Coming to Bali for the first time and trying to figure out a list what you should see during your visit? Let me share my 10 tips what are absolutely must do + see things on this beautiful island. It’s definitely not all the amazing stuff you can do here but those are definitely the ones to consider first! (You can also watch my quick video on 10 things to see in Bali)
#1 Stay in Ubud for 2 or 3 days
Ubud is a little town in the centre of the island. So yes, it’s rather far from the ocean but it is definitely worth visiting. Most of the tourists would visit Ubud for few hours during their daily trip around the island, but I suggest you go to Ubud for at least two days! Whatever you can see there in a short 2-3 hours stay is not the Ubud that is worth visiting! This place has really awesome hidden gems that require some more time and more relaxed schedule. What exactly is Ubud famous for? Yoga classes, awesome spa & massages and healing centers, vegetarian/raw food/ healthy food spots, enormous amount of galleries and artists living in one place, beautiful sceneries, rice fields trekking routes and lots of other stuff. To know more about Ubud and what to do there please read this blog post.
#2 Spend a day exploring white-sand beaches of Bukit Peninsula
The most beautiful beaches of Bali are definitely located in Bukit Peninsula which is the most southern tip of Bali. Bukit has slightly different nature and landscapes than the rest of Bali, this unique place is home to a very beautiful coastline with cliffs, hidden white sand beaches, great reef breaks with clear blue water. If you are not staying in Bukit you should definitely plan a day that you can spend on one of the beaches there.
My favorite spots in Bukit: Balangan beach with its simple local beach shack cafes and beautiful viewpoint from the cliff; Bingin beach with it’s surfers vibe and little warungs and homestays nestling on the cliffs; Padang Padang beach as almost the only place where you can swim in a still water (waves are breaking far in the ocean); Greenbowl beach with it’s 300 hundred stairs you have to climb to get there; or Nyang Nyang beach as the most deserted place with almost no people ever because of its more than 500 stairs down from the cliff! Or if you have any reasons to splurge you should spend a day in Finn’s beach club on the private beach.
#3 Climb one of the Bali’s volcanos
One of the best adventures that you will definitely remember is volcano trekking. There are two volcanos that have hiking trails in Bali: Batur and Agung. Batur volcano is the easiest hike with something like 1.5hrs climb; it’s considered a relatively easy hike and everyone can attempt it. Agung volcano is a 4hr hike and requires good physical form. All the hikes are usually done right before sunrise (which basically means at night using a flashlight) so when you reach the summit you can see beautiful sunrise from there. You will require a guide to hike a volcano but it’s easy to find when you are in Bali.
#4 Visit one of the hindu temples
I would suggest visiting more than one temple, but if you are not into that kind of things, visit at least one of the biggest temples. What I like about temples in Bali that they are usually located in a very beautiful scenery, they have very unique architecture you won’t see anywhere else and visiting them it’s just a very beautiful experience.
My top suggestions for temples will be: Tanah lot temple, Uluwatu temple, Pura Besakih temple, Pura Lempuyang temple. Tanah Lot & Uluwatu are the most visited by tourists and it’s definitely will be very crowded there, nonetheless they are beautiful places to visit. The best time is just before sunset (5pm). Pura Besakih is also touristic but it’s different from the first two ones, first of all because it’s located at the slopes of Agung volcano and second, because it’s considered the Mother Temple of Bali. Pura Lempuyang is much less touristic and it offers beauitful views and it’s actually my favorite one now because it’s a place where you can do some trekking and explore several temples at the same time with no tourist crowds around.
#5 Enjoy watching sunset at the beach
Every day in Bali at around 5pm you start developing a routine of heading to the beach to enjoy the sunset. The touristic south of Bali is blessed with beautiful sunsets and sometimes you can even see the sun diving into the ocean. Balangan or Bingin, beach in Seminyak or Kuta or even in Canggu – everywhere is good for sunset. But few favorite spots of mine are: Single Fin bar at Uluwatu, La Plancha beach cafe in Seminyak, little beach bar Sandbar in Pererenan beach or another one in Berawa beach. On the fancier side you should consider El Kabron beach club in Dreamland cliffs or KuDeTa or Potato Head clubs in Seminyak. In Ubud one of my favorite spots to watch sunsets is Sari Organic cafe in the middle of the rice fields.
#6 Smimming in a waterfall
Bali has enormous amount of waterfalls. And they are really worth visiting. I am not suggesting visiting all of them but to visit one or two is a great adventure. Most waterfalls are located in the rain forest and require short 20-30 minutes hike through the jungle. In some of the waterfalls you can swim (or just get wet;) and in some you can even jump! My favorite waterfalls are: Sekumpul, Yeh Mempeh, Aling-Aling.
#7 Rice fields trekking
Rice fields, rice paddies and rice terraces are definitely one of the top things that come to my mind when I am thinking of Bali. When you go on the day trip around the island the tour guide will probably bring you to some view point where you can see rice fields. The most famous ones are Jati Luwih, Tegalalang and Sidemen. But my suggestion is to go rice fields trekking! Take your time and spend half an hour or even an hour just randomly walking through the rice fields (Jati Luwih has a designated trail for that).
#8 Snorkeling & diving in Amed
One of the areas to explore is definitely the east of Bali with its black sand volcanic beaches and it’s scenic beauty of sleepy fishing villages. In Amed you can also go for swimming / diving or snorkeling since the sea is more calm there compare to the south of Bali. Amed is definitely a getaway spot, so don’t expect crazy nightlife or a lot of happenings there. But all the basic tourist amenities are there!
#9 Eat seafood in Jimbaran
This is one of my personal favorite things to do in Bali. Yeah, Jimbaran got really touristic in past years but it’s still a great food experience everyone should try at least once. So around the sunset time or just right after sunset head to Jimbaran beach cafes for dinner. They serve fresh seafood prepared on grill using local sauces (not spicy). The tables are set right at the beach, at the sand actually, so don’t wear high heals lol. It’s not a cheap place (since it’s really touristic), but I guess 15$ for one kilo of grilled shrimp is still a price worth paying. So you order all your food by weight and you get complimentary plain rice, local sauces and local salad kangung (water spinach) and a small fruit plate as a dessert. Fish, shrimps, clams and grilled squid are the best thing to order. (Don’t order sets, order everything by weight). There are several beach cafes along Jimbaran beach, but my favorite ones are the ones close to Four Seasons hotel, that area is either called Four Seasons beach or Muaya beach.
#10 Souvenirs and handicrafts from Bali
Last but not least! Buying souvenirs in Bali is an unique experience. There are so many handicrafts and so many truly awesome things you can bring from Bali to decorate your home. Ranging from cheap souvenirs you can buy in the streets of Kuta or Legian and to real masterpieces in painting or wood carving you can get from galleries in Ubud. Great places to look for souvenirs are usually Ubud Art Market and Sukawati market (this one is cheaper). Things for home decoration you can buy in all the small street shops in Kerobokan street or in villages around Ubud.
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