1. Soak up some rays at Bali’s best Beaches
Cool ocean breezes, salty hair, sun-kissed skin and that book you’ve been dying to get stuck into for months – beach life doesn’t get much better than that, right? Well, Bali’s best beaches also come with glamorous sunset cocktails, world-class surfing, some wild water sport adventures and world-class beach clubs to boot. So pack your sunscreen, wrap up your sarong and prep a summer playlist, because you’ll want to tick all of Bali’s beaches off your bucket list.
2. Go wild at Bali Zoo
If your idea of an awesome holiday is getting up close with animals, you’ll want to make a stop at Bali Zoo – the first zoological park on the island. Here, you’ll be welcomed by friendly, free-roaming deer (you can even hand-feed them!) before meeting families of Lemurs, Orangutans and muddy elephants who’ll invite you in for a bath! By nightfall, stick around for the Night at the Zoo adventure, when nocturnal animals come out to play. Day or night, you can experience all manner of Animalia at Bali Zoo – look out for the African Wildlife theme, coming soon in 2020.
3. Go chasing waterfalls (all 14 of them)
A must for your island hit list is without doubt an adventure to one of Bali’s best waterfalls, some of which you can jump off, swim underneath, or admire from a distance. Our favorite has to be Aling-Aling Waterfall thanks to its natural slide that has formed over the years – pop on a lifejacket or grab a floatie and slide your way down the smooth rocky edge.
4. Go Island hopping
Indonesia is made up of over 17,000 islands, home to acres of lush jungle, volcanic peaks, an array of different wildlife, and some of the world’s most biodiverse diving sites. Naturally then, island hopping is a must. Just a short trip from Bali’s mainland is Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan, Nusa Penida, and The Gili Islands, as well as mainland Lombok, Sumba, Flores and the southern tip of Java. Swim with turtles, laze about on pristine white beaches or surf empty waves – the choice is yours!
5. Explore the island on a scooter
The quickest way to get around Bali is without doubt by scooter, and you can rent a trusty two-wheeled whip from almost every corner of the island, available for daily, weekly and monthly hire. The average daily price is around $4 – just make sure you wear a helmet and don’t give it a go unless you’ve done it before; the roads can seem lawless at times, with bumps and potholes hidden on every bend…
6. Get wet with some wild watersports
With its aquatic playgrounds in every ‘hood, Bali is a mecca for every kind of watersport under the sun (and sea). Got a need for speed? Try jet skiing, banana boating, wake boarding and jet packing. Or take things slow with a stand-up paddle board and search for Nemo with a snorkel. Whatever aquatic path you prefer, watersports in Bali is a must.
7. Watch a postcard-perfect Bali Sunset
For a golden hour that really glows, settle into one of Bali’s best sunset spots to watch the sky turn to candy. Beach or jungle, if the view fits we say go with it. If you’re not sure where to start, check out our picks of the 30 best sunset bars to ruminate while the sky illuminates.
8. Sail the sea on a local fishing boat
There’s nothing better than cruising through the great open ocean with the salty sea air in your hair and a cold drink in-hand. Well, Bali does it best with a choice of fancy yachts, luxury liveaboards and even local fishing boats like the Black Pearl in Jimbaran that takes you along Bali’s dazzling coastline just in time for sunset.
9. Visit North Bali’s hot springs
Close to Lovina Beach in North Bali, the sacred ‘Air Panas Banjar’ hot springs are set in the midst of lush jungle and beautifully landscaped tropical gardens. There are three public pools and one private, all with gushing hot water from volcanic origins that pour from the mouths of eight stone-carved dragon heads. Bring your swimsuit and get ready to dive in – it’s picture-perfect and therapeutic too.
10. Bliss out with a Balinese Massage
No trip to Bali would be complete without a Balinese massage. Why? Because the traditional techniques used by Balinese therapists are the deepest, most ahh-inducing we’ve ever experienced. They use long strokes, firm presses, skilful stretching and the most fragrant essential oils – all for less than $8 for an hour’s bliss. If you don’t want to go local, you can find a Balinese massage at almost all of Bali’s best budget spas.
11. Learn to surf like a pro
The surf in Bali is world-class, and many pros come to the island just to catch some good waves. There are plenty of different breaks on the island, from gentle white-wash in Kuta that’s perfect for beginners, to pumping barrels in Uluwatu for the experts. Take your pick!
12. Raise your heart rate in Ubud
Ubud is mostly known for its food, yoga and jungle retreats, but there’s actually plenty to do here if you’re a thrill seeker. Jump off waterfalls, quad bike in the forests, raft down white-water rapids on the Ayung River or downhill mountain bike through the wide open terrains – consider your heart rate lifted!
13. Hike to the top of Mount Batur
If you’re looking for things to do in Bali that’ll get your heart pumping, how does climbing to the top of an active volcano sound? Well, the hike up Mount Batur is something we highly recommend (and not just for the banana sandwiches you get at the top!). The hike only takes a few hours, and is not too challenging (no proper hiking boots needed) so anyone can do it. It does come with a 3am start though, but that’s all part of the adventure, right?!
14. Cycle around Lake Batur
Take in the stunning sights of Kintamani, including Mount Batur, Lake Batur, the black lava fields and many beautiful temples, all whilst riding a bicycle. If you’re really brave, make it a downhill ride all the way back to Ubud…
15. Scale the rice terraces of Ubud
Bali has many working rice fields, and the Tegallalang Rice Terraces in Ubud are the most famous on the island thanks to their beautiful valleys of rice paddies that stretch for miles. In every direction it’s a sea of stair-like rice fields, dotted by hard-working farmers tending to their treasured crops. It can get busy here, so if you want to avoid the tourist crowds, head to Jatiluwih instead in the Tabanan Regency.
16. Swim with sea turtles & friendly dugongs
Bali is home to some of Indonesia’s most stunning underwater scenery and marine life, so we highly recommend renting a snorkel and mask and searching for sea turtles! Hop over to Nusa Lembongan, or head up to Tulamben and Amed – these are the best spots to find Nemo. If you want to spot a friendly dugong, hit the surf breaks of Padang Padang and Nusa Dua…
17. Take a dip in an infinity pool
If anything, this is gonna look great on your Insta feed! Infinity pools in Bali are very common, so it just comes down to choosing whether you want pool to meet jungle, ocean or sky. Our ultimate fave has to be the Hanging Gardens in Ubud, closely followed by the sky-high, glass-bottom pool at The Edge in Uluwatu (the name says it all!)
18. Sip on Bali’s best beans
If you don’t have a coffee addiction already, you will by the time you leave Bali. From iced lattes and espressos to cold brews and French presses… Bali has it all. You can check out our fave brews in Bali here, or go straight to the source and see what goes on at a coffee plantation in the quiet and rural hills of Bedugul.
19. Party ’til dawn, every night of the week
Bali’s nightlife scene is quite the contrast to the island’s peaceful landscapes and sacred temples, with huge parties at different venues every night of the week. Think Sunday is a day for rest? Think again. In Bali, Sunday nights are the biggest, with the Phoenix parties at OMNIA Dayclub, wild live bands at Deus in Canggu, and the iconic Single Fin Sundays on the Uluwatu clifftops. Dancing shoes are mandatory.
20. Have a bonfire on the beach
For a magical experience beneath the stars, make your way down the cliff face of Uluwatu to Sundays Beach Club where a nightly bonfire crackles as the sun sets. Toast marshmallows on the sand and settle in to the comfy beanbags – and while you’re at it, graze on the gourmet menus from famed Aussie chefs.
21. Stay in a swanky villa
From wow-worthy villas in Seminyak, to party pads in Canggu and the most incredible castle-like mansions in the midst of the jungle, Bali’s accommodation options are on another level. Beachfront, clifftop or overlooking a rice valley – take your pick because you’ll be amazed at the level of luxury you can get for a lot less money than you’d think.
22. Swing through the trees
We’ve all seen those mystical pics of the sky-high swing up above the treetops. Well, that iconic spot is located at Bali’s Zen Hideaway retreat in the hills of Ubud – but it’s not the only awesome swing on the island. Go to Zen for a jungle vista, or go east to the Bali Chocolate Factory for a sea-view swing. Or, if you want to swing with your toes in the ocean, head to Pandawa Beach or hop over to Gili Trawangan.
23. Visit the Botanical Gardens
Fresh mountain air, wide open spaces and manicured gardens for as far as the eye can see. The Botanical Gardens in Bedugul really are a sight to be seen, and its bamboo forest is a trail to be trodden. Make a day of it up here and bring a picnic (don’t forget to grab a punnet of fresh strawberries being sold on the roadside) and to up the activity levels, head into the garden’s TreeTop Adventure Park where you can clamber through the trees like Tarzan and Jane.
24. Dolphin watch in Lovina
A trip to Lovina in North Bali is a treat in itself, but add a Dolphin Watching tour onto your itinerary to really make the most of this pristine region. Head out on a traditional outrigger before the sun has risen, and spot the silhouettes of playful dolphins against the luminous sky as dawn begins to break. There’s no better way to start your day.
25. Feel on top of the world at Pura Lempuyang
Not only providing a jaw-dropping vista one-thousand steps high, Pura Lempuyang is considered one of the most holy places in Bali. Known as the “Gateway to Heaven”, visit on a clear day and you’ll be able to see Mount Agung’s majestic peak framed perfectly by the temples sides. Make a day of it up here as there are six other temples to explore, plus nearby waterfalls and gorgeous rice terraces.