The 20 Best Things to Do in Bali for First-Timers

Tanah Lot Temple

Bali is an Indonesian island, of which the capital is Denpasar. This island is known for its geographical diversity, as it boasts sandy beaches, stunning coral reefs, iconic rice paddies, and forested volcanic mountains. Those who visit this amazing destination will find that they have plenty of things to see and do during their visit, with options for all tastes and budgets. How each person wishes to spend their time on this fascinating and beautiful island will differ from one person to the next depending on their interests. To help you decide how best to spend your time on this island, the following are the 20 best things to do in Bali for first-timers.

Munduk Village

20. Trek to Munduk Village

To get a true experience of traditional Bali, you should visit Munduk Village. This charming mountainside village has natural attractions, such as waterfalls, and the environment feels cool and clean. As this village was once a popular Dutch tourist destination during the colonial era, it boasts European architecture. Munduk is one of the most popular trekking destinations in Bali.

Jimbaran Bay

19. Dine at a Restaurant in Jimbaran Bay

Seafood is synonymous with the cuisine of Bali as the island’s surrounding waters are a rich source of fresh fish and seafood. One of the best locations for dining out and trying some of the traditional seafood dishes of Bali is Jimbaran Bay. There is a multitude of amazing restaurants serving seafood in this town, ranging from casual eateries to fine dining venues. Most have an outdoor dining area, so you can take advantage of the amazing climate and the ocean views while you dine. If you are not a seafood fan, then you will also find many restaurants that serve meat and vegetarian options.

Elephant Cave and Temple

18. Visit the Elephant Cave and Temple

One of the most interesting temples to visit is located within Elephant Cave. The entrance to the cave is the most significant and eye-catching feature as it is carved in the shape of an elephant head. It is surrounded by shrines that depict sacred figures and stories. Inside the cave, the temple features a large bathing pool. Legend says that this pool was built to ward off evil spirits by allowing people to cleanse their souls.

Tanjung Benoa

17. Try Some Water Sports in Tanjung Benoa

Water sports are some of the most popular activities that people enjoy when visiting Bali, and they are also popular amongst the locals. Although you will find an array of water sports to try on nearly every major tourist beach around the island, one of the best spots for trying water sports in Bali is Tanjung Benoa. There are water-based activities to suit all abilities. Just some of the activities that you can enjoy include banana boats, scuba diving, flyboarding, and sea walking. It is also worth noting that this resort town is a fantastic place to stay as it is where many of the island’s most luxurious resorts are located, and there are many excellent restaurants.

Snorkeling in Amed

16. Go Snorkeling in Amed

Due to the clear waters and the beautiful coral reefs surrounding Bali, a fantastic activity to try is snorkeling. Amed is one of the most interesting places to try snorkeling or scuba diving, as this is where many of the best coral reefs are located. There are also many species of tropical fish and even some shipwrecks of Japanese vessels. If you are a novice, you can book a session with an instructor and hire equipment. Experienced divers can go out alone or in a group with a guide who will show them the highlights of the underwater world. When you have finished in the water, you can spend some time on Amed Beach, which is known for its distinctive black volcanic sand.

Palaces in Ubud

15. Stroll Through the Palaces in Ubud

Ubud is known for its royal connections, so it is little wonder that there are multiple palaces in this location. The largest palace in the royal town is Puri Saren Ubud, which translates as the Ubud Royal Palace. Wandering around the palaces in this cultural neighborhood is a sight to behold. Depending on when you visit, you may see traditional Balinese performances outside the palace.

Besakih Temple

14. Visit Besakih Temple

The largest temple in Bali is the Besakih Temple, and this is reason enough to visit this historical and religious monument. This temple is located on the slopes of Mount Agung, which is the highest mountain in Bali. Within the complex, there are 86 temples, all of which are more than one thousand years old. There are more than 70 Hindu religious celebrations and ceremonies hosted at this temple complex throughout the year.


13. Have Some Fun at Waterbom

Families visiting Bali should head to Waterbom, as this water park is one of the top family-oriented attractions on the island. There is everything from adrenalin-inducing water slides to a relaxing lay river, and everything in between. People of all ages will find something to keep them entertained and having fun at this attraction. You will find Waterbom in downtown Kuta, and you should set aside a full day for this activity.

Gunung Kawi

12. See the Shrines at Gunung Kawi

Gunung Kawi is a set of ten shrines that are cut into a rock face in the Tampaksiring region. Each of the shrines is a memorial to the royals of the 11th-century, and they each measure approximately 25-feet in height. Some people may find reaching the shrines a challenge as there is a climb of more than 270 steps to this landmark. However, former visitors to the shrines say that it is worth the effort.

Tegalalang Rice Terrace

11. Go to the Tegalalang Rice Terrace

An iconic landmark of Bali is the Tegalalang Rice Terrace, says US News. This important landmark dates back to the eighth century, and it is an ancient irrigation system. One reason that people visit this site is to take photographs, as it is an impressive sight. Therefore, it is important that you remember to take along your capture to capture some pics of the sloping rice paddies. Another reason to visit is the pleasant, cooler climate, which is due to the elevated position of this landmark.

Paddle Boarding at Padang Padang

10. Try Paddle Boarding at Padang Padang

Those who do not feel up to the challenge of surfing but want to head out onto the stunning waters should consider giving paddleboarding a go. Due to the calmer waters at Padang Padang, it is the ideal location for paddle boarding. It is possible to hire a stand-up paddleboard from one of the many rental companies that line the beach, and you can even book a lesson to help you master the art of staying upright on your board.

Cocktail at Mrs. Sippy

9. Have a Cocktail at Mrs. Sippy

Many people enjoy a drink or two when they are on vacation. One of the best and most unusual venues to try a cocktail is at Mrs. Sippy. This is a unique venue with a lively ambiance as it is a Sydney bar import with the largest saltwater pool in Bali. Guests can lounge by the pool, enjoy a swim, and drink fruity cocktails to the soundtrack of international DJs. This bar has a pool party vibe that is ideal for fun-seeking travelers.

Surfing at Dreamlands

8. Go Surfing at Dreamlands

Bali is known as being one of the top destinations for surfing in the world. If you fancy trying surfing while in Bali, then one of the best spots is Dreamlands. This is a surf break that is located near Uluwatu. When there is a large swell, it is ideal for experienced surfers. Novices should wait until the swell dies down so that the waves are more manageable. There are surfing instructors on hand to give lessons to those who are new to surfing, and there are surfboard rental shops.

Mount Batur in Kintamani

7. Climb Mount Batur in Kintamani

There are two significant natural landmarks in Kintamani, says US News. The first of these is Mount Batur, which is a towering, active volcano. Visitors can hike up Mount Batur to enjoy the breathtaking views. Those who do not wish to exert themselves to this extent can enjoy Kintamani’s second natural landmark, which is Lake Batur. A nice activity is taking a boat trip across the lake and viewing the beautiful surroundings. Take some time to visit some of the interesting and pretty lakeside towns and see the temples.

Serenity of Tirta Empul Temple

6. Enjoy the Serenity of Tirta Empul Temple

The name of this temple is translated as ‘Holy Water Spring’. Although this is not the largest of the temples in Bali, nor is it one of the most architecturally interesting, it is a fantastic place to visit because of the serene environment. At the center of the complex, there is a large, rectangular pool that is the best spot for enjoying the sense of tranquillity. This is a holy mountain spring, and visitors are allowed to enter the water fully-clothed. There are also many structures and shrines around the complex for visitors to admire.

Tegenungan Waterfall

5. Admire the Magnificence of Tegenungan Waterfall

A magnificent sight that you must not miss during your visit to Bali is the Tegenungan Waterfall. This waterfall is located in a lush forest near Ubud, and you must walk for around 15-minutes through the forest to reach the waterfall. You can’t walk beneath the waterfall as it is powerful with a drop of approximately 15 meters. However, you can take a dip in the catchment area or simply admire the waterfall from the rocky surrounds. The trail leading to the waterfall is somewhat challenging due to the uneven terrain and the elevation.

Gili Islands

4. Sail Between the Gili Islands

Time Out recommends sailing between the Gili Islands, which is a tiny three-island archipelago just off the mainland. The three islands are Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air. Each of the islands boasts stunning beaches and crystal blue waters. There are also excellent restaurants and a variety of activities to try on each island. You can take a fast boat from Padang Bai harbor to visit these idyllic, tropical islands.

Tanah Lot Temple

3. Go to Tanah Lot Temple

Tanah Lot Temple is one of the most famous temples in Bali, and this is because of the impressive architecture of this religious complex. It is particularly impressive because it is built on the top of a jagged rock protruding from the ocean off the southern coast of Bali. You have to wait for low tide to reach the temple, but it is also a magnificent sight from the island at sunset, and this is when many people choose to take photographs of the temple. Along this stretch of coastline, you will also find many stalls selling everything from food to souvenirs.

Ubud Monkey Forest

2. Visit the Monkeys at Ubud Monkey Forest

Regardless of your age or interests, there is something that will appeal to everyone at the Ubud Monkey Forest. This attraction combines a temple, a lush forest, and the natural habitat of hundreds of monkeys. Therefore, it will appeal to children and adults alike, as well as animal lovers and history or architecture buffs. Visitors can stroll freely through the forest amongst the playful monkeys before admiring the architecture of the temple.

Uluwatu Temple

1. See the Awe-Inspiring Uluwatu Temple

According to Culture Trip, one of the best things to do in Bali is to see the Uluwatu Temple. This attraction combines the history, culture, and natural beauty of the island all in one. This majestic landmark is set on the edge of a magnificent white cliff, and it offers visitors the chance to learn about the culture of Bali and admire impressive views over the ocean. The best time to visit is during sunset hours when there is a performance of traditional dance and drama.

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