Trying to list the best things to see in Bali is like trying to list the best foods you’ve eaten. The decision is probably different for everyone – and there are so many great things to try. Bali itself will delight you and utterly amaze you. The magical blend of delicious cuisine, stunning nature, culture, and nightlife makes Bali an unmatched destination.
Bali, also known as the “Island of the Gods,” is surrounded by azure waters and embraced by golden beaches, offering something great regardless of your age, budget, or background. The vibrant blue seas and golden beaches make Bali a surfer’s paradise. So if you’re seeking a beach getaway, there isn’t a better place than Bali!
By the time you booked your tickets to Bali, you’ve probably heard of the temples, the surf, the smiling people—but what are the things you can do in Bali that aren’t part of the regular tourist route? In this article, we will look at 19 awesome things to do in Bali for those of you who want to experience something other than Canggu.
Visiting other destinations in Indonesia? Check out our other delicious guides:
- 8 Best Restaurants in Ubud, Bali
- 7 Best Restaurants Seminyak, Bali
- Ultimate Guide to Gili Trawangan, Indonesia
- The 19 Most Extraordinary Things To Do In Bali
- Strap On A Jetpack In Tanjung Benoa
- Spend Time In The Peaceful Sidemen
- Buy Some Silver In Celuk
- Explore Tanah Lot Temple
- Go Snorkeling In Amed
- Hike Mount Batur
- Watch a Kecak Dance
- Watch the Monkeys at Monkey Forest
- Take a Bath in the Sacred Waters of Tirta Empul
- Visit the Bali Zoo
- Explore Uluwatu Temple
- Tour the Pod Chocolate Factory
- Go Water Rafting On The Ayung River
- Try Water Sports in Sanur
- Go Wreck Diving At Tulamben
- Go On A Safari At Bali Marine and Safari Park
- See The Stone Carvings In Batubulan
- Explore a Hidden Waterfall in Sukawati
- Visit Bali Provincial State Museum
- Wrapping Up on the Things to do in Bali
The 19 Most Extraordinary Things To Do In Bali
Strap On A Jetpack In Tanjung Benoa
South Kuta, Badung Regency, Bali
Tanjung Benoa is the place to try water sports while in Bali. You can choose from a variety of activities.
But the most thrilling experience is strapping on a water jetpack and flying up to a height of ten meters in a session that usually lasts 20 minutes.
Jetpacking offers you the chance to take in the beauty of Bali from the air. Even if you haven’t flown before, you’ll learn how to fly in a safe and controlled environment under the supervision of dedicated instructors. It’s truly an unforgettable experience!
Spend Time In The Peaceful Sidemen
Sidemen, Karangasem Regency, Bali
Sidemen is a popular spot if you wish to experience some relaxation while avoiding the crowds at Bali’s famous tourist sites. An incredible valley lies among jade green rice paddies, making it an excellent alternative to Ubud, which tends to be more crowded.
Sidemen is a small village in the east of Bali with a big reputation. It is a hidden gem, home to the highest mountain in Bali, Mount Agung, promised to take a unique piece in your heart. Sidemen is traditionally known for its endless rice terraces and the paddy farmers who work on them. These farmers work cooperatively to distribute the water and maintain the terraces surrounding every part of this region.
You can go water rafting in the Telaga Waja River, spend a day on a beach in Candidasa, or explore Tengan, the oldest village in Bali. Women returning from the temples and little children in their school uniforms will wave at you with huge smiles as you explore Sidemen. The people here shine a genuine friendliness you’ll never forget.
The Traditional Market in Sidemen is a goldmine for people into photography, but you must visit quite early, because by 9 am almost everything is gone. There are tons of fresh fruits, vegetables, and delights for breakfast as you pass through the colorful aisles.
Buy Some Silver In Celuk
Celuk, Sukawati, Gianyar, Bali
Celuk is a village situated in Sukawati that is known for being home to silversmiths. Located roughly 30 minutes away from nearby Ubud, you can visit for the day and enjoy a stroll through the main street of Jalan Raya Celuk, where you will find a wide array of silversmith studios selling ornamentally designed silverware.
Wander down to the end of the street, where you will find a row of small workshops. Here you can watch as the smiths work on silverware for large orders. For a small fee, you can also hold the silver and even take some selfies with it.
There are a number of artists from all over Indonesia who come to the area to create their silverware masterpieces and sell them to their numerous fans who travel far and wide to buy them. You’ll find that many Indonesians also buy some hand-crafted souvenirs, although they cost more than your usual souvenir price tags found throughout the country.
Explore Tanah Lot Temple
Beraban, Kediri, Tabanan Regency // +62361880361
The Tanah Lot Temple in Bali is a Hindu shrine situated atop a spectacular rock formation and is probably the most famous attraction in Bali.
It is separated from the mainland by the sea and is surrounded by the ocean at high tide, making it one of the most spectacular sights in Indonesia.
It’s popular to watch the sunsets around the temple; make sure you get there early to get a good spot.
You can swim ashore if you want but mind the risk of some pretty strong currents. For $3USD, a small wooden motorboat will be at your disposal to take you across. The boat will stay and wait for you while you explore the island.
After reaching the other side of the island, continue walking along the coastline until you come to a natural archway made of rock formations. The stunning beauty of Tanah Lot will open up in front of your eyes, an ancient temple built to glorify the god of the sea, Bhatara Segara.
Go Snorkeling In Amed
Amed is a well-known spot in Bali for its diving and snorkeling opportunities. Between Amed and Tulamben, the crystal water stretches east and north, making it ideal for snorkeling, with a visibility of up to thirty meters.
Menjangan Island, located just offshore in Amed, is home to diving companies. Some of the dive spots here are good, but most of them don’t get much traffic.
There are fewer tourists and less development in this area of Bali than in many others, which is why people who enjoy less crowd flock to this part.
Amed offers a lot of things to do once you get there. After visiting here, Amed earned its way to the top things to do in Bali. The chilling vibe of this place may take two or three days from your vacation, for scuba diving, relaxing on a volcanic black sand beach, or sinking into a dramatic sunset with chilling Bintang.
If you plan to stay longer, you should spend some time exploring what lies outside the town, as there are many markets, restaurants, and bars.
Hike Mount Batur
South Batur, Kintamani, Bangli Regency
Mount Batur, or Kintamani Volcano, is an active volcano nestled in northeast Bali, surrounded by ancient villages and surreal nature. In total, the hike to the 1717 masl Mount Batur’s peak takes just over four hours round trip. The whole tour is very safe and not so extreme.
Through July, August, and December, more and more tourists come here, making this mountain a trendy destination in Bali. I reached the peak in a little less than two hours from the starting point, and it is suitable not only for professional hikers but also for beginners. The mountain has plenty of pine trees and eucalyptus, compared to the dense forests from the other mountains in Indonesia.
For those who enjoy landscape photography, witnessing the sunrise from high up in the mountains is often a dream come true.
Covered in lush forests and often veiled in low-hanging mist, Mt. Batur has a mystical feel about it that appealed to me right away. Hiking an active volcano is among one of the best things to do in Bali. Proven!
Watch a Kecak Dance
Pecatu, South Kuta, Badung Regency
The Kecak dance celebrates Balinese culture and art. It is an exciting, colorful, and unique performance. A Balinese’s unique style of singing has its roots in their playful, animated way of bringing up their children, their desire to entertain at any time, and their love for rhymes derived from Hindu epics such as the Ramayana.
Kecak dance has been passed down through generations, and today’s Kecak dancers perform with energy and enthusiasm while keeping time with instruments like bamboo flutes.
The dance is traditionally performed during festivals and celebrations, such as during weddings or house decoration ceremonies. During these events, participants join together to create a large circular ring by forming hoops out of sticks attached to the ground with bamboo props.
They face inward and begin moving rhythmically back and forth while chanting a phrase that sounds like “cak” over and over again. It was a fantastic experience to watch and melt into the culture of Bali!
Watch the Monkeys at Monkey Forest
The Monkey Forest is yet another popular destination among the things to do in Bali. Earlier, over 500 monkeys were kept here as pets before they were released into the forest, where they remain today. The jungle-like setting provides an interesting juxtaposition between modernity and tradition.
A top-rated tourist destination with locals and tourists alike, this temple complex features beautiful architecture with lush gardens containing rare species of flora and fauna. You can see monkeys roaming throughout the complex.
The Monkey Forest is unique, as it blends the Hindu Balinese religion with the jungle. You will walk your way through ancient temples standing between massive, one-hundred-year-old trees, and you won’t be much disturbed by the monkeys since they are fed multiple times a day.
However, they can be a bit cheeky. The ones that jumped on me were probably looking for more food and kept me entertained for a while. Just keep your camera or phone in a safe place, backpack, or pocket, and you should be fine. I spot that modern buildings have replaced the other temples, besides the main one from the 14th century, that is still proudly standing.
To enter this area, you need to purchase tickets from one of two ticket windows below the main road.
Take a Bath in the Sacred Waters of Tirta Empul
Jl. Tirta, Manukaya, Tampaksiring, Kabupaten Gianyar
An idyllic waterfall and bathing sanctuary in the rice fields of eastern Bali is the Tirta Empul Temple, one of Bali’s most famous landmarks. The fountains are surrounded by two natural pools, where water cascades down from a mountain.
For centuries, Hindus have bathed in the sacred waters — a ritual of spiritual cleansing that has brought their bodies and minds closer to God.
Featuring lush gardens and pools filled with natural spring water, it was a favorite location in the movie Eat, Pray, Love. This peaceful temple complex is an ideal location to meditate and relax.
Hindus from all over Bali take baths in the pools as part of their religious rituals. The water is open to all, or you can wander around the complex for a relaxing time amid lush tropical scenery.
For a peaceful and less crowded experience, the best time to come is during the low season when you can have the whole area to yourself.
Visit the Bali Zoo
Singapadu, Sukawati, Gianyar // +62361294357
The Bali Zoo is located in the Gianyar Regency, and if you’re interested in Southeast Asian animals, this must be on your list of things to do in Bali. It is a zoo with open-air enclosures rather than cages, which are meant to mimic the species’ natural habitat here.
The Bali Zoo is a must-visit attraction for all visitors traveling to Bali. There are hundreds of animals and birds at the zoo, including tigers, elephants, rhinoceros, and various colorful birds.
For an exciting adventure, have some mud fun with elephants or enjoy your breakfast accompanied by orangutans.
Explore Uluwatu Temple
Pecatu, South Kuta, Badung Regency, Bali
Uluwatu Temple is probably the most famous sight in Bali. This majestic structure stands at 70 meters above sea level, atop a cliff overlooking the raging waters below. Because of its breathtaking view, Jatuh Dipa, one of the sacred trees on temple grounds, has been named after it.
Initially built in Hindu times, the temple incorporates offerings like rice wine to the gods, a form of worship dating back thousands of years.
Many people pay homage here today to Hindu and Buddhist gods, but only those with special permits are allowed inside.
Layers of giant boulders of sandstone make up the temple. Those stones were then carved with intricate patterns by Balinese carvers, creating patterns and designs that are beautiful.
Also known for its monkey population, you can often see monkeys playing around the temple’s sides. Monkeys have learned to follow tourists to food, so if you’re brave enough to climb the temple, you may get a bit of monkey business.
Tour the Pod Chocolate Factory
Things to do in Bali that include chocolate? Yes, please. Pod Chocolate Factory produces the finest chocolate in Indonesia, and a tour of this place is such a thrill.
Try some of their delicious entirely plant-based chocolate and learn about how cocoa is grown and harvested by hand from the farmers. Additionally, you can see the factory’s manufacturing process through a self-guided tour. Right at the main entrance, you will spot the sweet little bamboo shop where I enjoyed an intense, rich in flavor chocolate frappe.
I think it is cool that they offer a free entrance along with free samples, and if you love what you’ve tasted, you can buy their products directly from there. An organic, delicious chocolate bar from Bali is a next-level souvenir or gift from the island. Anyways, mine didn’t survive to hit US ground.
Go Water Rafting On The Ayung River
Jl. Raya Ubud, Ubud // +6287760142434
Lush forests are surrounding the Ayung River, which often leads to hidden villages dominated by bamboo houses. The riverside scenery in Bali is magnificent and something you will want to experience firsthand.
If you’re interested in rafting, the Ayung River is the perfect place for you. Rafting isn’t difficult to learn, and all you need is some essential safety gear, and you’re good to go.
Water rafting is another water sport to try in groups with friends and family, but taking a group down the Ayung River on a day trip provides an opportunity to practice canoeing or bond with your partner.
There are several locations in Bali where you can hire equipment and receive instructions to make this an outdoor activity everyone can enjoy.
Initially, the rapids are calm, but they become increasingly wild downstream. This gives everyone in the boat a sense of unity and adventure as together we experience this intense rush down the river.
You can see other traffic on the nearby highway in the distance, just waiting for their chance to pass through these turbulent waters as you cross some bridges.
If you enjoy adrenaline-fueled activities or want to experience something new, this is one of the most exciting things to do in Bali.
Try Water Sports in Sanur
The bay in Sanur is lovely, and there are many water sports to try there, like surfing, kitesurfing, paragliding, and stand-up paddleboarding. Relax and enjoy the scenery at Sanur Beach after a long day of exploring and perhaps watch some locals working on their fishing nets while taking a refreshing swim in its calm waters.
There are several places on the beachfront where you can experience the water during the high season, which lifeguards supervise. Winds blowing from the east at 8-12 knots provide ideal conditions for kite surfing, usually between March and November.
Kitesurfing requires a permit, which is available at the police station in Sanur.
Go Wreck Diving At Tulamben
Tulamben, Kubu, Karangasem Regency
If you want a truly fantastic wreck diving trip, you should book a trip to Tulamben. You can dive all around Bali and even to northern Lombok. There will be about six divers in these wrecks at any given time, so you will need at least one dive buddy or guide to visit this site.
Right in front of the ship’s bow is a fantastic snorkeling spot where you can snorkel right on the wreck of the Liberty. It is possible to find an abundance of colorful fish as well as brightly colored fans all around.
On this site, the German submarine Pauline, which sank with its crew still on board, left behind underwater tunnels. In addition, you will see a more extensive coral garden on your left.
It has been declared a Marine Reserve Park, so if you want to dive or snorkel, make sure you follow all the instructions at the entrance to the park.
Go On A Safari At Bali Marine and Safari Park
This 44-hectare marine and wildlife park is situated near the Lovina area of Bali, Indonesia. The park promotes wildlife conservation through eco-tourism by providing guests with the opportunity to observe over 60 different mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians.
This park’s main attraction is its exotic animals, including Komodo dragons, crocodiles, and leopards. However, safari park visitors can also take advantage of other facilities such as restaurants, gift shops, and guesthouses located around the central area of the zoo. It is one of the best things to do in Bali for sure!
See The Stone Carvings In Batubulan
Batubulan, Sukawati, Gianyar, Bali
The village of Batubulan is a must-see, especially if you are looking for traditional stone carvings. Batubulan is famous throughout Bali for its stone statues carved from limestone. The sculptures depict gods and goddesses from the Hindu religion and scenes based on the Ramayana and the Mahabharata epics. You will find many different types of statues, including ones that depict elephants, horses, chariots, people, and exotic animals such as monkeys and snakes. After visiting the temples in this village, take time to walk around one of Bali’s best-kept secrets.
Small shops are lined up along the main road to sell statues from various Balinese Hindu and Buddhist gods and goddesses, famous legends like the Ramayana and Mahabharata, and scenes from multiple events in Javanese history.
There’s nothing I like more than beautiful, traditional art and relaxing, peaceful surroundings, so it was no surprise that I insisted that I visit this village when I was in Bali. Of course, it’s not a must-do activity if you’re looking to fill your trip with “must-do” activities, but if you have some free time while waiting for dinner or transport back to your hotel, then the Batubulan carvings village is well worth the visit.
Explore a Hidden Waterfall in Sukawati
Sukawati, Kecamatan Sukawati, Gianyar, Bali
There are countless natural attractions and thrill-seeking spots in Bali. In a lush valley, Sekumpul Waterfall is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world.
A secluded path leads to the waterfall, and it won’t become apparent that you are there until you see it for the first time. When on Bali, it’s a must to visit Sekumpul, a hidden jewel tucked away in this forested valley, one of the many hidden gems of this island.
The locals believe that over 200 spirits live in the Sekumpul Waterfall, and the waterfall has a crack down the middle caused by a thunderbolt. Approximately 70 meters of waterfall drop into two distinct pools of different colors on either side of it.
Visit Bali Provincial State Museum
Jl. Mayor Wisnu No.1 // +62361222680
One of my favorite places in Bali, to which I always return, is the Bali Provincial State Museum. The museum displays a beautiful collection of cultural artifacts and weapons from all over Bali and beyond.
The museum is located on top of a hill in the center of Denpasar near the Governor’s office. It claims to be the oldest museum in Bali.
The Bali Provincial State Museum is also known as the Puri Lukisan Museum and one of the most visited museums in Bali. It is easy to see why.
Over 10,000 objects have been collected from around the island by this museum, operating for more than 60 years. The museum also has a beautiful tropical garden that visitors can enjoy besides its collection of Balinese history.
Wrapping Up on the Things to do in Bali
Writing this, I relived my whole Bali experience again and would do it all over again. It is a destination compared to no other in the world. Only once you’re there can you truly understand why it’s written in (almost) everyone’s list of “must see places.” Everyone can indulge and sink into Bali’s exotic magic, regardless if you are a party seeker or just trying to find your zen.
Yes, there are so many magical places worldwide. Yet still, Bali’s spirituality adds another layer of fascination, and visiting its magnificent temples and participating in sacred Hindu ceremonies will make your experience unmatchable.