I realize there are probably a MILLION pieces online for what folks think you should do while you’re in Bali. Look, I’m about to be 1,000,001 OK?
Because I plan SO MANY Bali itineraries I get asked frequently what I would suggest people do while visiting Bali, so instead of me having to send screenshots and links every single time, putting it in a blog post made the most sense. So here goes nothing, I hope I manage to steer you in the correct/fun direction. Everything listed below is something I actually did during my trip, so it isn’t hearsay or second-hand knowledge. I did this shit, and would suggest you do some of it too.
(Note: I tried to include as many descriptions and links to stuff as I could! So click around.)
Tanah Lot at Sunset
If you do absolutely nothing else, make sure you catch the sunset views at Tanah Lot. There will be at least another thousand people there with you so don’t expect much romanticism or mystique - but you will love it nonetheless. This temple looks unreal in person! Sometimes the water comes up really high and you can’t walk too close to it, but other times I saw people trying to walk/swim as close to it as they could for the perfect picture.
Spend the Day at Potato Head
This is the activity I did for my 30th birthday back in 2016. I literally spent the ENTIRE day here. What you do is show up at 9am and pick the cabana you want on their map. Once you do that you are given a little wooden ticket and have to come back at 10am when they open to enter your cabana. There are also choices for lounging chairs by the pool etc. I opted for the cabana because obviously I wanted to go all out for my birthday.
The minimum spend on the cabana was $1,000,000 Rupiah which converted to $100.00 Canadian. So to have the cabana for the whole day, I had to eat/drink $100 worth alone? Very easy. Very very easy. Embarrassingly easy. The cabana is awesome and you should definitely splurge on it. You have your own shade, towels, pillows and there’s a man with an AK-47 next to it guarding your stuff while you go swim. So quaint.
I really had an awesome time spending the whole day at Potato Head because you get to meet so many people from everywhere in the world that are looking to party, as well as getting enough relaxation by the pool and beach while profusely drunk and full of delicious food. Make sure if you can’t go early to get the cabana, that you still make it later in the day to at least get a drink and watch the sunset. Awesome day spent.
Visit the Rice Fields in Ubud
I truly hope the day YOU do this it isn’t 42 degrees outside like it was for me. The rice fields in Ubud are a must-do when in Bali because your eyes will thank you and you could potentially work off some of the food and liquor you’ve ingested while doing this activity.
The cost of a driver for an entire day in Bali is usually between $35-$40 and you should have the person get you to these rice fields at some point during this day. Make sure you wear some very comfortable running shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty because if you intend on going up and down on these hills, the mud and lack of traction are a bitch. The day I was visiting the rice fields was blistering hot outside so also make sure to wear a hat and a lot of sunscreen since there is no where to shelter yourself from the sun.
If Ubud is too much out of your way (depending on where you choose to stay in Bali) this website has an awesome list of other places in Bali to see the rice fields!
Spa. Spa. Spa.
My biggest regret from being in Bali was not going to the spa EVERY SINGLE DAY. The cost of going to a spa in Toronto for one hour won’t be under $100.00 at the very minimum. But in Bali? I spent almost 2 1/2 hours there for $35.00. THIRTY FIVE DOLLARS. I got a 45 minute neck/scalp massage, a 30 minute facial and a 60 minute full body massage. The spa I went to was in central Kuta and the name of it was Smart Day Spa. Recently, two of my fellow travelers took my advice and went there while in Bali also and enjoyed it just as much as I did. Not only is the service cheap, the spa is really calming and nice to be in. Don’t expect that you’re walking into some musty place with sketchy people! Make sure you hit the spa in Bali.
Take a Day Trip to Neighbouring Nusa Lembongan
One of the things people won’t tell you about Bali is that their waters are no frigging joke. To swim there you’d better be a hell of a swimmer or really into surfing. I consider myself a pretty good swimmer and even with that, when the undercurrent on the Balinese beaches hits you?? Yep, suddenly you’re 20 meters out into the sea. It happens so quickly and for someone who is more accustomed to the tranquil waters of the Caribbean, there is no wading in the water to chill. You better swim for your life! (kidding, little over exaggerated)
This is where I would really recommend a day trip to Nusa Lembongan. It is a really small island but the beaches are very clean and tranquil. You can take a walk around town where they sell beautiful shawls made on the island by hand or you can just hang out at the beach. This island was definitely the more chill version of Bali, it was like Tulum where all you saw was hipsters and surfer dudes/ladies wandering around. When I went to Lembongan there was an excursion that had a party in the middle of the water and a canoe that would bring you over to the island as well and I think it maybe cost $125.00 for all of it.
Get a Day-Pass Somewhere Private: The Hilton
I love day passes to places. It’s like you get the experience of that location, without having to pay the full price of staying there as a guest overnight. This is how I made my way to The Hilton Bali.
There are probably dozens of high-end hotels/resorts you can get day passes to in Bali but I happened to stumble onto The Hilton because the owner of the villa I was staying in told me he used to work there and that it was worth the $20.00 charge. Sure. Twenty bucks will do.
This ended up being a really good place to relax all day because majority of the people at the beach were 60+ year old foreigners without kids that just wanted to tan. You pay the fee for the day pass and get to use their pools, get your lounge chair on the beach and access to their change rooms with towels etc. I especially loved that even though I wasn’t a guest of the hotel, I could order food to my lounge chair on the beach and just pay with my debit card for it. (or cash)
Try the Coffee and Tea
I do not drink coffee nor do I drink tea. Figured I’d get that out of the way before beginning this section. The only time I drink tea is when I’m horribly sick and coffee? The smell of it alone makes me a little nauseated. HOWEVER, whether you like or do not like them - you have to try and make it to these coffee/tea plantations where the stuff is made super fresh.
Fun fact - the most expensive coffee in the world is actually Kopi Luwak Coffee which is big business in Bali. Basically, this animal called a civet (super cute, you get to see them on the plantations) eats coffee beans and then poops them out to become, yep, the world’s most expensive coffee. Now I know you’re wondering wtf is wrong with me, but trust me, you have to try it. I tasted EVERY tea and coffee on the menu you see in the picture below (yes, they have you try a sip of all of them) and it was the first time in my life there was a coffee I enjoyed the taste of. I even bought a whole bag of it, Coconut Coffee.
Splurge at Kisik or Rock Bar: Ayana Resort
If you are about spoiling yourself, this part is for you. The food in Bali is very cheap so there is really no need for you to go to this place, but naturally, I am extra AF so I had to do it.
I took myself out on a $200 date in Bali. Now, that is the equivalent to $2,000,000 in Rupiah. Most of my meals were under $8.00 until this point, just for comparison. Sometimes you have to spoil yourself and do fancy things right?
While researching my trip to Bali I had read about this place called the Ayana Resort. I believe the cheapest room there per night is $300.00, meanwhile MY hotel cost $300.00 for a whole week. Crazy right? But there were two awesome bars/restaurants on the grounds of this resort calling out to me to visit.
One is called Rock Bar and from my understanding it is seating for only hotel guests. I had my eyes on their other restaurant called Kisik. I made a reservation a month ahead for seating at this restaurant because they fill up very fast because of their incredible views, and incredible food.
I ate a seafood skewer, I drank and also bought a whole lobster to myself. In the picture below you will see they even had my name on the table because I told them it was my birthday week so I felt extra special. Fresh seafood and an awesome view at sunset, there truly was nothing more perfect. I did have a small heart attack when my bill came but it was also expected, kind of.
Make sure if you choose to go to Kisik to make a reservation for around sunset, get there early so you can wander around the Ayana resort and definitely walk over to Rock Bar to take pictures as soon as you finish your dinner. Splurge a little on yourself, you already made it all the way to Bali right?
Trust me, Bali has so many activities and incredible things to do that you will never ever be bored there. This list of mine didn’t even touch the surface of all the beautiful places you could go see in Bali that I didn’t even have time to make it to. (I.E: Broken Beach in Nusa Penida, Mount Batur, Mount Agung and of course the Uluwatu Temple) There’s just so many things you can fit into your itinerary while there because one of the best parts of being in Bali is - RELAXATION.
I hope those of you reading this make it to Bali one day and get to do some of the aforementioned activities. If you have been to Bali before and think there are other MUST DO activities or sights for Bali newbies to try, please make sure to leave it in the comments!