The Indonesian flag flapping in the breeze with green rice terraces of Bali behind it

Things to do in Bali and Jaw-dropping places to visit – Comprehensive travel guide

Published on: January 16th, 2020 at 9:05 pm

I’ve been lucky enough to visit and travel around Bali now on multiple occasions. It is a great holiday destination that offers an affordable vacation close to Australia. There are many things to do in Bali to do as well while enjoying your stay on the Indonesian Island, you can visit a volcano, check out ancient Hindu temples or just relax on the beach all holiday, the choice is yours. Let’s have a closer look at the things to do in Bali Indonesia.

A list of the ultimate bucket list items to do when holidaying in Bali, Indonesia

Below are some of the cool things I have done while in Bali that I am sure will appeal to some people planning their own trip. If you are still in the planning stages of your trip, then suss out the flight prices as well as my recommended “Where to Stay” guide of hotels at Bali first.

Things to do in Bali, Indonesia

Things to do in Ubud – Bali monkey forest

This is a famous destination on the island and as a result, there are many things to do in Ubud Bali, so much so that many people decide to spend a few nights here. It is especially popular with newlyweds on a Bali honeymoon. The most popular reason people come and check out this beautiful jungle town is to see the cheeky local residents.

These residents are of course the Balinese long-tailed Monkey and they are found in the Bali monkey forest known as the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary. It is located just on the bottom side of the town centre. If you are not staying in Ubud it is best to find a local driver to transport you there or package up a day excursion with them that can include visiting the Rice Terraces, which I have mentioned below.

The best driver I have found in Bali is named Dek and if you mention my name when enquiring he will be sure to offer you a great price and look after you for the day.

Contact Dek via Facebook

Once inside the Monkey Forest, you are free to explore at your own pace. There are vendors located throughout the park that are selling bananas to feed to the monkeys. Personally, I didn’t do this, but I did get plenty of entertainment watching other people get their bananas stolen by these professional thieves.

Bananas are not the only thing these monkeys will attempt to steal though so be sure to place your sunglasses and any other loose items inside your bag. Make sure you have your camera, wallet and phone secure as well. I even had one jump on me and undo my backpack before trying to take whatever he could. Luckily, I managed to stop him quickly enough before any damage was done.

Two monkeys scratching each other on a tree brunch at Ubud, Bali
Visiting the cheeky monkeys found in Ubud, Bali is one of the top items on everyone’s things to do in Bali list

The grounds inside the Forest are peaceful and offer a nice escape from the hectic streets you may have been experiencing in Kuta. Well worth a day to explore Ubud while visiting Bali.

Accommodation venues for Ubud can be found here

If you want to head to Ubud while in Bali then these tours are a great choice:

Travel to a small island for a Bali Day Trip

One of my favourite Bali places to visit and activities to do while there is to catch a fast boat out to one of the close Islands. My personal favourite is Lembongan island and bridge-connected Ceningan Island.

Grab a fast boat ticket in advance

These are only a short boat trip away from the beautiful Sanur area and are perfect for a quick day trip or they also offer plenty of accommodation options if an island escape is more your style of holiday. Once you arrive at port you will have plenty of locals offering you different types of day trips or excursions around the island. It can be a little overwhelming so just stay focused, take your time and choose the trip you like or do as I do and hire a scooter. 

Find accommodation options and prices to stay on Lembongan island

The roads here are super quiet and hiring a scooter, in my opinion, is the best way to spend the day exploring Lembongan island at your own pace. You can stop and go snorkelling or swimming at some of the close offshore reefs without needing to pay for a tour. Even a not so good swimmer, like myself, can handle the quick swim out fine and the water is never very deep. You will see many different local fish species swimming in the coral reefs if lucky.

From there the rest of the island and coastline is yours to tour around on, there are only really two main roads so getting lost is never an issue. Check out the local houses, stop at stunning cliff-lined shores with crystal blue water or find a restaurant. You will find plenty of them that are serving cold Bintang, offering local food and a refreshing swimming pool. This is where you will certainly fall in love with the Bali travel lifestyle.

Brodie Deverell from Aussieinwanderlust working and travelling in Bali
The water around Lembongan island is some of the best you will find around Bali. It’s so blue and pretty to witness

Head to the islands on a tailored made tour if you want a private beach all to yourself thanks to your own yacht:

Visit the rice terraces of Ubud Bali 

The rice terraces are another of my favourite Bali things to do, as mentioned before I think this is best to combine with a visit to the Monkey Forest. Remember that I suggest finding a local driver for the day as this is your best way to combine both activities, I’ve also finished my day visiting these two destinations by also seeing Uluwatu and watching a Bali sunset. I have mentioned above the best driver I’ve found while visiting Bali and you can contact him on Facebook here.

The rice fields are just a site of beauty and somehow make you feel calm and relaxed as soon as you begin to walk through them. You can wander around the fields at your own pace taking in the stunning surroundings and ensuring you are getting just the right Instagram angle for your latest post.

Bright green rice terraces found in areas of Bali, Indonesia
The hardest part about visiting the Bali Rice Terraces is choosing which is your favourite picture when you leave

Tours that allow you to see the rice fields and other Balinese sites:

If you are wanting to spend longer than a day trip amongst the rice terraces this is one of the most romantic areas in Bali to stay with a loved one.

Great accommodation options for couples

Jimbaran Seafood dinner – sitting right on the beach

If you want fresh quality seafood while visiting Bali with unrivalled views of the ocean, then this is the best place to head to. It is just south of Kuta and easy to reach with a driver. You will be dining right on the beach with all the chairs and tables located right on the sand.

You have the chance to order from the menu or head inside and pick the exact piece of fresh seafood you would like. Watching the sun disappear and enjoying a delicious Jimbaran Seafood dinner is always a great idea and this place delivers on every level.

The staff here were also some of the friendliest I come across as they deal with tourists each and every day. That being said Balinese people, in general, are what make Bali travel so addictive in my opinion, they are just the nicest people you could hope to meet.

Tours that finish with an evening meal at Jimbaran:

Enjoying Bali nightlife in Kuta

If you are staying in or anywhere near Kuta then chances are you have planned to have a night or two experiencing Kuta, Bali nightlife. Despite lots of rumours and stories, you may have heard, heading out in Bali can be an awesome night. Is Bali safe happens to one of the first things people ask me when I mention Bali travel? It’s a horrible reputation that is slowly disappearing and I hope with more blogs like this people will become more aware at how many amazing things to do in Bali there really are and be less concerned by untrue facts.

There are obviously some areas that maybe are a little unsafe for tourists, just like most cities, but if you stay to locations where other tourists are then be prepared for a great night out. The music, drinks and nightclubs in Kuta are fantastic. They are cheap as well compared to prices that you might be used to. Bali weather and overall relaxed vibe also ensure that nights out are possible in board shorts, singlets and flip flops, perfect in my opinion.

Sky Garden is one of the bigger clubs in Kuta Beach and if you head there it offers a great evening. They do an awesome value buffet dinner option, that changes each night, it will get your stomach lined with some much-needed food and includes an all you can drink bonus between 5-9 pm. If you’re game this is a great way to start the evening.

Other clubs of choice in Kuta that you should visit include Bounty Discotheque, Paddy’s Pub (you just can’t escape the Irish pubs), Engine Room and VH Bali (Hypnotized Club). As long as you are smart and use common sense, the same as you do anywhere else, then Kuta can be a great night out you probably won’t remember. 

Handy Tip: If you leave your drink or get confused which one is yours just get another one, again this should be common sense wherever you are in the world.

If you’re planning a few nights of partying in Kuta then planning ahead and grabbing a hotel, hostel or other means of accommodation is a smart move. It saves trying to get taxis or drivers late at night after one or two too many drinks.

I have a blog with the best accommodation options in each area of Bali, find my recommendations for Kuta and other areas of Bali or search for some of your own options.

Safari Zoo with a wide selection of animals

Bali Zoo is a cool choice of things to do in Bali, especially if you have kids. It has a well-designed layout and allows you to get up close with the animals. You can walk around at your own pace and take in the different areas with animals from all over the world. You can even go on a mini safari trip to see some of Africa’s favourite wildlife. The wildlife you can expect to see will include crocodiles, Lions, Wild Pigs, Bears, different birds and monkey varieties, Deer, Tigers and Elephants. 

There are also plenty of added extras that you can include to your entry ticket if desired to truly make a visit to here a lasting memory. Have you ever wanted to have a bath with an Elephant, enjoy your breakfast with an Orangutan or maybe finish the day off sharing your dinner with Giant Elephants? Well, all that and more is possible to include with your visit.

If dining with the animals isn’t your thing then just head to the restaurants or dining options located throughout the zoo and if you really want to pamper yourself then maybe look at getting one of the many spa treatments on offer. 

Three lionesses laying on a rock at the Bali zoo
Visiting the Bali zoo will give you the chance to witness animals from many different parts of the world

Purchase your ticket before you head to the zoo to save time lining up:

Bali Zoo General Admission Ticket

Whitewater rafting in Indonesia

This was a day trip I organised while staying in Sanur. I had never white-water rafted up until that stage, I have now rafted the Zambezi River, and was eager to give it a go. I was a little nervous as I wasn’t sure how the safety side of things was going to be in a place like Bali but to my surprise it was excellent. All the safety gear and rafting equipment were in top condition, further proof of yes to the question is Bali safe in my opinion.

The white-water rafting itself was around an hour and a half drive away from Kuta depending on traffic and ends up being a full day excursion so prepare yourself for that if interested in having a go. The rafting is of good quality but having since done it elsewhere I now know there are better rapids about.

Overall it was a really fun day out though and if you have a few extra days in Bali or want a break from the beach or tourist crowds for a day then this is a highly recommended thing to do in Bali.

As mentioned, I have now tamed what is regarded as the greatest grade 5 circuit in the world on the Zambezi River in Africa. Have a read of that trip here

A group of people riding through rapids in a river on a red raft
White-water rafting in Bali is an excursion that not many people know about. It gets you away from tourists and offers a fun and adventurous day out

Great tour options for this action-packed day out are:

One of the coolest things to do in Bali – Kintamani Volcano or Mount Batur

How often can you say you have seen an active volcano in your life? Chances are not many, I’m guessing, and if you say different then what is wrong with you? Those things can erupt at any time you know… Although I have done a day trip to Europe’s most active volcano which was pretty cool.

But let’s put that fear aside for a moment and discuss one of the coolest things to do in Bali, visiting either Kintamani Volcano. There are an abundant amount of tours that offer different degrees of adventures including the volcano trek, an incredible experience you’re unlikely to forget anytime soon.

Check out tours that feature getting up close and personal with Mount Batur

If you are the less adventurous type but still think seeing a volcano from a safe distance is a cool thing to do then there are loads of tours that offer that option along with combining it with some of the options I have also mentioned throughout this blog.

Find day trips that combine viewing Kintamani Volcano from a sensible and safe distance

If you are a little more adventurous then, as mentioned, Bali has you covered for options. You can choose to mountain bike ride down the side of Kintamani Volcano or trek up it to watch a magical Balinese sunset from the top (be warned it’s an early start). You can even enjoy a breakfast cooked by the lava steam straight from the volcano if you choose the trekking option. I told you it was one of the coolest Bali things to do.

An amazing grey cloud covered sky with the Mount Batur volcano of Bali in the background
How impressive is this area? One of the most amazing things to do in Bali for sure is to visit Kintamani Volcano

Below are a couple of the tours I would recommend if you fancy seeing Bali’s Kintamani Volcano: 

Chill out at the Waterbomb Park at Kuta, Bali

This place will promise to bring the big kid out in even the most serious of adults. It is located in the middle of Kuta and is easily reached by either a short taxi ride or walk through the streets.

The rides vary and offer something for everyone, there are kid’s areas as well as rides sure to raise the heartbeat of the bravest of tourist. I went with a group of mates for the day and it was the perfect way to dust of a hangover that promised to derail any other plans I had. 

The safety side is as you would expect to see anywhere else in the world and the water quality was to match. A really worthwhile day out if you have an extra day or two while in Bali and want to escape the shopping or beach life.

Find a list of the rides found at the park and then grab the tickets in advance with Viator.

Watch the sunset at Uluwatu Point

Crowds flock to Uluwatu each and every evening to watch the beautiful sunset that occurs on the point. I had been to Bali a few times before I finally made my way down to Uluwatu Point and watch the sun dropping into the ocean floor.

It is one of the most popular things to do in Bali so I have added it here but in my personal opinion it was one of the most overrated touristy things you could ever imagine. Don’t get me wrong the sunset was lovely but I have seen similar elsewhere and just left me a little underwhelmed. 

I think the fact I spent over an hour with my driver Dek stuck in traffic while trying to get to Uluwatu Point and then an hour or so returning at snail’s pace afterwards dampened my experience though.

Again, this is best to combine with a day’s excursion of any of the combination of the activities above. Aim to finish here before heading back to your accommodation. Be prepared for the long car queues and plenty of waiting around but by all means head there and watch the sunset, plenty of others will be doing exactly that. 

A collection of red flowers with the ocean in the background and the sun setting at Uluwatu Temple, Bali
Watching the sunset at Uluwatu Point is a popular excursion for many tourists visiting Bali but be warned it can get busy and time consuming to visit and leave

Below are some trips that include finishing at Uluwatu Point for sunset:

If you are spending some time in Bali and want some tips on accommodation places, then jump over to my “Where to stay guide of Bali” it is packed with awesome places to stay for every budget and personal style. I’ve stayed in villas, guest houses, resorts and hotels on my trips to Bali, I’ve found the good ones and also the not so good ones so learn from me and avoid the issues.

Likewise, I have featured a couple of my favourite accommodations on the website with their own personal review. If heading to Bali just head over and have a read of all the Balinese content in one spot.

Have a great time in Bali it an amazingly misunderstood destination that is beginning to return to the tourist hub it once was in the past. If you would like to know any more information just add a comment in the section below and I will answer it as soon as possible.

Travel budget tips

Either booking a new travel holiday right from the start or while on such a holiday can be expensive. Things like flights, accommodation, meals, transport and tours can add up fast and put a strain on what should be a fun time. These budget travel tips will assist with booking a holiday at the best price or staying on budget while travelling.

Organise Your Trip: Travel Advice and Tricks I Personally Use

Book Your Flight

Heading to either Skyscanner or Momondo are my methods of choice for this. They are my favourite as they search for flights from different companies all over the world. You can filter the results to suit your needs and ensure you land the best price every-time.

Book Your Accommodation

This is an important part of any holiday you’re going on. Read all the reviews and get the right accommodation via TripAdvisor. They even show you the best prices available at the time for that room from suppliers like booking a hostel your best bet is to start with HostelWorld or possible even use CouchSurfing if you’re on a real budget.

  • I have a list of reviews of two of my favourite accommodation places in Bali. One is in Sanur and the other is in the north of Bali
  • I find and compare accommodation prices from all of the leading suppliers right here.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance is a must these days so you have a piece of mind you’re covered for anything that could go wrong while on your trip. I now never go on a trip away without travel insurance. I’ve been using World Nomads for the past few years.

My favourite companies that offer the best service and value are:

  • SafetyWing (cheaper option to just cover you for health issues)

Looking for the best companies to save money with?

As I have been travelling frequently over the last few years I’ve learnt some great tools to use for saving money when travelling. I have a travel resource page that lists all the trusted companies I personally use and rely on. I think you will find them good as well.

I also have a couple of great blogs that share quick and easy ways to save money on flights or accommodation. Take a look and save some cash on your next trip.

The Best Place To Book Your Tours

If you are someone you likes to have the best tours in one place and read reviews from other travellers about their personal experiences of each different tour then the best platform to use is GetYourGuide.

They offer the best tours, have money-back offers in case your trip is cancelled and ensure the price of each tour is the lowest possible.

Have your own personal driver in Bali

Contacting Dek and discussing your own personal trip is a great idea. He is really professional, on time and eager to ensure you have a great trip while exploring his amazing country.

Other posts that might interest you:

If you made it this far, chances are you have enjoyed this post, please SHARE, TWEET or PIN IT. Thank you

The ultimate Bali travel guide with things to do in Ubud, Kuta, Uluwata and much more
The best things to do in Bali while travelling
Things to do around the Indonesia Island of Bali
Things to do in Bali around the whole island

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Last Updated on: May 29th, 2020 at 9:08 am

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