Bali, Indonesia: 10 Adventurous Activities
The Indonesian island of Bali is a timeless travel destination that offers enough activities, sightseeing and relaxation to last a lifetime. There are many unique excursions and sights you just won’t find anywhere else. This fascinating island in Indonesia will enchant you– and I think you’ll see why. Check out a list of the top 10 activities to do in Bali, according to a local:
Activity #1: Mount Batur
To experience the spectacular beauty of Bali bright and early in the morning, take a hike up 1,700-meter-high Mount Batur. The easy “Sunrise Trail” is 7 miles to the peak and has amazing views. Indonesia is also well-known for its stunning sunsets, and Bali is no different. A few prime locations to see the best sunsets are Seminyak Beach, Tanah Lot Temple, Uluwatu Temple and El Kabron cliffside restaurant.
Activity #2: Surf, Scuba & Snorkel
Surfing, of course, is the classic Bali activity. The island has beaches that are perfect for every skill level. Kuta Beach and Legian Beach are well-suited for beginners. Batu Bolong Beach, Echo Beach and Padang Padang are also great beaches to visit. Surfing lessons are available at various places, usually in the range of about $26 USD for a two-hour lesson.
Snorkeling and scuba diving around the coasts of Bali are an exciting endeavor too. The island’s unspoiled coral reefs and brilliant schools of fish are quite a sight to behold! Beaches on Bali are very diverse too: some with white sand, some with black, and others with pebbles and lava-formed rocks.
The best swimming spots are on the north coast of Bali, as the south tends to get bigger waves. Some great snorkeling locations are along the eastern coast from Amed to Padang Bay. Snorkeling at Crystal Bay, Gamat Bay and Manta Point is a nice option too. For superb scuba-diving, visit Nusa Lembongan, Amed and Pemuteran. Another thrilling place to dive is Tulamben, site of the USAT Liberty shipwreck.
Activity #3: White-Water Rafting
For an excellent adventure, try out white-water rafting. Rafting along the Ayung River is highly recommended and follows a westerly course starting north of Ubud, which winds through beautiful scenery. This often includes sightings of exotic wildlife like lizards or monkeys! During monsoon season (November to March) there are stronger currents and higher water levels on the Ayung, so be sure to do your research!
Activity #4: Visit the Countryside & Rice Fields
For a chance to take in Bali’s beautiful countryside while getting some exercise, bike through the rice fields around Ubud. The cost of tours are about $29 USD, and involve downhill routes through villages and rice paddies. Tours generally feature stops along the way at villages, coffee farms or craft stands. Don’t like biking? You can tour Bali by Jeep, motorbike, scooter or just go for a walk around the picturesque Jatiluwih rice terraces. Another great site to visit for incredible vistas and traditional rice field views is Tegalang.
Activity #5: Shop the Local Markets
On the more relaxing side, check out local crafts and clothing by shopping around Bali. Seminyak has a number of stores featuring great deals and styles. There are organized arts-and-crafts tours around Ubud too, and prime shopping in Kuta or Monkey Forest Road. Finally, there’s Sukawati with its large market of handcrafts, and Jenggala Keramik with its world-class pottery.
Activity #6: Taste Balinese Cuisine
When visiting Bali, treat your taste buds to a tour as well. Genuine Balinese foods like nasi goreng or ayam betutu are a delicious culinary adventure. For top-notch traditional food on Bali, try the Gabah Restaurant and Bar in Kuta, Warung Classic Restaurant in the village of Munduk, or Kampoeng Bali in Jimbaran. Also, consider booking at the restored 17th-Century Royal Palace at Kerambitan (reservations required), which includes a meal followed by traditional dancing.
Activity #7: Visit a Traditional Healer
Another unique activity on Bali is to visit a traditional Indonesian healer or fortune teller. These shamans are known as dukuns on Bali. They work to heal mental and physical illness by connecting with ancestors and healing spiritual energy. There are tour packages that include visits to traditional healers, participation in Hindu temple cleansing ceremonies, and visits to holy springs.
Activity #8: Make Friends with the Monkeys
In the Balinese town of Ubud, visiting with the local wildlife has become quite a popular activity. Take a walk through the trails at the Monkey Forest, and get up close and personal with some real islanders! While this is of course a prime chance to get some great photos, BEWARE! These monkeys often make off with visitor’s belongings, and they aren’t afraid to hitch a ride on your back or steal your water bottle!
Activity #9: Relax at a Balinese Villa
Indonesia is famous for its gorgeous nature-centric villas, and the appeal they have for guests seeking relaxation. Finding accommodation on Bali offers a range of options. Travelers can choose a traditional, lower-key homestay (like Nick’s Pension in Ubud), or relax in more luxurious resorts and hotels (such as the Jamahal Private Resort and Spa in Jimbaran).
Staying in a villa is another wonderful experience! The accommodations at Ulin Villas in Kuta are a nice option. Most have incredible views, infinity pools, and ample opportunity to relax and spend time in nature. Balinese villas would also make the PERFECT location for a romantic honeymoon! For a complete guide on where to stay in Bali, check out this super helpful blog post!
Finally, cap off a restful portion of your trip with a visit to one of Bali’s natural hot springs. End your trip by rejuvenating and reflecting on your amazing adventure!
Activity #10: Find Peace at a Hindu Temple
There are an abundance of temples on Bali, each offering something unique. Popular stops include Pura Tanah Lot, Ulun Danu, Goa Gajah, Tampak Siring and Pura Besakih. Visitors are required to cover their legs with a sarong, and are then free to explore and meditate: That’s what Bali is all about!
About The Author: Made Sugita is the proud owner of two luxury villas located in the Greater Canggu region of Bali, Indonesia.
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I was on Bali last summer. Unfortunately I did not see mount batur nor did i try surfing…..had something with my enkle.
Guess it is a reason to go back, right? Since Bali is wonderful!
Bali here I come! Your post was really motivational and informative, Michelle!
We love Bali! We did the white water rafting but didn’t manage to get to Mount Batur – I have heard incredible things about the sunrise there though!
I absolutely love Bali, just returned myself from a 2 weeks trip. It’s such a magical place, so lush, delicious food, lovely people and incredible landscapes. Have you tried yoga? Bali is a mecca for yogis, I can’t wait to get back and enjoy the spiritual side of Bali….
Thanks for putting this this useful guide together, will bookmark this.
Bali has always been on my bucket list!! I also have always wanted to snorkel so I’d be at Kuta Beach and Legian Beach since I am a beginner lol. But it sounds like Bali has a little bit of everything to do. White water rafting sounds amazing!
What a great Bali list. I think the monkeys are my favorite…love the shot of the male pulling the little one. Too cute. I wish I’d eaten more local food while I was there.
I love Bali! I just spent seven weeks there over Christmas and NYE. Great list and I’m happy you included scuba diving. The diving in Bali is some of the best in the world.
This is a great list for Bali! We didn’t get to the monkeys or have time to give surfing a try – but did manage to squeeze a coupe of dives in so that was great. And Seminyak in particular has turned into such a foodie hotspot recently!
Bali seems like such a cool place, I can’t wait to go here! Great range of things to do, thanks 🙂
Bali seems amazing! I want to go there soon. The monkeys are so cute and there are so many activities to do there.
i have never been to bali – thanks for covering so much in this post! I think I am most interested in climbing the mountain!
Hello Michelle, thanks for your tips. I will be living in Bali 2 months this winter in Bali. I am searching a good school to practice yoga and Tai Chi. So far I have found the top search of google but not sure it is the best option. Have you heard about any great school? White river rafting sounds pretty fun, I ll add it on my list.
Hi Vince- I do not practice yoga so I’m not sure of the answer to your question. However, if you reach out to the guest author of this post- Made Sugita (information linked below) I’m sure he could help you out!
I’ve still not been Bali yet! It sounds so amazing. I’m in awe of all the amazing pictures! That pool looks so inviting!
It is such a unique destination from a cultural standpoint as well as with the environment- if you ever have the chance to go I highly recommend it! There are options for most every budget!
Gorgeous – and I’d love to get carried away in those local markets
Is it customary to haggle at the Bali markets? Will they charge you more as a tourist?
I know that we did, but we typically did not get the price down very much. The best thing is to have an idea of what things should cost, and if you do find you’re being overcharged then it’s okay to talk them down. I do think in the more touristy areas they will definitely try to overcharge you though.