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13 Top Things To Do In Bali Indonesia


I regularly receive emails from travellers asking me the top things to do on their visit to Bali. I lived in Bali for seven months and even though I was there for an extended period of time, and whilst I like to think I know a fair bit about the island, this is by no means an exhaustive list. The best way to get around Bali is by renting a car (I rented a little Suzuki Karimun very cheap for $200USD a month) or if you don’t drive then you can hire a driver for very little money. Many tourists rent bikes, although, after my bike accident I’m not going to recommend that one. Taxis are also very cheap in Bali so, whilst there’s no public transport system on Bali, you’ve got a range of options for touring the island.

Here are some of the best things to do in Bali:

1. Buy something from a Kuta Stall

Whilst many dislike the tourist trap of Kuta, with its stalls selling fake sunglasses, fake DVDs and Bintang T-shirts, it’s still an experience all the same. This bustling network of narrow streets is filled with stalls, budget hotels, cheap warungs, and bikes galore. Walk down a Kuta street and there are bikes buzzing past, cars trying to get through crowds of tourists and people trying to sell things wherever you go. Although it’s heavily built up and designed for tourism, it’s great for budget hotels, cheap surf wear and cheap food. There’s certainly something about the energy of Kuta that you shouldn’t miss out on.

2. Eat breakfast at The Tuck Shop in Seminyak

Seminyak, just north of Kuta, is the equivalent of an up-market suburb. Most of the expat community live in the trendy area of Seminyak, with its designer shops, international restaurants of every cuisine, luxury villas and its swanky bars. Most of Seminyak centres around Oberoi road, where you’ll find my favourite breakfast place, the Tuck Shop. Serving delicious smoothies, healthy salads, amazing omelettes and fresh fruit salad, the Tuck Shop was my favourite hang out in the morning. Another regular haunt of mine was Cafe Zucchini with it’s yellow and white striped canopy and pick and mix salads.

3. Have a cocktail in The Rock Bar

The Rock Bar at the Ayana Resort in Jimbaran is a stunning bar literally on the ocean, you couldn’t get any closer if you tried. A lift takes you down onto this exclusive bar perched on the rocks where you can enjoy a cocktail as the waves crash against them. It offers one of the best views of the sunset on the island, all to the sound of live jazz.

4. Go to the monkey temple in Uluwatu

The temple in Uluwatu, down in the south of the island, is home to many many wild monkeys and it’s a great spot for taking photos. Beware though, don’t wear any hats or sunglasses as they’ll steal them from your head!

5. Sunbathe on Balangan beach

My favourite beach on the island, Balangan is the most “European” looking of them all. Since it’s tucked down towards the south of the island after Jimbaran and before Bingin, Balangan is secluded enough that it isn’t packed with tourists. It’s great for reef surfing (and hot surfers for that matter) and Suzuki Warung does incredible banana milkshakes. You can laze on the sun loungers or, when the tide’s out, explore the rock pools on the reef.

5. Have a drink at Black Dog, Bali

The trendiest spot in town, Black Dog is tucked down a side street in Seminyak near to Bintang supermarket. Popular with the surf crowd and fashionistas of expat Seminyak, Black Dog is a chilled out night in a courtyard with live bands.

6. A night out in Kuta

No trip to Bali is complete without a night out in Kuta. If you’re on a budget go to the Green Box, Alleycats and Skygarden where the alcohol is ridiculously cheap.

7. Visit Tanah Lot

The Tanah Lot temple in Tabanan is one of the most visited spots in Bali and a main temple for the worship of the Balinese gods. It’s popular because of its dramatic landscape on the ocean.

8. Go surfing

Bali has some of the best surfing spots in the world. If you surf reef then you’ve got Uluwatu, Bingin, and Balangan, if you’re a beginner you can learn in Kuta and Seminyak…there’s something for everyone. There’s also Sanur, Canggu and Nusa Dua, plenty of surf spots to keep you entertained. The problem is, which one do you choose?

9. Have a retreat in Ubud

Ubud, made famous by Eat Pray Love, has been the island’s centre of arts, crafts, dance, food and music for many years. Located amongst scenic rice paddies, Ubud was once frequented by backpackers and bohemians but is now the place to be for the island’s designers and glitterati. Many people visit Ubud to be immersed in Balinese culture and it has been a popular destination for spa retreats and yoga holidays. Ubud has some great organic restaurants and cafes and there’s also a sacred monkey forest.

10. Try some amazing food from the street stalls

Don’t be afraid to try the food from the Balinese street stalls, I’ve never had any stomach upsets. Try delicious satay, Nasi Goreng, Bakso soup or Babi Guling, which is my personal favourite. People in Bali disagree over where to get the best Babi Guling, but I always enjoyed the Babi Guling served at Pak Malen on Sunset Road just as you turn into Seminyak.

11. Eat seafood in Jimbaran Bay

If you go down to Jimbaran Bay at night and walk along the sand you’ll see dozens of warungs and hundreds of candle-lit tables and chairs on the beach. Dine on freshly caught prawns, squid and fish right next to the water.

12. Go to White Sand Beach, Padangbai

White Sand Beach in Padangbai is exactly what its name suggests, a beach with white sand! You’ll feel like you’re on your own Caribbean Island!

13. Have a drink in Ku De Ta

Ku De Ta in Seminyak, although a little pricey, is a must-see on everyone’s Bali holiday. This trendy outdoor bar on the ocean front looks a little bit like a hotel resort with sun loungers, dining and lounge areas. It serves amazing cocktails, pizzas, appetizers and sushi, has an incredible view of the sunset and hosts unforgettable parties during high season. Think charity events, toga parties, Egyptian parties, white parties, Christmas parties and New Years Eve celebrations.

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21 Responses to 13 Top Things To Do In Bali Indonesia

  1. Luke May 10, 2011 at 8:35 pm #

    Great list but of course there are many more.
    You could visit some of the areas that specialise in handicraft and art work using techniques passed down the generations.
    How about learning a few Indonesian words to make your time here even more fun. eg
    Selamat Pagi – Good Morning
    Apa Kabar – How are you?
    Tidak TeriMakasi – No Thank you
    Terlalu Mahal – Too Expensive

  2. Things to do in Bali May 31, 2011 at 12:29 pm #

    Eat seafood in Jimbaran Bay i think that everybody should try this

    • Bali Bike July 29, 2013 at 4:29 pm #

      This bicycle tour will take you far away from the regular tourist itinerary and deep within the true bali, where you will discover the customs and age-old traditions of the Balinese people living in the countryside.A truly unique experience with traditional route

  3. khrizzy January 10, 2012 at 2:20 pm #

    Hi! I am just wondering if the things you listed are just accessible by biking. I mean, is nusa dua just near balangan and ayana (south) as you mentioned i your blog (MINUTES IN TRAVEL TIME)? It’s our first time to go this march and i wanted to stay in ayana resort or grand hyatt in nusa dua? We only have 4 nights in the island. can we finish your list given our stay?

    It’s so hard to imagine how far each places if from each other.

    thanks and looking forward to your advise.

  4. memographer January 20, 2012 at 7:49 pm #

    Nice list. Thanks for sharing.
    Sorry about your bike accident. Your foot looked really bad. Hope it healed well.

  5. Jean-Charles April 16, 2012 at 8:03 am #

    From someone who has been living here a looong time; beware of all “strong” alcohols while in Kuta – lots of them are fake and can have deveatating effects on your body and mind.
    Stick to bottled beer or soft drinks.
    And enjoy

  6. rossi July 25, 2012 at 3:25 pm #

    “Fantastic way to see the real Bali”

    Just got back from a great bike tour with Bali Hai Bike Tours. We were picked up from the hotel in Nusa Dua this morning and went first to a coffee planation. Here, we received a warm welcome and were given a short tour of the planation ending in coffee tasting. From here we traveled by car to Kintamani for breakfast. The views over Mount Batur and Lake Batur were breathtaking! After a good breakfast we started our bike tour. Our two guides were enthusiastic and knowledgeable of the local area. They were especially considerate of our two kids (aged 8 & 10) when other traffic was close or when we had to cross a road. We felt safe the whole time and the kids thoroughly enjoyed themselves. The tour takes you through the real Bali countryside and really off-road paths through the Bamboo forest. The “traditional” Bali village is beautiful, a bit touristy but still worth visit. The tour ends with a late lunch in the middle of the rice paddy fields. Again the views are amazing. This is a really special way to end a fantastic day. Thanks Bali Hai http://www.balihaitour.com we really enjoyed our tour today and thanks to our guides and driver for looking after us so well.

  7. Shoula August 10, 2012 at 3:12 am #

    “Brilliant countryside adventure”

    We loved our tour – it was one of our favourite things during 2 months in Bali. We saw loads of massive groups on our way to the starting point & I was so grateful to our small group of just 3. The guides were super friendly & helpful – always smiling & helping us to have a laugh. Whenever we had to cross a main road, a man would magically appear to stop the traffic & help us across smoothly & safely. The places we saw were brilliantly Balinese. The landscape was beautiful & it was all topped off by the most delicious lunch in a fantastic little restaurant in the middle of a rice paddy. I couldn’t recommend this tour highly enough!

    Shoula

  8. Manya Singh December 11, 2012 at 11:44 am #

    All things are really worth to do, exploring the possibilities of ambience in Bali. Never forget to enjoy the bicycle tour around Ubud, where you will enjoy the beautiful nature of Bali. You can explore and book holidays packages to Bali here: http://www.weareholidays.co.in/international-holidays/singapore-tour-packages

  9. Mohhamad January 3, 2013 at 4:12 pm #

    We need more choices for things that we can do in Bali, we just found it but this blog http://100thingstodoinbali.blogspot.com

    Seems it just build and hopefully they can provide more details soon. :). Anyone have an idea? this is my first time to Bali.

  10. Robert April 17, 2013 at 12:05 am #

    Thanks for the info. I really want to visit Bali soon.

  11. Conrad May 10, 2013 at 5:01 am #

    Great list, a lot less boring than a lot of the other websites

  12. Miyoko September 16, 2013 at 8:10 am #

    Wouw, I believe you had a good time there.
    Anyway, I wanna ask you a question. You often do solo travel and what will you do with your important things like wallet, mobile phone, camera or your other expensive things if you wanna swim or like play with the wave in the sea? (In the case than you are alone, no people to trust and no safety box in your homestay) this is out of topic but i just wanna know your opinion, thanks before :)

  13. Abby October 16, 2013 at 4:35 am #

    Do you have the address and phone number of the car rental? Thanks yah.

  14. Georgie November 20, 2013 at 3:09 am #

    Hello Victoria,

    Thanks a lot for the great and informative entry,I find it very useful as I am trying to plan my trip to Bali, in 2 weeks time, last minute plan really hehe… thanks so much!

  15. Engsss December 16, 2013 at 3:51 am #

    I will visit bali next year to do scuba diving in Bali.

  16. Ranbir January 8, 2014 at 1:07 am #

    Hi it’s great information nice and neat we are leaving with 13year old Jasrun and my wife Amrit could you let us know which order we should start. Thanks

  17. Sigit Prasetyo January 15, 2014 at 9:33 am #

    Agree for all above, but We need best deals for best things to do in bali, you can try using bali activities for online booking. visit https://www.baliactivities.co.id

  18. Seawalker Sanur January 18, 2014 at 9:04 am #

    Try seawalker tour sanur bali for great activity at sanur, bali

  19. Leo March 11, 2014 at 3:29 am #

    Don’t forget to try paintball at Bali Paintball Arena. It’s a good way to spend an exciting day with a group of friends, and for families with teens who need to take their sibling rivalry to the field – in a positive way!

  20. Sara April 6, 2014 at 7:22 am #

    I read your list before my trip and found it very helpful! While I didn’t get to check everything off my list (Rock Bar- I’m coming for you next time) I had a wonderful time in Bali.

    I also compiled a list for others of what NOT to do on the beautiful island. http://oneworldtwoexplorers.com/2014/03/17/5-things-not-to-do-in-bali-indonesia/

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