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10 Best Things to See and Do on the Island of Bali

By Amanda Sheppard 22 January 2019

Few tropical destinations hold a reputation quite like Bali. From the island's white, sandy beaches and greener, northern reaches, to its thriving nightclub scene, there is something on offer for every type of traveller. With four airlines offering direct flights to the tropical Indonesian island paradise, there’s little excuse not to pay Bali a visit. We share our 10 favourite things to see and do while you're there.

best things to do in bali

1. Bali Swing

The aptly named Bali Swing has taken Instagram by storm, with pictures of tourists and travellers swinging high above the verdant jungle easily identifiable on most social media feeds. If you’re looking to step up your Insta game, then a visit here is definitely in order. Entrance is priced at US$10, but to use the swing, you’ll need to purchase an Active Package, priced at US$35. Additional activities can be arranged at the site, including white water rafting and quad biking excursions. The good news is that a portion of profits is donated to education funds for adults and children in nearby Bongkasa Pertiwi village, too.

Bali Swing, Jl. Dewi Saraswati, 80352 Bongkasa Pertiwi, Kapubaten Bandung, Bali, Indonesia

things to do in bali

2. Uluwatu Temple

Located in the far reaches of the Kuta district, Uluwatu Temple is an idyllic, ancient Hindu temple that rests atop a 70-metre cliff. The temple itself dates back to the 10th century, and most travellers opt to visit it in the late afternoon to catch the sunset while taking in a traditional Kecak (Balinese dance) performance. Hour-long performances are held daily, from 6pm, and are not to be missed.

Uluwatu Temple, Pecatu, South Kuta, Badung Regency, Bali, Indonesia

best things to do in bali

3. Tanah Lot

This picturesque Hindu temple is set among an endless line of perennially crashing waves. One of the most sacred sites on the island, tourists are not permitted to enter the temple grounds themselves, but the surrounding areas still make this a more than worthy trip. It now sits atop an artificial rock that was created as a result of an extensive restoration process, as years of erosion left the fate of the temple in peril. Situated approximately 20 kilometres from Kuta, Tanah Lot is the perfect place to start your evening, with a sundowner in hand.

Tanah Lot, Beraban, Kediri, Tabanan Regency, Bali, Indonesia

best things to do in bali

4. Tegalalang Rice Terrace

If you’ve done a quick Google search of Ubud, then chances are you were met with endless pictures of terraced green hills. The most famous of Ubud’s rice terraces is Tegalalang – rows of perfectly uniform rice crops. Visitors can opt for a self-guided stroll through the terraces (by following the signs for ‘Rice Trekking’) or arrange a tour through an agent or hotel. Be warned though, there is little by way of shade, so an early morning or evening visit is highly recommended.

Tegalalang Rice Terrace, Jl. Raya Tegallalang, Tegallalang, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80561, Indonesia

things to do in bali

Image via Wikimedia Commons / Nyoman Gita Astadi[/caption]

5. Sekumpul Waterfall

Sekumpul Waterfall stands 80 metres tall, and boasts a seriously powerful stream that even flows during the dry season. To reach the waterfall, the three-kilometre trek is hardly arduous, but a sturdy pair of shoes will go a long way, especially in the wetter months or following a recent downpour. A guide is optional, but you will need to pay IDR20,000 in order to enter the park.

Sekumpul Waterfall, Lemukih, Sawan, Kabupaten Buleleng, Bali, Indonesia

things to do in bali

Image via Wikimedia Commons / chensiyuan[/caption]

6. Gunung Kawi Sebatu

Situated in Central Bali, Gunung Kawi Sebatu is a unique Hindu water temple, built in dedication to the god, Vishnu. The temple grounds are home to a series of lotus-filled ponds and ornately carved shrines and statues. Admission is IRD15,000 for adults and can be purchased on-site without advance booking. Visitors can also purchase food to feed the golden carp that populate the ponds, and visit the public bathing pools on a particularly hot day.

Gunung Kawi Sebatu, Sebatu, Tegallalang, Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia

things to do in bali

7. Hang Ten at Canggu

Bali’s own surfer’s paradise is located on the island’s southern coast, near the popular Seminyak resort region. Satisfied surfers travel far and wide to hit the waves here, and by word of mouth, the region has become increasingly popular with spots like Echo Beach proving to be particularly populated during peak season. Surfers should be mindful of wave etiquette to avoid accidents and injuries, while the best bet for beginners is Old Man’s Beach – made all the better for its bars and after-hours atmosphere.

Image via Flickr / Nic Adler[/caption]

8. Visit a Traditional Healer

If you’ve read or seen Eat, Pray, Love, then you may have learned that the Balinese healers in the film were actually based on real Balians (traditional Balinese healers) that author Elizabeth Gilbert met on her travels. Sadly, the charismatic veteran healer Ketut passed away in 2016 at the age of 100, but Jero Wayan Nuriasih still runs a practice today. Wayan does not take appointments, so you will have to be willing to try your luck on the day.

Wayan (Eat, Pray, Love), Jl. Jembawan no. 5, Ubud, Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia

things to do in bali

9. Climb Mount Batur

Bali’s second tallest peak is inherently less problematic than its counterpart (Agung has been continuously plumbing and erupting over the last two years). Situated in a UNESCO Global Geopark, Mount Batur is still an active volcano, although safe to climb. It’s best ascended at sunrise and the trek takes approximately two hours, however, with a lengthy drive to the base, you’ll likely be aiming for a 2am wake-up call. At 5,633-feet-tall, it can prove to be very cold at the top, so some winter warmers are definitely advisable.

things to do in bali

10. Make a Splash at Waterbom Bali

Thrill-seekers, rejoice. If the tranquil temples and terraced gardens aren't cutting it, then an adrenaline-fuelled day at Bali's biggest water park might be just the ticket. Spanning over 3.8 hectares, Waterbom Bali is an expansive adventure park filled with everything from family-friendly fun to steep slides that are certainly not for the faint of heart. The park also boasts an impressive emphasis on the environment, with over half of the grounds being kept as green space.

Amanda Sheppard

Senior editor

Following a brief and bitterly cold stint in Scotland, Amanda returned to Hong Kong—a place she’s called home for over 18 years—to begin her career as a writer. She can often be found getting lost somewhere very familiar, planning her next holiday, and enjoying a cup (or three) of good, strong coffee.