The Top Things to Do in Bali

Summit Mount Batur in the early morning for a spectacular sunrise
Summit Mount Batur in the early morning for a spectacular sunrise | © Konstantin Trubavin / Getty Images
Culture Trip Travel Team

Impetuous waves, enchanting rainforests, sacred volcanoes, sprawling rice terraces and timeless tradition. Sound like your kind of thing? These can all be experienced on the magical island of Bali, along with much more. Check out our guide to the top things to do here and get ready to be spoiled for choice on this dreamy Indonesian island.

Feeling inspired? Consider joining Culture Trip’s exclusive 12-day Bali tour, which includes visits to Ubud, Mount Batur and Canggu among many other fantastic destinations.

1. Hike a volcano at sunrise

Natural Feature

J7DADR Mount Batur, Mount Gunung Abang, Bali in Indonesia.
© Joana Kruse / Alamy Stock Photo
Bali is home to outstanding volcanic peaks, reaching around 3,000m (9,800ft) above sea level. What’s more exciting than hiking at night to reach the summit and have the sun rising on your tired muscles? It will set the tone of your holiday, energizing and reinvigorating both body and spirit. You can enjoy an unforgettable hike up Mount Batur at sunrise with Culture Trip on our specially curated 12-day Bali adventure – don’t forget to pack your hiking boots

2. Chill out at the Potato Head Beach Club

Bar, Indonesian, Tapas

2C567YR Seminyak, Bali / Indonesia - September 09 2018: Australian tourists enjoy drinks and watch a warm sunset at the world famous Potato Head Beach Club
© Hiram Rios / Alamy Stock Photo
Imagine entering a modern Colosseum through an elliptical corridor. Right in front of you, there’s an amphitheatre overlooking an infinity pool, merging with the blue ocean. That’s Potato Head Beach Club, opened in 2010 in Seminyak and designed by architect Andra Matin – another perfect sunset spot, best enjoyed with cocktails and tapas. Some pretty epic DJs have played here too, so if you’re keen for a dance, do come here.

4. Bathe in holy water at Tirta Empul Temple

Hindu Temple

DDRFM0 Indonesia, Bali, Tirta Empul Temple, Sacred Springs
© Michele Falzone / Alamy Stock Photo
Local Hindus believe the sacred water flowing at the Tirta Empul Temple, in the village of Manukaya, has the power to heal and cleanse the body and soul. Whether or not you believe this, soaking in the spring water at a serene, beautiful temple is an experience not to be missed. The temple takes 30 minutes to an hour to explore and you’ll have to wear a sarong, which you can borrow at the entrance for a small donation.

5. Get lost in the jungle – metaphorically

Natural Feature

H6BEAM Bali Indonesia green palm tree in the Jungle lake Tamblingan
© Christoph Lischetzki / Alamy Stock Photo

The plateau and highlands around the town of Ubud offer plenty of jungle treks and adventure. Head north and explore the area of Munduk. Here the twin lakes of Tamblingan and Buyan will mesmerise you, with paths cutting through ancient rainforest, home to exotic birds and giant trees. And don’t worry, you won’t actually get lost – a local guide will show you around.

6. Spend Sunday at Single Fin

Bar, Australian, Tapas

S19TNH Chill, Relax, and See Sunset at Single Fin Bali
© Kadek Bonit Permadi / Stockimo / Alamy Stock Photo
Sundays at Single Fin are known around the world. Imagine sipping on an ice-cold beer, looking at the waves and the surfers, listening to the cheering of happy people on holidays, all with a chilled out vibe. Check their events schedule too, because some pretty good bands sometimes play here.

7. Explore the Tegalalang Rice Terrace

Natural Feature

CY1PGJ Looking down on the rice fields at Tegalalang, central Bali, Indonesia
© Peter Eastland / Alamy Stock Photo
The postcard-worthy scenery of delicate rice terraces surrounded by lush palm trees and tropical greeneries makes Tegalalang a visually appealing sight. But the rice terraces of Ubud are not just pretty – they’re also purposefully built to facilitate effective use of water and organise local social units. You can also explore the villages nearby to hear fascinating stories and observe the custom and lifestyle of people who built and maintain the rice terraces.

8. Watch a traditional Balinese dance in Ubud

Music Venue

BTFX69 Indonesia, Bali, Ubud, classical dancer, Ramayana ballet performance
© Tibor Bognar / Alamy Stock Photo

Balinese dance is a centuries-old tradition and core element of culture, religious belief and day-to-day life on the island. According to the traditions, there are several types of dance, with some including aspects of trance and possession. If you want to see one of the most well-known, head to the town of Ubud and go to the Ubud palace to watch the Ramayana ballet.

9. Stretch and breathe at the Yoga Barn

Yoga Studio

2E3AX7J Back view of young people group practicing yoga with instructor. Stretching class at summer retreat camp to keep fit and health. Woman fitness.
© Denis Moskvinov / Alamy Stock Photo
An oasis of peace in the heart of the island, the Yoga Barn is more than a simple studio: it’s a well-rounded experience of healing, wellness and community. Located in central Ubud, hidden off a little alley, the barn has seven yoga studios and 100 yoga, meditation and dance classes a week, together with healing and Ayurvedic treatments. And that’s not all — it also offers astrology sessions, acro yoga jams, ecstatic dance, kirtan concerts and movies, all topped off with the delicious vegan, raw and Ayurvedic food of the Garden Kafe. Paradise on earth.

10. Go surfing on one of Bali's beautiful beaches

Natural Feature

KJHF91 CANGGU, BALI ISLAND, INDONESIA - JAN 19, 2017: Group of surfers going to surf in the beach. Bali island is one of the worlds best surfing destinations
© Ivan Nesterov / Alamy Stock Photo
Even if you’re not a surfer, you can’t leave Bali without trying to ride a wave. Head to Seminyak or Canggu beach and hire a board from one of the many rental places. If you’re inexperienced, ask the owner to give you a lesson. You’ll feel so alive in so many ways. If you’re already a pro, Uluwatu is the place to be – the best swell and surfers’ bars are found here.
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