Top 10 Things to Do in Bali
Thouands of international tourists vist Bali every year and it is easy to see why. Bali is an incredible destination with spectacular sights, tasty food, ancient temples and beautiful beaches.
If you have a trip planned or if the idea of going to Bali appeals to you check out our list of the best things you can do on this incredible island.
1. Tanah Lot Temple
Take a trip to this rock formation located in the Beraban village 20k from Kuta. Tanah Lot is otherwise known as the most photographed and popular temple in the whole of Bali. An ancient Hindu shrine famed for its off shore setting and stunning photographs at sunset. Visitors pay a small entry fee and have access to parts of the temple providing it's low tide. A majestic sight at any time of day.
2. Sample the Local Cuisine & Coffee
One of the best things about travel is indulging in local eats and delicacies and Bali has some of the best. Many dishes are centred around rice or noodles. Try the local Nasi Goreng or fried rice. Fragrant rice often served with chicken or prawn and vegetables. Inexpensive and delicious. A variant the Mie Goreng is simply served with noodles. Other fantastic eats to try, satay chicken skewers, prawn crackers, suckling pig, chicken Laksa, the list could go on. Truly a foodie paradise.
If you like coffee spend an afternoon at a Kopi Luwak Coffee farm. This is a must stop attraction for a coffee lover like myself. While you are at the farm you have the opportunity to see arabica and robusta coffee being grown, eaten by the civit cat, harvested, hand roasted and hand ground. While you are at the plantation you will be given the opportunity to try different locally grown and flavoured coffees for FREE. Informative guides explain how the process of Kopi luwak , or civet coffee refers to the beans of coffee berries once they have been eaten and excreted by the Asian Palm Civet. For a laid back, interesting and delicious experience look no further.
3. Shopping in Seminyak
Just a short 15 minute drive north from Kuta is the shopping and boutique hotel paradise. Seminyak is a hub of International shops as well as local stalls prop up every main street and side alley, selling everything from designer handbags to local bits and pieces. Be prepared to pay top dollar but also to barter whenever you get the chance. International brands like Ripcurl, Rayban, 7 Shores adorn every corner.
4. A Night Out in Kuta
Upon reading a Bali guide book you may find it strange that a night out in Kuta makes a top 10 things to do but hear me out. Busy, loud, hectic, these are just a few words I can use to describe it. I could also use exciting, vibrant and eye opening. Walking down Jalan Legian, Kuta's main strip, heaving bars and restaurants belt out dance and trance music, side streets bustle with hawkers selling cheap, knockoff goods and still it's a hell of a lot of fun. Kuta has long been thought of as a place best avoided but I say let your hair down, don't be pretentious, take it for what it is, grab a Bintang (local beer) buy a cheap vest and have good time.
If you are looking for a meaningful experience you might want to consider applying to volunteer in Bali. There are lots of great local causes which need assistance all year round. Skilled/general placements are available where you can help people, communities, education, animals and conservation efforts. This is a great way to be more than just a tourist. Lots of internationals also get placements in Bali by teaching English in Indonesia, getting paid to live in Bali? Yes please!
6. Scuba Diving at Gili Trawangan
There's so many great things about the Gili islands but one that stands out is scuba diving. The 3 small islands that make up this trio offer many opportunities for scuba diving and snorkelling. Emerald and crystal clear waters are home to colourful, weird and wonderful exotic marine wildlife.
Dive sites are not overcrowded like in other parts of south east Asia and offer decent prices for an unforgettable experience. There are many dive shops littered all over Gili T offering competitive prices, warm smiles and beers at sunset. This is one of the best places to go scuba diving in Indonesia.
7. Monkey Forest, Ubud
A forest full of monkeys! What's not to like! If you would like to be more than a tourist there are lots of meaningful volunteering programs in Indonesia where you can help monkeys.
8. Relax on Double Six Beach
Located at the bottom of Jl. Arjuna otherwise known as Double Six road is the trendiest and longest stretch of sand in Bali. It offers world class surf, beach restaurants accompanied by live acoustic music and many opportunities to play football and volleyball against the locals. Soak up the sun on rubbish free sand and clear water.
The further away from Kuta beach you find yourself the quieter it becomes. Fewer touts and tourists giving way to a more relaxing experience. This really is one of the best free things to do in Bali, you could spend days just relaxing on the beaches.
For a great cocktail at sunset make sure you go to La Plancha or Potato Head, two fantastic bars that offer premium cocktails and cheap beers. Not to be missed.
Research Assistant @ Shark & Marine Conservation Project in Indonesia
- Gili Islands - Lombok
- 2 weeks - 3 months / From: $ 1000
9. Cycle Around Gili Trawangan
What better way to see this tropical paradise. Rent a bike for a small fee and ride around at your own pace. Normally it takes an hour to bike around but to soak in all of the luscious surrounds it could take a lot longer. You can hire a bike independently, or book a Bali tour to get the guided experience.
In the quieter side of the island offer restaurants with fantastic seafood, amazing countryside and unforgettable views. The ride is an easy one, no hills or ravines, flat and for the most part paved! If you stay around the pier area you will miss so much this beautiful island has to offer.
10. People Watch!
Get involved with the locals. This is why you travel. Hear from different people, share experiences, learn, teach, make friends. Bali truly has something for everyone.
Bali really is a special place to visit, the places, people and activities are incredible. Whether you want a short relaxing holiday or are keen to spend a gap year in Indonesia, there are so many magical experiences available. You can book everything by yourself, or if you want to see more than your average tourist check out Indonesia group tours where you can explore the country.
By Oliver Woodgate
Looking to book a trip to Bali? The following websites are recommended: