Well-known for its warm hospitality, the "Island of Gods" is not only one of the most popular holiday destinations in Southeast Asia, but is also the home of an ancient culture. Exotic temples and palaces set against stunning natural backdrops. towering volcanoes and pristine jungles greet you with plenty to see and do. Different seascapes await you with exciting surf locations and world-class diving spots. Beach clubs and calm bays, flowing rice fields, valleys and forested rivers offer plenty of opportunities to explore, have fun or just relax.
Things to do in Bali
1. Visit temples and palaces
Make the famous picture at the Gate of Heaven, visit the most iconic Tanah Lot temple perched on the rocks in the open sea and admire the view from the 70m high cliffs of Uluwatu Temple. You shouldn’t miss a visit to the ancient water palace Tirta Gangga and the King’s Palace in Ubud to encounter the ancient history of the island. Be part of family rituals and ceremonies or visit a Balinese healer to experience for yourself the ancient traditions and wisdom. Be enchanted by the temple dances, or enjoy the traditional Barong dance at the feet of Batur volcano in the Ulun Danu Temple.
2. Day cruises
See more of the region on a half or even a full-day sea voyage. Catamarans and sailing boats might take you on fun-filled cruises around the waters of the Nusa Islands. See the Devil’s Tear, bathe in the waters of Crystal Bay and visit turquoise blue Cruise around the Gili Islands or go further to explore the shores of Lombok. Couples may also go on romantic sunset cruises to hidden bays paired with dinner and those who seek adventure can try themselves in rafting the white water rapids of Ayung river.
3. Surfing
Surfing is an all-time favourite in Bali. There are a collection of great surf spots, mostly around the southern coasts where reef breaks, lagoons and varying conditions create great waves for both veteran surfers and newbies. Learn to ride the waves or improve your skills. Depending on the tide you can visit different beaches at different time of the day. Go with an expert instructor, who knows where you can enjoy the most epic scenery and the best waves. If you are unsure just enjoy yourself in a beach club and grab a board if you feel like it.
4. Diving and snorkeling
Bali has been extremely popular with divers. The waters around the island are abundant with extensive coral reefs and magnificent marine life. Submerge yourself in thriving and vibrant underwater world at the largest biorock reef, see dolphins and go for snorkeling along the black sandy beaches in the North of the island. Sail over to Nusa Penida and explore the underwater beauties at Crystal Bay and admire the huge manga rays, cruise further to the shores of Lombok or Gili to swim with sea turtles or go on a private dive trip to Komodo.
5. Day trips and excursions
Exciting excursions and unique sightseeing opportunities are plentiful in Bali, from the cultural to the action-packed. Journey into the heart of Bali and see authentic villages on the slopes of the Batur volcano, be part of local everyday life, or go on a full-day nature adventures,biking around rice terraces,hiking in the jungle and bathing in waterfalls Adrenaline junkies may enjoy the jungle scenery while wild water rafting or during a twilight elephant trekking. For the very special experience the beautiful sunrise from up above from a hot-air balloon.
Our insider tips
Ben’s recommendation
I very much enjoy to watch the underwater scenery and I learnt diving in Indonesia. To be underwater is one of the most relaxing activities for me and whenever I have time I visit the North-East coast of the island to go snorkeling or diving. I’d definitely recommend to visit Nusa Penida, where beside of the breath taking coral reefs you might have a good chance to meet manta rays.
Lucy’s recommendation
Being a big fan of water sports I couldn’t resist to learn surfing in Bali. Although the first steps are not that hard and Bali is the best place to learn I’d definitely recommend to take a good instructor to build the basics. Make sure to not only visit the well-known popular beaches, but also ride the waves in hidden bays or go to the neighboring islands.
Adam’s recommendation
Recently arrived in Bali I was impressed by the ancient culture of the Island. The deep connection of the locals to their ancestors and the several ceremonies taking place constantly in one of the villages are truly amazing. Witnessing one of the local traditional ceremonies gave me more insight into their mystic heritage and at the same time I felt welcomed by the Spirits of the Island. I’d recommend not to miss the opportunity to be part of a traditional local ceremony, getting closer to local people and customs.
Trevor’s recommendation
I moved to Bali from the West Coast two years ago in order to live a more peaceful life in harmony with nature. Up until today when I’m in need for some relaxation and recharging I travel away from the beaches and visit the spiritual heart of the Island, Ubud. A visit to the temples, the view of the rice terraces or just a visit to the Sacred Monkey Forest, playing with the little apes always reminds me of the beauty and simplicity of life.
Good to know

How to get there?

Although you can reach Bali by a ferry from the Eastern coast of Jawa Island, most people arrive by plane to Ngurah Rai International Airport. Nationals of 169 countries can visit Bali visa-free (for 30 days), while Visa on Arrival applies for others at USD 35 (extendable once).

Best time to visit

Being close to the equator the temperature in Bali varies only between 26 and 32 Celsius and its always warm and humid. The rainy season is between October and April while the dry season is between May and September. During the dry season the temperature might be a bit less and it can be more windy, while in the rainy season it’s hotter and more humid. High season and best time to go is between May and August.

How to get around?

There is no real public transportation on the island so in order to get around you might hire a car with driver (renting a car is not a recommended option due to the chaotic, always congested traffic and the price is usually nearly the same) or rent a motorbike.Taxis are quite cheap, but be aware of tourist scams. Local ride-hailing apps like Go-Jek or Grab might be a better solution and are also available in English.

Where and what to shop

Bali is where international and world-famous designer brands can be found right beside local and handmade curios, which range from fine art and handicrafts, unique homewares, antiques, jewellery, delicately carved wooden sculptures, up to woven and dyed fabrics (called batik). The island offers a varied shopping scene, from fixed price to bargain, and from genuine to knock-off items. Art markets are favourites for souvenir and bargain hunters, but if you’re not really into haggling and looking for a more modern shopping scene, head into any of Bali’s pleasantly air-conditioned malls.

Language

The official language is Bahasa Indonesia, but in the touristic places you get along with English.
However here are some important phrases:
Good morning/afternoon/evening/night! -
Selamat pagi/siang/sore/malam!
Thank you! - Terima kasih!
You are welcome (literally translated same-same) - Sama-sama!
Yes - Ya
No - Tidak

Currency

The local currency is rupiah (IDR) and no other currency is accepted. Credit card payment is in the bigger shops and in most of the restaurants accepted, but mostly with a 3% surcharge. Service fees are usually included in the bill.

Connection and network

4G is widely available in the populated areas and SIM cards with data package are not expensive and available at kiosks and convenient stores.
Electrical plugs are two-pronged ‘Europlug’ type (20 Volts, 50Hz).

Safety

Tap water is not potable; ice in drinks at established bars, hotels and reputable restaurants are usually safe. Travellers to Bali can often be affected by what is known as 'Bali Belly' which is basically an upset stomach or travellers' diarrhoea. Sometimes caused by bacteria found in local foods or drinking water but most often caused by an increase in exotic foods, too much food or an increase in alcohol intake. It will usually clear itself up sometimes within 24 hours, other times is may take a couple of days. In case of emergencies, dial 110 for police and 118 for ambulance.