Bali is an island that offers you a wide variety of activities, adventures, places to explore and more. Whether you’re on the island just to lay back and relax, to take in the coastline or to hike your way around the island there are activities in Bali for every type of traveler.
Depending on the length of your visit you can fit all of these adventures in during your stay or hand pick those best fit for you. With so many different offerings on the island, you have the chance to experience something new, possibly a little out of your comfort zone, and get to know a little more about each part of Bali. For a few of the reasons why I loved Bali don’t miss this post.
Note: Some stays, tours, passes, and meals were provided at no cost to the author. All opinions remain my own.
Take a Cooking Class
After being on the island for about four days I took a cooking class with Cafe Wayan in Ubud. This experience allowed me to not only get my hands dirty but also learn more about dishes I’d been eating around the island, the Balinese approach to cooking and more about some of the people who were cooking it. This was one of my favorite activities in Bali. Just make sure you go hungry and ready to ground some spices. More about why you shouldn’t miss out.
Give Scuba Diving a Try
Bali is the perfect place to give scuba diving a try, or to take the next step and get certified. The water is warm and there are many spots on the island with minimal currents. The island is surrounded by a diverse ocean where you can see everything from tropical fish to sharks to manta rays to so much more. Getting under the water is one of the must-do activities in Bali.
During my visit, I got certified with Bali Diving Academy in Pemeturan on the North side of the island. It was a great experience both during the trip and an investment in opportunities for future travels.
Whether you’re a diver or not make sure to at least get some snorkeling in since you’ll miss out on a key piece of what the island has to offer if you don’t take a look under the surface during your stay. If you’re looking into getting certified on your trip to Bali don’t miss out on my tips for getting certified abroad.
Relax on a Beautiful Beach or Pool
One thing you can’t overlook on Bali is taking the time to sit back and relax by the water. Whether you’re in the south at Jimbaran or Legian or you’re up north at Pemturan, Bali is surrounded by beautiful beaches that you can slow down and enjoy. Bring some sunblock and a book and spend your afternoon being served a Bintang or enjoy lunch on the beach.
While the beach is a must do, you’ll also find breathtaking pools around the island. Whether it’s an infinity pool over the ocean or it’s looking at the rice paddies inland you can rest up about as well as you will on the beach. Just don’t forget the sunblock.
Hike a Volcano
If you’re a bit of an adventurer you’ll be disappointed to miss out on the unique opportunity to watch a sunrise from the top of a volcano in Bali. Mt. Batur is the most common hike as it leads you to a beautiful outlook over lake Batur and you can see all the way to the sea.
The hike was more significant than I was expecting but it was still worth sitting at the top and watching the sun rise out of the water. Please note this is not a walking hike, it’s a two-hour hike where you are climbing over rocks and rough dirt paths. You do not need to be an experienced hiker but you do need to be in decent shape.
Set up your hike with a tour company where they will pick you up from your hotel, at 3 a.m., and drive you to the base of the trail and have you set up with a guide. Many of these packages can also include stops at the hot springs afterward and a lunch with a beautiful view. I had a great time and made new friends on my hike with Bali Hai Tour.
Read more about hiking Mount Batur in Bali here.
Lounge at the Hot Springs
Perfect for spending your morning after hiking Mt. Batur or anytime you’re looking for a relaxing outing is visiting the hot springs overlooking Lake Batur. Soak in the beautiful pools all with a breathtaking view of the lake. It was great to have a different point of view while relaxing in the water compared to the days before on the ocean.
Hop on a tour or have a driver take you out to the hot springs from Ubud. There you’ll be handed a towel, a welcome drink and have a chance to lay back and relax. I enjoyed my visit to the Batur Natural Hot Spring.
Visit with the Monkeys
Whether it’s driving through the mountains, hiking the volcano or visiting Monkey Forest in Ubud you shouldn’t miss a chance to interact with some of Bali’s friendliest creatures. It’s a unique experience to walk through Monkey Forest and be surrounded by hundreds of these little buggers who are running around, playing with each other, hoping you have a banana to offer them and just looking adorable.
It’s definitely something you shouldn’t miss on the island. I do recommend having one of the ladies selling the bananas help you get a photo feeding them since they know the tricks. Also, the monkeys do get a little aggressive but if you stick to the guidelines (don’t bring in food, don’t try and pet them) you’ll walk away unscathed, with some great photos and a fun memory. A great way to get there is a VM Safari Tour for a fun day-long adventure around Bali including a stop at Monkey Forest.
Enjoy a Spa Day
During two weeks in Bali, I had three different massages and would have had more if I didn’t get a heat rash that wasn’t good for them. I had a great experience at each place I went, one was a hotel spa, the next a little shop on my walk home in Ubud and then a full spa day at an upscale spa in Ubud.
The prices are only a tenth of what you find in the states with massages often only $10 for an hour and a full day of treatments for only $100. It was the perfect way to relax. In Ubud, I recommend Bali Botanica Spa. It was the full experience being picked up in the morning, a beautiful lunch offsite and a two and a half hour massage. Making it a perfect day.
Haggle for Souvenirs
As an American haggling isn’t something I’m used to and to be honest, it takes me out of my comfort zone, but at the same time, it’s definitely fun. Now you shouldn’t be trying to take advantage of the locals but make sure you’re getting yourself a fair price.
Stop at stalls around the street or head to the Ubud market to get your hands on wood crafts, art, sarongs and so much more to bring home with you.
Trek through Rice Paddies
Beyond the beaches and mountains, one of the beautiful landscapes of Bali are the rice paddies. You’ll find them all around the island. As you drive from place to place you can stop and take them in but the best way to witness them is to take a walk through them.
I live is a major rice-growing region in the U.S., but unlike at home the traditional methods used by the Balinese create these breathtaking landscapes that bring color, layers, and so much more. Especially, if you haven’t spent time walking through them in different parts of Asia I recommend it as one of the top activities in Bali to try.
In Ubud, an easy way to see them is hiking the Campuhan Ridge Trail. Leaving from Central Ubud you can walk for either just 30 minutes or a few hours along this trail and find beautiful views, locals working in the rice paddies, and birds finding food. Don’t worry too much about walking far since there will be many people offering scooter rides back to Ubud.
Get to know the Locals
To me, the best thing about Bali was the people. I felt so welcomed from the first day there until I was leaving for the airport. Often in touristy places, you feel like you’re invading someone’s home, but in Bali, the people welcomed you with open arms. They wanted to get to know you and share their own stories.
If you want to get to know the island you must take some time to sit down and chat with the local people. The Balinese and the expats to better understand this beautiful island.
Trying a Little of Bit of All the Activities in Bali
There are so many activities in Bali worth your time that it might be hard to fit them all in. Take is the different piece of the island as you explore it. Learn about the people, see it’s natural beauty, relax with beaches, hot springs, and spas, and take a dip underwater to see a whole other side of the island.
Planning on exploring more of Indonesia than just Bali? If so take a look over at SherSheGoes’ Indonesian Itinerary for ideas of where to explore and what to do.
Whether you’re stopping in Bali for just a few days or spending a month there you’ll find great activities in Bali to fill your time. Just don’t forget to slow down, lay back and enjoy just being on the beautiful island that is Bail.
Have you visited Bali before? If so what were your favorite things on the island? If not what activities in Bali do you want to try? Leave a comment below.