Sunscreen and Sandals Ready? 

From the perfectly manicured terraced rice fields to the picture-postcard beaches, vibrant cultural celebrations, and ancient temples steeped in spirituality, Bali boasts a rich array of activities. Whether you want adrenaline-pumping adventures like white-water rafting and surfing, tranquil moments exploring serene waterfalls or sacred temples, or simply indulging in the unique cuisine and vibrant arts scene, Bali has something for everyone. It's more than just an island paradise – it's a tropical state of mind.

Now that you're ready to hit Bali for a one-of-a-kind getaway get your buddies on board and collaborate to make planning a trip with your friends more fun! Pilot makes it fun and easy to share and relive your favorite travel memories with many useful features!

Did we mention that it's completely free? Try it out now!

Tropical Bliss: Your Guide to the Best Things to Do in Bali

Travelers! Read the latest from FlightDeck powered by @pilotplans
Tropical Bliss: Your Guide to the Best Things to Do in Bali
Not sure how to spend your time in paradise? We've got you covered – from wellness to wildlife, this is your ultimate guide to the best things to do in Bali.
Written by:

Known as the 'Island of the Gods,' Bali evokes images of sandy, palm-fringed beaches, tropical forests, ancient temples, and vibrant, bustling markets. But there's so much more to this enchanting island paradise to explore.

Whether you're a culture vulture, beach bum, shopaholic, or foodie, Bali has something for everyone. Journey back in time as you explore the island's ancient temples, like the iconic Lempuyang Temple and its Gateway to Heaven.

Visit the sacred long-tailed Balinese macaques at the Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud Monkey Forest and shop for local arts and crafts at vibrant markets. Discover cascading waterfalls, hidden canyons, secret islands, and spectacular coral reefs. Hike the volcanic peaks of Mount Batur, surf the pipeline at Padang Padang, and practice yoga on the beach.  

From sand and sea to tropical forests and temples, Bali beckons with the perfect combination of adventure and relaxation.

Best Things to Do in Bali

So much to see and do, but where to start? We've compiled a list of the best things to do in Bali and top attractions that shouldn't be missed! Let's dive right in!

1. Surf Bali's "Pipeline"

Grab your board and hit the waves! Bali is one of the top surfing spots on the planet, with world-class waves like Uluwatu, Padang Padang ('the Balinese Pipeline), and the aptly named 'Impossibles.'

Surfing in Bali is a top-notch experience, attracting surfers of all levels for good reasons. The island's southwestern beaches, like Kuta, Seminyak, and Canggu, offer super waves suitable for beginners and advanced surfers.

The Bukit Peninsula is another hotspot with rugged cliffs, renowned breaks like Uluwatu and Padang Padang, and spectacular views. After your surf session, quaint beach bars are the perfect place to kick back with a cold beer and relax.  

If you want to escape the crowds, head to Medewi in West Bali, where you'll find six miles of sandy-bottom beach breaks and crowd-free waves. Jasri Beach in East Bali is the best beach where the crowds are thinner, and lesser-known breaks offer a more serene surfing experience.

Insider tip: For an exceptional experience, take a boat to Nusa Lembongan for a quieter surf scene. 'Playgrounds' and 'Lacerations' are reef breaks that provide a different vibe than the mainland.

2. Catch the Sunrise on Mount Batur

Watching the sunrise from the lofty peak of the Batur volcano is undeniably one of the best things to do in Bali. Standing sentry over Bali's beautiful landscapes, the 5,600-foot volcanic marvel sees hundreds of sunrise seekers head up its slopes in the wee hours of the morning to catch the rising sun. From the crater rim, breathtaking 360˚ panoramic views take in Mt. Agung – the island's highest peak and the spiritual abode of the gods in Balinese culture – and Mt. Rinjani on distant Lombok.

Be prepared for an early start! Most tours begin with a hotel pick-up at 1 am, and the ascent takes around two hours. But the early morning wake-up call and the two-hour trek are well worth it for the mesmerizing views from the peak.

Insider tip: Many tour operators include a hot breakfast cooked using the steam from the volcano. Enjoying a simple meal surrounded by Bali's natural beauty is an unforgettable experience. 

3. Go on "Safari" in the Wild West

If you want to experience what Bali was like before mass tourism moved in, go to the West Bali National Park, fondly known as the Wild West. Here, you'll find dense tropical jungles teeming with wildlife – maybe not lions and leopards, but majestic sambar deer, rare endemic ebony leaf monkeys, flying foxes, and critically endangered Bali Starlings (one of the world's rarest birds).

The Menjangan, one of Bali's most idyllic resorts, is one of the best places to stay in Bali in this untamed wilderness. Watch flying foxes sail, and wild ebony leaf monkeys swing through the canopy from the resort's timber jungle watchtower. Explore the area on guided walks, horse-riding, and birdwatching tours.

You can only visit West Bali National Park with a guide, but outside the reserve, you can explore the vineyard-filled north coast and the arid hills of the cactus country.

Insider tip: If you don't want to stay in the resort, opt for a homestay with a local family near the park entrance. You'll not only support the local community, but it's budget-friendly, and you'll enjoy a truly immersive experience!

4. Chase Waterfalls

Bali's lush jungles are peppered with spectacular waterfalls that are breathtakingly beautiful and perfect for dipping! Chasing Bali's waterfalls involves trekking through dense forests or picturesque landscapes, allowing you to get outdoors and soak up the natural beauty.      

Tegenungan Waterfall near Ubud boasts a mighty cascade with a lush green backdrop and a lovely pool for swimming. Venture into northern Bali to the impressively high Gitgit Waterfall and the Sekumpul cascades. Nungnung in central Bali is a hidden beauty reached with a challenging hike. Be sure to pack the right hiking gear, like good shoes and a refillable water bottle so your hike is hassle-free! 

Insider tip: Browse the local markets around Gitgit to find some beautiful Balinese artwork and handicrafts.

5. Walk with Pink Buffaloes and Hangout with Macaques

Harken back to the days of old in West Bali where Bali's rare pink water buffalo are still used to plow the land. Join paddy farmer Nengah Sudana on one of his Pink Buffalo Walks and learn about the island's millennia-old rice farming culture. Spend time in the paddies and experience some of the area's last pink buffaloes as a farmer does.

Swop bovines for simians and head to Ubud's Monkey Forest to spend time with long-tailed Balinese macaques. Considered sacred by Balinese Hindus, these curious creatures provide endless hours of entertainment as they frolic in their natural environment. Watch your dangling earrings and bags unless you want to lose them to sticky fingers! 

Insider tip: If you prefer a less 'in-your-face' monkey experience, venture to the Sangeh Monkey Forest, a 45-minute drive away, to watch the monkeys without the crowds.

6. Raft the Rapids of the Ayung Valley

White-water rafting is one of the best (and most exhilarating) ways to experience Bali's still-unspoiled jungle canyons. Rushing rivers from the volcanic highlands carve great ravines through the densely forested southern hills, creating a white-water rafting paradise! 

Enjoy a 'thrills-and-spills' white-water rafting adventure on the Ayung River near Ubud. Winding through dense jungles and passing terraced rice paddies, the river offers a mixture of rapids and calm stretches, suitable for beginners and experienced rafters.

Jungle rivers cascade down from the volcanic highlands in the center of Bali, carving great ravines, one of the most unexpected features of Bali's geography. The southern hills are densely populated with these rivers, and rafting is often the best way to experience still-unspoiled jungle canyons.

The Ayung Valley is rich in cultural and historical significance. Some rafting excursions may include stops at traditional villages or temples, offering a glimpse into Bali's heritage. If you want more of a challenge, combine an Ayung Valley rafting trip with an 18.5-mile mountain bike tour that runs almost entirely downhill.

Insider tip: Check with local operators for nighttime firefly tours along the Ayung, where you can witness the riverbanks illuminated by fireflies. It's an unforgettable experience!

7. Scuba Dive Among Splendor

Lying at the center of the Coral Triangle, Bali is home to world-class scuba diving and snorkeling spots. The sheltered north coast is a watery wonderland for divers with brightly colored corals, hundreds of fish species, turtles, manta rays, and (if you're lucky) whale sharks!

The USAT Liberty shipwreck is one of Bali's most iconic dive sites. Sunk during World War II, the wreck lies in shallow depth, is covered in colorful corals, and is home to an abundance of marine life. Menjangan Island is a must for a pristine marine environment. Dive with Mola Mola (sunfish) in Crystal Bay (Nusa Penida) between July to September and come face to face with reef sharks in the Blue Lagoon (Padang Bai). If you like unusual macro marine life, try Amed (Jemeluk Bay), and if you enjoy the challenge of strong currents and deep walls, Gili Tepekong and Gili Mimpang (Padang Bai) are your spots!

Insider tip: Consider diving during the rainy season (December to March). While the surface conditions may be affected by rain, underwater visibility can improve, and some dive sites, like Amed and Tulamben, offer unique experiences during this time.

Admire Bali's Beautiful Temples

Temples are to Bali like fish are to water, and visiting the island without exploring some of its remarkable temples would be sacrilegious. With over 20,000 temples, you'd need to pick and choose, but some stand out.

Uluwatu Temple is a must! Perched on a cliff, high above the Indian Ocean, the temple features traditional Balinese architecture with intricate stone carvings. Don't miss the famous Kecak dance performances during sunset. Depicting scenes from the Ramayana, the dance is performed against the backdrop of the ocean and is nothing less than spectacular.

Tanah Lot is situated on an offshore rock formation in Beraban village, Tabanan Regency, creating a dramatic seascape. Believed to guard the island against evil spirits, the temple is dedicated to the sea deities and is an essential part of Balinese mythology.

Located on the shores of Lake Bratan, Ulun Danu Beratan is dedicated to the goddess of the lake and is a postcard-worthy sight. The Tirta Empul is known for its holy spring water used in purification rituals.

Besakih Temple is located on the southwestern slopes of Mount Agung, Bali's highest volcano, in the village of Besakih and is a significant pilgrimage site. The complex comprises Pura Penataran Agung, the main temple, and 22 other smaller temples. Thousands of Balinese Hindus visit during major ceremonies to pay their respects and seek blessings.

Insider tip: Experience the sunrise at Ulun Danu Beratan. While this temple is known for its picturesque setting, sunrise visits offer a magical and tranquil ambiance.

Pilot - A Social Trip Planner - Banner
Pilot is a social trip planner to discover and build travel itineraries connecting you to resources everywhere, for free. Pilot makes it fun and easy to create and share your favorite travel moments.

Collaborate stress-free with your travel companions and have all the features you need all in one place with Pilot. It’s completely free and ready for you to try it out now!
Pilot - A Social Trip Planner - Banner

Disclosure: Pilot is supported by our community. We may earn a small commission fee with affiliate links on our website. All reviews and recommendations are independent and do not reflect the official view of Pilot.

Mia Russell Blog
Written by:
Mia Russell
linkedin logoInstagram logo
Pilot Icon in White

Satisfy your wanderlust

Get Pilot. The travel planner that takes fun and convenience to a whole other level. Try it out yourself.

Get started
Get started
Pilot Icon in White

Satisfy your wanderlust

Get Pilot. The travel planner that takes fun and convenience to a whole other level. Try it out yourself.

Get started
Get started

Make the most of every trip

Join 22,000+ travelers and Pilot your next adventure!
Get the app
Get the app
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Pilot Plans web app product images

You won’t want to plan trips any other way!

The trip planner that puts everything in one place, making planning your trip easier, quicker, and more fun.

Get the app
Get the app
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Close button
Pilot Plans web app product imagesClose button
Get the app
Get the app
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.