The Top 10 Things to Do in Bali: Sand, Surf and Culture

Bali is a real bucket list destination so it’s amazing we’ve even managed to squeeze this list down to just the top 10 things to do in Bali. The infamous island of Indonesia has long been the haunt of people looking to escape it all in an idyllic paradise location where they can soak up the sun, relax by the sea and generally switch off. But which experiences and places make our list?

Tanah Lot Temple 

This is probably one of the most famous of all the temples in Bali. The often sea-surrounded island is iconic thanks to its typical Balinese style, stunning sunsets and mini island location. Well worth the visit and a way of paying homage to the traditional Indonesian sea spirits.

Tanah Lot Temple
Tanah Lot Temple is one of our favorite things to do in Bali!

Uluwatu Temple

Another iconic temple, this time perched high on a cliff near the southwest of the island. There are some incredible sunsets to be had here too, with the addition of regular fire dancers and beautiful views across the sea.


The town itself deserves a mention. This is the spiritual home for many yoga loving, clean eating and digital nomad people. Who could blame them, there’s a plethora of night markets, great restaurants and a brilliant crowd of people. It also acts as a hub to jump off to many of the islands other attractions.

Tegallalang Rice Terraces

Just a short drive from Ubud, these terraces crop up in lots of walking and hiking expeditions but are beautiful to simply visit. Time your visit to be during the rainy season and the rice terraces are an explosion of verdant lushness. Make sure to climb the far side to visit the ever pleasant refreshment sellers, ready to offer you a cool Bintang and shade.

Bali rice terraces
While Bali is known for its nightlife, don’t skip out on visiting its lush rice terraces.

Monkey Forest

One of the more commercial attractions in Bali, Monkey Forest is exactly as it says on the tin, a forest with some ancient temples that is almost completely overrun by thousands of monkeys. Be wary of plastic bottles, bags and any snacks, these monkeys don’t take no for an answer and will easily outwit even the most savvy tourist.

Ubud Art Market

Here you’ll find a mixture of classic tourist mass produced souvenirs (we still have our hand carved, beautifully decorated penis bottle opener…) and intricately handwoven fabric which make for some of the most exceptional scarves and bags you’ll ever see. Be ready to barter and haggle, very few prices are fixed.

Mount Batur

Views of Mount Batur will feature on most itineraries produced by tour companies, even if only from a distant viewpoint near Penelokan. The volcano itself is worth paying homage to, especially as it still rumbles on a fairly regular basis with over 24 eruptions in the last 220 years. Not quite as active as Agung, which erupted as recently as 24th May 2019, as well as 5 times in 2017 causing mass travel disruption and widespread evacuations!

Mount Batur, Bali
Mount Batur is a scenic paradise that every backpacker should witness firsthand.

Bali Safari and Marine Park

This is essentially a very large open plan zoo. There are over 60 different animals who are living freely in habitats which have been designed to replicate the wild. A good spot if you’re keen to see African Savannah animals on Bali, the aquariums hold fish from nearby waters however, which can be handy if you’re not into snorkelling.

Surfing in Bali

Bali offers a whole host of surfing opportunities for those just beginning or seasoned pros, there are breaks for all. If you’re relatively new to the sport or a complete beginner then opt for surfing in Seminyak or Kuta. The surf is powerful enough you barely have to paddle, the instructors are friendly and keen, board hire is cheap and there are hundreds of bars lining the beach selling cocktails, beers and superb food.

Take a Lazy Day on Diamond Beach

An incredibly beautiful beach, pure white sand, dramatic white cliffs and clear, turquoise water. It’s not all that easy to get to so you might get lucky enough to have the whole place to yourself. Truly paradise found.