While Bali is certainly not our favorite place in Indonesia due to the throngs of tourists, it is still a diverse island filled with beaches, volcanic mountains, dive opportunities, and other adventures. This means there is no shortage of epic things to do in Bali during your visit.
The island has been playing host to tourists for many decades that it is well developed, meaning you’ll find just about anything you can imagine to be available here. If you can look past the crowds, Bali really can fill several week’s worth of activities.
Be sure to strike a nice balance between the stunning natural elements, deep-laid cultural, interesting history and adventure that is on offer.
Without further ado, we give you the rundown on what to do in Bali the next time you find yourself in Indonesia or planning a trip there.
Don’t leave without: Lonely Planet Indonesia Guide Book
21 Epic Things to Do in Bali, Indonesia
Table of Contents
1. Visit the Besakih Temple
Plan a visit to one (or more) of Bali’s numerous postcard-perfect temples! With their distinctive architectural design, spiritual significance, and unique settings, you won’t regret your visit to a temple or two.
Commonly known as Bali’s “mother temple,” Besakih is a maze of shrines and temples. To climb it is considered a sacred pilgrimage to the Balinese. There are over 70 celebrations and religious ceremonies held here year-round so try to look ahead on the calendar!
Our top recommended tours of Besakih:
2. Enjoy Snorkeling on one of Bali’s Many Reefs
While there are certainly less crowded Indonesian islands to do snorkeling, Bali still has rich biodiversity within its waters. As always, find tours that go out onto calm waters so you can take advantage of the best visibility and hit the water early.
Both the Blue Lagoon which is home to one of Bali’s coral reefs, or Amed if you have some time to venture out an hour with its black sand bottom, are solid choices for snorkeling on Bali.
Or even just bring some snorkeling gear and explore for yourself right off the beach!
Our top recommended Snorkeling tours:
- Snorkeling Package at Tulamben USAT Liberty Shipwreck
- Bali Snorkeling Tour At Blue Lagoon All-inclusive
- Snorkeling Package at Padangbai with Lunch
- Bali Reef Cruise and Lembongan Island Day Trip
3. Visit the Uluwatu Temple
This temple is also a popular option, hanging 230 feet over the crashing waves at its base. This temple also has a special amphitheater where you can catch interesting cultural performances like the Kecak dance.
Ulun Danu Bratan is another that sits on the sea, and at high tide creates a smooth glassy surface to reflect back its many tiers. Other notable temples include Taman Ayun Temple and Tirta Empul Temple.
Our top recommended tours of Uluwatu:
- Private Uluwatu Temple Day Trip
- Uluwatu Cliff by Night: Seafood Dinner at Jimbaran Bay with Kecak Show
4. Take an Underwater Temple Dive
If you have your advanced diving certificate and aren’t afraid of spooky places, don’t miss diving down to visit this remarkable underwater temple garden in Pemuteran. The site was engineered by an Australian man in 2005 as part of a reef gardener environmental conservation community project and is really a work of art.
Skilled divers transferred large sandstone pieces 30 meters deep. These pieces have since been taken over by algae, barnacles, and other marine life giving it a foreboding aura.
5. Visit an Abandoned Site
Oddly, there are several abandoned sites to be found in Bali if you want to take an even creepier trip off the beaten path. Taman Festival Amusement Park was abandoned during construction in 1997 and still stands in Sanur today, vines had grown over its broken remains. Locals believe the site is now inhabited by lost spirits.
There is an abandoned temple in Karangasem that even locals in Tista Village aren’t sure of its origins or name. It has lain forgotten on a hill for decades, its stairways and statues covered over with moss and cobwebs.
There are a couple of abandoned airplanes that you can explore that will possibly be turned into hip hangouts in the future.
If you’re up for another dive, there is an underwater shipwreck in Tulamben you can dive to. The US cargo ship was torpedoed by Japanese naval forces in WWII and then sunk about 20 years later after Mt. Agung erupted which landed it at the bottom of the ocean.
It is covered with marine life and makes for a cool photo opp.
Our top recommended tours:
- USS Liberty Shipwreck Scuba Diving Tour in Bali
- Full-Day USS Liberty Shipwreck Scuba Diving in Tulamben
- Royal Karangasem Heritage Tour
- Discover Scuba Diving Tulamben: Beginners can dive Liberty Wreck and Suci Place
6. Climb the Batur Volcano & Lake Batur
Mount Batur and its lake nestle in the smaller of its calderas can be found in Central Bali and are a popular day trip destination. Rent a bike in Denpasar and enjoy a scenic route to these two stunning landscapes.
You can arrange all manner of outdoor activities around the lake such as hiking, climbing the volcano, mountain biking, and watersports at the lake (though be warned, the water is cold!).
This area is considered a very sacred spot for the Balinese, so you should also consider visiting the temple there. Pura Ulun Danu Batur, which is dedicated to the Goddess of lakes and rivers (beware of hawkers trying to sell overpriced items).
Our top recommended tours of Batur Volcano and Lake Batur:
- Mount Batur Sunrise Hiking and Coffee Plantation Tour
- Private Tour: Mount Batur Sunrise Trek and Ayung River White Water Rafting Tour
- Bali Highlights Tour
7. Walk Along the Seafloor
You don’t need to know how to dive or even swim for this next cool experience! Locals have capitalized on their underwater adventures by offering this sea walker expedition. The equipment consists only of an extremely heavy white helmet that sinks you about 5 meters to the floor where you can freely walk among tropical fish and sea turtles.
Make sure to bring the GoPro! Book your Bali Sea Walker Experience today with Viator.
8. Visit Bali Safari and Marine Park
This attraction is actually not just a daytime zoo, but also an overnight safari experience. It has several rather pricey packages but if you want to make a truly memorable experience with your family, you can stay overnight and wake up with safari animals as your neighbors.
You can sit in a cold pool (which feel good in the Balinese heat) and watch the rhinos and elephants go about their business, or eat at the Tsavo Restaurant that has huge windows that look into the Lion’s Den so your big cat friends join you for dinner!
The greatest thing about this facility is the way they have set up interactions with the animals. Witness a role reversal as the humans are put into cages while the lions and other exotic creatures are free to roam and jump around you.
This is how they operate both their daytime Safari Bus and their nighttime ride through the Tiger Den. Your heart rate will definitely be high as the tigers jump onto your cage and glare at you like you’re the next course on the menu!
9. Visit the Tanah Lot Temple
This is one of the most frequented temples probably due to the fact that it juts out picturesquely into the coastline to form an image that looks like something out of Middle Earth.
Our top recommended tours of Tanah Lot:
10. Discover Nyang Nyang Beach
In Bali, avoid the super populated beaches like Kuta, where you can barely move. Search for hidden beaches away from the crowd like Nyang Nyang Beach. Though definitely, an adventure to even get there (you have to follow a dirt path and descend 500 stairs), you won’t regret exploring this “hidden beach”.
The effort that it takes to get here makes the relaxed downtime away from the masses a real treat and one of the best things to do in Bali.
11. Be a Rice Farmer for a Day
Gain new respect for rice and the people who plant it with this neat experience offered by the Four Seasons Hotel. You’ll get personal insights into the farmer’s daily lives as he explains their work and spirituality.
Then experience the work for yourself as you gear up in traditional gumboots and gloves, and wade in the mud to plant several square meters of rice seedlings. You will gain a new respect for all those grains and be awed by the locals’ proficiency at it!
12. Visit the Pod Chocolate Factory
Visit Pod Chocolate Factory to support local produce and commerce. All their ingredients from their cacao beans to the spices come directly from Bali, and they’ll take you right through the whole process of production.
Not only will they let you taste their different varieties, but you can also choose toppings to make your own chocolate to take home. Talk about a sweet deal!
If you’re looking for more sweet treats to try, don’t miss out on ordering some of these delicious Indonesian desserts while you explore Bali.
13. Try Flyboarding
Get on board with the new water sport trend and go for flyboarding! A relatively new sport, a flyboard is basically a water jet propulsion hoverboard that is connected by a long hose to the back of the watercraft and the water jet pack gives you enough power to push you up.
Flyboarding is generally agreed to be an easy and fun sport to master but it will take a bit of balance!
Don’t leave without: Lonely Planet Indonesia Guide Book
14. Have Some Family Fun at Waterbom
One of the top-rated water parks in Asia, Waterbom is a great activity option, particularly if you’re towing kids around. It has a total of 13 rides, including a lazy river and many tubular slides!
Get your Waterbom day pass today.
15. Book Tickets to the Devdan Show
If you’re looking for entertainment or you have some restless kids, you might consider the Devdan cultural dance show. With Cirque du Soleil style acrobatics, the performance is a colorful and high energy showcase of the diversity of Indonesian culture.
Looking to experience a Devdan Show?
16. Rent a Bike or Scooter
Renting a bike or scooter is a great way to see a new city. Bali, in particular, is filled with scooters zipping about so you’ll fit right in! It’s OK to go at your own pace to let yourself get used to the way the bike works and rides.
Build your confidence by taking it slow through the narrow streets. We recommend renting from your accommodation or a guesthouse rather than just the random merchants trying to rent on the side of the road.
Make sure your rental includes insurance and a helmet. Drive safely!
Our top recommended Bike tours in Bali:
- Half-Day Electric Bike Tour of Ubud
- Downhill Bali Hidden Cycling Tour
- Ultimate Bali Countryside Cycling Adventure
17. Stay in Style at Jimbaran
Jimbaran is a fishing village south of Kuta with sandy white beaches and good surf. It targets a more luxurious traveler with 5-star beach resorts and its lack of low budget accommodation options but is still good to visit for its seafood restaurants, sandy beaches, and chic shops.
18. Trek to the Sekumpul Waterfalls
For the super adventurous, this is a jungle trek to somewhat hidden waterfalls north of Bali. There are a total of seven waterfalls scattered around the area, but to get up close will take a trip down a somewhat slippery staircase and a journey across a river.
You can plan a day tour or go yourself (a guide is NOT compulsory despite what scammers try to tell you). Regardless of how you choose to get there, this septuple of waterfalls is considered the prettiest in Bali.
Our top recommended tours of Sekumpul Waterfalls:
- Private Tour: Sekumpul Waterfalls Hiking Tour
- Bali Day Tour of Sunrise Watch at Kintamani, Lemukih Rice Field and Sekumpul Waterfalls
- Private Sekumpul Waterfall Trekking Tour
19. Climb Mount Agung
Mount Agung requires a morning climb and is for the more advanced climber. Nearly 10,000 feet tall, Mount Agung has great spiritual significance to the local people, believed to have been created by the Hindu God, Pasupati.
The most important Balinese temple, Pura Besakih, is also found on the mountain slopes. As a more difficult climb, there is only beautiful scenery to greet you at the top and definitely fewer tourists.
Just make sure to book a good guide! Book your tour to marvel at Bali’s tallest volcano Mt Agung
20. Explore Gala Gala Underground House
Descend into a mysterious stairway and discover Gala Gala Underground House on Lembongan Island just off of Bali.
The site was made by a Balinese priest in the 60s using only a hammer and chisel to create a full kitchen, bedroom, dining room, bathroom, and meditation room. It’s pretty fun to wander around this labyrinth.
21. Go Clubbing
If there is one thing that Bali is known for, is its nightlife. Any night of the week there is a wide variety of nighttime experiences from the super casual to ultra-fancy, it can last from happy hour to sunrise (though the real nightlife typically starts after midnight).
If you’re really into partying, Kuta tends to pull in a youthful and wild crowd, while somewhere like Seminyak is a bit more stylish and focuses on higher-quality drinks and music.
While Bali is a fairly safe place to go out in and the crime rate is relatively low, just remember to be alert and make smart choices. Book your Guided Pub Crawl Walking Tour
Multi-Day Tours in Indonesia we Recommend:
- G Adventures Indonesia Encompassed– Indonesia is a busy place, and not just because it’s one of the most densely populated places on Earth. Blessed with rich jungles, imposing volcanoes, and mile upon mile of gorgeous beachfront, it’s not surprising that 135 million people live here full-time. On this 29-day trip, you’ll get to experience what they live every day – Bandung, which feels more European than some cities in Europe; Yogyakarta’s volcanic landscapes; Bali’s pristine beaches; and far more than we can possibly get into here. Need more details? Come find ’em. Don’t worry, we’ll wait…
- G Adventures Classic Bali and Lombok– Snorkel the warm tropical waters and watch Balinese shadow puppets dance in the night. Marvel at floating palaces and temples. Experience the best of Bali and Lombok on this adventure, offering you the perfect combination of guided excursions and free time to explore these fascinating islands at your own pace. Cool your heels in secluded waterfall pools and relax in the laid-back Gili Islands. Our CEOs will bring you off the beaten path, where you’ll meet these islands’ locals and gain insight into a completely different way of life.
- G Adventures Islands of Indonesia– Got a hankering to see five Indonesian islands? On Komodo, you’ll spot the eponymous dragons and on Flores you’ll soak up the beautiful scenery and make friends with the denizens of Ngada village. And there’s so much more waiting for you on Bali and Lombok: Visiting tobacco plantations of Tetebatu, climbing towering volcanoes, and digging your feet into the white sand of pristine beaches in Gili Islands. With hotels, transport, and a number of included activities arranged by our CEOs, this adventure still allows plenty of free time to create your own highlights.
- G Adventures Bali on a Shoestring– The magical reputation of Bali doesn’t have to be held up by incredible water temples or surfing opportunities alone — this chill paradise also has plenty of inland and cultural highlights that will draw you in. This nine-day itinerary will let you explore rice paddies, bar hop along the beach, and immerse yourself in local culture at a traditional guesthouse. But hey, you can’t leave without paddling out on those stunning waters or gazing up at a temple, so we’ve left time for you to do those too.
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