Planning your first-ever Balinese getaway? Boasting an abundance of natural beauty, countless cultural experiences, more than enough great places to stay, and so much more, there’s plenty to see and do across the much loved Indonesian island.

With so many ways to spend your time, it can be difficult to know where to start planning your holiday itinerary, so we’ve put together our picks of the top 10 things to do on your first trip to Bali (or second, or third). Take a look and take the first steps in organising your Indonesian escape!

Best Things to Do On Your First Trip to Bali

  1. Balinese sunset
  2. Bicycle tour of Bali’s rice terraces
  3. Go snorkelling
  4. Dine out
  5. Visit a Balinese spa
  6. Bali’s vibrant markets
  7. Uluwatu Monkey Temple
  8. Hit the beach
  9. Learn to surf
  10. White water rafting adventure

1. Soak up a Balinese sunset

A Balinese beach at sunset, Bali. Image Credit: Sang Valte.

There’s nothing quite like the beauty of a Balinese sunset, and there’s no better time to experience one than during a visit to the island. While there are plenty of fantastic spots to watch the sun dip below the horizon, Jimbaran Bay in Jimbaran, Lovina Beach in Lovina and Echo Beach in Canggu are among some of the best. 

Watch the sunset while unwinding on the beach or with a drink in hand at a waterfront bar. Motel Mexicola is a unique dining venue in Seminyak serving tacos and tequila galore, Café del Mar is a Mediterranean-style restaurant in Canggu with a 1000 square metre pool overlooking Berawa Beach and Single Fin Bali is a chic restaurant and rooftop bar in Uluwatu known for its sensational sunset views.

2. Take a bicycle tour of Bali’s rice terraces

Tegalalang Rice Terraces, Bali. Image Credit: Aleksandr Zykov.

Thought to have been created over a thousand years ago by the region’s farmers, Bali’s rice terraces are a spectacular feat of engineering, making use of the natural environment to allow locals to irrigate and grow their rice crops. A number of rice terraces are located across Bali, with Tegalalang Rice Terrace, situated around 20 minutes from Ubud, proving to be a popular choice for visitors to the island. 

Join a bicycle tour and see the impressive structures at a relaxed pace and with the guidance of a local in the know. Tour operating companies like Bali Bike Baik Cycling Tours, Bali Road Bike and Bali Hai Tour host cycling adventures through some of the most amazing pots on the island, combining sightseeing and culture for an unforgettable experience.

3. Go snorkelling

Fish and coral in the waters of Lovina Beach, Bali, Indonesia
Fish and coral in the waters of Lovina Beach, Bali. Image Credit: Sergey.

The waters surrounding Bali are home to an abundance of colourful and fascinating sea life, spanning from manta rays and turtles to a wide variety of fish species. Strap on a snorkel and head to one of the island’s many great diving sites and enjoy a taste of Bali’s impressive biodiversity. 

Some popular snorkelling spots include Nusa Dua, one of the most exclusive resort areas in Bali, situated in the island’s south and with a reef barrier that stretches for 500 metres, and Amed on Bali’s east coast and showcasing a plethora of coral reefs, tropical fish and reef sharks.

Those who’ve been snorkelling a few times and feel comfortable in the water can explore the Balinese waters by themselves, but if you’d rather be accompanied by someone more experienced, you can always book a tour!

4. Dine out

Selemat makan served on Kuta Beach, Bali. Image Credit: Jos van der Hoek.

Whether you’re looking to enjoy a plate of freshly cooked local fare or perhaps something a little more familiar, many of Bali’s major tourist hubs offer a wide selection of dining choices. Take your pick from regional Indonesian cuisines, a number of Western-style options and plenty of other Asian favourites. 

Enjoy friendly table service at one of the island’s many restaurants or grab a bite to eat on the go at a no-fuss street stall. Discover a modern take on Indonesian cuisine at Sangsaka, sink your teeth into a slice of pizza at Da Maria Bali or enjoy a contemporary Australian lunch at Mason whenever you’re missing home. 

Vegans and vegetarians are also spoiled for choice while travelling through Bali, with a variety of top-notch plant-based restaurants to choose from, including Peloton Supershop, Falafel Temple and Samadi Bali.

5. Visit a Balinese spa

A spa treatment room at Le Meridien Nirwana, Bali. Image Credit: Matt_Weibo.

Spanning from half-hour treatments through to all day indulgences, a visit to a Balinese spa is the perfect opportunity to kick back, unwind and relax. 

Regardless of if you’re looking for a low-cost taste of luxury or a high-end experience, you’ll find all manner of spas scattered across the island, including Dala Spa in Kuta, Karma Spa in Uluwatu, COMO Shambhala in Canggu (if you’re looking for an overnight spa) and Spa at Maya in Ubud.

Offering menus filled with a combination of local Balinese and traditional Western treatments such as massages, facials, manicures, pedicures and body scrubs, there’s sure to be a spa that ticks all your boxes.

6. Browse Bali’s vibrant markets

Ubud Market, Bali, Indonesia
Ubud Market, Bali. Image Credit: Sergey.

Stocking an impressive variety of goods, from homewares and clothing to fresh ingredients and hot food, a visit to Bali’s bustling markets is an experience in itself. Meet some of Bali’s friendly locals, find a handcrafted souvenir to remember your time on the island or simply spend time soaking up the vibrant atmosphere. 

There are a number of great markets held across Bali, with some popular favourites including Sanur Night Market, a backpacker-friendly market in Sanur where you’ll get to taste local foods at a cheap price, Kereneng Night Market, the second-largest traditional market in Denpasar where you’ll find everything from batik clothes to fresh produce and handicrafts, and Kuta Night Markets in Kuta, the perfect spot to get all your Balinese keepsakes.

7. Spend time at Uluwatu Monkey Temple

Uluwatu Temple, Bali. Image Credit: Steve Davidson.

Positioned on a steep cliff approximately 70 metres above sea level, the Uluwatu Monkey Temple is a historic religious site home to fantastic views, impressive architecture and hundreds of resident monkeys. Dating back to the 10th century, the Hindu temple is said to be guarded against bad influences by its primate residents and is a spot well worth adding to any Indonesian itinerary.

Keen to encounter more wildlife in Bali? Complete your itinerary with a visit to the Bali Bird Park & Reptile Park, Kemenuh Butterfly Park, Bali Butterfly Park or Elephant Safari Park Lodge.

8. Hit the beach

Nusa Dua Beach, Bali. Image Credit: Jumilla.

As an island province, Bali is home to an abundance of beautiful beaches, spanning from untouched stretches of snow-white sand, such as White Sand Beach at Padangbai, through to popular swimming spots loved by tourists and locals alike. Set some time aside to swim, surf or simply soak up the warm Indonesian sun and enjoy a side of Bali that keeps travellers returning to its shores time and time again.

At Bingin Beach or Medewi Beach, you’ll have the opportunity to surf the perfect waves, while the calm waters of Nusa Dua Beach are perfect for those travelling with little ones. Looking for a secluded beach to get away from the crowds? Try Thomas Beach or Suluban Beach.

9. Learn to surf on Kuta Beach

A surf lesson on Kuta Beach, Bali, Indonesia
A surf lesson on Kuta Beach, Bali. Image Credit: @yb_woodstock.

As one of Bali’s most popular surf beaches, Kuta Beach, situated in the Kuta region, offers plenty of opportunities to learn how to surf or brush up on your board riding skills. Take your pick from one of the many surf schools that operate along the 5km beach and learn how to ride waves from an experienced instructor.

After trying your luck at surfing, take a stroll to the small vendors selling ice cream, beer and light snacks along the beach or if you’re craving something more, cross the road to explore a variety of dining spots at the Kuta beachwalk. If you can, stay for sunset for the most magical views of the sun going down into the ocean.

10. Enjoy a white water rafting adventure

White water rafting in Bali. Image Credit: @yb_woodstock.

Although Bali is often associated with relaxing spa treatments and lazy beach days, there are also a few opportunities to get your heart racing and enjoy the island at a faster pace, such as white water rafting. 

Experience some of the island’s beautiful waterways first-hand and discover a different side of Bali’s natural beauty in the process. There are plenty of different places to enjoy a white water rafting experience, from Denpasar to Ubud and a number of other destinations scattered across the island.

Planning your first holiday to Bali? Now you know ten things to do during your getaway! Be sure to check out our beginner’s guide to Bali to learn even more useful information, and find and compare a great range of cheap flights to Bali, Bali holiday packages and hotel rooms in Bali with Webjet.

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