Top 18 Things to Do in Bali in 2018 that will Leave You Breathless
Updated January 2018
There are so many things to do in Bali.
It is one of our favorite places to visit.
You will never be bored. There is something for everyone.
For those of you unfamiliar, Bali is an island and province of Indonesia. It is located at the westernmost end of the Lesser Sunda Islands, between Java to the west and Lombok to the east. Its capital, Denpasar, is located in the southern part of the island (reference wikipedia).
Whether you are looking to go to the spa and relax, shop, ride elephants, practice yoga, go rafting, or walk beautiful beaches, Bali is the place for you!
Jump to the paragraph below by clicking on the 18 Things to do in Bali Table of Contents below:
1. Bali Safari and Marine Park
Looking to have a day of fun? This is the place for you. With over 80 different species and 400 specimens from different continents you’ll definitely see animals you’ve never seen before.
Anything from lions, to white tigers, to Himalayan bears and many more animals that are unique to different continents around the world.
Not only can you experience these animals in their cages, but you also have the opportunity to get up close and personal with them in safari rides, animal shows, feedings and photo opportunities.
How does holding and taking a snapchat selfie with a monkey sound?
Visit here, and you can make this unforgettable moment happen.
If you love animals and love what this attraction has to offer with its animals and you feel one day just simply isn’t enough. A great option is to stay in their lodging where you look out you can stand on your balcony and watch animals like zebras and rhinos graze.
2. Things to do in Bali: Take a cooking class at Bumbu Bali
Do you love Balinese food?
Well, don’t just enjoy it while visiting the island, instead, learn how to shop, cook and prepare Balinese food on your own.
This way, you can bring a “taste” of this delicious cuisine back home to friends and family.
This cooking class gives you the opportunity to not only prepare and taste a delicious Balinese meal but to learn about various cooking techniques and about the unique cooking techniques the Balinese use.
This class consists of everything from visiting the markets to buy the ingredients to preparing and cooking meals to most importantly, tasting your meal.
You will have the opportunity to pick what traditional dish you want to prepare. Anything from Ayam Pelalah (Shredded chicken with Chili and Lime) to Nasi Georeng Mawut (Special fried rice with noodles, chicken and vegetables).
Most importantly, at the completion of this cooking class at Bumbu Bali, you will have all the skills you need to bring this delicious cuisine home. To find out more about a particpants experience at Bumbu Bali and see his personal photos check out this blog post about cooking in Bali.
3. Neka Art Museum
The Neka Art Museum is an award-winning art museum that makes the list of Top 10 museums in Bali. The art displayed in Neka Art Museum are done by the Balinese people of the island and are many times inspired by the culture and people of Bali.
Some of the most well renowned artist like Nyoman Tjarka, master I Gusti Nyoman Lempad, Affandi and many more Balinese artist have their work displayed in the Neka Art Museum. Inside of this art museum you will be able to gaze at some of the most well-done and diverse art collections, most of which are paintings and sculptures.
In addition to this, you will learn about how Balinese painting has developed over the decades. Here, you can also see different local painting styles.
By looking at the art available in the six different buildings within the garden you will be able to learn about the Balinese culture through arts like painting and sculpting.
Looking at art is a different way of learning about a culture but can be highly informative and build a lot of knowledge, because of this you don’t want to miss out on seeing what Neka Art Museum has to offer.
Find out a visitors perspective on why the Neka Art Museum is a great way to learn about Balinese culture.
4. Watch dolphins at Lovina Beach
Start your day right with an early morning to watch dolphins at Lovina Beach. Dolphin watching tours begin early before sunrise so that you are out on the water by sunrise waiting for the dolphins.
Fortunately, local fisherman are happy to take guests out on their boats, for a small per person fee, to watch these majestic dolphins in the calm waters of the bay.
Going Dolphin watching is readily available and will definitely create great memories and will be the perfect opportunity to snap some “picture-perfect” pictures to keep with you so you can always remember how beautiful it was.
What is better than not only dolphins but dolphins in the sunrise. Talk about that picture-perfect moment. Find out more information about dolphin watching at Lovina Beach.
5. Spend the day at a Uluwatu Beach and explore the cave under
Within the Uluwatu Beach area there are separate smaller beaches which make for the perfect relaxing beach day. One of the most recommended Uluwatu Beaches is Suluban Beach.
Suluban Beach, also known as Blue Point, is located close to one of the iconic temples, Uluwatu Temple.
At Suluban Beach, not only will you be able to relax and enjoy your day filled with stunning views of the Indian Ocean and sandy beach but you will also have the opportunity to adventure into a hidden cave.
This cave is a beautiful and unique destination that is a must when spending the day at Uluwatu’s – Suluban Beach. To find out how to get into this majestic cave, take a look at this helpful blog post.
If you are feeling even more adventurous after walking into the cave it might be a good idea to try and catch some waves. Suluban Beach is one of the many great surf spots in Bali. If you don’t know how to surf, it might be a good time to give it a try on your day spent at a Balinese beach.
You can’t go on vacation without shopping… especially to a place like Bali that has tons of unique markets, shops and galleries filled with Balinese treasures. Planning a day to spend shopping is definitely a must.
You won’t want to leave the beautiful place of Bali without some keepsakes. The shops of Bali are filled with tons of paintings, jewelry, fabrics, masks, carvings and many more goods.
These markets are the perfect place to find souvenirs for yourself, family and friends.
In addition to market shopping, you might want to hit some designer shopping and find some valuables. Don’t worry, there is a shopping site for this as well.
Some of the biggest Australian designers find their design inspiration in Bali and most have stores on the island as well. In South Bali, there are designer stores by designer Mister Zimi, Alice McCall, Auguste Frank and many more names.
No matter what you are looking for when shopping, you will definitely be able to find it in Bali. For more information on shopping and the best places to shop, check out this shopping guide for Bali.
7. Things to do in Bali: Climb Mount Batur at Sunrise
Start your morning bright and early for a morning of climbing Mount Batur. Don’t worry, this early morning and trek up Mount Batur will definitely be worth it when you get to the top.
Mount Batur is an active volcano that is 1717 m above sea level. Climbing this will take over two hours but the reward of watching the sunrise at the top of a volcano makes it all worth it.
Once you get to the top of Mount Batur, you will have the opportunity to relax and just enjoy the incredible view of a Balinese sunrise.
The scenery at the top of Mount Batur is simply spectacular and definitely something you don’t want to miss! For some tips to prepare for this trek check out this article.
8. One of the More Beautiful Things to Do in Bali, Watch the Sunset
Watching a sunset is a must while staying in Bali. There are so many different places to enjoy a beautiful Balinese sunset. Each place is unique to its location but no matter where you watch the sunset it will be beautiful.
Depending on where you watch the sunset you can be in many different atmospheres. Whether you are watching the sunset at an iconic Balinese Temple or relaxing on a beach or bay it will be an incredible sight.
Some of the best places to enjoy a sunset in Bali include: Tanah Lot Temple, Lovina Beach, Uluwatu Temple, Jimbaran Bay and many other locations.
You will definitely get the perfect Instagram of a sunset if you watch from one of these well renown locations.
9. Things to do in Bali: Spas
There are many great spas in Bali. You can choose from many. It just depends on preference.
What’s important to you?
Bali has them all. Here are 5 of our favorite Spas.
For a great view check out La Joya Spa.
La Joya is a boutique hotel with a picturesque view of private beaches. Relax in La Joya’s Spa overlooking the calm clear waters of Balangan Beach resting on a cushiony soft b
ed. This spa is a 30-45 minute drive form the Ngurah Rai airport depending on traffic. The only thing better than the views is the staff. Offering a variety of mind-body relaxing therapies.
For convenience visit Spa Bali.
With locations in Dyanapura, Seminyak, Kuta, and Ubud Spa Bali gives you a chance to delve into the authentic Balinese style massages and treatments. Nothing says convenience like being open 7 days a week from 10am to 10pm offering a complete array of spa and beauty treatments.
10. Karma Spa at Karma Kandara
With unprecedented views and supreme service, Karma Spa really scores high marks with things to do in Bali. This is a must do before your tip back home. You cannot help but be captivated by the view from the cliff above.
They’ve only replaced your run of the mill massage room with rustic huts, and your white wall view with one of a lookout from the limestone cliffs. You will enjoy this luxury spa.
11. Elephant Safari Park
If you are an animal lover you will fall in love with this place as soon as you get here.
With over 20 years of rescuing elephants, the Elephant Safari Park has made an impact on our animal kingdom.
You have to take a ride one of these beauties. We rode on one of the oldest elephants in the park, Petri. She is 52 yeas old and was pleasant on our ride. You have to hold on tight because there are some moments were the ride on the elephants can become a little bumpy but they have a trainer making sure the elephant does not walk too fast or go off course. The trainer’s name was Sarah. She has just finished her 11th year. She loves working there because the elephants are enjoyable and the people at the elephant park in Bali are pleasant.
The best park is afterward the ride. You can feed the elephants or you can pose for picture with them. It was great to meet and spend time with Petri and Sarah.
This is a once in a lifetime type experience that I will never forget. I highly recommend it!
12. Kecak Dance
The Kecak Dance is a form of Balinese dance and music drama that was developed in the 1930s in Bali, Indonesia (via wikipedia)
The Kecak Fire Dance is a sight to behold. There are Balinese men wearing tribal garb. Their faces painted with flowers protruding from their hair. Yelling out into the warm serene Ubud night. This performance is not short on characters. Watch out for the colorful war like characters that enter into this ancient play as different antagonists take the stage throughout the night. Couple this with beautiful belly dancing Balinese women sprinkled throughout the show. You have to see this if you visit Bali.
The show is based on the epic ancient poem of Ramayana which means literally “the march of Rama.” Rama for short is “marching” in search of human values. The main plot of the show depicts Rama rescuing his wife Sita from the demon king, Ravana.
Spoiler Alert! He does and they end up living together for years. They have a happy life and two kids until one day Sita is accused of infidelity. She must stand a trial by fire to prove she was faithful. She was faithful but is banished by the god’s into immortality. Rama is so overcome with sadness he takes his own life.
13. Kopi Luwak Coffee
Two amazing facts about Kopi Luwak Coffee.
One it is the world’s most expensive coffee!
Two is comes from Palm civet aka civet cat poop!
Kopi Luwak coffee is really good! Not sure it is $660 for 2lbs good but it’s close. You must try this while you are in Bali. It won’t be cheaper and it will never be as fresh. Please try it. It was delicious. The taste is a smooth non bitter fresh tasting coffee.
The thing that makes this coffee so literally unbelievable is this coffee comes from poop. That’s right. I said poop. The Kopi Luwak coffee bean is eaten by the civet cat. The civet cat has a special bacteria in its digestive track which processes the coffee bean. It is then washed many times over before being roasted.
This coffee gets it’s name from the civet cat. In, Indoneasia civet cats are known as “luwak.”
14. Sacred Monkey Forest
The Monkey Forest in Ubud is a blast! You will not find anything quite like this in America.
You will be able to purchase bananas. These bananas will attract the monkeys. You will then be able to pose for that perfect Instagram photo of you and the cute little monkeys.
A few things to take into consideration. The monkeys are cute but can be a tad aggressive.
So be ready for them to become rowdy once they see you have food.
Don’t worry they will not hurt you they are just often hungry and will get food as often as possible.
After you purchase the banana for the equivalent of a few dollars, get ready for the action. Monkeys will jump over one another and jump onto you. They will sometimes even sit on you to eat their food away from their peers.
One word of caution, do not try and pet the monkeys. The monkeys are territorial, especially when it comes to mates. They will charge you and act aggressively towards you if you try and pet them.
15. River Rafting
River rafting in Bali is incredible.
Rafting is fun and safe in Ubud. The rapids are a class 2-3 on the Ayung River. This is fitting for even a beginner. So even if you do not have prior experience, river rafting in bali would be a great first time. The guides are funny. They make the trip interesting the whole ride. The guides for the Ayung River rafting usually play jokes on each other and make fun of each other the entire ride. Not to mention the people you meet can be great.
The guides also make it safe for everyone. They steer the boat and tell you exactly where to avoid and where to go. They help you navigate the raft without having to worry about getting stuck or falling our of the raft.
On your way down the river we were able to make a few stops. We got to stop for water and food on the side of the river. This helped tremendously, especially because it is hot in Ubud. We also stopped to take photos of in front of hidden waterfalls. See ancient hieroglyphics painted on the side of the rocks wasn’t too shabby either.
Overall this is highly recommended.
16. Food in Bali
Food is Bali is fresh and healthy. If you are looking for things to do in Bali, eating good food should be one of them!
Food in Bali ranges from vegan, to gluten free, to lactose free, to healthy, to straight up unhealthy and everything in between.
We thought traveling with people with food allergies was going to be a big challenge as it normally is when visiting a foreign country. However, Bali is the exception. They will be able to prepare almost anything for you. Just tell your sever about your food allergies or restrictions and they will accommodate you most of the time.
Balinese cuisine usually entails some sort of meat or fish enhanced with popular spices unique to Bali. We often ordered the grilled fish because it was likely caught that day. Be prepared to have a healthy side of rice as rice fields are in abundance in Bali.
Be prepared to possibly experience “Bali Belly” if you visit. It is basically when you stomach hurts because you are not used to the bacteria of the country you are visiting. This can and usually does happen everywhere you visit. It is just our systems getting used to the local food.
However want to know how to avoid “Bali Belly?”
Do not eat raw fish or vegetables or really anything not cooked. For example, stay away from sushi! I know this from personal experience. My stomach hurt for two days. Stay away form raw uncooked vegetables and fruit. Unless the fruit or vegetable has protective layer like a banana.
17. One of the Serene Things to Do in Bali: Biking near Rice Fields
While biking around rice fields in Bali be prepared to stop for lots of pretty pictures.
Behind China and India, Bali is the world’s third largest rice producer (Source: FAOSTAT Data December 2014). Bali has been harvesting rice for centuries.
These fields have been around for a long time. You will mostly come across the Tegallalang rice terraces in Ubud. Their natural beauty is part of the charm of Ubud. You will not see heavy machinery but a few dozen Balinese locals working the fields. Most of Bali’s rice fields are owned by private residents.
Weather you bike or drive, you will not be disappointed with your decision. Some of the prettier views are here along the rice fields. Stop. Take a deep breath. And enjoy the views.
18. Yoga, one of the Most Relaxing Things to Do in Bali
Yoga in Bali is as relaxing as it gets.
If you thought you are relaxed after yoga in your local studio, think again. Bali is filled with breathtaking natural beauty that relaxes you as soon as one steps foot in it. Now imagine yourself doing yoga in warm soothing Bali.
The top three places to practice yoga in Bali are the following:
The Yoga Barn
One of the more popular places to practice yoga while in Bali. A must try if you would like to experience yoga with a group with a more traditional flavor.
If you like to really get into Yoga and consider yourself more serious about it, this is the place for you!
Apparently according to sources, Linda the yoga teacher, will get so into it she chants and sometimes even is moved to tears. This is the place to experience hard core yoga.
Power of Now Oasis
The Power of Now Oasis in Sanur is a break from the group. It is a much more intimate setting. It has the relaxing power of breaking waves in the background to sooth the soul. The studio is built out of bamboo and is a little more private then most. This is for you if you want to be alone and experience yoga in a more private setting.
Power of Now Oasis Jl. Merta Sari, Denpasar Selatan +62 878-6153-4535#7 High Vibe Yoga, Ubud
Bonus One More thing to do in Bali: Visit Temples
Tanah Lot Temple
There are so many Temple’s to visit in Bali but how do you know which one is the “must see”?
Bali’s Tanah Lot Temple is considered to be the island’s most iconic temple out of all of them so in our opinion, you don’t want to miss this.
This temple is also known as the Scenic Sea Temple. Located in the Indian ocean, on top of a large rock formation, makes it is an incredibly unique location with beautiful views.
This is simply a “can’t miss” attraction and will be unforgettable. Don’t forget to bring your camera and snap some pictures to keep for your memories.
Since this Temple is located on top of a rock, offshore of Bali, it is only accessible during low tide. However, it’s definitely worth the wait.
You definitely don’t want to miss the jaw dropping view at sunset, which is the most popular time to visit this religious landmark. To find out some tips on how to avoid the crows during the peak visitation time check out this article.
Once on the island, don’t forget to grab a souvenir from one of the many vendors to keep forever and remember this amazing time and unforgettable view.