Overlooking Kelingking beach from high vantage point. Beautiful blue ocean and rock formation resembling a T-Rex dinosaur in Nusa Penida, Bali, Indonesia.

15 Best things to do in Bali

Bali, Indonesia is an island in Indonesia with vast amounts of beautiful, lush landscapes and rich culture. Bali has always been a popular destination in Southeast Asia for budget backpackers to resort seeking vacationers. Within the last 10 years, Bali has grown into a major tourist destination and prices have increased compared to other countries in Southeast Asia like Vietnam, Philippines, Laos, and Cambodia. There has been an onslaught to exposure to this wonderful island from travel bloggers and Instagram influencers alike. Still, I believe Bali has a lot to offer almost any type of traveler. From hiking, cultural experiences, art, monstrous waterfalls, wildlife, fancy resorts, beautiful beaches, etc, etc. Below is my list of the 15 Best things to do in Bali.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. In addition to Amazon we are affiliates of other companies. See Affiliate Disclosure for more information.

#15 - Explore the Nightlife

There are all types of nightlife options to explore in Bali. Whether you want to see a rock band, party to some techno music on the beach, or hang out at a swanky pool club overlooking a beautiful cliff while watching the sunset. Bali has a little bit of everything. Just keep in mind that depending on which cities you visit in Bali the options may differ dramatically.

Kuta, Seminyak, Canggu, Ubud, Uluwatu, Denpasar, Nusa Dua, and Jimbaran are the most populated areas of Bali. Below you will find a quick breakdown of these areas of Bali.

Bali Map
  • Kuta: Cheap hostels, backpackers, surfers, party central. Know for crowded beaches and raging nightlife.
  • Seminyak: See and be seen clubs, stylish bars, chic and trendy restaurants. If you are looking for a more upscale experience.
  • Canggu: A more chilled out vibe, very surfer and hipster-friendly cafes, pool clubs, dance clubs, and music venues. A good amount of eclectic nightlife options to choose from. There is something going on almost every night of the week. Canggu is a secret no more and is getting a lot more popular with tourists.
  • Ubud: Even though Ubud is known as a spiritual cleansing type city, with many yoga studios, and beautiful rice fields, there are some nightlife options, dance clubs, and pool clubs. Expect a hippie/hipster/spiritual seeker type vibe.
  • Uluwatu: Mostly cafes and small family-run restaurants called Warungs. Uluwatu is mostly cliffs and small beaches that require a little hike down cliffs, so a lot of the nightlife is based around resorts, small hotel restaurants or a couple of fancy pool clubs with great views. Nightlife is sparse and not very dense, so don’t expect to party all night here.
  • Denpasar: The largest city in Bali is not well known for its nightlife. However, that doesn’t mean there is nothing to offer. There are some great music venues, dance clubs, bars, and restaurants with more of a local vibe.
  • Nusa Dua: Think more white sand beaches and resort life vibe. There are some nightlife options centered around the many resorts. This will probably be a better nightlife option for people that get tired around midnight.
  • Jimbaran: Most of the nightlife here will be based around resort restaurants and some beach style clubs.
Oldmans Canggu Crowd in Bali
Oldman's Canggu
Onion Collective Poolside Cabanas in Ubud Bali
Onion Collective Ubud
Pretty Poison Female DJ in Canggu Bali
Pretty Poison Canggu

#14 - Visit one of the many places to take that quintessential Bali Instagrammable Photo

Tegalalang Rice Terrace – Located about 15 minutes North of Ubud, these are probably the most iconic rice terraces in Bali. Side note: Go early to beat the crowds and get that perfect sunrise shot. You can also take a guided tour if you fancy, check out this one here.

Tegalalang Rice Terrace Bali
Tegalalang Rice Terrace at Sunrise, Image by Anthony Cam ©

Sekumpul Waterfall – Located a couple of hours North of Ubud is where all the most beautiful waterfalls in Bali are. Sekumpul is one of the most well known and visited. Leave yourself a couple of hours to hike down the steps and awe at this wonderful waterfall. The great thing about visiting Sekumpul is there are two other waterfalls to visit here. The local government is now requiring a guided tour that charges a fee. Pricey by Bali standards, but I felt it was totally worth the cost to see these waterfalls. If your more keen on taking a guide tour check out this one.

Sekumpul Waterfall high vista in Bali
Sekumpul Waterfall, Image by Anthony Cam ©

Campuhan Ridge Walk – Located near the center of Ubud, this is a moderate walking trail with lush green rice fields and hills.

Campuhan Ridge Walk Ubud Bali
Campuhan Ridge Walk, Image by Anthony Cam ©

Kelingking Beach Nusa Penida – This is technically on a different island than Bali, but if you are visiting Bali and have the time to visit Nusa Penida Island (25-minute boat ride away) I highly recommend Kelingking Beach. Also known as T-Rex for its resemblance to a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Snap photos from the viewing point up top. For the more adventurous type consider hiking down to the bottom where the beach is (approximately 45 minutes each way). It’s a very steep and challenging hike, and not for the faint at heart. I say it’s worth hiking down, but others may disagree because of the challenging descent down the steep rocky steps. It gets very crowded here, so before 9 am is usually the best time to get here if you want a photo clear of tourists.

Kelingking Beach Nusa Penida
Kelingking Beach Nusa Penida, Photos by Anthony Cam ©

Ulun Danu Bratan Temple – Located around 1.5-2 hrs North of Ubud you will find Ulan Danu Bratan Temple on the West side of Lake Bratan. This lakeside Hindu Temples principle iconic shrine boast 11 tiers.

Beratan Temple Bali Pagoda on Lake

Bratan Temple, Image by Albert Dezetter from Pixabay

Tanah Lot – One of Bali’s most visited temples. Situated on a rock formation along the ocean shore in Beraban Village, a short drive from Canggu. Get here early to avoid the crowds.

Tanah Lot Temple Bali
Tanah Lot is a Hindu Temple in the ocean in Bali, Indonesia.

The Bali Swing – A tourist attraction about 15-20 minutes Northwest of Ubud. This particular tourist attraction has popularized the infamous photos you see on Instagram of someone high on a swing with beautiful terrace rice fields in the background. They also have human-sized birds nest you can take photos in. Although this may be the most popular Bali Swing to go to, there are now many more places to get that Bali Swing photo op. Most if not all of the swings charge a fee. Here are some other Bali swing options: Aloha Ubud SwingTegalalang Rice Terrace SwingCampuhan Ridge Walk Swing, Diamond Beach Swing in Nusa Penida.

Diamond Beach Girl on Swing Nusa Penida in Bali
Swing at Diamond Beach Nusa Penida, Image by Anthony Cam ©

Tirta Empul – A Hindu water temple located near Tampaksiring (30 mins North of Ubud) Tirta Empul is famous for its holy spring water. This is where Balinese Hindus go to for ritual purification. As cleansing with the holy water is believed to cleanse one’s sins by the locals. A sarong must be worn, but they provide one free with an admission ticket. However, if you plan on getting in the water bring a change of clothes and a towel.

Tirta Temple Praying in Holy Water in Bali

Tirta Empul, Image by olivier Yken from Pixabay

Tirta Gangga Water Palace – Located on the Eastside of Bali near Mt Agung. This former royal palace is known for its beautiful water gardens and has an 11 tiered water fountain as a centerpiece.

Tirtagangga Bali

Tirta Gangga Water Palace, Image by Martin Fuhrmann from Pixabay

Uluwatu Temple – A Balinese Hindu temple located on top of a dramatic seaside cliff in Uluwatu. Uluwatu is also known for Kecak Fire Dance and keep your eye out for some cheeky monkeys.

Uluwatu Temple people performing fire dance

Uluwatu Temple, Image by Steffen Zimmermann from Pixabay

Gates of Heaven at Pura Lempuyang – A Hindu temple located on the slope of Mount Lempuyang in Karangasem. The iconic Gates of Heaven showcase Mt Agung in the background on a clear day. You may have seen a picture on Instagram depicting a highly reflective pond in front of the Gates of Heaven. This is just a camera trick and is not real. Nevertheless it is still a worthy attraction to visit. Crowds can be large and there may be a queue to capture that perfect Instagram photo.

Gates of Heaven Bali

Gates of Heaven at Pura Lempuyang, Image by Aron Visuals from Pixabay

Gili Island Swing – There are three Gili Islands, Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air. Sprinkled on each of these islands you will find couple swings along the beach shore for that perfect sunset swing on the beach photo. The Gilis are a couple of hours by speed boat of the coast of Bali. Boat trips can be taken from Padang Bai or Serangan Harbour. Tickets can be purchased from both Padang Bai or Serangan Harbour.

Related Article: Gili Island by Fastboat, How to get there. Bali Guide

Gili Air Swing at Sunrise

Swing at Gili Air, Image by Anthony Cam 

Budget Accommodation in Bali

Bamboo Jungle Hostel Ubud
Bamboo Jungle Hostel Ubud

About 15 min drive away from the center of Ubud is this unique Bamboo Hut Hostel. With a daily shuttle service to Ubud center. For someone looking for a little peace.

Kos One Canggu
Kos One Canggu

Who says hostel can’t be stylish and chic. Well at Kos One in the cool surfing town of Canggu you get just that. With a beautiful pool and close to all the action.

La Favela Gili Trawangan
La Favela Gili Trawangan

Located on the party island of Gili Trawangan. But don’t worry this place is more chill than the photos might lead you to believe. 6 min walk to the beach.

#13 - Enjoy one of the many great water sports activities.

Bali has a plethora of water sport activities. With plenty of great beaches for surfing. Beaches range from calm breaking to barrel rolling waves. Parasailing, kiteboarding, snorkeling, scuba diving, adventure water parks, jet skiing, are among some of the other great alternatives if you are not keen on surfing. Not to forget whitewater rafting. Even though whitewater rafting may not come to mind when visiting Bali, it’s a great way to see some of the amazing rivers in Bali.

Bali Canggu Surfer

Image by wendy julianto from Pixabay

#12 - Hang out at a pool club

Bali has a lot of pool clubs, and what better way to beat the heat than to lounge at a pool club have a couple of drinks and watch the sunset. Most of the pool clubs include a free drink with entry, but that varies so check with the pool club of your choice. The range of pool clubs goes from very simple to over the top pool overlooking a cliff, like Omnia in Uluwatu. For a great list check out The Honeycombers “28 Best Beach Clubs in Bali” guide.

Pool Club Bali
Image by Sam Walker from Pixabay

#11 - Pamper yourself at a luxurious day spa

So why go to a day spa in Bali, you might ask? Well, Bali has some of the most luxurious day spas at very reasonable prices. Balinese people have meticulous attention to detail and it shows in their culture. The range of different spas available is incredible. Massage overlooking a cliff, check. Rose petal bath with rain forest in the background, check. From full body massagefull body scrubsgold facialsfloatation chambers, to salt therapy rooms and everything in between, Bali has you covered.

Spa Wellness
Image by Nico H. from Pixabay

Luxury Accommodation in Bali

Kayon Jungle Ubud
Kayon Jungle Ubud

A 5-Star luxury resort located near the famous Tegalalang Rice Terrace in Ubud. Poolside bar overlooking rice fields. A true paradise.

Best Western Premier
Best Western Premier Ubud

Closer to the main center of Ubud yet far enough away from to be peaceful and relaxing. Pool and restaurant onsite at this premier hotel.

Anantara Uluwatu
Anantara Uluwatu

Located in Uluwatu which is a coastal beach town along rock cliffs overlooking the ocean. 4km away from Uluwatu Temple, a popular attraction to visit.

#10 - Attend a cultural event

Attending one of the many Balinese Cultural events is a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture. Bali is rich in culture and the types of cultural activities to do in Bali are endless. Here is a list of some recommendations.

  • Makpung – A traditional water buffalo race held annually near Jembrana in West Bali. It is held to celebrate the rice harvest.
  • Mepantigan Mud Wrestling Class– Mepantigan is a form of Balinese martial arts, which is usually performed in mud, rice field, beach or open space. If you like to get physical and dirty consider taking a Mepantigan class to learn more about this tradition.
  • Balinese Cooking Classes – Cooking classes are a great way to experience local and regional cooking techniques. Balinese food is mostly influenced by the cuisines of Indonesia, China, and India. Balinese cooking relies on a variety of spices, vegetables, and meats.
  • Balinese Dance – Most Balinese dance is usually connected to Balinese Hindu or folk ritual traditions. You can experience a Balinese dance all over Bali. The different types of dances tell different stories. The Kecak Fire Dance at Uluwatu Temple, Barong Dance at Putra Baraong in Gianyar, and Legong at Ubud Palace are popular among tourist.
  • Bali Wood Carving Class – Wood carving in Bali is a highly-skilled artistic craft passed down from different generations. Taking one of these classes will give you a deep appreciation for this meticulous craft. Ubud is a popular area to take a wood carving class.
Bali Dancers

Image by inno kurnia from Pixabay

#9 - Eat street food at a night market

Street food and night markets remain a large part of Balinese culture. Many locals congregate, eat, and shop at these night markets. Experiencing the sights, sound, and smells from these night markets is a great way to experience Bali like a local. You can find both large and small night markets throughout Bali in most dense urban areas. Most night markets are open from 6pm-11pm. Here are a few of the most popular Night Markets in Bali.

  • Sanur Night Market – Located in East Bali in the town of Sanur, a quiet and relaxed coastal beach town. This market boasts many small food stalls, fruit vendors, and souvenirs. Sanur Night market is also known as Pasar Sindu
  • Gianyar Night Market – Located in Gianyar on Jalan Ngurah Rai, is about 20 minutes East of Ubud. Like most other night markets you will find a lot of small food stalls and vendors. Food-wise you can find local favorites like Babi Gulling, Bakso, and Satay.
  • Garlic Lane – Although technically not a night market, Garlic Lane in Legian is back road full of small restaurants and stores. A great place to bargain for gifts, handicrafts, artwork, clothing and more.
  • Pasar Kereneng – Located in Denpasar, this market opens up in the morning and then converts to a night market at night.

#8 - Visit a temple

There is a reason they call Bali the island of 1000 temples. On just about every corner there seems to be a temple. These intricately detailed Hindu temples are a beautiful sight to see. Some Balinese even build a temple on the family property. While Tanah Lot Temple and Uluwatu Temple being among the most visited temples in Bali, there are many more that are just as impressive. Check out this great list from Hand Luggage Only: 11 Best Temples in Bali to Visit

Sarawati Ubud in Bali

Saraswati Temple in Ubud. Image by Michelle Maria

#7 - Watch the sunset at a beautiful beach.

Bali has a diverse range of beach types. Black sand, white sand, clear aqua blue, next to a cliff, calm wave, barrel surf wave, crowded touristy to hidden secluded beaches that require a hike through the jungle. Most of the more popular beaches are located South of Denpasar on both the East and West of the island.

  • Canggu – Lo-key surfer and hipster vibe, black sand beaches.
  • Seminyak – Calm wave beaches, chic restaurants, and beach clubs
  • Legian – If Seminyak and Kuta had a baby, this would probably be it.
  • Kuta – Most crowded and touristy beach, backpackers and party galore.
  • Jimbaran – Family-friendly chill beaches with calm wave beaches
  • Uluwatu – Beaches below a cliff, strong surf wave, beautiful beaches
  • Sanur – A quiet lazy beach town, a lot of boats port out of Sanur.
  • Nusa Dua – Luxury resorts, family holiday and romantic getaways.

If you include Gili Island and Nusa Penida to this list, then you have a range for all types of beachgoers.

Gili Island and Nusa Island, in my opinion, have the most beautiful beaches around Bali.

Canggu Sunset from a beach club Bali
Canggu at Sunset, Image by Anthony Cam ©

#6 - Visit a Monkey Forest

It’s easy to spot monkeys in Bali around areas with dense forest and some of the popular tourist attractions. However, I also recommend visiting a monkey forest/sanctuary if you have the opportunity. Bali has four monkey forest that I am aware of, two of which are located in or near Ubud. Remember that even though these monkeys are now more accustom to humans, they are still wild animals. So proceed with caution and follow some of these simple rules to avoid conflict and you should be okay.

  • Avoid direct eye contact as much as possible, try not to stare into monkeys eyes for a long time.
  • Put away water bottles, sunglasses, dangling jewelry, camera straps away as monkeys are quite attracted to these object and may try to steal them from you.
  • If you get bit by a monkey or even scratched enough to draw blood, immediately get a rabies shot if you have not been vaccinated, or if you have been vaccinated but the vaccination has expired. You can die from rabies if infected, and there are no symptoms for having rabies until it is too late. Even if a monkey is not known to have rabies, I would still advise you get the rabies vaccination to be on the safe side. I got bit by a stray dog in Bali and it cost me a little under $400 USD and was covered by my travel insurance. I went to an Urgent Care, and I have heard you can get the shots for a lot cheaper if you shop around.
  • If a monkey is showing teeth that is a sign of aggression and back off slow and calmly, also do not show your teeth as well.
  • Do not bring food or drinks near monkeys
  • Do not feed the monkeys, no matter how cute and tempting it might be.
  • Do not play tough of war with a determine monkey if it grabs at your bag, monkeys don’t play fair and may scratch or bite you. Just be calm and stand your ground, and stand tall.
  • Alpha Male monkeys may show the most aggression, so try to avoid them as they can be territorial.
  • Take photos from a distance and try not to get to close. Also, monkeys may react to their own reflections, so be careful when using a large camera lens.
  • If you have a backpack or bag, a monkey may be curious to see what is inside. A baby monkey jumped on my back and tried to reach into my bag. Monkeys are smart and some even know how to unzip zippers. Just stay calm and don’t freak out. Freaking out can frighten a monkey and lead to further panic.
Monkey Chilling Ubud Monkey Sanctuary in Bali

Ubud Monkey Image by Anthony Cam ©

Probably the most well know monkey sanctuary in Bali is located in the heart of Ubud. Ubud Monkey Forest is a monkey sanctuary where the monkeys can roam uncaged. Monkeys are fed three times a day mostly consisting of a sweet potato diet. They have staff looking after the safety of both the monkeys and visitors throughout the sanctuary. I found Ubud Monkey forest to be the most staffed sanctuary I have visited in Bali, and if you can only visit one monkey sanctuary in Bali, I would recommend this one.

Monkey at Sangeh Monkey Forest in Bali
Sangeh Monkey Image by Anthony Cam ©

Sangeh Monkey Forest

Located around 20 minutes North West of Ubud, Sangeh Monkey Forest is a lot smaller than the more popular Ubud monkey Forest. Although there were quite a few monkeys here, the forest did not feel as large as Ubud Forest and I was able to walk through it rather quickly. Also to note there was less staff in the forest to oversee the monkeys and visitors. I felt that these monkeys were also a little less accustomed to humans being around them. As you can see in the photo above of a monkey showing its teeth at me, which is shown as a sign of aggression.

Other monkey forests I was not able to visit include  Alas Kedaton Monkey Forest in Tabanan and the Uluwatu Monkey Forest

#5 - Explore Mt Agung or Mt Batur

Mt Batur and Mt Agung are located in the upper North East side of Bali.

Mt Agung is an active volcano that has recently erupted. Currently, you are not allowed to hike up it. You can still view Mt Agung from various parts of the island, and viewing Mt Agung at the base is worth the visit. Here are some popular viewing places. Keep in mind weather can be unpredictable, and your view may be hindered by clouds, rain or fog. Also, I recommend bringing some warmer clothes as the temperatures are more chilly in these elevations.

Mt Agung from Gili Air
Mt Agung from Gili Air Image by Anthony Cam ©
  • Pura Lempuyang – An iconic Hindu Temple is known for its iconic Gates of Heaven. On a clear day, you can see Mt Agung in the background.
  • Lombok or Gili Islands – Mt Agung is so large on a clear day you can see Mt Agung from a beachfront restaurant on the Gili Islands or the upper westside of Lombok Island off the coast of Bali. Even though this is a far viewpoint it is still spectacular to witness.
  • Amed Beach– A low-key black sand beach on the upper Northeast corner of Bali. Amed beach is a popular area for scuba divers. Though a bit rocky you will be able to see beautiful views of Mt Agung on a clear day.
  • Bukit Cinta Pangi – Is a viewing point near Amlapura with lush ricefields in the foreground.
  • Pura Prajapati Desa Basangalas – Is a Hindu temple with great views of Mt Agung a little North of Amlapura.
  • Sideman is a small village with a lot of beautiful ricefields and stunning villas overlooking Mt Agung. Many say Sideman is what Ubud looked like 20 years ago.

Mt. Batur is also active, but at the time of this writing, you are able to hike up this mountain. This sunrise hike is a very popular activity for the adventurous type. If you are not the hiking type, there are plenty of places to view Mt Batur from afar. Here are a couple of places with a good view of Mt Batur at a distance. Keep in mind the weather will be cooler as the elevation is higher, so bring some layers. Also, some days will have unpredictable weather like rain or fog, so don’t be too disappointed if you can’t get that beautiful crystal clear photograph of Mt Batur, but is generally better to view Mt Batur in the mornings, as clouds tend to come in toward afternoon hours.

Mt Batur in Bali

Image by Anthony Cam ©

  • Batur Sari Restaurant – Fairly basic buffet food in terms of taste and quality with Western and Indian dishes, but good views of Mt Batur.
  • Toya Devasya – Is an attraction with a couple of pools that draw in hot spring water. Not to be confused with a real natural hot spring, but more like man-made pools with hot spring water. They have an infinity pool with Mt Batur in the background. Located at the base of Mt Batur and near Lake Danau Batur, a lot of hikers relax here after descending from Mt Batur.
  • Penelokan – A small village located in the Kintamani region located on the southwestern edge of Mt Batur. You will find many restaurants and guided tours to view Mt. Batur.
  • Bukit Payang – A lava field at the base of Mt Batur gives you an interesting view of Mt Batur.

#4 - Walk around a rice terrace

Bali has some very beautiful multi-tiered rice terrace. With the most iconic being Tegalalang Rice Terrace slightly North of Ubud, also very popular is Jatiluwih Rice Terrace which is a UNESCO World Heritage site located about 1 hour and 20 minutes North West of Ubud. Although less popular the town of Sideman has some very wonderful rice terraces. The town of Canggu is also worthy of mention even if they are not as impressive as the aforementioned. Although you will find rice terraces scattered throughout many areas in Bali, these are some of the most visited areas to see them.

Tegalalang Rice Terrace – A little North of Ubud Tegalalang Rice Terrace is probably the most iconic rice paddies in Bali. They are very beautiful multi-tiered rice fields and takes a couple of hours if you want to see the majority of them. I highly recommend coming at sunrise if you can, as this is a popular tourist destination and can get crowded toward afternoon times.

Tegalalang Rice Terrace Bali

Tegalalang Rice Terrace at Sunrise Image by Anthony Cam ©

Jatiluwih Rice Terrace – A little over 1 hour Northwest of Ubud Jatiluwih Rice Terrace has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Jatiluwih Bali Rice Fields in Bali

Jatiluwih Rice Terrace, Image by Anthony Cam ©

Sideman – Located about an hour Northeast of Ubud, Sideman is a town close to the base of Mt Agung said to resemble Ubud twenty years ago. Most people think of Ubud when they want to visit rice fields in Bali, but Sideman has some very spectacular rice fields and I recommend booking a villa for a couple of days and explore their beauty. Airbnb has a lot of good options overlooking the rice fields of Sideman. If you are a first time user of Airbnb you can click this link for $40 off your first booking of $75 or more.

Canggu – Canggu’s rice fields are a little more spread out and do not have as many levels to them as the aforementioned ricefields. But that doesn’t mean they are not worth visiting. Canggu in itself is a cool laid back city with plenty of activities and even though in recent years has gain popularity with western travelers, it still has a rural feel to it at times. You will find many more rice fields to explore West of Pantai Batu Mejan Road. This area is known by most locals as Pererenan which is the district West of Canggu proper.

Canggu Rice Fields in Bali

Canggu Ricefields, Image by Anthony Cam ©

#3 - Visit the Gili Islands

Gili Islands comprise of three different islands, Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air. Which one to visit may depend on your style of travel and what you wish to accomplish on your visit. No cars or motor scooters are allowed on all three islands, so getting around by bicycle or horse carriage is most common. Bicycles are cheap and easy to rent, and you can easily bike across each island. It takes about 2 hours to circle Gili Trawangan which is the largest of the three islands. All three islands will have water activities like snorkeling and scuba diving among others. They all offer beautiful sunset with clear water white sand beaches. If you plan on taking a scuba diving coarse I highly recommend Manta Dive Resort, they have a location on both Gili Trawangan and Gili Air. If you have the time visit all three, but if you don’t here is a good analogy of how the three different islands compare to each other.

The Destiny’s Child Gili Islands Analogy – So I’m not sure where I heard this analogy, but it stuck with me and I feel like it’s a good way to describe the differences between the island.

Gili Trawangan – The Beyonce Knowles of the three Gili Islands is the most popular island with many nightlife options and filled with backpackers who like to party. Gili Trawangan is the largest of the three islands. This very social island draws a lot of different party-goers as there is usually something happening every night of the week. You can still enjoy the island if you aren’t the party all night type, just seek accommodation further away from the main boat dock area.

Gili Air – The Kelly Rowland of the Gili Islands, Gili Air is like a cross between Gili Trawangan (The party Island) and Gili Meno (The low-key island). Gili Air is the second most popular Gili Island with a chiller vibe compared to Gili Trawangan. It is also the second-largest of the three islands. With many water activities, restaurants, and some more tamed down nightlife options, Gili Air is more ideal for the traveler looking for a happy medium in terms of nightlife options.

Gili Meno – The Michelle Williams of the Gili Islands is the smallest in both population and land size. Gili Meno is quieter than the other two Gili Islands and generally attracts romantic couples looking for more secluded beaches with fewer party-goers. Expect fewer accommodation choices and restaurants compared to the other Gili islands.

Hanging on a hammock on the beach at sunrise in Gili Air

How to get to Gili Islands by Fastboat

Read this related blog post on "How to get to the Gili Island by fastboat from Bali"

#2 - See the waterfalls in North Bali

Bali has an impressive amount of waterfalls for an island of its size. The best waterfalls in Bali are located in the Northern part of Bali around two and a half-hour to three-hour drive from Denpasar. A large portion of them is located in the highland jungle areas. The drive will be up and down steep narrow roads after you pass Bedoegoel if you are traveling from South Bali. These are not listed in order of which is best, they are numbered to make it easier for you to visualize where they are on the map. Most of these waterfalls have an entrance fee and they vary, but generally, the more popular and spectacular ones will be a little pricier. Rent a scooter only if you are comfortable with driving thru windy, narrow, steep, and sometimes rocky roads. Scooters run from $5-8 USD per day and will most likely require a deposit. Otherwise, hire a driver and plan on an 8 hour day if coming from Denpasar. The cost to hire a driver for the day is around $45-55 USD per day depending on who you talk to. If your trip allows it you can also stay in Munduk or Lovina for 2-3 days and have ample time to explore most of these waterfalls.

For those that would rather do a guided tour check out this one.

Sekumpul Waterfall Bali

Sekumpul Waterfall, Image by Anthony Cam ©

  1. Sekumpul Waterfall – Many considered Sekumpul one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Bali. Sekumpul Waterfall is very tall and majestic. The walk to this waterfall from the parking takes about 45 minutes and is very steep down steps. If you don’t feel like a steep trek you can observe from a viewpoint from above. The fee for this waterfall has increased dramatically in the last year due to the government requiring tourist to hire a guide. There is a view-only fee of 20K IDR ($1.42) to the viewing area overlooking the waterfall. Medium Trek fee of 125K IDR ($8.90 USD) for a guide to Sekumpul and Hidden Waterfalls. Long Trek 200K IDR ($14.22 USD) includes a guide to Sekumpul, Hidden and Fiji Waterfalls. Allow 3-4 hours to properly explore these waterfalls.
  2. Aling-Aling Waterfall – Close to Bedugul, Aling Aling Waterfall is great for the thrill-seekers. Also considered to be one of the most impressive and beautiful in Bali by many. Viewing only fee 10K IDR ($0.71 USD) per person. Short Trek 125K IDR ($8.89 USD) per person. Medium Trek 250K IDR ($17.77 USD) per person or Long Trek 375K IDR ($26.66 USD) per person. All treks are guided and allow swimming. Also to note all guided treks require two people or more. Besides Aling Aling waterfall you will also see Kroya, Kembar, and Pucuk waterfalls on the treks. Kroya Waterfall has a natural slide and there are also jump spots at 5, 10, and 15 meters.
  3. Gitgit Waterfall – Family-friendly waterfall that is about a 15-minute from the entrance. Paved steps to get to the waterfall. Expect a 20K IDR entrance fee ($1.42 USD)
  4. Banyumala Waterfall – Banyumala is a lesser-known twin waterfall in Munduk village. The trek is 20 minutes down from the entrance. The steps on the trail have not been maintained all that well and can be sketchy at times. Entrance fee 30K IDR ($2.13 USD)
  5. Air Terjun Munduk Waterfall – Located in the village of Munduk, this waterfall is a short 5-minute hike from the waterfall parking. There is also a Munduk Trek that takes about 3-4 hours to hike and leads you to three other waterfalls Laangan Melanting Waterfall, Red Coral Waterfall, and Golden Valley Waterfall. 20K IDR entrance fee ($1.42 USD)
  6. Nungnung Waterfall Located about an hour and a half away from Ubud, Nungnung Waterfall is a lot easier to get to than the ones further North. The trek takes about 20 minutes from the entrance down paved steps. Nungnung is a powerful waterfall and a favorite among many travelers that visit. Entrance Fee is 10K IDR ($0.71 USD)
  7. Tegenungan Waterfall – Located about 30 minutes away from Ubud, Tegenungan is easy to get to and quite popular. Entrance fee is 15K IDR ($1.07 USD) and a short climb down steps from the entrance. You can also pay to go to a separate entrance which is at the top of the waterfall for 10K ($0.71 USD)

#1 - Visit Nusa Penida

Many of the iconic Instagram photos of beautiful cliffside beaches with pristine aqua blue water are actually taken in Nusa Penida. Nusa Penida is technically a part of Bali Province and some Instagrammers location tag the photos they take in Nusa Penida as Bali. While this is technically a correct location tag, it can be a little misleading for travelers seeking these specific scenic viewpoints they see on Instagram because they are actually on a different island than Bali.

Overlooking Kelingking beach from high vantage point. Beautiful blue ocean and rock formation resembling a T-Rex dinosaur in Nusa Penida, Bali, Indonesia.
Kelingking Beach
Diamond Beach Nusa Penida in Bali
Diamond Beach
Broken Beach Nusa Penida
Broken Beach

Nusa Penida is an island off the east coast of Bali Island. It is one of the three Nusa Islands. Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan being the other two. Nusa Penida is the largest and most exotic of the Nusa Islands.

The good thing is Nusa Penida is quite easy to get to, and you can easily take a 30-minute fast boat from Sanur in Bali. However, once you are in Nusa Penida getting to some of the more exotic scenic beaches can be a little time-consuming. As more people visit Nusa Penida traffic becomes more of a challenge with Nusa Penida’s small and underdeveloped rocky roads in certain areas.

Even though you can plan a day trip from Bali to Nusa Penida it would be my last resort to do so. By the time it takes you to get on the earliest boat from Sanur to Nusa Penida, meet a tour guide or rent a motor scooter, travel to one of the exotic viewpoints in Nusa Penida, that will take up half your day or more. My suggestion is to spend 2-4 days in Nusa Penida to properly explore the island. In my case, I rented a motor scooter for around 7 USD per day. Although I do not recommend this to someone who is inexperienced with a motor scooter as some of the roads to these viewpoints are very steep and rocky. If you book a tour or hire a driver make sure you pick a tour that is not too ambitious if you want to have time at each location and not be rushed. I recommend picking two to three attractions max to see per day with two being a more realistic approach.

Here are some of the most visited attractions in Nusa Penida, not listed in any preference on which is the best.

  1. Crystal Bay – Family-friendly beach that is easily accessible. One of the most popular beaches in Nusa Penida can be crowded at times. 
  2. Pandan Beach is a 20-30 minute hike through the forest trail located on the southern side of Crystal Bay Beach. On the southside of Panan Beach, there is also a hidden trail to the even more secluded.
  3. Puyung Beach. Puyung Beach will require an additional 2-30 minute hike over a hilltop to get to.
  4. Pasih Andus (Smoky Beach) During high tide the waves crash up against a cave and create a burst that resembles smoke, hence the name. This is not a sand beach and not for swimming, it is a rocky cliffside with strong crashing waves.
  5. Angel’s Billabong – A crystal clear tide pond carved out of the rocky cliffs that cascade over the ocean in Nusa Penida.
  6. Broken Beach – A short walk from Angel’s Billabong you will find Broken Beach. This rocky cove has a natural archway that allows water to flow in from the ocean. Again, not an actual sand beach that you can swim in but very beautiful.
  7. Kelingking Beach (T-Rex) – Kelingking Beach is one of the most iconic attractions in Nusa Penida. The cliff formations resemble a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Expect a queue of people waiting to take pictures at this iconic spot. If you are adventurous and don’t mind a challenge you can trek down the very steep rocky path to the secluded beach. Not for the faint at heart and I do not recommend children to go down the trek as it can be a little dangerous. The hike down takes about 45 minutes, and once down there is usually a stand at the bottom selling snacks and drinks. Try to avoid doing the trek in mid-day as the sun will be very harsh as there is not any shade on the trek. The beach is beautiful and you will see some people in the water, but the waves are very large, powerful and have a very strong undertow.
  8. Pura Paluang – A unique temple with two Car shrines located near Kelingking Beach.
  9. Tembeling Beach and Forest – Tembeling Beach is very secluded and can be a challenge to get to. If you attempt to go here on a motor scooter expect some very rock pathways not recommended for inexperienced drivers. Then at some point, you will have to get off your scooter and walk the rest of the way through the forest. Along the way to the beach, there are will be some natural pools you can relax in before continuing to the beach.
  10. Peguyangan Waterfall – A very steep hike down approximately 700 steps will take around 30 minutes. And while the actual waterfall itself is not very impressive, the views you see along the way are impressive. Mata Air Guyangan is a small temple you will see along the hike down. There are also some natural pools as well.
  11. Manta Point – A scenic vista on to of a large cliff overlooking the Indian Ocean. Many times you can even spot Manta Rays swimming.
  12. Atuh Beach – Is an incredibly beautiful beach inside a small bay. Best to visit at high tide. The hike down the stairs from the parking area takes around 15 minutes but is very steep.
  13. Diamond Beach Located near Atuh Beach, Diamond Beach is a short 15-minute climb down some steep steps. Once you get to the bottom there is a stall selling drinks and snacks. They also have a swing over the ocean. The waves are quite strong here and parts of the beach are a little rocky.
  14. Thousand Island Viewpoint – Located slightly south of Diamond Beach you will find Thousand Island Viewpoint. There are two viewpoints here, the first being Thousand points, and the second is of the famous Rumah Pohon Tree House. You can actually rent the Rumah Pohon Treehouse.
  15. Suwehan Beach – Another spectacular beach in Nusa Penida with crystal clear water among large cliffs. Expect a steep climb down steps to get to the beach.
  16. Goa Giri Purti Temple – Located on the Northeast side of the island Goa Giri Purti is a temple inside of a cave. From the entrance, you will walk up a winding staircase before you reach the temple. To enter you pay the fee and enter through a small opening in a rock.

Related blog post

Conclusion of the 15 Best Things to do in Bali

Finding the Best Things to do in Bali will ultimately depend on what you are interested in seeing and doing. There are not shortage of Best Things to do in Bali List on the internet. In any regard I hope you find this list informative and I hope you can gather some ideas on what to do in Bali to create your own best of Bali list for your travel journey whenever that might be.

Related Post

Table of Contents

Load WordPress Sites in as fast as 37ms!
Scroll to Top

This site uses cookies to help with creating a better user experience. By using this website you agree to our privacy policy and terms & conditions.

My cart
Your cart is empty.

Looks like you haven't made a choice yet.