12 In Asia/ Indonesia

Bali Bucket List: 32 Must See Places In Bali

Last updated on Mar 9, 2020 It's pretty likely that this article contains affiliate links. If you click on them I might receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you.

Bali is a beautiful island in Indonesia and an extremely popular backpacking destination. There are so many things to see and do, from hiking volcanoes to rice fields and beaches that it’s easy to be overwhelmed and not know what to visit.

If you’re planning a trip to Bali and don’t know where to start, this Bali bucket list is the place for you. I’ve teamed up with other travel bloggers to bring to you the ultimate guide to the must see places in Bali that you can’t miss.

In this guide of what not to miss in Bali I’ve ironically included also some locations that aren’t in Bali.

This because destinations like Nusa Penida and the Gili islands are easy to reach from Bali, and have become increasingly popular stops in every backpackers Bali itinerary. I figured it wouldn’t be an ultimate Bali guide unless it included all the must visit places in Bali and beyond.

Before you read on, have you booked your accommodation in Bali already? If not, check out these awesome villas with private pools in Bali!

Enjoying the sunset in Gili T, admiring Lombok in the distance

Enjoying the sunset in Gili Trawangan, admiring Lombok in the distance

Beautiful beaches & fun beach activities not to miss in Bali

Kelingking Beach

“We all know Bali is one of the very best islands to visit in Asia, but we have to admit it, at times it feels way too touristy.

And while being touristy is not necessarily a bad thing, if you want to experience a wild Indonesian island and see what Bali used to look like 15 years ago, you need to visit it neighbour – the Nusa Penida island.

View over the famous t-rex of Kelingking Beach, photo by Global Castaway

View over the famous t-rex of Kelingking Beach, photo by Global Castaway

Home to plenty of stunning natural sights, the absolute highlight of Nusa Penida is Kelingking Beach.

The T-Rex shaped cliff creates one of the most breath-taking views, not only in Asia but in the entire world. It’s also the perfect place to get your new Instagram profile picture.

If you dare to climb the steep pathway down and reach the actual beach, you are up for a treat. The turquoise water surrounded by palms and white sand beach creates the most stunning tropical postcard scenery imaginable!”

– by Verislav, author of Global Castaway

Kelingking Beach, photo by Global Castaway

Kelingking Beach, photo by Global Castaway

Kuta Beach

“No ultimate Bali guide would be complete unless it included Kuta Beach. This is one of the beaches that are located close to the airport.

Being so easy to reach, the beach gets crowded, with travelers often heading there as soon as their flight lands in Bali. Kuta is a favorite of the young travelers community, and of people who love surfing or want to learn how to surf.

The beach regularly gets fantastic waves, and the city has a great selection of accommodation options for any style and budget. What the beach lacks in terms of beauty – it gets crowded and somewhat dirty – it makes up with the fabulous light at sunset.

The westward location makes it one of the best spots on the island to admire sunset. Make sure to head there for a sunset walk or for a sunset photo shoot!”

– by Claudia, author of My Adventures Across The World

Sunset at Kuta Beach, photo by My Adventures Across The World

Sunset at Kuta Beach, photo by My Adventures Across The World

Pasut Beach

“Bali is a popular beach destination – however, more and more visitors seem to be a little bit disappointed since some of the most popular beaches can be pretty crowded and dirty at times.

One of the hidden gems Bali has to offer (and my favourite beach I discovered while backpacking Bali) is Pasut beach, located about an hour up the coast of Canggu/Seminyak and easily reachable by scooter.

Since there’s barely any tourist infrastructure (besides one small hotel), chances are high that you’ll have this wide, black-sand beach almost entirely to yourself.

I spent an entire day there, strolling along the long beach and watching a beautiful sunset in the evening. If you’re looking for a beach escape far away from the other tourists, Pasut is the place to go!” 

– by Patrick, author of German Backpacker

Pasut Beach, photo by German Backpacker

Pasut Beach, photo by German Backpacker

Snorkel with turtles in Gili Trawangan

Gili Trawangan is one of the three Gili islands, in Lombok, a short two-hour ferry away from Bali. The whole island is entirely pedestrian, meaning that the only ways around the island are either by bicycle or by horse cart.

The island is blessed with pristine beaches with white sand and turquoise water all around it. And if this idyllic island life isn’t enough for you, in Gili Trawangan you will also have the opportunity to snorkel with turtles.

Enjoying the turquoise water of the Gili T beaches

Enjoying the turquoise water of the Gili Trawangan beaches

In the central part of the island there are a lot of companies that offer diving and snorkelling turtle exploration trips, or you can rent snorkelling gear from one of the many kiosks along the beach and do your own thing.

We decided to do our own thing since our hotel, provided free snorkelling gear and a reassurance that we were in the best turtle spot of Gili Trawangan.

While we had our doubts they quickly went away after we jumped in the water and after only 20 minutes of swimming spotted the first two turtles. Visiting Gili Trawangan and swimming with turtles were my favourite things to do in Bali.

One of the many turtles we saw while snorkelling in Gili T

One of the many turtles we saw while snorkelling in Gili Trawangan

Surfing in Medewi

If you’re a keen surfer, or even just a beginner who wants to learn, then you should definitely visit Medewi. This tiny surf town is located on the west of Bali, and is home to Bali’s longest left-hand wave.

It’s an easy wave that breaks slowly which means it’s perfect for all levels. There’s not much else to do here apart from surf, but the vibes are so chilled that if you like surfing, it’s easy to get stuck here and never want to leave!

There’s only a handful of cafes and restaurants so it’s very easy to make friends here. You’ll see the same people in the water as you do at night, and even in the water, there seems to be a much friendlier atmosphere than anywhere else.

There’s plenty of places to stay; if you want a relaxed surf camp, try Secret Surf Spot or if you’re looking for somewhere a little swankier, then Bombora Hotel has an infinity pool on the beach. 

It takes about 2 hours from Canggu to drive there up the coast. With the ocean on the left and rice paddies on the right, it’s a beautiful drive – just be careful as the trucks can make the road a bit sketchy.”

– by Harriet, author of Hats Off World 

Medewi, photo by Hats Off World

Medewi, photo by Hats Off World

Surfing in Seminyak

Seminyak is one of the most touristy areas of Bali, the beach is very busy but it’s also very good if you’re a beginner at surfing or don’t have time to explore some of Bali’s more hidden surfer beaches.

Dotted all along the beach you will find kiosks where the locals will rent you surf boards at very affordable prices. We got two boards for a full day for less than 5 GBP each. It can get quite busy out at sea but the beach is so big there is plenty of space for everyone to catch their wave.

After surfing why don’t you sit down at one of the many beach bars, listen to some live music and enjoy some food and drinks while watching the sunset over the beach, I can guarantee it will be a lovely way to end the day.

Surfing in Seminyak, Bali

Surfing in Seminyak, Bali

 Snorkeling the Japanese Wreck in Amed

“About a three-hour drive northeast from Ngurah Rai International Airport, you’ll find the picturesque coastal village of Amed. This region of Bali has gained in popularity due to the USS Liberty wreck attracting a growing number of visitors from the diving community.

If you’re an underwater enthusiast, there’s another shipwreckin this area that’s worth mentioning: the Japanese wreck site. While wrecks are normally reserved for divers, the Japanese wreck rests on a sandy bottom a few strokes away from the shore at a maximum depth of 12 meters, making it perfect for snorkelers.

A few kilometres from Amed, follow the signs for the Japanese Wreck located outside the small village of Banyuning. In the water, you’ll see a buoy indicating the wreck where you’ll discover rich marine life and a beautiful coral garden striving on the rusting hulk of the sunken ship.

For best visibility, go in the morning and bring reef shoes as the way down the beach can be rocky.”

– by Safia, author of Nomad Junkies

Snorkeling at the Japenese Wreck in Bali, photo by Nomad Junkies

Snorkeling at the Japenese Wreck in Bali, photo by Nomad Junkies

Manta Ray Point, Nusa Penida

If swimming with turtles isn’t enough of a thrilling experience for you worry not, because Bali has even more to offer. At the nearby island of Nusa Penida you will have the opportunity to snorkel with manta rays.

“Manta Ray Point is a must see for snorkelers and scuba divers alike. It was my first time seeing manta rays and I’ll never forget their grace as they swam by.”

– Michelle, author of Intrepid Viajera 

Gili Air

“If you are looking for a relaxed retreat, then you must visit the Gili islands. The Gili islands are a very popular destination when coming to Bali for many travellers. 

The Gili islands are easy to reach from Bali and they consist of 3 islands performing Gili archipelago: Gili Travangan, Gilli Meno and Gili Air. Gili air is one of my favourite islands.

It is a very quiet island, with a relaxed atmosphere and without many people. The best thing is that on Gili Air are no scooters, no cars and dogs so you will get your deserved piece.

Surrounded by pure white sand beaches and clear water, Gilli Air is indeed a tropical paradise. This cute island has very beautiful white sand beaches. Other than relaxing on the beach, you can do many cool activities.

One of the beaches in Gili Air, photo by Beach Addicted

One of the beaches in Gili Air, photo by Beach Addicted

We did unforgettable stand-up paddling into the sunset. Snorkelling and scuba diving around the Gillies are ‘a must’ as they are surrounded by beautiful corals.

If you tired of water sports you can do yoga, go for massages and even rent a bicycle and cycle around this cute island. Don’t forget to get a photo on a famous swing in the water.” 

– by Gigi, author of Beach Addicted

One of the beaches in Gili Air, photo by Beach Addicted

One of the beaches in Gili Air, photo by Beach Addicted

Natural beauties you must see in Bali

Tegalalang rice terrace

The terraced rice fields of Tegalalang are one of the most famous and iconic sights in Bali. Just a short 20-minute drive away from Ubud you will find these beautiful rice fields stacked one over the other to form this beautiful view.

Entry is free but all along the rice fields you will find small huts of local farmers who will ask you a small donation to keep going along the trail.

It’s not compulsory and I’ve seen people push past them, but considering it’s their land and they ask for the equivalent of 1 USD or less, it’s just nice manners to give them something.

Visit early in the morning to get that beautiful golden light, and to escape the big tourist crowds.

The famous terraced rice fields of Ubud

The famous terraced rice fields of Ubud

Walking around the rice fields of Tegalalang in Ubud, Bali

Walking around the rice fields of Tegalalang in Ubud, Bali

Sekumpul Waterfalls

“Who doesn’t love a “take-your-breath-away” waterfall.

They are plentiful in Bali, but perhaps known as the most beautiful of all is Sekumpul Waterfalls, around 2 hours north of Ubud, which is actually a cluster of 7 waterfalls, cascading down the mountainside.

It is a long drive, and a bit of a trek, however the entire journey is incredibly scenic. The trek will include passing by local homes, seeing rice terraces in the distance, mountainous jungle as far as the eye can see, and great views of the falls.

A massive decent down steep steps and across the river will finally bring you to the impressive falls where you swim.

Sempuku waterfalls, by My Feet Will Lead Me

Sempuku waterfalls, by My Feet Will Lead Me

At the parking lot, there are guides for hire when you arrive, and although you can refuse their pushy services, having a guide has its benefits.

They will lead you on the route with the safest and easiest places to step, as you are walking through the river some of the time, and take pictures for you. Plus, it’s an opportunity to learn about the country by asking a local questions.

Accessing Sekumpul waterfalls requires traveling down (and back up) many stairs and along slippery rocks across a river but it’s well worth the effort. A swimsuit, water shoes, dry bag, towel, and drinking water are necessities.

Because the journey is a bit more difficult than other falls, it is not crowded and you may even find yourself one of the few people there. The invigorating energy of these falls will leave you mind blown.”

– by Jess, author of My Feet Will Lead Me

Sempuku waterfalls by My Feet Will Lead Me

Sempuku waterfalls by, My Feet Will Lead Me

Tukad Cepung Waterfall

“Bali has many amazing waterfalls, but Tukad Cepung deserved a place in Bali Top 10 because the waterfall is located inside a cave & it’s a hidden gem since not many travelers know about this place.

It’s located in Bangli, around 1,5 hours from Kuta/Seminyak or 40 minutes from Ubud by car/motorbike. Once you get there, from the parking area you will find a locket where you can buy the ticket for a small fee to help the locals maintain the place, then your adventure begins!

You will need to walk down through some stairs & trek through the forest to get to the river. Then you have to walk a bit in the shallow stream & walk through the narrow cave to get in.

Once you get inside you will be amazed by everything, water falls from the opening on top of the cave the way the sunlight hits the waterfalls, also there’s a beautiful valley with big rocks that you can climb.”

– by Sasi

Tukad Cepung Waterfall, shot by @sashi_mie

Tukad Cepung Waterfall, shot by @sashi_mie

Hike Mount Batur

“If you’re looking to see the Island of the Gods from heaven itself, Mount Batur is the place to do that.

An active volcano that last erupted in 2000, Mount Batur is among the island’s sacred sites, and the mountain is the centre of both lore and legend.

However, there are no limitations on hikers summiting the peak, providing they do so with a registered guide.

Sunrise from the top of Mount Batur, photo by Maps and Mandalas

Sunrise from the top of Mount Batur, photo by Maps and Mandalas

The big draw for Mount Batur is to arrive at the peak as the sun is rising. This means making the upward climb at night after being picked up from your hotel sometime in the very, very early hours of the morning.

It’s a thrill once you get to the top and realise how far you’ve come, and even more of a thrill on the way down when you realise how perilous the climb was, but absolutely worth it the entire way through.”

– by Oceana, author of Maps and Mandalas

Oceana in Mount Batur

Oceana in Mount Batur

Sunrise hike at Kawah Ijen

While we’re talking about volcanoes and sunrise hikes, figured I couldn’t not talk about Kawah Ijen. Once again this isn’t actually in Bali, but on the neighbour island of East Java.

We went there on a 24-hour trip from Bali so figured it should also be included in this list! We set off on our hike at 2am, and after climbing up under a beautiful starry sky we made it to the top in time to see the electric blue flames, a natural phenomenon visible only here.

We then waited for the golden sunrise and explored the crater of Kawah Ijen, which is actually filled with water and is the largest acid lake in the world.

Standing over the crater of Kawah Ijen, looking down at the biggest acidic lake in the world

Standing over the crater of Kawah Ijen, looking down at the biggest acidic lake in the world

The sun breaks through and turns East Java pink

The sun breaks through and turns East Java pink

Waterfalls in Munduk

“Munduk, a tiny town in northern Bali, is a great place to seek out if you want to explore the interior of the island and would rather escape the relative bustle of Ubud.

It’s a good base for day trips in the surrounding area, but there are also some waterfalls in Munduk to explore. It’ll take you a few hours to walk between them and the trail starts close to town.

The waterfalls are world class and there are a few small warungs where you can recharge with a cold drink and a bite to eat (hiking in Bali is hot work!). After visiting the waterfalls you can relax in one of Munduk’s restaurants, most of which look out over awesome views.”

– by Jon, author of Jon Is Travelling

Munduk waterfalls in Bali, photo by Jon Is Travelling

Munduk waterfalls in Bali, photo by Jon Is Travelling

Must visit temples in Bali

Lempuyang Temple

“Pura Lempuyang Luhur Temple, also known as the Gates to Heaven is the perfect place to get an incredible instagram worthy photo.

The intricate gates showcase the active Mount Agung volcano in the background. The gates are located at the start of the large temple complex which features seven total temples. Climbing up a mountain leads to each temple.

Reaching the top temple takes around 3 hours to complete and is a very sacred pilgrimage to the Balinese people. The best time to take photos is at sunrise or sunset.

Entrance is donation based, but it is expected to pay around 20k per person. Sarongs are mandatory, but they are provided free of charge.”

– by Yana, author of Beard and Curly

Lempuyang Temple, photo by Beard and Curly

Lempuyang Temple, photo by Beard and Curly

Tanah Lot

Thanak Lot is often included in the lists of must see places in Bali, so it’s only natural that on my first trip there I wanted to go see it in person.

However I have to say I was very disappointed by it. Since it features in all the Bali bucket lists, be prepared for huge tourist crowds.

The temple itself is very impressive, perched on a rock in the middle of the sea (or just on a big rock surrounded by the beach, depending on the tide level) but you can’t actually visit the inside of the temple.

There is a set of steps along the side of the rock that you have to get blessed (and pay a small donation for) to walk up but it won’t actually lead you in the temple, stopping half way up the rock.

The beach isn’t a surfing or chilling beach, being mostly rocky, so there is little to do there other than see the actual temple. There are some lovely restaurants with a view of the temple and sea all along the coast, which despite the crowds, make for a beautiful sunset spot.

Golden hour at Tanah Lot, Bali

Golden hour at Tanah Lot, Bali

Pura Bratan Temple

“Pura Ulun Danu Bratan or Pura Bratan is a stunning water temple in Bali situated on the shores of Lake Bratan. This temple has significant meaning to the local people.

It serves as a place of worship and offerings to the water, lake and river goddess, Dewi Danu. This temple is situated in the heart of Bali about a 50Km drive north of Denpasar, this temple is a little hard to get to making it less touristy.

The temple sits on a lake which provides a beautiful reflection if you go at the right time of day. Surrounded by mountains, Pura Bratan is a very unique water temple and one worth visiting.”

– by Erin, author of Have Compass Will Travel

Pura Bratan temple, shot by Have Compass Will Travel

Pura Bratan temple, shot by Have Compass Will Travel

Tirta Empul Temple

“This traditional spring water temple is a peaceful oasis not far from Ubud and the Tegalalang rice terraces. It’s a sacred place for Hindus, and the water is supposed to be spiritually cleansing.

Whether you bathe in the holy water, look at the traditional Hindu temples and architecture, or simply walk around and enjoy the gardens and tranquillity it is definitely worth a visit whilst in Bali!

Tirta Empul Temple, by Anika

Tirta Empul Temple, shot by @anikapetal

There are several pools of water within the temple complex, and many buildings to explore. It’s a beautiful place, and a very nice change of scenery for most as you are able to see the traditional side of Bali and the Hindu religion.

Entrance is 15.000 IDR, and when visiting you should dress in appropriate temple attire – or make use of the colourful sarongs offered when entering.”

– by Anika

Tirta Empul Temple, by Anika

Tirta Empul Temple, shot by @anikapetal

Gunung Kawi

To escape the hustle and bustle of central Ubud, board a scooter to Gunung Kawi. This 11th-century temple is one of the holiest places to visit in Bali, yet it doesn’t receive as much footfall as some of the others.

If anything, this is more of a reason to go! Nestled within a small village on Ubud’s outskirts, the location is surrounded by rolling countryside. As you make your way down several flights of stairs towards the temple you’ll marvel at the greenery and tiered rice terraces that Bali is known for.

At the bottom, you’ll see the holiest section of Gunung Kawi: the 10 candis carved into the rock face. These are funeral monuments each measuring 7 metres tall, dedicated to King Anak Wungsu and his seven favourite queens.

As well as these intricate carvings dating back several centuries, you’ll find countless other shrines and temples dotted around the site. The only downside: Taking the steps back up!

Note – you need to have your legs, and ideally your shoulders, covered to visit Gunung Kawi. If you don’t have a sarong you can hire or buy one at the entrance very cheaply.”

– by Rose, author of Where Goes Rose

Gunung Kawi, photo by Where Rose Goes

Gunung Kawi, photo by Where Rose Goes

Uluwatu Temple (pro tip: visit at sunset!)

“A trip to see the magnificent sunset at the Uluwatu Temple in Uluwatu should be on everyone’s Bali bucket list. The temple is perched high above the sea, offering you the most amazing views of both the ocean and skyline.

Get ready to see some beautiful pinks, purples and reds. I recommend head there just before sunset and stopping at the shop and grabbing a few Bintangs before arrival.

Find a spot on the far right side of the temple on the walls and get ready for the best sunset of your life. Also remember to bring something to cover your shoulders and knees if you’re a woman; and do not wear sunglasses on your head or anything else that a monkey can steal.

The monkeys around here are notorious for stealing items, so be prepared! This will forever be one of my favourite romantic things to do in Bali and, to be honest, anywhere in Asia! So do not miss out.”

– by Cazzy, author of Dream Big, Travel Far

Sunset at Uluwatu temple, photo by Dream Big, Travel Far

Sunset at Uluwatu temple, photo by Dream Big, Travel Far

Must try food & drinks in Bali

Eat an Acai bowl in Canggu

Bali has become an increasindly popular destination especially for digital nomads. Instagram is full of photos of tanned remote workers or digital entrepreneurs that choose to settle and work remotely from a trendy coffee shop in Bali.

You will see most of their photos with a laptop on the table, an acai smoothie bowl in hand and a colourful hipster wall behind them.

As a digital nomad but unfortunately not based in Bali, I felt like I had to try this experience when I visited Bali. While acai smoothie bowls aren’t traditionally a Balinese dish, they have become associated with the Bali lifestyle.

So on your next trip to Bali head to Canggu and start your day with an acai smoothie bowl, brownie points if they write “Love Bali” or your name on it with pieces of fresh fruit.

A very instagrammable meal at one of the coffee shops in Canggu, Bali

A very instagrammable meal at one of the coffee shops in Canggu, Bali

The Lawn Canggu

Continuing on the trend of immersing yourself in the Bali lifestyle (but not necessarily Balinese culture) another must visit foodie location is The Lawn in Canggu.

The Lawn is a trendy beach lounge with an infinity pool, tasty food and lovely cocktails. While being a bit pricier than other bars in Bali (cocktails are around 120k IDR – approximately 7 GBP) the venue is worth it.

If you want to enjoy a drink while watching the sunset over the sea and then party the night away on the beach, The Lawn in Canggu is the place to do so.

Cocktails at The Lawn Canggu

Cocktails at The Lawn Canggu

Wanna Jungle Pool Bar

“Wanna Jungle Pool Bar is a 3-level infinity pool bar at the beautiful Kayon Jungle Resort. Located about 40 minutes from Ubud center, Wanna Jungle overlooks a stunning landscape of the lush tropical valley and rice paddies.

Wanna Jungle is not a typical party pool bar like many others found in Bali, but rather a destination to recharge and relax amidst the beautiful surroundings.

There are day-passes available to non-hotel guests at various price points depending on package you choose, with packages starting at 300 RP. A menu of different tapas selections is available should you get hungry, in addition to a full bar with non-alcoholic beverages such as fresh fruit smoothies and wellness tonics.

Out of all the pool bars in Bali, Wanna Jungle is absolutely one of the most instagrammable, and will transport you to the idyllic Bali setting you have always dreamed of visiting.”

– by Mona, author of MonaCorona 

Wanna Jungle Pool Bar, photo by MonaCorona

Wanna Jungle Pool Bar, photo by MonaCorona

Potato Head Club

If you haven’t had enough of cool beach and pool bars yet worry not, there are plenty in Bali to keep you busy!

“Designed by a renowned architect, the Potato Head Beach Club in Bali has a couple of restaurants, a bar, a tropical garden, an infinity pool to die for and superb sunset views. Indeed one of our Indonesia adventures highlights!”

– by Inma, author of A World To Travel 

Sunset at the Potato Head Beach Club, shot by A World To Travel

Sunset at the Potato Head Beach Club, shot by A World To Travel

Dining at Locavore Ubud

“Dining at Locavore Ubud should be on any food lovers list of top things to do in Bali. A relatively new addition to the Bali dining scene, Chef Eelke and his team make their restaurant in central Ubud a destination in itself.

Instead of a wine pairing, Locavore offers a cocktail pairing with the tasting menu. The cocktails not only pair with each course, but focus on the uber-local, zero kilometer ingredients, just like the cuisine.

The restaurant offers a tasting menu, and an Herbivore menu for the vegetarians thats descend on Ubud. Tasting menu prices range from $50-100 per person.

It’s a bit of a splurge for many travelers, but in comparison to many other restaurants that feature on the list of the top 50 restaurants in Asia, it’s a great value. The key dish that makes Locavore a destination is Into the Sawah, made with heritage rice, snails, garlic, a 64 degrees duck egg, frog, and wildflowers.

The intent is to give the impression of dining on the famous Bali rice fields. As someone who lived for over a year in Ubud, surrounded by the rice fields, this dish is so Bali. Locavore is on Jalan Dewi Sita in the heart of Ubud. Reservations are strongly recommended.”

– by Amber, author of With Husband In Tow

Dining at Locavore Ubud, photo by With Husband In Tow

Dining at Locavore Ubud, photo by With Husband In Tow

 Try a Balinese cooking class

“If you are a foodie, you’re in luck because Balinese food is delicious and we recommend you take one of the many cooking classes offered on the island.

One of the higher quality classes is the Paon Cooking Class in Ubud, which offers both morning and afternoon sessions. Other than cooking your very own traditional Balinese Indonesian meal, there’s a lot more you will learn here.

You’ll visit a rice paddy with your host and discuss a bit about rice farming. If you attend the morning session, you’ll also take a trip to a traditional local market. At the class itself, you’ll learn about the host’s traditional garden and local herbs.

Paon cooking class, photo by RTW Guys

Paon cooking class, photo by RTW Guys

The cooking class is organized inside Mr. Wayan and Ms. Puspa’s traditional Balinese home. They do a great job in welcoming guests, explaining essential elements of Balinese culture and customs that are very interesting, and conducting a quick tour of their house and garden.

This cooking class is fun and entertaining. While preparing your own ingredients, you will enjoy interacting with fellow guests and locals, as well as learning about how complex flavors are combined and cooked into a tasty meal. If you’re a vegetarian, they have delicious options for you as well.”

– by Halef & Michael, author of The Round The World Guys

Paon cooking class, photo by RTW Guys

Paon cooking class, photo by RTW Guys

Unique local experiences not to miss in Bali


“If you want to experience an authentic island life off the main tourist track, head to Sidemen for the ultimate, quintessential Bali: rice terraces, local village life, traditional farming, and palm trees and jungles for as far as you can see.

Sidemen is located about an hour east of Ubud is easily locatable on Google Maps. While being accessible from the main tourist hot spots of Bali, Sidemen remains a world away from the hustling and bustling south.

The main “attraction” in Sidemen is to soak in the breathtaking panoramic scenery of the hills and valleys and enjoy the peaceful countryside. You can sign up for guided trekking/hiking/cycling tours in the main town of Tabola. 

Spend at least one night in Sidemen to explore the hills and immerse yourself in this enchanting village of traditional Bali. It’s becoming more and more rare to witness local life on this fast-developing island. Take advantage of it while you still can!

– by Mo, author of Travelust 101

Sidemen, photo by Travelust

Sidemen, photo by Travelust 101 

Watch a Kecak Fire Dance

We saw this fire dancing performance in Ubud but there are a lot of places around Bali where you can experience this.

The Kecak Fire Dance is one of Balii’s most iconic art performances, famous for using strong human vocals instead of musical instruments, and for well you know, a guy dancing on fire hot coals. It’s a unique Balinese experience that you can’t miss in Bali.

The fire dancing performance in Ubud

The fire dancing performance in Ubud

Stay in a treehouse

“Bali is an amazing destination to visit if you want to experience living in a treehouse for a night! There are so many incredible hotels, homes and eco lodges in Bali that you can actually stay in, most with breathtaking views of green rice paddies or the ocean.

Some are luxurious, for a blow-the-budget trip of a lifetime, but some are incredibly affordable even for solo travellers. There are pages of amazing Bali treehouses on Airbnb to spark your wanderlust.

When I was in Ubud, I stayed in two treehouses because I couldn’t decide between them! One was a towering bamboo nest at an Eco Lodge, only accessible by climbing up a ladder, that swayed in the breeze! Staying here was one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had.”

– by Maire, author of Temples and Treehouses

Firefly Eco Lodge Treehouse Bali, photo Temples and Treehouses

Firefly Eco Lodge Treehouse Bali, photo Temples and Treehouses

Setia Darma House of Masks and Puppets – Stories by Soumya

“The Setia Darma House of Masks and Puppets in Sukawati is definitely Bali’s best-kept secret. Located only 15min away from the Ubud city center, the place sees only a handful of tourists throughout the year.

However, their collection is vast and eclectic. The museum houses more than 1300 masks and 5700 puppets from all over the Indonesian archipelago, Africa, China, and Japan.

Items are displayed inside heritage Javanese homes called “joglos” which are vintage in themselves. Setia Darma aims to promote Indonesia’s age-old tradition of puppetry and mask-making including that of famous Indonesian Shadow Puppets – The Wayang Kulit.

The museum is open every day between 8am – 4pm. Entry is free and donations are appreciated. If you are looking to do something different in Bali, then this is the place for you.”

– by Soumya, author of Stories by Soumya

Setia Darma - Bali puppet museum, photo by Stories by Soumya

Setia Darma – Bali puppet museum, photo by Stories by Soumya

Ubud Monkey Forest

The Monkey Forest in Ubud is one of the most popular attractions in Bali. It’s a large temple and park area where monkeys are allowed to roam free.

Entry is around 3 GBP and you will find a lot of tourists wandering around, feeding the monkeys and taking photos of them. Be careful when you feed the monkeys because as soon as you feed one, all the others will storm you and try to steal your food!

I’ve seen monkeys open backpacks and steal plastic water bottles, hats and headphones so nothing is really safe from their grasp. The Monkey Forest itself is very beautiful, with elaborate statues, trees growing over the bridges and small streams.

If you don’t want to pay to get inside the monkeys don’t know the boundaries and you will often hopping around the parking area outside, so you can just drive outside the Monkey Forest, snap some photos and move on with your Bali tour.


One of the cheeky monkeys in the Monkey Forest of Ubud

One of the cheeky monkeys in the Monkey Forest of Ubud

Bike Riding Tour near Ubud

“If you want to see the real Bali and enjoy a range of different experiences in one day, a bike riding tour is a great option. There are a range of different bike riding tours near Ubud and we chose Ubud Cycling Bike tour.

We visited a school, a coffee plantation, visited Mt Batur lookout, were shown around a Balinese family compound, rode bikes through the Bali countryside and enjoyed lunch at a traditional warung surrounded by rice fields.

Take along a pair of sneakers and put on some active wear as the day is full of exercise. It is for a wide range of ages, the youngest on our tour was 18 months old, as a van follows the bike tour so you don’t have to ride the whole way if you get too tired. It is an experience you won’t forget.”

– by Kate, author of Rolling Along With Kids

Bali Bike Tour, photo by Rolling Along With Kids

Bali Bike Tour, photo by Rolling Along With Kids

Have you been to Bali before? How did you find it? Let me know in the comments below!

This is the list of must see places in Bali according to myself and other travel bloggers, if you’ve done something else in Bali that you think should feature on this guide let me know and I’ll include it.

I want this to be the ultimate Bali must visit guide so your input is welcome! Want to know more about Bali? Check out this Bali travel guide, or read here the 10 things you should know before travelling to Bali.

Enjoyed reading about the 32 must see places in Bali? Pin it!

Collage of temples and beaches in Bali with text overlay saying "the ultimate Bali bucket list for 2020"

Collage of temples and the terraced rice fields in Bali with text overlay saying "the ultimate Bali bucket list for 2020"

Collage of temples and beaches in Bali with text overlay saying "30+ most epic things to do in Bali"


  • Reply
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    […] how I split a week between Bali and Singapore. To my surprise, I fell in love with Bali. I can’t recommend it […]

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    July 22, 2017 at 10:13 pm

    Oh those beach chairs are calling my name. I cannot wait to explore the waterfalls in Bali. So beautiful!

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      July 23, 2017 at 6:57 am

      Haha I know the beach chairs are the best thing for a chill evening! 😉

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    Shoestring Travel
    November 17, 2018 at 12:53 pm

    Loved the photographs and the waterfalls in Bali are beautiful.

    • Reply
      November 24, 2018 at 5:11 pm

      Thanks, glad you like my photos!

  • Reply
    December 12, 2018 at 12:45 pm

    Thank you so much for this article. I fell in love with Bali from reading your article. A few friends an I are heading our way to Seminyak, Bali in late April. We will be staying in a beautiful villa and we got a great deal for it and it is beautiful but I don’t wanna spend all my time in it so the plan is to visit as many destinations as we can and make as many photos as humanly possible 😀 Hopefully beautiful as yours.
    Thanks again

    • Reply
      January 15, 2019 at 5:35 pm

      Hi Lucas, thanks for the comment, glad you like my post! Hope you have an amazing time in Bali 🙂

  • Reply
    January 18, 2019 at 9:53 pm

    I haven’t yet made it to Bali although it is on my to-do list. My mum is actually going later this year though so I will be sure to show her this post. Thanks for the inspo 🙂

    • Reply
      January 24, 2019 at 9:12 am

      Thank you for the comment, glad you found it useful! Hope your mum has an amazing time in Bali and you also visit one day!

  • Reply
    February 20, 2019 at 2:20 pm

    Ahh love Bali so much! Cant wait to be back there in April!

    • Reply
      February 25, 2019 at 10:13 am

      Bali is so amazing! I’m hoping to head back there soon too 🙂

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