Because it is such an amazing travel destination, it can be difficult to know what to do in Bali. When we visited Bali we had 9 days of pure adventure and we still only just scratched the surface of what there is to experience.
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I don’t want to boast, but our itinerary worked flawlessly, and we had such an amazing experience that we are looking at when we can go back. We focused on finding out what to do in Bali that could focus on sustainability, as travel for us is also about giving back. So to help you plan your amazing holiday here is a breakdown of everything we did, who we used and what it cost!
What to do in Bali – Day 1: Ubud
We arrived in Bali just before lunch, starting in Seoul and connecting in Bangkok. Our choice of flights meant that we only managed to steal an hour or 2 of sleep before arriving but a midday arrival meant we had a half day to acclimatize before starting our larger adventures.
We had arranged an airport pickup through Bali Buddies. Apart from a slight confusion on the exact meeting point it was a great company to arrange transport through. We knew exactly how much it would cost to get to Ubud and we had a whatsapp contact when we arrived.
The driver we met through Bali Buddies was absolutely amazing, and we ended up staying in contact and going on a tour with him later in the week as well. I feel like using services like Bali Buddies means that you can be sure you will get an honest and reliable driver that can really make your trip easy and amazing. Hiring drivers for the day in Bali is not expensive and because the level of English is so great in Bali, your driver can generally act as a great tour guide as well.
Our driver was Wayan and he immediately offered to take us to show us a few interesting stops on the way to our Ubud accommodation. When you have a limited number of days in Bali, my advice is to really embrace each journey that comes along. We would have missed out on so much if we hadn’t been open to fitting in new tours and little side stops. You can plan all you want, but there is nothing like being shown around by a local.
Airport transfer to Ubud: 400 000 IDR/car
Driver Wayan Sarma: (watsapp) +email@example.com
Celuk Silver Village
Celuk is the silversmith capital of Bali, and it really is an amazing place to make a stop. There are shops all along the main road, and you can really stop at any that catch your eye. Your local driver may have a shop that he takes people to in return for a small commission, so be open to their suggestions. The silver jewellery from this area is all handmade by locals and is of a really high quality, so you can be sure that your money is going to the people that need it. You can barter with the shop owners for a better price if you feel confident.
Celuk is North East of Kuta, and is on the way to Ubud from the airport: location
Negari Agro Coffee Plantation
One thing you can’t really opt out of if you visit Bali is visiting a coffee plantation. On the one hand, you will taste some of the best coffee in the world. On the other hand, the notorious Luwak coffee comes from Bali, and it is so difficult to find an ethical supplier. I am not sure if Negari Agro is as ethical as they put themselves out to be, as we did see Luwak animals in cages. At the end of the day, trust your gut, and don’t feel pressured to buy Luwak coffee after you have had the tasters they offer for free. Use your money to support the non animal based products so you can reduce the demand for Luwak coffee while still supporting local businesses.
Tasters of tea and coffee: free
Luwak coffee: 50 000 IDR/cup
Tea and coffee mixes from teh gift shop: 70 000 – 100 000 IDR per 100g
Situated on Jl. Raya Singapadu near Bali zoo/0818353516/website
Our AirBnB in Ubud was centrally located and super warm and welcoming. It provided us with an excellent base to explore from, and was clean and beautiful. I loved our time there, and I would go back in a second. Not to mention that the owner of the house had some truly gorgeous little puppies running around that made my day every time I saw them.
For an extra fee you can get breakfast every morning, and you can also book the Batur mountain hike through them and get a discount on your breakfasts, so definitely check it out!
Find Suryadina House on AirBnB here. One night costs around $30-$35 per room.
Gang Seruni, just off of Jl Sri Wedari.
Click below to get a $40 credit for your first AirBnb booking.
For dinner we went to a restaurant that our driver had suggested: Nomad. It is a really popular restaurant for tourists and you can definitely find cheaper food, but wow it was delicious! We went during happy hour and got 2 drinks for the price of 1 which was awesome. Their Nomad Dragon is a great drink that definitely packs the alcoholic punch we needed. We also had the pork ribs which were sensational and just fell off the bone. Great vibe and super centrally located, definitely a delish and convenient place to eat.
Cocktails: around 75000 IDR each (BOGO during happy hour)
Ribs: 120 000 IDR each, including a large side of potatoes and veg
35 Ubud main street/(0361)firstname.lastname@example.org
Sadhu Bhuana Body Work
This massage and spa treatment centre is located off the main road in Ubud, and it really is worth a visit. You can reserve your spot or try your luck like we did! We had a couples 1 hour relaxation massage which was heavenly and came with a complimentary ginger tea and water after the treatment. Highly recommended!
60 min relaxation massage: 160 000 IDR
23 Jl Raya/website/+6285217731011
What to do in Bali – Day 2: Rice Paddy Walking Tour
Top of your what to do in Bali list should be exploring their famous rice paddies. We had booked a walking tour with Bali Eco Tours, a community based company that supports the local rice farmers and education. The tour included a pick up from our accommodation at 7:30 am, lunch, snacks, and drop off at 3pm.
What I especially loved about the tour is how multi-faceted it was. You can expect to visit temples, monuments, local businesses, and have a guided tour through rice fields. This is not simply showing up for a photo opportunity, this is experiencing Bali with a local and really making sure your money goes to the right places.
For a more detailed explanation of Bali Eco Tours and what we experienced on the walking tour, check out our rice paddy walking tour post.
With the afternoon free we took time to explore central Ubud on foot. There is a lot to see and if you don’t feel like walking, enjoy some local Bali Beer at any of the numerous restaurants. One of the best pieces of advice I can give you is to not be afraid to walk into any of the restaurants you see in Ubud. Eating out in Bali is super cheap, and even the fanciest restaurants are super affordable, so go have fun!
A private half day rice paddy tour costs $136 for 2 people
If you’re looking for a laidback restaurant and bar, then Kafe Banute is what you need. We grabbed a truly epic little booth where we could people watch, lounge around, and get visited by the local cat all whilst enjoying delicious food. Live music starts around 8pm most nights, and the vibe is so cool around a massive bunyan tree. Definitely worth a night out.
Crispy duck special cost about 100 000 IDR per person
Jl. Dewi Sita/website
What to do in Bali – Day 3: Mount Batur Sunrise Hike
Bali is home to several active volcanoes, and climbing to the top of an active volcano may not be on your bucket list, but it should be! To read about the full experience make sure you read this post on the Mount Batur Sunrise Hike. If you for some reason are struggling to decide what to do in Bali, add the sunrise hike to your itinerary. It is a tough hike, and there are tons of people, but it was probably the most beautiful sunrise I have seen in a long time.
There is also a really great sense of camaraderie on the path, and watching a sunrise with dozens of strangers is just a really cool and connecting experience. There really is nothing like pushing yourself out of your comfort zone to make sure you have a great holiday.
This was a crazy early morning, we were fetched at 2am. The hike does include breakfast and we got back home just in time for lunch.
Mount Batur 8.5 hour Hiking Tour booked through Airbnb: $83 for 2 people
Find the Airbnb experience here.
You can also choose to book through Suryadina House, or with Bali Eco tours here. Bali eco tours has a few packages that also include a visit to the local hot springs, so definitely check them out!
Fair Warung Bale
After our hike we decided to pay a visit to the Fair Warung Bale, a restaurant that supports local healthcare. Every meal equals 2 free treatments so make sure to pay them a visit if you are in Ubud. It is not only a charitable trip as the food is magnificent and service is great. This is such a tangible way to give back to the community, and I can’t recommend them enough!
Nasi Goreng costs 50,000 IDR
Jl. Sri Wedari No.6/website/+62 (0) 81339870205
Museum Puri Lukisan
If you’re looking for a relaxing and cultural way to spend the afternoon, definitely take in Puri Lukisan, the museum of Balinese art. The grounds are stunning and green, with tons of spots just waiting for Instagram. It is the oldest art museum in Ubud, and its collection spans from 1930 to present day works. It is super close to the Ubud palace as well, so stop by on your way to really get a sense of old school Ubud.
Open daily from 9am to 5pm
Entry: 85 000 IDR per person
Gedong Sisi Warung
This beautiful restaurant looks like it costs loads, but is super affordable. If you phone ahead you can book a lounging booth for your group, but walk-ins get good seats as well. I think the ambience of this restaurant is what gives it the most charm, but the food was good too. This restaurant is also vegetarian friendly, and open from 9 am to 11pm.
Rendang Padang (beef stew) costs 90 000 IDR, Lemongrass Spritzer costs 40 000 IDR
Jl Raya (across from Ubud art market)/+62361977276
What to do in Bali – Day 4: Half day tour
Our Bali Buddies driver Wayan took us on a half day tour as part of getting us from our accommodation in Ubud to our hotel in Seminyak. Wayan was the best guide, with so many stories and a passion for Bali that was infectious. I cannot recommend him enough! He tailored our tour to the time we had and our interests, so don’t be shy to chat to him about what you want!
Terrace River Pool Swing
Our first stop was a coffee plantation and general touristy area called Terrace River Pool Swing. The coffee and tea tasters were not the best we had in Bali, but we did have a lot of fun with one of the famous Bali swings. If you’re looking for a fun hour or two, this should be on top of your what to do in Bali for the ‘gram list! Beautiful surroundings literally tailor made for social media, make this a must-do.
There are plenty of swings to choose from, including a couples swing which is super cute.
Solo swing from 150 000 IDR, couple swing from 300 000 IDR
Jl Raya Tegallalang/Website/+6285792466220
Dewa Malen Wood Carving
Something that should be high up on your list of what to do in Bali is a visit to Dewa Malen Wood Carving studio. This workshop and studio is situated in an area known for traditional master carpenters and is another opportunity to support local people. With the craftsmen working on site, you can see exactly how talented these artists are as they create amazing works of art to suit every budget.
Much of the wood is also endemic to Bali, which means that local sustainable foresting is supported as well. The guys that work here are awesome, and will show you around and explain everything you need to know. You will be encouraged to barter the price down here, so have fun sharpening those skills!
Br. Tengkulak Mas, Kemenuh (just up the road from Tegenungan email@example.com
Waterfall Tegenungan Village
You can’t put a list together of what to do in Bali without including a few waterfalls. Waterfall Tegenungan Village does come with some warnings though. This place is a tourist hotspot, so unless you go super early in the morning, don’t expect to get your perfect waterfall Instagram photo.
Although the waterfall was super pretty, we didn’t go all the way down to fight the crowds and the heat. Instead we bought some icecream and coke from one of the little cafes and sat with a birds’ eye view of the falls all to ourselves. Sure we didn’t get to swim, but it really beat getting trampled by a bazillion selfie sticks!
There is a ton to do here if you’re willing to fight the crowds, and I think it is really family friendly, but it wasn’t our number one spot. The waterfalls we found and swam in as part of our Bali Eco tour were way more intimate and fun. If you’re looking for more info on the gorgeous waterfalls in Bali, take a look at Life of Doing’s awesome best waterfalls in Bali post.
Open daily 6:30am – 6:30pm
Entrance costs 15 000 IDR per person
Kemenuh Butterfly Park
This little gem of a park is another stop worthy of Instagram. Wonder through beautiful gardens filled with butterflies, flowers, and photo opportunities to your heart’s content. There is also a moth enclosure where you can hold some giant moths if that is your thing! Not an essential spot if you don’t have extra time, but I’m glad it made it on our what to do in Bali list.
Entrance is 100 000 IDR per person and includes a welcome drink.
Jl. Raya Kemenuh, Sukawati/website/03614791681
Pura Batuan Temple
Wayan really wanted to take us to a large public temple, so that he could explain more about Balinese culture and religious practice. It’s really cool to have a local person guide you through a temple, as it can be a little intimidating to try to figure out where you can and can’t go and how you should behave. Pura Batuan is a beautiful and intricate temple, but be prepared for crowds as it is super popular.
Entrance is by donation, 10 000 or more is appropriate. Grab a sarong before you enter.
Warung Tepi Tebing
We stopped for lunch at a gorgeous restaurant, where you sit outdoors right next to koi ponds. The food is amazing and the sound of running water makes the ambience peaceful and relaxing. I would definitely recommend this restaurant if you are looking for more of what to do in Bali outside of the usual spots.
Green Palms Bali
We arrived at our hotel in Seminyak just in time to check in and start the pool session of our diving course. Green Palms is a gorgeous little hotel, but our primary reason for choosing to stay here is that it is also the home base of Adventure Scuba Diving Bali. Staying here meant that we were ready for each day of diving without worrying if we would get picked up on time or where to wait.
If I’m honest, I probably wouldn’t stay at Green Palms if I wasn’t doing a scuba diving course. The hotel does not offer dinner, and it is quite far out from any restaurants, so it takes walking along some dark little alleyways to find anything to eat. If you’re looking for a party base or somewhere close to the action, I’d suggest staying somewhere more central. But if you are doing a scuba holiday, then Green Palms makes everything super convenient.
If you do book dives through Adventure Scuba, you can also get a discount off your room rate, so be sure to ask them for details.
Click below to find Green Palms on Booking.com Rooms run from about $20 per night for 2
Amenities include breakfast, WiFi, Netflix, a pool and poolside bar, as well as a laundry service and an airport transfer service.
Jl. Dewi Saraswati I 50, Seminyak/+6282144181800/website
What to do in Bali – Days 5-8: Scuba Diving
Our major reason for staying in Seminyak was to do our PADI Advanced Open Water Course with Adventure Scuba. If you are wondering what to do in Bali to get your blood pumping and really experience some amazing natural wonders, you should consider getting some diving in. Bali has some of the most amazing diving in the world, and it is also relatively cheap.
Our Advance Open Water course included diving the USS Liberty wreck at Tulamben, diving with manta rays on Nusa Penida, and taking in some amazing dives at Crystal Bay. We completed specialized dives concentrating on wrecks, buoyancy, photography, depth, and navigation, and each day was an absolute adventure. Read our in depth article on the course in our Scuba Diving Post.
The instructors at Adventure Scuba are super professional and so friendly, it really felt like a little diving family. If you ever needed an excuse to start diving, here it is!
The advanced Scuba course plus a pool refresher was $1219 for 2 people (this included a $97 discount for booking in to Green Palms Bali)
What to do in Bali – Day 8: Trunyan Village Tour
The most unusual thing we did while in Bali was without a doubt, the Trunyan Village tour. This tour is part dark tourism and part cultural experience, and a must do for all the off the beaten track tourists out there. For an in depth look at this tour read our Trunyan post.
Trunyan Village Cemetery
A short boat ride on the lake under Mount Batur gets you to the burial grounds of Trunyan Village. This Balinese cultural gem has the most unique burial practices on the island. Using the amazing scent of the Bunyan trees surrounding the area, the villagers do not bury their dead, but rather leave them above ground. The Bunyan trees prevent the bodies from smelling bad, and the experience of being around the bodies is pretty surreal and very odd.
The 20 minute boat ride is 750 000 IDR, and you will be expected to provide a donation at the cemetery.
Toyah Bungkah Natural Hot Spring
These hot springs stem from Mount Batur and are well worth a visit. I had terrible sunburn at this point, and the hot water of the springs was absolute heaven on my tired skin. I could have stayed in the water all day, so if you have extra time and are not sure what to do in Bali, go here!
Entrance is 150 000 IDR per person and includes a small welcome snack and drink. You will also get towel and a key to a locker to make sure your valuables are safe.
Pekraman Batur Village, Toya Bungkah/081338633519
Grand Puncak Sari 2
Our lunch was at a huge buffet style restaurant that was simply delicious. I can’t tell you too much about the prices, as it was included in our tour price, but I was highly impressed by the range of food available. With views onto Mount Batur, this restaurant is unusual and worth a visit.
Tirta Empul Temple
The final stop of the tour is the famous water temple of Tirta Empul. This place is always busy, so be prepared for crowds but don’t let them keep you away. The gorgeous grounds and beautiful ponds and pools really make this temple something special. If you are feeling adventurous you can even take part in a cleansing ceremony and get into the water yourself! Make sure you pick up a sarong on your way in, and don’t forget to hand it back in before you leave. Also be prepared for a hectic market on your way out, so keep your bag close and don’t get too caught up in all the tourist chaos.
Entrance fee is 15 000 IDR
The Trunyan Village tour described above costs 1 700 000 IDR for 2 and includes all your entrance fees, an English guide, and hotel pick up and drop off. Book it through Eco Bali Tours here.
What to do in Bali – Day 9: Nusa Penida
No list of what to do in Bali would be complete without a detour to one of the neighboring islands. If we had more time I would have loved to travel to one of the Gili islands, but since we just had one day left, Nusa Penida made the most sense. With daily fast boats leaving from Bali, it is entirely possible to do Nusa Penida in just one day, though I would recommend using a tour guide to get the most out of your limited time.
We took an amazing day tour with Nusa Penida Guiding, and we wrote a post about it with all the details here. Nusa Penida guiding has many tours available depending on your time available and what your priorities are. If you love being in the ocean and are passionate about nature I would highly suggest including snorkeling in your itinerary. Nusa Penida is home to giant manta rays and mola mola, so you can be sure to have an absolutely magical experience swimming amongst these gentle giants.
Fast boats to Nusa Penida leave from Sanur and take about 50 minutes. You can book them here for around 125 000 IDR per person one way.
Nusa Penida Guiding provides tours that include fast boats, and can add hotel pick up and drop off for an extra fee. The tours also include a great lunch and awesome English speaking guides.
Our tour cost 1 100 000 IDR per person and you can book it here. Get in touch with them via WhatsApp at +6283114380513
Have you figured out what to do in Bali?
I know that there are so many people who say that Bali is over done or over touristy, but I beg to differ. Bali has some of the most welcoming people and the most amazing art and culture in the world, and you shouldn’t let crowds scare you away. There are many off the beaten path adventures to still be had in Bali, and you can also really make a difference by using sustainable, local organizations that benefit from your money and engagement. Bali should be high up on your paradise bucket list, and hopefully we can help you find out what to do in Bali when you go.
Let me know if I’ve missed anything out, I’d love to hear what you found in Bali!
If you’re looking for a more general guide to travelling around Indonesia then make sure to check out this post by My Funk Travel – Indonesia Backpacking Route.
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