There’s nothing better than flicking that island vacay switch on, and Bali is one of the better places to do it.
Extremely popular among us Aussies and rapidly gaining popularity among other international tourists, it’s a place of sun, sand, culture, and cocktails by the beach.
Whether you’re after a world-class dining destination, a day of local market shopping, relaxing by the pool at a beach club, partying into the wee hours, finding your zen in a yoga class, deep diving into the rich culture, or an adrenaline-pumping adventure through jungle-filled landscapes, there’s truly something for everyone among the picturesque island.
Tick off 26 of the best things to do in Bali on your next visit, and make sure you’re prepared with our top hacks & tricks before you travel.
1. Set out island hopping
First on the list of things to do in Bali is to island explore.
Considering Indonesia is home to some 17,000 islands, a trip to Bali is never done right unless you experience at least a portion of these.
You’ll discover an array of vibrant neighbourhoods and people, lush jungle hideaways, teeming snorkel sites, volcanic peaks, and endless rice paddies across the horizon.
Some of our favourite are only a short jump away from the mainland, including Nusa Lembongan, Penida Island, and Gili Trawangan, or for a further escape you can travel to popular hot spots like Lombok, Java, or the lesser-known Sumba for the surf and tradition.
2. See the temples
Bali is a country with a culture firmly rooted in spirituality, and daily worship continues to be a big part of local life.
If you want to truly immerse yourself in all that this is Bali there is no shortage of stunning temples to choose from- each with its own unique history and features that make it special.
Find all the popular spots you should see with our Best Bali Temples guide
3. Take in the views at Sundays Beach Club
When you think Bali, you probably envision yourself perched up on a sun lounge chair with a cocktail in hand at a relaxing tropical beach club.
Though there are quite a few you can choose from, we can never go past stopping by Sundays Beach Club every time we visit. If not for the simply breathtaking views, for the cocktails, food, live music, and sunset bonfires.
We’d recommend blocking out a whole day to laze around here if you can.
4. Have a drink on the beach
Of course, when you think of the best things to do in Bali beers on the beach are on top of the list.
Name a better evening than relaxing back on a beanbag with a Bintang in hand while watching a glorious Balinese sunset. We’ll wait.
There are plenty of beach bars and tables at the more popular spots where you can enjoy a chilled-out afternoon in the sand, but our picks would include Double Six Beach and La Plancha at Seminyak.
5. Party at Motel Mexicola
If you’re enjoying a well-deserved girl’s trip to Bali, Motel Mexicola is the place to be.
This place serves up huge vibes and atmosphere in a unique setting popping with colour. They dish out a range of Mexican specialties to share, and the frozen margaritas here are always an obsession when we pop in for a visit.
6. Visit Canggu
You could consider Canggu as the artsy, boho capital of Bali, so if that sounds right up your alley book a visit into your itinerary.
Head here for the hip bars, hot boutiques, dreamy spas, and delicious cafe and restaurant scene. If you’re looking for something a little off the beaten track you can also cycle through the tranquil and vast rice fields for an afternoon.
7. Eat pasta at Rolling Fork
If you’re searching for the best pasta in Bali, we may have found it.
Rolling Fork is in the business of dishing up Italian food featuring homemade pasta, crispy pizzas, fresh grilled fish, and prime imported meat. They do a happy hour from 5-7, and if that’s not enough to sell you immediately the regular pricing is generally pretty cheap and the chilled vibes are unmatched.
8. Go to the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary
It’s been on top of many travellers best things to do in Bali for years.
Also known as the Ubud Monkey Forest, the lush green tree setting here serves as a sanctuary and natural habitat of the Balinese long-tailed macaque.
It’s open daily from 9 am – 6 pm, and provides the opportunity to see these gorgeous little creatures right up close – and perhaps snap a monkey selfie while you’re at it. Just keep in mind that you’re in a semi-free-ranging monkey area, so read the rules and follow the guidelines.
9. Be entertained at Savaya
Savaya is nestled right between the wild jungle and soaring cliffs and serves as a night and day club for keen entertainment seekers.
The sprawling venue features infinity pools, different bar areas, an electric atmosphere, and regular entertainment from dancers to drums to fire performances.
10. Tan or surf at the popular beaches
If you’re refusing to return from Bali without a tan, you’ll have to knock off a few beaches on your visit. The more popular include Kuta, Seminyak, Nusa Dua, or Jimbaran Bay – and most come with a side of sunset cocktails and water sports activities.
For surf, the Dreamland break near Uluwatu is a great place for experienced and for beginners when the swell is smaller, or the hidden gem Balangan is good for a drop-in.
11. Go white water rafting
Looking for a bit of adventure on your best things to do in Bali itinerary?
There is possibly nothing quite so fun as careening down river rapids on a white water raft.
You’ve pretty much got three options for white water rafting here – Ayung river rafting in Ubud, Telaga Waja rafting in Karang Asem, and Melangit River rafting in Klungkung. Get everyone together and enjoy the adrenaline rush of a lifetime.
12. Chase some waterfalls
Despite what TLC says you must in fact go chasing waterfalls when in Bali.
Our favourites for that epic Insta shot or swim include GitGit and Sekumpul in Singaraja, NungNung in Petang, and Tegenungan in Ubud.
13. Hire a scooter
Walking? Nope. Driving? Nope. Scootering is where it’s at in Bali.
Get around like a true local by hiring out a scooter to whizz around on, or if you’re not feeling so confident on two wheels through the slightly crazy road landscape you can find a dedicated scooter driver to get you around.
14. Snap a pic on the Bali Swing
Improving your Instagram game and making everyone jealous back home is a must on the list of best things to do in Bali.
This is a typical tourist pic that’s essentially a rite of passage for anyone visiting, and we’re absolutely here for it.
The jungle scenery here holds 12 oversized swings that fly you over incredible panoramic views for a slight rush of adrenaline – but don’t worry, you’re completely safe all buckled in.
15. Zen out with some yoga
If there’s one place in the world to completely zen out and get back in touch with yourself, it’s Bali.
There are so many stunning yoga studios scattered about, but we always lean towards one with a dreamy view. You can usually find these in Canggu or Ubud, and we’d recommend checking out Desa Seni, Udara, Radiantly Alive, or The Yoga Barn.
16. Party the night away at lively bars and clubs
If you’re at home among the nightlife party scene or heading here for some form of major celebration, you’ll want to tick off as many of the best clubs and bars as you can.
You can scout out your own, or take a jab at some of our top picks: Single Fin Sundays, The Shady Pig, Club Jenja, OMNIA, Sky Garden, and La Favela.
17. Eat at Penny Lane
Though we adore a huge collection of Balinese cafes, Penny Lane pretty much blew up on Instagram a few years back as the place to be thanks to its boho-chic, vintage decor setting – and it holds strong to this day.
The restaurant serves up sharing plates, traditional Balinese dishes, bar bites, and signature cocktails, and the interior truly looks as though it’s dropped straight out of our Pinterest inspo board. They take reservations for groups of 10+, or you can walk in at any time for a table.
18. Explore Seminyak
Of all the spots to set up base camp on a visit, Seminyak has to roll in as our favourite.
It boasts some of the most beautiful beaches, breezy beach bars around every corner, hip restaurants overflowing with good eats, serious boutique shopping, and some of the swankiest villa accommodation you can find. Even if you don’t stay here, there’s so much to see and do on a day’s visit.
19. Join in on some water sports
Jet skiing, banana boating, jetpacking, wakeboarding, stand-up paddle boarding – Bali is the place to experience every kind of water sport you can think up.
Nusa Dua is usually the go-to family friendly destination for some splashing fun, while Tanjung Benoa offers activities suited to those more daring like parasailing, wakeboarding, or fly-fishing.
20. Relax by the pool at Potato Head
Potato Head has been leading the way on the beach club scene in Bali for many years now, and some could argue it’s paved the way for many other new additions since it opened in 2010.
The happening beachfront spot is home to an infinity pool, restaurants, day beds, plenty of drinks, and tropical interior under swaying palms. Catch us lazing around here for hours on end.
21. Make a splash at Waterbom
Of course, we couldn’t forget Waterbom on our best things to do list in Bali.
No matter your age, no matter how cliche a visit to Waterbom may be, it’s still high on our to-do list when you make a trip.
Spend the day tandem racing, getting your heart rate up through vertical trap doors and waterslide drops, or simply let the kids run wild and sit on the Lazy River the whole time – no judgement!
22. Dip into hot springs
There are a number of hot springs to sink into around Bali, and you can generally find the more popular in the north and northeast of the island.
The Banjar Hot Springs near Lovina Beach are usually a favourite, or travel to the Toya Bungkah Batur Hot Springs and the Toya Devasya Hot Springs near Mount Batur. Chuck on your bathers and get ready to lose track of time in serene natural settings.
23. Visit the John Hardy Boutique & Workshop
Jewellery-making in Bali is as diverse and unique as the destination itself, from bohemian rings to statement necklaces and designs you can’t find elsewhere.
Fine handcrafted jewellery has a particularly beautiful home at John Hardy, and a visit to their Kapal Bamboo Boutique at Mambal and Boutique and Gallery at Seminyak is highly recommended for anyone interested in the jewellery-making traditions.
John Hardy’s pieces are sustainably handmade with intricate detail, and you’ll be able to see it all up close or even try your own hand at chain-weaving and crafting in a jewellery masterclass. The place itself is just as dazzling as the jewellery, nestled among lush greenery in a structure made entirely of bamboo.
24. Hike Mount Batur
For years, tourists from all around have been visiting active volcano Mount Batur to hike up to its peak and watch the sun rise over other nearby volcanoes.
If you can manage to drag yourself out of bed in the early hours (we’re talking 3 am early) this hike is 100% worth it for the views and experience. It’s not a super challenging hike if you’ve got a bit of cardio fitness behind you, but it’s manageable enough for those of us who may look the other way when it comes to the gym treadmill. The hike usually takes around two hours to get to the summit and is a seriously good way to get the heart pumping and enjoy a little adventure.
25. Shop, shop, shop!
Whether it’s browsing local markets for a unique find or visiting some higher-end boutiques, the shopping opportunities in Bali are endless.
Furniture, homewares, fashion, handmade artisanal goods, luxe fabrics, fresh produce – you name it, they have it. Just make sure you’ve got your bartering skills up to scratch to score yourself a sweet deal. As strange as it may seem to some, bartering is actually expected when shopping here.
26. Watch a Balinese dance
Last on our best things to do in Bali – whenever we find ourselves in another country, we make it our mission to immerse ourselves in some of their cultures. The ancient tradition of Balinese dance is still very much alive today, and you can experience it at places like Ubud Palace with the stunning Balinese girls in ceremonial attire, or Pura Luhur Uluwatu Temple for the famous Kecak Dance. Plus, heaps of bars and restaurants usually provide some form of dance entertainment over dinner for you to enjoy.
Feature Image: Anya Resort & Spa
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