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Looking for the ultimate Bali bucket list? I’d hate to make an untrue claim but depending on what you’re after, this could be the ultimate Bali bucket list for you!

If you’re planning a Bali holiday, you’ve probably researched the usual best things to do and see. But other than those, what’s going to keep you busy all day?

If beautiful beaches, the most stunning temples and clear turquoise water is what you’re after, Bali, also known as the Island of the Gods, is the perfect place for you. 

You’ll also find some of the nicest people you’ve ever met in Bali. I still can’t get over how friendly everyone was!

I visited Bali in June 2023 and it only left me wanting to see more of Indonesia. So keep your eyes peeled for me headed back there, hopefully soon.

At a glance, here are my picks for the top 10 things that should be on your Bali bucket list.

1. Soar over rice fields on a big swing

2. See the monkeys at Ubud Monkey Forest

3. Sunrise hike to Mount Batur

4. Visit the Gili Islands

5. Get the Instagram shot at the Gates of Heaven

6. Wander through Tegalalang Rice Terraces 

7. Watch a traditional kecak fire dance in Uluwatu

8. Take a bike ride through Nusa Dua

9. Stay in a treehouse

10. Water sports at Tanjung Benoa

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30 Things to add to your Bali Bucket List

1. Soar over rice fields on a big swing (or four)

Bali bucket list - Aloha Swing

On my trip to Bali, I chose the Aloha Bali Swing in Ubud as it had some great reviews and because the swing soars over lush green rice paddies.

They’re very safe, don’t worry. You’re harnessed in and for good measure there’s netting below you. I’m a bit of a wimp (even though I do silly things like throw myself out of planes) but I felt really secure on the swings.

You need to buy a package, you can’t just hop on one swing and get your picture taken. There are 8 different ‘swings’ (some are just still, some in the shape of nests). I just did 4 in total and one of the 4 viewing platforms.

You can also rent a floaty dress – it’s not 100% necessary but I’m glad I did it. I then took it off and put on my own dress for a few of the photos so I had some variation.

Top tip: get there early morning. I’m not kidding. We left our hotel in Nusa Dua at 6.30am and got there at 7.45am. It opens at 8am and I was second in line. When leaving at 9am there were at least 30 others waiting in line.

2. See the cheeky monkeys at Ubud Monkey Forest

Image by Rafe Hatfield of FlickrCC

While you’re in Ubud, you should definitely check out the Ubud Monkey Forest. It’s home to over 700 hundred wild grey macaques! The monkey population has been well managed since its inception and its mission is to protect the natural habitats of the primates, while also providing an educational experience for us visitors.

The forest is over 30 acres so it’ll take you around 2 hours to stroll around. The monkeys are fed three times a day by staff so if you’re lucky, you’ll get to see feeding time. They used to allow tourists to feed the monkey bananas and peanuts, but this has now stopped for the safety of both the monkeys and visitors.

The Ubud Monkey Forest is also home to three Hindu temples: Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal, Pura Prajapati Bedulu and Pura Beji. You can’t go inside the temples as they’re sacred but they’re still pretty impressive to look at. Especially with the monkeys clambering over them!

Recommended Monkey Forest tickets: Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary ticket and guided tour, Leke-Leke Waterfall, Monkey Forest & Jungle Swing tour, Monkey Forest, Rice Terrace & Tanah Lot private tour.

3. Sunrise hike to Mount Batur

If there’s anywhere in Bali to watch the sunrise, it’s from the top of Mount Batur. This 1717m active volcano is also one of the holy mountains in Bali.

The hike up Mount Batur is worth it just for the incredible view.

It’s an early start – about 3.30am from central Bali – with a 1.5 hour drive to the beginning of the hike in the village of Kintamani.

The tour guide was great, he’s been climbing the mountain since he was a kid! You’ll reach the summit in about 1.5 to 2 hours, just in time to watch the incredible sunrise.

And as if the sunrise wasn’t enough, the icing on the cake is bathing in natural hot springs after the hike. The hot water will sooth any aches and pains you have from the hike, I promise!

You can do this trip on your own without a guide and it’ll definitely save you money, but if you want everything organised for you, this tour is fantastic – check out the reviews.

Recommended Mount Batur tours: Mount Batur sunrise hike and natural hot spring, Mount Batur sunrise trek with guide and breakfast, Mount Batur: sunrise jeep Tour & natural hot spring.

4. Visit one (or all) of the Gili Islands

Image by Nadjabaum of FlickrCC

Next up on our Bali bucket list is to visit the Gili Islands. There are three of them – Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno. All three are known for their white sand beaches and turquoise waters.

Gili Trawangan (or Gili T) is the most popular, and most touristy of the islands and it’s known for being party central.

If you’re after some romance with the other half, Gili Meno could be what you’re after. It’s the smallest of the islands and with it’s gorgeous beaches and couple’s yoga, it’s definitely got a romantic vibe going.

Gili Air is my choice of the three. It has the most relaxing atmosphere and it’s a haven for hammock chilling – just my vibe!

None of the three islands have motorised vehicles so you can only get around on foot, by bike or (not my chosen method) by horse-drawn cart.

Recommended Gili Islands trips: Gili Islands half day snorkeling trip, Gili Islands 2 day trip with beachfront resort, private Gili Islands trip with glass bottomed boat.

5. Get the Instagram shot at the Gates of Heaven

Bali Gates of Heaven
Image by Sudamala Resorts

You know the shot.. the one everyone has on their Instagram – the “Gates of Heaven” (or Pura Lempuyang Luhur as the locals call it).

This iconic spot is located in the stunning Balinese countryside (near Karangasem in east Bali) and it’s one of the most photographed places in all of Indonesia. I have no doubt you’ve seen it before.

The main attraction here is a gate, with a brilliant view of Mount Agung at it’s back – the result is an Instagrammable masterpiece! You need to hike up over 1700 steps to get to the top and be rewarded with this amazing photo opportunity.

But how badly do you want the shot? Because if you’re arriving after sunrise, you may have to queue for between one and FOUR hours! But, if you arrive just before sunrise, sure it won’t be the usual shot, but you’ll beat the crowds.

If you book a guided tour to the Gates of Heaven, they usually arrange to get there around sunrise so you can avoid the long waiting times.

Recommended guided tours to Gate of Heaven: Besakih Temple & Lempuyang Temple Gates of Heaven tour, Lempuyang Gates, Tenganan, & Water Palaces tour, Lempuyang Gate of Heaven: Day Trip with a Photographer

6. Wander through Tegalalang Rice Terraces

Just 30 minutes north of Ubud, you’ll discover the gorgeous Tegalalang Rice Terraces. This is one of Bali’s most famous and iconic attractions. And while there are tons of other rice paddies to visit, this is the one you’ll no doubt have seen on the ‘Gram.

They’re aesthetically pleasing and they stretch for miles into the distance. If you aim to get there shortly after sunrise, that’s when you’ll get the most amazing shots – with the sun peeking through the leaves, lighting up the greenery.

Bring your swimmers if you want to take a dip in the infinity pool that overlooks the rice terraces. Again, getting there early is key to getting that shot that nobody else is in!

7. Take a bike ride around Nusa Dua

Nusa Dua is located on the south-east coast of Bali and is actually where I stayed while on the island. It’s home to pristine beaches, luxury resorts, championship golf courses and lots more.

While there are some very expensive resorts in the area, we got lucky and booked the Grand Whiz, a smaller boutique hotel, which was a fraction of the price of other hotels in the area.

The quiet streets are lined with palm trees – we started calling it Beverly Hills at one point, as that’s what it felt like – and the beach is a stones throw away.

If you’re looking for a way to take in all these sights at once, jump on a bike and go for a ride! You can rent bikes from any of the hotels in the area and you’ll be able to enjoy some of the most beautiful sea views along the way.

8. Watch a traditional kecak fire dance in Uluwatu

Uluwatu temple is located on the west coast of Bali and it’s one of the most beautiful places to watch the sunset. Perched on top of a cliff, overlooking the Indian Ocean, the sunset views are spectacular.

But even better than the incredible sunset is watching the locals perform a traditional kecak fire dance when you’re there. The dance has been passed down from generation to generation and it involves dozens of Balinese locals, all dressed to the nines, chanting, clapping and dancing.

The atmosphere is electric and it’s one of the best, most unique experiences you can have on the island.

If you don’t want to head up to Uluwatu on your own, you can join this tour group, which includes a yummy seafood BBQ at Jimbaran Bay after the fire dance is finished.

Recommended kecak fire dance tickets: Uluwatu Temple, kecak fire dance and Jimbaran Bay, Kecak dance and Royal Balinese Resort dinner ticket, Uluwatu kecak and fire dance show.

9. Stay in a treehouse

Treehouses aren’t just for kids!  And if you want to make your Bali trip a little more special, I highly recommend staying in an incredible jungle treehouse.

There are a ton of places around the island where you can rent out a treehouse for a night or two, but my recommendation is the Veluvana Bali. Set against a stunning backdrop of lush green vegetation, this treehouse is the perfect place if you want to ‘get away from it all’ and recharge your batteries.

The bed is elevated off the ground so you can take in the gorgeous views while you relax, and there’s even an outdoor terrace complete with your own pool. It’s definitely one of the most unique experiences in Bali and I highly recommend it!

10. Water sports at Tanjung Benoa

You can’t really go to Bali and not experience some water sports – it would be a sin! And Tanjung Benoa is the place to be for all kinds of fun in the sun (or in the ocean).

There’s pretty much every kind of water sport at Tanjung Benoa – parasailing, fly boarding, banana boats, ocean walking (I did this in Vietnam and it was very cool), snorkeling, jet skis, plus a whole lot more.

You can book your activities in advance, or just arrive on the day and see what’s available.

11. Hike to Mount Agung

Mount Agung is the highest mountain in Bali, standing at just over 3000 meters tall. And if you’re up for a bit of exercise and don’t mind missing a night’s sleep, you gotta give this a go.

The trek up Mount Agung isn’t exactly easy – it will take around 4-5 hours to reach the summit. But the rewards lies at the top – spectacular views of the surrounding landscape, with a sunrise that’s just unforgettable.

If you choose to do the trek with a guide, you’ll actually leave your hotel the night before – between 11pm and midnight. And then you’ll set off on the trek at around 2pm, with a view to reaching the summit by 6am / 6.30am, just in time for the sunrise.

You can also choose to do this without a guide, or you’ll likely be able to hire a guide once you get there, but I personally prefer things to be arranged for me!

Recommended Mount Agung hiking trips: Private sunrise hike with summit breakfast, Mount Agung sunrise trekking experience,

12. Swim with manta rays at Nusa Penida

Swimming with manta rays in their natural habitat is a once in a lifetime experience that you just don’t want to miss out on. And the best place for it is around Nusa Penida – an island located just off the southeast coast of Bali.

Recommended Nusa Penida snorkeling & swimming tours: 3 spot snorkeling tour with manta rays, Swim with manta rays in Nusa Penida, Full day snorkeling tour to Nusa Penida and Manta Point.

13. Take a cooking class

There’s nothing quite like tasting the local cuisine on your travels and then being able to replicate it back at home. So, if you’re a foodie, why not take a cooking class and learn the secrets of traditional Balinese cuisine?

This class takes you to a local market first to source some fresh produce, before cooking up an authentic meal. You may also get to stop by a nearby rice plantation and learn from the local farmers how the rice is cultivated.

Recommended cooking classes in Bali: Authentic cooking class in local village, Balinese cooking class at organic farm, Balinese cooking class with market tour.

14. Explore the many temples

Bali has some of the most beautiful and historically significant temples in the world, and you really can’t visit the island without checking out some of the temples.

From the stunning temple complex of Ulun Danu Temple, to the one of the oldest temples in Bali, Pura Besakih, and the famous Tanah Lot temple – perched high up on a small rock outcrop surrounded by waves.

Be sure to cover your shoulders and back – you can rent sarongs at some of the temples, but I recommend buying one as a souvenir and that way you’ll always have one to hand.

Recommended temple tours: Besakih Temple & Lempuyang Temple Gates of Heaven tour, Taman Ayun and Tanah Lot Temple Sunset tour, Tirta Empul: temple tour with optional spiritual cleansing.

15. Enjoy a floating breakfast at your hotel

Floating breakfast in Bali
Image by Kraken Places from Getty Images

Once you have your breakfast laid out for you while chilling in the pool, it’s hard to go back!

Your hotel will likely offer an amazing floating breakfast service where they bring you a lovely selection of fresh fruits, yoghurt, bread and pastries, coffee and juices straight to you in the pool. It’s not just for expensive luxury hotels – our hotel had a gorgeous floating breakfast on offer.

It’s definitely worth it to treat yourself to this luxury as the perfect way to start your day!

16. Spot the funny signs in Semniyak

Semniyak is one of the most touristy, cosmopolitan areas of Bali.

But as you wander through the busy streets, keep an eye out for signs that will leave you giggling and chuckling with amusement. Some are just funny, some are downright rude!

I haven’t included a picture as I don’t want to offend anyone, but you’ll just have to check them out for yourself.

It’s the small and amusing moments that make travel pretty unforgettable.

17. Shower under Tukad Cepung Waterfall

Tucked away in a lush jungle valley, Tukad Cepung Waterfall is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Bali. You can stand under the waterfall and feel the gentle coolness of the water running over you while admiring the beauty of your surroundings.

And if you’re a waterfalls nerd like me, you might also want to check out these famous waterfalls in Bali:

  • Sekumpul waterfall
  • Banyumala Twin Waterfalls 
  • Git Git Waterfall
  • Carat Waterfall

Other recommended waterfall tours: Sekumpu Waterfalls & Ulun Danu Temple tour, Ubud spectacular waterfalls tour, Hidden canyons, waterfall and temples tour.

18. Enjoy a drink at a beach bar

There’s nothing quite like enjoying a cocktail while watching the sun set over the ocean after a long day of sightseeing.

There’s no shortage of beach bars on Bali’s beaches where you can indulge in some delicious cocktails and tasty snacks, all while taking in the beautiful views.

We found this little funny bar at Kuta beach – yes it’s called the Tiger Itchy Bum Bar. The Balinese really do take pride in their humourous signage!

19. Watch the sunset from an infinity pool

Bali is full of hotels and beach bars boasting stunning views. And they have a thing for infinity pools, so you won’t have to look very far to find one.

There’s something about the combination of the stunning natural beauty of the island and the luxurious serenity of an infinity pool that creates pure magic. You’ll have a front row view seat to the sunset.

Treat yourself to an evening dip in an infinity pool – it’s pretty cool to be honest.

20. Take a boat trip out to Nusa Penida

Because of Bali’s close proximity to the islands of Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida, it’s easy to take a boat trip out to either one for the day.

Take your pick: explore caves, snorkel in coral reefs, go horse riding on the beach – or just soak up some sun with a cold Bintang in hand (you have to try a Bintang in Bali!).

This tour includes a speedboat over to Nusa Penida, with hidden beaches and coves, snorkeling and diving, and a stop at Angel’s Billabong, natural infinity pool.

Recommended Nusa Penida tours: All inclusive full day tour with transfers, East & west highlights day tour, East Nusa Penida, Atuh & Diamond Beach, Small group tour to Nusa Penida.

21. Take an anti-gravity yoga class

Anti-Gravity-Yoga
Image by Tima Miroshnichenko of Pexels

Anti-gravity yoga isn’t your typical yoga class – but it is a whole lot of fun!

Imagine doing yoga, but upside down, with the help of a giant hammock for support. This type of yoga is great for stretching and strengthening your core muscles in unique ways you wouldn’t be able to do in a traditional yoga class.

There are lots of studios in Bali offering anti-gravity yoga classes, but the Four Seasons at Jimbaran Bay is the most recommended.

22. Cycle across a wire 

If a giant swing isn’t your cup of tea, perhaps cycling across rice terraces will get the adrenaline going for you.

With the Ubud Sky Bike, you’ll get to cycle 20 meters in the air on a high wire, 30 meters across the rice paddies. It’s definitely something unique for your Bali bucket list!

Recommended Sky Bike tours: Sky bike and jungle swing experience, Zipline and sky bike experience.

23. Watch the sun go down at the White Rock Beach Club

Another great spot to watch the sun setting is the White Rock Beach Club. Nestled along Bali’s stunning coastline, the beach club is perched atop incredible rock formations overlooking the ocean, with some of the best views from the island and an even more impressive sunset.

The club features a stylish and relaxed ambiance, with comfortable seating areas strategically positioned to maximize your view of the sunset. Whether you choose a cozy sunbed or a cushioned lounge chair, you’ll find the perfect spot to soak up the natural beauty that surrounds you.

It’s a great place to unwind, have a few cocktails and dance the night away.

24. Enjoy panoramic views on the Campuhan Ridge Walk

The Campuhan Ridge Walk

If you’re looking for a scenic stroll amongst the lush greenery, the Campuhan Ridge Walk is definitely worth checking out.

It’s a world away from the busy streets of Semniyak and Kuta.

The trail starts near central Ubud and is a 4km round walk. And it’s pretty accessible to all as the terrain isn’t too difficult.

You’ll pass through rice paddies, small streams and various temples along the way. You’ll also likely meet others out for a leisurely stroll.

Recommended Campuhan Ridge tours: Campuham Ridge to Ubud Monkey Forest Walk, Ubud Eat Pray Love Private Tour.

25. Hop on a scooter

If you’re planning a trip to Bali, there’s one experience that should definitely make it to your bucket list: riding on a scooter. This popular mode of transportation in Bali is a unique and exciting way to explore the island.

One of the best things about riding a scooter in Bali is the freedom it gives you. You can easily navigate through traffic, zip through narrow streets, and reach hidden gems that might be difficult to access by car. The island is relatively small, and getting around on a scooter allows you to cover more ground.

Safety is, of course, a top priority when riding a scooter. Make sure to wear a helmet, follow traffic rules, and stay alert at all times. And make sure you have travel insurance. I can’t reiterate that enough (I know someone who had a scooter accident in Bali).

You can hire a scooter from literally (almost) any guy on the street!

26. Get your morning fix at a coffee plantation

Coffee beans growing
Image by Vladimir Zhdanov on FlickrCC

Want to get your day off on the right foot? Then head over to a coffee plantation in Bali and get your morning caffeine fix.

Java, Ubud and Kintamani are prime spots for coffee plantations. You’ll be able to get up close and personal with the different varieties of coffee beans and learn about the entire coffee-making process – from harvesting, roasting to grinding.

The freshly brewed drinks and snacks are obviously a major highlight, as are the captivating views of the lush jungles and terraced rice paddies.

Many coffee plantations in Bali are organic and support sustainable practices, so you can rest assured that your morning beverage was made with the planet in mind.

Recommended coffee plantation tours: Coffee plantation visit with Luwak coffee tasting experience.

27. Catch some live music at The Goat

The Goat in Semniyak has amazing live music every night from 6pm and if you’re lucky, you’ll catch Bulldog Acoustic playing there – they are an incredible rock band! If that’s your style, definitely head to The Goat for an evening beverage.

FYI they also have cocktail making classes there if you fancy it!

28. Go rafting down the Ayung River

If you haven’t already got your fix of adrenaline-pumping activities, then I suggest you go for a rafting adventure on the Ayung River. This is one of Bali’s most popular whitewater rivers and you’ll get to witness some of the islands spectacular sights along the way as you descend through steep gorges and past verdant jungles.

Rafting tours are available with guides who’ll make sure you’re well briefed and equipped with the proper attire and safety gear before taking on the rapids.

Recommended rafting tickets: All inclusive rafting experience, Quad bike and white water rafting, Premium white water rafting.

29. Get off the beaten track on a day trip

Sometimes it’s nice to be picked up from your hotel in the morning by a local guide and taken on a guided tour for the day, without having the hassle of planning things yourself.

Some great day tours from Bali include:

30. Snorkel off Nusa Lembongan

Snorkeling

If you’re keen to get in the water, Nusa Lembongan is an incredible place to go snorkeling. Just a 30 minute boat trip from Bali, the island has some of the best and most diverse coral reefs with an abundance of fish and turtles.

While many tourists head to Nusa Lembongan for snorkeling and diving, it’s still got a very chilled, laid back vibe to it.

Recommended Nusa Lembongan tickets: Tour to 3 different snorkeling spots, Speedboat to and from Nusa Lembongan, Snorkeling and mangrove forest tour.

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What’s on your Bali Bucket List?

I hope this list of 30 things to do in Bali has inspired you to add some incredible experiences to your Bali bucket list! From hiking up volcanoes and swimming with manta rays, to a bit of rest and relaxation at the beach – you’re bound to find something for your Bali bucket list here.

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