Bali is one of the most popular destinations in the world, and it is no surprise with the plethora of amazing things to do in Bali. It is home to stunning beaches, enchanting temples, epic nature as well as incredible accommodation, resorts and restaurants. Bali is the perfect mix of relaxation, adventure, natural beauty and luxury.
But the secret is out and the idyllic island has quickly turned into a buzzing tourist hotspot. Everyone wants a piece of the Island of the Gods. This means that while Bali does have a lot to offer, there are some places in Bali that are overcrowded, overrated and overpriced.
In this post, you will discover 19 of the most amazing things to do in Bali as well as 6 famous attractions that you might be better off giving a miss.
The best things to do in Bali
1. Ubud Palace
You can’t go to Bali without visiting the breathtaking Ubud Palace, officially known as Puri Saren Agung. It is a historical building complex dating back to the early 1800s. It was the official residence of the royal family of Ubud.
Spend the day wandering around the beautiful water gardens and palace buildings. Make sure you stay for a spectacular sunset. At night the palace comes alive with music, dance shows and cultural storytelling
2. Get a smoothie bowl at Nalu Bowls
Bali is world-famous for its beautiful smoothie bowls! You simply can’t go to Bali without getting a smoothie bowl (and taking a picture of it!). There are so many amazing cafe options for smoothie bowls in Bali but Nalu Bowls is our top pick.
Nalu Bowls basically invented the aesthetically pleasing smoothie bowl game in Bali. Their bowls use locally sourced ingredients and fresh homemade granola. They have locations in Ubud, Seminyak, Kuta, Canggu, Uluwatu and Berawa so you can have a Nalu Bowl basically anywhere you go in Bali!
Source: Nalu Bowls Instagram
3. Tegalalang Rice Terraces
The Tagalalang Rice Terraces are one of those overly touristy places that are absolutely worth making every effort to go to! They are popular for a reason and a very good reason. They may not be the most authentic, as they make more money from tourism than from selling rice, but they are so stunningly beautiful you have to see it for yourself.
The rice fields can get crowded, but the crowds don’t tend to detract from the experience. To make going to these rice fields extra special and less crowded go at sunrise.
You can also find a beautiful swing for the perfect photo opportunity (which is a much better option than the original Bali Swing!).
4. Campuhan Ridge Walk
The Campuhan Ridge Walk is a beautiful hike in the middle of Ubud. It has become one of the most popular treks in Bali because it is relatively short and easy (1 hour) and has some of the best views of Ubud.
The track can get very crowded at sunset as travellers get set to watch the sun go down. For a more calm and tranquil experience, opt to go first thing in the morning.
5. Stay at Bambu Indah in Ubud
Bali has no shortage of unique, beautiful and eco-friendly inspired boutique accommodation options inspired by the jungle and beach. There are so many amazing resorts and villas to stay in both Ubud & Canguu. Our top pick for a special accommodation experience in Bali is Bambu Indah in Ubud.
Bambu Indah is a gorgeous eco-luxe resort set in the jungle where you can experience a sustainably-minded retreat with luxury service. Bambu Indah is so unique and quintessential Ubud.
The suites are beautiful bungalows which blend bamboo and antique Balinese teak wood. The architecture set in the lush jungle with flowing rivers will simply take your breath away.
Each suite has gorgeous river views, private pools and outdoor showers. They also give guests complimentary yoga classes! This is the ideal place to relax in nature on a romantic or solo trip.
Source: Bambu Indah
6. Chase world class waterfalls
If there is one thing Bali is good at, it is creating waterfalls! Bali is home to numerous spectacular waterfalls which are dotted all over the island. Some are well known and popular with tourists, others are more off the beaten path and can be stumbled upon while exploring the island by scooter.
Tegenungan waterfall is one of the best waterfalls in Bali, but it is also one of the most well known so expect crowds. It is so incredible though that it is worth battling with the crows to see.
Tibumana waterfall is another epic waterfall that attracts fewer crowds. You need to take an awesome drive through the jungle to reach this spot. Tibumana is relatively unknown by Bali standards but the cascading falls are well worth the effort to visit.
Other beautiful waterfalls to add to your Bali list are Kanto Lampo Waterfall, Niagara Munduk Waterfall, Sekumpul Waterfall, Tiu Kelep Waterfall and Tukad Cepung.
You can do a day trip to visit waterfalls & rice fields in Ubud.
7. Hit up the best beach clubs in Canggu
Canggu is every beach-loving, restaurant dining, cocktail drinking travellers dream destination. It is home to some of the best beach club resorts on the island that are well worth a visit. Forget Seminyak, Canggu is the place enjoy a few drinks in a calmer more sophisticated (and Instagram friendly) environment.
The lawn is a chic beach lounge where LA meets Bali. The drinks are delicious and the DJ is always pumping amazing beats. There is an oceanfront pool with day beds to lounge on. To top it off they have an epic 3-hour happy hour every Friday. This is one of the top spots in Bali for sunset cocktails.
La Brisa is another amazing beach club in Bali and is one of the best places in Bali to enjoy the tropical sunset. La Brisa is whimsical, vintage-inspired and gives off boho pirate ship vibes. Expect boat wood, bean bags, fishing nets and chic nautical accessories which creates the most dreamy sunset backdrop you can imagine.
8. Sunset at Single Fin, Uluwatu
As you can tell by now, sunsets in Bali are a big thing! Sunset at Single Fin Surf Bar is another must-see sunset destination in Bali. Single Fin is notorious for its sunsets as well as it’s Sunday night parties. It might be the most popular Sunday night party destination in the world!
When you go to Single Fins for sunset (especially on a Sunday) expect big crowds! But it is absolutely worth a visit to soak up the vibes and the views.
Source: Single Fin Bali Instagram
9. Ulun Danu Temple
There are so many temples in Bali but this temple is definitely one of our top picks on the island. Ulun Danu Temple is a beautiful temple on the edge of Baratan Lake in North Bali. This beautiful temple is dedicated to the goddess of the lake and exudes peace and tranquillity.
There are many shrines surrounding the lake dedicated to different gods. Take some time to spend a peaceful morning or evening exploring the beauty of this mystical lake.
10. Practice yoga
Bali is known as the Island of Gods with heavy influences from Buddhism and Hinduism. Spiritualty pervades every corner of this island and draws in seekers looking for a deeper meaning in life. This makes Bali the perfect place to search for your inner self by practising yoga, attending a spiritual retreat or trying something new to deepen your connection with yourself and the world.
There are so many world-class places in Bali to practise yoga, with Ubud being the spiritual centre of Bali. Canggu is the surf and yoga capital of Bali. There are plenty of beautiful retreat centres, yoga studios and yoga teacher training schools which attract some of the best teachers in the world.
11. Attend an ecstatic dance
Have you ever been to an ecstatic dance before? If not, Bali is one of the best places in the world to raise your vibrations by attending an ecstatic dance event. Ecstatic dances are a cornerstone of the conscious community in Bali and are an incredibly liberating experience.
Yoga Barn famously hosts an ecstatic dance every Friday night. Udara Balialso has an ecstatic dance every Sunday. Keep an eye out for cool events that are on in Bali while you are there. If you are in Bali in March or April, Bali Spirit Festival is on which is a conscious festival full of ecstatic dance, music, yoga and so much more.
12. Make a trip to Nusa Penida
Nusa Penida Island in Bali is home to the most breathtaking beaches and natural scenery on the island. You simply have to visit this island when you are in Bali. Expect turquoise waters, dramatic cliffs, rainforest and white sand beaches.
Diamond Beach is one of the most spectacular and iconic beaches on the island with epic clifftop views, crashing waves, white sand and blue water.
Kelingking beach is another incredible beach on Nusa Penida island, which some have credited as the most beautiful beach in Indonesia and possible all of Asia! This beach has mindblowing views, silky white sand and perfectly teal water.
There are more beaches to explore on this special island so hire a scooter and go for an adventure!
13. Sacred Baths in the Tirta Empul
The Sacred Baths in the Tirta Empul are one of the most meaningful experiences you can have in Bali. If you have seen “Eat, Pray, Love” you probably know this location already.
The sacred baths of Tirta Empul is a pool filled by fountains of water coming from all sides of the pool. The architecture of the sacred baths is stunning so take time to soak it all up after to bathe in the sacred waters.
The waters of Tirta Empul is sacred to Hindus who travel from all corners of the Bali and the world to bathe in its healing waters. Before bathing in the waters and washing your head and face in the fountains you are provided with a sarong to wear in the pool.
14. Climb a volcano for sunrise
Climbing a mountain for sunrise is another amazing thing to do in Bali and shouldn’t be missed.
Bali has a number of mountains that are made for climbing. But these aren’t just mountains, these are volcanoes with epic craters for you to see when you reach the top.
The easiest volcano to climb and one of the most popular is Mt Batur which can take up to 2.5 hours to climb. A guided sunrise trek to the summit is the best way to reach the top safely and in time for the suns appearance. The 2 am start might put you off but it is 100% worth it once you see the stunning views of the sunrise and the volcano.
Mt Agung is another volcano that you can climb for sunrise. This mountain is much more challenging and is better for more serious climbers who are up for a challenge!
15. Have a flower bath and massage
Flower baths are another favourite activity in Bali, thanks to Instagram. There are plenty of beautiful spas in Bali who offer flower baths. So treat yourself to a beautiful experience by bathing in flowers. Top it off with a massage and you will feel like a new person!
Cantika in Ubud is one of our top picks for a massage and flower bath in Bali.
16. Floating breakfast
Floating breakfasts are another hallmark feature of tourism in Bali so why not get one while you are there! They are delicious tropical breakfast spreads that are served to you on a floating tray while you lounge in a beautiful pool.
Your accommodation might already offer floating breakfasts to your private villa pool. Otherwise, check out some of the best places for a floating breakfast in Bali here.
17. Go plant-based at some of the best vegan cafes in the world
Bali is a vegan food and health haven with the plant-based food scene buzzing. It is home to some of the best vegan restaurants and cafes in the world who take advantage of the epic tropical produce available on the island. Expect vegan food spreads in beautiful tropical-inspired cafes that are fit for Instagram.
There are numerous plant-based restaurants and cafes in places popular with yogis and people who care about their health like Ubud and Bali. So try something new and check out some of the top vegan spots in Bali.
Source: Peloton Supershop Instagram
18. Suluban Beach, Uluwatu
Suluban beach in Uluwatu is a must-visit when in Bali. It is not a standard beach and there is nowhere else quite like it in Bali. There is a colossal cave covering most of the beach which you have to actually walk through to step foot on the beautiful beach.
Suluban beach is like something straight out of a fairytale and must be experienced when visiting Bali.
19. Blue Lagoon, Nusa Ceningan
The Blue Lagoon on Nusa Ceningan Island is home to the most beautiful ocean in Bali. It has a striking aqua hue that is so enticing you could spend the whole day exploring the underwater world.
The Blue Lagoon makes a great day trip and is perfect for lounging in the sun, snorkelling and cliff jumping.
Overrated things to skip in Bali
Push that FOMO aside. Here is our breakdown of famous spots in Bali that are overrated, overcrowded and not really worth it.
You can skip these attractions and spend more time exploring other wonders of Bali without losing any sleep!
1. The Bali Gates
You’ve probably seen countless photos of these iconic Bali Gates which are located at Lempuyang Temple. There are also “mock” Bali gates at the Handara Bali Golf Resort. The Bali Gates are beautiful and iconic however they take hours to reach and you will have to line up for a couple of hours to get a single photo (in 10 seconds or less no doubt!)
This spot is purely for Instagram and not really worth it if you’re into enjoying the island. There are so many other incredible temples and spots for photos on the island without the headache.
2. The Bali Swing, Ubud
The original Bali Swing in Ubud is another classic Instagram spot in Bali that many people have on their bucket list. Thanks to its popularity there are Bali Swings all over the island now! This original swing, however, is overpriced (US$35 each!) and overrated.
If you really want a go on a swing, skip this one and opt for a photo at a different swing which is much cheaper or free. There is a beautiful swing at the Tegalalang Rice Terraces which is worthwhile!
3. Kynd Community Cafe
Kynd Community Cafe is famous in Bali for its picture-perfect smoothie bowls which come with your name on them! But there are better and less crowded places in Bali to enjoy beautiful, delicious and healthy food. If you’re adamant on going for the Instagram shot, go for it! But there are better options like Nalu Bowls.
Source: Kynd Community Instagram
4. The Edge infinity pool
The Edge is a luxury resort in Uluwatu which is home to one of the most impressive infinity pools in the world. It is also one of the most famous Instagram spots in Bali! This means it is overrun with influencers trying to get the perfect shot which gets overwhelming.
It’s hard to enjoy the resort for what it really is when a lot of people are constantly having photoshoots. If you really want to see this pool, visit early in the morning or stay at the resort so you have better access to the facilities.
Source: The Backpack Diaries Instagram
5. Camaya Bali Airbnb
Camaya Bali Airbnb is famous for the hanging outdoor beds overlooking the jungle. While it is beautiful, unique and makes for incredible pictures it is more like camping. It’s far from luxury (as you might have expected) and is difficult to reach.
There are many other epic accommodation options in Bali that are more convenient, especially if you are on a short trip.
Source: Camaya Bali Airbnb
6. Ku De Ta, Seminyak
Kut De Ta is the original beach club in Bali and people still flock to this hotspot. However, it is overcrowded and there are much better beach clubs to visit on the island!
Bali is a special island with so much to offer
But the secret is well and truly out! This haven for seekers, partiers, backpackers, surfers and luxe travellers is famous for a reason.
There are so many amazing things to do in Bali. Go beyond the most famous attractions and dig deeper to discover the true magic that is waiting for you in the Islands of the Gods.