20 adventurous things to do in Bali

Bali

Despite the fairly small size, there are so many adventurous things to do in Bali. From white water rafting, diving and volcano hiking to wellness and yoga retreats, wildlife watching and temples. 

I spent more than a month here and loved every minute of it. In this post, I’ve shared the best adventures in Bali so you can have an amazing trip, too.

Let’s get started.

Read next: Where to stay in Bali

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Fun Bali adventures

If you like adventures, you’ll love Bali.

You’ve got the coast where you can swim, tan, dive or learn how to dive. And then there’s Ubud, which is the heart of the island, surrounded by glorious rice fields.

Adventures in Bali are scattered around the island, but if you stay in Ubud (inland) or by the coast, you’ll be able to find day tours or a private driver so you can explore.

Bali

How to get around in Bali

There are two main ways to experience the Bali adventure activities.

One, is booking a day tour. With some of the activities on this Bali itinerary you’ll need to book a tour, for instance river rafting or the ATV tour.

The other is renting a private driver for a day or two and give him a list of the most adventurous things to do in Bali. I did a mix of both, and it was the perfect solution.

Where to stay in Bali

I stayed in Ubud and highly recommend you to do the same. Here, you’ll find lots of day trips, plus it’s conveniently located with most main sights in a close range. If you’d rather stay near the beach, I recommend Canggu.

Ubud: Purana Suite Ubud (⭐9.5) Outdoor swimming pool, a spa and wellness centre awaits you at this amazing hotel. If you’re looking for that classic Bali hotel experience you’re seeing on Instagram, this is it. Book here.

Canggu: Ecozy Dijiwa Canggu (⭐9.2) Friendly staff and great location close to the beach and amazing restaurants. This 4-star hotel is the perfect place to stay in Canggu. Book here.

Going to Bali and wondering what to see and do? Here's a list of the 20 most amazing things to do in Bali, Indonesia.

20 adventurous things to do in Bali

1. Climb Mount Batur at sunrise

Feeling adventurous and in good shape? Then hike Bali’s most active volcano and reach the summit in time to catch the sunrise. It’s a magnificent view from above the clouds, and a once in a lifetime experience if you ask me.

Oh, and the highlight aside from the view? You’ll get to taste delicious eggs cooked over the volcano.

Mount Batur

2. Bike tour through the rice fields

In Ubud you can find an abundance of tour companies offering bike trips around the island.

The typical tour is a 40 km mostly downhill bike trip that includes breakfast at the top of a mountain, a visit to a coffee farm and a traditional Balinese village on the way down.

You’ll stop at a restaurant before heading back, but this meal is not included in the tour price.

Book your bike trip here: Bali cycling tour

BIKE AROUND THE RICE FIELDS

3. Learn how to surf

Bali is one of the most iconic surf destinations in the world.

A good time to enjoy Bali’s waves without the crowds is from October to April with the most popular season being May through September. You’ll get perfect waves, offshore winds, warm water and sun all year round.

Check out this beginner surfing lesson to learn the basics so you can hit the waves with confidence.

LEARN HOW TO SURF, Bali

4. Explore UNESCO rice fields

Price: Free activity

Bali’s most charming feature is without doubt its rice paddies. If you’re staying in Ubud, you will have easy access to a walk through the terraced fields.

The most popular ones are Tegalalang and Jatiluwih which are in the same area.

On the latter, the vast expanses of green rice paddies are stepped along an entire mountain, from its peak to where its foot meets the sea. Plus Jatiluwih Rice Terraces is a UNESCO site. It’s truly stunning.

Rice fields, Bali

5. Hold a Rhinoceros beetle at Bali Butterfly park

Visit Bali butterfly park and get the chance to see a butterfly be born. The park has really nice surroundings for the animals plus a nursery where new butterflies are being hatched every day.

The park also has other insects such as the Rhinoceros beetle, huge walking sticks, leaf insects and the most adorable little critter. You can get up close with all them.

Bali

6. Explore Ubud Monkey Forest

If you feel particularly adventurous, then check out the notorious monkey forest in Ubud.

This forest is home to over 600 aggressive and rather cheeky monkeys. Although the place is visited by hundreds of tourists every day, the word is that people often get attacked, bit or mugged by these spoiled macaques.

If you’re staying in Ubud, the easiest is to just walk there and get a ticket by the entrance. If you’re coming from Seminyak or somewhere else in Bali, you can take a day tour to the Monkey Forest and other Ubud highlights.

Bali

7. Go river rafting

Price: $30

Of all the adventurous things to do in Bali, this is among the top 3.

On this river rafting tour, you’ll be rafting to a backdrop of wild unspoiled jungle, towering gorges and scenic rice terraces. The tours usually last 3-4 hours, and you’ll get to take a shower and have lunch, too.

Book here: Ayung River: All Inclusive Rafting Adventure

8. Diving

While you shouldn’t expect to find squeaky white sand and turquoise waters, Bali still has a rich assortment of diving sites and beaches from those with big rocks created by corals or lava to those covered fully with white or black sand.

If you’d like to scuba dive on your trip to Bali, I recommend checking out the best diving experiences from Viator. You’ll find shipwrecks and manta ray dives.

Snorkeling, Bali

9. Try an ATV tour

If you find yourself restless after spending time at the pool or doing yoga all day, then get your adrenaline pumping with some outdoor adventure sports!

An ATV is one of the popular options. Book your tour here.

Outdoor adventures, Bali
Photo credit: Prowebix, Creative Commons

10. Explore waterfalls

Bali’s waterfalls are world-class. They’re stunning, tropical and so, so worth visiting!

On this tour, you’ll visit three of the most picturesque waterfalls around Ubud – Tibumana Waterfall, nestled in the jungle, Tukad Cepung, concealed behind a cave, and Tegenungan Waterfall.

And the best part?

You won’t have to worry about transportation as you’ll be picked up and dropped off. Plus, you will enjoy a delicious Balinese lunch at a traditional “warung” along the way.

11. Explore the temples in Bali

Bali is enriched with temples. The island has over 20,000 in total and although it’s impossible to visit them all, a handful of them are definitely worth a visit.

The six most popular temples in Bali are: Pura Taman Ayun, Pura Ulun Danu, Tirta Empul, Besakih, the ancient Gateway to Heaven at Lempuyang Temple and Tanah Lot (for sunset).

I recommend booking a private driver for the day and give him a list of the temples you want to visit. That’s what I did, and it was the perfect solution. I don’t know of any tours that take you to all the main temples in a day, so this is a great way to maximise your time.

Taman Ayun
Taman Ayun temple

12. Create your own yoga retreat

Whether you’re an experienced yogi or a curious newbie, a yoga retreat is a great way to refresh and rejuvenate.

Imagine practicing the cobra pose to the sound of a running waterfall while looking at a lush rice field – that’s what a retreat in Bali is like.

You can read all about how I planned my yoga retreat in Ubud right here. You can also find the best organised spiritual retreats in Bali here.

13. Experience a kecak trance ceremony

Bali is rich in culture and religion, and no matter where you are on this island, you’ll get the chance to see a traditional dance with exotic masks and mythic storytelling.

There are several performances to choose between, but I was particularly impressed by the kecak trance dance. I watched it in Ubud, but supposedly it is prettier in Uluwatu because of the scenic view.

Book a Kecak Fire and Dance Show in Uluwatu here.

Kecak in Ubud
Kecak in Ubud 

14. Visit a coffee farm 

Price: Free activity

For coffee connoisseurs, this is mandatory when in Bali. At the coffee farms, they explain the process of the coffee and show you around. You might even get served free tastings of tea and coffee.

Visit a coffee farm in Bali

15. Adventure tour of Ubud

As you might have picked up by now, I’m a huge fan of Ubud.

But seriously, some of the best adventures in Bali are right here. While you can explore Ubud on your own, a more convenient way is to check out this adventure tour.

You’ll get to visit the famous Ubud Monkey Forest, trek through the UNESCO-listed Tegalalang rice terraces, and indulge in a coffee plantation tour. After that, you can soar through the trees on a jungle swing before cooling off at the Tegenungan waterfall.

16. Aah, a spa

Price: 85,000 – 300,000 Rupiah ($7-25)

Balinese masseurs are the best in the world, so you shouldn’t leave without getting at least one massage. I LOVE being pampered, so I went to Taksu Spa almost every single day for a massage.

The massage itself was ahmaaazing, but the surroundings just added that little extra. It has that jungle vibe and comes with an outdoor shower. If you want to treat yourself, this is where you should go.

Bali
Massages at Taksu

17. Watch the sunset at Tanah Lot

Bali has the most beautiful sunsets and some pretty awesome places to watch it from. My favourite spot was Tanah Lot, which is a temple at the sea.

Hundreds of people were gathered on the lawn in silence while watching the sun set in the horizon. It was magical.

Like I mentioned earlier, my driver took me to all the most iconic Bali temples, ending at Tanah Lot. If you don’t want to spend a whole day temple watching, you could just take a taxi or use 12go from Ubud or whereever you’re based in Bali.

Bali

18. Join a Balinese cooking class

Price: $24-30

Discover the secrets of authentic Balinese cooking by joining a cooking class.

The classes are often packaged with early morning market tours that let you explore the variety of fresh tropical vegetables and aromatic spices before you learn to make your own traditional dishes from satay to spicy sambal sauces.

IMG_2304-1024x764

19. Help return baby turtles into the sea

The Turtle Breeding Sanctuary has a turtle hatchery and is run with support from WWF. It’s free to visit, but you have the option to return the turtles back into the sea for a donation of 100,000 Rupiah ($8).

Note: The sanctuary is not the same as Turtle Island, which is a tourist trap.

Turtles, Bali

20. Visit a beach club in Seminyak

Price: Free entrance

Bali offers a lovely selection of beach clubs with ocean front and gorgeous settings.

Days can be spent in the infinity pool with swim-up bar, while nights are filled with the sounds of live DJs and ocean waves drinking aphrodisiac cocktails and expensive beer.

A beach club in Bali is the perfect place to watch the sunset with a cocktail in hand.

Bali
Potato Head Beach Club, Seminyak

Got questions? Ask me anything about things to do in Bali.

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89 Comments

  1. We loved our eco-cycling tour in Bali, the rice terraces were beautiful too as was Mount Batur. I definitely agree that you must enjoy both a Balinese massage and some of the delicious veggie food when visiting this gorgeous island. We had a pretty terrifying experience at the Monkey Forest though, so I wouldn’t recommend that!

    1. It has. I was so surprised to see all those activities considering it’s a fairly small island. This is definitely not the last time I was in Indonesia!

  2. Never made it as far as Bali when we were in East and South East Asia, but I’d absolutely love to return and spend some time at a coffee farm. It’s one of the very few things I have on my bucket list, but really want to visit and help out with.

    1. I think you and Franca would love it there! Not only the coffee farms, but the whole Ubud community featuring an abundance of vegan restaurants. It’s heaven.

  3. Great list! I’ll be visiting Bali as part of my trip next year, will have to remember a few of these. I love the idea of visiting a coffee farm (total addict here) and climbing Mount Batur seems like a great challenge. The cooking class look fun too. Thanks for all the inspiration!

    1. You’re welcome, Charlie! You’ll have no problem finding a coffee farm tour as they’re provided everywhere and included in lots of the trips from Ubud. I’m sure you’ll enjoy Bali – it’s a gorgeous place!

  4. I visited Bali with work but would love to go back as a tourist it is such a beautiful country. Out of your list I did 7 and 13 the monkey sanctuary was hell but the sunset was beautiful. Having a spa and cookery lesson would be cool Lucy

    1. Sounds like you got to see a lot of things although you visited with work. Bali is definitely worth one more visit – next time try the spa 🙂

  5. Definite yes-yes to rafting, biking, hiking Mt Batur and temple hopping! I loved hanging out in the monkey forest and trying to make friends with those little punks. (Two ended up sitting on my shoulders for half an hour…), however I hear a few stories of people getting bit and scratched…so depends on how adventurous you feel today 🙂

    I missed the turtle sanctuary and the buffalo race, and kind of skipped on yoga…but that all makes a good reason to visit once again!

    That’s a great post, Miriam! Probably would keep occupied anyone on Bali for at least a month! 🙂

    1. Thanks so much, Elena! You must have felt really adventurous with two monkeys on your shoulders. You’re lucky they didn’t scratch you! 😉

  6. Wow, there are so many amazing things to do in Bali! My friend went last year and she said she found it boring (!!), but I think this is more down to the type of travel she enjoys. It must be, because it looks and sounds incredible!

    1. I’ve heard this a lot actually – most people I spoke to prior to my trip said that Bali was either boring or didn’t live up to their expectations. After visiting myself, I seriously disagree! There are tons of things to do for everyone. But if people expect to get crystal clear waters and an untouched paradise island like many other places in Southeast Asia, I understand why they get disappointed. You won’t get that in Bali.

  7. I love this, Miriam. I honestly got a bit jaded with the tourist scene in Bali and didn’t spend much time there. It looks like I missed quite a few wonderful things that were just beneath the surface. I love your blog. Keep up the great work!

    1. Thanks, Brad, I’m so glad to hear that! Bali is definitely touristy, but there are still lots of great things to do. I’m definitely going back.

  8. Very informative post! I also enjoyed your in-depth one just about temples in Bali. I am heading to Ubud in a couple weeks and was wondering if you had a recommendation for a coffee plantation to tour?

    1. Thank you, Tom, I’m glad to hear that! I visited two coffee farms when I was in Bali; however I can’t remember their names (I’m not sure they had any). In my experience they were quite similar though, and there are lots of them so I recommend you to just try one. Most of them are included in a bike trip or other day tours and they’re free to visit if you decide to go on your own. Btw, you should visit Down to Earth restaurant when you’re in Ubud. It’s the best in town!

  9. I will visit Bali in June, do you have any recommendations, I will stay in Kuta and would appreciate information about tours in the proximity of Kuta and how many days should I spend in UBUD.

    Thnx for your Bolg …great info

    1. Hi Marcela, I don’t know about tours from Kuta since I took all my daytrips from Ubud. Generally speaking, Kuta is ‘party party’ and Ubud is ‘culture and great food’, so how long you want to stay in Ubud depends on your preferences. If you’re just there for a look around town and maybe a few yoga classes, 2-3 days should suffice. I personally spent 3 weeks in Ubud and I preferred it WAY more than the Kuta area.

  10. Hi Miriam!
    We’re two girls who are going to Bali next week and we’re just planning our trip and what we want to see and do while we’re there. We would love to go to that turtle breeding sanctuary but can’t seem to find an address or any further information about it online. Can you help us out? Thank you!

  11. hi miriam how are you,i am from java island its only near from my at home only 300 km and i am native,but i never visited to bali at all until now,i want go to bali next time…

    1. Hi Gusty, thanks for dropping by! Bali is lovely, isn’t it? I’ve never been to Java, but would love to visit next time I’m in Indonesia.

  12. Hi Miriam,

    I love you post.

    I’m planning a trip to Bali for my honeymoon in September 2016…i want to stay at a beautiful hotel but I don’t know where in Bali I should be staying?

    Me and my fiancé love water activities (jet skiing, snorkelling, parasailing etc)

    Can you please help us as to the best location to stay in Bali please?

    1. Hi Ham, congratulations on your wedding and upcoming honeymoon 🙂
      I haven’t personally been to these places, but I hear that Nusa Lembongan, Amed and Pemuteran are good for water activities! Seminyak is ok too, but I would probably look into the other options if I were you.

  13. I am Indonesian, but never visited Bali Island. But if you wanna vfound other amazing place in Indonesia, I can tell you!

  14. Hey,

    I plan to go there in April. any must do or must go things or places you would suggest.

    Thank You in advance.

    PS: looking for adventure.

    1. Hi Preeti,
      This list includes my suggestions for all the best and most adventurous things to do in Bali. If you have any specific questions, I’m happy to answer them.

  15. Hi Miriam,

    First thanks for the tips that helped me organize my holidays in Bali. Ubud, the yoga, food and massages where truly amazing !!!
    I also escaped for a day to Lembongan and loved it ! This small island has so much to offer I wished I stayed longer. I really enjoyed the snorkelling organized by Kadek and her husband with the mantarays and would highly recommend her business.
    Best,

    1. Hi Liz,
      I’m so glad to hear that. And thanks so much for taking the time to let me know! I will have to try the snorkeling you recommended, it sounds super fun 🙂

  16. Yeaah Bali is small island, but many thing can to do in here and it will be fun. I ever going to monkey forest Ubud, for the first time i feel scared with the monkey, but the monkey is so cute. The monkey hang in a branch and then swimming with the others. You can buy a banana for the monkey if you wanna more close with them.

    1. Hi Meylisa,
      I saw lots of people feeding the monkeys with bananas, but to be honest I preferred they kept their distance. They were quite aggressive :/

  17. Nice! All of this is very exciting and the smell like adventure haha. Bali with it’s culture and it’s natural beauty has many things that waiting to be explore. Yups me as an adventure lovers especially adrenaline rush is very fond of Bali. You can roam from the top of the mountain to the depth of the ocean when you’re in Bali. This is the island of gods. Focus on diving, indeed very many spot diving in Bali and some very beautiful.

  18. hi going to bali in week. cant wait. will stay in a hotel on retreat and would love to join a cooking class. how do I book it? Do you have any recommendation. thankx

    1. Hi Sarah,
      I didn’t join a cooking class in Bali, but they’re very easy to find if you stay in Ubud. Your hotel or homestay will most likely have a recommendation.

  19. I would also like to ask you. How does it work usually? do u stay in the hotel and do they organise the activities for you. Or you meet people and ask them what to do? it is the first time i am traveling solo . thats why me asking.. thankx so much

    1. If you feel more comfortable booking through your hotel, you should definitely do that. But if you stay in Ubud you can also do the booking yourself. Just look for signs on the street that says “tours” or “activities” – they’re easy to find. I believe most hotels have the service too, or else they can reference you to someone you does. The most important thing is that you feel good and stressfree on your first solo trip! Bali is a great place for that, btw!

  20. Hi Miriam. Nice post 🙂 I just wanted to find out about hiking Mt Batur. I’ll be in Bali next month, and I want to do the hike for my 30th. I’m a solo traveller, and I’m wondering how easy it is to organise transport, and a guide once I’m there? I’ve seen some packages I can book online but they start at around $87. Should I just bite the bullet and book or wait to see if I can arrange something in Bali?

    1. Hi Kelly,
      I haven’t done the hike myself, but if I were you, I’d wait till I arrived in Bali. There are many tour companies in Ubud, so it shouldn’t be a problem to book once you’re there. Another alternative is to ask your hotel if they can arrange it for you (book the tour for you), but they would probably ask for a fee to do so.

      It’s an awesome way to celebrate your 30th, btw! 🙂

  21. Hi Miriam!

    I’m planning out a trip for April and this post has been SO helpful–thank you! It will be my first solo trip so I was thinking I’d stay in hostel(s) majority of the time to meet people (then maybe a villa towards the end). Do you have any recommendations on hostels or thoughts on if that makes sense?

    Thanks for your help in advance 🙂

    1. I’m so glad to hear that, Amanda 🙂

      Bali isn’t big on hostels in the traditional sense. They have homestays (the cheapest option) which is like a bed & breakfast. I went to Bali alone as well and I met people on day tours, restaurants and at yoga. Ubud is great for that.

      I stayed at Aya Room in Ubud, which is a nice hotel and very centrally located. I’d give it 3-4 stars out of 5, and the rooms are lovely. It’s more expensive than a homestay, but I loved how close it is to everything. It was a nice base as a solo traveler, and I felt safe there.

  22. I think butterfly park is not really worth of visit 🙂 There working guys told that they have only 15 different type of butterflies. I believe bird park would be better 🙂

    1. Oh really? I had a great time there and saw lots of butterflies. Of course this was 3 years ago now so things might have changed since. Thanks for your two cents 🙂

  23. Wow! Great list, would love to release some turtles back into the sea ❤️ But think I’ll skip the buffalo racing 🙁

  24. For the non-vegan, the suckling pig Ibu (or mrs) Oka, the ribs at Nuri’s and crispy duck Bebek (=duck) Bengil or Bebek Tepi Sawah are must try-s….

  25. Hi
    I’m travelling in june 2 week .
    I have 2 girls 8 and 12
    I’m going to be in kuta for 4 nights and 2 nights wanted to do something different. Is ubud a good choice with my girls considering the activities or I should do something else.

    1. Yes, absolutely! Ubud is the best place in Bali. It’s in the mountains, surrounded by rice fields – such a beautiful and serene place.

  26. Thanks alot for this post, Here you explained everything about Indonesia just like: which places is better to visit, things to do and see in Indonesia. Really once again thanks alot for your tips tricks.

  27. Thank you for introducing 20 adventurous things to do in Bali with the article that you wrote, Bali indeed Balinese culture and customs are indeed unique and beautiful of course so many tourists come to Bali. so let’s come to Bali and enjoy the beauty of Bali.

  28. Hi Miriam, Great post about Things to Do in Bali! People can use it as a guide book. Thanks you for introducing Bali with the article that you wrote, Bali indeed Balinese culture and customs are indeed unique and beautiful it is may attract many tourists come to Bali. At the moment in Bali there is new popular place to visit in Bali called Nusa Penida Island. May be you can visit Nusa Penida island on your next visit to Bali 🙂

  29. Great article thank you for wrote the article “20 adventurous things to do in Bali” from your article you introducing Bali to the world. so let’s came to Bali and make your holidays fun and memorable and try some activity like Bali ATV ride White water rafting. combine the beauty nature of Bali and adventures

  30. Hey Miriam, awesome post! Bali is a real special place and I can’t wait to visit there again. This post really displays how awesome Bali is. Thank you 😀

  31. Visited Bali last year, and unfortunately just found this post now, therefore I have to return for a second time to visit everything 😀

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