it costs $30 to have one photo! Wish we could have explored more temples, but made it to the Gilis and they were absolutely beautiful <3
I’m not sure I agree with scooter renting. The roads are dangerous, and you are almost certainly unlicensed and uninsured. Combine that with drinking, and you have set of risks which most people would avoid anywhere else in the world. I’ve been to Bali enough times to recommend hiring a car and driver. You’ll stay safe and have air con, have a guide/negotiator, be on the right side of the law and push more money into the local community. I know that sounds like old mans advice, but there it is! I do like the hiking though!
These are some cool tips to explore Bali. I really want to go back now. Really loved this blog