So you’re heading to Bali for the very first time – or maybe you’ve been to the island more times than you can count? No matter how many times you visit the Island of the Gods, Bali never seems to lose its unique magic. But as vibrant and beautiful as the island is, all too often travellers seem to get stuck staying in the same hotel and visiting the same old restaurants year after year. Well, we’ll have none of that! Here are some Ministry suggestions for things to do in Bali during your next holiday.
Places to See in Bali
Seminyak is one of the most popular areas in Bali. This beachside hub draws in visitors with its endless restaurants, great shopping and iconic beach clubs. Seminyak has a cosmopolitan feel to it and you’ll find restaurants covering every cuisine imaginable just strolling down the street.
If you’re looking for the hippest area in Bali, Canggu is the place to be. Located just north of Seminyak, Canggu has in the past few years grown into an incredibly vibrant hub of surfers, digital nomads and style savvy hipsters. Aptly described as the Brooklyn of Bali, Canggu offers an enticing mix of Instagrammable cafes and restaurants, great surfing, vibrant night life and cool street art.
Kuta is Bali’s original tourist spot – this is where the first adventurous surfers landed back in the day. Today, Kuta is a bustling hub of affordable restaurants, shops and hotels along with pubs and nightclubs which stay open until the wee hours. The area is very busy and the sunset views you get from Kuta Beach are still some of the best in Bali.
Also located in South Bali, Sanur offers a more relaxed alternative to Seminyak and Kuta, but there’s still plenty to do and you can easily make your way around on foot or bicycle. Sanur is lined by a beach with calm waters ideal for families and a beachfront boulevard dotted with restaurants, cafes and souvenir stalls. Sanur is a popular option for families and more mature travellers and also works as a launching point for Nusa Lembongan island.
Ubud is the spiritual heartland of Bali known for its temples, artists and rice fields. The centre of Ubud Town has developed into a bustling hub of art galleries, yoga studios, world class restaurants and health cafes. Ubud is also home to the famous Monkey Forest Temple. For a feel of the “real” Bali, you only need to drive a few minutes outside of town. Ubud’s surroundings feature stunning rice paddies and untamed waterfalls ideal for trekking, bike rides and white water rafting.
Jimbaran sits between Uluwatu and Kuta, just a few minutes’ drive from the airport. This relaxed area is home to some exquisite resorts, including the InterContinental and Four Seasons. Jimbaran Beach is a long stretch of golden sands with calm waters safe for families. Jimbaran is perhaps most known for its beachfront seafood restaurants, though there are some great fine dining restaurants in the area as well.
Uluwatu is located in the southern tip of Bali. This area is known for its majestic cliffs and it’s also home to some of the best surf beaches on the island, including Blue Point, Bingin and Dreamland. The famous Uluwatu Temple is also located here, as is Padang Padang Beach which was made famous by the end scene of Eat Pray Love. The area houses laidback surfer cafes and cool beach clubs along with fine dining restaurants located at some of the most luxurious resorts on the island.
Nusa Dua is a high-end enclave of some of the most luxurious resorts in Bali. The area also offers beautiful white sand beaches with calm waters ideal for kids. Besides the beach, the main attractions are the resorts which house fantastic fine dining restaurants which you can visit even if you’re not an in-house guest. Some resorts also allow guests to use the pool on a day pass.
For those looking for a seaside escape while also wanting to avoid the crowds, Candidasa is the way to go. Located on Bali’s southeast coast, Candidasa offers a relaxed feel reminiscent of Bali back in the day. This is a great place to relax, snorkel and enjoy day trips to the surrounding villages.
If you’re looking for an “off the beaten path” experience, it’s best to head up north. Bali’s northern regions offer fresh mountain air, beautiful waterfalls, peaceful village life and near deserted beaches. Areas like Pemuteran are ideal for diving – you might even spot some dolphins while you’re there!
Nusa Lembongan is one of three small islands scattered off the coast of Bali. The boat ride from Bali to Nusa Lembongan takes just 30 minutes. Nusa Lembongan has a wonderful relaxed feel to it with beautiful clear waters ideal for snorkelling. The neighbouring islands of Nusa Penida and Nusa Ceningan are less developed but gaining popularity thanks to their photographic scenery.
Activities to Try in Bali
Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or an absolute beginner, Bali is the perfect destination to bring your board (don’t worry, you can also rent one). The best surf breaks are located off the island’s southwest coast and most surfers flock to areas like Uluwatu, Canggu and Balian. For beginners, there are plenty of surf schools scattered along the beach in Legian and Kuta.
Bali is surrounded by the Indian Ocean with underwater wonders simply waiting to be discovered. In Bali, the best diving spots include Amed and Tulamben in East Bali – the latter is home to the famous USAT Liberty shipwreck – and Pemuteran in North Bali. The neighbouring island of Nusa Penida is also a popular destination for divers.
The main areas for kite surfing, wake boarding and stand up paddling (SUP) are Sanur and Tanjung Benoa, with both areas easily accessible in South Bali.
White Water Rafting
Besides the beaches, Bali is also home to tropical rivers which are ideal for white water rafting. This is a fun activity together with the family or a group of friends, with most tours launching from and around Ubud.
Joining a guided bike tour is a great way to get a feel of the “real” Bali while also burning some calories. Most bike tours start up north in Kintamani and finish in Ubud, allowing for a leisurely downhill ride all the way. Many tours include a visit to a coffee farm and to a local Balinese family compound.
Bali National Golf Club in Nusa Dua and the New Kuta Golf Course are your best bets for swinging your club on the Islands of the Gods. The two 18-hole courses are both located in the southern Bukit Peninsula.
Arrive to your villa in style by catching a private helicopter from the airport. Or better yet, enjoy a joy ride with a bird’s eye view of the island. The tours circle over Kuta beach and up towards Tanah Lot Temple.
Indonesian Cooking Classes
There’s no tastier way to get a feel of the local culture than by joining an Indonesian cooking class. Learn your way around spicy sambal and other local staples with cooking classes around the island. Most of the highly rated cooking schools tend to be located in and around Ubud.
Bali Equestrian Centre in Canggu along with Ubud Horse Stables offer horseback riding in two distinctly beautiful settings. Bali Equestrian Centre’s tours tend to take place on the beach, while Ubud Horse Stables offer guided tours through the region’s famous rice paddies.
Family Friendly Fun
Waterbom is ranked as the best waterpark in Asia and we guarantee your kids will love it! The park offers fun rides ranging from mellow kid-friendly options to adrenaline inducing extreme rides, so it’s bound to be a fun-filled day for the whole family. The Waterbom water park is set in a lush jungle setting, making the family outing feel all the more special.
Finns Recreation Club
If you’re looking for a one-stop shop for family friendly entertainment, you’ve found it. Finns Recreation Club is a comprehensive entertainment complex featuring multiple dining outlets along with Bounce trampoline centre, Splash Waterpark, bowling alley and Cubby House Kids Club to keep the little ones happy. For the grownups, Finns offers a great gym and tennis court.
Bali Treetop Adventure Park
Bali Treetop Adventure Park is a fun way to spend the day with the family, with tightropes, suspension bridges and flying fox lines jutting between the trees. Located at the botanical gardens in Tabanan, the park offers suitable thrill levels for the whole family along with beautiful scenery and plenty of fresh air. All materials and equipment used comply with European safety standards.
Taman Nusa is a cultural park where the whole family can explore the Indonesian archipelago in one day. From Bali to Papua and from Sumatra to Sulawesi, the park features over 70 traditional Indonesian houses and visitors get to see local artisans in action. Taman Nusa is set over some 15 hectares of land with beautiful views of rice fields and the jungle. Located in Gianyar about 30 minutes from Ubud, Taman Nusa is easily one of the best kept secrets in Bali.
Looking for more inspiration? Here are some more ideas for things to do in Bali with kids.
Temples to Visit
Tanah Lot Temple is one of the most photographed spots in Bali and deservedly so. This stunning seaside temple is built on a rock formation jutting out from the sea, located in Tabanan regency just up the coast from Canggu. Tanah Lot is extremely popular during sunset, so it’s best to head here early to beat the traffic.
Another stunning temple located by the sea, Uluwatu Temple sits in the southern tip of Bali, built on a dramatic clifftop. Uluwatu Temple offer gorgeous clifftop views any time of day, but the venue is particularly popular during sunset when the famous kecak fire dance performance takes place.
Sacred Monkey Forest
The Monkey Forest is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Ubud. Home to three Hindu temples and countless cheeky monkeys, the Monkey Forest is set amidst ancient trees that’ll make you feel like you’ve stumbled onto a Tomb Raider movie set. Enjoy a stroll through the park and keep your valuables close at hand – the monkeys are known to be master thieves!
Beach Clubs in Bali
Potato Head – Seminyak
Potato Head is arguably the most famous beach club on the island and it’s worth at least one visit just so you can tick it off your Bali bucket list. Potato Head has three restaurants, three bars and of course, that famous infinity pool looking over Seminyak’s iconic sunsets. The venue also regularly hosts world-class DJs and live music sets.
Ku De Ta – Seminyak
Ku De Ta is another iconic beach club located in Seminyak. This famed venue features a relax beachfront restaurant with an ocean facing pool along with the more upscale Mejekawi restaurant. You can lounge on a sun chair or a dine at the restaurant – either way, it’s bound to be one of your best days out in Bali.
Mrs Sippy – Seminyak
Mrs Sippy is technically not a beach club, but Mrs Sippy makes up in size what it might lack in beachfront access. The venue has a huge salt water pool and a fun jump tower which makes for some epic photo ops.
Tropicola – Batubelig
Tropicola is a retro fabulous beach club located right up the beach from Ku De Ta and Potato Head. The venue has the same owners as the popular Motel Mexicola restaurant in Seminyak, so you can be sure the style is on point, the food is yummy and the drinks are kept ice cold.
La Brisa – Canggu
La Brisa is one of the most beautiful beach clubs in Bali with its bohemian décor and direct views over Canggu’s surf breaks. During the day the setting is surprisingly family friendly and after sunset, Canggu’s beautiful party animals come out to play.
Finns Beach Club – Canggu
Finns Beach Club is a massive beachfront emporium located on Berawa surf beach in Canggu. Featuring picturesque bamboo architecture along with a 30-metre swimming pool with a swim-up bar and underwater speakers, you can easily hang out here from noon until the wee hours.
Jungle Fish – Ubud
Jungle Fish might just be the best “no beach… beach club” in Bali. Located about 20 minutes from downtown Ubud, Jungle Fish is a real all-day destination with its fabulous pool overlooking the untamed jungle. The menu offers fresh fare with a focus on local produce.
Sundays Beach Club – Uluwatu
Sundays Beach Club in Uluwatu is the perfect place to spend the day with the family. Accessible via private inclinator, Sundays Beach Club is set on one of the most beautiful white sand beaches on the island. The entrance fee includes unmotorised water sports and the venue hosts nightly bonfires after the sun goes down.
Oneeighty – Uluwatu
Oneeighty has shot to Instagram fame with its glass-bottomed swimming pool built on a clifftop high above the Indian Ocean.
Sandy Bay Beach Club – Nusa Lembongan
If you find yourself on the laidback island of Nusa Lembongan, Sandy Bay Beach Club is the place to be for scenic sunsets by the pool. The venue serves gourmet grub with a petite pool wedged between the dining area and the beach.
Restaurants in Seminyak
Year after year, Metis is celebrated as one of the best restaurants on the island and with good reason. Metis serves French Mediterranean food and also houses a gallery and boutique, hugged by picturesque lawns.
Merah Putih serves refined Indonesian cuisine in a grand indoor setting.
Zibiru is a cute Italian restaurant with authentic cuisine and live jazz playing several nights a week.
Biku is set in a beautiful wooden Joglo pavilion, serving Indonesian cuisine along with Western favourites. The venue is most known for its wonderful afternoon tea offerings.
Bikini is the place to be if you’re looking for innovative cuisine served in an incredibly trendy setting. The hot pink venue is headed by the same team behind Siterfields and BO$$ MAN located right next door.
Ava Street is a very trendy restaurant serving Peruvian food along bustling Jalan Petitenget.
If you want to impress a foodie, bring them to Teatro Gastroteque. This boutique fine-dining restaurant serves ambitious degustation menus that are perfect for those nights when you’re looking for something special.
La Lucciola is one of the grand old ladies of Bali’s dining scene but this beachfront beauty hasn’t lost any of its charm. The focus is on Mediterranean inspired dishes, with Petitenget Beach just steps away.
Kynd Community is easily one of the cutest cafes in Bali. The perpetually packed pink-themed venue serves 100% vegan dishes with some serious Instagram appeal.
Another ridiculously cute café, Coffee Cartel serves – you guessed it – great coffee along with fresh lunch bites and great breakfast dishes.
Restaurants in Canggu
Eat & Drink at The Slow is a beautifully designed trendy restaurant serving dishes inspired by European, South American and Asian cuisines. On Sundays the place serves a gorgeous Sunday brunch.
Old Man’s is located directly above Batu Bolong Beach. This iconic venue is known more for its ice cold drinks and wild parties than food – though the burgers here are particularly juicy.
Located just a hop and ski from Old Man’s, The Lawn is dotted with pretty parasols with a cute pool overlooking the beach. For dining, there is a covered dining area serving local and international cuisine.
Shady Shack is one of Canggu’s many restaurants focusing on healthy, plant based cuisine that’s also incredibly photogenic. The venue itself is also picturesque, with bohemian interiors fringed by tropical greenery.
Milk & Madu
Milk & Madu is one of Canggu’s best loved restaurants and with good reason. This stylish yet family friendly venue serves excellent brunch dishes and yummy pizzas, with a playground keeping the little ones entertained.
Crate is a popular coffee spot attracting beautiful Canggu hipsters for their daily caffeine fix.
If you’re looking something a bit more refined, the beautiful Ji Restaurant located just metres from Batu Bolong Beach is just the ticket. Serving Japanese fusion cuisine, Ji Restaurant also offers a great Sunday brunch.
Many of Canggu’s restaurants tend to be on the casual side. Ulekan Bali is one of the more refined options, serving sophisticated Indonesian cuisine in a beautiful indoor setting.
Satu Satu Coffee Company
Owned and operated by a local family, the casual Satu Satu Coffee Company draws a full house with its excellent coffee and well-priced (and delicious) meals.
Peloton Supershop is the epicentre of Canggu’s Instagram savvy vegans. Favoured by bloggers, the café is perpetually packed with diners looking for yummy plant based cuisine.
Restaurants in Ubud
Locavore is one of the most highly rated restaurants in all of Bali. The restaurant charms with its unique use of local produce in creating innovative modern cuisine. Booking a table is highly advised.
Room 4 Dessert
Another Ubud trailblazer, Room 4 Dessert headed by pastry chef Chef Goldfarb serves ambitious degustation dessert menus with beautiful wine pairings.
Bridges Bali is one of Ubud’s many scenic restaurants offering lush views of the untamed jungle. The restaurant offers a fine dining menu with Asian and Western dishes along with an impressive wine list.
Folk Pool & Gardens
Get a feel of the tropical way of life at Folk Pool & Gardens. This poolside venue features dreamy day beds, with a menu focusing on casual Indonesian and Western dishes.
Moksa Plant-Based Restaurant
Ubud is dotted with vegan and vegetarian restaurants and Moksa is one of the most popular. Moksa’s plant-based food is delicious, regardless if you’re a vegan or not, and the venue also has its own permaculture garden.
Seniman Coffee Studio
For a coffee fix in Ubud, Seniman Coffee Studio is the place to go. Located just moments from Ubud Palace, the perpetually packed café serves amazing coffee along with tasty casual grub.
Restaurants in Uluwatu and Jimbaran
Cuca is one of the most highly rated restaurants in Jimbaran, serving innovative tapas style dishes with a choice between indoor and outdoor seating.
Balique is a beautiful vintage style restaurant housed in a wooden Joglo pavilion. The restaurant serves local Indonesian dishes with a fresh modern twist.
The Warung is an exquisite fine dining restaurant located at the Alila villa resort, offering epic ocean views. The restaurant serves fine dining interpretations of local Indonesian dishes.
Single Fin offers some of the best views on the island from its clifftop vantage point directly above Blue Point surf beach. Serving casual cuisine like pizza and tacos, the venue is more known for its cold beers, epic sunsets and wild parties.
El Kabron is a swanky Spanish restaurant with a clifftop pool overlooking the Indian Ocean. Come for the sunsets and stay for a glass of bubbly.
Cashew Tree is a hip and happening open-air restaurant serving juicy burgers and fresh salads, with regular live music sets.
Restaurants in Sanur
Soul on the Beach
Enjoy a beautiful meal on the beach at Soul on the Beach, a cute beachfront bistro serving great salads, pasta, pizza and Indonesian dishes. Their sister venue Soul in a Bowl is located along Sanur’s main drag of Jalan Danau Tamblingan.
Massimo is a very popular Italian restaurant most known for its yummy gelato.
Dusk Blue Café
Dusk Blue Café is a pretty as can be restaurant serving Mediterranean inspired cuisine and excellent coffee.
Bali Buda is the Sanur outlet of this Ubud-based institution known for its healthy eats. The restaurant includes a cute health food store.
Square One is a hipster chic coffee shop providing Sanurians with their daily caffeine fix along with photogenic smoothie bowls.
Gong is a fine dining restaurant serving refined Balinese cuisine at the high end Kayu Manis resort. Definitely one of your best bets for upscale dining in Sanur.
Restaurants in Candidasa
Vincent’s is an iconic restaurant with a romantic ambiance – think candlelit gardens and crisp white table cloths – most famed for its fabulous live jazz nights. Though a bit on the pricey side, Vincent’s is definitely worth it for a special night out. The menu features international cuisine along with Balinese favourites.
Another great option for a more refined dining experience is Seasalt restaurant located at the beautiful Alila Manggis resort. A beautiful venue set amidst beachfront gardens, Seasalt’s menu focuses on local Indonesian and Balinese dishes.
Warung Bintang is a local low key warung serving excellent local cuisine along with million dollar views of the surrounding rice fields. Don’t let the humble exterior fool you – this hidden gem is definitely worth a visit or two.
LOAF brings a touch of French bistro chic to Candidasa. This cute café serves arguably the best coffee in Candidasa along with fresh salads, smashed avo, yummy cakes and more.
Rather than a restaurant, Mendira House is a cute as a button gift shop and café serving excellent lattes and yummy ice cream.
Spas to Visit in Bali
Amo Spa – Seminyak, Canggu
Amo Spa is a very popular brand with two outlets in Seminyak and Canggu. Created by former model and actress Navia Nguyen, Amo Spa offers impeccable nail treatments along with massages, facials, waxing, scrubs and other beauty treatments.
Spring Spa – Seminyak, Canggu
Spring Spa also has venues in Seminyak and Canggu. The spas are beautiful light filled spaces where guests get to enjoy massages, facials, mani-pedis, hair treatments and more.
Glo Day Spa – Seminyak, Canggu, Sanur
Glo Day Spa is trio of “city style” beauty salons centrally located in Seminyak, Canggu and Sanur. Hair styling, make up and facials along with massages are offered and they also have a barbershop for the gents.
Prana Spa – Seminyak
If you’re looking to be royally pampered, you can’t go wrong with Prana Spa. Inspired by the ornate riads and hammams of the Middle East, Prana is one of the largest spas in Bali known for its luxuriant treatment packages.
The Care – Seminyak
The Care is a highly rated day spa with a sleek and modern feel to it. Enjoy a deeply relaxing massage or opt for a facial or nail treatment.
Goldust Beauty Lounge – Canggu
If you want to go all out on self-care, why not indulge in an actual gold facial? Goldust Beauty Lounge in Canggu offers a 24-karat gold facial that’ll make you feel like royalty. Besides this very Instagrammable treatment, Goldust also offers massages, facials, nail treatments and more.
Karsa Spa – Ubud
Karsa Spa is one of the very best spas in Ubud which is the capital of all things soothing, healing and relaxing in Bali. Karsa offers a variety of massages, including shiatsu, traditional Balinese and intuitive heart massage.
Taksu Spa – Ubud
Taksu Spa is a gorgeous tropical spa located in the heart of Ubud. Taksu offers a variety of treatments, including massages, facials, hair treatments and more.
Where to Shop in Bali
Whether you’re hunting for local souvenirs or craving some high end designer gear, Bali is a shopaholic’s paradise. If you don’t feel like haggling, most shops and all shopping malls in Bali have fixed prices.
Bali Mal Galeria
Bali Mal Galeria is a spacious shopping mall located next to a busy roundabout in Kuta. The mall houses local and international brand shops, restaurants, Matahari department store and Hypermart supermarket. The mall also has a cinema.
Seminyak Village is a fairly new mall located next to Seminyak Square. Not huge in size, this upscale shopping complex features high-end shops along with a few dining options. They also have a cute “bazar” where you can pick up more stylish (and pricier) souvenirs.
Beachwalk is a modern mall directly facing Kuta Beach. The mall features international clothing brands like Zara, Pull & Bear and Victoria’s Secret. There’s also a movie theatre and plenty of restaurants and cafes to choose from.
Discovery Mall is another mall located in Kuta. Visibly older than Beachwalk, Discovery offers plenty of shops and restaurants. The mall is located right by the beach, with an amphitheatre hosting live entertainment.
Bali Collection is a large shopping mall located in Nusa Dua. There are plenty of international and local brand stores along with dining outlets and a Coco Supermarket. This being upscale Nusa Dua, prices tend to be higher than elsewhere in Bali.
Ubud Market, also known as Ubud Art Market, is a charming jumble of market stalls selling clothing, bags, jewellery and other apparel and keepsakes. A great place to pick up some souvenirs – just remember to bargain!
Sukawati Art Market
Another great place for some local shopping, Sukawati Art Market in Gianyar offers a huge selection of local art and curios. Again, be prepared to haggle for the prices.
Jalan Kayu Aya
Seminyak’s famous Eat Street is not just for the foodies – it’s also a great place to do some shopping in Bali. The street is lined with cute clothing, jewellery, surf and swimwear boutiques with fixed prices. We love Drifter Surf for beachy clothes and their curated collection of books. The famous Deus motorbike and surf brand also has a shop here.
Jalan Raya Seminyak
Just a stone’s throw from Jalan Kayu Aya, Jalan Raya Seminyak offers more shops and boutiques selling clothes, trinkets, homewares, DVDs… Basically whatever you’re looking for, you’ll most likely find it here. Our favourite shops include Biasa, Souq and Bamboo Blonde.
Jalan Batu Bolong
Canggu’s main drag has quickly developed into a real shopping destination with trendy boutiques selling chic apparel, swimwear, jewellery and surf gear. The Offering, Magali Pascal and Nalu Clothing are some of the most stylish options.
Jalan Danau Tamblingan
Sanur’s main street is lined with small shops selling your basic tourist gear along with boutiques offering more refined fashion and accessories. We love Ganesha Bookshop, while Hardy’s is a one-stop shop for groceries, clothing and souvenirs.
Insider Tips – What to Pack for Bali
- Bring mosquito repellent with you. Australian sprays tend to have a higher level of DEET which helps keep the mozzies at bay.
- An international driver’s license might not be required when you hire a scooter or a car in Bali, but if the police pull you over they will insist on seeing one. A valid license is also necessary when making an insurance claim.
- Baby and children’s equipment (cots, high chairs, strollers etc.) can be hired in Bali so leave the extra bags at home and hire what you need prior to arriving.
- Bring along a small amount of the local currency to get your started. You’ll get a better exchange rate once in Bali.
- A reusable water bottle will help cut back on plastic bottles. You can fill up the bottle at your villa or hotel.
With its stunning nature, incredibly rich local culture and vibrant cosmopolitan influences, Bali is one of the most unique places on the planet. We hope we’ve given you some new ideas for your next holiday in Bali – enjoy your stay on the Island of the Gods!