So you want to go to Bali, the source of all those droolworthy pictures you saw on Instagram, but have no idea where to start? Planning a trip can be a major pain in the butt, we know.
And it’s especially the case for Bali. After all, this island is just filled with too many surprises, and it requires tons of effort to craft the type of holiday that you want.
Well, fret not, because with this guide in hand, you’ll be set for the most satisfying Bali trip ever.
Whether you’re travelling with some active surfer buddies, your significant other, or kids who just won’t stop moving around – there’s bound to be something for you in this fantastic line-up of activities that we’ve curated.
We’ve even separated them into various categories to lessen the headache. Yes, no more staring at the endless blue links on a Google search page, or sieving through mountains of travel guides that go on forever: just pick what’s for you and jetset, go!
Mum: I’m gonna go buy some pillowcases.
Dad: I want to go chill out on the waves.
Friends: Hey let’s go hike up Mount Batur and kill ourselves doing it!
Kids: Can we pleaseeee go to the waterpark?
You: GAAAAAAHHH why can I never do what I want to do on a holiday??
Baby: Goo goo gah gah.
Travelling with a group, whether with family or friends, can sometimes be a huge pain. It’s especially so when you’re not completely aware of what is available to you!
Well, with the following list of activities in hand, so what if you don’t feel like doing what the rest of your travel partners want to do? We’ve laid out all the options you need to ensure that every member of the group is satisfied.
1-1. Visit natural attractions – The Sacred and Secret Canyon of Sukawati
The Sacred and Secret Canyon of Sukawati isn’t so much a secret anymore, but this place is just too beautiful to miss.
Photo via imdhendra
The canyon features uniquely shaped rock formations that are dyed with beautiful shades of colours as the water reflects light onto them. We’re pretty sure you’ll get a National Geographic-worthy picture here no matter how and where you press the shutter from.
Actually, that’s probably true for all of the natural attractions in Bali. Go ahead and try out your camera skills!
1-2. Visit a hidden waterfall – Peguyangan Waterfall, Nusa Penida
Peguyangan Waterfall on Nusa Penida isn’t a towering vertical torrent of water like the jungle falls in central Bali. Instead, it’s a series of short, cascading spring fountains that eventually make their way over a steep ravine and into the sea.
Away from the ravine, the cascades make a great place for all to enjoy a ‘natural spa’, and a massage from the fast flowing waters as they burble over the shallow ledges and pools.
Photo via ikbalalex, m_magetsari
Reaching the springs involves a descent down narrow stairs against the wall of the ravine. After some 460 steps, the gorgeous sight of the cascades is both exhilarating and relieving.
1-3. Visit a hidden gem in a village – Bamboo Chocolate Farm
Don’t look down on the possibilities of exploring Bali’s traditional villages: you might find gems like the Bamboo Chocolate Farm by Big Tree Farms in Ubud.
Photo via life in travels
Walk through the bamboo cathedral, the largest bamboo building in the world, or sign up for the chocolate tours – those with a sweet tooth will love being walked through the steps required to make organic chocolate.
Has that changed your mind about including hidden gems of traditional Balinese villages in your itinerary? Just make sure your plans are not entirely filled with villages after you discover these untouched temples, caves, and giant wishing tree.
1-4. Indulge in hot springs with a view – Toya Devasya Hot Springs
Are you craving for a luxurious hot spring experience? Toya Devasya in Kintamani has earned a reputation as one of the most upmarket places to submerge your bones in.
Photo via andraaditya
Set in elegant landscaped gardens, the pools offer immaculate facilities and the waters are clear blue and odourless – no sulphur gases here!
Also, Kintamani in the island’s northeast is a spectacular highland region where adventure is the name of the game. Spend the day hiking up the dramatic slopes of Mount Batur or just sipping cocktail overlooking Lake Batur, then ease your muscles in the curative powers of Toya Devasya’s soothing waters – the perfect luxury remedy!
If you’d like some quiet time to yourself, Bali also has private hot springs, as well as hot springs scattered all over the island. No matter where you are, there’s always time for some healing.
1-5. Watch a theatrical tribute to Indonesia – Devdan Show
It can be hard to find suitable activities to do when you have a family in tow, but that’s just why we love Bali – for its quirky activities that will keep even the naughtiest kid entertained.
Enjoy dance with a twist at the Devdan Show, a one-of-a-kind performance that was partly designed by stage and artistic directors of Cirque du Soleil. Here, modern and traditional elements come together to form a unique 90-minute theatrical and dance tribute to Indonesia – and you don’t even have to leave Bali to experience all of it!
Everything from fire to colourful kites appear on the stage, and you won’t have to worry about not understanding what’s going on – as performers communicate the stories via physical signs.
1-6. Enjoy a luxury resort on a day pass – InterContinental Bali Resort
You don’t always have to bust your budget to enjoy the jaw-dropping facilities that luxury resorts have to offer. At InterContinental Bali Resort, buying a day pass will give you access to all five of their huge swimming pools – including a stately Balinese-style pool and kids’ pools for the little ones.
Photo via michael j gallagher
While your children splash around in supervised pools, parents can make use of precious free time to keep in shape – gym and spa passes are available for access to the resort’s best workout and relaxation facilities.
Day passes are definitely not something rare in Bali, so don’t worry about heading down to all these luxurious resorts – you don’t have to be rich to live the high life.
1-7. Enjoy extreme sports – Flyboarding at Nusa Dua
Now’s the chance to show your kid that you really are Superman. The newest watersport out there, flyboarding, has made flying a reality for man – by wearing boots connected to a board, which is then connected to a water hose, you can be propelled to as high as 15 metres!
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Video credits: mldare2fly
Take advantage of that adrenaline rush by trying out all of our extreme sport recommendations, including thrilling cliff jumps and diving with sharks. We dare you!
1-8. Visit a Safari! – Bali Marine Safari Park
If your family prefers getting active together instead of being artsy fartsy, there’s always the Bali Marine and Safari Park (read our fun-filled experience here!). Get up close (and we mean cloooose) to wild safari animals such as elephants, rhinos, zebras and many more.
The night safari ride will give your kids a chance to work out their vocal cords as tigers leap atop your caged vehicle. And for the fainthearted children, there’s the day safari and educational animal shows, where learning doesn’t have to be a chore.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, there are simply way too many things a family could possibly do in Bali!
1-9. Check out abandoned places – Abandoned plane in South Kuta
It’s hard not to believe in ghosts when you’re in a place as otherworldly as Bali. To that effect, there’ve been creepy stories floating around about Bali’s dilapidated locations, which have been abandoned by civilisation.
Photo via rishakuu, Fashionferno
In Kuta alone, two mysterious abandoned planes have been sighted. Are you game for exploring the wrecks?
We aren’t, but we’re not going to stop you crazy people from traversing the (imagined?) horrors of these abandoned places in Bali.
1-10. Go on a hidden farm tour – Sari Segara Silkworm Farm
It’s time to discover your hidden talent at cloth-making! You’ll get to learn about all the processes that occur behind the production of this revered fabric at the Sari Segara Silkworm Farm.
Photo via Harry Sutama, Nina S and Gladys R
That’s not all – you’ll even get the chance to try and weave your own unique silk, and peruse the completed collection of beautiful fabric at the in-house art shop.
This is just one of the many unique farms hiding out in Bali. You’ll be awed by the traditional vineyard and underwater coral farm – don’t be too surprised when your child’s new dream is to be a farmer.
1-11. Visit a majestic sea temple – Pura Luhur Uluwatu
You can’t say you’ve been to Bali without visiting Pura Luhur Uluwatu, a sea temple in Uluwatu that’s known for its cliff-top views at sunset. Tons of tourists flock to the temple’s coastal location in the early evenings to grab a good spot, and that’s not all that they’re there for.
Photo via Suphakaln Wongcompune
The temple is also famed for the Kecak Fire Dance performances that are held there, as well as the resident monkeys, who won’t hesitate to abscond with a slipper of yours.
You’ll be surprised at how beautiful traditional temples can be, but don’t take our word for it – check out these seaside temples, for you really have to see it to believe it!
1-12. Try out water activities suitable for all – Bali Seawalker
If you’ve always stared forlornly at your friends splashing around in the sea just because you’re not a swimmer, the time has come for you to shine.
Surfing and diving might be prime activities in Bali, but that doesn’t mean only swimmers get to have all the fun – Bali Seawalker’s unique helmet allows even non-swimmers to experience marine life, and right from the ocean bed!
Ready to break away from all the “it’s too bad you can’t swim” comments? Bali has plenty of other non-water water activities for non-water babies to enter the underwater world.
1-13. Check out bizarre balinese festivals – The Monsters Parade
While many tourists tend to avoid Bali during Nyepi (Balinese New Year), we beg to differ – this time of the year is when you get to see witness Bali’s intricate culture in its full glory.
Photo via Theatlantic
During this time, grand processions march down the street, complete with gigantic figures – known as the ogoh-ogoh – which are made to scare away evil spirits, creating a majestic (and slightly scary) view.
This is just one of the many bizarre and fun festivals that the Balinese take part in – check out the myriad of other cultural events that will spice up your Bali trip.
1-14. Go on a fun outing – Pondok Pekak Library & Learning Centre
Yes, it is possible for adults and children to both have fun at the same time – at least it is at the Pondok Pekak Library & Learning Centre.
Photo via thistravellife
Here, you can choose to take educational classes regarding Balinese culture, such as crafting local jewellery, fruit-carving, traditional dance, and even a Balinese language class!
1-15. Shop till you drop – Bungalow Living (homeware, bedding, accessories)
If you don’t want to leave the gorgeous comfort of your villa for your urban home, why not bring the villa back with you? Bungalow Living features a large selection of homeware and decor that look like they come right out of your favourite villa.
Photo via redmelimelo
Better yet, they’re all really affordable, so you’ll definitely get the most out of your budget… and if too much shopping makes your knees weak, just stretch them out at the establishment’s in-house cafe.
Doesn’t sound appealing? You’ll just have to bear with it, as Bali doesn’t just sell homeware. Beach fashion, accessories, art… Take your pick through our complete shopping guide to Bali – surely you aren’t going to miss any one of them?
1-16. Go out with a splash at surf camp – Rapture Camp
Water babies will love it at Rapture Camp, where everyone from beginners to monsters who ride the waves can enjoy surfing like nobody’s business – thanks to lessons ranging from beginner to professional levels.
After a long day out surfing, you can chill out at the pool table with surfing enthusiasts from all over the world. And enjoy a good night’s sleep in a Balinese bungalow that’s both comfy and pretty. Now, that’s what we call a whole package!
Bali also has many different types of surf camps and surf schools, including a women-only one!
1-17. Go snorkelling in the deep blue – Wreck of the USAT Liberty and The Coral Garden
Diving and snorkelling are one of the must-dos in Bali, which is known for having a large diversity of marine life within its surrounding waters.
Photo via Mihtiandr
We totally understand why – how can you possibly miss brushing shoulders with rare marine life as you dive into the majestic wreck of an American warship, and look for Nemo in a gorgeous underwater temple at Tulamben?
Being known for the amazing diving trips that you can take, Bali naturally has a ton of diving and snorkelling spots, but not all of them are suitable for everyone, so check out our list and find out which one sounds like a good fit for you!
2-1. Visit a gypsy-themed restaurant – La Laguna
Embrace a sense of freedom at La Laguna, where colourful gypsy caravans stand proudly against a white beach and deep blue sea.
Photo via ruslandxb, sakinaintanp,onankmagagapoda
You can sit back and relax with a cocktail and enjoy the cafe’s outrageously bright decor, or catch a glimpse of a majestic peacock or two strutting by in front of you.
Other uniquely themed restaurant are littered all over the island, including a Frankenstein-themed one – consider us in awe of the Balinese’s creativity.
2-2. Calm your fussy kid at a kid-friendly restaurant – The Pirate’s Bay
Every kid gets to fulfil their dream of being a pirate at this unique, pirate-themed restaurant.
While parents relax in a treehouse with a tasty burger, children will be led on activities around authentic-looking pirate ships – can you already see your kid swinging across the mast of a ship, shouting “Arrrr”?
Kids are the kings of the day at these kid-friendly restaurants in Bali. It almost makes us want to be a kid again… arrrrr-gh.
2-3. Dine at a unique cafe – Revolver Espresso
You know there’s good coffee available when a cafe is hidden from sight and people find it anyway (and through their noses, no less!).
Photo via Ernandaputra, cmarco, mrspompous, alba niubo
The atmospheric Revolver Espresso is hidden behind a boutique in Kuta, but that doesn’t stop its loyal customers from raving about great coffee and pastries available here.
A hidden cafe is just one of the surprises that Bali has to offer: these gorgeously themed cafes will delight the avid cafe hopper, and provide a respite from the scorching sun that burns your backs while you explore Bali.
2-4. Go to dessert heaven – Sundara Bali
Why have normal ice cream when you can get a fusion of Japanese and french dessert? Sundara Bali is a hotspot for dessert among those who like surprises – the chef, Eddy Dhenin, creates dishes that are inspired from his personal experiences from all over the world.
Photo via Tiniihitakara
This means one-of-a-kind confections like the Miso pot de creme (a combination of miso soup and french pot de creme). Regardless, there are many ice-cream and gelato places in Bali, and even the best desserts in Bali.
One thing’s for sure – you might not want to eat these dainty desserts after laying eyes on their beauty.
3-1. Stay in a unique hotel with your friends – Mara River Safari Lodge
It’s always an adventure when you’re out with friends, and at the Mara River Safari Lodge – you and your friends will definitely have a “wild” time.
Photo via lisacowcher
Wake up every morning to zebras and rhinos grazing in your backyard, and toss a carrot or two to your favourite animal. Dine while the king of the jungle watches you from beyond a glass window, and if you’re looking for an authentic safari experience, this is it.
If animals aren’t your thing, fun times can still be had in all the unique accommodations in Bali – such as towering treehouses, floating water villas and majestic mountain-top villas.
3-2. For private family bonding moments in a villa – Sandi Kala Villas
If you’d prefer to have a more private time with your family, Bali has a myriad of unbelievably large family villas that will house even the largest family.
Sandi Kala Villas will have you living like a royal, with a quaint little pool that stretches around the villa like a river. There’s even a fire pit beside the water for your family to gather around and share stories at night!
Trust us, you don’t have to worry even if your entire extended family is coming along on vacation. Other than the incredibly budget-friendly 2-bedroom villas, Bali also has 3 and 4-bedroom villas, and villas with a private pool ready for your entire tribe.
3-3. Stay at a family-friendly resort – Prama Sanur Beach Bali
Great resorts have saved many a parent’s life from death by rowdy kids – and Prama Sanur Beach Bali is one of these perfect places to entrust your kids to while you have some time to yourself.
Photo via trinofiya
Other than a comfortably furnished kids’ club with necessities such as crayons and rocking horses, the resort also offers activities such as yoga, cooking class, basketball, and a family pool with tame water slides.
No matter whether you’re looking for resorts with top-notch kids’ clubs; or beachy stays with thrilling water slides for your water-loving babies; and even resorts with beaches for your children to run free on – you can be sure that no kid will have the free time (or desire) to whine and cry.
3-4. Go glamping – Sang Giri Mountain Tent Resort
Sang Giri Mountain Tent Resort is the perfect compromise between a friend who loves camping and a friend who just can’t give up on modern luxuries.
You’re free to enjoy close contact with nature in an elevated tent that features sweeping views of the rainforest in Jatiluwih. And you won’t have to worry about being uncomfortable because of the naturally cold air, modern toilet, and lavishly furnished room.
Still not convinced? Check out the list of glamping locations in Bali that we’ve found – can you believe that you can actually glamp in the comfort of air-conditioning?
3-5. Stay with your buddies in a surf stay or yoga retreat! – Komune Resort & Beach Club
Out for some weekend fun with your fellow surfer buddies? Surf accommodations are a fuss-free choice for those who just wish to surf the day away.
Photo via thismagnificentlife
Komune Resort & Beach Club not only offers superior facilities such as a beautiful infinity pool, spacious rooms and the popular Keramas Beach – it is also the only place you can surf at night!
Being a prime destination for surfers, Bali naturally has tons of choices when it comes to affordable surf villas. Unique options also include The Pineapple House, one of the yoga retreats in bali where surfing and yoga come together to give your body that intense workout you never got around to doing.
We know Bali is an inherently romantic destination, but sunset at the beach isn’t your only choice. If you’re aiming to spice up a relationship or land a girl/guy during your trip, these activities will definitely push you closer to your goal.
1-1. Catch the sunset at a hidden beach – Melasti Beach
Instead of squeezing it out with the rest of the world for the exact same picture of the sunset at Kuta Beach and Tanah Lot – why not hide out at the scenic and quiet Melasti Beach?
Photo via ManButur Photography
Just be ready to field all the questions you’ll get when people catch sight of the awe-inspiring waterfall in your sunset photo.
If you’re feeling competitive, check out all the other beautiful sunset spots and impress both your girlfriend/boyfriend and your followers.
1-2. A genuine spa by the sea experience in Jimbaran – La Joya Spa
A minutes’ walk from Balangan Beach lays La Joya, home to one of the most amazingly located day spas in Jimbaran. Walk down the garden path, and stretch out beneath the thatched roof of the open air massage villa.
Photo via doyoutravel, balimoments
Melt away with an intimate view taking in coastal splendour of Jimbaran in all its glory. From ancient Ayurvedic massage to hot stone therapy, shiatsu and traditional Balinese and Thai massage – spa guests can also make use of the spectacular elevated plunge pool overlooking Balangan and the endless blue ocean beyond.
Even if you’re on a tighter budget or would prefer a spa that allows you to admire Bali’s amazing view at the same time, don’t worry, for this little island has tons of choices that won’t disappoint.
1-3. Visit a unique bar – Mirror Lounge and Bar
Never has there been a bar more suited for a love story than the glass-roofed Mirror Lounge and Bar, where tons of young people dance the night away under the stars (literally).
Photo by igophotoworks
Other than the skilled DJs who are bound to give your ears a treat, the bar also keeps things exciting with thrilling trapeze acts – instead of kissing under a boring old mistletoe this year, you can do it while the trapeze artists swing right above you.
For the chronic alcoholics, there’re plenty of other unique bars in Bali – we don’t think you’ll even remember what the word bored means after you’re done.
1-4. Enjoy a rooftop bar – Jim’Bar’N Rooftop Bar
Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the highest of them all?
The answer is none other than the Jim’Bar’N Rooftop Bar, the highest rooftop bar in Bali, which is also known for its impressive menu of fresh seafood and tasty cocktail drinks. With its 360º never-ending view of the natural landscape and next-door position to the sky, even a promise to “pluck the moon and the stars” can’t help but sound more believable here.
Want to try something a bit more rustic and different? From vodka in real watermelons to a rooftop bar-cum-jacuzzi, every one of these rooftop bars in Bali are sure to take you to the top of the world.
1-5. Attend a fun workshop in Bali – Studio Perak
Bali has tons of couple-friendly activities available, but we think that a couple’s haven would definitely be Studio Perak – where you can learn how to craft Balinese-style jewellery with silver and semi-precious stones.