The Indonesian island of Bali is the perfect first introduction to Asia. Like other destinations, Bali has plenty to offer and you’ll find plenty of sights worth visiting. And the hordes of tourists? You’ll have to take that for granted. What to do on Bali? These are the 15 best things to do on Bali, Indonesia.
Since the movie Eat, Pray, Love the island has undergone a big boost and more and more tourists know how to find the island. But which Bali sights are really worth seeing? Most of the sights on Bali that are mentioned in this article are also included in our ultimate Bali itinerary.
All sights on Bali that are mentioned in this article can be found on the map below.
Visit the Uluwatu temple
Bali is a predominantly Hindu island and this is reflected in the many beautiful temples. One of the most famous temples is the Uluwatu temple in the south of Bali. The temple was built in the eleventh century and is located high on a rock which provides a great view.
Walk through beautiful rice fields
The thing Bali is most famous for are its beautiful rice fields and beautiful they certainly are. The famous rice fields around Ubud have unfortunately become too touristy in my opinion, but don’t worry! When you rent a scooter and drive from the south towards Ubud you will undoubtedly encounter beautiful rice fields. Rice fields where you don’t even have to meet other tourists!
Enjoy the Balinese cuisine
Ow my, how I love the Indonesian cuisine. Now I love Asian food anyway and don’t mind eating rice or noodles every day – okay maybe not every day – but Indonesian cuisine is absolutely perfect! Never before have I eaten such delicious nasi goreng. Besides the fact that you can find a lot of western restaurants in Bali, I definitely recommend you to eat at a warung – a local restaurant – at least once! You don’t know what you are tasting. The best part? Often a delicious meal costs between one and two euros.
Learn to surf on Bali
Bali is known as one of the best destinations in Asia where you can learn to surf. The waves here are almost always suitable and the place is full of surf schools. We ourselves learned to surf in Seminyak at Santai Surf. A surf school run by some super nice guys who want to teach you everything. Highly recommended!
Watch the monkeys in Monkey Forest
When you’re in the center of Ubud, don’t be surprised if you suddenly see all those monkeys sitting and walking. Right in the center of Ubud you will find the Monkey Forest. As the name says: A forest full of – irritating – monkeys! Keep an eye on your belongings, because the monkeys can be quite aggressive. In addition, you will find two beautiful temples in the park.
Visit trendy beach bars in Seminyak or Canggu
Most backpackers leave from the airport in Bali directly to the coastal town of Kuta. The place known for its many hip parties and beach bars. However, we chose to skip this place – deliberately – and opted for a somewhat quieter destination, also on the west coast. Seminyak is located north of Kuta and consists mainly of many hip beach bars with colored lamps and beanbags. In addition, you will find in the center the most hip designer stores and boutiques. The most beautiful thing? Enjoying the beautiful sunset on the beach of Seminyak at one of the trendy beach bars. Sitting on a beanbag, sipping a cool cocktail or a cold beer. Is Seminyak a bit too crowded for you? Then Canggu is a nice alternative.
Take the boat to Nusa Lembongan
If you want to experience what Bali must have felt like twenty or so years ago, Nusa Lembongan is a great destination to experience this. Nusa Lembongan is an island that is easily accessible from Bali. The boat takes only thirty minutes and immediately you find yourself in another piece of Indonesia. Here too, construction is in full swing, so it will probably not be long before mass tourism attracts here as well. So be quick 😉
On Lembongan, the roads are very bad, but the island is easy to explore on a scooter. In addition, the neighboring island of Nusa Ceningan is connected to Lembongan with a yellow bridge, so you kill two birds with one stone. Both islands are so small that a day or two or three is enough. In addition, there is excellent snorkeling and diving around Lembongan and there is even a chance that you can snorkel with real manta rays!
A few days in Nusa Penida
Although it is wonderful to take the boat from Bali to Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan there is one more island that you really should not skip. Nusa Penida. Penida is the largest island of the three nusas and is the least touristy. For now, because this is rapidly changing. So be quick. Of course you can also visit Penida as a day trip from Lembongan, but even more fun is to stay a few days and discover the island on scooter.
Explore Ubud and its surroundings by bike
The real “eat, pray, love” feeling is of course experienced by renting a bike and exploring Ubud and its surroundings by bike! Cycle along beautiful rice fields and stop along the way at one of the trendy lunch counters for the most delicious dishes and a fresh fruit shake. Of course you can do this at your own pace, but you can also opt to join a Bike Tour where you will also be served a delicious meal
Sunbathing at Green Bowl Beach
Although the beaches of Seminyak and Sanur are fine, they are also crowded. Too busy sometimes. We therefore took the scooter and drove to a lesser known beach in the south of the island, Green Bowl Beach. A staircase of over 300 steps leads you through and past trees until you finally stand on the beautiful beach. Again, the waves are – like the rest of Bali – pretty wild, but you can chill and you will also find two beautiful caves.
Waterfall hunting in the Munduk region
If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of southern Bali, the Munduk region is a great destination. Munduk is located north of Ubud and is a lot quieter. The region is known for its many waterfalls, lakes and beautiful temples. In addition, the region is located in the middle of the mountains which means it is always a little cooler.
Tanah Lot temple
Another famous temple in Bali that is definitely worth a visit is the Tanah Lot temple located just north of Seminyak. Tanah Lot is a Balinese temple that lies in the sea on top of a rock. At low tide – and only at low tide – the temple can be visited on foot. At other times, you have to make do with a nice view of Tanah Lot. However, do not expect that you are the only one here. A few hundred meters before the temple you have to park your scooter and you can’t reach the temple without walking across the tourist market.
Must do on Bali: Set a turtle free
One of the destinations in Bali that I would immediately say you should skip is Kuta. But there is one reason to go there. On the beach of Kuta you can enjoy a unique experience, the release of a turtle on the beach. Volunteers from the organization Kuta Sea Turtle go every night on the beach looking for turtle eggs to combat illegal fishing. The eggs are kept until they hatch and after a few weeks the turtles are released on the beach. From October to March, tourists can also experience this unique experience and it’s one of Bali’s free attractions too!
Visit the water temple Pura Tirta Empul
When you take a trip to Bali, you obviously want to immerse yourself a little in the local culture and for that you should definitely visit the water temple Pura Tirta Empul. This temple is popular among tourists, but also among the locals because of the holy water that comes from a nearby source. Very special to see and experience.
There are more special water temples in Bali, but unfortunately we did not visit them. Examples are the Taman Tirta Gangga and the Pura Ulun Danu Bratan
Travel on to Java, Lombok and/or the Gili Islands
Bali is beautiful, but it is a shame to spend all your time in Indonesia on Bali. Therefore, I recommend you to combine your trip to Bali with a trip to other islands, such as the Gili Islands, Lombok and/or Java.
Where to stay on Bali
The island of Bali is quite large and in terms of sleeping there are plenty of options. We slept the first nights in Seminyak in the west and the last nights in Sanur, on the east coast. If you like to party you should stay in Kuta, just south of Seminyak and if you want peace and quiet and want to find yourself between the amazing rice fields you should book a hotel in Ubud. Below are our favorite places to sleep in Bali.
- Canggu: Serenity Eco Guesthouse or Mojosurf Camp Canggu
- Seminyak: Vansari Hotel
- Sanur: d’Astri Guest House or Sindhu Mertha Suite
- Lovina: Hotel My Lovina
Practical information for a trip to Bali
- Our summer months and especially the month of August are the best months for a trip to Bali.
- The traffic in Bali is quite chaotic and the public transport is poorly organized. The best thing to do is to rent a scooter (note that you are not insured) for about five euros a day, arrange a private driver or travel by cab or Uber/Grab to discover all the Bali sights.
- In Bali, as in the rest of Indonesia, you pay with the Indonesian Rupee (IDR). One euro is approximately 15,000 rupiah
- ATMs can be found almost everywhere in Bali. With the exception of very remote areas and the smaller surrounding islands
- For a trip to Bali vaccinations against DTP and Hepatitis A are recommended.
- Click here to find cheap flights to Bali.
I am curious! What do you think are the most beautiful Bali sights?