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The island of Bali in Indonesia is one of the world’s most picture-perfect destinations. Featuring some of the best beaches with crystal clear waters, mixed in among historic temples and even a monkey sanctuary, there are plenty of things to do in Bali. It may be paradise, but with so much to offer it is easy to not be sure what to do in beautiful Bali. Here are the top 12 things that we think cannot be missed in no particular order.
As one of the best beaches in Bali, Padang Padang Beach can become quite crowded — but that’s no reason to leave it off your list of things to do in Bali. The surf at this Bali beach attracts people from all over the world, and surfboard rentals are available if you want to try hitting the waves. Like most of Indonesia’s beaches, there is an entrance fee - in this case, IDR 10,000* (less than USD 1) for foreign visitors.
Even before the popular book and movie Eat, Pray, Love, it’s been well-known that one of the best things to do in Bali is to relax at one of the island’s many wellness retreats and spas. Whether you’re looking to do some yoga, embrace mindfulness, or even want to try becoming a vegan, there are plenty of relaxing options around the island.
Tip: Daily, weekly, and even monthly retreats are available and vary in price — be sure to do your research to find one that suits you.
This is one of Bali’s most popular sites for snorkelling, and it’s easy to see why. Lipah Bay’s shallow waters make it an ideal spot for diving below the surface to spend some time among the coral, even for inexperienced snorkelers. The Bay is also home to the wreck of an old Japanese ship, so there is plenty to explore! A small entrance fee goes towards keeping the beach clean and tidy year round (price given on arrival).
Though it may often be called the “Hidden Waterfall” of Tegenungan, this site is certainly no secret. In fact, the majestic waterfall at Tegenungan is often quite busy and is best visited during the early morning or late afternoon if you want to see it without the crowds. Take time to climb down the steep steps to the waterfall’s base, where you pop in for a swim if the water isn’t too powerful. Note that there is an IDR 100,000* (USD 8) fee to visit the falls.
Tip: Be sure to look up for breathtaking views of the falls surrounded by lush foliage.
While you can choose to walk among the lush, green fields that you’ll find on almost any Balinese postcard, one of the best ways to experience the Tegallalang Rice Terraces in Ubud is by renting a bike! Entrance to the area costs IDR 5,000* (USD 0.37) per person, and bike rentals are available around Tegallalang.
Tip: It is best to visit the terraces in the early morning if you wish to avoid the crowds and the heat.
This monkey sanctuary and its 27 acres of protected forest are said to be home to around 7,000 monkeys, including babies - so you won’t have to look too hard to see them swinging among the trees. Just be sure to keep an eye on your belongings and avoid bringing snacks, as the monkeys are known to be expert pickpockets! Entrance to the forest is IDR 50,000* (USD 3.74) for adults or IDR 40,000* (USD 3) for children.
Pura Tanah Lot is one of the most beautiful temples on Bali’s coast - and is undeniably one of the island’s most photographed sites. This Hindu monument sits atop a rock jutting out into the ocean along the south coast of Bali, making it the perfect location to catch a glimpse of the magical Indonesian sunset. Entrance to the temple costs IDR 60,000* (USD 5) for foreign visitors or just IDR 30,000* (USD 2.25) for locals.
Another one of Bali’s famous temples, Pura Luhur Uluwatu hangs atop a 70-metre-high cliff above the sea - so it probably isn’t a sight for the faint-hearted! However, if you’re willing to brave the incredible heights, you’ll be rewarded with some fantastic traditional dancing, beautiful Hindu temple architecture, and even a few monkeys! The temple’s entrance fee is IDR 40,000* (USD 3).
If you’re an adventure junkie, perhaps a visit to the busy Tegenungan Waterfall doesn’t quite get you close enough — we understand! If this sounds like you, we recommend visiting Kanto Lampo. Less crowded than the falls we previously mentioned, you can actually climb Kanto Lampo waterfall, just be sure to bring water shoes with good grip. A visit to Kanto Lampo will cost you IDR 5,000* (USD 0.37) per person.
Tip: If climbing the rocky falls isn’t for you, you can simply swim in the shallow waters beneath.
Indonesia has certainly been in the news for its volcanic activity lately, what with the eruption of Mount Sinabung. What better way to brag about your trip to Bali than by hiking an active volcano? To get the best experience possible, we recommend a sunrise tour. These tours typically depart at around 2am, but the early morning and two-hour hike are well worth the incredible views waiting for you at the top. A guided tour costs about IDR 350,000* (USD 26).
Infuse your relaxing Bali vacation with some culture and history with a visit to the Taman Ujung Water Palace. Built between 1909 and 1921, this former palace was once used for entertaining the king’s guests and is full of Balinese architecture, sculptures, three large pools, and some fish ponds. Entrance to the park costs IDR 35,000* (USD 2.6) per person.
Before finishing your visit to Bali and returning to your busy life, why not cleanse your body and soul at Pura Tirta Empul? This Hindu water temple has a long rectangular pool containing holy spring water and is open to locals and visitors alike. As when visiting any temple, be sure to wear a sarong (though you can typically buy one at the temple if necessary). The entrance fee for this temple is IDR 15,000* (USD 1).
Tip: You may want to take in the atmosphere on a religious holiday, but be prepared for large crowds.
As you can see, there is so much to do in Bali, even if you’re someone who eventually gets tired from relaxing on the beach all day. Whether you’re looking to connect with nature or with Indonesian culture, there’s a thing to do in Bali for everyone!
*Please note that the prices listed are as of January 2018