10 Awesome Islands Near Bali That You Can Easily Visit

By Author Jon Algie

Posted on Last updated: October 1, 2019

Categories Blog , Indonesia , Southeast Asia

10 Awesome Islands Near Bali That You Can Easily Visit

Bali means many things to many people. Some are captivated by the spirituality, kind locals, variety of landscapes and hip beach bars while others catch one glimpse of Kuta — and all the tackiness it’s famous for — and decide Bali isn’t for them. A trip to Bali doesn’t have to mean spending all your time on that one island though and there really is an island near Bali for everyone. From lazy days on the Gili Islands to exploring ancient temples and active volcanoes on Java, there are so many options. Check out my favourite islands close to Bali and you might get some inspiration for your next trip!

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The Gili Islands

The Gili Islands is a group of three tiny coral islands off the coast of Lombok. Famous for white sand beaches, fancy resorts and nightlife.

Gili Trawangan

The largest of the Gili Islands, Gili Trawanagan (usually shortened to Gili T) is the one to visit if you want a few drinks and a dance after a long day of relaxing. It’s the most built-up of the Gili Islands and there are accommodation options to suit all budgets. There isn’t a lot to do during the day apart from diving and snorkeling, but if you want to spend some time sitting on world-class beaches while eating good food you can’t go wrong. The beaches on Gili Trawanagan (and its two neighbours) are better than any I’ve seen on Bali itself.

Gili Trawangan, one of many awesome islands near Bali

If Gili T is too busy for your tastes, you’ll feel much more at home on Gili Meno . The smallest of the three islands, Gili Meno attracts an older, more upmarket crowd. It’s the one you’ll want to spend the most time on if you’re on your honeymoon. The beaches are stunning (and more consistent than the other two islands) and there are some cool places to eat and drink. Again, there’s not much to do but that’s kind of the point.

Gili Meno, one of the nicest islands near Bali

Gili Air is kind of a mix of Gili Meno and Gili T. Personally it’s the one I’d skip if you could only visit two of the islands, but it does have all the attributes of an island paradise, so it could be a good option.

Gili Air, a stunning island near Bali

Getting to the Gili Islands: You can catch a fast ferry from Bali to the Gili Islands – it’ll take a few hours all up and can be booked from popular destinations in Bali such as Seminyak and Kuta. It’s not the cheapest option and apparently the seas can get rough, but it’s the most common way to get there. You can also take a public ferry to Lombok (from Padang Bai in Bali) then travel overland to Bangsal where you can take a local boat to your island of choice. Another option is to fly to Lombok then organise transport to Bangsal.

Where to Stay: Some of my favourite Gili Islands hotels include PinkCoco ,  Seri Resort and Villa Gili Bali Beach

Lombok, a large island to the east of Bali, has a lot going for it. There’s Mount Rinjani, the highest mountain / volcano in Indonesia, some stunning waterfalls and a few quiet but up and coming beach towns . I haven’t spent much time on Lombok but I enjoyed the short trip I did there recently. It seems like a more adventurous / off the beaten path place to travel than Bali and you could easily spend a couple of weeks exploring the island. We stayed in Kuta and stayed at an awesome resort on our recent Bali honeymoon — it was an awesome experience!

Check out this awesome resort in Kuta, Lombok!

Lombok, one of the largest islands near Bali

Getting to Lombok: I recommend flying. It cost us around $30 each for the half hour flight – make sure to get a window seat as you’ll fly over some nice scenery. You can also catch a public ferry from Padang Bai or there are speed boat options.

The “Nusa” Islands: The Easiest Islands near Bali to Visit

This group of three islands, full of Instagrammable viewpoints and varying shades of blue water, are becoming popular “side destinations” for people visiting Bali.

Nusa Penida

You’ve probably seen the photos and now really want to visit Nusa Penida. The good news is that it can easily be done as a day trip from wherever you’re staying in Bali (assuming that’s Ubud or one of the popular southern beach areas). We did the typical Nusa Penida day trip and really enjoyed it. Kelingking Beach is amazing, and the other places are nice too. Nusa Penida is a large island and you could spend a couple of days exploring it by scooter or car / driver if a day trip doesn’t appeal. I think over time Nusa Penida will get way more popular and more beaches and viewpoints will be “discovered”.

Nusa Penida, a scenic island near Bali

Nusa Lembongan

Nusa Lembongan is a good place to visit if you’re looking for a quick island getaway from Bali. The beaches aren’t as nice as those on the Gili Islands but there are more exploration options, including trips to surreal coastal features. The two beaches most people stay near are kind of average though, so if all you want is a lazy beach holiday I’d recommend the Gilis.

Nusa Lembongan, a beautiful island near Bali

Nusa Ceningan

This small island is joined to Nusa Lembongan by a bridge and can easily be visited in a few hours (I walked there from my guesthouse at Jungut Batu on Nusa Lembongan). You can stay there too obviously and there are some nice little beaches scattered around the island. The real highlight though is the Blue Lagoon — such a nice shade of blue!

islands to visit while in bali

Getting to the Nusa Islands: Aside from taking a tour to the islands (which is a good idea if you’re short on time), you can also easily catch regular boats there. Most boats plying the Bali – Nusa Lembongan / Penida route leave from Sanur. They take around an hour and most seem comfortable and affordable. There are also public slow boats leaving from Padang Bai, but I haven’t heard great things about this route. If you only have a short time in Bali you can do a day trip to Nusa Penida or Nusa Lembongan / Ceningan but probably not to all three.

Java is one of the world’s great islands – it could easily consume your entire trip to Indonesia if you wanted it to. There is heaps to see and I’ve only scratched the surface. Java is home to arguably Indonesia’s coolest city (Jogjakarta), one of its most impressive volcano view (Mount Bromo) and its best temples (Borobudur and Prambanan). It also features heaps of nice beaches, numerous other volcanoes, temples, waterfalls and scenic areas such as the Dieng Plateau.

islands to visit while in bali

Getting to Java: From Bali you can either take a bus / ferry to Java or fly. Flying to Jogjakarta and then making your way back overland to Bali would be a good idea.

Komodo National Park

A trip to the Komodo islands , where you’ll see the famous Komodo dragons, sleep on small boats, see dolphins jumping at sunset (if you’re lucky like me), set foot on pristine beaches and climb to stunning viewpoints is easily attainable during a holiday to Bali. You can do a “cruise” from Labuan Bajo on Flores but there are also tours which run direct from Lombok. I did a one-night island hopping trip and then spent a couple of nights on Kanawa Island, a basic but beautiful island famous for snorkeling and diving. In fact, there are heaps of places to snorkel and dive in Komodo National Park – I’m not an experienced snorkeler at all but it’s the best place I’ve done it.

A komodo dragon on Komodo Island in Komodo National Park, Flores, Indonesia

Getting to Komodo National Park: The best way is to fly to Flores (you can get some great deals) and then book a boat trip. The boats (at least the one I was on) are basic and you might be sleeping on mattresses spread out along the boat (no cabins!) but it’s a fun experience.

I spent two weeks exploring Flores and it turned out to be one of my favourite islands in Indonesia. The 17 Islands Marine Park is home to some of the most pristine beaches I’ve ever seen and Mount Kelimutu , with its colourful crater lakes, is a sight worth going out of your way for. Flores isn’t the kind of place you’d go for a couple of days while visiting Bali as it takes some time to get around – plan on at least a week (more if combining it with Komodo National Park).

Backpacing in Indonesia - a view of the 17 islands marine park in Riung, Flores

Getting to Flores: Most people fly to Labuan Bajo from Bali. I arrived on the other side of the island (from West Timor) on a ferry and travelled across the entire island. Travelling by overnight ferry in Indonesia is a good experience and is very affordable!

This is definitely not a complete list of islands near Bali – there are heaps more! Have you been to any? Which were your favourite? Let me know in the comments below!

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Monday 1st of October 2018

The Gili islands & Lonbok are not advisable tourist destinations right now due to the instability & earthquake recovery & trauma they have been through. Boats reserved for recovery effort. The place I was going to stay in Gili Air was completely decimated by the late Aug earthquake. Oct 1, 2018

Tuesday 2nd of October 2018

Thanks for the update Lorraine! I figured they'd be back to normal by now but these things take time.


A Guide to Island Hopping From Bali

  • March 23, 2023

Island hopping from Bali to the neighboring islands is a great way to explore the tropical beauty of Indonesia.

From Bali, a speedy boat ride can get you to the nearby islands of Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan and Ceningan, as well as Lombok and the Gili Islands.

Explore even more magnificent nature, and have a more calm and relaxed experience than the mainland – it’s basically the perfect opportunity for a holiday within a holiday!

Here is everything you need to know about island hopping from Bali.

Why Go Island Hopping in Bali?

islands to visit while in bali

Bali is surrounded by many different islands, each with unique cultures, landscapes and activities. All much smaller than Bali, you can easily explore a lot more of these islands in a shorter amount of time.

From relaxing on the beach, to exploring vibrant underwater life and learning the cultural heritage of the region, heading off the mainland is a great way to enjoy even more of this paradise part of the world.

Gili Trawangan, Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Penida and Lombok are a few of the most popular islands to visit, while lesser-known islands such as Ceningan and Pemuteran are equally as beautiful.

Each of these islands has something a little different to offer, from snorkelling and diving, to trekking and hiking. Although it is possible to visit a handful of these islands for a day trip, taking the time for an overnight stay will give you the chance to really immerse in the tropical magic.

Travelers who backpack around Bali love to take the time to visit each of the islands and take advantage of the reasonable prices. If you have the time, add some of these amazing islands to your Bali bucket list!

Where to Island Hopping from Bali?

islands to visit while in bali

The Gili Islands for partying, Nusa Penida for nature, Nusa Lembongan for diving, Lombok for surfing – check out these INCREDIBLE islands just a quick trip from Bali.

Island Hopping to Gili Trawangan

islands to visit while in bali

Gili Trawangan is one of the small tropical islands located off the coast of Lombok. Lined with stunning white sand beaches, buzzing beach bars and small, independent restaurants and cafes, it has all the right vibes of Bali without the crowds.

There aren’t any motor vehicles on the island, only horse-drawn carts and bicycles. When you get off at the dock you will be lured into taking a horse-drawn cart to your accommodation, but you will be contributing to the harsh conditions of the horses. Everything is easily walkable around the island, and although you may be a little hot, you will have a clear conscience.

Snorkeling and diving are popular activities, with the coral reefs right off the beach with plenty of colorful fish, turtles and marine life.

Gili T has the most lively nightlife of the Gili islands. Their bars party into the early morning, with a healthy flood of travelers from all over the world. There is even a special night food market for those drunken bites after a heavy night of partying.

To get over to the Gilis , you will have an option of the cheaper, local boat that will take you to Lombok, or the speedy fast boat that drops you right in the ocean off the shore of each of the Gili Islands. The length of your journey will depend on which harbour, weather conditions and type of boat you get. The crowds can get a little bit manic around the harbours, but once you are on the island, you will feel the full paradise effect!

Once on the island, getting around is super easy by bicycle. You can get around the whole island in less than an hour!

Where to Stay in Gili Trawangan:

Love coconut bungalows.

islands to visit while in bali

PinkCoco Gili Trawangan

islands to visit while in bali

Island Hopping to Gili Air and Meno

islands to visit while in bali

Gili Air and Gili Meno are 2 smaller islands located beside Gili Trawangan. Just as stunningly tropical and idyllic, the white sand beaches meet crystal clear waters with beach bars and restaurants encompassing the perimeter.

Gili Meno sits between Trawangan and Air. It is a little less often visited than its neighbors, but boasts all the same magnificent features like clean beaches, great restaurants, accommodations and amenities.

The middle child, Gili Air, is known for its chill vibe and amazing snorkeling. When the hectic parties of Gili T don’t suit, Gili Air offers something a little more calm and relaxed.

It’s super easy to get from one Gili to another, whether you hire a small boat or hop on a transfer. Visiting all 3 is super recommended for a fun filled, island hopping weekend in Bali. You can just stop by from Gili T for an afternoon of snorkeling and exploring.

Where to Stay in Gili Air and Meno:

Les villas ottalia gili meno.

islands to visit while in bali

Sejuk Cottages

islands to visit while in bali

Island Hopping to Lombok

islands to visit while in bali

Island hopping from Bali to Lombok is great for the adventurous travelers among us.

You can get over to Lombok by plane or boat, depending on your preference. Flying from Bali to Lombok only takes about 45 minutes, though you’ll want to account for the transit times in the airport. The ferry from Padang Bai is a 2 hour trip, with magnificent views and it much more of an experience.

Obviously, weather conditions will have an affect on your boating conditions. Be sure to check out the departure times and conditions before hopping aboard.

There are so many things to do and see when exploring Lombok. Bukit Merese is the place to go for incredible sunsets, white Selong Belanak Beach is epic for a day in the sun and enjoying the clean ocean waters.

Villas in Lombok are really beautiful. But if you are looking for something a bit cheaper there are so many amazing places to stay in Lombok .

Where to Stay in Lombok:

The lombok lodge suites & private villas.

islands to visit while in bali

Katamaran Hotel & Resort

islands to visit while in bali

Island Hopping to Nusa Penida

islands to visit while in bali

Nusa Penida is the closest neighbouring island to mainland Bali, and is only a speedy 45 minute boat ride away. You can hop on a boat from either Tanjung Benoa or Sanur, and it’ll cost you an easy USD$20.

People often refer to Nusa Penida as what Bali used to be – a simple, beautiful place with sprawling and landscapes and very few large buildings. You’ll find quaint local spots hidden among nature, as well as a few ultra-luxe resorts looking back over the mountain range of Bali.

The must-see spots on the island include:

  • Atuh Beach – surrounded by towering cliffs and crystal-clear waters, making it a favorite place for sunbathing, swimming, and exploring.
  • Angel’s Billabong – a natural infinity pool where you can take a dip in the warm waters. Be careful when you are here because big dangerous waves might come unexpectedly. It’s important to always be vigilant and not get caught in the current.
  • Kelingking Beach – home to an amazing viewpoint that overlooks the entire island. The picturesque view of the turquoise waters and lush greenery will take your breath away. For those looking for a more adrenaline-filled experience, you can go diving or snorkeling in the clear waters, or explore the nearby caves and coves.

When travelling to Nusa Penida be ready for winding roads and crazy drop offs. You won’t want to take your first scooter driving lesson here! It’s super easy to hire a driver – don’t take the risk!

Where to Stay in Nusa Penida:

Semabu hills hotel nusa penida.

islands to visit while in bali

MAUA Nusa Penida Bali

islands to visit while in bali

Island Hopping to Nusa Lembongan

islands to visit while in bali

You can island hop from Bali to Nusa Lembongan by a 30 minute ferry. A small island beside Nusa Penida, it is an idyllic spot for a lazy weekend in the sun, on perfect white sands and soaking up the chilled vibes.

There is so much to do on the small island including diving, snorkeling, surfing and fishing! If you fancy visiting some of Nusa Lembongan’s incredible natural beauties, make sure to go to Dream Beach, Devil’s Tears and Mushroom Bay.

Where to Stay in Nusa Lembongan:

Hai tide beach resort.

islands to visit while in bali

The Well House

islands to visit while in bali

Island Hopping to Nusa Ceningan

islands to visit while in bali

Nusa Ceningan is connected to Nusa Lembongan by the iconic yellow bridge. As with all the islands, the only way to get to Nusa Ceningan from Bali is by taking a ferry from Sanur or Padang Bai. Once on the island, you can easily rent a motorbike to get around and explore.

Snorkeling and swimming are some of the best things to do on the island, with beautiful white sand beaches and calm waters surrounding the coastline. The towering cliffs make an incredible backdrop for your Insta-pics, it’s truly a tropical paradise.

The currents around Nusa Ceningan can be quite strong. Only confident swimmers should consider getting in the water, and stay within the outlined areas for safety.

You’ll want to make sure to pack some comfortable shoes for exploring Nusa Ceningan, there is so much walking and exploring to be done!

Where to Stay in Nusa Ceningan:

Nusa veranda sunset villas & restaurant.

islands to visit while in bali

Indigo Blue Ceningan

islands to visit while in bali

Island Hopping to Menjangan Island

islands to visit while in bali

The government protected coral reefs of Menjangan Island draw in the most avid of divers and snorkelers. As part of the West Bali National Park, there is a specialised effort to ensure the area remains as healthy and natural as possible.

To get to Menjangan Island you will go through Labuhan Lalang, a small fishing village on the northwest coast of Bali. From the shore you will hop on a boat to take you across to the isolated island. The boat ride is a bit long, but the incredible views you get of Bali make it worth while.

On the island, you will be amazed by the variety of wildlife. It is home to monkeys, wild pigs, and even peacocks!

It’s the coral reefs that people come to visit for. They are truly beautiful with loads of marine life. Even novice divers in Bali can explore the nearby shipwrecks as the currents are easy to navigate.

Where to Stay in Menjangan Island:

Mangroove bay hostel.

islands to visit while in bali

Plataran Menjangan Resort and Spa

islands to visit while in bali

Island Hopping to Gili Putih

Gili Putih is one of the lesser visited islands around Bali.

It is a picturesque paradise with white sands, clear waters and beautiful landscapes.

As with all of the islands, you can dive into the water and see some of the stunning fish and marine life that live on the reefs.

Gili Putih is an idyllic destination for an escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life. With its beaches, vibrant coral reefs, and stunning sunsets, it’s a real paradise on earth.

Where to Stay in Gili Putih:

Sun suko boutique resort & yoga retreat.

islands to visit while in bali

Sumberkima Hill Retreat

islands to visit while in bali

Travel Tips for Island Hopping from Bali

islands to visit while in bali

Island hopping from Bali is a great way to explore multiple islands in a short space of time. You can do it spur of the moment, or plan weeks in advance.

  • Research in advance – researching which islands you want to go to, how to get there and what to do when you get there will make your island hopping journey seamless. With so much info available on the internet (Balipedia ;)) you can plan your whole trip, down to your transport before heading off!
  • Choose the right transport – Depending on the islands you plan to visit, there are a number of transport options available. You may choose to take a ferry, charter a boat or take a plane. Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to consider your budget, time constraints and the distance between the islands when making your decision.
  • Pack light – Island hopping can involve a lot of moving around, so it’s important to pack light. Choose a backpack or suitcase that is easy to transport and that you can easily carry on and off boats and planes. Consider bringing versatile pieces of clothing that can be layered, as the weather can be unpredictable.
  • Take the time to explore – Island hopping can be a busy experience, but make sure you take the time to explore the islands you visit. Stop and take in the views, try the local cuisine and take part in activities to help you make the most of your experience.

Final Thoughts

Exploring the mainland of Bali is a wild adventure, and once you add in island hopping you are in for an incredible time!

From the famous party Gilis, to the scenic Nusas and protected Menjangan Island, island hopping around Bali will be like hopping from one paradise to another. Each lined with phenomenal white sand beaches and clear waters, divers and snorkelers will be living the dream.

When you are heading to Bali, don’t forget to make some time to head to all the stunning surrounding islands.

Featured image: Gili Air

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Ultimate Bali Bucket List: 31 Top Things To Do In Bali

Planning a trip to Bali and wondering what to put on your Bali bucket list? 

If you are planning a trip to South East Asia, then your Indonesia itinerary wouldn’t be complete without a stint on the diverse and stunning island of Bali. Crowned as the World’s Best Destination 2017 by Trip Advisor, there’s no shortage of things to do in Bali, and this Bali Bucket list covers the best of the best.

It’s clear to see how the island gained its title and why thousands of tourists flock here each year. With a ton of things to see in Bali, there is plenty of choice for every type of traveller. 

So whether you’re just looking for travel inspiration right now or you’re already booked your flights and are planning the top things in Bali to see and do, this article is for you. Let’s go!

An aerial view of the Kelingking Beach at Nusa Penida with a T-rex shape of rock formation, blue water and white sand

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The Ultimate Bali Bucket List

This article covers 31 of THE best things to do in Bali . 

So, stop what you’re doing for a few minutes and check out some of the most stunning temples, beautiful beaches, unusual local wildlife, magical-looking infinity pools, iconic rice paddies, and jaw-dropping waterfalls.

Things to Do in Bali Bucket List

  • Mount Batur Sunrise Hike
  • Tegalalang Rice Terraces
  • Swing on the ‘Big Swing’
  • Chase Waterfalls
  • Diving with Manta Rays
  • Go Island Hopping
  • Trek to Mount Ijen
  • Sacred Monkey Forest

31 Incredible Things To Do In Bali

You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to planning your Bali itinerary , so to make it easy for you I’ve even included everything in this list into a handy downloadable and printable checklist to make sure you don’t miss out on any Bali highlights.

1. Mount Batur Sunrise Hike

If you’re looking for the best thing to do in Bali, then I recommend the sunrise hike to Mount Batur . Mount Batur is an active volcano a little way outside of Ubud. 

Pickup for the hike in Ubud is around 3 am and after a quick stop for banana pancakes, you’ll arrive at the base sometime after 4 am. 

Flashlights are provided and the hike itself is moderate, though at times it can be fairly steep so I definitely recommend a good pair of shoes as well as layers of clothing because it was quite cold once we reached the top. 

The view is beautiful and we were lucky to have an amazing cloud cover roll-in. There is plenty of time to watch the sunrise and tours provide a banana sandwich and a boiled egg prepared from the steam of the volcano to snack on. 

A few blankets were handed out at the top, but even with a windbreaker and a blanket, it was pretty chilly.

Once the sun rises and the temperature warms up, you’ll begin the descent. The dirt and ash mixture is thick at the top and the way down can be pretty slippery. You’ll walk by cracks with volcanic steam and potentially, a group of ornery monkeys who are ready to steal any loose belongings.

Our group of five had a nice leisurely hike and the experience was much more than I expected it to be. It’s an early morning, but definitely worth the effort! 

Check Availability: Mount Batur Sunrise Hike

Mount Batur at sunrise with clouds and girl looking at the scenery

Related Article: What To Expect On The Mount Batur Hike

2. Tegalalang Rice Terraces

The Tegalalang Rice Terraces offer one of the most vibrant experiences in Bali, Indonesia. These terraced rice fields, located in Tegalalang village near Ubud, are one of the amazing things to see in Bali.

The dynamic landscape of cascading green rice paddies creates a pulsating atmosphere that will leave you in awe. Take on the challenge of conquering the heights of the terraces, where exhilarating swings and stunning viewpoints await.

Capture the sheer energy and beauty of this UNESCO World Heritage site as you immerse yourself in the heart of Bali’s natural wonders. Be sure to explore the incredible landscape of the Tegalalang Rice Terrace.

Tegalalang Rice Terraces in Bali

Related Article: The Perfect 10 Days Bali Itinerary

3. Swing on the ‘Big Swing’

You’ve probably seen the stunning images of the ‘Big Swing’ overlooking the iconic rice paddies and jungle below numerous times on Instagram. Well, you can find the Big Swing in Bali.

There are numerous ‘Big Swings’ dotted around the island, but the hub of them is around Ubud.

The most famous of them to add to your Bali Bucket list is located in Bongkasa Pertiwi. It has 15 swings to choose from in a variety of heights; 10 metres, 15 metres, 20 metres, and 78 metres from the ground.

Another way of viewing the stunning scenery if you don’t fancy the adrenalin rush of the swing is from the giant hanging nests. The nests are suspended in the trees, where you climb up the ladder and into the nest for another great photo opportunity.

Swinging over the jungle in Bali

4. Chase Waterfalls

Many visitors know Bali as a place with amazing turquoise water and extravagant beach clubs. But did you know Bali has so much to offer besides those things? 

Hidden far away from the popular tourist destinations such as Seminyak and Kuta are some of the lushest landscapes in Indonesia that many travellers do not see; I recommend going to see the Volcanoes, rice terraces, and other natural wonders including beautiful waterfalls in Bali.

My favourite attraction in Bali is the Nungnung Waterfall. Measuring approximately 50 meters in height, Nungnung Waterfall is one of the tallest waterfalls in Bali. 

Nungnung Waterfall is located about 75 minutes away from Ubud. Since it is so far off the beaten path, the best way to reach this gem is to rent a motorbike or a private car and driver.

Don’t be discouraged by the amount of effort it takes to get there because this hidden gem is worth the trek. When I visited, I had the waterfall to myself for 30 minutes before other people arrived. That was in the middle of the day. It is incredible how this hidden gem of Bali is so unknown to the majority of visitors. 

Want to explore the island? Then you might like this Jungles, Rivers, Waterfalls and Caves Quad Bike tour .

Girl in a black dress stood in front of Nungnung Waterfall in Bali

5. Diving with Manta Rays and Turtles

Many people may not realize that Bali is one of the best places to dive in all of Indonesia! If you want to experience the underwater world, going scuba diving in Bali is a must-do.

Because diving in Bali is suitable for all levels, it’s the perfect place to get PADI qualified or if you’re already a diver, to experience some more challenging dives. There are drift dives and wreck dives which are suitable for more advanced scuba divers as well as shallow reefs which are suitable for newbie divers. However, no matter how long you have been diving, you are bound to find dive sites in Bali interesting and full of life. 

The waters around Bali are teeming with fish and macro life as well as bigger creatures like octopuses, Manta Rays, and sharks. Getting to experience them up close is one of the top things you have to do in Bali.

Diving in Bali is good year-round, however, we would suggest you visit from May to November for optimal conditions. The waters tend to be a bit colder during this time of the year (average 26-27°C) and water visibility tends to be better. Between November- April, water temperatures can reach up to 30-31°C. If diving is at all on your radar, Bali is a great place to do it.

If you’re not PADI qualified, this tour is perfect for beginners and newbies to have a go at diving.

Alternatively, you could get your full PADI Open Water Dive certificate , which allows you to dive anywhere in the world.

Turtle in a reef in Bali

Related Article: Diving with Manta Rays in Bali

6. Go Island Hopping

You can also go on an unforgettable island-hopping adventure from Bali and check off multiple destinations from your Indonesia bucket list! 

Begin your journey by exploring the renowned Gili Islands, including Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air. These idyllic tropical paradises offer pristine white sandy beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life. 

From there, venture to Nusa Lembongan , a charming island known for its stunning cliffs, picturesque coves, and world-class surf breaks. Indulge in water activities like snorkelling, diving with manta rays, or simply basking in the sun while enjoying the laid-back island vibes.

For those seeking further adventure, set your sights on Lombok, a neighbouring island that offers a diverse range of experiences. Trek to the summit of Mount Rinjani, visit traditional Sasak villages or unwind on pristine beaches such as Kuta and Tanjung Aan.

Gili Trawangan bay with blue water and boats in the sea

7. Trek to Mount Ijen

Included in the list the what-to-see in Bali is the majestic view of the beautiful Mount Ijen. This full-on adventure allows you to see one of the most impressive natural wonders that the island has to offer.  

Prepare to challenge yourself on an exhilarating midnight hike to the rim crater of Ijen Volcano and witness a spectacle like no other. As the sun rises, be mesmerised by the panoramic views from the crater. You’ll get to see the mystical-looking sulphur lake and gorgeous tropical Indonesian scenery.

Trekking to Mount Ijen is an adventure that offers not only physical challenges but also rewards you with unforgettable memories and a deep connection to the raw power and beauty of nature that Bali offers. 

Check Availability: Midnight Hike To The Ijen Volcano Rim

Trek to Mount Ijen at night

8. Sacred Monkey Forest

Gear up for an exciting experience as you enter the realm of the Sacred Ubud Monkey Forest . This extraordinary destination is an absolute must for nature enthusiasts, making it an essential highlight of your Ubud bucket list. 

Explore this lush and mystical forest, filled with mischievous macaques swinging from trees and engaging in playful encounters. 

Some of the highlights of your adventure will be the ancient temples nestled within the forest, offering a glimpse into Bali’s rich cultural heritage. You can also witness the intricate carvings and architectural beauty that adorn these sacred sites. 

As you wander through the forest, you’ll find leafy hidden trails, exotic flora, and the melodic songs of tropical birds. You’ll also have close encounters with the monkeys, who will often sit on your shoulder for a momentary photo. 

If you’re pushed for time, you you might like this tour which visits Sacred Monkey Forest, the Rice Terraces and Tanah Lot in one day .

Sacred Monkey Forest with monkey on the side

9. Go White Water Rafting

If you’re an adrenalin junkie, one of the top adventure activities to do in Bali is white water rafting. There are several rivers you can do this on in the region in varying grades, suitable for beginners (including families) up to more daring rafters.

The two main rivers to raft on are the Telaga Waja River located on the slopes of Mount Agung or along the Ayung River near Ubud.

If you’ve never experienced white water rafting at all, then I highly recommend adding this exhilarating activity to your Bali bucket list.

You’ll be safe in the hands of your qualified guide and all equipment is provided on this excursion . After you’re kitted up, you’ll get a briefing on how to control the raft before setting off along nature’s white-knuckle ride.  

Not only is this one of the most crazy things to do in Bali, but It’s a great way to check out the surrounding jungle and even try to spot wildlife as you navigate your way down the river with your fully qualified guide.

Depending on the route you take, you’ll often get a chance to jump out and swim or body raft in the calmer parts of the river.

Check out this all inclusive White Water Rafting excursion along the Ayung River which also includes a delicious and well earnt lunch. 

White water rafting on rapids in the Ayung River in Bali

10. Ride an ATV Through the Jungle

Get ready for an adrenaline-pumping experience as you do one of the most adventurous things to do in Bali — riding an ATV through the jungle.

Discover the nature of Bali as you navigate the longest quad bike track , encountering slopes, steep inclines, and bumpy terrain that will put your driving skills to the test. Feel the excitement as you speed through trails adorned with picturesque rice paddy fields, meandering rivers, and sacred temples.

Whether you choose to ride in tandem with a companion or take the wheel of your own ATV, this adventure promises non-stop excitement and mesmerising views. 

Book Here: ATV Junlge Experience in Bali

Ride an ATV Through the Jungle

11. Balinese Cooking Class

Fragrant, fresh, and flavoursome; are just three words that sum up authentic Indonesian cuisine. 

To make the memories of your holiday last long after you return home, it’s a great idea to learn to cook all those delicious dishes; such as Gado-Gado, Nasi Goreng, and Rendang.

You’ll get to learn about the various herbs and spices which go into each dish while creating a variety of mouth-watering meals. Sometimes a cooking class includes a trip to the local market to discover some of the unusual locally grown produce on sale. 

Check out this award winning cookery class set on an Organic farm, you have the option of learning to cook dishes from the regular Indonesian menu or the vegetarian/vegan menu (select when booking)

Gado gado traditional Indonesian food

12. Kecak Fire Dance

Don’t forget to witness the mesmerising Kecak Fire Dance, an essential addition to your bucket list of things to do in Bali. Immerse yourself in the traditional Balinese performance, where a chorus of men rhythmically chants “cak” while dancers enact ancient mythological tales.

As the sun sets and darkness envelops the open-air amphitheatre, be mesmerised by the flickering flames and the hypnotic chants that fill the air. The dancers are adorned in vibrant costumes, which depict stories of gods, goddesses, and mythical creatures through their intricate movements.

Feel the energy and intensity build as the performers show off their skill and agility as they reenact dramatic battles. The enchanting sound of the gamelan orchestra accompanies the performance, enhancing the mystical ambience.

 Kecak Fire Dance traditional costume

13. Learn to Surf

Bali offers the perfect playground for beginners to ride their first wave or for experienced surfers to hone their skills.

Sign up for surf lessons and let experienced instructors guide you through the fundamentals of riding the waves. Feel the rush of adrenaline as you paddle out, catch a wave, and experience the thrill of standing up and riding it to the shore. 

The warm tropical waters, sandy beaches, and stunning coastal scenery create a picturesque backdrop for your surfing adventure.

Whether you choose to conquer the legendary breaks of Kuta, experience the chilled vibes of Canggu, or explore the hidden gems of Uluwatu, Bali’s diverse surf spots cater to surfers of all levels. 

Check Availability: Bali Surfing School in Canggu

Girl surfing in Bali

14. Campuhan Ridge Walk

Another amazing thing to see and do in Bali is to discover the hidden paradise of the Campuhan Ridge Walk.  

Start with a pleasant hike through lush green valleys, rice terraces, and rolling hills. The intensely picks up, as you hike upwards along this scenic trail as you soak up the panoramic views. 

Escape the city and find solace in the tranquillity of nature, and listen to the soothing melody of birdsong and feel the gentle breeze on your skin. 

Girl in a white dress and hat on the Campuhan Ridge Walk

15. Uluwatu Temple

Uluwatu Temple definitely deserves a spot on your Bali must-do list. Perched on a cliff edge overlooking the vast Indian Ocean, this ancient sea temple offers a mesmerising blend of stunning architecture and ocean views. 

As you approach the temple, you’ll be greeted by its majestic presence backed by the rhythmic sounds of crashing waves below. Be amazed by the intricate stone carvings and the ornate Balinese architecture that adorn the temple’s façade.

Savour a sunset visit to Uluwatu Temple, as the golden hues paint the sky and create a magical atmosphere. 

Explore the temple grounds, if you’re lucky you might encounter a colony of cheeky monkeys who call the temple home.

Book Here: Combination Ticket for Sunset Uluwat Temple, Keckak Dance and Jimbaran Bay

Uluwatu Temple perched on a cliff top with blue skies in the background

16. Cultural Landscape of Bali Province

The Cultural Landscape of Bali Province is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Spanning over 19,500 hectares, this enchanting landscape showcases five stunning rice terraces and their ancient water temples.

At its core lies the ingenious subak system, a cooperative water management network dating back to the 9th century. It reflects the harmony between spirit, humanity, and nature, epitomising the profound philosophy of Tri Hita Karana.

Don’t miss the  18th-century Royal Water Temple, Pura Taman Ayun, a magnificent architectural masterpiece, and one of the highlights in the area.

The subak system, with its egalitarian farming practices, has empowered the Balinese to become the archipelago’s most prolific rice growers despite a dense population.

Step into this living tapestry where spirituality, history, and nature intertwine, unveiling the secrets of Bali’s cultural legacy. 

Rice Terraces in Ubud, Bali involving the Subak

17. Ulun Danu Beratan Temple

Be amazed by the reflection of this temple on the calm waters — creating a picturesque scene that is straight out of a postcard. Also known as the Ulun Danu Temple , this temple is a sacred Hindu shrine that pays homage to the goddess of the lake and the rivers.

Immerse yourself in the tranquil ambience as you stroll through the temple complex, surrounded by lush gardens and mist-shrouded mountains. Wander at the architectural pieces, with their multi-tiered shrines and distinctive pagoda-style roofs, seemingly floating on the shimmering lake.

Capture the beauty of this spiritual oasis as you soak in the serenity and embrace the harmonious balance between man and nature.

Book Here: The Secret Garden, Ulun Danu Temple and Waterfall Tour

Girl rowing a boat with a background of Ulun Danu Beratan Temple in Bali

18. Lounge at the Hanging Gardens of Bali 

For the ultimate relaxation experience to add to your Bali bucket you can’t miss the infamous Hanging Gardens of Bali . It’s also a firm favourite for Instagrammers.

Situated in the heart of the jungle in a village just north of Ubud you’ll find Bali’s most famous infinity pool . This luxury five-star resort offers 44 private suites and individual villas. Each one also has its own private infinity pool looking out over the jungle below.

This multi-level award-winning pool has been crowed “best swimming pool in the world” numerous times and it’s so obvious to see why. Just look at it! Not only has it been listed as the best swimming pool, but it also boasts other prestigious recognitions, including the World Luxury Spa Awards and the World Luxury Restaurant Awards.

However, for all that luxury, The Hanging Gardens of Bali come with a premium price tag.

Two great alternatives which also have stunning infinity pools but WITHOUT the crazy price tag are the Padma Resort Ubud or Adiwana Dara Ayu Villas . You’d be hard-pushed to be disappointed at either of these!

Man in an infinity pool in the Bali jungle

19. Enjoy the Therapeutic Waters at Banjar Hot Springs

For a relaxing day out in the north of Bali, try the Air Panas Banjar Holy Hot Springs. A short 10km drive outside Lovina. From the gate, wander down the road towards the main entrance to the Hot Springs past the shops offering clothes, hats, and souvenirs.

Inside Banjar Holy Hot Springs, there are changing rooms (small charge) and showers to use before and after your swim.

The Banjar Holy Hot Springs has 3 separate pools set in lush tropical surroundings. There is a long 1-meter-deep children’s pool, though adults use it too; a large square pool that tapers to 2 meters deep and a shallow pool you stand in and are showered from above. The soft green water comes out of the mouths of Naga – stone-carved mythical creatures.

The therapeutic sulfur water is an agreeable 38 degrees and will ease away any aches and pains you may have. If you need more relaxation, there is a private Jacuzzi and massages available.

After your swim, you can relax by the edge of the pool or one of the shaded seated areas around the grounds. There is also a restaurant for meals, tea, coffee, or a Bintang, the local beer.

A word of warning, if you have coloured or bleached hair tied your hair up and keep it out of the water otherwise it might turn slightly green. The same goes for light-coloured bikinis or costumes wash them out well after use.

Banjar Hot Springs in Bali with continous water

20. Visit Besakih Temple

You definitely can’t miss a visit to the revered Besakih Temple, the holiest and largest Hindu temple complex in Bali, located on the slopes of Mount Agung.

The complex comprises more than 80 individual temples, each with its own unique significance and purpose. Explore the vast courtyards, adorned with ornate carvings, statues, and beautifully landscaped gardens.

Feel the spiritual energy permeate the air as devotees come to pay their respects and offer prayers. Witness traditional ceremonies and rituals, immersing yourself in the vibrant and authentic Balinese culture.

From the temple grounds, gaze upon fascinating views of the surrounding countryside and Mount Agung, Bali’s highest peak. 

Besakih Temple with pink clouds in the background

21. Watch Sunset Over Tanah Lot Temple

Set out on a rock formation overlooking the sea, you’ll find the picturesque 16th-century Hindu temple Pura Tanah Lot (“Tanah Lot temple”). It’s popular with both worshippers and tourists so watch out for the crowds at peak times.

Depending on how the tide is, you can walk right out to the foot of the outcrop, however, tourists cannot climb the winding stairs leading up to the temple.

The temple is located about 20km from Denpasar, so it could be done as a whole day trip on a bicycle (for the ambitious), via TukTuk or Taxi or you could book a guided tour with transport included .

The temple is surrounded by well-manicured gardens as well as a slightly naff market (there are better and cheaper souvenir markets on Bali) as well as a handful of restaurants and cafes.

Book Here: Guided Sunset Tour of Tanah Lot with Transportation

Tanah Lot Temple with sunset in the background

Related Article:  50 Most Iconic Landmarks in Asia

22. Explore the Natural Cliff Bridges at Broken Beach

Have you ever heard of Broken Beach ? I know it is an odd name, but it is such a gorgeous location to visit. Broken Beach is located on an island called Nusa Penida which is a popular day trip that tourists take when visiting Bali. 

The island is famous for its gorgeous cliff faces and dramatic landscapes and Broken Beach is one of them. The iconic beach is actually a collapsed cave that has left a rather large hole in the ground (there is a lot of fascinating geological information when it comes to its formation!) and the sea has found its way into the collapsed area turning it into a rather beautiful sight.

The Broken Beach area can get its fair share of tourists through the day despite the rather challenging route that you need to head out on to get there. Luckily, there are a lot of places for people to wander around in, so you really don’t feel the crowds. 

If you do want to click one of the iconic photographs you may have to stand in line though. There are several spots, so it isn’t all that bad. It is also close to another iconic spot on the island called the Angel Billabong. Alternatively, you could stay overnight in Nusa Penida and get there super early to miss the crowds.

Broken Beach in Bali with high steep rock and blue water

23. Walk Between the Gates of Heaven at Lempuyang Temple

One of the most Instagrammable sites in Bali is taken at the Lempuyang Temple. Here you’ll find the famous split Gate of Heaven with the scenic backdrop of Mount Agung.

There are several temples spread out around the hiking trails around Mount Lempuyang which are also worthwhile visiting if the crowds around the Gate of Heaven are too much. Lempuyang is a Balinese Hindu Temple built in the 10th Century AD.

Because of its popularity, it’s worthwhile getting to the gate early in the morning. You’ll be given a ticket with a number on it which tells you where in the queue you are. There are numerous locals sitting at the gate who will take your photo for you.

Watch out for some of the scams through and the ‘lake reflection’ photo, there is no lake and this is a camera trick that the touts use.

Despite the crowds, the Gate of Heaven definitely needs to be on your Bali Bucket list.

To the iconic shot like the one below (as well as the reflective camera trickery one where it looks like the Gates of Heaven are in water) you can book the Instagram Tour of Bali which takes you to a load of Insta-worthy spots on Bali in a day.

Girl standing between the Gates of Heaven at Lempuyang Temple with mountains on the background

24. Take Park in the Blessing Ritual at Pura Tirta Empul

For well over 1000 years, Balinese Hindu worshippers have been coming to Pura Tirta Empul to be blessed in the waters. The word ‘Pura Tirta Empul’ translates to Holy Spring Temple in Balinese. It’s considered one of the most sacred water sources in Bali. And a must-see for your Bali bucket list.

Starting at the left-hand side of the pool, queues of worshippers wait waist-deep in line to dip their heads under the fountains of water. They then join the next queue, working their way along the fountains and repeating the process until they have cleansed themselves under each of the fountains. This purification ritual is known as ‘melukat’.

You might notice two spouts that no one is lining up for, these are reserved for the cleansing of the dead.

In recent years tourists come to this temple to watch the blessing rituals as well as to bathe in its cool and fresh sacred water. This is a sacred site, so if you choose to do this you will have to wear a sarong .

You can see the blessing ritual of Pura Tirta Empul, the Elephant Cave temple, rice paddies, and the Tegenungan Waterfall on this full-day tour .

Girl take the blessing ritual at Pura Tirta Empul Bali

25. Try to See the Shy Gentle Giant; The Mola Mola

One of the top places to see Manta Rays in Bali is at Manta Point (the name kinda gives it away). Snorkelling and Scuba trips to Manta Point can be booked either on mainland Bali (usually from Canguu, Kuta, and Seminyak) or nearby Nusa Penida.

Most excursions to Manta Point also include scuba diving or snorkelling in Crystal Bay . Here you will see a multitude of tropical fish or perhaps a sea turtle. However, the critter you really want to see here is the bizarre-looking Mola Mola, also known as a Sunfish. 

Although they range in size, the Mola Mola is the world’s heaviest bony fish, a fully grown adult can weigh up to 1000kg! They usually reside in the deeper cooler water, however, they come to the surface to warm their plate-like flat bodies and sightings of them are relatively common around Crystal Bay. 

For the best chances to see both the Manta Rays and MolaMola (Sunfish) book a full-day snorkeling trip which goes to Manta Point and Nusa Penida .

three manta rays in the ocean

26. Catch Chilled Beach Vibes at Amed Beach

Amed is a laid-back beach destination found on the lesser-visited east coast of Bali beneath the backdrop of Mount Agung which is likely Bali’s most infamous volcano. To reach the area most people arrive following a 2-hour journey from Ubud which passes Besakih Temple, an attraction definitely worth stopping at, and it passes the surrounding Mount Agung area.

It is possible to visit on a day-trip itinerary but is forever recommended as one of the best places to stay in Bali , at least for a night or two, to properly experience the charm of this black sand beach and the surrounding coastal areas. If you’re on a budget and looking for cheap things in Bali to do, you could easily whittle away a few days here. 

Amed would likely be best known for its proximity to some of the best scuba and snorkelling spots of Bali, but it is also a serene escape for charm in local beach life where fishing scenes through the day are really quite fascinating. 

It is recommended to be there in the early morning, not just for the beautiful sunrise, but this is when the local fishermen set out with their nets and there is a toing-and-froing of traditional jukung fishing boats along the beach and coastline. 

At sunset the fishing boats return to shore with their catches for the day, bringing a load of local bustle to the area which is fascinating to watch from the laidback beach life and restaurants that line the perimeter of the shore.

Sunrise on Amed Beach with brown sand and boats

27. Go on a Hot Air Balloon Flight

A balloon flight makes for one of the most unforgettable experiences and one of the top things to add to your Bali bucket list.

Imagine peacefully floating 50 meters above the vibrant jungle and iconic rice paddies with panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes, even as far as Mount Agung.

Included in the excursion, passengers on the morning flight will enjoy breakfast before or after your balloon experience and afternoon flights include tea and treats. If you book n to the evening flight, then dinner is included in the price.

Find out more about taking a hot air balloon flight and booking options here.

Two hot air ballons flying high during sunset

28. Eat Your Way Around Bali

Out of all the towns on Bali island, Ubud is known for being the cultural, hippie, and vegan capital. Countless art galleries, trendy cafes, earth-friendly businesses, and yoga teacher training studios call Ubud home.

One of the best cafes in Ubud is the Clear Cafe which was founded on the danu principles of establishing a healthy eating and living community and creating a space to escape from the hustle and bustle and feel at home.

One of their mottos proudly presented on their menu is “Eat the food you wish to be.” Their menu is filled with delicious health food and drink options, made with locally sourced products and labelled with allergen information. 

Visitors will undoubtedly struggle to pick just one drink and one meal, out of their extensive lists of “Tonics & Elixirs”, “Power Drinks” and “Fresh Juices”. They serve “World Flavors”, or traditional dish favourites from different parts of the world, sure to delight all travellers to Bali. They also have a “Raw and Macro” menu for the super health-conscious. 

The Clear Cafe’s claim to fame is not just its healthy food menu. The entire atmosphere of the cafe takes you off of the busy Bali streets into a safe haven, perfect for disconnecting and having face-to-face conversations. The famous front door of the Clear Cafe is a rotating Hobbit door, which makes you feel like you are literally entering a portal to another, more relaxed world. 

The interior is designed beautifully and is a combination of natural greenery, and comfy seating options, and is open-concept to let the wind flow through the premises. 

While you’re exploring all the best things to do in Bali, Indonesia, be sure to visit Clear Cafe in Ubud for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! 

Food at Clear Cafe in Ubud Bali

29. Drink Cocktails on Canggu or Seminyak Beach

Sipping cocktails is one of the best things to do in Bali at night. As the sun sets, the vibrant beachfront areas of Canggu or Seminyak come alive with vibrant energy, making it the perfect time to unwind and enjoy the cool ocean breeze.

Find a cosy beach bar or lounge, sink your toes into the soft sand, and let the expert mixologists craft delicious cocktails that tantalise your taste buds. Savour the flavours of tropical concoctions as you gaze out over the sparkling sea, serenaded by the rhythmic crashing of waves.

Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere as live music fills the air and the beachfront comes alive with enchanting lights. Raise a toast to the amazing Bali nights, surrounded by the beauty of the beach and the company of friends or loved ones. 

Seminyak Beach with colouful beanbags and umbrellas

30. Embrace the Holistic Culture

Curious about what to do in Bali to embrace its holistic culture? This kind of journey will allow you to connect with the island’s spiritual heritage and find inner peace.

Start your day with a yoga or meditation session in one of the tranquil retreats, surrounded by lush greenery and soothing sounds of nature. Engage in a Balinese healing ritual, where skilled practitioners use traditional techniques to restore balance and harmony to your mind, body, and soul.

Explore the ancient temples scattered across the island, such as the iconic Uluwatu Temple or the serene Tirta Empul, where you can participate in a traditional water purification ceremony.

lady with a pink flower in her hair having a head massage

31. Browse the Artisan Markets for Authentic Sovineers

You cannot complete your what to see and do in Bali checklist without buying souvenirs to keep reminded of this wonderful journey!

Discover the bustling streets of Ubud’s art market, filled with traditional crafts, intricate paintings, and handmade textiles. Explore the vibrant markets of Seminyak and Canggu, where you’ll find a fusion of contemporary designs, trendy fashion, and local handicrafts.

Engage with local artisans, learn about their traditional techniques, and gain insights into Bali’s rich artistic heritage. From intricately carved woodwork to beautifully woven fabrics, these markets showcase the craftsmanship and creativity of Balinese artists.

From unique home decor items to stylish fashion accessories, these markets offer an array of choices for every taste.

Visiting the artisan markets is not only a chance to find remarkable keepsakes but also an opportunity to support local artisans and contribute to the preservation of Balinese craftsmanship.

Artisan Markets for Authentic Souvenirs from Bali

Bali Bucketlist FAQs 

So, we’ve just covered over 30 outstanding things to do in Bali island. This next section gives some useful travel tips about planning your trip to Bali. 

How Big Is Bali?

Bali, an Indonesian province, spans around 5,780 square kilometres (2,230 square miles). Despite its small size, Bali is famous for its cultural heritage, beautiful landscapes, and thriving tourism industry.

When Is the Best Time to Visit Bali?

The best time to visit Bali is during the dry season, which typically runs from April to October. This period offers pleasant weather, fewer rain showers, and optimal conditions for outdoor activities and exploring the island’s stunning beaches and attractions.

How Many Days Are Enough for Bali Trip?

The ideal duration for a Bali trip depends on the activities you plan to do and your personal preferences. However, a recommended timeframe is around 7 to 10 days to fully experience Bali’s diverse offerings, including popular attractions, cultural tours, beach relaxation, and exploring the island.

What Should Be the Top Things on My Bali Bucket List?

Be sure to include these must-visit places to see in Bali: Mount Batur Sunrise Hike, the Tegalalang Rice Terraces, the ‘Big Swing’ experience, chasing waterfalls, diving with majestic Manta Rays, going on an island-hopping adventure, trekking to Mount Ijen, and exploring the enchanting Sacred Monkey Forest.

What Are the Best Things to Do in Bali as a Solo Traveller?

As a solo traveller in Bali, you can go on exciting adventures like hiking Mount Batur for a sunrise trek, exploring the artistic town of Ubud, relaxing on the beautiful beaches, taking a yoga retreat, visiting the ancient temples, and immersing yourself in the vibrant local culture.

What Is Bali Best Known For?

Bali is best known for its stunning beaches, vibrant cultural heritage, lush landscapes, and warm hospitality. The island is famous for its unique Hindu temples, traditional arts and crafts, fascinating rice terraces, world-class surfing spots, and a vibrant culinary scene, making it a popular destination for travellers worldwide.

What Should I Not Miss in Bali?

Don’t miss the beautiful beaches, rich cultural experiences, vibrant markets, iconic temples, traditional dances, and mouthwatering cuisine that Bali has to offer. The island’s natural beauty, warm hospitality, and unique blend of traditions make it a destination that shouldn’t be missed by any traveller.

How Many of These Top Things in Bali Are on Your Bucket List? 

Now you’ve discovered the best things to do in Bali, which of these incredible activities are your favourite?

There’s something in this Bali bucket list to suit every style of traveller on any budget. I absolutely loved my time on the island, there’s something about Bali that gets under your skin and really leaves you wanting more.  

There really are so many things in Bali to do, and even though I was there for a decent chunk of time, I can’t wait to come back and explore more. 

Looking for more Bali or Indonesia travel inspiration, check out these other great articles…

  • Complete Guide To 10 Days In Bali Itinerary
  • Hiking Mount Batur, Bali
  • Bali Scuba Diving at Manta Point
  • 50+ Most Famous Landmarks in Asia

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If you found this bucket list Bali guide useful, save this post for future reference. Know someone else who will find this helpful, then why not share it with them?

Have a question about planning a trip to Bali? then head to the Contact page and drop me a message.

Ultimate Bali Bucket List: 31 Top Things To Do In Bali 1

Hey, I'm Becki......and I'm a self-confessed travel addict and experience connoisseur!

In other words, I’m a bucket-list traveller, on a mission to experience the best things our fabulous little planet has to offer with the least environmental impact.

When I'm not climbing mountains, scuba diving, spotting wildlife or exploring ruins, you'll probably find me sipping coffee, or with a glass of wine in hand planning my next adventure.

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  • Bali's Island Gems: Discover The Top 15 Destinations For Bliss

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islands to visit while in bali

Bali is a beautiful paradise of serene beaches, breathtaking landscapes, and vibrant culture. It's the best choice if you are planning for cheap Bali packages . It's no wonder that it's one of the most popular places to visit in Southeast Asia. But with so many islands to explore, it can be hard to narrow down your options. Here are some of the best islands in Bali to explore and experience. Do visit these islands on your Bali tour packages from India .

Java Island

islands to visit while in bali

Java is the largest island on this list and is distinguished as the center of Indonesian culture. Java is a must-see for anyone who wants to properly experience Indonesia's enormous cultural history. Java is frequently referred to as "Little Indonesia." It has everything, from stunning temple architecture to mesmerizing volcanoes, making it one of the best nearby islands for vacationing. Java is home to ancient Hindu and Buddhist monuments such as Borobudur, the Sultan's Palace, and other captivating locations. The best island in Bali will let you discover breathtaking beaches and volcanoes.

  • Guided Temple Tour: Taman Ayun, Ulundanu, Handara Gate, Banyumala water fall and twin lake

Lombok Island

islands to visit while in bali

Lombok is part of the Lesser Sunda Islands, located in the Indian Ocean. Lombok, which is marketed as "an unspoiled Bali," is what many anticipated Bali to be before it got congested and turned into a popular tourism destination. The island has recently gained popularity for its beaches and as a surfing destination. The West Nusa Tenggara island of Lombok boasts an abundance of attractions both above and below the water, including magnificent beaches, the towering Mt Rinjani, and fantastic aquatic life. It's no surprise that Lombok has become one of the most popular destinations in West Nusa Tenggara and the best island in Bali .

You can start the fantastic walk to Mount Rinjani from North Lombok and stay until the sun sets on Gili's lovely beaches. One of Indonesia's tallest volcanoes, Mount Rinjani, has a summit elevation of 3,726 meters above sea level. One of the magnificent views you should see is the Segara Anak Crater Lake, which is located on top of the volcano.

  • South Bali Trail A - South Bali Beaches visit: Any two beaches (Nusa Dua Beach/Pandawa Beach/Padang Padang Beach) + GWK Culture Park + Uluwatu Cliff Temple + Kecak Dance.

Gili Islands

islands to visit while in bali

The term "Gili Islands" is misleading, as Gili merely means "small island." Since most of the islands off the coast of Lombok have Gili in their names, it is best to only refer to the other Gilis in that area by their proper names while speaking in English. Off the coast of Lombok, Indonesia, the Gili Islands are a group of three tiny islands known as the "Gili island triplets": Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air.

  • Kintamani Volcano + Tegallalang Rice Terraces + Ubud monkey forest

Gili Trawangan

islands to visit while in bali

The Gili Islands are three close-by islands that are famous tourist attractions for visitors to Lombok. It is 3 km long and 2 km wide, and there are about 1500 people living there. There are no motorized vehicles on Gili Trawangan or the other two Gilis. Bicycles that locals rent out to tourists and cidomos, which are tiny horse-drawn carriages, are the primary modes of mobility. The majority of the time, locals use motorboats and speedboats to get to and from each of the Gilis. Since the island is too small to support any significant agriculture and is too far away to support any commercially viable industry or trade, Gili Trawangan's economy is centered on tourism. It will be a unique island to visit in Bali .

Seminyak (2N)

  • Sunset at Uluwatu temple

islands to visit while in bali

Gili Meno is incredibly tiny, measuring only two kilometers in length and one kilometer in width. The natural area is still undeveloped and draws throngs of visitors looking for seclusion in a natural setting. Both honeymooners and travelers looking for adventure flock to Gili Meno in great numbers. It is surely one of the coolest islands to visit in Bali .

islands to visit while in bali

The youngest of the Gili Islands, Gili Air, is the one that is closest to Lombok and gives visitors the choice between tranquil tourism and party hopping. Along with cozy cafes and hotspots for nightlife, there are numerous temples and waterfalls to visit. Typical beach activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, and sunbathing are available. In addition to this, you may go fishing, horseback riding, water skiing, and wakeboarding, and there is a surf break for experienced surfers to the south of the island.

  • Kintamani Volcano Viewpoint , Tegenungan Water Fall , Coffee Plantation, Tegallalang Rice fields, My Swing with local lunch

Komodo Island

islands to visit while in bali

Do you enjoy water sports? If the answer is yes, head to this spot. The sea around Komodo and its neighboring islands has some of the world's top diving locations. It boasts a magnificent coral reef with colorful fish in every size and shape. Environmentalists claim that the reef may someday perish despite the fact that the coral in this area is still untouched by the increasing acidity and rising temperature. This is one of the best islands to visit in Bali .

Nusa Penida (2N)

Nusa Penida Island

islands to visit while in bali

The most exotic of the three Nusa Islands, Nusa Penida, is situated southeast and is one of the best islands in Bali , Indonesia. The scenic lagoons and cliffs of Nusa Penida, which lack tourist infrastructure, make it the perfect place to go scuba diving to see coral reefs, manta rays, and even whale sharks. This island is a must-see for travelers as it is home to the imperiled Balinese starling and many Hindu temples. There is a bird sanctuary on the islands of Nusa Penida, Lembongan, and Ceningan. The sanctuary was built by the island communities in accordance with customary Balinese village customs.

  • Water Sports Combo: Banana Boat + Sea Walking

Nusa Lembongan

islands to visit while in bali

One of the three islands to the southeast of Bali is Nusa Lembongan. It is a charming area free of commercialism and continues to be a major attraction for tourists seeking some peace and quiet in the midst of the frantic pace of life. A plethora of marine life, especially vibrant corals that are a photographer's dream, can be found in the area surrounding Nusa Lembongan. Swimming, snorkeling, and diving draw a lot of eager participants, and many tourists find it convenient to participate in these water sports. It is one of the best islands in Bali .

  • Parasailing, Banana Boat, Jet Ski With Shared Transfers

Nusa Ceningan

Zip Lining in Nusa Ceningan.jpeg

Nusa Ceningan Island is part of the Nusa Islands trio and is recognized as one of the best islands in Bali . Standing in the middle of the ocean, the island is endowed with a variety of picturesque locations, including beaches, resorts, cliffs, and the well-known "Blue Lagoon." While the beautiful splendor of Nusa Ceningan Island makes it a perfect location for nature photographers, the island is also well-known for other activities such as underwater scootering, ziplining, snorkeling, and scuba diving.

  • Private South Bali Trail-Nusa Dua Beach, GWK, Padang-padang Beach, Uluwatu

Nusa Menjangan

islands to visit while in bali

One of the best Bali islands , Nusa Menjangan, is famous for its quiet, crystal-clear waters, which make it a great place for diving and snorkeling. Divers who have visited this island in the past have credited it for its abundant biodiversity, which includes corals and fish with vibrant colors. The island gets its name from the uncommon Javan rusa deer, also known as the Mengajan. From Labuhan Lalang port in North Bali, travelers can take a boat to this island. It is necessary to get permission and a park guide in order to visit this island. Visitors can get a taste of Balinese culture at the Segara Giri Dharma Kencana Temple, which is located on the island and faces the sea with a towering Ganesh statue.

  • Guided Bali Tour: Ulun Danu Beratan Temple + Tanah Lot

islands to visit while in bali

Gili Gede is a tiny, rocky island off the southwest coast of Lombok that is isolated from the rest of Indonesia. While the name Gili Gede loosely translates to "Large Island," measuring 4 km by 1.6 km at its widest point, Gili Gede delivers a significant punch for its small size. Desert Point is known for having one of the world's longest left-handed surf breaks. With its pristine seas and abundant marine life, Gili Gede is one of the best islands in Bali , a snorkeler's dream, and is guaranteed to be a haven for water sports aficionados.

  • Tanah Lot Sunset Tour with complimentary Photoshoot of 30 Minutes

Sumba Island

islands to visit while in bali

Situated southeast of Bali, Sumba Island is a hidden gem in the East Nusa Tenggara province, Indonesia. Known for preserving ancient traditions, Sumba captivates with its megalithic structures, vibrant tribal culture, and annual Pasola ritual. The island boasts pristine beaches, lush landscapes, and iconic traditional villages. Rich in cultural heritage, visitors can witness intricate weaving, distinct architecture, and engage with friendly locals. The distance from Bali to Sumba Island is approximately 380 kilometers (236 miles), often covered by a short flight from Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport to Tambolaka Airport in Sumba, offering a seamless transition to this cultural haven.

Flores Island

islands to visit while in bali

Flores, part of the East Nusa Tenggara province in Indonesia, is a captivating island known for its diverse landscapes and rich cultural heritage. The island is characterized by rugged coastlines, lush green hills, volcanic mountains, and traditional villages. Labuan Bajo, a town on Flores, serves as a gateway to the renowned Komodo National Park, famous for its Komodo dragons and vibrant marine life. The island offers a blend of adventure and cultural experiences, with opportunities for trekking, diving, and exploring traditional villages with distinctive tribal cultures. Flores Island provides a unique and immersive destination for travelers seeking both natural beauty and cultural exploration.

Serangan Island

islands to visit while in bali

Situated along Bali's southeastern shoreline, Serangan Island stands out for its dedication to turtle conservation and its appeal to water sports enthusiasts. This island radiates tranquility with its untouched beaches, providing an ideal retreat for those seeking relaxation and adventure through activities such as snorkeling and diving.

Along with the above list, there are so many untouched islands in and around Bali. Want to plan your next vacation to Bali? Think no more! Pickyourtrail is here! Explore the Bali vacation packages or customize the package with your preferences. Pickyourtrail will take care of the rest. You are one click away from your dream Bali vacation.

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Greta's Travels

Bali Bucket List: 32 Must See Places In Bali

Posted on Last updated: September 23, 2020

Bali is a beautiful island in Indonesia  and an extremely popular backpacking destination. There are so many things to see and do, from hiking volcanoes to rice fields and beaches that it’s easy to be overwhelmed and not know what to visit.

If you’re planning a trip to Bali and don’t know where to start, this Bali bucket list is the place for you. I’ve teamed up with other travel bloggers to bring to you the ultimate guide to the must see places in Bali that you can’t miss.

In this guide of what not to miss in Bali I’ve ironically included also some locations that aren’t in Bali.

This because destinations like Nusa Penida and the Gili islands are easy to reach from Bali, and have become increasingly popular stops in every backpackers Bali itinerary .

I figured it wouldn’t be an ultimate Bali guide unless it included all the must visit places in Bali and beyond.

Before you read on, have you booked your accommodation in Bali already? If not, check out these awesome villas with private pools in Bali or these Instagrammable hotels in Bal i!

  • 1.1 Kelingking Beach
  • 1.2 Kuta Beach
  • 1.3 Pasut Beach
  • 1.4 Snorkel with turtles in Gili Trawangan
  • 1.5 Surfing in Medewi
  • 1.6 Surfing in Seminyak
  • 1.7  Snorkeling the Japanese Wreck in Amed
  • 1.8 Manta Ray Point, Nusa Penida
  • 1.9 Gili Air
  • 2.1 Tegalalang rice terrace
  • 2.2 Sekumpul Waterfalls
  • 2.3 Tukad Cepung Waterfall
  • 2.4 Hike Mount Batur
  • 2.5 Sunrise hike at Kawah Ijen
  • 2.6 Waterfalls in Munduk
  • 3.1 Lempuyang Temple
  • 3.2 Tanah Lot
  • 3.3 Pura Bratan Temple
  • 3.4 Tirta Empul Temple
  • 3.5 Gunung Kawi
  • 3.6 Uluwatu Temple (pro tip: visit at sunset!)
  • 4.1 Eat an Acai bowl in Canggu
  • 4.2 The Lawn Canggu
  • 4.3 Wanna Jungle Pool Bar
  • 4.4 Potato Head Club
  • 4.5 Dining at Locavore Ubud
  • 4.6  Try a Balinese cooking class
  • 5.1 Sidemen
  • 5.2 Watch a Kecak Fire Dance
  • 5.3 Stay in a treehouse
  • 5.4 Setia Darma House of Masks and Puppets – Stories by Soumya
  • 5.5 Ubud Monkey Forest
  • 5.6 Bike Riding Tour near Ubud

Enjoying the sunset in Gili T, admiring Lombok in the distance

Enjoying the sunset in Gili Trawangan, admiring Lombok in the distance

Beautiful beaches & fun beach activities not to miss in Bali

Kelingking beach.

“We all know Bali is one of the very best islands to visit in Asia, but we have to admit it, at times it feels way too touristy.

And while being touristy is not necessarily a bad thing, if you want to experience a wild Indonesian island and see what Bali used to look like 15 years ago, you need to visit it neighbour – the Nusa Penida island.

View over the famous t-rex of Kelingking Beach, photo by Global Castaway

View over the famous t-rex of Kelingking Beach, photo by Global Castaway

Home to plenty of stunning natural sights, the absolute highlight of Nusa Penida is Kelingking Beach.

The T-Rex shaped cliff creates one of the most breath-taking views, not only in Asia but in the entire world. It’s also the perfect place to get your new Instagram profile picture.

If you dare to climb the steep pathway down and reach the actual beach, you are up for a treat. The turquoise water surrounded by palms and white sand beach creates the most stunning tropical postcard scenery imaginable!”

– by Verislav, author of Global Castaway

Kelingking Beach, photo by Global Castaway

Kelingking Beach, photo by Global Castaway

“No ultimate Bali guide would be complete unless it included Kuta Beach. This is one of the beaches that are located close to the airport.

Being so easy to reach, the beach gets crowded, with travelers often heading there as soon as their flight lands in Bali. Kuta is a favorite of the young travelers community, and of people who love surfing or want to learn how to surf.

The beach regularly gets fantastic waves, and the city has a great selection of accommodation options for any style and budget.

What the beach lacks in terms of beauty – it gets crowded and somewhat dirty – it makes up with the fabulous light at sunset.

The westward location makes it one of the best spots on the island to admire sunset. Make sure to head there for a sunset walk or for a sunset photo shoot!”

– by Claudia, author of My Adventures Across The World

Sunset at Kuta Beach, photo by My Adventures Across The World

Sunset at Kuta Beach, photo by My Adventures Across The World

Pasut Beach

“Bali is a popular beach destination – however, more and more visitors seem to be a little bit disappointed since some of the most popular beaches can be pretty crowded and dirty at times.

One of the hidden gems Bali has to offer (and my favourite beach I discovered while  backpacking Bali ) is Pasut beach, located about an hour up the coast of Canggu/Seminyak and easily reachable by scooter.

Since there’s barely any tourist infrastructure (besides one small hotel), chances are high that you’ll have this wide, black-sand beach almost entirely to yourself.

I spent an entire day there, strolling along the long beach and watching a beautiful sunset in the evening. If you’re looking for a beach escape far away from the other tourists, Pasut is the place to go!”  

– by Patrick, author of German Backpacker

Pasut Beach, photo by German Backpacker

Pasut Beach, photo by German Backpacker

Snorkel with turtles in Gili Trawangan

Gili Trawangan is one of the three Gili islands, in Lombok, a short two-hour ferry away from Bali. The whole island is entirely pedestrian, meaning that the only ways around the island are either by bicycle or by horse cart.

The island is blessed with pristine beaches with white sand and turquoise water all around it. And if this idyllic island life isn’t enough for you, in Gili Trawangan you will also have the opportunity to snorkel with turtles.

Enjoying the turquoise water of the Gili T beaches

Enjoying the turquoise water of the Gili Trawangan beaches

In the central part of the island there are a lot of companies that offer diving and snorkelling turtle exploration trips, or you can rent snorkelling gear from one of the many kiosks along the beach and do your own thing.

We decided to do our own thing since our hotel, provided free snorkelling gear and a reassurance that we were in the best turtle spot of Gili Trawangan.

While we had our doubts they quickly went away after we jumped in the water and after only 20 minutes of swimming spotted the first two turtles. Visiting Gili Trawangan and swimming with turtles were my favourite things to do in Bali.


One of the many turtles we saw while snorkelling in Gili T

One of the many turtles we saw while snorkelling in Gili Trawangan

Surfing in Medewi

“ If you’re a keen surfer, or even just a beginner who wants to learn, then you should definitely visit Medewi. This tiny surf town is located on the west of Bali, and is home to Bali’s longest left-hand wave.

It’s an easy wave that breaks slowly which means it’s perfect for all levels. There’s not much else to do here apart from surf, but the vibes are so chilled that if you like surfing, it’s easy to get stuck here and never want to leave!

There’s only a handful of cafes and restaurants so it’s very easy to make friends here. You’ll see the same people in the water as you do at night, and even in the water, there seems to be a much friendlier atmosphere than anywhere else.

There’s plenty of places to stay; if you want a relaxed surf camp, try Secret Surf Spot or if you’re looking for somewhere a little swankier, then Bombora Hotel has an infinity pool on the beach. 

It takes about 2 hours from Canggu to drive there up the coast. With the ocean on the left and rice paddies on the right, it’s a beautiful drive – just be careful as the trucks can make the road a bit sketchy.”

– by Harriet, author of Hats Off World  

Medewi, photo by Hats Off World

Medewi, photo by Hats Off World

Surfing in Seminyak

Seminyak is one of the most touristy areas of Bali. The beach is very busy but it’s also very good if you’re a beginner at surfing, or don’t have time to explore some of Bali’s more hidden surfer beaches .

Dotted all along the beach you will find kiosks where the locals will rent you surf boards at very affordable prices.

We got two boards for a full day for less than 5 GBP each. It can get quite busy out at sea but the beach is so big there is plenty of space for everyone to catch their wave.

After surfing why don’t you sit down at one of the many beach bars, listen to some live music and enjoy some food and drinks while watching the sunset over the beach, I can guarantee it will be a lovely way to end the day.

Surfing in Seminyak, Bali

Surfing in Seminyak, Bali

 Snorkeling the Japanese Wreck in Amed

“About a three-hour drive northeast from Ngurah Rai International Airport, you’ll find the picturesque coastal village of Amed.

This region of Bali has gained in popularity due to the USS Liberty wreck attracting a growing number of visitors from the diving community.

If you’re an underwater enthusiast, there’s another shipwreckin this area that’s worth mentioning: the Japanese wreck site.

While wrecks are normally reserved for divers, the Japanese wreck rests on a sandy bottom a few strokes away from the shore at a maximum depth of 12 meters, making it perfect for snorkelers.

A few kilometres from Amed, follow the signs for the Japanese Wreck located outside the small village of Banyuning.

In the water, you’ll see a buoy indicating the wreck where you’ll discover rich marine life and a beautiful coral garden striving on the rusting hulk of the sunken ship.

For best visibility, go in the morning and bring reef shoes as the way down the beach can be rocky.”

– by Safia, author of Nomad Junkies

Snorkeling at the Japenese Wreck in Bali, photo by Nomad Junkies

Snorkeling at the Japenese Wreck in Bali, photo by Nomad Junkies

Manta Ray Point, Nusa Penida

If swimming with turtles isn’t enough of a thrilling experience for you worry not, because Bali has even more to offer. At the nearby island of Nusa Penida you will have the opportunity to snorkel with manta rays.

“Manta Ray Point is a must see for snorkelers and scuba divers alike. It was my first time seeing manta rays and I’ll never forget their grace as they swam by.”

–  Michelle, author of Intrepid Viajera  

“If you are looking for a relaxed retreat, then you must visit the Gili islands. The Gili islands are a very popular destination when coming to Bali for many travellers. 

The Gili islands are easy to reach from Bali and they consist of 3 islands performing Gili archipelago: Gili Travangan, Gilli Meno and Gili Air. Gili air is one of my favourite islands.

It is a very quiet island, with a relaxed atmosphere and without many people. The best thing is that on Gili Air are no scooters, no cars and dogs so you will get your deserved piece.

One of the beaches in Gili Air, photo by Beach Addicted

One of the beaches in Gili Air, photo by Beach Addicted

Surrounded by pure white sand beaches and clear water, Gilli Air is indeed a tropical paradise. This cute island has very beautiful white sand beaches. Other than relaxing on the beach,  you can do many cool activities .

We did unforgettable stand-up paddling into the sunset. Snorkelling and scuba diving around the Gillies are ‘a must’ as they are surrounded by beautiful corals.

If you tired of water sports you can do yoga, go for massages and even rent a bicycle and cycle around this cute island. Don’t forget to get a photo on a famous swing in the water.”  

– by Gigi, author of Beach Addicted

One of the beaches in Gili Air, photo by Beach Addicted

Natural beauties you must see in Bali

Tegalalang rice terrace.

The terraced rice fields of Tegalalang are one of the most famous and iconic sights in Bali . Just a short 20-minute drive away from Ubud you will find these beautiful rice fields stacked one over the other to form this beautiful view.

Entry is free but all along the rice fields you will find small huts of local farmers who will ask you a small donation to keep going along the trail.

It’s not compulsory and I’ve seen people push past them, but considering it’s their land and they ask for the equivalent of 1 USD or less, it’s just nice manners to give them something.

Visit early in the morning to get that beautiful golden light, and to escape the big tourist crowds.


The famous terraced rice fields of Ubud

The famous terraced rice fields of Ubud

Walking around the rice fields of Tegalalang in Ubud, Bali

Walking around the rice fields of Tegalalang in Ubud, Bali

Sekumpul Waterfalls

“Who doesn’t love a “take-your-breath-away” waterfall.

They are plentiful in Bali, but perhaps known as the most beautiful of all is Sekumpul Waterfalls, around 2 hours north of Ubud, which is actually a cluster of 7 waterfalls, cascading down the mountainside.

It is a long drive, and a bit of a trek, however the entire journey is incredibly scenic.

The trek will include passing by local homes, seeing rice terraces in the distance, mountainous jungle as far as the eye can see, and great views of the falls.

A massive decent down steep steps and across the river will finally bring you to the impressive falls where you swim.

Sempuku waterfalls, by My Feet Will Lead Me

Sempuku waterfalls, by My Feet Will Lead Me

At the parking lot, there are guides for hire when you arrive, and although you can refuse their pushy services, having a guide has its benefits.

They will lead you on the route with the safest and easiest places to step, as you are walking through the river some of the time, and take pictures for you. Plus, it’s an opportunity to learn about the country by asking a local questions.

Accessing Sekumpul waterfalls requires traveling down (and back up) many stairs and along slippery rocks across a river but it’s well worth the effort. A swimsuit, water shoes, dry bag, towel, and drinking water are necessities.

Because the journey is a bit more difficult than other falls, it is not crowded and you may even find yourself one of the few people there. The invigorating energy of these falls will leave you mind blown.”

– by Jess, author of My Feet Will Lead Me

Sempuku waterfalls by My Feet Will Lead Me

Sempuku waterfalls by, My Feet Will Lead Me

Tukad Cepung Waterfall

“Bali has many amazing waterfalls, but Tukad Cepung deserved a place in Bali Top 10 because the waterfall is located inside a cave & it’s a hidden gem since not many travelers know about this place.

It’s located in Bangli, around 1,5 hours from Kuta/Seminyak or 40 minutes from Ubud by car/motorbike.

Once you get there, from the parking area you will find a locket where you can buy the ticket for a small fee to help the locals maintain the place, then your adventure begins!

You will need to walk down through some stairs & trek through the forest to get to the river. Then you have to walk a bit in the shallow stream & walk through the narrow cave to get in.

Once you get inside you will be amazed by everything, water falls from the opening on top of the cave the way the sunlight hits the waterfalls, also there’s a beautiful valley with big rocks that you can climb.”

– by Sasi

Tukad Cepung Waterfall, shot by @sashi_mie

Tukad Cepung Waterfall, shot by @sashi_mie

Hike Mount Batur

“If you’re looking to see the Island of the Gods from heaven itself, Mount Batur is the place to do that.

An active volcano that last erupted in 2000, Mount Batur is among the island’s sacred sites, and the mountain is the centre of both lore and legend.

However, there are no limitations on hikers summiting the peak, providing they do so with a registered guide.

Sunrise from the top of Mount Batur, photo by Maps and Mandalas

Sunrise from the top of Mount Batur, photo by Maps and Mandalas

The big draw for Mount Batur is to arrive at the peak as the sun is rising. This means making the upward climb at night after being picked up from your hotel sometime in the very, very early hours of the morning.

It’s a thrill once you get to the top and realise how far you’ve come, and even more of a thrill on the way down when you realise how perilous the climb was, but absolutely worth it the entire way through.”

– by Oceana, author of Maps and Mandalas

Oceana in Mount Batur

Oceana in Mount Batur

Sunrise hike at Kawah Ijen

While we’re talking about volcanoes and sunrise hikes, figured I couldn’t not talk about  Kawah Ijen . Once again this isn’t actually in Bali, but on the neighbour island of East Java.

We went there on a 24-hour trip from Bali so figured it should also be included in this list!

We set off on our hike at 2am, and after climbing up under a beautiful starry sky we made it to the top in time to see the electric blue flames, a natural phenomenon visible only here.

We then waited for the golden sunrise and explored the crater of Kawah Ijen, which is actually filled with water and is the largest acid lake in the world.

Standing over the crater of Kawah Ijen, looking down at the biggest acidic lake in the world

Standing over the crater of Kawah Ijen, looking down at the biggest acidic lake in the world

The sun breaks through and turns East Java pink

The sun breaks through and turns East Java pink

Waterfalls in Munduk

“Munduk, a tiny town in northern Bali, is a great place to seek out if you want to explore the interior of the island and would rather escape the relative bustle of Ubud.

It’s a good base for day trips in the surrounding area, but there are also some waterfalls in Munduk to explore. It’ll take you a few hours to walk between them and the trail starts close to town.

The waterfalls are world class and there are a few small warungs where you can recharge with a cold drink and a bite to eat (hiking in Bali is hot work!).

After visiting the waterfalls you can relax in one of Munduk’s restaurants, most of which look out over awesome views.”

– by Jon, author of Jon Is Travelling

Munduk waterfalls in Bali, photo by Jon Is Travelling

Munduk waterfalls in Bali, photo by Jon Is Travelling

Must visit temples in Bali

Lempuyang temple.

“Pura Lempuyang Luhur Temple, also known as the Gates to Heaven is the perfect place to get an incredible instagram worthy photo.

The intricate gates showcase the active Mount Agung volcano in the background. The gates are located at the start of the large temple complex which features seven total temples. Climbing up a mountain leads to each temple.

Reaching the top temple takes around 3 hours to complete and is a very sacred pilgrimage to the Balinese people. The best time to take photos is at sunrise or sunset.

Entrance is donation based, but it is expected to pay around 20k per person. Sarongs are mandatory, but they are provided free of charge.”

– by Yana, author of Beard and Curly

Lempuyang Temple, photo by Beard and Curly

Lempuyang Temple, photo by Beard and Curly

Tanah Lot is often included in the lists of must see places in Bali, so it’s only natural that on my first trip there I wanted to go see it in person.

However I have to say I was very disappointed by it. Since it features in all the Bali bucket lists, be prepared for huge tourist crowds.

The temple itself is very impressive, perched on a rock in the middle of the sea (or just on a big rock surrounded by the beach, depending on the tide level) but you can’t actually visit the inside of the temple.

There is a set of steps along the side of the rock that you have to get blessed (and pay a small donation for) to walk up but it won’t actually lead you in the temple, stopping half way up the rock.

The beach isn’t a surfing or chilling beach, being mostly rocky, so there is little to do there other than see the actual temple.

There are some lovely restaurants with a view of the temple and sea all along the coast, which despite the crowds, make for a beautiful sunset spot.

Golden hour at Tanah Lot, Bali

Golden hour at Tanah Lot, Bali

Pura Bratan Temple

“Pura Ulun Danu Bratan or Pura Bratan is a stunning water temple in Bali situated on the shores of Lake Bratan. This temple has significant meaning to the local people.

It serves as a place of worship and offerings to the water, lake and river goddess, Dewi Danu. This temple is situated in the heart of Bali about a 50Km drive north of Denpasar, this temple is a little hard to get to making it less touristy.

The temple sits on a lake which provides a beautiful reflection if you go at the right time of day. Surrounded by mountains, Pura Bratan is a very unique water temple and one worth visiting.”

– by Erin, author of Have Compass Will Travel


Pura Bratan temple, shot by Have Compass Will Travel

Pura Bratan temple, shot by Have Compass Will Travel

Tirta Empul Temple

“This traditional spring water temple is a peaceful oasis not far from Ubud and the Tegalalang rice terraces. It’s a sacred place for Hindus, and the water is supposed to be spiritually cleansing.

Whether you bathe in the holy water, look at the traditional Hindu temples and architecture, or simply walk around and enjoy the gardens and tranquillity it is definitely worth a visit whilst in Bali!

Tirta Empul Temple, by Anika

Tirta Empul Temple, shot by @anikapetal

There are several pools of water within the temple complex, and many buildings to explore. It’s a beautiful place, and a very nice change of scenery for most as you are able to see the traditional side of Bali and the Hindu religion.

Entrance is 15.000 IDR, and when visiting you should dress in appropriate temple attire – or make use of the colourful sarongs offered when entering.”

– by Anika

Tirta Empul Temple, by Anika

Gunung Kawi

“ To escape the hustle and bustle of central Ubud, board a scooter to Gunung Kawi. This 11th-century temple is one of the holiest places to visit in Bali, yet it doesn’t receive as much footfall as some of the others.

If anything, this is more of a reason to go! Nestled within a small village on Ubud’s outskirts, the location is surrounded by rolling countryside.

As you make your way down several flights of stairs towards the temple you’ll marvel at the greenery and tiered rice terraces that Bali is known for.

At the bottom, you’ll see the holiest section of Gunung Kawi: the 10 candis carved into the rock face. These are funeral monuments each measuring 7 metres tall, dedicated to King Anak Wungsu and his seven favourite queens.

As well as these intricate carvings dating back several centuries, you’ll find countless other shrines and temples dotted around the site. The only downside: Taking the steps back up!

Note – you need to have your legs, and ideally your shoulders, covered to visit Gunung Kawi. If you don’t have a sarong you can hire or buy one at the entrance very cheaply.”

– by Rose, author of Where Goes Rose

Gunung Kawi, photo by Where Rose Goes

Gunung Kawi, photo by Where Rose Goes

Uluwatu Temple (pro tip: visit at sunset!)

“A trip to see the magnificent sunset at the Uluwatu Temple in Uluwatu should be on everyone’s Bali bucket list. The temple is perched high above the sea, offering you the most amazing views of both the ocean and skyline.

Get ready to see some beautiful pinks, purples and reds. I recommend head there just before sunset and stopping at the shop and grabbing a few Bintangs before arrival.

Find a spot on the far right side of the temple on the walls and get ready for the best sunset of your life.

Also remember to bring something to cover your shoulders and knees if you’re a woman; and do not wear sunglasses on your head or anything else that a monkey can steal.

The monkeys around here are notorious for stealing items, so be prepared! This will forever be one of my favourite romantic things to do in Bali and, to be honest, anywhere in Asia! So do not miss out.”

– by Cazzy, author of Dream Big, Travel Far

Sunset at Uluwatu temple, photo by Dream Big, Travel Far

Sunset at Uluwatu temple, photo by Dream Big, Travel Far

Must try food & drinks in Bali

Eat an acai bowl in canggu.

Bali has become an increasindly popular destination especially for digital nomads. Instagram is full of photos of tanned remote workers or digital entrepreneurs that choose to settle and work remotely from a trendy coffee shop in Bali.

You will see most of their photos with a laptop on the table, an acai smoothie bowl in hand and a colourful hipster wall behind them.

As a digital nomad but unfortunately not based in Bali, I felt like I had to try this experience when I visited Bali. While acai smoothie bowls aren’t traditionally a Balinese dish, they have become associated with the Bali lifestyle.

So on your next trip to Bali head to Canggu and start your day with an acai smoothie bowl, brownie points if they write “Love Bali” or your name on it with pieces of fresh fruit.

A very instagrammable meal at one of the coffee shops in Canggu, Bali

A very instagrammable meal at one of the coffee shops in Canggu, Bali

The Lawn Canggu

Continuing on the trend of immersing yourself in the Bali lifestyle (but not necessarily Balinese culture) another must visit foodie location is The Lawn in Canggu.

The Lawn is a trendy beach lounge with an infinity pool, tasty food and lovely cocktails. While being a bit pricier than other bars in Bali (cocktails are around 120k IDR – approximately 7 GBP) the venue is worth it.

If you want to enjoy a drink while watching the sunset over the sea and then party the night away on the beach, The Lawn in Canggu is the place to do so.

Cocktails at The Lawn Canggu

Cocktails at The Lawn Canggu

Wanna Jungle Pool Bar

“Wanna Jungle Pool Bar is a 3-level infinity pool bar at the beautiful Kayon Jungle Resort. Located about 40 minutes from Ubud center, Wanna Jungle overlooks a stunning landscape of the lush tropical valley and rice paddies.

Wanna Jungle is not a typical party pool bar like many others found in Bali, but rather a destination to recharge and relax amidst the beautiful surroundings.

There are day-passes available to non-hotel guests at various price points depending on package you choose, with packages starting at 300 RP.

A menu of different tapas selections is available should you get hungry, in addition to a full bar with non-alcoholic beverages such as fresh fruit smoothies and wellness tonics.

Out of all the pool bars in Bali, Wanna Jungle is absolutely one of the most instagrammable, and will transport you to the idyllic Bali setting you have always dreamed of visiting.”

– by Mona, author of MonaCorona  

Wanna Jungle Pool Bar, photo by MonaCorona

Wanna Jungle Pool Bar, photo by MonaCorona

Potato Head Club

If you haven’t had enough of cool beach and pool bars yet worry not, there are plenty in Bali to keep you busy!

“Designed by a renowned architect, the Potato Head Beach Club in Bali has a couple of restaurants, a bar, a tropical garden, an infinity pool to die for and superb sunset views. Indeed one of our Indonesia adventures highlights !”

– by Inma, author of A World To Travel 

Sunset at the Potato Head Beach Club, shot by A World To Travel

Sunset at the Potato Head Beach Club, shot by A World To Travel

Dining at Locavore Ubud

“Dining at Locavore Ubud should be on any food lovers list of top things to do in Bali. A relatively new addition to the Bali dining scene, Chef Eelke and his team make their restaurant in central Ubud a destination in itself.

Instead of a wine pairing, Locavore offers a cocktail pairing with the tasting menu. The cocktails not only pair with each course, but focus on the uber-local, zero kilometer ingredients, just like the cuisine.

The restaurant offers a tasting menu, and an Herbivore menu for the vegetarians thats descend on Ubud. Tasting menu prices range from $50-100 per person.

It’s a bit of a splurge for many travelers, but in comparison to many other restaurants that feature on the list of the top 50 restaurants in Asia, it’s a great value.

The key dish that makes Locavore a destination is Into the Sawah, made with heritage rice, snails, garlic, a 64 degrees duck egg, frog, and wildflowers.

The intent is to give the impression of dining on the famous Bali rice fields. As someone who lived for over a year in Ubud, surrounded by the rice fields, this dish is so Bali. Locavore is on Jalan Dewi Sita in the heart of Ubud.

Reservations are strongly recommended.”

– by Amber, author of With Husband In Tow

Dining at Locavore Ubud, photo by With Husband In Tow

Dining at Locavore Ubud, photo by With Husband In Tow

 Try a Balinese cooking class

“If you are a foodie, you’re in luck because Balinese food is delicious and we recommend you take one of the many cooking classes offered on the island.

One of the higher quality classes is the  Paon Cooking Class in Ubud , which offers both morning and afternoon sessions. Other than cooking your very own traditional Balinese Indonesian meal, there’s a lot more you will learn here.

You’ll visit a rice paddy with your host and discuss a bit about rice farming.

If you attend the morning session, you’ll also take a trip to a traditional local market. At the class itself, you’ll learn about the host’s traditional garden and local herbs.

Paon cooking class, photo by RTW Guys

Paon cooking class, photo by RTW Guys

The cooking class is organized inside Mr. Wayan and Ms. Puspa’s traditional Balinese home.

They do a great job in welcoming guests, explaining essential elements of Balinese culture and customs that are very interesting, and conducting a quick tour of their house and garden.

This cooking class is fun and entertaining. While preparing your own ingredients, you will enjoy interacting with fellow guests and locals, as well as learning about how complex flavors are combined and cooked into a tasty meal.

If you’re a vegetarian, they have delicious options for you as well.”

– by Halef & Michael, author of The Round The World Guys

Paon cooking class, photo by RTW Guys

Unique local experiences not to miss in Bali

“If you want to experience an authentic island life off the main tourist track, head to Sidemen for the ultimate, quintessential Bali: rice terraces, local village life, traditional farming, and palm trees and jungles for as far as you can see.

Sidemen is located about an hour east of Ubud is easily locatable on Google Maps. While being accessible from the main tourist hot spots of Bali, Sidemen remains a world away from the hustling and bustling south.

The main “attraction” in Sidemen is to soak in the breathtaking panoramic scenery of the hills and valleys and enjoy the peaceful countryside. You can sign up for guided trekking/hiking/cycling tours in the main town of Tabola. 

Spend at least one night in Sidemen to explore the hills and immerse yourself in this enchanting village of traditional Bali.

It’s becoming more and more rare to witness local life on this fast-developing island. Take advantage of it while you still can!

– by Mo, author of Travelust 101

Sidemen, photo by Travelust

Sidemen, photo by Travelust 101  

Watch a Kecak Fire Dance

We saw this fire dancing performance in Ubud but there are a lot of places around Bali where you can experience this.

The Kecak Fire Dance is one of Balii’s most iconic art performances, famous for using strong human vocals instead of musical instruments, and for well you know, a guy dancing on fire hot coals.

It’s a unique Balinese experience that you can’t miss in Bali.

The fire dancing performance in Ubud

The fire dancing performance in Ubud

Stay in a treehouse

“Bali is an amazing destination to visit if you want to experience living in a treehouse for a night!

There are so many incredible hotels, homes and eco lodges in Bali that you can actually stay in, most with breathtaking views of green rice paddies or the ocean.

Some are luxurious, for a blow-the-budget trip of a lifetime, but some are incredibly affordable even for solo travellers. There are pages of amazing Bali treehouses on Airbnb to spark your wanderlust.

When I was in Ubud, I stayed in two treehouses because I couldn’t decide between them! One was a towering bamboo nest at an Eco Lodge , only accessible by climbing up a ladder, that swayed in the breeze!

Staying here was one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had.”

– by Maire, author of Temples and Treehouses

Firefly Eco Lodge Treehouse Bali, photo Temples and Treehouses

Firefly Eco Lodge Treehouse Bali, photo Temples and Treehouses

Setia Darma House of Masks and Puppets – Stories by Soumya

“The Setia Darma House of Masks and Puppets in Sukawati is definitely Bali’s best-kept secret. Located only 15min away from the Ubud city center, the place sees only a handful of tourists throughout the year.

However, their collection is vast and eclectic. The museum houses more than 1300 masks and 5700 puppets from all over the Indonesian archipelago, Africa, China, and Japan.

Items are displayed inside heritage Javanese homes called “joglos” which are vintage in themselves. Setia Darma aims to promote Indonesia’s age-old tradition of puppetry and mask-making including that of famous Indonesian Shadow Puppets – The Wayang Kulit .

The museum is open every day between 8am – 4pm. Entry is free and donations are appreciated. If you are looking to do something different in Bali, then this is the place for you.”

– by Soumya, author of Stories by Soumya

Setia Darma - Bali puppet museum, photo by Stories by Soumya

Setia Darma – Bali puppet museum, photo by Stories by Soumya

Ubud Monkey Forest

The Monkey Forest in Ubud is one of the most popular attractions in Bali. It’s a large temple and park area where monkeys are allowed to roam free.

Entry is around 3 GBP and you will find a lot of tourists wandering around, feeding the monkeys and taking photos of them.

Be careful when you feed the monkeys because as soon as you feed one, all the others will storm you and try to steal your food!

I’ve seen monkeys open backpacks and steal plastic water bottles, hats and headphones so nothing is really safe from their grasp.

The Monkey Forest itself is very beautiful, with elaborate statues, trees growing over the bridges and small streams.

If you don’t want to pay to get inside the monkeys don’t know the boundaries and you will often hopping around the parking area outside, so you can just drive outside the Monkey Forest, snap some photos and move on with your Bali tour.


One of the cheeky monkeys in the Monkey Forest of Ubud

One of the cheeky monkeys in the Monkey Forest of Ubud

Bike Riding Tour near Ubud

“If you want to see the real Bali and enjoy a range of different experiences in one day, a bike riding tour is a great option. There are a range of different bike riding tours near Ubud and we chose Ubud Cycling Bike tour.

We visited a school, a coffee plantation, visited Mt Batur lookout, were shown around a Balinese family compound, rode bikes through the Bali countryside and enjoyed lunch at a traditional warung surrounded by rice fields.

Take along a pair of sneakers and put on some active wear as the day is full of exercise.

It is for a wide range of ages, the youngest on our tour was 18 months old, as a van follows the bike tour so you don’t have to ride the whole way if you get too tired. It is an experience you won’t forget.”

– by Kate, author of Rolling Along With Kids

Bali Bike Tour, photo by Rolling Along With Kids

Bali Bike Tour, photo by Rolling Along With Kids

Have you been to Bali before? How did you find it? Let me know in the comments below!

This is the list of must see places in Bali according to myself and other travel bloggers, if you’ve done something else in Bali that you think should feature on this guide let me know and I’ll include it.

I want this to be the ultimate Bali must visit guide so your input is welcome! Want to know more about Bali? Check out this Bali travel guide , or read  here  the 10 things you should know before travelling to Bali.

Enjoyed reading about the 30+ must see places in Bali? Pin it!

Collage of temples and beaches in Bali with text overlay saying


Wednesday 20th of February 2019

Ahh love Bali so much! Cant wait to be back there in April!

Monday 25th of February 2019

Bali is so amazing! I'm hoping to head back there soon too :)

Friday 18th of January 2019

I haven't yet made it to Bali although it is on my to-do list. My mum is actually going later this year though so I will be sure to show her this post. Thanks for the inspo :)

Thursday 24th of January 2019

Thank you for the comment, glad you found it useful! Hope your mum has an amazing time in Bali and you also visit one day!

Wednesday 12th of December 2018

Thank you so much for this article. I fell in love with Bali from reading your article. A few friends an I are heading our way to Seminyak, Bali in late April. We will be staying in a beautiful villa and we got a great deal for it and it is beautiful but I don't wanna spend all my time in it so the plan is to visit as many destinations as we can and make as many photos as humanly possible :D Hopefully beautiful as yours. Thanks again Lucas

Tuesday 15th of January 2019

Hi Lucas, thanks for the comment, glad you like my post! Hope you have an amazing time in Bali :)

Shoestring Travel

Saturday 17th of November 2018

Loved the photographs and the waterfalls in Bali are beautiful.

Saturday 24th of November 2018

Thanks, glad you like my photos!

Swimming With Turtles In Bali: Gili Trawangan, A Snorkelers Paradise

Thursday 7th of June 2018

[…] 10 Places You Can’t Miss In Bali […]

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22 Best Places to Visit in Bali

By Spencer Leasca · Last updated on May 4, 2024

The undisputed favorite of Indonesia’s more than 17,000 islands, Bali lives up to its reputation as the quintessential tropical paradise.

Known for its captivating landscapes, vibrant culture and spiritual ambiance, Bali has become a top destination for globetrotters seeking an unforgettable experience. This tropical paradise offers a seamless blend of pristine beaches, lush rice terraces, mystical temples and warm hospitality, creating a tapestry of wonders that captivate the soul.

Known as the Island of the Gods, Bali’s culture is dominated by a unique form of Hinduism that’s evident in every aspect of Balinese life, from the temples that ornament every corner of the island to the daily offerings found in every home.

While some areas in Bali have suffered from over-commercialism in recent years, there are still places to visit in Bali that appear untouched by time. Whether exploring the distinctive culture of the Balinese people, scuba diving in coral reefs, climbing an ancient volcano or sunbathing on a broad stretch of beach, Bali has a bit of paradise to offer every visitor.


Over on Bali’s southwestern coast, Canggu is a vibrant and rapidly evolving destination that offers a unique blend of laid-back charm and modern attractions.

With its picturesque paddy fields, stunning beaches and thriving surf culture, Canggu has become a magnet for surfers, digital nomads and travelers seeking a more relaxed and bohemian atmosphere.

The area boasts a plethora of trendy cafes, stylish boutiques and hip beach clubs, creating a buzzing social scene, particularly at night. Visitors can explore the famous Echo Beach, known for its world-class surf breaks and breathtaking sunsets, or venture inland to discover serene rice terraces and traditional Balinese villages.

For those seeking relaxation and self-care, Canggu also offers a world-class wellness scene, with numerous yoga studios and retreats.

21. Nusa Penida

Nusa Penida

Tucked off Bali’s southeastern coast, Nusa Penida is a place of rugged beauty and unspoiled landscapes.

It is renowned for its breathtaking cliffs, shimmering turquoise waters and pristine white sand beaches and offers a tranquil escape from the bustling mainland.

Nusa Penida’s dramatic coastal features, including the iconic Kelingking Beach and Broken Beach, leave visitors in awe of nature’s artistry. Snorkeling and diving enthusiasts will be captivated by the vibrant marine life surrounding Crystal Bay and Manta Point.

At the same time, tourists venturing into the island’s interior will find lush jungles, cascading waterfalls and traditional villages where they can experience the local way of life.

While the infrastructure is less developed than Bali’s main tourist areas, the raw beauty and sense of adventure make Nusa Penida a must-visit destination for those seeking off-the-beaten-path experiences.

20. Sekumpul Waterfall

Sekumpul Waterfall

Bali has many outstanding waterfalls, and Sekumpul Waterfall is right up there with the most impressive.

Situated in the highlands of Bali’s northern region, it enchants visitors with its powerful cascades and lush surroundings. You must trek through dense forests, cross streams, and navigate rocky terrain to reach it. But once you are there, the sight of multiple towering waterfalls plunging into a serene pool below will leave you breathless.

The sheer size and grandeur of the falls create a mesmerizing spectacle, and the misty atmosphere adds to the enchantment. Nature lovers and photographers will be in their element, immersing themselves in the serenity and majestic beauty of the falls.

19. Jimbaran


Over on Bali’s southwestern coast, Jimbaran is an attractive coastal village that seamlessly blends traditional charm with modern luxury. Best known for its pristine beaches and stunning sunsets, Jimbaran offers a serene and laid-back atmosphere to relax or explore.

The 3 km long crescent-shaped Jimbaran Bay is lined with golden sand and swaying palm trees, providing the perfect setting for relaxation and beachside dining. Seafood lovers can indulge in a mouthwatering feast of freshly grilled seafood at local beachfront restaurants.

Jimbaran is also home to several luxury resorts and spas, offering world-class amenities and rejuvenating treatments that will invigorate and de-stress you.

For those seeking cultural immersion, the nearby Uluwatu Temple is a must-visit. Perched atop a cliff with breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean, it provides a fascinating glimpse into Bali’s cultural heritage. Surfers should head to Balangan Beach and Dreamland Beach for their exceptional swell.

18. Sidemen Valley

Sidemen Valley

Bali isn’t all beaches, spa resorts and vibrant nightlife. It also has its fair share of lush countryside. One good place to see this is at the Sidemen Valley.

This serene valley resides on the eastern part of the island and comprises breathtaking landscapes, terraced rice fields and traditional Balinese villages.

It is a haven for nature lovers, offering opportunities for scenic hikes, cycling tours and leisurely walks through the countryside. For those needing a place to stay, the valley offers numerous accommodation options, from boutique resorts to homestays. They allow visitors to immerse themselves in the local culture and enjoy warm Balinese hospitality.

Exploring Sidemen presents authentic Balinese life, with artisans crafting intricate handicrafts and locals tending to their rice fields. Subsequently, the beauty and tranquillity of the valley make it an ideal destination for those seeking a peaceful retreat and a deeper connection with nature and Balinese traditions.

17. West Bali National Park

West Bali National Park

The West Bali National Park lies on the western tip of Bali. The only national park on the island, it is a pristine and biodiverse nature reserve that showcases the island’s natural wonders.

The park encompasses dense rainforests, mangrove forests, savannahs and coral reefs. It is home to many species of flora and fauna, including endangered species like the Bali Starling and Javan Rusa deer. As a haven for nature and wildlife lovers, visitors can embark on guided treks or birdwatching expeditions. They can also explore the underwater world through snorkeling or diving in the park’s vibrant marine ecosystems.

The park’s iconic Pemuteran Bay is a popular spot for diving and turtle conservation. While just off the peninsula’s northeast shore, Menjangan Island is home to historic Hindu temples, indigenous barking deer and stunning coral reefs.

16. Bedugul


If you are finding the tropical heat of Bali too oppressive, make a point of visiting Bedugul. Nestled in the central highlands, it is a scenic retreat that offers a refreshing escape from the blazing sun.

This quaint mountain town is known for its cooler climate and stunning natural beauty. Think serene lakes, lush forests and misty landscapes that will leave a lump in your throat.

The iconic Ulun Danu Beratan Temple, situated on the shores of Lake Beratan, is a must-visit attraction. It features intricate Balinese architecture and captivating reflections in the water that make terrific photographs.

Bedugul is also home to the Bali Botanic Garden, a haven for plant enthusiasts and the Bali Treetop Adventure Park, offering thrilling treetop obstacle courses amidst the forest canopy. Additionally, the area is renowned for its fresh produce, and visitors can indulge in farm-to-table dining experiences and shop at local markets.

15. Jatiluwih


Bali is famous for its stunning rice terraces, with Jatiluwih being one of the best places to see them. Offering a fascinating glimpse into the island’s agricultural heritage, it boasts expansive terraced fields that cascade down the rolling hills, creating a breathtaking tapestry of vibrant green hues.

The area is known for its traditional Subak irrigation system, which has sustained rice cultivation for centuries. Travelers can explore the terraces on foot or rent a bicycle to immerse themselves in the serene countryside.

Along the way, encounters with local farmers and glimpses of traditional Balinese village life are commonplace. Jatiluwih also offers panoramic viewpoints, such as the Pura Luhur Batukaru Temple, where visitors can marvel at the majestic landscapes.

If you can, visit Jatiluwih at dusk when the setting sun’s colors give the landscape a magical Insta-worthy glow.

14. Nusa Dua

Nusa Dua

Nestled on Bali’s southern coast, Nusa Dua is a renowned resort enclave that offers travelers a luxurious and upscale experience.

Known for its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters and world-class resorts, Nusa Dua presents a tranquil and sophisticated atmosphere. The area boasts a collection of high-end hotels, elegant villas and upscale dining establishments, catering to discerning travelers seeking comfort and relaxation.

Nusa Dua’s palm-fringed beaches provide an idyllic setting for sunbathing, swimming and water sports activities. Golf enthusiasts can tee off at the prestigious Bali National Golf Club.

In contrast, culture enthusiasts can explore the nearby Pasifika Museum, showcasing an extensive art collection sourced from across the Asia-Pacific region. Nusa Dua is also famous for its water-blow phenomenon, where crashing waves create dramatic water sprays.

If you head to Nusa Dua, remember it is a very upmarket part of Bali. So prices are higher here than in most other places on the island.

13. Pura Lempuyang

Pura Lempuyang

Pura Lempuyang, known as the ‘Gateway to Heaven’, is a sacred Hindu temple complex. It is situated on the slopes of Mount Lempuyang in East Bali, 600 meters above sea level.

This iconic temple has gained global recognition for its breathtaking views and spiritual significance. The main attraction is the picturesque split-gate entrance, which frames a magnificent vista of Mount Agung, Bali’s highest volcano.

Visitors must ascend a long staircase with several temples along the way to reach the summit, making it a spiritual pilgrimage for many. The temple complex offers a serene and peaceful atmosphere, allowing you to connect with their spirituality and immerse yourself in Balinese Hindu culture.

Seeing the temple bathed in a golden glow as the sun rises is also a genuinely ethereal experience if you can wake up early enough.

12. Tukad Cepung Waterfall

Tukad Cepung Waterfall

If you want to see a breathtaking waterfall, Tukad Cepung Waterfall should be high on your list.

It resides within a cave in Tembuku village, part of the Bangli regency on the island, approximately 30 km from Ubud.

You’ll need to take a short hike through lush greenery and narrow paths to get there. Once you arrive, you’ll be greeted with a towering cliff surrounding the waterfall, creating a unique and picturesque setting.

The waterfall cascades into a shallow pool, inviting visitors to dip in its crystal-clear waters. The natural rock formations surrounding the waterfall add to its charm and offer great photo opportunities.

When sunlight filters through the narrow canyon, it creates a stunning ambiance that illuminates the cascading water, making for a magical experience.

Visitors can relax, meditate, or soak in the natural beauty of the surroundings. Try to head there between 9 am and 11 am to see it at its best.

11. Mount Agung

Mount Agung

Mount Agung, Bali’s highest volcano, beckons adventurers and nature enthusiasts with its awe-inspiring beauty and spiritual significance.

Offering a challenging yet rewarding trekking experience, ascending to the top of this active volcano rewards hikers with breathtaking panoramic views of the island and surrounding landscapes. The trek to it takes you through diverse terrains, including lush forests, rugged trails and volcanic ash fields.

Mount Agung holds deep spiritual significance for the Balinese people. The Besakih Temple, known as the ‘Mother Temple of Bali’, sits at the volcano’s base. Visitors can explore the temple and witness traditional ceremonies, immersing themselves in the island’s rich cultural heritage.

While trekking Mount Agung is one of the more demanding things to do in Bali and requires physical endurance, the experience offers a profound connection with nature and a glimpse into the island’s spiritual traditions. If you go early enough, you can also witness a spectacular sunrise at the summit, creating a truly unforgettable moment.

10. Sanur Beach

Sanur Beach

Located in the village of Denpasar in southeast Bali, quiet Sanur Beach is a popular destination for older visitors, which has earned the spot the nickname “Snore Beach.” That’s a bit of a misnomer, however, as there is plenty of things to do at this beach resort.

In addition to the area’s well-kept beach, Sanur has several important historic sites, including the Blanjong Temple, which contains a column bearing inscriptions that date back to the 9th century. The nearby Le Mayeur Museum was once home to Belgian impressionist Adrian Jean Le Mayeur and features many of the artist’s works.

Tourists can also explore the nearby mangrove forest or take a boat trip to the neighboring islands for a change of scene.

9. Nusa Lembongan

Nusa Lembongan

Nusa Lembongan, a small island off the southeast coast of Bali, is a tropical paradise that attracts visitors with its pristine beaches, azure waters and relaxed island vibe. Accessible by a short boat ride, it provides another tranquil escape from the busier parts of Bali.

The island is known for its stunning coastal scenery, including Dream Beach, Mushroom Bay and Devil’s Tear, where dramatic waves crash against rugged cliffs. Snorkeling and diving enthusiasts, in particular, will marvel at the vibrant coral reefs and diverse marine life around Nusa Lembongan.

Exploring the island by bicycle or scooter reveals picturesque landscapes of lush jungles, charming villages, and seaweed farms. Visitors can indulge in beachside dining, especially fresh seafood and enjoy breathtaking sunsets.


Over on Bali’s northern coast, Lovina is a charming coastal town renowned for its tranquil beaches, dolphin sightings and colorful coral reefs.

Offering a relaxed and laid-back atmosphere, its black sand beaches are perfect for sunbathing, swimming and walking past the breaking waves.

Lovina is particularly famous for its early morning dolphin-watching tours, where visitors can witness pods of dolphins frolicking in the ocean. Snorkelers and divers should also enjoy exploring the vibrant underwater world, teeming with tropical fish and beautiful coral formations.

The town boasts various accommodation options, ranging from budget-friendly guesthouses to luxury resorts. Away from the beaches, visitors can also explore nearby attractions like Banjar Hot Springs and Brahma Vihara Arama, a historic Buddhist temple.

7. Pura Luhur Uluwatu

Pura Luhur Uluwatu

Perched dramatically on a cliff overlooking the Indian Ocean, Pura Luhur Uluwatu is a majestic temple in Bali that offers a captivating blend of cultural heritage and breathtaking views.

For any traveler to Bali, this sacred temple is a must-visit destination, known for its stunning sunset vistas and traditional Balinese architecture.

As one of the six key temples believed to be Bali’s spiritual pillars, Pura Luhur Uluwatu exudes a sense of ancient spirituality and tranquility. Tourists can explore the temple complex, adorned with intricate stone carvings and guarded by cheeky resident monkeys.

The Kecak fire dance performance, held against the backdrop of the setting sun, is a mesmerizing cultural experience.

The temple’s cliffside location also offers panoramic views of the ocean and rugged coastline, making it an ideal spot for photography and reflection.

6. Mount Batur

Mount Batur

While it’s not the highest point on Bali, Mount Batur is situated on one of the island’s most dramatic landscapes. Dominating the northeastern section of Bali, the 1,717-meter (5,633-foot) peak is a sometimes-active volcano that includes four craters, a lake and several villages.

Offering a thrilling experience for those with an adventurous spirit, the sunrise trek to its summit is a popular activity. It provides breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes, including Lake Batur, which you’ll want to savor.

The journey starts in the early morning, and as the sun emerges, the sky transforms into a palette of colors. Witnessing the sunrise from the summit is a truly unforgettable experience.

The trek takes approximately two to three hours, passing through volcanic landscapes and unique flora. After descending, visitors can relax in the hot springs at the volcano’s base.

5. Kuta Beach

Kuta Beach

Once a sleepy fishing village, Kuta gained fame as a great spot for surfing during the 1970s, and it has remained Bali’s premier vacation destination ever since. Located on the southern point of the island in the village of Kelurahan, the long, broad stretch of sand one of the best-maintained and most scenic beaches on the island.

Known for its active nightlife, the southern section of the beach is usually crowded, day or night. A short stroll to the north end of the beach, however, offers visitors a quiet sense of solitude.

The beach has various restaurants, bars and shops lining it, making it a hub of activity. Visitors can indulge in delicious local cuisine, shop for souvenirs, or enjoy the energetic nightlife with beachfront clubs and live music venues. Many of which stay open until the wee hours of the morning.

4. Pura Besakih

Pura Besakih

Located on the slopes of Gunung Agung, Bali’s highest mountain, Pura Besakih is considered the most important of the “kayangan jagat,” the nine directional temples built to protect the island from evil.

The temple was named after the dragon god that believers say lives within the depths of the mountain. The temple complex includes more than 28 structures built on seven ascending terraces.

Overall, Pura Besakih is a place of pilgrimage for the Balinese people and is often the site of vibrant ceremonies and religious festivals. It offers a unique opportunity for travelers to witness the island’s rich spiritual traditions, dating back thousands of years.

Visitors can explore the intricate architecture, stone carvings and beautiful pagodas which feature on the temple grounds. The sweeping views of the surrounding mountains and valleys adds to the awe-inspiring experience. Participating in an organized tour is the best way to view the site as the self-designated guides on site can be aggressively demanding.

3. Seminyak


Located on the southwestern coast of Bali, Seminyak is a small town that has been encompassed by the city of Kuta’s expansive growth. Despite its proximity to Kuta, Seminyak is one of the island’s most exclusive vacation destinations.

From its high-end boutiques and five-star restaurants to its luxury hotels and spas, the city attract attracts well-heeled travelers from around the world. Although the surf is too treacherous for most swimmers, Seminyak Beach offers visitors panoramic views of the Indian Ocean and of the professional surfers who flock to this area to ride the big waves too.

After dark, the town comes alive with bustling nightlife , including beachfront bars and clubs where you can dance the night away.

2. Tanah Lot

Tanah Lot

Situated on a large rock, Tanah Lot is one of the most famous Hindu temples in Bali. It has been a part of Balinese mythology for centuries. The temple is one of 7 sea temples, each within eyesight of the next, to form a chain along the south-western coast of Bali.

Tanah Lot is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Bali and the whole area can be very busy, especially in the late afternoons and before sunset. The area between the car park and the beach adjacent to the temple is a maze of souvenir shops selling just about every Balinese trinket imaginable.

Once visitors have fought their way through the souvenir vendors to the beach, they will see the magnificent temple perched on a rock just a few meters offshore. The natural beauty of the surroundings, with the temple silhouette against the ocean backdrop, creates a truly mesmerizing scene.


Perched among the terraced rice fields that climb up the foothills of Bali’s central mountains, Ubud is considered the island’s cultural heart. Ubud is home to the island’s most important museums, including the Neka Art Museum with its expansive collection of Balinese paintings. There are dance and music performances every day throughout the city as well as numerous art galleries and craft shops to explore.

Although Ubud has long been valued as a great place to learn about Balinese culture, tourism in Ubud boomed exponentially after it was featured in the book and movie “Eat, Pray, Love.” Fortunately, it only takes a short walk or bicycle ride to escape from the crowds and commercialism.

Nature lovers will find solace in the nearby Monkey Forest, a sacred sanctuary inhabited by playful macaque monkeys. Ubud is surrounded by gently rolling rice paddies which create a beautiful impression of greenness. The countryside offers opportunities for trekking, cycling and visiting traditional villages, such as the famous Tegalalang Rice Terrace.

If that sounds too energetic for you, Ubud’s wellness and yoga retreats are famous worldwide, providing a chance to rejuvenate your mind, body and soul.

Map of Places to Visit in Bali

Places to Visit in Bali

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Reader interactions.

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March 6, 2024 at 8:27 pm

great information. I’m from southern Bali, yesterday I came to Sekumpul waterfall, the view was very nice, located in the countryside. Even though I had to go down the stairs, after arriving at the location it felt cool.

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January 31, 2018 at 12:01 pm

Thanks for this great guide. We are going to Ubud, and it will be our first time to Bali.

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May 6, 2016 at 8:51 pm

Seminyak still my fave one. Great list anyway 🙂

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February 16, 2016 at 9:57 am

I am scheduling a 10 day trip to Bali. I can’t wait to visit these amazing places. I found a resort that I would love to lodge. However, I am not sure how close it is to everything that you mentioned in this article. The resort is called Pan Pacific Nirwana Bali Resort.

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June 17, 2015 at 9:48 pm

I was in central Kuta in January of 2014 and near by beach was completely covered in garbage. Locals say it’s only seasonal and that it comes from Java. I hope nobody else will be disappointed like I was. Otherwise cool place that could use some sidewalks.

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February 23, 2015 at 7:16 pm

Very informative post. Just the right article I am looking for; List of attractions / places to go + the location on Bali map. I am planning to visit Bali soon.

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January 24, 2015 at 12:43 am

Tirta Gangga water palace is also a great place to visit in Bali. Btw, stay over night (or even for two nights) on Lembongan is recommended. You can explore the island, do more water sports and visit Ceningan.

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August 29, 2014 at 8:23 am

So excited to visit Bali soon, can’t wait for early next year. But a little bit worry on how am going to visit all the amazing places that you post here in 3 days,have only a limited time. Your article helps me to make my choices more easier.

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July 14, 2014 at 2:52 pm

Very informative web sight. I am a world traveler and really enjoy the websight. Thanks

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13 things to know before going to Bali, Indonesia

Jan 18, 2024 • 8 min read

islands to visit while in bali

These top tips for visiting Bali can help you plan the perfect trip © Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images

The Indonesian island of Bali is a sun-soaked paradise that attracts every type of traveler, from budget-conscious backpackers to luxury jet-setters.

But – as with any destination – the vast majority of travelers (especially first-timers) will have a number of questions, whether it's "Can unmarried couples stay together in Bali?" (an increasingly common one in the light of recently-introduced new rules for tourists in Bali, which we'll get to later) or "What should I wear?"

Thankfully, Bali is one of the easiest destinations to explore, although its size – the island covers 5776 sq km (2230 sq miles) – means travelers should take the time to think about what they want to see and do relatively early on. For example, places such as Seminyak , with its beach clubs and five-star hotels, tend to become somewhat crowded during peak season, while more rural destinations, such as Ubud , might well require a longer taxi journey but are absolutely worth the effort, especially for those keen to avoid the crowds.

It's also worth bearing in mind that Bali is one of Asia's safest destinations. As with any holiday hot spot, there are always going to be certain things we can do to ensure we stay safe while traveling, but crackdowns on petty theft and bad behavior have all helped transform the island into a wonderfully family-friendly destination .

Here are our top tips for anyone heading to Bali.

A farmer in a terraced field

1. Check your vaccinations are up-to-date before traveling to Indonesia

There are no mandatory vaccinations for visitors to Bali (barring the need for travelers arriving from countries with a high yellow fever transmission risk to carry a yellow fever vaccination certificate), although Hepatitis A, typhoid and tetanus are often recommended. Bali falls into the "low to no risk" category when it comes to malaria.

Rabies remains a big problem in Indonesia, and although it claims fewer lives in Bali than elsewhere (according to the World Health Organization, 11 people died from rabies in the first half of 2023), it still exists, and the rabies vaccination is worth considering. Working out what vaccinations you need for a holiday to Bali is mostly a personal choice, but if you have concerns, contact your local physician for the latest guidance.

2. Bring a reusable bottle

One of the most asked questions by tourists: "Is Bali's tap water safe to drink?" The short answer is "no." Stick to bottled water or, better still, bring a bottle with a built-in water filtering membrane. Purchasing bottled water – especially in restaurants – can quickly become expensive, which is another reason we're fans of reusable filtered ones, such as Larq and Lifestraw. These are also handy when it comes to purifying water used for cleaning fruits and vegetables. Additionally, try to steer clear of ice and use bottled water to brush your teeth.

Huge dark clouds out at sea contrasting with the light elsewhere. A small row boat is in the foreground on the beach

3. Don't write off the rainy season

Having a rough idea of when dry and rainy seasons fall is undoubtedly something that is useful to know before heading to Indonesia . But bear with us – Bali's rainy season, which takes place between October and April, is a great time to visit. It's typified by short, sharp showers that often only last a few minutes. And in addition to the fact that prices for everything – from regional airfares to hotels – plummet, the island becomes wonderfully lush, the weather is still warm (typically hovering between 24°C/75°F and 29°C/85°F), and the main tourist attractions are blissfully crowd-free. You'll also find it easier to snap up places on excursions, such as snorkeling tours and guided hikes .

4. Buy some bug spray

To be clear, Bali doesn't have a major mosquito problem, but like anywhere in Southeast Asia, these pesky biting bugs love the occasional bloodsucking session – in the case of Bali, particularly during the rainy season between November and April. Lighten the load on your wallet by purchasing your repellent in Bali and opting for bug sprays made in Asia. Popular (and much cheaper) Asian brands you'll find throughout Indonesia include Soffell (snap up the surprisingly pleasant floral-scented version if you can).

5. Avoid traveling during peak times

Traffic in Bali can be horrendous – especially around busier spots such as Denpasar and Kuta – and estimated journey times on apps like Google Maps or Grab are notoriously unreliable. Peak times tend to be 6am to 8am (but roads often remain busy until 10am when day-trippers head out) and 4pm to 7pm. Allow plenty of time to get from A to B, especially when heading to the airport.

A pathway between lily-covered ponds leads to a temple building

6. Pack clothes that will cover you up for when you're not on the beach

In Bali, skimpy swimwear is fine for the beach , but definitely not for trips to a supermarket or restaurant.

Men and women need to ensure their shoulders and upper legs are covered when visiting religious sites, although most of these places will have sarongs for visitors to borrow. Pack like a pro by taking a light cotton scarf that can double as a sarong if you visit a temple or other religious site, and a pair of light cotton trousers (bonus points if they've got a built-in mosquito repellent), which will protect you from bites while also providing enough coverage at sites where tiny denim shorts or a vest just won't cut it.

7. Behave respectfully

Various media reports might give the impression it's easy to get into trouble in Bali, but it's not. In reality, you just need to be sensible: don't do drugs (being caught with under a gram of cannabis will land you in prison), be respectful and dress appropriately at religious sites, don't ride a motorbike or moped without a helmet (Bali's police have recently started cracking down especially hard on foreign moped drivers), and treat locals with respect.

8. Locals will be keen to share their knowledge with you

Staying at a hotel with a concierge or a friendly receptionist? Feel free to grill them about the best local bar, beach or restaurant. The Balinese are incredibly proud of their island  – don't be surprised if the bartender at your favorite beach bar ends up inviting you to their home for dinner with their family – and love nothing more than telling visitors about their favorite beach, nature walk or temple.

A popular Balinese meal of rice with a variety of vegetables in a wooden bowl

9. Eat, drink, stay and shop locally

Don't be afraid to go local, whether this means eating at tiny family-run restaurants or opting for local drink brands. You'll pay less and enjoy delicious local dishes, and you'll be contributing directly to the local economy, too. These days, even the smallest restaurants, bars and independent hotels will be listed on online review sites such as Zomato (especially popular in Asia), and a quick glance should tell you whether the business in question is reputable or not.

10. Carry some loose change

Many businesses in Bali will take payment by card, but there are still plenty of places that only take cash. These include temples, smaller souvenir shops and beachfront masseuses (which, by the way, offer some of the best massages going). ATMs on the island can be unreliable and are also few and far between in some areas. Additionally, don't assume you'll always have the mobile data you'll need to book a ride-share taxi. If you need to hail a tuk-tuk or taxi from the side of the road, it's highly likely you'll need to pay in cash.

When using ATMs, opt for ones connected with major banks (in Indonesia, these include BNI, Bank Mandiri, BCA and CIMB Niaga) to avoid withdrawal fees and remember that Indonesian ATMs issue the cash first, so don't forget to wait for your card to appear.

11. Get around by moped (but always wear a helmet)

Mopeds are the cheapest way to get around Bali  and often – especially during rush hour in places such as Kuta – the quickest, too. They're also offered as a mode of transport by Grab and Gojek (Bali's most popular ride-sharing apps), and prices for journeys via mopeds are significantly cheaper than those made by car. Just remember to check the reviews of your chosen driver and always wear a helmet (the driver will typically provide one). Avoid hailing scooter taxis on the street – you won't be able to check their credentials, and, in reality, Grab and Gojek have so many scooter drivers (both identifiable for their bright green jackets) that there's simply no need.

12. There is a no-sex-before-marriage law

In December 2022, the Indonesian government brought in a new law that forbids sex outside of marriage. Technically, this law applies to visitors as well as locals.

At the time, it was announced that the legislation won't be introduced until late 2025. Since then, Bali's governor has said that the law – dubbed by some newspapers as the "Bali bonk ban"– won't apply to tourists and, additionally, guilty parties can only be reported by spouses, parents or children. In summary, the law represents a worrying development for human rights in Indonesia, but it's not one that is likely to affect tourists.

13. Prepare to pay a daily tourist tax

As tourism has roared back after the pandemic, authorities have responded to environmental challenges (especially plastic waste on beaches) and overtourism concerns by finally launching a long-mooted fee for foreign visitors as of February 2024. The fee of 150,000 Indonesian rupiah per visitor (about US$10, €9 or AU$15) is payable upon arrival on the island.

This article was first published May 30, 2019 and updated Jan 18, 2024.

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best places to visit in bali that you cannot miss

60 Best Things to Do in Bali (Indonesia) in 2024

Home | Travel | Asia | Indonesia | Bali | 60 Best Things to Do in Bali (Indonesia) in 2024

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There are so many  places to visit in Bali  that you could spend months traveling across the most popular island in Indonesia and still miss things. In addition, the  things to do in Bali  are so diverse that any type of traveler can find places of interest on the island.

Bali is the perfect location not only for couples planning their honeymoons and seeking luxury vacations, but also for backpackers and solo travelers. Therefore, it’s not surprising that  Bali is the most popular tourist destination in Indonesia.  Regardless of your budget and expectations, Bali will offer you whatever you’re looking for.   

However, if you don’t have enough time to explore the island in depth, preparing your trip can be chaotic because of the overwhelming number of  sights to see in Bali.

To help you plan a trip to Bali, we’ve created a list with the 60 best things to do in Bali (Indonesia)  that’ll make your trip unforgettable. To do this, we have curated the best of Bali after our experience traveling to the island on two different occasions: a 10-day Bali trip in November, and a week Bali itinerary in June.

In addition, at the end of the article, you’ll find a map with all the  places to visit in Bali .  It’s the best tool for not missing anything.

Let’s get started! These are the  60 best must-do things in Bali:

1. Ubud, the best place to visit in Bali

Ubud, the best city to visit in Bali. balinese mask art market ubud

Ubud,  the cultural capital city of Bali, is located in the center of the island, and it’s a strategic point for any traveler, besides the fact that it’s an essential place to visit in Bali.

Two of the most important must-visit in Ubud are the  Traditional Art Market,  where you can buy all kinds of souvenirs and works of art, and the  Pura Taman Saraswati  temple, which stands out for its pond full of lotus flowers. Additonally, there are many other attractions in and around Ubud that you should visit in Bali, as you’ll find throughout this list.  

Given the central location of Ubud, this town is one of the best places to stay in Bali.  From here you can reach any part of the island in a couple of hours.

Book the Airport transfer to Ubud

2. surfing in Kuta, the best thing to do in Bali

things to do at bali indonesia surf in kuta

2. Kuta, one of the best beaches in Bali

Kuta Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Bali for surfing. If you’ve never caught waves

Right in front of the beach is the  Beach Walk shopping center , where you’ll find a food court where you can buy both local and international food.

Sunsets from Kuta Beach are spectacular. However, Kuta isn’t a totally perfect spot.

In recent years, it has become the nightlife hotspot in Bali, so, at certain times, you’ll only see drunk people on the street, and the atmosphere can feel a little sketchy.

Even so, it’s still one of  the most touristy spots in Bali,  so we could not leave it off our list of things to do in Bali.

3. Nusa Dua, the heart of luxury travel in Bali (Indonesia)

luxury hotels in Nusa Dua best places to visit in Bali

3. Nusa Dua, the heart of  luxury travel in Bali (Indonesia)

Visiting  Nusa Dua  is a must-do in Bali  if you want to enjoy a luxurious experience on the island.

Here are the  best resorts and villas in Bali, where you can enjoy such luxuries as private beaches and top-notch spa treatments.

If you’re  planning a honeymoon in Bali  or want to treat yourself, spending an unforgettable day in Nusa Dua is one of the best things to do in Bali.

4. Denpasar, a city you must visit in Bali

spending a day in denpasar is something to do in Bali

Bali International Airport is located in  Denpasar , so it’s very likely that you’ll need to spend a night in the capital of Bali.

Within Denpasar, I recommend visiting the  Bali Museum  to learn about the history and culture of the island. If you’d like to take a tour with a local guide, you can book your tour  here.

Visiting  Badung Pass  is another interesting thing to do in Denpasar. This market of fresh local products is on the banks of the Badung River. Around it, you’ll also find some interesting temples to visit in Bali, such as Puri Tanjung Sari Pemecutan Badung Palace, the Besakih Gerenceng Temple, or the Pura Maospahit. Denpasar is a must-see sight in Bali!

5. Uluwatu, a great idea for Bali at sunset

uluwatu temple the best thing to do in Bali at sunset

The  Pura Luhur Uluwatu  is one of the  most important temples in Bali .  It’s located on a 250-foot high cliff on the west of the Bukit Badung peninsula in the south of Bali.

The best time to visit this temple is at sunset, when you can see how the sun sets under the sea.

Then, late in the afternoon, the temple hosts Kecak Fire & Trance performances.  Attending one of these  traditional dance exhibitions is a great thing to do in Bali.  At this event, a group of men sings together while dancers dressed in colorful traditional clothes tell the story of Ramayana.

If you visit this temple, be careful with the monkeys that live there, since they’re used to tourists and can try to steal something from you in exchange for food. Entrance to the temple costs IDR 40,000 ($ 3).

6. Partying in Seminyak, something you have to do in Bali

seminyak is one of the best beaches to visit in Bali

Seminyak  is the best place in Bali if you’re looking for a beach and a party. Although this coastal town is increasingly touristy, it still has the magic of the classic surfing areas in Bali, with a young and fun atmosphere. Besides, if you compare Seminyak and Kuta, the former has a healthier environment.

Here, you’ll find everything from beach bars where you can have a bintang beer while you enjoy the sunset, to clubs with international music where you can dance all night.

La Plancha  restaurant is the best place to relax while watching the sunset and lying on a colorful puff in the sand.

If you want  to party in Bali,  you’ll also find very good places in Seminyak. I don’t usually go out when I travel, but I have to admit that I had a great time in  Favela , so I can recommend this place.

7. Sacred Monkey Forest Sactuary, a must visit in Bali

monekey in ubud a places to visit in Bali

The  Ubud Sacred Monkey Forest  is one of the  most visited tourist attractions in Bali.  Located on the outskirts of Ubud, it’s a must-do in Bali.

This forest, full of terrifying-looking sculptures, is home to a gigantic macaque colony. It’s a funny and interesting place, but you must be careful; the monkeys are so used to being with tourists that they won’t hesitate to get close, play, ask for food, steal or even bite you.

Don’t even think about feeding them. Although they may seem friendly, they can be very aggressive, too. In fact, after visiting this location, I had to use our travel insurance to Indonesia,  when three monkeys climbed on me and bit me.

The entrance to the Monkey Forest costs 20k IDR ($ 2.30), although I recommend checking on the official website for any changes.

8. Batur Volcano, the best excursion to do in Bali

best activities in bali hike to mount batur

Bali is a volcanic island that still has a lot of activity. Additionally, the volcanoes of Bali are not just part of the landscape. The religion, customs, and traditions of the Balinese are closely linked to the volcanoes of the island.

There are three volcanoes in Bali, with  Mount Batur  being the most active in terms of eruptions. It is currently dormant, so you can visit the crater, although it still has dozens of  fumaroles and hot springs in the surroundings.

Even though the ascent hike is not especially difficult, taking approximately two hours, to make the trek that leads to the summit, you’ll need to book a tour like this one .

Your guide will pick you up at your hotel and go with you to the top of the volcano, where he’ll prepare banana pancakes and eggs in a volcanic steam vent for breakfast.

For me, seeing the sunrise above the sea next to Mount Agung (the highest volcano in Bali) from the top of Mount Batur was one of the best tours in Bali and certainly one of the essential activities in Bali that I’ll never forget.

9. Jimbaran, the seafood platter you can’t miss

best places to eat in Bali and restaurants

Jimbaran  is a traditional fishing town in the south of Kuta, well known for its terrific fresh seafood restaurants. If you feel like enjoying a fish barbecue on the beach in Jimbaran, I recommend this bay. The chill atmosphere and friendly locals will make you feel like you’re at home.  

In addition, Jimbaran Beach, with its fine white sand and spectacular turquoise waters, is one of the most beautiful beaches in Bali, so don’t miss a visit to this town by the sea.

10. Pantai Lovina, Whre you can see dolphins in Bali (Indonesia)

see dolphins in bali a thing not to do

10. Pantai Lovina, the best place to see dolphins in Bali (Indonesia)

Watching dolphins in Pantai Lovina  is one of the most popular activities to do in Bali, so I had to include it on this list. However, I would ask you to think twice before taking this excursion.

Before my trip, I checked if these tours respected the safety distances they needed to in order to be considered  responsible tourism in Bali.  Unfortunately, this is not the case, so I decided not to encourage or support these companies that are harmful to the local wildlife.

As  many travelers who signed up for this activity without really knowing how harmful it would be to wildlife have said, dolphins are chased by dozens of boats that depart each day from Lovina. When they find them, they pursue them until they’re exhausted, with some reports stating that dolphins are sometimes hit by the boats. Please don’t participate in this activity. Don’t encourage tourism with animals in Bali. There are other things that are much more interesting to do in Bali.

11. Canggu, a lovely town to visit in Bali

canggu a place to visit in Bali

Canggu  is another coastal village in Bali worth visiting. Like Kuta, its beach is also popular for surfers and nightlife, although it’s usually visited mostly by locals and tourists who want to flee from the crowded areas.

If you fancy a more relaxed atmosphere and enjoy hipster cafes and beach clubs, we recommend visiting Canggu. There are lots of gluten-free, vegan, and healthy options in their restaurants.

Also, if you feel like learning to catch waves, I recommend that you  hire classes with a local.

12. Bedugul, the mountainous area to visit in Bali

one of the most remote temples in Bali Pura Ulun Danu Tamblingan

Bedugul  is the best inland place to relax in Bali. It’s located in a mountainous area that is difficult to access, and it’s surrounded by waterfalls and three beautiful lakes (Bratan, Buyan and Tamblingan) formed in volcanic craters. This area stands out as the main tourist spot for nature lovers who visit Bali.

In addition, in Bedugul, you can find one of the most photographed temples on the island, the  Pura Ulun Danu Bratan,  incredible waterfalls such as the  GitGit, and, in short, a haven of peace for those travelers who really want to disconnect. If you’re a long-term traveler, plan at least a week to discover this wonderful Balinese area.

Keep in mind that Bedugul is cooler than the rest of the island. You need to bring some warm clothes, since Bedugul is located above 2,300 feet, and the highest mountain is over  6,500 feet.

13. Tegallalang, the most popular rice paddies in Bali

best rice terraces in bali tegalalang

The  rice paddies of Tegallalang  are the most popular rice fields in Bali, since they’re  accessible from Ubud by bike . If you visit the island during the  best time to travel to Bali, (from October to March) coinciding with the rainy season, the rice terraces will look intensely green.

The entrance to the rice fields is free. However, the farmers you’ll find there will expect you to leave a tip if you take pictures. Today, these farmers make a living out of tourism rather than from the rice harvest, and, as you will see, the Tegallalang terraces are fully prepared for tourists. There, you’ll find souvenir shops, coffee shops, swings, and the typical I LOVE BALI sign that you have probably seen more than once

14. Besakih, the essential Mother Temple to visit in Bali

Besakih is one of the temple most important to do in bali

Besakih,  also known as the Mother Temple, is the largest and most sacred temple in Bali and one of the most touristy temples on the island. Besakih really consists of 22 temples, with Pura Penataran Agung (the Great State Temple) being the most important.

It was built on the southwest slopes of Mount Agung in a unique location surrounded by rice fields, hills, and streams. However, it’s not the most visited, since being located in the northeast area of the island, it’s not the most accessible. The most convenient option to visit Besakih is to hire a tour to get there.

Entrance to the temple costs IDR 60,000 ($ 4).

15. GitGit, one of the best waterfalls in Bali

gitgit waterfall what to do in bali

15. GitGit, one of the best waterfalls in Bali. Photo taken by: Heikki Pulkkinen

The  GitGit waterfall  is one of the most popular in Bali. If you’re planning to visit the Bedugul area, this is one of the waterfalls worth visiting.

It’s also quite accessible. You’ll simply have to follow the paved road from the parking lot through the rice paddies for 15 minutes. The ticket price is 20,000 IDR.

Once at the waterfall, there is an area where you can change your clothes. You can have a bath under the 115-foot waterfall, or relax in one of the natural pools that have formed in the rock.

16. Tanah Lot, the best sunset to see in Bali

visiting tanah lot is one of the most important things to do in bali

The  Tanah Lot  temple is located on an islet that is only possible to access at low tide. It’s a popular pilgrimage location for locals, although today it is also one of the most touristy  temples in Bali .

The best time to visit it is at sunset, where you can see how the sun sets behind the temple into the sea.

Only monks are allowed to enter the temple, which is accessed by a staircase. However, in the afternoon, they usually give blessings in exchange for a donation in a small cave that is formed during the low tide.

In the same location as Tanah Lot is Batu Bolong  temple, another essential  to visit in Bali.  The entrance fee to see these two temples is 60,000IDR ($ 4).

We got there by aking this one-day tour.

17. Sanur, another city to visit in Bali

sanur luxury travel in bali and diving

Sanur  is a coastal town located in the east of Denpasar and one of the most popular cities in Bali.

In Sanur, you’ll find five-star resorts and hotels, many of them with direct access to the beach.

In addition, many  tours for diving in Bali  depart from here, as well as tours to visit the nearby Nusa Islands and Gili Islands.

Although it’s an area with shops and restaurants, it’s rather quiet and, with the exception of the  Sindhu night market, there isn’t much nightlife.

18. Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, an essential temple to visit in Bali

best temples to see in Bali Ulun Danu Bratan

Located on the shores of Lake Bratan (Bedugul),  Pura Ulun Danu Bratan  is one of the most photogenic temples on the island (apart from being a UNESCO World Heritage Site). The temple was built to venerate the water goddess Dewi Danu and it’s one of the most important pilgrimage locations in Bali.

Since it’s close to the mountains and away from other places of interest, it’s widely overlooked by many tourists, despite being a must-see place to visit in Bali. However, you can get there by motorcycle, or with this tour of northern Bali.  The entrance fee is IDR 30,000 ($ 2).

19. Balangan Beach, the best beach in Bali

best things to do in bali visit the balangan beach

The turquoise-blue-water beach of  Balangan Beach  is one of the best beaches in the Uluwatu area, on the Bukit Badung peninsula.

This otherworldly golden sand beach is hidden under a cliff, and to get there, you must go down a steep staircase.

However, to get the best views of this beach, I recommend going to the north end viewpoint. From there, you’ll enjoy stunning views of the Indian Ocean, as it’s one of the best places to watch the sunset in Bali.

20. Goa Gajah, visit the elephant cave

goa gajah the elephant cave, something you have to visit in Bali

Take a bike ride from Ubud and you can get to the  Goa Gajah  temple, famous for a cave whose entrance is the mouth of an evil monster. This small cave is also known as The Elephant Cave, because of the animal-shaped figure of the Goddess Ganesha that is inside.

Outside the cave, you’ll also find a pool where sculptures in the form of deities drain sacred water. In addition, I recommend walking around the temple since it’s surrounded by vegetation. In particular, I suggest looking for a tree with bare roots, which was planted the same year the construction of the temple started, in the eleventh century. Admission fee is IDR 15,000 ($ 1.20 approx.), and the use of sarongs is mandatory. Without a doubt, this is one of the best temples to visit in Bali.

21. Mount Agung, the most beautiful volcano you must see in Bali

mount agung a place to visit in Bali best viewpoints

The  Agung volcano  is the highest volcano in Bali and the most recent one to erupt, back in 2017.

Although there are tours to reach to the top, you need at least 5 hours to climb the volcano and 5 hours to descend. Therefore, many people prefer to see it from a distance from one of the popular overlooks, such as the “Bukit Cinta viewpoint” (Abyandauh), Amed beach, or the “Gates of Heaven” of the Lempuyang Temple.

22. Tirta Empul Temple, the best of Bali

tourist spots to visit in Bali

Tirta Empul  is the  most sacred temple in Bali.  The locals go there to purify themselves in the waters of a spring that has healing properties. The water comes out from 12 pipes, but just 10 are allowed for bathing, while the other 2 are reserved for the dead and their families.    

Although at first glance it may not seem that different from the other temples to visit in Bali, Tirta Empul is unique. Seeing the religious rituals and purification ceremonies that are performed in this temple is one of the most important things to do in Bali.

The entrance fee is 15,000 IDR ($ 1.20).

23. Snorkeling and diving in Padangbai and the Blue Lagoon of Bali

turtles and other animals to see in bali diving and snorkeling

Padangbai  is located on the east of the island, not far from Ubud, and it’s a popular place for diving in Bali.

There are 7 diving points in total that can be reached by traditional boat (Jukung) a short distance from the shore. Here, the most popular diving form is “muck diving”, one of the best ways to see all kinds of sea creatures, such as toadfish, seahorses, lemon sharks, and turtles.

Five minutes by boat from Padangbai is the  Blue Lagoon , where you can feel like you’re in paradise among turquoise waters and white sand. However, the true paradise is under the sea. The vividly colorful corals and marine life make this area the  best place to dive in Bali.

If you’re interested in taking a snorkeling excursion in Padangbai and to the Blue Lagoon, this tour may be good for you. If you prefer to dive, I recommend this tour.  In addition, it counts as credit towards completing your PADI Open Water Diver course.

24. Tirta Gangga, another of the best destinations in Bali

Tirta Gangga Bali best places to see in bali

The Water Palace gardens,  Tirta Gangga , are one of the most amazing places to visit in Bali. They stand out for the lush stone statues, fountains, and swimming pools. The most impressive thing is a pond full of carp and lotus flowers where you can walk on small platforms that will make you feel like you’re walking on water.

The entrance to this temple costs IDR 20,000 ($ 1.50), although if you want to bathe in the sacred water pools, you will have to pay 10,000 IDR ($ 1) extra. For us, it’s an essential place to visit in Bali, but almost nobody goes there because it’s somewhat far from other places of interest.

If you don’t have a scooter, I recommend you book this tour, which will also take you to other Bali attractions, such as the  Lempuyang temple .

25. Pura Gunung Kawi, where the souls of the kings are buried

temple where the kings are buried Bali Gunung Kawi

Gunung Kawi,  the Temple of the Kings, is very different from the rest of the temples. It stands out for its Candi, which are sculptures carved into the rock that represent the tombs of the royal family’s souls.

The surroundings of the temple are also worth seeing. To get there, you’ll go across lush rice paddies and wild vegetation. Near the last grave, you can also visit a beautiful small waterfall, another of the secret places to visit in Bali.

26. Nungnung Waterfall, an essential waterfall in Bali

best waterfalls to visit in bali nungnung waterfall

Visit ing Nungnung waterfall  is the best thing to do in Bali if you don’t like crowds; almost no one goes there. You may think that it’s because it’s in the middle of nowhere, but it’s just an hour from Ubud towards Bedugul. However, what makes this waterfall a true hidden gem is how difficult it is to access. You’ll have to go down more than 500 stairs to its base.

The waterfall is 230 feet high and pumps out a lot of water throughout the year. Despite the waterfall’s big size and loud sound, you can also have a bath in the base pool. It’s without a doubt one of the best waterfalls to visit in Bali. Admission is 10,000 IDR. ($ 0.70)

27. Garuda Wisnu Kencana, the tallest statue in Indonesia

best places to visit in bali garuda wisnu kencana

One of the most recently built tourist attractions is Garuda Wisnu Kencana Park (GWK),  built in 2018 near Jimbaran.

This park was designed in honor of the Hindu god Vishnu and has a large area of ​​60 hectares. It’s renowned for the huge statue of  Vishnu mounted on Garuda , the mythological bird that goes with him.

The imposing statue has a height of nearly 400 feet, making it the tallest statue in Indonesia and one of the tallest in the world, even taller than the Statue of Liberty.

28. West Bali National Park and Menjangan Island

best things to do in bali Menjangan island

95% of tourists who arrive in Bali just visit the eastern half of the island, but if you want to learn about authentic Balinese culture, there is nothing like traveling to the westernmost point of Bali, the  Taman Nasional Bali Barat  (West Bali National Park). This park includes both land and marine spaces based on reefs and islets.

In this park, you can find everything from deer to clouded leopards, in addition to different varieties of monkeys and birds that are on the verge of extinction, such as the Bali myna. If you like watching and photographing wildlife, I strongly recommend taking the  Tegal Bunder  trail.

Within the islets,  Menjangan Island  is the largest and most spectacular. Many agree that it is one of the best places in Indonesia for snorkeling and diving.

Here, some of the most common animals are the butterfly fish and the angelfish, although the real highlights are the green turtles. The island also has a small temple, the  Pura Gili Kancana,  one of the oldest temples in Bali, so you can’t miss this place.

29. Waterbom Bali Indonesia, the most extreme water park in Asia

waterbom the best water park in bali and asia

Since Bali’s full of paradisiacal beaches, nobody goes there with the idea of ​​spending a day in a water park. However, if we’re talking about  Waterbom Bali, the most extreme water park in Asia and the third best waterpark in the world , it might make sense for adrenaline lovers.

Located very close to Kuta, its star attraction,  CLIMAX,  only lasts 7 seconds. However, it is one of the most daunting slides in the world.

The other 17 slides found in Waterbom are also terrifying, but don’t worry – there are also water attractions for children and families, so it may be a good idea to visit this water park during your stay in Bali.

30. Lempuyang Temple, the photo you have to take in Bali

best temples to see in bali lempuyang temple

Lempuyang Temple  is one of the  most photographed temples in Bali.  Dedicated to the God of Peace, it is located over 3,000 feet above sea level, so to reach it, you must be in  good physical shape, since you will need to climb some steep stairs.   

Without a doubt, the “Gates of Heaven” of this temple are one of the most popular Balinese postcards. In the iconic photo, you will see Mt. Agung reflected in what looks like a pond. In reality, it’s a trick using a mirror that was created by the locals to increase the popularity of the place.

As the temple is in the northeast of the island and far from the rest of the tourist areas of Bali, you can take this tour that will take you to this temple and other popular places in Bali.

31. Jatiluwih, other rice terraces to visit in Bali

best rice fields to visit in Ubud bali indonesia

The Jatiluwih rice paddies are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The beauty of these rice fields is overwhelming but, since they’re further away from the tourist areas of Bali, surprisingly they aren’t the most visited rice fields in Bali. If you want to visit Jatiluwih and don’t have a private car, you can book this one-day tour  to see, in addition to these terraces, other major Bali attractions.

32. Taman Ayun Temple, another place to visit in Bali

important things to see in bali Taman Ayun temple

The  Taman Ayun  temple, known as the Temple of the Beautiful Garden, is popular for its merus (stepped pagodas). Additionally, it’s surrounded by a moat and vegetation.

The sacred area of ​​the temple is not open to visitors, so to see the temple, you’ll have to look through a low wall from which you can see the interior. Of course, it’s a must see in Bali. Admission is 20,000IDR ($ 1.50).

33. Penglipuran, a traditional village to visit in Bali

women harving rice in bali fields things to do

Penglipuran  is a traditional village located in the center of the island that has gained popularity for preserving the traditions of Bali.

In this Balinese village, even bikes and scooters are banned. The houses are made with bamboo, and in addition, all waste is recycled as fertilizer for crops, which are tilled in the traditional way.

The entrance fee to the village is 30,000 IDR ($2), although if you want to spend a day learning the local traditions, I recommend that you book this tour. In this cultural immersion tour, you’ll see the Balinese traditional lifestyle in depth, with their customs and rituals. In addition, they’ll show you how to prepare the offerings that they give to the gods.

34. Nusa Islands, a visit you can’t miss in Bali

nusa penida what to do in Bali

The Nusa Islands  are three small islands that are located quite close to Sanur, on the east of the island. If you like nature, the Nusa Islands are one of the  essential places to visit in Bali.    

For some time, they weren’t a popular tourist destination, so on these islands, nature is much better preserved than on the main island of Bali. Some of the landmarks are beaches such as  Kelingking Beach,  in Nusa Penida, cliffs such as the  Ceningan Cliffs , in Nusa Ceningan, or mangroves like the  Mangrove Forest  in Nusa Lembongan.

In addition, these islands are very popular for their seabed where you can, among other things,  swim with manta rays . In the channel that separates Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Lembongan there’s also the Underwater Buddha Temple, where you can see a big underwater Buddha statue surrounded by stupas.

The fastest and cheapest way to get to the Nusa Islands is to take this  ferry to Lembongan. It includes hotel pick-up and, once there, you can do island hopping.

Ferry from Bali to Nusa Lembongan with pick-up

35. Pasut Beach, the black sand beach of Bali

pasut beach black sand beach and sunset in bali

Pasut Beach  is the only black sand beach in Bali, and it’s only half an hour north of Canggu. It also has the most famous  crooked palm tree  in Bali, so it’s easy to understand why it has become so popular in recent years.

The best time to visit this beach is at sunset, when you can see how the sun sets under the sea. In addition, it is one of the few beaches in Bali that you can travel to by motorcycle.

36. Tukad Cepung, a secret place to visit in Bali

tukad cepung secret waterfall in bali

Tukad Cepung  is a waterfall located a short distance from Ubud, but not everyone knows about it yet. This waterfall is undoubtedly one of the most special to visit in Bali, as it is hidden in a cave. The highlights of Tukad Cepung are the sunrays that create halos on sunny days, turning this fall into a magical place.

The surroundings, completely full of vegetation, make this  one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Bali.  The entrance fee is 10,000 IDR. ($0.70)

37. Handara Gate, the most beautiful gate in Bali

One of the best things to visit in Bali is Handara Gate

The door of the  Handara Club Golf   Course  is surprisingly one of the most popular places to visit in Bali. Due to its success on social media, today, the simple door of a golf course has become a must to photograph in Bali.

It’s true that the landscape is beautiful around here, since the golf course is surrounded by mountains and coffee plantations, so it’s not surprising that the  Handara Gate  is so frequently visited.

This type of door, known as a  Candi Bentar , is a very common type of construction in Java, Bali and Lombok, and is usually used in temples, cemeteries, and palaces. The construction stands out for being a door split into symmetrical two parts. Another of the most popular Candi Bentar is the “Gates of Heaven” of Lempuyang Temple.

The price for taking a picture at this door is IDR 30,000 ($2) per person. Whether Handara Gate is worth it or not is the question. In my opinion, unless you pass by or take a tour that takes you to nearby Lake Bratan, it isn’t worth it.

38. Visiting the Gili Islands, something incredible to do in Bali

best travel ideas to do in bali gili trawangan

The Gili Islands  are three tiny islands (Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air) that belong to Lombok, but since visiting them is something that’s indispensable to do in Bali, we couldn’t leave them off this list.

On these islands, you’ll find beaches with crystal clear water full of turtles, where you can snorkel and also enjoy the best nightlife of Indonesia. We decided to visit Gili Trawangan in two days , but if you don’t know  which Gili Island to choose, check out our article to find out which one is best for you.

Book your transfer Bali – Gili Islands with hotel pick-up

39. Goa Lawah, the bat cave

bat cave in goa lawah a great thing to do in bali goa lawah

The  Goa Lawah  temple cave is known for being full of bats that you’ll see hanging from the ceiling. It’s not a very touristy place, since it’s not usually included on most Bali itineraries, since it’s mainly visited by locals. Even so, if you find yourself on the eastern part of the island, near Pedangbai, it is a place worth visiting in Bali.

The entrance fee is 15,000 IDR ($1) and the best time to go depends on your fear of bats. If you want to see them asleep and hanging from the ceiling, go anytime in the morning. To see them flying out of the cave, I recommend you go late in the afternoon.

40. Wanagiri Hidden Hill, an interesting place to visit in Bali

wanagiri hidden hill a different place to visit in bali

Wanagiri Hidden Hill  is a totally different place from what you will see in the rest of Bali. On the shores of Lake Buyan (Bedugul), it’s currently one of the most popular attractions in the area.

This complex was created by and for the tourist, and comprises a series of stations where you can find swings, baskets, bamboo viewpoints, and all kinds of scenarios to take the most popular kind of Bali photographs.

I honestly don’t think the price of 150,000 IDR ($10) is worth it. But if your goal is to take the same photo as Instagram influencers, there is no better place.

41. Karang Boma Cliff, the best cliffs in Bali

Karang Boma Cliff a thing to do in Bali

The  cliffs of Karang Boma  are the most impressive in Bali. To get there, you must follow a path, which is not fully marked, from the parking lot (you can find it marked on the map below).

Only 10 minutes from there, you reach the main cliff that has a 3,000-foot drop, from which you can see the entire Uluwatu coast, including the incredible Uluwatu temple.

Please be very careful; the cliff has no protection to prevent people from falling if you get too close to the edge.

Although until recently the visit was free, locals have started charging 10,000 IDR ($0.80) due to the increasing popularity. The best time to visit it is at sunset.

42. Banyumala Twin Waterfall, the best thing to see in Northern Bali

banyumala twin waterfall best waterfall in bali

Banyumala  is an incredible twin waterfall in northern Bali (Bedugul), between the Buyan and Tamblingan lakes. Photographs don’t accurately show the true size of the waterfall, since it’s actually much taller than it seems.

To reach the waterfall, you must descend some stairs (be careful with the stairs in the last section). It will take you about 15 minutes to go down and 20 to get back. However, it is worth visiting.

The entrance to this waterfall costs 15,000 IDR ($1), and at the base of the fall, you can take a dip.

43. Amed, a not very touristy area to visit in Bali

amed beach with mount agung at the background

Amed  is a set of coastal villages located in the east of Bali. Although it’s gaining popularity on the island for its incredible seabed, there are still few tourists who visit this area, as it’s not very well connected.

If you have time and want to enjoy a quiet Balinese village, I recommend spending a few days here.

In addition to finding much cheaper diving lessons than in other parts of Bali, you can relax by observing the majesty of Mount Agung while you swim at Amed Beach. The best time of day to do it is at sunset.

44. The abandoned plane, something curious to visit in Bali

the abandoned plane, something curious to see in Bali

Something curious to visit in Bali  is the  abandoned Boeing 737  that is in Nusa Dua. Not even the locals know how it landed there. The owner of the plane is also unknown. A great thing to do in Bali is to explore this curiosity on your own.

45. Enjoy a massage, something mandatory to do in Bali

massage spa villa ayana resort bali

Treating yourself with a good massage is an indispensable thing to do in Bali.  Where else in the world can you find professional massages that last one hour for less than $ 15? (160,000 IDR).

Over 6 days, we got 3 different massages and found the best was in  Tjampuhan Spa  (Ubud).

​​46. Rent a scooter in Bali

things to do in bali for a first time visit rent a scooter

46. Rent a scooter in Bali

If you want to explore the island at your own pace, I recommend you take a scooter trip to Bali. This is the best way to see the entire island on your own without having to book almost any tour (some, such as Mount Batur, are still mandatory).

If you want to  rent a scooter in Bali ,  remember to bring an international driving license. Also, keep in mind that you have to drive on the left, and locals usually drive quite aggressively, so it’s highly recommended to purchase good travel insurance to Bali.

Cheap motorcycle rental in Bali with hotel delivery

47. Tegenungan, the most accessible waterfall in Bali

tegenungan a waterfall tourist spots in bali

To be honest,  Tegenungan  is not the prettiest waterfall in Bali. In fact, I would say that it’s dead last on the list of waterfalls that I’ve included in this list of places to visit in Bali. Beyond that, it’s one of the most touristy, since it’s only 20 minutes from Ubud, and you don’t have to walk to get to the base. However, it needs to be included on this list since it might be a good option if you travel to Bali with very little time to spend.

The waterfall has a good area to swim, although it’s usually crowded during the main hours of the day if you visit Bali in the high season. In addition, it’s surrounded by shops and warungs, so it’s a good option for family trips and people who don’t expect to discover a secret waterfall in Bali. It’s undoubtedly the most accessible waterfall in Bali.

48. Rafting in Ayung River, something fun to do in Bali

rafting in ayung river, something fun to do in Bali

Rafting  is one of the best  activities in Bali  if you want to get an adrenaline rush. The best place to do it is in the  Ayung River,  where, during the monsoon season, you can cross sections up to level IV. You can book a tour with a discount here.

49. Diving in the USAT Liberty shipwreck (Tulamben)

usat liberty tulamben shipwreck bali

Tulamben  is considered one of the best places to dive in Bali. Here, you can see blue spotted ribbontail ray, octopus, and scorpion fish among others. Additionally, you can dive around the USAT Liberty, a ship that sunk in 1942.

If you haven’t dived before, I recommend checking out this tour , which counts as credit towards a PADI Open Water Diver course. If you’re already a certified diver, then this is your tour.

50. Eat in the best Balinese Warungs

best places to eat in bali warungs

Warung  are small family restaurants where you can try traditional homemade Balinese cuisine.

You will see them everywhere, from the most remote waterfall to the noisiest city center. In the best warungs, you can eat like a king for less than $5.

There are thousands of warungs, so it’s difficult to recommend warungs in each place. However, when you visit Ubud, I strongly recommend the  Dewa Warung  and the  Igalenca Warung.  Those are two of my favorites   warungs in Bali.

51. Getting married in Bali, the most romantic thing to do in Bali

getting married in bali. something cool to do in bali

Witnessing a Balinese wedding is amazing. However, it’s even more exciting to dress up in the typical bridal costumes, “ Agung Clowns”,  and get married in a traditional Balinese ceremony.

If you’re traveling as a couple and want to make your experience memorable, getting married is the most romantic thing to do in Bali.

52. Bali swing, the famous swing in Bali

swing in bali the best thing to do in ubud

Visiting the Bali Swing  is one of the most popular things to do in Bali.

The price of the Bali Swing, the best-known swing in Bali, is IDR 385,000 ($ 25).

However, there is a slightly cheaper option, the  Zen Hideaway,  located near the previous swing. This swing is really in an Airbnb, but for 250,000 IDR ($ 18) you can enjoy half an hour on this swing in the common area of ​​this accommodation.   

53. Campuhan Ridge Walk, a hike to do in Bali

campuhan ridge walk, a hike to do in ubud bali

Campuhan Ridge Walk  is a 1.5-mile trail near Ubud where you can walk across rice fields and see giant palm trees.

The route takes between 2 and 3 hours depending on how many stops you make to enjoy the views. Almost all of the path is flat and there is no way to get lost.

If you decide to do this excursion, I recommend you do it in the morning, since it can get very hot during the day.

54. Ubud Palace, another essential place to visit in Ubud

best villages to visit in bali ubud palace

The  “Puri Saren Agung”,  the Royal Palace of Ubud, is another place that you shouldn’t miss on your trip to Bali. The palace   is open from 8 am to 7 pm and admission is free. It’s located right in front of the Ubud Art Market and the visit won’t take more than thirty minutes.

However, keep in mind that part of the Balinese royal family still lives in this palace, so you can only visit an interior courtyard decorated in a traditional style; you can also enjoy traditional dance exhibitions there at night.

To get more information about the types of dance and the performance schedules, it’s best to check the sign on the palace door.

55. Brahma Vihara Arama, the largest Buddhist temple in Bali

brahma vihara arama buddhist temple in bali

In Bali, unlike the rest of Indonesia, the majority religion is Hinduism. That is why the  Brahma Vihara Arama  temple stands out as something different in Bali:   a Buddhist monastery that is worth visiting.

In this monastery you’ll find meditation rooms, a library full of sacred books, and gorgeous gardens. In addition, there is a replica of the largest Buddhist building in the world, the  Borobudur temple.

This temple is located in Northern Bali, past Lovina and very close to the Air Panas Hot Springs, better known as Banjar Hot Springs.

56. Take a Balinese cooking class

cooking class. one of the main things to do in bali

One of the  most original activities to do in Bali  is to take a  traditional cooking class. These types of class are offered throughout the island and usually include a visit to a local market and the preparation of an appetizer, two main courses, and a dessert.

All courses include the option of preparing vegetarian dishes. If you are in Ubud,  this  is the best cooking course, whereas if you are in Seminyak or Kuta, I recommend  this one  or  this one.

57. Attend a Kecak dance show

Kecak Dance and Fire best thing to do in Bali

The “ Kecak Fire & Trance dance”  is one of the most popular activities in Bali. During this performance, a group of men sings while they hypnotically move their arms forming a set. At the same time, dancers dressed in bright colors represent the story of Ramayana. Fire is also an important part of the show.

This type of dance can be seen in many places on the island, with the Ubud Palace and the Uluwatu temple hosting the most popular ones. Keep in mind that, despite what most travelers think, it’s not a type of traditional dance, but was invented in the 1930s to attract tourists. Even so, I think it is something interesting to do in Bali if it’s your first time on the island.

58. Best museums in Bali. Something to do in Bali if it rains

ARMA museum in ubud, something to do in Bali if rains

Rain is common in Bali, so it’s always a good idea to have a plan B for something to do in Bali if it rains.  Museums will be your salvation.

If you are in the Ubud area, the  ARMA  museum  (Agung Rai Museum of Art) contains a wonderful collection of traditional art. The gallery is located in the Arma Museum & Resort , a 4-star resort, you can enter the museum for free.

Another museum in Ubud that’s totally different from the previous one is the  Museum of Don Antonio Blanco,  an eccentric Spanish artist who became very popular in Bali for his works of art. They even considered him the “Dali of Bali”. The entrance to the museum also costs 80k IDR.

The  Bali Museum,  as we have already said, is the best museum if you are in Denpasar and want to learn more about the culture and history of the island. The ticket price is 50,000 IDR. ($ 3.50)

59. Yoga studios in Bali (Indonesia)

practice yoga in bali gili trawangan

Bali is known for being an island where you can relax and feel good vibes. Over the last few years, it has become a popular  destination for yoga retreats.  The most popular places where you can  take yoga classes in Bali  are Ubud, Uluwatu and Canggu.

Of all the yoga studios in Bali, the most popular is  The Yoga Barn , in Ubud. This complex combines yoga classes, accommodation, natural treatments, retreats, healthy cooking, and much more.

The price if you book only one yoga session is IDR 130,000 ($ 9 approx). However, they offer discounts if you take more sessions, with a price of $ 6 per class if you book several sessions.

60. Turtle Sanctuary in Bali

swim with turtle bali sanctuary

There is only one turtle rescue center in Bali where the protection of these animals is more important than tourists’money. It’s called the “ Turtle Conservation And Education Center (TCEC)”  and it’s located in Serangan, in the east of Kuta.

This center  operates exclusively through donations,  and volunteers are responsible for protecting the turtles’eggs, releasing the turtles when they turn one month old, and rehabilitating injured turtles. They also raise awareness in the local population, showing them the damage produced by the illegal trade of these animals and their eggs.

If you’re asking your driver or guide to take you there, just tell them the address:  Jalan Tukad Punggawa Lingkungan Ponjok, Serangan.  From Kuta, it only takes 15 minutes.

If you tell them that you want to go to the Turtle Sanctuary, they will try to take you to  Turtle Island , since all the drivers and guides that take travelers to that place receive  commission.

Of course, on Turtle Island, you have to buy a ticket to see the turtles, but the reason I don’t recommend this place is because it’s a  place where turtles are abused . In this false turtle sanctuary, animals are crammed into dirty pools. The guides will allow you to take turtles out of the water to take photos and of course, the turtles that breed are not released, but instead sold on the black market. That’s why I beg you not to go to this place. Make sure that the center you visit is the TCEC, the only place in Bali where the most important thing is the welfare of the turtles.

Map with everything you have to do in Bali

What do you think of our selection of  the best things to do in Bali? Below you can find all the places that we mention in the article on a map, so you can organize your trip to the Island of the Gods. In addition, you can download our  Bali Map  here.

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Islands in Bali

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Here is the list of 9 Islands in Bali

1. nusa penida island.

Nusa Penida Island

Located southeast of Bali, Indonesia, Nusa Penida is often called the most exotic of the three Nusa Islands. Lacking in tourist infrastructure, Nusa Penida is abounded with picturesque lagoons and cliffs, making it ideal for scuba-diving to explore coral reefs, manta rays and even whale sharks. Home to the endangered Balinese starling as well as several Hindu temples, this island in Bali is a must-visit for tourists.

2. Gili Trawangan

Gili Trawangan

Gili Trawangan is a part of the Gili Island archipelago comprising Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air and more than 20 other smaller islands. It is also the most developed and tourist-friendly among them. The largest of the Gili Islands, because of its tourism-centric infrastructure and fantastic marine biology, it has blossomed into the ideal place to go freediving, scuba diving, and snorkelling.


Known For : Selong Belanak Beach Kuta Lombok Pink Beach

Lombok is an island in the Indian Ocean which is part of the Lesser Sunda Islands. Promoted as "an unspoiled Bali", Lombok is what people expected Bali to be before it became crowded and a mainstream travel destination. This island in Bali is in itself getting some attention in recent times for its beaches and as a surfing destination.

Best Time: Dry season (May to Septembert)

33 Lombok Attractions

4. Nusa Menjangan

Nusa Menjangan

Nusa Menjangan is an island in Bali, known for its crystal clear and calm waters, making it an excellent spot for diving and snorkelling. Visitors who have dived here in the past have appraised this island for its rich biodiversity comprising of colourful fishes and corals. One can also spot here the rare Javan rusa deer, also called as ‘Mengajan’; hence the name of the island. People can cross over to this island by taking a boat from Labuhan Lalang port in North Bali. Though, a permit and park guide is required if one wishes to visit this island. The Segara Giri Dharma Kencana Temple with the towering Ganesh statue, facing the sea, also provides a taste of Balinese culture to the people visiting this island.

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Bali honeymoon package for 7 days with spa therapy, singapore malaysia and bali tour package: idyllic honeymoon, serene bali retreat 6 nights package, bali tour package 5 days 4 nights - with mount batur trek, bali adventure package with free bali swing, 5. nusa lembongan.

Nusa Lembongan

Known For : Devil's Tear Blue Lagoon Jungutbatu Beach

The Nusa Islands are a group of islands in Bali that lie off the southeast coast of province. Nusa Lembongan is the largest and most famous of the Nusa Islands and is a hot-bed for watersports because of its crystal clear waters and teeming marine life. Nusa Lembongan is also a haven for surfers and the waves on the island attract surfers from across the world. Nusa Lembongan is a popular stopover for visitors from Bali and Lombok and the island is well-facilitated and is very tourist-friendly.

Best Time: March to November

20 Nusa Lembongan Attractions

6. Gili Air Island

Gili Air Island

Known For : Scuba Diving in Gili Air Swings in Gili Air Sunset in Gili Air

Gili Air, which is among the three Gili Islands in Indonesia, is the island closest to Lombok and offers the best of both worlds - be it peaceful travelling or party hopping. From temples to waterfalls, to beachside shacks, to secluded surf spots, along with cosy cafes and nightlife hubs, the youngest of the Gili islands in Bali cater to everyone's needs. Besides these, you can go fishing, horse-riding, water skiing, and wakeboarding, and there is also a surf break to the south of the island for the experienced surfer. For golfers, there is an 18-hole course just 10 minutes away if you choose to travel by the speed boat.

Best Time: June to September

15 Gili Air Attractions

7. Gili Gede

Gili Gede

Gili Gede lies on the southwest coast of Lombok and is small, rugged, and isolated from the other parts of Indonesia. While Gili Gede's name translates loosely to 'Large Island', measuring 4 km by 1.6 km at its widest point, Gili Gede packs a substantial punch for its relatively small size. Desert Point is renowned for being one of the best surf spots in the world, with one of the longest left-handed surf breaks being found here. Gili Gede is also a snorkeller's paradise and with its crystal clear waters and teeming marine life, it is sure to be a haven for water sports enthusiasts.

Best Time: May to September

8. Gili Meno

Gili Meno

Gili Islands is a trio of small islands just off the coast of Lombok in Indonesia. Gili Meno happens to be the centrally placed island of the three and is exceedingly small in size measuring just two kilometres in length with a width of one kilometre. The natural locale has not been developed fully as yet and attracts hordes of tourists seeking solitude amongst natural surroundings. Gili Meno is a top draw for honeymooners as well as tourists aspiring for adventure.

9. Nusa Ceningan

Nusa Ceningan

Famous as one of the most popular holiday destinations of Bali, the Nusa Ceningan Island also forms part of the Nusa Islands trio. Standing amidst the sea waters, the Island is blessed with hoards of attractive places comprising of beaches, resorts, cliffs and the famous ‘Blue Lagoon’.

Which of these islands in Bali has made it to your bucket list? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

This post was published by Joysurjya Hagjer

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Bali   Travel Guide

islands to visit while in bali

17 Best Things to Do in Bali, Indonesia

From the white-sand beaches and surf-cool vibes of the south to the tumbling waterfalls and rolling rice fields of the north, Bali knows how to charm. And while trendy, southerly beach areas like Kuta , Seminyak , Canggu and Uluwatu draw the crowds

  • All Things To Do

islands to visit while in bali

Kuta Kuta free

Touristy? Yes. Fun? Absolutely. Alongside neighboring coastal resorts like Seminyak , Canggu and Uluwatu, Kuta is one of Bali's most popular beach towns – and with that title comes the responsibility of feeding and entertaining flocks of visitors. Restaurants, bars, stores, spas and even a water park provide travelers with numerous diversions during the day and night. Still, the number one attraction in this town is Kuta Beach. The sandy shore is a prime playground for surfers, sunbathers, swimmers, kite-flyers and more. This isn't the isolated Balinese beach that you've dreamt about, but it has plenty going for it.

Recent visitors said the beach here is soft and the swimming conditions are great. Travelers suggest arriving at the beach early to stake your claim to some sand, as the area typically gets crowded as the day progresses. Beachgoers noted the vendors selling souvenirs and trinkets can be annoying, and said you have to be a bit forceful in declining their goods or services to get them to leave you alone. Others remarked the beach wasn't as clean as they'd hoped.

islands to visit while in bali

Nusa Dua Nusa Dua free

On the eastern side of the Bukit Peninsula, Nusa Dua is Bali's provincial capital and one of its main tourist hubs. With several golf courses, numerous spas and a handful of luxury resorts (including the St. Regis Bali Resort and Conrad Bali), this region competes with Jimbaran for wealthy patrons – and its beaches are some of the best on the island, with plenty of stretches of fine, soft sand lapped by cerulean sea. Don't miss Pandawa, Geger and Gunung Payung beaches for some of the most picturesque shores.

Recent visitors enjoyed relaxing in peace and quiet at the beaches (including the namesake Nusa Dua Beach), although some noted that the water gets very shallow at low tide, so it's not always the most swimmable. Several recommended coming at sunrise to see the beach in all its glory.

islands to visit while in bali

Kintamani Kintamani free

U.S. News Insider Tip: On the edge of Lake Batur sits Pura Ulun Danu Batur – a large temple complex that's one of the most important and famous in Bali. It's dedicated to the goddess of the lake and marked out by its striking stupas which tower above the water. – Laura French

Those who want to break up their beach time with some active adventures inland might want to venture to Kintamani. Located near the island's northeastern coast, around 40 miles north of Kuta , Kintamani is a beautiful region that boasts a towering (and active) volcano and a large lake. Both landscape features are named "Batur," and their pairing makes for dramatic scenery.

islands to visit while in bali

Popular Tours

All-Inclusive Ubud Private Tour

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Ubud: Monkey Forest, Jungle Swing, Rice Terrace, and Water Temple

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islands to visit while in bali

Seminyak Seminyak free

Upscale Seminyak is one of the south's most popular beach towns, flaunting a long swathe of sand lined with bars and restaurants. You'll find plenty of luxury hotels here – including the iconic W Bali – alongside trendy restaurants, cafes, brunch spots and beach clubs (Potato Head is especially famous). Seminyak's also a popular spot for surfing, with gentle waves that make it ideal for beginners.

Recent travelers loved Seminyak Beach and the restaurants on the sand – especially at sunset – although some found the town to be a bit pretentious. Others noted that swimming isn't recommended due to the strong currents and waves.

islands to visit while in bali

Nusa Penida Nusa Penida

U.S. News Insider Tip: As one of the island's only swimmable beaches, Crystal Beach draws crowds. Make the short hike over the rocks (there are steps) to Padang Padang beach to find with fine-white sand, crystal-clear water and only the odd straggler to share it with. – Laura French

One of several islands scattered off the coast of mainland Bali, Nusa Penida is well worth a visit for its dramatic scenery: floury-white beaches tucked between plunging cliffs, and winding, hilly roads surrounded by carpets of green. It's authentic Bali, with few tourists around the interior of the island (although the key coastal spots do get busy). It's also fairly rustic, with local warungs (small family-owned eateries) and independent guesthouses rather than fancy restaurants and large-scale resorts – which is all part of the charm.

islands to visit while in bali

Nusa Lembongan Nusa Lembongan

U.S. News Insider Tip: If you're hiring a scooter, cross the (slightly rickety) bridge to Ceningan Island for even quieter beaches. The aptly named Secret Beach is especially peaceful, and there are some beautiful viewpoints overlooking the Blue Lagoon (a Curaçao-blue bay surrounded by rocky cliffs). – Laura French

After a 15-minute boat ride from Nusa Penida , you'll arrive at the tiny island of Nusa Lembongan, measuring just 5 square miles. This quiet, palm-dotted paradise is exactly what you'd expect from a small tropical island – dusty roads deserted but for the odd scooter or taxi truck, local children waving as you pass by and a smattering of sugar-white beaches with only a handful of visitors on them.

islands to visit while in bali

Uluwatu Temple Uluwatu Temple

U.S. News Insider Tip: The Uluwatu area is famous for its surf and peppered with white-sand beaches. Head to Dreamland Beach or Balangan Beach for some of the best (both are especially magical at sunset). – Laura French

islands to visit while in bali

Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary

A protected nature reserve spanning 12.5 hectares, the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary (also known as Ubud Monkey Forest) is home to more than 1,200 long-tailed macaque monkeys, considered sacred by the Balinese. Wander among the forest to see them ambling along the paths and swinging between the trees, and explore the various temple buildings that scatter the site. Come at 11 a.m. or 4 p.m. on a weekend and you'll also witness a colorful cultural dance show. As well as being one of Ubud's most popular tourist attractions, the reserve hosts various research and conservation projects, designed to maintain the region's natural and cultural heritage.

Recent visitors enjoyed exploring the monkey forest and its impressive scenery – although several warned to take care of your belongings, as the monkeys have a reputation for snatching them. While some found it to be a little crowded, many said it was well worth the trip, especially if you're traveling with kids.

islands to visit while in bali

Tanah Lot and North Bali Tour: Scenic Journey

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Best of Ubud 1-Day Private Tour

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Mount Batur Sunrise Hiking with Natural Hot Spring Option

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islands to visit while in bali

Pura Tirta Empul Pura Tirta Empul

While Bali's other temples may be larger or more jaw-dropping, the Pura Tirta Empul water temple, a holy spring, possesses a unique serenity. This active prayer site inspires both Balinese Hindus and visitors of different beliefs. While there are several shrines and other structures on the premises, the temple's tranquility is best seen in the large rectangular pool at the complex's center. You'll see worshipers enter the water to pray, so be respectful and do not disrupt them. Travelers are also welcome to enter the water. Keep in mind, though, that you're expected to enter the water fully clothed, so it's a good idea to bring a spare change of clothes along. Make sure both sets of clothes cover your shoulders and legs as a sign of respect. Sarongs are also available to borrow for free on-site.

Recent travelers loved the temple and recommended visiting for a spiritual experience – but many warned that it gets busy, so it's worth going early to avoid the crowds.

islands to visit while in bali

Tegallalang Rice Terrace Tegallalang Rice Terrace

The beautiful, UNESCO-listed Tegallalang Rice Terrace, located north of Ubud, is actually an ancient irrigation system, dating back to the ninth century. Its series of emerald-green, sloping rice paddies is seriously photogenic, and is one of the most popular attractions among camera-toting tourists in this region of Bali. Its elevation also gives it a cooler climate, which is a nice change of pace from other areas of the island.

Recent travelers raved about by the views, and for many it was a must-see – but some felt it was a little commercialized, with vendors touting photo opportunities for the Instagram crowd – including on its many swings – as well as sarongs and other wares. Many also recommended arriving early to avoid the hordes of other tourists, and wearing comfortable shoes and clothes when visiting, as there's a bit of a walk.

islands to visit while in bali

Jimbaran Jimbaran free

Once upon a time, Jimbaran was a quiet and quaint fishing village with an equally humble shoreline – but signaled by the oceanfront perch of the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay, this town is now one of Bali's most luxurious destinations. Aside from the opulent resorts that reside here, the town has gained acclaim for its succulent seafood and sandy shoreline.

Recent travelers highly recommended coming for a romantic sunset dinner on the sand or to relax on the beach, and many said the seafood was excellent. A few visitors noted how crowded the beach can get.

islands to visit while in bali

Sanur Beach Sanur Beach free

With its soft sand and quaint boardwalk, Sanur Beach attracts both locals and tourists alike. Lacking the activity of rowdy Kuta Beach , these sands offer gentle surf that families with small children will appreciate, plus a more laid-back atmosphere. Recent travelers enjoyed the peace and quiet at Sanur as well as the calm water and beachfront promenade, lined with shops and restaurants – although some said seaweed made it tricky to swim in the sea.

You'll find the beach in the town of Sanur. Located along Bali's southeastern coastline, Sanur hosts numerous luxury hotel properties and is around 10 miles east of Kuta and I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport. The beach is free of charge.

islands to visit while in bali

Tanah Lot Temple Tanah Lot Temple

Most jaws drop at the sight of Tanah Lot Temple, whose stone ruins and towering stupas date to the 16th century. This stunning religious complex (and impressive architectural feat) sits on a gigantic jagged rock that rises out of the ocean on Bali's southwest coast. While you'll have to wait for low tide to reach the temple, it's well worth it, especially to see the sky turn gold above the water at sunset.

Recent visitors were highly impressed by the temple and its scenic surroundings, especially at sunset – although some warned that it does get crowded. A few felt it was a little overhyped, but worth a visit if you're staying close by.

islands to visit while in bali

Bali Snorkeling Tour at Blue Lagoon Beach - All-Inclusive

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islands to visit while in bali

Canggu Canggu free

Once a small, laid-back surf town set among the rice fields just north of Seminyak , Canggu has evolved to become something of a hotspot for bohemian holidaymakers, backpackers and digital nomads. Alongside excellent surfing on its volcanic, black-sand beaches (namely Echo Beach, Batu Balong and Berawa), there's a slew of good restaurants, cafes and bars. In fact, many Seminyak-based brunch spots having opened outposts here. You'll find plenty of boho-chic boutiques too, alongside famous beach clubs like FINNS and Atlas. As with much of Bali, the sunsets are spectacular.

Recent travelers enjoyed the beach clubs, sunsets and surf-friendly atmosphere of Canggu, with plenty of surf shacks offering lessons. Some found the beach to be a little dirty and crowded, and noted there's a lot of construction happening in the town. Many loved the bars and overall atmosphere, however.

islands to visit while in bali

Lovina Lovina free

U.S. News Insider Tip: Twenty minutes from Lovina you'll find Aling-Aling Waterfall – a series of falls that have been turned into something of a (low-key) amusement park, with a waterfall you can slide down and various cliff jumps. You'll pay for a guide (from 125,000 rupiahs or around $8) if you wish to swim. – Laura French

If you're looking for a quieter, underrated alternative to the beach resorts of the south, Lovina is it. Set on Bali's lesser-visited northern coast, Lovina is a sleepy fishing village turned laid-back resort town on a strip of soft sand. The water here is calm and swimmable. There's a handful of beach bars where you can lounge around on beanbags, and a smattering of restaurants and bars line the main street. The town is best-known for its dolphins, with hotels and local companies offering early morning dolphin-watching tours where you can snorkel near the creatures. Lovina's also a great base for exploring the waterfalls, temples and mountain hikes that surround the region. Brahmavihara-Arama temple, located 6.5 miles southwest, is especially peaceful and not overly touristy, with several colorful structures set amid tranquil greenery.

islands to visit while in bali

Gunung Kawi Gunung Kawi

Gunung Kawi refers to a set of 10 shrines that are cut from a rock face in Bali's lush Tampaksiring region. The shrines are each about 25 feet tall, and thought to be memorials to Bali's 11th-century royals. According to lore, they were carved from the cliff face in just one night by Kebo Iwa, a legendary Balinese figure who supposedly had supernatural powers. Visiting the site will include some exertion: there are around 300 steps to climb.

Recent visitors recommend arriving early to avoid the crowds, and some suggest touring the memorial with a guide, who can tell the shrines' history. All agree it's a must-visit when in Bali thanks to the beautiful scenery and serene temple.

islands to visit while in bali

Waterbom Bali Waterbom Bali

If you're traveling with children, a trip to Waterbom Bali is a must. The water park features adrenaline-pumping slides like Boomerang, Pipeline and Smashdown 2.0 – which has you standing in a capsule before the floor drops away – offering plenty of thrills for all the family. The FlowRider surf simulator challenges kids and adults to test their surf skills. For a change of pace, ride along the Lazy River, or order a cocktail at the swim-up pool bar – there's something for every age here.

Recent visitors loved their time at the water park, noting that kids, teens and adults all enjoyed the fun slides and water features. Travelers were also very impressed with the food, cleanliness and service from the staff.

islands to visit while in bali

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islands to visit while in bali

I was welcomed to Indonesia as a guest of the Ministry of Tourism as part of their #TripOfWonders campaign. All words, photos and experiences however are my own ☺ 

In some ways, a trip to beautiful Indonesia is like getting cursed.

One visit is all it takes for your mind to spiral into constant thoughts of coming back (the ultimate first world problem).

Bringing together the trifecta of travel perfection – gorgeous scenery, fascinating culture and a food scene to die for, Indonesia is a place that would take dozens of years to cover properly.

So, it makes sense then… Once you come once, you’re doomed to an ever-growing list of where to go in Indonesia for next time.

islands to visit while in bali

Save this list of the best Indonesian islands to visit for later!

You’ll be very glad you did.

And while the country’s shining tourism star may be Bali (full of fun Balinese cultural activities and no doubt called the “Island of the Gods” for a reason!), those willing to go a bit more off the beaten path will be treated to a treasure trove of unique cultures, natural beauty and sights that are truly out of this world.

I had the pleasure of visiting Indonesia for the first time last month with the Ministry of Tourism’s #TripOfWonders campaign and almost instantly, I knew I was in trouble.

10 days passed like nothing, and now I’m already plotting my return.

So, if you’re looking for some visual inspo re: where to go in Indonesia, here are just a few of the other best islands in Indonesia to visit, from the large and (deservedly) touristy to the smaller and more remote. Get ready to drool.

Which Indonesian islands am I missing on this list? I know there’s lots. Let me know in the comments!

Lush green island retreat in Sulawesi, Indonesia

First: How Many Islands is Indonesia Made up of?

Narrowing down the best islands in Indonesia to visit is no easy task, especially when you consider the extensive pool of competition.

Indonesia is actually the largest archipelago in the world, and according to the Embassy of Indonesia here , there are over 17,000 islands that belong to the country.

The number of islands in Indonesia is so numerous in fact that some reports even say that the government themselves don’t actually know how many islands they have…

So cherry picking the best Indonesia islands to visit? Not exactly the easiest task.

Nonetheless, I’ve tried my best! And rest assured, there are many amazing islands in Indonesia besides the most popular Indonesian island, Bali, where your travel fund and budget will go far.

So, here are some of the best and most beautiful Indonesian islands to visit, perfect for that bucket list of yours.

Pink sunrise views over foggy Mount Bromo in Indonesia

Sumatra is a diverse and captivating island synonymous with adventure.

With everything from stealthy tigers to bumbling orangutans, this island is home to a diverse wildlife and natural world that has earned Sumatra a (well-deserved) reputation as “Indonesia’s wild west”.

There’s potential for adventure around every corner whether you prefer jungle trekking or volcano scaling, plus those looking for a more relaxing and low-key experience though shouldn’t miss Lake Toba, the world’s largest volcanic lake (and a spectacular backdrop for adventurous exploration).

Click here to see the best deals on adventure packages around Sumatra.

View of rice paddies in Lake Toba

While technically part of Sumatra, Samosir deserves its own special mention. An island the size of Singapore , housed in the middle of the world’s largest volcanic lake?

Yes, it’s as cool as it sounds.

Combining picturesque scenery with fascinating cultural tradition, Samosir is a well-rounded island in Indonesia well worth a visit, particularly if you’re interested in cultural things to do in Indonesia.

While here, be sure to immerse yourself in the vibrant cultural traditions of the Batak people (one of Indonesia’s largest ethnic groups), through exploring both museums and local villages.

Batak houses in Samosir, Indonesia

As the most populated island on earth, Java is often considered to be the heart of Indonesia, and no doubt one of the best Indonesian islands to visit.

This massive island is packed with a little something for everyone, from chaotic big cities (like the country’s capital , Jakarta) to top Indonesia attractions like the temple haven of Yogyakarta.

This abundance of cool sights is what makes it one of the best Indonesian islands to visit for a first timer.

Of course, Java is also home to some lesser known Indonesia attractions, which makes it the perfect destination for cultural explorers.

Don’t miss the fascinating city of Semarang, dubbed the “little Netherlands ” of Indonesia and of course, be sure to stop in Surakarta (AKA Solo), a bustling city world-renowned as the Spirit of Java.

Here are some of the cool tours and activities you can try in Java.

Colonial building in Lawang, Sewu, Semarang Indonesia

No list of Indonesia’s best islands would be complete without a mention to Sulawesi.

Mountains, jungles and wildlife for days – Sulawesi is not only one of the biggest islands in the world, but one of the most mysterious and intriguing.

Venture into the Southern Highlands to find Tana Toraja, home to some of the most unique funeral traditions in the world ( and where venturing into death caves becomes the norm ).

There’s an abundance of cool things to do here, from scoping out traditional villages like Kete Kesu to more adventurous activities like diving.

Trust me, this is one of the top Indonesia attractions you don’t want to miss.

Winding green road in Sulawesi

The Best Indonesian Islands to Visit (still on my bucket list)

I didn’t want to limit this roundup of what to visit in Indonesia to solely places I’ve been, so let’s also tackle the best Indonesian islands I haven’t been to yet! Did this trip low-key make me regret spending so much time backpacking Europe vs. exploring Asia?

Maybe… but there’s always time, and many Indonesia islands to visit in the future. So here are some of the top picks on my list.

White sand beaches, lush rice paddies, exquisite hiking trails and views for days. It’s little wonder why many visitors consider Lombok among Indonesia’s best islands to visit.

There are many islands near Bali well worth a visit, but its close neighbour Lombok is the adventurer’s paradise I most have my eye on.

Imagine lounging on pristine pink beaches or gawking at the smouldering crater lake atop Mount Rinjani, Indonesia’s second highest volcano… Can I just book my ticket already?

Here are some packages to Lombok you can book from Bali.

Clear blue water in Lombok, Indonesia showing off the unique marine life

The Gili Islands

Just off of Lombok is where you’ll find the popular island trio of Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air, all increasingly popular spots on tourist radars, and considered among the prettiest islands in Indonesia.

Boasting some of the best beaches in Indonesia with their turquoise waters and soft white sand, these tiny islands have become synonymous with paradise, each offering something unique to its visitors.

And sure, while some might say the tourism boom on these islands has eroded its previously tranquil appeal, you can’t say no to spectacular views like these:

Boat on a beach with turquoise water in Gili Meno, Indonesia

Belitung Island

East of Sumatra, you’ll find a little paradise haven called Belitung Island, a spot largely left off tourist radars.

Why is it on my list then? Two words: Kaolin Lake.

Ever since seeing a photo of this lake’s bright blue waters (framed gorgeously by white limestone), I’ve made it a priority for my next visit.

And I mean, the unspoiled beaches and ridiculously attractive scenery help too. If you’re looking for a more remote Indonesian island to visit, this would be an excellent choice.

White limestone rocks with boats on light blue water in Belitung Island Indonesia

New Guinea is the second largest island in the world, with territory split between two countries: Indonesia to the west and Papua New Guinea to the east.

This remote slice of Indonesia (the farthest east in the country you can go) offers up majestic, unspoiled landscapes, mindblowing culture and thriving traditions that will transport you into a completely different world.

Despite being relatively difficult to access, I’d love to come here someday to witness its spectacular tribal traditions for myself. If you’re wondering what to visit in Indonesia for a unique cultural experience, a stop at this island is a must!

Just off the Northwest coast of New Guinea is the diving paradise of Raja Ampat, one of the best Indonesia islands to visit for scuba divers.

I mean, let’s be honest: Raja Ampat is living proof that Mother Nature loves to show off from time to time.

This archipelago, made up of over a thousand small islands, offers up spectacular natural wonders that you have to see to believe, from crystal clear turquoise waters to marine life ripped straight from a tropical fish tank.

Jawdropping scenery meets exploration and adventure… I’ll see you there, yeah?

View from above of mini islands at Raja Ampat

With glorious deserted beaches and epic volcanic lakes, Flores is where you can escape the chaos of other Indonesia attractions and feel a sense of zen and escape.

White boat on calm blue water in Flores, Indonesia

Found only 90 minutes away from Bali, this Indonesian island is quickly becoming more popular, but for good reason.

Flores is where you can spy on komodo dragons, enjoy a pristine dive and trek through lush jungles all in one day.

My personal dream though is to one day catch sunrise at Mount Kelimutu, with its tri-coloured lakes at the summit, a mysterious and captivating sight that baffles visitors from all around the world.

Different coloured lakes at Kelimutu Indonesia

Komodo National Park

Right by Flores is where you’ll find another top Indonesian destination: the Komodo National Park.

Spread across several islands including Komodo, Rinca and Padar, Komodo National Park is the epitome of a badass adventure destination.

From bright pink beaches to giant deadly lizards – this national park showcases Indonesian nature at its finest, which is why it’s one of the most popular places to visit in Indonesia.

Looking for the easiest way to see Komodo National Park? Here are some organized tours.

Sunset view over lakes at Komodo National Park, Indonesia

Borneo is a stunning island politically divided between Indonesia, Brunei and Malaysia.

Wildlife enthusiasts flock here to be dazzled by the island’s lush rainforests, unspoiled beaches and insane abundance of cool creatures.

I mean sure, other Indonesian islands may have surf opportunities and sweet nightlife, but do they have adorably cheeky orangutans? I think not.

Browse awesome tours/activities around Borneo.

Man looking over sunset view in Borneo, Indonesia

The Maluku Islands

This archipelago found east of Sulawesi plays a crucial role in Indonesian history, but today remains an unexplored, tranquil slice of paradise.

Formerly known as the Spice Islands – it was here that nutmeg and cloves were exclusively found once upon a time, which played a massive role in the country’s eventual colonization.

No doubt, these islands are some of the best Indonesian islands to visit if you’re in search of peace, quiet or maybe some bird watching (which Seram Island is famous for).

Sunset over the water in Maluku Indonesia

Wakatobi Islands

This vaguely Japanese-sounding archipelago gets its name from four Indonesian islands – Wangi Wangi, Kaledupa, Tomia, and Binongko.

You can find it just off of South East Sulawesi, and the incredible biodiversity found here, alongside its magnetic beauty, has made it an increasingly hot destination for divers, photographers and tourists alike.

The upside of this is of course that it’s now more accessible than ever, which means yes, you’ll be catching me here ASAP.

Sun setting over horizon in the Wakatobi Islands in Indonesia

This remote island in Eastern Indonesia offers up the classic Indonesian paradise aesthetic, all pleasantly without the crowds to brawl with.

While not easy to reach, visitors are spoiled rotten with breathaking sights like hidden lagoons, quiet beaches and postcard-perfect views, like the mangroves at Walakiri Beach.

My dream though (and #1 motivator for visiting)? The opportunity to check out and (maybe) sleep in one of these traditional straw houses:

Straw houses in Sumba, Indonesia

Nusa Penida

Just off the coast of Bali is where you’ll find some of the best beaches in Indonesia, and surprise: they’re still somehow relatively undisturbed by mass tourism.

I’m of course talking about the little island of Nusa Penida, found only 90 minutes away from Bali.

Of all islands near Bali, Nusa Penida is among the most picturesque, and more low-key than the surfer haven Nusa Lembongan right next door.

Of course, it’s important to mention that it’s also home to the Insta-famous ‘T-Rex island’:

Beautiful sunset and amazing view of Kelingking beach or Manta bay on Nusa Penida island, Bali, Indonesia

Did I miss any of your favourite Indonesian islands?

I’m still planning where to go in beautiful Indonesia next, so tell me: what other incredible gems am I missing? Let me know in the comments where the best Indonesian islands to visit are (if you’re not keeping the secret for yourself)!

My Go-To Travel Favourites:

🧳 Eagle Creek: My favourite packing cubes

💳 Wise: For FREE travel friendly credit cards

🍯 Airalo: My go-to eSIM

🏨 For searching hotels

📷 Sony A7IV: My (amazing) camera

✈️ Google Flights : For finding flight deals

🌎 WorldNomads: For travel insurance

🎉 GetYourGuide: For booking activities

6 thoughts on “16 Fascinating & Beautiful Islands to Visit in Indonesia (Besides Bali)”

Thank God someone finally made a post about Indonesia that isn’t about Bali. About time we focused on some of the lesser known places of the country! Thank you! – Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

“Wonderful Indonesia” won Best Tourism Promotion Video in a competition held by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

That’s so wonderful and exciting! Thanks for sharing the news with me 🙂

hi i just came accross your account, and saw your posting on “leaving out instagram”, and found out Indonesia related on your blog. lol. im indonesian myself, and i could say the best thing to do here in indonesia is do diving! we are the island of coral triangle. we have seen so much beautiful in surface, but around 78% in this earth is ocean. so much spot to uncover, not only just bali. but everywhere. since you’ve been to many cities in indonesia im so impressed! lucky you! and as indonesian i suggest you to go to Lombok, NTT, Sumatera Barat. so many beautiful things to see.

Thanks for the great article. Nusa Penida island still booming right now on 2020. Many tourist come to visit this island and many new fast boat company serve them to explore this beauty island. Not enough to visit a day only. You should stay there for 2 nights and can do sightseeing, snorkeling, and diving

Out of many islands, I personally love Nusa penida.

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22 Best Things to Do in Bali — From Volcano Treks to Luxe Spa Days

Inspiration for your next escape in Indonesia.

Daniel Gorostieta/Travel + Leisure

As a destination, Bali seems to get hotter every year. The Indonesian island boasts what is essentially a year-round summer, its seasons categorized as dry and wet as opposed to cold and warm. And it’s not only Bali's predictable sunshine and warm waters that lure travelers from across the globe. It's also the province's stunning beaches , lush jungles, artfully terraced rice paddies, and the signature hospitality and culture of the Balinese people. Once you've selected which dreamy private villa or all-inclusive resort to stay at, it's time to fill your days with excursions and activities. Here are 22 of the best things to do in the paradise that is Bali.

Related: The Best Time to Visit Bali for Every Activity 

Take a cooking class at Bali Asli. 

The pristine foothills of Mount Agung are in northeast Bali, and within those hills is Balinese restaurant and cooking school Bali Asli . Themed classes do way more than teach participants to make a local dish or two. They also incorporate field trips to bucolic nearby sites, markets, and villages, all of which help students experience daily Balinese life and culture. 

Visit a water temple.

Balázs Németh/Getty Images

You can’t visit Bali without getting wet, and often (swimwear is non-negotiable on the pack list ). Water is sacred to the Balinese, and nowhere is that more evident than Pura Tirta Empul, a holy water temple in Tampaksiring near Ubud. With the help of a local guide, guests can plunge into the chilled fresh water and take part in a purification ritual alongside pilgrims from all around the island.  

Chase waterfalls. 

Rizky Panuntun/Getty Images

This verdant island is a pretty excellent place in which to chase waterfalls. If you'd like to swim under falls, visit the powerful Tibumana. Kanto Lampo is a smaller but broad and picturesque waterfall, and Tukad Cepung, partially hidden in a cave, feels rather magical. A general rule of thumb is to go first thing in the morning to enjoy the falls with fewer people around.

Visit Balinese jeweler John Hardy.

Courtesy of John Hardy

Internationally acclaimed fine jewelry brand John Hardy has its headquarters and workshop outside of Ubud. On weekdays, when things are humming with creative activity, travelers can book a tour of the site, and it includes a family-style lunch with the John Hardy team. The campus is gorgeous, and it's an incredible opportunity to see how more than 600 artisans work in concert to create intricate pieces of wearable art. Reserve a jewelry master class to dive even deeper into the craft.

Do sunrise yoga at Uluwatu.

The Yoga Barn might be Ubud’s most famous spot for doing downward dogs, but we recommend checking out Morning Light Yoga as well. This company offers daily 7:30 a.m. yoga in an open-air space at Uluwatu Surf Villas — from here, you can see Bali's most iconic surf break, Uluwatu, and with any luck, a monkey or two.

Go horseback riding on the beach.

Courtesy of Salty Cowboy

Local tour operator Salty Cowboy offers horseback rides on the beach in Kedungu, as well as rides through gorgeous green rice paddies. What makes the company even more special is that each of its animals has been rescued. There are lessons of all kinds available through Salty Cowboy, including a multi-day horse whisperer course.

Have a plant-based meal at Tanaman.

Courtesy of Potato Head

If you are vegan, vegetarian, or just into sustainability or the zero-waste movement, a meal at Tanaman is a must. From seed to stem and leaf to flower, everything gets used at this plant-based restaurant in Seminyak’s radically sustainable resort village, Desa Potato Head . Dynamic dishes feature local produce and are so clever and imaginative that you're guaranteed to leave with a new perspective on vegan eating. 

Take a batik-dyeing workshop. 

Courtesy of Threads of Life

Indonesia’s textile arts are stunningly diverse, but two of the most famous in Bali are ikat and batik. Threads of Life , a fair-trade shop in Ubud, aims to conserve and promote the craft through heirloom-quality pieces and by putting on special workshops for travelers. There's even half-day batik classes that combine botany lessons with instruction on wax-resist designs and indigo dyeing.  

Book a Balinese massage.

Spas are almost as abundant on Bali as coconuts, and it would be a shame for any visitor to leave without booking at least one Balinese massage. Arguably the most epic version is available at Spa on the Rocks at AYANA Resort Bali , where individuals or couples can enjoy a tension-releasing treatment — plus a bath filled with hundreds of flower blossoms — in a spa bungalow perched atop giant boulders, the ocean swirling below. 

Climb a volcano at sunrise. 

John Crux Photography/Getty Images

Hikers, or anyone who appreciates a physical challenge alongside a serious dose of natural beauty, should add a volcano climb to their Bali must-do list. Whether it’s friendly Mount Batur, or the highest and most challenging point on the island, Mount Agung (nearly 10,000 feet), the trek typically starts in the wee hours of the morning so that you reach the top as the red sun peeks up over the horizon. 

Take a surf lesson. 

Bali is one of the world’s most famous destinations for surfing, so a trip here is incomplete without trying this thrilling aquatic sport. Beginners should head to Batu Bolong in Canggu or Padang Padang near Uluwatu. Dozens of nearby surf schools offer lessons on paddling out to the break and popping up like a pro. They also have boards for rent when you're ready to practice your new skills on your own. 

Reset at Raffles Bali. 

Courtesy of Raffles Bali

The film "Eat, Pray, Love" brought fame to Balinese healers, but today's wellness offerings go far beyond that. The intimate Jimbaran resort Raffles Bali hosts wellness retreats that touch all five senses in order to reset your body and mind in paradise. There’s yoga in a secret cave, tai chi on the beach, Balinese ceremonies, chakra treatments, reiki energy healings, bedtime rituals and so much more, customized to each guest’s goals and needs. 

Visit Uluwatu Temple.

bloodua/Getty Images

Uluwatu Temple, or Pura Uluwatu, dates back to the 11th century, and it is stunning for several reasons. First, it’s built atop sheer limestone cliffs, standing more than 200 feet above the turquoise Indian Ocean. It is also a gathering spot for travelers every night at sunset, when you can take in the mesmerizing kecak dance, which involves a blaze of fire and lots of chanting. It's a singular experience and not to be missed.  

Plan a beach day.

There's so much to do in Bali, but of equal importance is to do nothing, or at least next to nothing. A beach day or two is just right for that. We recommend the family-friendly Melasti Beach for its striking jewel-toned water, or Nyang Nyang, which is often quiet. Nusa Dua’s clean beaches are postcard-perfect, and for an off-the-beaten-path option, head to the bright white sand of Virgin Beach in eastern Bali.

Have brunch at Mandapa. 

Nasi goreng and mie goreng (fried rice and fried noodles) are delicious and easily found around Bali, but it would be a shame not to sample other diverse Indonesian dishes while you're in the destination, and Sawah Terrace at Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve is one of the very places to do so. Book a reservation for the restaurant's Sunday brunch, which is an unlimited buffet — plus live-station cooking — featuring mouthwatering local dishes, including babi guling (slow-roasted suckling pig), bebek betutu (spiced baked duck), nasi campur (a staple rice dish) and es serut (Indonesian coconut shaved ice).  

Swim in Bambu Indah’s riverside pools. 

The glimmering riverside pools of Sayan resort Bambu Indah are magical, as are the property's antique Javanese houses and curvaceous bamboo accommodations. The natural spring-fed pools here are dotted with stepping stones you can use to navigate the cool water, and you'll find plump cushions and lounge chairs on which to laze nearby, too. A resort day pass starts at 500,000 IDR per person, or about $34. 

Visit Pura Lempuyang Luhur. 

tawatchaiprakobkit/Getty Images

Many of Bali's gorgeous temples are holy sites, and that's true for the ancient Pura Lempuyang Luhur. This temple is associated with the Balinese god Iswara, and is most known for its soaring carved stone gate. The temple is an incredible sight to see and experience, as a visit here usually involves tying on a sarong and climbing myriad staircases through the complex and up into the clouds. From here you might spot Mount Agung, if the skies allow.  

Shop for arts and crafts. 

There are many places to shop across Bali, but if your ideal souvenir is something crafted by a local artisan, check out Sukawati Art Market, where you'll find textiles, paintings, wood carvings, and lots of decor and design items. Alternatively, there are also villages that specialize in specific art forms, such as Mas, where wooden masks are made, and Celuk, which is home to many silversmiths who sell their wares. 

Cycle through rice terraces. 

Matteo Colombo/Getty Images

Tegalalang is the most prominent and shapely set of rice terraces, but it's so well known that it can feel a bit crowded. To avoid the crowd, you might opt for an epic bike ride through rice paddies instead. There are dozens of operators offering this type of trip, and hotels like Capella Ubud and Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan also have beautiful cycling excursions for guests. 

Experience a Melukat ceremony. 

Paul Biris/Getty Images

Bali is beautiful in its singular traditions, beliefs, and rituals. While tourists can usually only experience these in passing, some hotels, such as Jumeirah Bali , offer authentic priest-led blessing ceremonies called melukat for their guests — a great option for anyone hoping to tap into the spiritual side of the island. 

Go whitewater rafting down the Ayung River. 

Marina113/Getty Images

Stretching more than 40 miles, the Ayung River is the longest river in Bali, and it's a particularly great body of water for whitewater rafting. During the rainy season (November through March), the current will get your adrenaline pumping. Four Seasons even has an whitewater transport option — you can ride the current from its beach resort in Jimbaran to its rainforest retreat in Sayan . 

Soak in hidden hot springs. 

Getty Images

Bali’s waterfalls are often on travelers' itineraries, but many people don’t know the island has lots of hot springs worthy of a visit, too. Known as air panas , or “hot water,” hot springs can be found in Tabanan (try Angseri hot spring) and north of Canggu. If you're close to Lovina, visit Banjar hot spring.

Related Articles

27 Stunning Indonesian Islands You Should Visit That Aren't Bali

Lori Zaino

Bali is a stunning island on everyone's bucket list: but that's precisely the problem. While the Indonesian paradise is gorgeous, it's often crowded with travelers from all over the world.

Overtourism on the island has led to severe traffic, heaps of litter, price gouging, constant construction and even a water crisis. Fortunately, if you're dying to visit a pristine beach in Indonesia, Bali is hardly the only option. Indonesia has approximately 17,000 islands (6,000 of which are inhabited). Check out some of these amazing alternative islands and archipelagos where you can go instead.

Raja Ampat Islands

Raja Ampat. (Photo by Surtita Budiman via Unsplash)

An archipelago with more than 1,500 islands off of West Papua, Raja Ampat is astoundingly beautiful. The main islands of Misool , Salawati , Waigeo and Batanta possess hidden caves, pristine beaches and mountainous jungles. While the reefs that surround these islands are said to have more marine biodiversity than anywhere else on Earth, there's also plenty to see in the sky, too, as the islands are home to over 500 bird species. Plus, the rugged limestone cliffs and islets framing the islands are reminiscent of what Thailand's Koh Phi Phi once was before tourism hit — but maybe even better.

Getting There: Fly from Jakarta (CGK) four hours to Sorong (SOQ) in West Papua; then take a ferry to the islands.

Kalimantan. (Photo by Victor Vazquez via Unsplash)

If your dream vacation includes spotting wildlife deep in the jungle and lounging on peaceful, sandy beaches, head to the Indonesian part of Borneo known as Kalimantan . Cruise on a klotok (an Indonesian river houseboat) down the Sekonyer River through Tanjung Puting National Park to spot orangutans in the wild. For beaches, boat over to the nearby Derawan Island archipelago. The tiny island of Samana (also known as Kakaban) is almost entirely covered by a freshwater lake. Swim or snorkel to admire the nonpoisonous species of Golden and Moon jellyfish that float all around you. The nearby horseshoe-shaped island of Maratua is known for its deserted beaches and enchanting mangroves.

Getting There: You can fly to several airports within Indonesian Borneo from cities such as Jakarta and Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS), near Denpasar.

Photo by The Points Guy.

Home to one of the top resorts in the world, Nihi Sumba Island , Sumba has a little bit of everything: idyllic beaches, dense jungles, warm, friendly locals and low-key waves for budding surfers. In fact, TPG himself, Brian Kelly, had an epic New Year's Eve experience there a few years back where he learned to surf. But the swells also cater to more advanced surfers, too. In fact, if your dream is to surf seriously exclusive waves, you can do so on Sumba. The Nihi Sumba Island resort has the only privately-owned wave in the world. Seriously. You'll actually need to make reservations for the wave — often referred to as "God's Left" — and space is limited, as only 10 permits are given out per day to surf it.

Getting There: Garuda Indonesia flies once daily from Bali (DPS) to Tambolaka (TMC), the island's airport.

Komodo Island. (Photo by Celvin Purnama via Unsplash)

Those in search of adventure should visit Komodo Island , home to the world's largest lizard, the Komodo dragon. You can admire these prehistoric monitor lizards, which can weigh up to 200 pounds, at Komodo National Park. The island's reptilian inhabitants aren't the island's only attraction, however. Komodo is also home to Pink Beach (Pantai Merah), one of only a handful of beaches in the world known to boast blushing pink sands. You can't stay overnight on the island, however, so plan to book a day trip and stay overnight in Labuan Bajo.

Getting T here : Fly to the Labuan Bajo Airport (LBJ) from Bali or Jakarta, then take a ferry over to Komodo.

Karimunjawa Islands

Karimunjawa Island. (Photo via Shutterstock)

Get way off the beaten path with a trip to this archipelago of 27 islands (five of which are inhabited, including Karimunjawa and Kemujan ). Swimming and snorkeling are two of the most popular activities, as the waters surrounding the islands contain colorful coral reefs inhabited by small, harmless sharks, sea turtles and tropical fish. There are even shipwrecks you can explore. Menjawakan is another great option for travelers. There's only one resort there, Kura Kura , and you may even spot deer roaming the private island.

Getting There: Once you find ground transport to Jepara from Jakarta, you can take the slow ferry (five to six hours) or the speedboat (two hours) to the islands. Or, fly in on a seaplane from Surabaya to Kemujan.

Wakatobi Islands. (Photo via Shutterstock)

What do you get when you put the islands of Wangi-Wangi , Kaeldupa , Tomia and Binongko together? Wa-Ka-To-Bi, of course! This cluster of four islands can be found in the namesake marine park, which contains one of the largest coral reefs on Earth, with close to 1,000 different kinds of coral and over 700 species of fish. Obviously, the diving and snorkeling here are excellent, but the islands are also perfect for beach bums wanting to chill out beneath the shade of a palm tree. Take time to learn about the Bajau people who reside here, too. They're skilled divers with a profound relationship to the surrounding waters.

Getting There: Fly to the Matahora airport (WNI) from Kendari (KDI), the capital of Southeast Sulawesi.

Nusa Islands

Nusa Island. (Photo via Shutterstock)

If you've already planned a trip to Bali, that's OK. But to escape the crowds, add on a few extra days exploring the three Nusa Islands: Lembongan , Penida and Ceningan , half an hour away from Bali by boat, though technically still part of Bali. Surfers should head to Lembongan for its fierce waves, and intrepid explorers should visit the Pura Goa Giri Putri Cave carved into a mountain on Penida. Another highlight? The Angel's Billabong tidepools on Penida, which are set between craggy rocks (make sure to visit at low tide). Then, stop to photograph the arch and swimming manta rays at nearby Broken Beach. Don't miss taking in the clear waters of the Blue Lagoon on Ceningan — they're so bright, they're almost blinding!

Getting There: Take a 30-minute boat ride from Bali.

Nias Island. (Photo via Shutterstock)

Just slightly smaller than Bali, Nias Island is located off the west coast of Sumatra. More than half the coastline has quiet, sandy beaches and the interior of the island is covered in dense, hilly jungle. Twenty-eight small islands and islets are scattered around Nias, making for perfect day trips to largely untouched beaches. Since the local population is actually linked to Taiwan, parts of India and Myanmar, you'll find the island has a distinctive culture, very different from nearby islands and most of Indonesia. Surfers flock to this island to catch some of its swells, and fishing is another popular activity.

Getting There: Fly from the Kualanamu Airport (KNO) in Medan, the capital of Sumatra, to the Binaka Airport (GNS) on Nias.

Riau Islands

Bintan in the Riau Islands. (Photo via Shutterstock)

You'll be spoiled for choice if you decide to visit the Riau Islands, as there are about 3,000 scattered across the South China Sea. Considering your departure point may be the best way to chose, as some are just 30 minutes from Singapore, while others are closer to Malaysia or flank Borneo. Bintan is one of the most popular and largest of the Riau Islands, and it offers a more luxurious, classic resort experience. Bawah , a private island with just one resort, delivers Maldives-esque overwater villas. Travelers can also find more low-key overwater villas on many of the other islands, including Petong or Labun .

Getting There: Many of the Riau Islands are accessible by ferry from Singapore.

Alor Island. (Photo via Shutterstock)

The largest island in the eponymous archipelago, which comprises 92 islands, Alor island is known for its distinct culture and unspoiled beaches. Although you may not find all the comforts of home on the island because there isn't much infrastructure, the locals are exceedingly friendly, and you can get to know their way of life by reserving a homestay. Diving is one of the island's biggest pulls, with over 130 feet of visibility during dry season. Hammerhead and reef shark sightings are common, and muck diving is even a thing here. While swimming through sediment lowers visibility, you cab spot some special creatures this way.

Getting There: Although the island is closer to East Timor, you can still fly to the Alor Airport (ARD) from Kupang's El Tari Airport (KOE) West Timor, which is part of East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia.

Togian Islands

Togian Island. (Photo via Shutterstock)

Bomba and Kadidiri are among the best of the 56 Togian Islands. Mainly inhabited by the Bajau people, visitors may have to make due without internet, cellphone reception or electricity, so be ready to really get off the grid here. The islands aren't easy to get to, but the level of relaxation you'll find is more than enough of a reward. Many corals surrounding the islands remain unclassified, making diving an unforgettable experience. AvGeeks should check out the most famous dive site, a B24 Liberator plane wreck from World War II. The plane is in excellent condition, and has become home to batfish, lionfish and even scorpionfish.

Getting there: First, you'll need to get to Sulawesi. Fly from Jakarta's Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport (HLP) to Gorontalo's Jalaluddin Airport (GTO) with a stop in Massakar (UPG), and then catch a public ferry to Wakai in the Togian Islands. Ferries take about 12 hours and only leave on certain days of the week.

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Where is Bali? Explore this Beautiful Island with a Local

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In this Article

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Bali is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. It is an island with a vibrant culture and religion that you cannot find anywhere else on the planet. If you’re wondering, “Where is Bali?” this guide has everything you need to know.

This article is part of my Wander Like a Local series , where guest writers reveal the best-kept secrets, must-see spots, and unique experiences that only locals know. Discover hidden gems and authentic tips from those who call it home.

With so many things to do and see in Bali, figuring out where to start planning your trip can be difficult. Luckily, there’s a reason why Bali is such a popular destination, and you’ll have plenty of activities, day trips, and sightseeing hotspots to choose from. Just make sure you know a few things before you go, like which season to avoid, some basics of the local language, and how to respect Balinese culture.

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To help offset the costs of running, you’ll find affiliate links lightly sprinkled throughout the site.   If you choose to make a purchase via   one of these links , there’s no additional cost to you, but I’ll earn a teeny tiny commission.   You can read all of the legal blah blah blah (as my little niece says) on the   full disclosure page .

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Have You Ever Been To Bali?

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Where is Bali?

Bali is an island in Southeast Asia. It sits between Java, Indonesia’s most populous island, and Lombok island. While Indonesia is a predominantly Muslim country, most of Bali’s inhabitants are Hindus, though their Hinduism is unique.

A terraced rice field in a lush, tropical landscape with a few people walking along the paths.

Where In Bali Should You Go?

Bali’s South is the most popular tourist area, especially in neighborhoods like Canggu, Seminyak, Kuta, Uluwatu, and Sanur. If you go further up, you’ll find Ubud and then more northern areas like Amed, Lovina, and Kintamani.

Canggu is a great place to start for many tourists, especially those who love to try different restaurants when they travel. This part of Bali is also great for vegans and vegetarians, with plenty of food choices. However, Canggu, much like Seminyak and Kuta, can also be very touristy, and the traffic here gets very heavy during the high season. Plus, the beach is quite gray and less suitable for swimming. 

If you’re looking for white sand and blue waters, you might like Uluwatu,  located on the southern tip of Bali. This area has fantastic beaches, many beach clubs, and plenty of accommodation options.

For a more authentic experience of Bali’s culture, head to Ubud or, even better, the nearby town of Sidemen. Ubud is known for its arts and markets, but it’s also very popular among tourists, so be prepared for crowds. Sidemen is much quieter, with beautiful rice fields, waterfalls, and beautiful scenery.

A scenic view of a lush green landscape with mountains in the background under a clear blue sky.

Kintamani in northern Bali has incredible hot springs and is surrounded by volcanoes, which you can hike if you want to be physically active. Lovina is known for its dolphin population, while Amed is perfect for diving and snorkeling.

These are only a handful of popular places around Bali, and there is much more to see, so don’t miss out on the surrounding islands like Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan.

Why You Should Visit Bali

Bali has a lot to offer, and if you’re looking for reasons to visit this beautiful Indonesian island, you’ll find plenty. It’s a surfing hotspot and a great place to learn how to surf for the first time or catch more advanced waves if you’re already a pro.

Of course, the island is perfect for swimming, diving, and just enjoying time at the beach. But Bali also has incredible jungles, rice terraces, waterfalls , and, of course, impressive volcanoes. People who love the great outdoors, hikes, and exploring will love Bali.

While Bali definitely has areas that are more untouched and not as touristy, many parts of the island are very vacation-oriented, which can be a good thing but also a downside. You’ll get an incredible selection of restaurants, beach clubs, bars, big shopping malls, expensive resorts, and all the amenities you might need as a tourist. If you’re looking for a vacation destination that has it all, Bali is a great choice.

Finally, Bali is a fantastic place for those interested in culture and arts. Bali’s people are very hospitable and kind, and as a tourist, you can get a glimpse of their ceremonies, religion, and cultural activities. Just make sure to always be respectful, cover up when visiting temples and holy locations, and follow the rules when you visit Bali. Unfortunately, tourists being disrespectful and acting out is common in Bali, so make sure to set a good example.

Best Time To Go To Bali

Bali has a distinct dry season, during which the weather is hot, sunny, and sometimes a bit windy, and a wet season, during which it rains most days and the humidity can get quite strong.

In the northern hemisphere, these seasons are summer and winter. The dry season lasts from late May to late September, while the wet season is from November to April.

You can still visit Bali during the wet season, but it will rain quite a bit. Luckily, rains rarely last more than a few hours, and you’ll always get a little bit of sun. One thing to consider is that underwater visibility is usually considerably less during the rainy season, and the change in Indian Ocean currents often leads to large amounts of trash being washed up on the local beaches.

In the dry season, you’ll have nicer water and stunning beaches, but temperatures can be very high with little shade. Especially islands like Nusa Penida don’t have much shade, so you’ll sweat a lot on a day trip here. Bring plenty of sunscreen and a little fan to help you keep cool.

Best Things To Do In Bali

There are endless things to do in Bali, including seeing beautiful beaches, exploring the nightlife, and much more. Here are some of our favorite Bali activities:

Sandy beach with a few people under a bright blue sky and scattered clouds. The ocean waves are visible in the background.

1. Dancing The Night Away At Sa’Mesa

Of course, a trip to Bali isn’t complete without some good food and dancing on tables. Sa’Mesa hosts a unique dinner experience every night at their restaurants in Canggu and Seminyak. You’ll get to try 15+ delicious Italian dishes, served family-style at a long table where you sit with a group of people you’ve never met before. As the night progresses, you’ll get to enjoy free-flow limoncello, and strangers quickly become friends. Sa’Mesa is unlike any other restaurant in the world and a must-try for anyone visiting Bali.

A monkey with grey-brown fur and a distinctive facial expression sits in a forested area. Rocks and vegetation are visible in the background.

2. Visiting The Monkey Forest In Ubud

The Monkey Forest is one of Ubud’s most famous tourist attractions, and it is definitely worth a visit if you’re visiting Bali for the first time. See thousands of free-roaming monkeys and walk through a beautiful jungle with plenty of traditional temples. Just don’t take any food with you or get too close to the monkeys, because they can scratch or bite if provoked.

Aerial view of a secluded beach surrounded by steep, rocky cliffs and turquoise waves crashing onto the shore.

3. Seeing Kelingking Beach In Nusa Penida

Kelingking Beach is a world-famous place in Nusa Penida, an island located just 30 minutes from Bali. The beach is known for its iconic t-rex shape, white sand, and blue waters. You can climb down to the beach, but the hike is not for the faint of heart as it is very steep. Luckily, the beach is just as beautiful from the top of the cliff.

A beach scene with clear blue water and sky, featuring two safety flags in the sand. A grassy cliff is visible on the right side of the image.

4. Going To Sunday’s Beach Club In Uluwatu

Sunday’s Beach Club is one of the best beach clubs in Uluwatu and Bali. Take their famous elevator down to the beach and enjoy the stunning scenery at this beautiful spot. Located on Melasti Beach, Sunday’s offers kayaks, stand-up paddles, snorkeling equipment, and a large selection of day beds and bean bags to choose from.

5. Trying The Best Local Food Around Bali Island

Indonesian food is absolutely delicious, and you should eat out at local restaurants called warungs as much as possible. It has some of the best food around, and it is also very budget-friendly. If you’re in the Canggu area, make sure to try Warung Wayan, a tiny place with incredible food, Warung Bu Sri, and Warung Jaba for delicious meals prepared with love.

Underwater scene showing a sea turtle swimming above a sandy ocean floor with scattered corals and rocks.

6. Giving Back And Learning About Marine Life

Bali struggles with the large amounts of tourists coming to visit every year, and plastic waste and environmental protection remain big issues. Do your part and give back by visiting a local charity and learning something about marine life while you’re there. We recommend Living Seas in Padang Bai, the Turtle Hatchery Project, and Metamorfosa in Sumberkima.

Bali is a beautiful place to visit and a must-see for all types of travelers. Whether you’re looking for stunning nature with unique wildlife, wild nights out and dancing on the beach, or authentic cultural attractions and delicious local food, Bali has something for everyone.

Ready to Go? Use These Helpful Links to Book Your Trip!

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  • Save on tickets to attractions, sightseeing tours, and more with CityPASS , Tiqets , and Viator
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  • Discover the sights, history, and culture of your destination with an interactive scavenger hunt
  • Need something else to plan your perfect trip? Visit my travel resources page for more trusted partners. Happy wandering!

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islands to visit while in bali

10 Charming Cities And Towns In Indonesia To Visit Over Bali

  • Yogyakarta is a vibrant city with rich history, traditional arts, and warm hospitality, offering attractions like Malioboro Street and Borobudur Temple.
  • Bandung, known as the Paris of Java, boasts luxurious hotels, beautiful restaurants, and European boutiques, along with stunning landscapes and hot springs resorts.
  • Manado, the capital of North Sulawesi, offers pristine beaches, lush rainforests, and Bunaken Marine Park, making it a perfect alternative to Bali.

Bali often comes to mind when most travelers think of Indonesia, but there are so many other places in this archipelago worth visiting. Unfortunately, as stunning as Bali is, it's become one of the many places around the world affected by overtourism . But Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelagic state, with about 17,000 islands filled with cities and towns that are better alternatives to its famous paradise.

These towns are just as exciting and feature a wide range of attractions like beaches, mountains, and dense forests. For those looking to visit this beautiful country in Southeast Asia, here are the best towns in Indonesia to visit over Bali.

Related: From Beaches To The Komodo Dragon, These Are 10 Indonesian Islands Worth Visiting

Yogyakarta, often referred to as the cultural capital of Indonesia, is one of the charming cities in Indonesia to visit over Bali. This vibrant city on the island of Java is known for its rich history, traditional arts, and warm hospitality.

There is so much to see and do here, and visitors can begin by visiting Malioboro Street, which is a shopper's paradise filled with an array of local handicrafts, batiks, and delicious street food. Next, head over to the Batik Museum to learn more about batik decoration, visit Kraton Palace, and explore Jombland Cave.

  • Location: Island of Java, Indonesia
  • Top attractions in Yogyakarta: The famous Borobudur Temple , the Kraton, and the royal palace of the Sultan of Yogyakarta

Related: 10 Magnificent Indonesian Islands That Will Take Your Breath Away

Bandung is also known as the Paris of Java, and that’s because it is home to so many luxurious hotels, some of the most beautiful restaurants in the world , lovely cafes, and European boutiques. With its breathtaking landscape, thriving fashion culture, and rich history, visitors here will surely feel like they are in Paris in Bandung.

When in this city, be sure to go shopping on Cihampelas Street or one of its other numerous shopping centers, and then stroll through the city’s beautiful tea fields before relaxing in one of the city’s hot springs resorts.

  • Top attractions: Tangkuban Perahu, Dusun Bambu Family Leisure Park, Geology Museum

Malang is one of the most underrated destinations in Asia and is among the myriad destinations in Indonesia to visit other than Bali. Here, visitors will be met with striking architecture, a mild climate, and incredible natural scenery.

Enjoy an unforgettable vacation in this city by exploring some of its impressive waterfalls, and do not miss out on the magical views of sunrise at Mount Bromo. Also, try out some of the city’s local dishes like Rawon Soup, and enjoy a hot cup of coffee at Cafe Sawa, where natural views combine with fresh air to give guests a magical experience.

  • Top attractions in Malu: Rainbow Village, Banyak Mountain, Batu Secret Zoo

Lombok is one of the slightly lesser-known islands around the world worth visiting over Bali as it is also incredibly beautiful and has plenty of things to offer. This island is home to white sandy beaches, picturesque waterfalls, towering volcanoes, and the well-designed rice terraces that Indonesia is known for. And there’s more.

Whether tourists seek a vacation filled with gorgeous natural scenery and exciting outdoor adventures or one full of history and cultural experiences, Lombok has something for everybody. Some of the best things to do in Lombok include - taking in the views from Butik Selong Rice Field Viewpoint, camping on Pergasingan Hill, and trekking to the 3,726-meter summit of Mount Rinjani.

  • Location: Lesser Sunda Islands, Indonesia
  • Top attractions in Lombok: Pusuk Monkey Forest, Mawun Beach, Setangi Beach

Related: Beyond Bali: 10 Most Beautiful Seaside Indonesia Destinations

Surabaya is a top tourist spot in East Java with so much to offer. The city is the largest in Indonesia after Jakarta, and it is tipped as one of the urban gems of Indonesia. The city has an interesting history as it was the location of the Battle of Surabaya, which was the largest single battle of the Indonesian National Revolution.

In addition to its history, Surabaya is also filled with interesting natural attractions like Mount Bromo and Taman Bungkulm and architectural wonders like the Suramadu National Bridge.

Visitors to this city can begin an adventure by strolling through the historic area of Tugu Pahlawan, which serves as an emotional reminder of Indonesia's fight for independence. The next destination can be the vibrant Chinatown, which is a haven for food enthusiasts.

For art enthusiasts, the vibrant Surabaya North Quay beckons with its colorful street murals and trendy cafes. For some shopping, the Surabaya Town Square is the place to be with its wide variety of shops and restaurants.

  • Top attractions in Surabaya: Suramadu National Bridge, Mount Bromo, Surabaya North Quay

As the capital of North Sulawesi, Manado is one of the largest cities in Indonesia to visit instead of Bali, with plenty of things to satisfy all kinds of travelers. Here, one will find pristine beaches, lush rainforests, and vibrant streets. Bunaken National Marine Park - one of the city’s famous attractions is a great place to get intimate with nature.

The park features rich fauna and flora and offers opportunities for exciting activities like scuba diving and snorkeling. Manado also has beautiful beaches, plenty of world-class restaurants, beautiful waterfalls, and so many interesting cultural and historic attractions, so there’s no shortage of things to do here.

  • Location: Sulawesi, Indonesia
  • Top attractions in Manado: Manado Town Square, Monumen Yesus Memberkati, Bunaken Marine Park

Labuan Bajo

Labuan Bajo is perhaps among the prettiest out of all the most picturesque towns in Indonesia that aren't Bali . This charming town on the island of Flores has so much to love about it, from its beautiful topography to its long list of attractions begging to be explored.

The town is the base point from where to visit and explore the famous Komodo National Park. Labuan Bajo also has beautiful shores and waterbodies characterized by crystal clear waters full of vibrant marine life, making it one of the best diving and snorkeling destinations in the world.

  • Location: Island of Flores, Indonesia
  • Top attractions in Labuan Bajo: Waecicu Beach, Rangko Cave, Komodo National Park

Semarang is a perfect destination for those looking for an alternative to Bali. The beautiful city comes with a rich history, stunning landscapes, and delicious cuisine, so visitors have nothing to look for elsewhere.

The list of things to do here is endless, but visitors must not miss out on the Semarang’s delicious snacks and the city’s top attractions, such as the Sam Poo Kong temple and Lawang Sewu.

  • More top attractions in Semarang: Dusun Semilir, the Great Mosque of Central Java, Celosia Flower Garden Bandungan

Samarinda is a gorgeous city on the banks of the Mahakam River that welcomes visitors with views of beautiful rolling hills, towering mountains, and carefully designed rice fields. It is a great place for nature lovers as it is home to several waterfalls, gardens, and lush forest areas.

Enjoy an unforgettable vacation in this city by visiting the Pinang Seribu waterfall and then learn more about the city’s weaving at Kampung Tenun. For some more adventures, visit the Beras Basah Island to relax on white sand beaches and swim in the waters.

  • Location: Borneo Island, Indonesia
  • Popular attractions in Samarinda: Samalow Park, Mahakam River

As the capital of Indonesia, Jakarta is perhaps the best place to learn all there is to know about Indonesia. Of course, it's not exactly a "charming town" per se; it's a big city. However, it does hold its own unique charm as the country's capital and thus one of the many places to visit instead of Bali to get a glimpse of urban life and the way people live daily life in its massive sprawl.

With up to 10 million people, it is the largest city in Indonesia and is also one of the largest cities in the world. While this huge population can often make it chaotic, it also comes with a lot of advantages.

First, there’s no dull moment ever in this city, and there are so many vibrant nightclubs here, making it one of the best places in the world to party. The city is also a great place to explore Indonesian culture, food, and history, and there are plenty of incredible natural attractions in and around the city for nature lovers.

  • Location: Java, Indonesia
  • Top attractions in Jakarta: Museum Nasional, the Thousand Islands, Ancol Beach

10 Charming Cities And Towns In Indonesia To Visit Over Bali

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Indonesia: Exploring the immersive and hyper-local experiences in Bali

Times of India TIMESOFINDIA.COM / TRAVEL TRENDS , BALI / Updated : Jun 19, 2024, 11:02 IST

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Bali, known as the 'Island of the Gods,' offers immersive cultural experiences beyond tourist spots. Trek through villages, enjoy local cuisine, witness festivals, and explore rainforests for a deeper connection to the island's ch … Read more

Bali, known as the 'Island of the Gods,' offers immersive cultural experiences beyond tourist spots. Trek through villages, enjoy local cuisine, witness festivals, and explore rainforests for a deeper connection to the island's charm. Read less

Indonesia: Exploring the immersive and hyper-local experiences in Bali

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Indonesia: Exploring the immersive and hyper-local experiences in Bali

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    15. Jatiluwih. Bali is famous for its stunning rice terraces, with Jatiluwih being one of the best places to see them. Offering a fascinating glimpse into the island's agricultural heritage, it boasts expansive terraced fields that cascade down the rolling hills, creating a breathtaking tapestry of vibrant green hues.

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    Lighten the load on your wallet by purchasing your repellent in Bali and opting for bug sprays made in Asia. Popular (and much cheaper) Asian brands you'll find throughout Indonesia include Soffell (snap up the surprisingly pleasant floral-scented version if you can). 5. Avoid traveling during peak times.

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    Here is the list of 13 Islands near Bali. 1. Lombok, Indonesia - Island Paradise of the East. 4.3 /5 View 33+ photos. Known For : Selong Belanak Beach Kuta Lombok Pink Beach. Lombok is an island in the Indian Ocean which is part of the Lesser Sunda Islands. Promoted as "an unspoiled Bali", Lombok is what people expected Bali to be before it ...

  12. The Only Bali Bucket List You'll Ever Need: 50 Must-Do Adventures

    14. Hike Bali's Tallest Volcano, Mount Agung. Rising to a remarkable 3,031 meters, Mount Agung is the tallest volcano on Bali and one of Indonesia's most sacred mountains. Trek up its slopes to experience spectacular panoramas of Bali's landscape and catch a glimpse of the steaming crater at its summit.

  13. 7 Best Islands around Bali

    Distance from Kuta/Bali Airport: 105 km. Gili Trawangan is often the first of the Gili Islands that you'll approach from Bali. It's also the most popular out of the 3, offering well-established facilities and infrastructure, together with a large collection of hotels, dining and nightlife spots. You'll also find most of the marine water sport ...

  14. The most beautiful places to visit in Bali

    13. The holy water temple at Pura Tirta Empul - Tampaksiring. Immerse yourself into Balinese culture and healing at Tirta Empul's holy springs. Perhaps the most popular water temple in Bali, Tirta Empul is a sacred place for the Hindu community, located just footsteps away from the Presidential Palace of Tampaksiring.

  15. 60 Things to Do in Bali and Main Places to Visit in 2024 + MAP

    14. Besakih, the essential Mother Temple to visit in Bali. Besakih, also known as the Mother Temple, is the largest and most sacred temple in Bali and one of the most touristy temples on the island. Besakih really consists of 22 temples, with Pura Penataran Agung (the Great State Temple) being the most important.

  16. 9 Islands in Bali (2024)

    Here is the list of 9 Islands in Bali. 1. Nusa Penida Island. Located southeast of Bali, Indonesia, Nusa Penida is often called the most exotic of the three Nusa Islands. Lacking in tourist infrastructure, Nusa Penida is abounded with picturesque lagoons and cliffs, making it ideal for scuba-diving to explore coral reefs, manta rays and even ...

  17. 17 Best Things to Do in Bali, Indonesia

    U.S. News Insider Tip: The Uluwatu area is famous for its surf and peppered with white-sand beaches. Head to Dreamland Beach or Balangan Beach for some of the best (both are especially magical at ...

  18. The 16 Best Most & Beautiful Indonesian Islands to Visit (Besides Bali!)

    Flores. With glorious deserted beaches and epic volcanic lakes, Flores is where you can escape the chaos of other Indonesia attractions and feel a sense of zen and escape. Photo by Iqx Azmi on Unsplash. Found only 90 minutes away from Bali, this Indonesian island is quickly becoming more popular, but for good reason.

  19. 22 Best Things to Do in Bali

    This company offers daily 7:30 a.m. yoga in an open-air space at Uluwatu Surf Villas — from here, you can see Bali's most iconic surf break, Uluwatu, and with any luck, a monkey or two. Go ...


    60 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN BALI IN 2024. 1. Party every day at the "World's Best Beach Club"! There's no place like Finns Beach Club, so we say, spend an entire day at this iconic destination! Four pools, three party restaurants, nine bars, seven kitchens, daily DJs, live performances and parties seven days of the week - there really ...

  21. 27 Stunning Indonesian Islands You Should Visit That Aren't Bali

    While the Indonesian paradise is gorgeous, it's often crowded with travelers from all over the world. Overtourism on the island has led to severe traffic, heaps of litter, price gouging, constant construction and even a water crisis. Fortunately, if you're dying to visit a pristine beach in Indonesia, Bali is hardly the only option.

  22. 28 BEST Things to do in Bali, Indonesia

    22. Watch a sunrise from Mt Batur. Views from the summit of Mt. Batur at sunrise. Mount Batur is an active volcano in north Bali, and it's a real must-see! In fact, one of the best things to do on the island is to hike it in the early morning hours so you can watch an epic sunrise from the top.

  23. West Bali: 5 Ways to Discover the Island's Hidden Side

    You're almost certain to see Bali starling, one of the world's rarest birds and the island's own 'bird of paradise' among the park's still-growing list of 205 species. See the world's most vibrant fishing fleet at Perancak. The little low-key surf town of Medewi is the hub of West Bali's southern coast.

  24. Where is Bali? Explore this Beautiful Island with a Local

    But Bali also has incredible jungles, rice terraces, waterfalls, and, of course, impressive volcanoes. People who love the great outdoors, hikes, and exploring will love Bali. While Bali definitely has areas that are more untouched and not as touristy, many parts of the island are very vacation-oriented, which can be a good thing but also a ...

  25. 10 Charming Cities And Towns In Indonesia To Visit Over Bali

    Yogyakarta, often referred to as the cultural capital of Indonesia, is one of the charming cities in Indonesia to visit over Bali. This vibrant city on the island of Java is known for its rich ...

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    Bali, known as the 'Island of the Gods,' offers immersive cultural experiences beyond tourist spots. Trek through villages, enjoy local cuisine, witness festivals, and explore rainforests for a ...

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    Tonight's program includes introduction of state teams, presentation of Colors, and welcome to our 4-H athletes, coaches, families, volunteers, donors,...