There is so much to see and do in Bali that you can make your holiday as relaxing or as action packed as you like. Bali caters to all tastes, budgets and traveller types, so whether you’re a family with small children, honeymooners looking for romance, or backpackers chasing the party, there is plenty to fall in love with in Bali.
Our guide provides only a tiny insight into what Bali has to offer, but if you’re looking for inspiration when planning your next trip, this list is a great place to start.
Relax on the beach
It’s no secret that most travellers who come to Bali are chasing the sweet sun and sand, and no visit to the island would be complete without time spent on one of Bali’s incredible beaches. Choose between Kuta, Legian, Seminyak, Jimbaran Bay, Sanur or any of Bali’s less populous beaches, or dedicate yourself to the ocean life and spend your days hopping between them all. Bali’s main beaches are notoriously busy with tourists and locals touting their wares, but there’s still plenty of opportunities to relax and enjoy the waves, sun and atmosphere. You never have to walk far to find a cocktail, and you can hire sun lounges by the day or the hour to really kick back and take it all in.
Try a surfing lesson
Bali is a global surfing hot spot, with passionate surfers flocking in droves to hit the waves in Canggu, Padang Padang, Uluwatu, Bingin and Green Bowl, but you don’t have to be an expert to get in on the action. There are plenty of beaches around Bali that offer smaller, less-daunting waves for beginners, with surf schools and locals offering lessons to even the most inexperienced tourists. A great activity to try with kids or friends, where you’ll get a good work out, some good laughs and a memorable experience, even if you never make it out past the ankle busters.
Visit the cultural hub of Ubud
Ubud has become a major drawcard for health-conscious travellers and those seeking a quieter, more spiritual Balinese experience, but there are still tonnes of visitors who come to Bali and never leave the south coast. Ubud is less than an hour from the southern beach towns, offering a stark difference to the crowded, Westernised parts of Kuta, Legian and Seminyak, and we consider it an absolute must-see. Visit the sacred Monkey Temple where monkeys literally rule the place, buy Balinese handcrafts from the Ubud Art Market, take a bike tour through the breathtaking rice paddies or go white water rafting on the Ayung River.
Go temple hopping
Bali offers some truly spectacular temples, so make sure to spend some time hopping between the thousands of temples scattered around the island and get a real dose of Balinese culture. The most famous temples include Tanah Lot in Tabanan, Pura Besakih (“Mother Temple”) in Gunung Agung, Uluwatu Temple, Goa Gajah (“Elephant Cave”) in Ubud and Ulun Danu Beratan in Bedugul, but each of the Balinese 20,000 temples offer their own special something. Keep in mind that these are holy sites, so you will need to respect dress codes and obey the rules, no matter how archaic they may sound (hint: no menstruating women allowed).
Get your zen on with a Balinese yoga class
Whether you’ve never tried yoga before in your life or you’re a dedicated yogi desperate to realign your chi, Bali has solidified itself on the world map as a haven for yoga centres and wellness retreats. We’re not kidding when we say you will be blown away by some of Bali’s beautiful yoga shala’s – this is one of the few places in the world where you can practice your downward dog in an open-air pavilion under the stars as incense burns, fireflies buzz and crickets croon, or salute the sun as it rises over the treetops. You will find all types of yoga classes suitable for all skill levels, plus a range of meditation classes, reiki, spiritual healing, detox programs and more. Compliment your practice with a meal at one of Bali’s many health food cafes where you can try fresh juices, smoothies, raw desserts, homemade kombucha, and all other kinds of natural, healing elixirs.
Sip cocktails by the pool
People often say there’s no point of travelling if you’re going to spend all your time in a hotel that offers all the comforts of home, but we beg to differ. Bali offers some of the best accommodations in the world, with affordable prices meaning even mid-range travellers can enjoy a slice of luxury usually reserved for the wealthy. While we don’t encourage you to waste your time on the island within the walls of a resort, we certainly recommend taking some time to just relax by the pool, sip a cocktail, enjoy the scenery and lap up the warm Balinese hospitality, after all, holidays were made for unwinding.
Drive to the north side of the island
Many visitors to Bali never make it past the tourist hubs of Kuta, Legian and Seminyak, but if you want a taste of the real Bali, we recommend hiring a driver and heading out to the north side of the island. The drive from South Bali will take about three hours, and you’ll cross through the highlands to see peaceful villages, the central mountain ranges and Bali’s rugged, untouched scenery along the way. Once you reach North Bali, enjoy the quiet, charming coastal town of Lovina, famous for its black sand beaches and dolphin watching, or pay a visit to Singaraja, the former administrative capital of Bali.
Treat yourself to a Balinese massage
Massage is considered an ancient art form in Bali, with traditional Balinese massage offering a unique healing therapy that combines long strokes with stretching, skin rolling, kneading and press-point triggers to stimulate blood circulation, soothe aching muscles, relieve tension and calm the mind. If massages are your jam, no visit to Bali would be complete without surrendering yourself to one of the incredible massage therapists at one of Bali’s countless spas, which will cost you a small fraction of what you would pay at home.