Bali is known as the heart chakra of the world, its lush tropical jungle, rich culture and stunning beaches make it one of the world’s top travel destinations. If like us you’re feeling called to this sacred land and wondering what the best things to do in Bali are, read on for our highlights and unmissable experiences in Bali.
Bali is known as the heart chakra of the world, its lush tropical jungle, rich culture and stunning beaches make it one of the world’s top travel destinations. If you’re feeling the deep call of wanderlust Bali is sure to offer a soul enriching experience for any traveler.
Bali in Indonesia has become one of our homes over the past 10 years, we’ve fallen deeply in love with the place, the people, the culture and of course the food! We’re thrilled to see Bali opening it’s doors again to visitors. So if like us you’re feeling called to this sacred land and wondering what the best things to do in Bali are, read on for our highlights and unmissable experiences in Bali.
Bali’s spiritual hub, dedicating some time to tap into Bali’s rich culture is a must when planning for things to do in Bali. There’s so much to see and do in Ubud, one of our favorite ways to spend a day is simply meandering around the woven streets that feature endless local art studios, ceramics, sculptures, jewelry.
Ubud is a shopping dream with everything from boutique shops, a bustling market and street vendors selling everything from local fruits to ukuleles is an experience in and of itself.
Just being in Ubud is a cultural experience but take it one step further during your stay and visit Ubud’s Royal Palace. A complex temple system which houses intricate stone carvings. Like many spiritual sites in Bali the royal palace is an active worship site so proper dress (clothing that covers knees and shoulders) is required of both men and women. Every evening at 7.30pm there is a life performance of the traditional Kecak dance which is one not to miss.
Ubud is nestled amongst rolling rice fields, making it a peaceful center point from which you can organize many day trips around central & Northern Bali.
If like us, you have the call of the inner adventurer then a sunrise climb of Mount Batur should definitely be considered one of your top things to do in Bali. The sunrise climb means a very early wake up call, usually around 4am (depending on where you’re departing from). Mt Batur is located at the center of Bali, and is one of Bali’s famous hikes. It takes about 1.5 hours by car from Ubud, and about 2-2.5 hours from Seminyak to reach the base of Mt Batur. Batur is around 1,700 meters above sea level and from the summit you’ll greet the day as the sun rises over the volcano crater and reflects off the lake at the Mounts base.
There are many tour companies that will organize the entire trek & transportation for you. The climb is relatively short taking between 1.5 - 2hrs, and is one of the more manageable on the island, however, the elevation of 700m is steep and on loose ground so be sure to wear comfortable footwear.
Prayer praying photo created by diana.grytsku - www.freepik.com
Tirta Empul is a temple considered sacred by Balinese Hindu community with several holy springs said to have been created by the God Indra. Tirta Empul is regarded as a holy spring; the site is believed to home blessed water that purifies all those who bathe there. It is considered one of the five most holy temples in all of Bali and is considered one of the holiest water sources in Bali.
This is one of the busiest tourist spots and active place of worship in Bali. Proper dress is required: knees must be covered by both men and women.
Tirta Empul temple is located roughly 14 km northeast of Ubud. If you stay around Ubud town center, you will need approximately a 30 minutes drive. Find on the Map. To avoid the crowds be sure to go early in the morning!
The southern coast of Bali, Uluwatu is home to some of the world's most picturesque beaches. So if it's some much needed beach time you’re craving Uluwatu will certainly fulfill your tropical island dreams.
Uluwatu beach is probably THE sunset spot in Uluwatu. The beach is accessed through a cliff and so is only accessible at low tide. Spend your day enjoying the warm crystal waters, exploring rock pools and watching the surf line, before heading up to Single Fin bar which is perfectly nestled on the cliff face and offers a panoramic view of the sunset over the Indian Ocean. Take in the view with a ice cold coconut.
Amed is a lesser known gem in the north west of Bali, this quaint fishing village offers a quiet retreat from the crowds who flock to the south.
The black sand beaches offer a stark contrast to the crystal clear waters which home some awe inspiring reefs and aquatic life. Renting a snorkel or taking a dive course in Amed is a great way to use your time here. Because it’s still somewhat off the well worn tourist track of Bali accommodation, restaurants and dive courses are comparably cheaper than the rest of Bali.
Whether you’re new to surfing or have experienced more than your fair share of wipeouts Bali certainly is the place to learn to perfect your skills. With waves for all levels and world famous breaks you won’t regret taking up the board while your in Bali.
For beginners: check out Kuta Beach.
Kuta beach offers a gently rolling surf that is free from any sharp reefs and you can rent a board from the beach, or visit one of the many surf schools along the beach. If you want to try something a little less strenuous that’ll bring you out to the water, rent a body board or stand up paddle board.
For intermediates: Echo Beach
Echo beach is one of Bali’s best known surf spots located in the young travelers favorite spot Canggu. Echo beach is nestled alongside Old Man’s and Batu Balong beach. All three offer epic beach breaks which will help refine your skills, whether you’re still new to a board or not Echo beach is a surfers play ground.
For the pros: Uluwatu
This world famous surf break is not for the faint hearted, simply accessing the beach is an adventure in itself. To access Uluwatu break you’ll climb down the cliff steps where you’ll enter the channel through a point in the cliffs. Like many spots in the south of Bali Uluwatu is a reef break with razor sharp teeth, this is the spot to test your skills and keep your wits about you as swells can reach 8ft on a large swell. There are a number of intermediate spots in Uluwatu such as Padang Padang, Bingin, Balangan so you’ll have plenty of opportunity to hone your skills. Many of Uluwatu’s spots are locals favorites so be sure to respect their knowledge of the water.
Also known as ‘great temple’ or ‘mother temple’. The massive temple complex dates back to 1007 AC, and is the largest temple of Bali, it consists of 86 temples and there is no doubt you will have a great time exploring it’s complexity and beauty.
Things to note
This is a sacred place of worship. Proper dress is required: knees must be covered by both men and women.
Hours & entry
Hours: 7am - 5pm
Entry: 30,000 IDR ($2.50)
Located on the easterly point of the Island the temple is around 2hrs from Ubud and 2.5hrs from Canggu. Many people heading to East Bali choose to stay in the small beach town of Amed, which is around 30 minutes from Pura Lempuyang. You can also organize day trips from Ubud, Sanur & Canggu. View on the map.
Bali indonesia photo created by tawatchai07 - www.freepik.com
No trip to Bali is complete without visiting Tanah Lot Temple, the complex is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Bali. The sacred site is home to a a Hindu temple sitting atop the cliffs.
While Tanah Lot offers unmissable panoramic views and is a gorgeous sunset spot where you can listen to the rolling waves crashing amongst the rocks. Bare in mind it is also an active worship site and proper dress is required: knees must be covered by both men and women.
When the tide is low you can walk across the sand to the temple, but obey the warning signs as the waves are hazardous especially at high tidel.
The temple is open Mon - Sat - 7am - 7pm, Sun- 7am - 5pm and is 60,000 IDR ($5) per person. If you want to watch the sunset here try to keep this site as your last destination for the day but arrive well before sunset to avoid the crowds.
The Ubud Monkey Forest is a nature reserve and temple complex in the center of Ubud. It’s notably one of Ubud’s main attractions as it’s home to over 500 long-tailed Macaques. The forest is a lush jungle of around 27 acres and at least 115 different species of trees.
You can walk through the reserve exploring the three main temples in the complex which date back to the 14th century and take pictures with the monkey’s. You can even buy bananas and other treats to feed the monkey’s but beware, if you have anything loose on you like a phone, sunglasses or water bottles the monkeys are notable for their pickpocketing skills.
The forest is open 9am - 5pm daily (last entry 4.30pm), and entry costs 50k ($4 USD) per person.The sacred forest is situated at the Monkey Forest Street, which is the main street of Ubud, you won't miss it! Bike parking are restaurants are close by on the street. Find on the map.
Monkey photo created by nikitabuida - www.freepik.com
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Uluwatu temple symbolizes the place between heaven and earth where spirituality meets. An awe inspiring temple perched on the clifftop over 70m above sea level is certainly worth a visit if you’re heading to Uluwatu. There are regular performances of the Kecak dance at sunset which are a beautiful way to round off your day! This is a sacred place of worship. Proper dress is required: knees must be covered by both men and women.
Uluwatu Temple sits about 45 minutes from the Denpasar and Kuta area by road.There's no public transportation to get here. The most convenient way to get there is to drive or go on a guided tour like Uluwatu Temple Tour. Pura Luhur Uluwatu is open Monday - Saturday - 7am - 5pm and entry is around 15,000 IDR ($1)
If like us you’re somewhat of a self proclaimed foodie you’ll fall in love with traditional Indonesian cuisine. Indonesian cooking packs a punch of complex flavor. Be sure to visit a Warung to test some local delicacies where many dishes are made using traditional techniques. There are some stand out dishes in Indonesian cuisine including Nasi Goreng, Mie Gorgeng, Cap Cay, Gado Gado, Satay and Rendang curry. However, one of our favourites is Nasi Campur, this consists of a tasting portion of multiple dishes of vegetables, corn fritters, potato, meats, tofu & tempe served on a banana leaf with rice.
Often you’ll see a Warung with many different options from which you can pick & mix your plate. This is hands down one of the best choices to experience the best of Indonesian cuisine in Bali. Some of our favorite warungs are: Yeye’s in Uluwatu, Warung Blanjong in Kuta, Warung Neylan Canggu.
Once you’ve whetted your appetite, learning to cook like the local should definitely be on your list of things to do! There’s a number of cooking classes available around the island, many include visiting a local market to choose your ingredients before heading back to a specially set up kitchen to make your dishes. Usually you’ll make 3-4 dishes and the best part is you get to try everything & take the left overs home with you!
If you’re looking for a course and a truly local experience check out Lobong Culinary Course . This course is held in a local community with plenty of opportunity to connect and learn secret recipes handed down through generations!
Indonesian food photo created by freepik - www.freepik.com
In Bali dance is a form of devotional expression and there are many artistic masterpiece in the form of a dance and musical drama to take in.
Traditional dances are usually held at held in the open air at sunset. The Kecak dance is one of the most inspiring telling the story of the Hindu epic the Ramayana. Starting at dusk the performers weave the tale of Hanuman’s (the Hindu monkey god) devotion to Rama an incarnation of Vishnu the preserver. The story takes place from dusk to dark, as the tale unfolds in torch light.
The Kecak dance gets its name from the chanting of ‘Cak! Cak!’ the call of the monkey’s, there is no music or material backdrop, rather this epic performance relies on the stunning scenery of its locations and the movements of its performers. Watching a Kecak dance is one of the top things to do in Bali when you’re looking to become immersed in its rich culture. Our favorite performance spot is Uluwatu Temple at sunset.
This is a beautiful paved walk along the Campuhan Ridge. This walk definitely showcases the immense nature of Bali. The walk is roughly 1.2km and takes around 20 - 25 minutes each way and we suggest heading there at sunrise for an unforgettable way to greet the day. The Campuhan Ridge is located on the north side of Ubud and is in easy walking distance of the main town. See on the map.
In recent years Canggu has become a mecca for young travelers, surfing tribes, and spiritual community. Canggu is one of the busiest spots for tourism on the island and rightly so as it has something to offer everyone.
The beach in Canggu has been voted one of the best beaches in the world, it boasts 8km of golden sand. There’s plenty of trendy and tastefully decorated beach bars to relax with friends.
At sunset you can take in the beautiful views over the horizon, before spend your afternoon at one of the trendy pool – or beach bars in Canggu. All of these are beautifully decorated bars such as Finns, Cabina Bali and La Brisa, there are great spots to spend an afternoon, watch the sun go down with friends. These bars usually have music or events happening in the evening and are a great way to meet fellow travelers.
Canggu also offers some of Bali’s best shopping. Many well loved surf and skate brands have set up shops in Canggu, you’ll also be able to find local handicrafts, bespoke jewelers and be sure to hit up the gypsy market to get your hands on those unique to Bali pieces.
Canggu also offers a wide array of restaurants from local warung style, epic pizza places, famous smoothie bowl spots and vegan and plant based havens. Whatever your belly’s craving you’ll be sure to find it in Canggu. Some of our favourite spots include:
Canggu is a great place to base yourself and experience the truly chilled vibes that only Bali can offer. The main town is also nestled amongst rice paddies, if you’re feeling like exploring take the time to rent a scooter and head out through the rolling fields.
A little known secret in Bali is that many of the luxury resorts will let you use their spa facilities for a small fee.
One of the most breath taking spas in Bali is at The Istana which located atop Uluwatu cliffs overlooking the famous Uluwatu surf break. Going for the view alone is worth it, however, for 200k ($13) you can use their sauna, steam room, hot and cold dunk pools, infrared sauna and swimming pool for up to 3 hours. You do need to book ahead of time to claim your spot, we recommend going for the 3pm - 5.30pm time slot. Once you’ve enjoyed the facilities you can stay and enjoy the sunset around the bonfire. There’s also a restaurant on site if you wanted to make a full day of it.
Bali is known for it’s spa treatments and unique massages that draw from centuries old techniques such as reflexology and use traditional blended ingredients for delicious smelling oils. For a fully rejuvenating experience be sure to book yourself a 90 minute Bali massage - 60 minute is never enough!
The Bali hash is a running event that takes place every Saturday at 4pm. Whether you’re a walker, jogger or professional runner all are welcome including kids!
The hash is a great way to see more of Bali as the location and route change each week and can take place all across the Island. Every week there is the option of either the long or short route. For international visitors there is a joining fee of 60.000 IDR ($4). Read more about the has here.
When you think of Bali it’s likely that the views of the impressively stacked rice fields of Tegalalang are called to mind. One of UNESCO’s considered Cultural Heritage sites, the lush green field covers over 600 hectares. No trip to Bali is complete without spending hours roaming around these immaculately maintained fields.
The fields are a popular tourist sight, entry is around 40,000 ($3) and you can enter anywhere from 7am - 6pm. As you trek through the rice fields, there are checkpoints indicated by small huts where the locals ask for donations from visitors. We strongly suggest taking some small change with you! You can also get a local guide around the fields for a small fee.
The rice fields themselves are located just north of Ubud, and are relatively quick to reach by bike or taxi. See on the map.
Pura Lempuyang Temple in Bali is one of the oldest and most sacred temples on the island. Many know of Pura Lempuyang by the insta famous heaven's gate which is located amongst the hundreds of other temples within this sacred complex.
Despite being a tourist attraction like many places in Bali this is a sacred place of worship.. Proper dress is required: knees must be covered by both men and women.
Located on the easterly point of the Island the temple is around 2hrs from Ubud. Many people heading to East Bali choose to stay in the small beach town of Amed, which is around 30 minutes from Pura Lempuyang. You can also organize day trips from Ubud, Sanur & Canggu. View on the map.
If you have the time, heading over to the Nusa Islands should definitely make your list of things to do in Bali. Unlike the neighboring Gili Islands the Islands of Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Penida and Nusa Cennigan are relatively unknown and un touched by tourism.
A series of hidden gems in the Indian ocean, it takes just 30 minutes to reach the islands from Sanur and you can move between all three islands with relative ease. The Islands are home to some epic aquatic landscapes, there’s a number of scuba diving schools on the island who offer a variety of trips, courses and certifications. One highlight of our visits to the Nusa Islands is diving with the Manta Ray’s.
Check out Blue Corner Dive for a once in a lifetime diving experience.
Don’t go chasing waterfalls in Bali, swim, laugh, jump and play around in them! Tibumana Waterfall, just south west of Ubud, is the perfect place to do just that. The impressive waterfall site has a couple of epic falls that you can explore with staircases that will lead you down to the final falls where there is a large but shallow pool which is perfect for swimming in!
Bali truly is a magical island that is filled with a diverse population of spiritual seekers from all walks of life. Bali’s predominant religion is Hindu and her people uphold a deep connection to their culture through ceremony, daily worship and tradition.
Bali operates on a high vibration, speak to anyone who’s spent significant time in Bali and they will tell you how she welcomes you in and allows for your own transformation and soul discovery. Perhaps you already feel her call yourself!
This mystical island has become a hub for all things Yoga, Meditation, and spiritual inquiry. School Yoga Institute has had a home in Bali facilitating Yoga Teacher Trainings for over 8 years.
Bali truly is a breathtaking and inspiring location for a Yoga Teacher Training. In Bali yoga is a way of life, a state of being in devotion and connection to the rhythms of nature and the world around us. Taking your Yoga Teacher Training in Bali will offer you an insight into much more than the practice of yoga asana, you will feel the connection to this ancient lineage that is still very much living here in Bali.
Click and read more about our Bali Yoga Teacher Trainings
Wherever you are on your journey as a yoga teacher, we're here to help! If we can support you in any way please contact us!
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