36 Popular Things to Do in Bali in 2018

24 August 2018
An iconic Aussie holiday destination for many years, the Indonesian island of Bali doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of slowing down in popularity.

And while there’s nothing wrong with lying on a beach drinking out of a coconut, there’s plenty more this tropical destination has to offer. Here we have rounded up 36 popular things to do in Bali to help you soak up that Indonesian culture and natural beauty.

1. Nourish your body, mind and soul at Blooming Lotus Yoga

With 94% of Trip Advisor reviewers giving the centre a five-star review, it certainly appears the team at Blooming Lotus Yoga in Ubud have got a good thing going. Specialising in four- and seven-day yoga retreats as well as 200-hour yoga teacher training, the main focus of the Blooming Lotus Yoga studio is to help clients explore the spiritual and meditative practice of yoga.

Surrounded by lush Balinese jungle, and to the soundtrack of the local wildlife, the retreat aims to enable you to fully immerse yourself in the calm, serenity of the island, and hopefully emerge refreshed and reinvigorated.

2. Explore Sidemen in the southeast

Watched over by the imposing (and sometimes disruptive) Mt Agung, Sidemen represents a lush green area of the island of Bali that has remained relatively untouched by development and tourist industries.

Described by Green Guide Bali as the place where time stands still, Sidemen features small villages surrounded by rice fields and agricultural land, creating the perfect backdrop for peaceful hikes alongside cheerful locals. You could also hire a bicycle and cycle through the winding paths along rice fields, mountains, through the valleys of the Unda river and past countless coffee and cocoa plantations.

Source: Cheryl Ramalho (Shutterstock)

3. Visit the silversmith village of Celuk

Located approximately four kilometres southwest of the Sukawati District, the village of Celuk is Bali’s major centre for goldsmiths and silversmiths.

The local craftsmen have a reputation for their skills and industriousness and according to Hotels.com, almost every household in the village is home to families with generations of finely tuned artistic skills in developing and executing intricate jewellery designs and ornate patterns.

You can browse the main road of Jalan Raya Celuk where galleries and workshops line the road for approximately 10km and hunt for beautiful and unique souvenirs from this specialised corner of Bali.

4. Embrace the legend of Tanah Lot Temple

Described by Hotels.com as one of Bali’s most important landmarks, the Temple at Tanah Lot honours the story of Dang Hyang Nirartha, a high priest from the Majapahit Kingdom in East Java who travelled to Bali in 1489 to spread Hinduism throughout the island.

Legend says, when he was met with opposition from the village chief, the priest shifted a large rock that he meditated on out to sea and transformed his sashes into sea snakes to guard at its base. Today, an ancient Hindu shrine sits upon the sea-bound rock formation, honouring the high priest, providing panoramic views and cultural offerings.

The impressive Tanah Lot Temple. Source: Marius Doblias (Shutterstock).

5. Watch a traditional Kecak Dance at the Uluwatu Temple

Traditional Kecak Dance shows can be found across the island, but the display at the renowned Uluwatu Temple known as Pura Luhur is said by TripSavvy to be a unique experience.

The performance attracts visitors from all around the world as they simultaneously take in the temple, which is of great significance to the spiritual lives of the Balinese people.

The local villagers use the dance to tell the story of the famous epic Hindu story of Ramayana; chanting rhythmically beneath the telling of the story of Rama and his wife Sita who was kidnapped by a demon.

The show is said to provide an enthralling insight into the local culture and can provide tourists with an up-close-and-personal look at traditional Balinese culture.

Tourists watch traditional Balinese Kecak Dance at Uluwatu Temple on Bali, Indonesia. Kecak (also known as Ramayana Monkey Chant) is very popular cultural show on Bali. Source: Alexander Mazurkevich. Source: Alexander Mazurkevich (Shutterstock)

The table below displays a snapshot of travel insurance policies on Canstar’s database sorted by Star Rating (highest to lowest), with links to providers’ websites. Please note the products and Star Ratings displayed are based on a single person travelling to Indonesia aged under 70.

6. Witness the majestic Ulun Danu Beratan Temple

Located in the Bedugul region about an hour and a half from the capital Denpasar, the Ulun Danu Temple sits atop a plateau in the midst of the Beratan Lake, overlooking the clear, calm water and surrounded by mountainside.

Built in honour of the Goddess Danu, the temple is a testament to traditional Balinese architecture. According to the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism, if you arrive in time to catch the early-morning chill, a thin mist often rises from the lake and hangs in the air, surrounding the temple and giving it a somewhat surreal appearance.

Take a deep breath and let the serenity wash over you.

7. Witness Jembong Waterfall – the most organised waterfall in Bali

Tumbling down the hillside surrounded by lush Balinese jungle, Jembong Waterfall has been described by Trip Canvas as Bali’s most organised waterfall.

It is a two-storey high fall with strong currents of flowing water bouncing off stepped rock walls. It involves a bit of a hike to reach the fall itself, but feeds straight into a calm natural pool, where tired hikers can cool off after the journey.

Jembong Waterfall is located around two and a half hours’ drive from Denpasar.

8. Hold on to your valuables at the Monkey Forest Temple

The Ubud Monkey Forest lies within the village of Padangtegal and is home to around 700 monkeys along with three main temples, built around the middle of the 14th century.

Visitors can wander through the site, play with the local monkeys and aim to get the perfect selfie with the furry residents.

Be warned though, they’re light fingered and have a reputation for frequently lifting phones, wallets, caps or other items from distracted tourists.

The sacred monkey temple in Ubud. Source: Kasakphoto (Shutterstock)

9. Channel Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love in the sacred waters of Tirta Empul

You may recognise the long stone pools of Tirta Empul from the quintessential ‘travelling to find yourself’ film, Eat, Pray, Love. But this site has a history that extends long before Julia Roberts hit the water with her film crew.

Since its founding in 962BC, Balinese people have taken ritual baths in the waters of Tirta Empul, believing the waters to possess healing powers for both physical and spiritual presence. The Indonesian Ministry of Tourism encourages worshippers and non-worshippers to bathe in the waters, but be aware that the last of spouts in the first pool are reserved for purification after funerary rites.

People come from all over the world to bathe in the waters of Tirta Empul. Source: Travfi (Shutterstock)

10. Get in touch with your inner hipster at Love Anchor

Walking along Jalan Batu Bolong after the sun sets could get your Instagram senses tingling.

The Love Anchor Markets are a collection of restaurants, bars and shops, decorated with fairy lights and beach-inspired furnishings, proven to be a must-have snap for tourists.

The weekends see it transformed into a lively bazaar with plenty of pop-up stalls featuring island fashion, accessories and homewares, although be warned –  some Trip Advisor reviews say the prices can be a little higher here than other markets around the island.

11. See the journey of chocolate from bean to bar at Pod Chocolate Factory

Travel through the Balinese jungle, past the Bali Elephant Camp and to the grounds of the Pod Chocolate Factory where you could witness skilled Pod Factory staff turn the humble cocoa bean into delicious bars of chocolate or other chocolate-based treats.

The factory can be experienced through a guided tour, during which you are given the opportunity to handcraft your very own chocolate elephant.

12. Watch the sunrise from the peak of Mt Batur

With hikes usually starting as early as 2am you’d be forgiven for questioning the prospect of this activity over staying in bed.

But the Mt Batur trek has been described by one Intrepid traveller  as one of the shorter and more manageable climbs – not exactly a walk in the park, but not likely to push you to limits of your physical abilities.

And with the early start you’ll have yourself perched at the top, hot drink in hand from one of the mountain top cafes waiting to watch the first light spread across the Balinese island. Once you’ve had your fill of natural beauty, you are more than welcome to head back to your accommodation to reward yourself with a well-earned nap.

Sunrise from the peak of Mt Batur. Source: Koah (Shutterstock)

13. Go white water rafting on the Ayung River

One for the more adventurous – the enigmatic Ayung River plays host to many thrill-seeking spirits with a white water rafting trip that could leave you invigorated and most likely soaking wet. Ranked as the second best water sport activity in Gianyar by Trip Advisor, the tours are a particular favourite amongst visitors to the region.

Many of the tours say they feature quiet, slow starts that give your local guide the opportunity to teach you about the native flora and fauna and point out hidden waterfalls through the jungle.

For more information, you can check out Wira Rafting Bali.

A birds eye view of the Ayung River rapids. Source: Liem Men Sang (Shutterstock)

14. Spend the day on Menjangan Island

Roughly a three-hour drive from Kuta and a short boat ride off the northwest coast of Bali, Menjangan Island spans approximately 3,800 hectares and represents an untouched paradise within the Balinese archipelago.

The island is home to the rare Javan Rusa deer and according to Hotels.com, a coastline featuring calm waters and coral gardens teeming with marine life offering diving and snorkelling, said to have excellent visibility year round.

The island also features a collection of shrines including Segara Giri Dharma Kencana Temple with its imposing seaward-facing Ganesh statue.

You’ll need a park guide and permit, which you can arrange with most tour operators or hotels in the Pemuteran Beach area, or obtained at the park office in Labuhan Lalang. Permits are around 20,000IDR or roughly $1.85AUD and guide fees range upwards from 350,000IDR or roughly $33.00AUD.

Ocean swing on Menjangan Island. Source: Dwi Prayoga (Shutterstock)

15. Embrace the ancient art of stone carving at Batubulan

The little village of Batubulan, about half an hour’s drive from Denpasar, is Bali’s major centre for stone carving.

Stone carving is a historical Balinese art form, often lining roads and workshops across the country.

According to the Lonely Planet, traditionally the people of Batubalan produced works for temples and palace gateways, but the goods on display in the village are available for sale. Just keep in mind your weight restrictions when flying back to Australia!

16. Cool down in the Sekumpul Waterfall

Claimed by the Bali Bible to be one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Bali, the Sekumpul waterfall is located in the Singaraja region, about two hours’ drive from Denpasar.

The waterfall is made up of a cluster of six narrow cascades surrounded by lush green bamboo jungle.

There are two ways to enjoy the falls, either through the main trek to the purpose-built gazebos where you can view the falls from a distance, or through a three-hour return village trek that leads you down to the rock pool at the base of the falls.

Sekumpul waterfall. Source: Kasakphoto (Shutterstock)

17. Support the plight to save sea turtles on Serangan Island

As travellers, we are often aware that not all conservation centres are as they seem, with a number of questionable animal management techniques coming to light in the media.

However, Serangan Island’s Turtle Conservation and Education Centre is said to be doing fantastic work with the local turtle population. The centre aims to save the ever-dwindling sea turtle population in the archipelago, and some reviews say the staff are well informed, with excellent English, ready to answer any questions you might have.

You can also get up close and personal with the local wildlife and ‘adopt a turtle’ to release into the ocean.

Helping the dwindling turtle population one turtle at a time. Source Klaas Slot (Shutterstock)

18. Bathe in the Goa Gajah fountain of youth

Not far from Ubud is the temple of Goa Gajah, popularly known as the Elephant Cave.

The cave entrance is carved into the cliff face and dates back to at least the 11th century. But that’s not necessarily the most interesting part about this landmark.

Before you enter the cave you will come across a large flat courtyard featuring two bathing pools. Described by the Bali Advertiser as a ‘touch of an ancient world‘ the temple is one of the more popular te