Rice fields, temples, local culture, and lush vegetation make Bali unique. This Indonesian island has some pleasant surprises in store for you that will make you want to come back and visit Bali again! What should you do and see in Bali to make your one- or two-week trip unforgettable? Here are the best must-sees to visit in Bali and unusual and extraordinary places not to be missed to make a wonderful trip.
10 things to know before visiting Bali
Before starting our TOP 25 things to do in Bali for a week or two, here are some tips to help you prepare for your trip to the Island of the Gods.
- The island’s south is much more urbanized than the center or the north. Bali airport and Denpasar, the island’s administrative capital, are located in the south.
- The west coast of Bali is known for surfing. The most tourist places are Kuta and Seminyak. Canggu, also on this coast, is best known for its community of digital nomads.
- Ubud, which lies inland, is Bali’s cultural capital. It is a perfect place to discover Balinese culture, do yoga and explore the island. Click here for the best things to do in Ubud.
- July and August are the best months to visit Bali because they offer the most fantastic weather. However, they are also the most touristic months of the year.
- The rainy season runs from October to March. Accommodations in the countryside can be particularly humid during this period. Find out more in our article: Best places to stay in Bali.
- Nusa Dua is at the southern end of Bali. It has the greatest concentration of hotels and resorts.
- Not very touristy, Munduk and Sidemen are perfect places to enjoy nature.
- Lovina or Amed are small coastal villages with very little tourism compared to Kuta or Ubud. Lovina is known for dolphins and Amed for diving.
- If you want to enjoy beautiful, quiet beaches without going too far from Bali, you can visit Nusa Penida. It is made up of two islands, Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan. They are only 30 km from Bali. It is quick to reach them with a speedboat, much quicker than the Gili Islands.
- 100 km from Bali is the island of Lombok, much less touristy than its neighbor, as well as the 3 small islands of Gili. These 3 paradise islands are beautiful but only accessible after several hours by boat from Bali.
1. Visit the temples of Bali
Spirituality has a crucial place in the life of the Balinese. The most practiced religion on the island is Hinduism. Nevertheless, it is a form of Hinduism specific to Bali, which differs from Indian Hinduism. Ceremonies and religious festivals give rhythm to the daily life of the Balinese.
Temples are must-see places to visit in Bali. The architecture of the temples is unique and blends perfectly with nature. You can see the temples of Bali by renting a scooter or a car or booking an excursion (an example of a visit that includes a visit to Ulun Danu Bratan).
What temples to visit in Bali? The most visited Bali temples are:
- Ulun Danu Bratan
- Pura Luhur Uluwatu
- Tirta Empul
- Tanah Lot
- Tirta Gangga
- Or (less visited): Pura Gunung Kawi Sebatu, Goa Gajah, Gunung Kawi and Pura Kehen
2. Discover the rice fields of Bali
Among the best things to do in Bali is visit the lush Balinese rice terraces! These rice fields use an ingenious irrigation system called subak. Splendid and breathtaking panoramas await you!
Where can you see the rice fields in Bali? Among the sites or regions best known for their rice fields are:
- Jatiluwih (see here our practical guide to visiting the rice fields of Jatiluwih)
- Tegallalang (see here how to reach and visit the Tegallalang Rice Terraces)
- the village of Sidemen
How to visit the rice fields in Bali? As with the temples, you can visit the sites alone or book a guided tour. Guided tours generally include several places ranging from rice fields to temples.
3. Climb Batur volcano at sunrise
Bali is a volcanic island in the Pacific Ocean. Indonesia and Bali are located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, a line of volcanoes lying on the boundaries of the Pacific Ocean’s tectonic plates.
In Bali, there are three volcanoes:
- Agung: tallest and most impressive;
- Bratan: a volcano surrounded by three beautiful lakes;
- Batur (or Mount Batur): the lowest but the most accessible.
Experience to live! If you like mountains and hiking, climbing Batur is a must-do activity in Bali. It is best to go with a local guide and leave very early to enjoy a beautiful sunrise on arrival (see prices for a sunrise hike).
Without hiking. It is also possible to climb Mount Batur by car while visiting the region’s hot springs (here is an example). Whichever tour you choose, climbing Mount Batur is an incredible experience that will mark your trip to Bali! Find more information in our article: How to visit Mount Batur.
4. Discover the most beautiful beaches in Bali
If you visit Bali, you will enjoy its most beautiful beaches, which are known worldwide for their impressive waves. Swimming is not possible everywhere and is not always pleasing. Nevertheless, some places are perfect for swimming, and the extensive beaches are ideal for spending a superb evening by the sea.
Which beaches to discover in Bali? It depends on what you are looking for. Here are the most famous beaches in Bali and what you can discover there.
- Seminyak: ideal for seeing beautiful sunsets!
- Jimbaran: peace!
- Padang Padang: This is the beach seen in the movie “Eat, Pray, Love” that made Bali so famous!
- Kelingking (Nusa Penida): magnificent view!
- Kuta: ideal for surfing!
- Sanur and Pemuteran: for scuba diving enthusiasts!
5. Visit the Monkey Forest in Bali
Bali’s most famous monkey forest is in Ubud. A visit you will love! It is a nature reserve which now houses more than 600 macaques. In addition to being a place to live for monkeys, this place is a plant space that includes more than 150 different species of plants.
Good to know! When visiting the Monkey Forest in Ubud, be careful with your belongings (especially the small ones) because some monkeys will not hesitate to take them. Try not to get too close to baby monkeys, and avoid looking at the monkeys in the eye. Find more information in our dedicated article: Tips for visiting the Monkey Forest in Ubud.
Good to know. Ubud Monkey Forest is a very visited place. To get off the beaten track, you can visit another monkey forest: Sangeh Monkey Forest, 17km from Ubud.
Not to miss! To stay in Ubud, not far away from the Monkey Forest, Jati Cottage is an excellent place in Ubud with outstanding value for money. And to inspire you before your trip to Bali, discover the exceptional villas of Four Seasons Resort Bali, located near Ubud.
6. Do a Balinese massage
This is a must-do during your trip to Bali! Balinese massages are gentle and relaxing. Many spas offer massages in Bali. You can add to the massage with a scrub, a bath, or a facial treatment.
7. See traditional Balinese dances
Among the great things to do in Bali are the traditional Balinese dances! Ubud is the perfect place to enjoy one of these shows (see an example here). When staying in the island’s southern part, there are also great shows in Uluwatu Temple. The costumes, the make-up of the dancers, and the music create a unique moment that allows you to discover the Balinese culture.
8. Discover the magnificent waterfalls of Bali
One of Bali’s most iconic waterfalls is Sekumpul Waterfall. In addition, it is not one, but 7 waterfalls. Among other well-known waterfalls are Melanting Waterfall, Tegenungan Waterfall, and Gitgit Waterfall. Access to the waterfalls can be challenging, so the help of a local guide is helpful.
9. Mark your trip to Bali with incredible photos
You have probably seen beautiful photos of Bali: swings in the rice fields, temples near the lakes, etc. These are all incredible images! To engrave your Bali trip memories, you can tour all the Instagrammable places in Bali!
It is a touristy activity, but you will leave with fantastic surroundings and unforgettable memories. Here is an example.
10. Enjoy nature in peace and far from everything
Bali has been urbanized over the years. The center has become increasingly touristy, particularly the town of Ubud, which has become an essential place on the island. But rest assured: there are still plenty of secluded and untouristy places in Bali!
If you want to enjoy nature fully, Munduk and Sidemen may be the places you like the most. You can stay in extraordinary accommodations, an excellent opportunity to recharge your batteries during this trip. Here is an example in Munduk: Sanak Retreat Bali.
11. Discover Bali coffee and how it is made
If you visit Bali, you must taste Balinese coffee, Kopi Luwak. It is one of the most expensive coffees in the world! But what makes this coffee so unique?
It is in its manufacture that its particularity lies. The luwak, the Asian civets, select the best coffee seeds for their pulp but do not digest them. This coffee is, therefore, harvested from the excrement of the luwak. This process makes it possible to have a perfect selection of seeds and dramatically reduces their bitterness.
You can discover more about Kopi Luwak on a guided tour or taste this delicious coffee in a restaurant in Bali.
12. See the most beautiful sunsets in Bali
You can admire the most beautiful sunsets in Bali on the island’s west coast. If you want to spend a festive evening with a trendy atmosphere, go to Seminyak Beach. If you prefer a more relaxed vibe, Canggu Beach is perfect. And if you are staying south of the island, go to Uluwatu Beach.
13. Visit Waterbom Bali Water Park
If you visit Bali and spend a few days in Kuta, don’t miss the Waterbom Bali water park! You will have a great time and a lot of fun. There are slides for everyone, for adults and children. This water park is one of the must-do things near Kuta in Bali.
14. Taste typical Balinese dishes
When you visit Bali, you will see many warungs everywhere you go. A warung is a typical local restaurant. You can eat Balinese dishes or drink good fresh juices or smoothies here!
In all the warungs, you can find two essential dishes of Bali: nasi goreng (a dish made with fried rice and vegetables) and mie goreng (a dish made with fried rice noodles and vegetables). They can be served with chicken or shrimp. Among other dishes is the sate ayam (small chicken skewers) or the nasi campur (rice accompanied by small portions of meat, vegetables, peanuts, and eggs). It’s simple and good!
15. Hike Ubud: Campuhan Ridge Walk
The Campuhan Ridge Walk lets you see beautiful picturesque landscapes in a green and relaxing setting. If you plan to spend a few days in Ubud, this is a must-do activity in Bali for those who enjoy walking.
16. Have breakfast with the orangutans
A recommended activity to do in Bali with the family! Bali Zoo offers this unforgettable experience. The tour includes round-trip transfers from your accommodation. In addition to orangutans, you will also see elephants and lions. To find out more, click here: breakfast with the Orangutans. If you are staying near Sanur, this is a fantastic experience with children.
17. Go surfing or take a surf lesson
Bali is a great place to surf or to learn to surf. If you have never surfed, you can take a surf lesson at a surf school in Bali.
18. Visit Bali Bird Park: Bali Bird Park
Bali Bird Park is home to over 1,000 birds. There are many shows throughout the day, and many birds are free. The park is close to Ubud (book tickets for this park here). It is a great activity to do in Bali with the family!
19. Visit the Gili Islands from Bali
The Gili Islands are made up of three small islands. There are no concrete roads or cars, so you will feel isolated from the world and civilization. You can swim with turtles and enjoy a magnificent paradisiacal setting.
However, the Gili Islands are 100 km from Bali and are not the easiest to access. If you come to Bali for more than two weeks or if this is your second trip, you can include these islands in your itinerary.
20. Visit an unusual museum in Bali: the Blanco Renaissance Museum
If you are looking for unusual activities in Bali, the Blanco Renaissance Museum in Ubud is a must-visit place. This museum is dedicated to the art of the painter Antonio Blanco. A surprising place and a visit off the beaten track!
The island of Bali is known worldwide as an ideal place to practice yoga. Some travelers come to Bali only for yoga. Many yoga centers are located in Ubud and its surroundings.
22. Visit a market in Bali
There are several attractive markets to visit in Bali to experience local life or find good travel souvenirs. Among the most popular and visited markets are Badung Market and Art Market Kumbasari in Denpasar, Klea Market in Kuta, Art Market in Ubud, and Bedugul Traditional Market.
If you prefer less touristy and more local markets, there is Pasar Kuta 1, Pasar Endek Klungkung, Sukawati Art Market, or Taman Sari Market.
23. Visit the former Karangasem Regency Palace of Bali
The name of the Karangasem Regency Palace is Taman Ujung. It is a pretty unusual place to visit in Bali if you discover the island’s east coast. It was built on the water in 1909. The palace is still not a touristic place. However, the site’s architecture is incredible, and the views are magnificent. You can easily visit this place while visiting temples nearby: Tirta Gangga and Besakih.
24. See an abandoned plane
In Bali, you can see 5 abandoned planes. It’s impressive to be able to walk on the wing of an airplane! And you can do it in Bali. The best known is the Boeing, a 737-200 PK RII located at the end of the island of Bali. Nobody knows how it ended up here!
25. See dolphins in Lovina
Lovina is a resort town located on the north coast of Bali. It is a relatively not touristy place compared to the island’s south. Here, the sand of the beaches is volcanic black. You can also see coral reefs and dolphins. On the other hand, do not come to Lovina for the beach. To learn more about boat tours from Lovina: boat tour to see the dolphins.
Bali is one of the most beautiful and famous islands to visit in Indonesia. The Island of the Gods will not leave you indifferent. There are many things to do in Bali, from temples to waterfalls and rice paddies. You will love your trip to Bali and would love to come back again and again!