It was 5 years ago when my partner Alastair first joined me here and we fell in love with Bali. It’s the people and the incredible vibe you get from being here. But I feel so many people come to Bali and go to the same place, stay at the same hotel and do the same thing. With so much to see and do, eat and experience in Bali here are some Ministry suggestions to give you some inspiration of what you can do during your next holiday in Bali, Indonesia.
Here Are Our Tips on What to Do in Bali Indonesia
Places to See in Bali
In the centre of the island amongst the ancient rice terraces and lush rainforest, Ubud is often seen as the artistic heart of Bali. It is here that many visitors come for the galleries, wood carvings, silver markets, dance performances, palaces and festivals of music and dance. It’s also become home for the healing arts of yoga and holistic practices, with many wellness retreats on offer.
Nusa Lembongan is a half hour boat ride from Sanur, off the south east coast of Bali. It’s a perfect getaway from the tourist hustle. It has no traffic and few other distractions apart from the beach. The clear waters attract a host of sea life. A must see apart from the fantastic snorkelling all year round.
Kuta is the centre of Bali’s tourism hub; bursting with bars, restaurants and nightclubs open to the early hours. Its narrow streets are lined with tourist must haves and souvenirs sold by the street vendors. You’ll be inundated by choice for what to buy or look at with so much on offer. Despite all the action the beach remains a haven. It remains the beach of choice for those learning how to surf in Bali.
This area is named for the venerated temple that lies at the most southern point of the island. It plays host to the best surfers in the world; many who visit annually for the legendary breaks on the eastern side of the peninsula. It’s also become a popular location for weddings in Bali with stunning Cliffside villas overlooking the Indian Ocean. 5 star resorts will allow you to pay and visit their private beaches for a day.
Located further up the beach from Seminyak, Canggu remains picturesque despite the housing boom built up around an increasing expat market. And as a consequence cafes and shops catering to their tastes have added life to the area. Nevertheless green swathes of rice terraces still line the roads invoking a time when the pace of life was unhurried and relaxed. However the area is picked to become the next Seminyak.
Located on the beach Seminyak is a sophisticated and vibrant area. Cool beach bars, great restaurants and funky boutiques make Seminyak a hot location for people to visit in Bali, Indonesia. Wander around the popular main street known at ‘Eat Street’ or rent a sun bed on the beach for the day, or hang out at your private Seminyak villa.
Activites to Try in Bali
With some of the best surf breaks in the world and an offshore for 8-months of the year it’s a surfer’s paradise. You can see why the best surfers from around the world return to Bali. For the beginners too, numerous surf schools are scattered along Legianand Kuta beach.
Take the journey to Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan with a myriad of sea life including Manta rays and Mola Mola (Sunfish) between June and September. On the eastern side visit Tipikong in Candidasa. And if you’re able to head north and take a dive at Menjangan next to Pemuteran.
For kite surfing, wake boarding and stand up paddle (SUP), the lagoon in Sanur provides the best surface to practice your techniques and make sure you say hi to the guys at the Rip Curl School of Surf. Here you can rent all of the equipment or have lessons from their team.
White Water Rafting
Get your heart racing rafting down one of Bali’s many rivers. White water rafting is suitable for everyone – from teenages to the elderly. Choose your grade and join your experienced guide down river, whilst taking in Bali’s incredible mountain & rainforest scenery.
This is a blend of abseiling, caving and swimming in river tributaries. It’s a truly awesome way of getting back to nature. The trip to Kintamani and the beautiful Gitgit waterfall in the north of the island makes the journey alone, a great way of seeing the Bali island.
Bali Bird Walks
Long term resident gem of Bali and bird lover, Victor Mason, leads walks through the rice fields and gorges of Ubud. With over 100 species of birds to be found on Bali, you’re bound to see at least one of them. Perfect for all ages and an interesting and beautiful walk.
Play the lush 18- hole Nirwana Bali Golf Club if only for the stunning views. Designed by the legendary Greg Norman. For the best view of Tanah Lot, try the par3, 7th hole. There are also two other popular courses; New Kuta and the Le Meridien Nirwana course.
Downhill all the way. Start from a volcanic crater lake at Batur, Kintamani and finish in Ubud with tours of villages, coffee plantations, bamboo forests and weavers along the way. You can hire a moutain bike and go solo or in a group lead by an experienced guide.
Dune Buggy Racing
Take visiting the countryside to a whole new level with a day tearing around in 250cc dune buggie. They have races heats throughout the morning. The best drivers contend for glory and a bottle of bubbly. This adrenaline off-road rush is not for the faint-hearted.
The Equestrian Centre offers truly first class facilities. Learn from certified international instructors who have more than 40 horses. Or if you prefer a more casual beach ride there are many stables around Bali, even one in Legian that would take you out for a gallop
If you would prefer to be beside the seaside try a day on an ocean trail exploring Bali’s stunning shore line. This combination of hiking, swimming and rock climbing is for all levels of fitness from walking beaches exploring caves to cliff climbs, beach and ocean swims.
Tree Tops Adventure
Nestled in the highlands of Bali’s volcanic centre, this is an elevated climbing circuit of bridges and walking platforms set amongst the trees of Bedugul’s Botanical Gardens. Built at a height of between 2 metres to 20 metres it’s a fantastic day out for all levels of fitness.
Waterbom Water Park
You won’t regret taking the kids for a moment to Waterbom. The hardest thing will be getting them to go home after. Recently voted Asia’s no.1 amusement park, it’s home to 12 world-class water rides, including 4 new heart-stopping attractions.
Splash Water Park
The new hot spot is the Splash Water Park next to the ever so popular Canggu Club. The Splash Canggu Water Park is great if you don’t want to venture all the way into Kuta to Waterbom.
Indonesian Cooking Lessons
Learn how to recreate your favourites at home. Not only is it the fun of cooking authentic Indonesian dishes from scratch from shopping at the markets for local ingredients. You’ll also learn the techniques and will get to savour the results as you get to sit down and eat your own creations at the end. Yum!
Pod Chocolate Factory
Chocolate factory tour – who could resist? Some of the finest grade cacao in the world is produced on the island. This interesting tour for the taste buds gives you the chance to sample the finished product at the end thankfully.
Monkey See Monkey Do
The Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud is a peaceful, photogenic spot surrounded by stunning temples. Give yourself at least an hour to roam through this beautiful forest. Buy the bananas outside but beware the monkeys will not leave you alone if you do.
Karma Beach Club
Below the cliff hanging Karma Kandara resort, Uluwatu lies this private beach. Its luxury lounging with an all day restaurant & bar. Even a funicular railway down the cliff face to save you walking. You do have to pay an entry fee to gain access.
Sundara Beach Club
It’s a part of the Four Seasons, so it doesn’t get much better than this. A relaxed yet uber cool beach bar with sun beds, swimming pool plus a steak and seafood restaurant dishing up brilliant meals. It’s five star lazing on Jimbaran Bay. Check out how the other half live.
Nothing beats the traffic like a chopper to arrive in style. Or for the ultimate birds eye view of Bali, they’ll take you for a swoop over the Kuta coastline then up towards Tanah Lot. Finishing for a quick dip into the crater with a bird’s eye view of Mt Batur.
This temple is considered a cultural icon for photography and tourists flock here on sunset. A popular rock formation in the water is home to the famous Pura Tanah Lot, which is one of the holiest Hindu temples on the island of Bali located in the Tabanan regency
Restaurants in Sanur, Bali
Italian food at its finest. It has an excellent wine list and a superb menu. It’s always busy in the evenings so turn up early.
Open plan restaurant with a gallery to boot. Delicious modern Californian menu with fish and vegetarian options.
Healthy organic vegetarian choices, try the Mediterranean plate, divine salads raw food and a huge variety of delicious juices.
Cafe Batu Jimbar
All day dining with lovely relaxing atmosphere. known for its well made Indonesian dishes and a deli so you stock up on your favourites.
For the carnivores amongst you. Its pretty much an all meat menu, pool tables and sports channels with a steady flow of local expats.
Reliably super for great all day dining with a mostly vegetarian menu. Try the fantastic pressed juices and smoothies. They deliver also.
Restaurants in Canggu, Bali
Excellent food, nicely presented, big favourite with surfers. Rightly so for the breakfast, wraps and juices closes at 5pm.
Relaxed family vibe, close to the beach. Choose from sandwiches, salads and fresh blended juices.
Cool beach bar where the hip Canggu crowd gather in the evenings often with live music.
Still stylishly romantic, a lovely hotel on the beach for a romantic sunset drink or traditional Balinese dinner.
Deus Ex Machina
More of a live music venue, and shop, than renowned for its food. Best known for its Sunday night posing. Drinks and dancing obligatory.
Yummy fresh salads, fresh juices, a hippy vibe and live music in the evenings on the weekend. Cheap and cheerful environment.
Restaurants in Nusa Dua & Jimbran, Bali
Nusa Dua Beach Grill
Tucked away right at the end of Geger beach, great for breakfast & lunch. Must try the excellent smoothies.
Long established and still great Thai food on top of the Bukit. It’s dining on a budget and bring the mosquito spray.
A new beach club that is part the Four Seasons, open to all. A superior wine list, BBQ style menu and gorgeous lap pool right on the beach.
Choose your own seafood bbq dinner by candlelight on the beach at Jimbaran. Simple menu with fresh seafood you handpick.
Restaurants in Ubud, Bali
Indus & Casa Luna
Visit Indus in the day for breathtaking views and incredible food. They also run great cooking classes here.
Its a bit of crush at lunchtimes so perhaps try this for brunch for some of the best babi guling in the galaxy.
Sip killer martinis whilst watching the world go by. Try the delicious ribs if you can get a seat.
Go for the view as the food isn’t to write home about but the view is – an incredible spot right on the Champuan river.
Organic vegetarian food. Its breath of fresh air, literally. But be prepared to walk through the rice fields.
Restaurants in Seminyak & Petitenget, Bali
If you like award winning Asian cuisine, look no further. It can be inconsistent but still gets great reviews so book ahead.
Both locals and expats know it may attract Melbourne-style hipsters, but still a great Seminyak restaurant in spite of it. Try the wraps and juices.
Literally zero street frontage. This ridiculously small café serves the best coffee in Bali. Worth grabbing a coffee if you are walking past.
French-ish menu, sometimes exotic, always good. Chic for lunch and early dinner. Good spot for after dinner drinks.
Amazing interior with excellent Indonesian cuisine and highly trained staff. Try to visit when it’s raining and look up.
Divine French patisserie with the best croissants and breads. Go first thing in the morning. Branches in Oberoi, Umalas and Canggu.
A brunch institution, and quite rightly so. Famed for its heavenly location on the beach at Petitenget and Italian dishes.
Super spot serving Asian favourites and cocktails. Above, and from the same owners of the deservedly popular Taco Local
Great spot for lunch right in town but off the main drag. Lovely salads, sandwiches and juices.
Bali Beach Bars
Ku De Ta
An institution at sunset notwithstanding the spontaneously combusting posing that occurs. Best food on the island particularly upstairs.
An afternoon of cocktails on one of their day beds for just the people watching alone. Bring your bathers for the glorious pool. Be prepared to line up to even get in. Wise to book a table to jump the queue.
Downstairs they have a cool relaxed beach bar, perfect for watching the sunsets. Restaurant upstairs is expensive yet offers amazing food.
Bali Beauty & Massage Spas
Being pampered in Bali – beauty inside and out is a lovely treat when you are in Bali. Bali’s in a caliber of its own for spa and wellness treatments in both quality of service and value for money. From massages on the beach for $5 an hour to up market hotel spa offering an extraordinary range of treatments. Bali has something to offer to everyone just make sure you try the Balinese massage for an hour!
Fantastic massages for unwinding those muscles from well-trained staff in Seminyak. Service is friendly and service is consistent.
Huge array of spa treatments including traditional massages, nails and beauty treatments in Legian.
Not only hair specialists, but treatments too, in a zen spa setting. Located in Petitenget make sure to book.
Known for waxing, but offers the works from massages to hair treatments.
A huge selection of quality nail polishes this is a fun nail bar in Batubelig. A New York style of nail bar and I would say the best trained staff in Bali. All the expats head here for nail treatments by experienced staff.
A bar and restaurant downstairs for husbands and a spa upstairs. Plenty of massage beds and only $10 for a one hour Balinese massage.
Great spa for nails and massages. If you are looking for a hairdresser ask for Adi. They stock the L’Oreal products.
Located on Jalan Drupadi, this is the coolest spa in town. Sip on champagne whist enjoying a pedicure or manicure.
Where to Shop in Bali
Your biggest problem maybe knowing how to stop, because compared to the prices at home you will probably need to buy another suitcase to get all that you desire home. Remember you can bargain for almost everything and be prepared to walk away on the streets but most shopping centers have set prices. There are so many great places now in Bali to buy fresh produce it’s hard to keep up.
Has it all from department stores, cinemas, stationary, books, optometrists, supermarket, food and clothing
All of the high-class brands (the real thing) are located here. Has a cinema, kids club, restaurants and food court. Opposite Kuta Beach.
Right on the beach it has a huge range of souvenirs for sale as well as the well known retail giants.
Located in Seminyak, it’s great to stock on anything and everything. Not the freshest produce but great for local packaged foods.
Stocked with a great range of imported food they sell cheese, meats, veggies, vegemite, wine, baby goods and more.
Our Tips on What to Pack for Bali
1. Bring mosquito repellant with you. The ones available in Australia have a higher level of Deet, which keeps the mozzies at bay.
2. An International license might not be needed when you hire a scooter or car but if the police pull you over they will insist on seeing one.
3. Baby and children’s equipment can be hired in Bali so leave the extra bags at home and hire what you need prior to arriving.
4. Changing money is priority No 1. You will need a small amount for when you arrive but you will get a better rate once you are in Bali.
Bali is a great place to explore and there is something to suit everyone. Have a great trip and enjoy the wonderful Island of Bali, Indonesia.