I’ve been fortunate enough to go to Bali a few times now. So I know a thing or two about what makes the island destination so attractive to tourists and travellers alike.
That said it can be a little daunting while planning your trip to Bali, especially if you’ve not been to an Asian country before or if just seen the stunning Instagram photos but you just don’t know what you can do when you get there.
So I thought I’d sit down and put together my picks for the 10 things that should be on the top of your list when you head to Bali.
Monkey Forrest in Ubud.
Also known as the Sacred Monkey Forest of Padangtegal, the Monkey Forrest in Ubud should be on everyone’s list of things to do in Bali.
There are many Monkey/Temple experiences all over Bali, but the Monkey Forrest is by far the most impressive and worth the price of admission (to be fair, I think was just a donation).
Unlike some of the other temples, you’ll absolutely be guaranteed to see the monkeys. And they are definitely not shy! Just make sure you keep an eye on your belongings, you’ll see many a tourist lose a snack, sunglasses or many other things to an adventurous monkey before it dashes off into the trees.
For more info check out – https://www.monkeyforestubud.com/
Bali Safari Park
Bali Safari Park is a particularly good way to spend a day in Bali, especially if you’re travelling with a group or your family.
For the sake of simplicity, it is a zoo, but there is plenty more to it than just seeing animals. You can have a sit down lunch next to Lions! Its got plenty more to offer than just your typical zoo.
That said the whole park is an experience in itself, including the cultural zone which showcases the local Balinese culture. There is also a fun zone featuring rides and small water park.
I know its frowned upon these days, but you can do an elephant ride experience with other animals. It just has lots of little unique experiences that other zoo don’t or can’t offer which is why I recommend it.
For more information visit the Bali Safari website – http://balisafarimarinepark.com/
Shopping is definitely not my thing, that said, nabbing a good deal and saving money… Well I can’t argue with that.
From designers labels and surf brands through to their corresponding market knock-offs. Not to mention the outlets and boutiques in between.
There are deals to be had for sure and you’ll easily be leaving Bali with a much fuller suitcase than what you came over with. In fact I often only pack a couple of days worth of clothes knowing full well that I’ll stock up on new clothes when I get there, and save a tonne of money compared to buying the same stuff at home.
Just always keep in mind the exchange rate and what the real prices for these items are at home. And a rule always to follow, if it looks dodgy, it probably is.
Get A Massage
Look… I’m not typically the kind of person that goes out of my way to have a massage.
The good thing about Bali is that you don’t have to! The Balinese are famous for their massages and there is quite literally a spa on every street. Particularly around Kuta and Seminyak.
The massages are cheap, they are good, and one of those things that will help you achieve that relaxing holiday experience that you are no doubt looking for when you head to a tropical island destination like Bali.
I have friends that will get a massage every day. I’ll often get one shortly after I arrive and one just before I leave Bali.
The Volcano/Mount Batur
Mount Batur or Kintamani as its known locally is an active volcano that dominates the landscape of Bali.
Last erupting in 1999, the volcano is one of the highest points on the island and offers some interesting and diverse scenery. A stark contrast to the beaches and rice terraces that Bali is most famous for.
If you are feeling super adventurous, then a hike to the top during the early hours of the morning to catch the sunrise from the peak is an option for you. It’s not something I’ve done personally, but it is on the list for the next time I go.
That said if the hike seems all too much. Then there are several restaurants looking over Mount Batur that you can visit during a day trip around the island. Talk to your driver about including it a trip out to Ubud.
Fun fact: The large volcano that you can see on a clear day from Kuta Beach is actually Mount Raung on the neighbouring island of Java.
There is no doubt about it, Bali is hot year-round and usually quite humid.
Waterbom Park (or Waterbom Bali as it’s known locally) is your little oasis away from both the heat and the hustle and bustle of the streets of Kuta.
No matter if you are looking to just chill out or looking to have a bit of fun, you’ll definitely be covered at Waterbom Park.
There are plenty of waterslides and other aqua-activities to let loose and enjoy. Let me tell you the Climax will get the heart racing just on the free fall drop experience alone!
Alternatively, you could easily just book a gazebo and make use of the swim-up bars all day and just relax the day away. Particularly if your hotel doesn’t offer that experience.
For something in between cruise through the day slowly lapping around the lazy river. No effort required, all you’ve got to do is float.
Waterbom Park also runs a Splash Band cashless payment wristband system so you don’t need to reach for the wallet while you are making the most of the park, particularly the bars and the surprisingly good food choices. Put some credit on it at the start of the day (probably slightly more than you think you’ll need especially if you’re going to drink at the bar) and then put all your stuff in a locker for the rest of the day piece of mind.
For more information visit Waterbom Park’s website – http://waterbom-bali.com/
Surfing is what put Bali on the map.
The first flocks of international tourists made their way to Bali to take advantage of the great conditions, particular its reef breaks.
Now with that all said, you certainly don’t need to be a seasoned surfer to take advantage of the waves. In fact Bali is probably the ideal place to learn to surf with a number of surf schools at all the popular beaches, and a lot of other people all trying to learn as well.
If you want to learn to surf stick to places like Kuta, Seminyak or Canggu to find your feet but once your feeling adventurous on a board there are many other places to explore and enjoy the waves.
Thanks to the marvels of Instagram, the Tegallalang Rice Terraces are now one of the must-do Balinese experiences while on the island.
I have been fortunate enough to have been able to visit them before the masses and since. They’ve definitely changed a lot in just a few short years. What used to be just pristine landscape is now littered with “Bali Swings” and other Instagram props, that said though I still recommend visiting. There are still several places where you can get away from the crowds and enjoy the rice terraces for what they are.
While your in the area, their is no harm in getting your “Outfit of the Day”/#blessed instagram pic.
Also, make sure wander around and explore cafes and restaurants lining the road where you can sit down, have some food and enjoy the great view. They are definitely more upmarket than they use to be, the experience has also been improved for sure.
While you are in the area, ask your driver about visiting the coffee plantations and trying out the famous Kopi Luwak or cat poo coffee. Trust me, much more appealing than it sounds.
Catch the Sunset
This is hands down one of my favourite things to do in Bali!
Maybe its because I live on the east coast of Australia, but sunsets are usually and much more convenient time of the day than sunrises, and sitting down on the beach to watch the sun drop below the horizon, the colours changing in the sky all while consuming a cheap Bintang, is just a great way to cap off a day in Bali.
If you want to step up the experience there are many bars, restaurants and even beach clubs that you can time your visit to really appreciate the view all while consuming a fancy feed and/or cocktail. If that’s your sort of thing, and worthwhile doing at least once on your visit to Bali.
But I do also recommend just taking advantage of one of the beach vendors to acquire a cool refreshing beverage is well. Just doing things a little more relaxed.
Hinduism is a large part of the local Balinese lifestyle so its no surprise there are hundreds of temples scattered all over the island.
Honestly it doesn’t matter what your take on religion is, these temples from the largest to the smallest are all unique and impressive in their own right.
If you really want to make the most of your time in Bali and get to know a little more about the culture, I would really recommend visiting one of the temples.
Some of the larger ones like Uluwatu and Tanah Lot have become tourist attractions in their own right. Drawing crowds of tourists each day, but I would still highly recommend visiting them not only to appreciate the work of art that they are, but its also a great way to get to know a little more about the authentic Balinese culture beyond all the tourist traps.
Planning your first trip to Bali? I’ve also put together my tips for everything you need to know before you go you get there and here’s a selection of some of my photos from a recent trip to inspire you.
For more travel tips, make sure you check out the rest of my blog posts as well.