Thrilling Sights and Unforgettable Things to Do in Bali

Bali is the very definition of an exotic locale. This island paradise is a mecca for tourists - and no wonder. Check out these must-see destinations and once-in-a-lifetime things to do in Bali.

What do you look for in a vacation? Beaches? Beautiful scenery? Relaxation? Culture? Exotic cuisine?

All of the above?

If so, Bali just might be the perfect destination for you. Bali has it all.

The island of Bali is part of Indonesia. It’s located in the southern tropics between Australia and Viet Nam. Although the island is small, it is a major tourist destination, attracting about 3 million visitors per year. Travel and Leisure magazine named Bali the world’s best island destination in 2010 because of its scenery, excellent restaurants, diverse attractions, and friendly people.

Tourism has boomed in Bali since publication of Elizabeth Gilbert’s 2006 book, Eat, Pray, Love, which is set in Bali. The book occupied the number-one spot on the New York Times paperback nonfiction bestseller list for more than a year, and inspired many tourists to visit Bali in search of spiritual growth and healing. The 2010 release of a movie based on Gilbert’s book further fueled Balinese tourism.

It’s no wonder so many people find Bali appealing. It is the very definition of an exotic locale. The island features some of the most beautiful beaches in the world as well as wonderful coral reefs for snorkeling and diving. Other attractions include lush scenery, wildlife tours, beautiful temples, yoga and much more. There is no shortage of things to do in Bali. The only real problem is that you may never want to return home when your vacation is over.

What are some of the places you absolutely must see? What are the most unforgettable things to do in Bali?  Here are our picks.

Blue Point Beach

Blue Point Beach feels like a private paradise. Did you ever see water so blue?

Bali has no shortage of beautiful beaches, but Blue Point Beach offers some of the most stunning views in the entire world. You gain access to this beach be wriggling through a gap in a high cliff. Some visitors say that makes them feel that they are visiting their own private beach – even if there are others mingling about.

The extraordinary thing about Blue Point Beach is the scenery. Not only do you have breathtaking views of the ocean, but the cliffs provide a gorgeous backdrop to the waves. The water is crystal clear, the waves are good and there are restaurants (some with great views of their own) to enjoy.

If you’re the type who enjoys soaking up a few rays, you can’t go wrong at Blue Point beach!

Blue Point Beach: Jalan Pantai Suluban, Ungasan.

Campuhan Ridge Walk

Campuhan Ridge is a fairly easy walk with world-class views.

Do you wonder why Bali has a reputation as one of the most beautiful travel destinations in the world? Look no further than this trek in Ubud.

The Campuhan Ridge walk is called one of the best hikes in the world. It lives up to the hype with beautiful views and vistas that you must see to believe.

Another major plus? It isn’t crowded, and the walk is relatively easy, making it more relaxing than strenuous.

The best part of making the trek may be that once you’ve finished up, there’s a glorious cafe where you can enjoy Balinese drinks and food specialities.

The Campuhan Ridge walk starts near the Ibah hotel, Ubud.

Tirta Gangga

Tour the elegant gardens of Tirta Gangga and you eventually find yourself at Demon Island. Beware!

Tirta Gangga is a formal water garden that belongs to the royal family of Karangasem. Situated in the middle of rustic rice fields, surrounded by natural springs, the garden is composed of plants, sculptures and water – fountains, streams, ponds and more.

The garden is located on three levels. The top level consists of a swimming pool, two decorative ponds, several fountains and a natural spring beneath a spreading Banyan tree. One of the ponds has fountains that rival anything at Versailles, while the other is a spiritual spot for meditation, adorned with floating lotus flowers.

The middle level is home to a huge 11-tiered fountain flanked by a swimming pool and a decorative pond. The fountain rises like a tower, and it is visible from throughout the gardens.

The bottom level is the largest. It consists of a pond with an island – the provocatively named Demon Island – in the middle.

Sounds beautiful, doesn’t it?

The water coursing through Tirta Gangga’s natural springs has always been considered holy water, and is often used in religious ceremonies. During celebrations, locals come with offerings and other items for ceremonies around the spring. And yes, you can swim in some of the pools at the site.

Jl. Abang-Amlapura, Karangasem

Sekumpul Waterfalls

It’s not easy to get to Sekumpul, but you’ll find the hike is worth it.

Until a few years ago, few outsiders knew about these falls. The site is still less home to fewer camera-toting tourists than Bali’s better-known waterfalls.

Their loss is your gain. Sekumpul is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in all of Bali, and it is well worth the trip.

Sekumpul means “group,” and that’s exactly what you’ll see: not just one waterfall, but six, all visible from your path deep within the dense forest.

One of the tallest falls in all of Bali is located here. It’s about 262 feet tall – breathtaking!

If you want to get closer to the falls, you’ll have to trek through some challenging terrain, but if you have the time and proper attire, it’s well worth the hike. It’s also recommended that you hire a guide since the falls can be hard to find. The signs are said to be a little confusing.

Sekumpul Village, Sawan District, Buleleng, Singaraja.

Menjangen Island

Bali is surrounded by lush tropical reefs that serve as home to thousands of exotic species.

You probably don’t come to Bali expecting to see deer, but Menjangen means “deer” in Indonesian. In fact, the island was named for the wild deer population that swims to the island every spring.

In addition to deer, you can experience rare and unspoiled nature at its finest on Menjangen. The island is known for its white sand beaches and for its coral reefs, which are perfect for diving and snorkeling.

Your best option is to travel to Menjangen by boat. Because it’s uninhabited, there are no hotels, shops, restaurants…there’s not even a Starbucks! This really is unspoiled nature at its finest.

USS Liberty Shipwreck

The eerie USS Liberty shipwreck is a reminder of days gone by.

What could be more awesome than exploring a shipwreck?

If you’re a scuba diver looking for something different, check out the USS Liberty shipwreck. Not only will you get to explore the wreckage, you’ll also get to see lots of Bali’s beautiful and colorful wildlife – including the famous bumphead parrotfish.

This is an easy dive, great for beginners when the waves aren’t bad, and it’s relatively easy to get to. If you like to dive, you won’t want to miss this site.

Northeast Coast of Bali, Tulamben.

Devil’s Tears

Waves pound against the rocks at the Devil’s Tears. It feels like the ends of the earth.

Not far from Dream Beach on the beautiful island of Nusa Lembongan you’ll find a unique outcropping of rocks known as Devil’s Tears – so named because of the sound it makes when the waves hit the rocks, creating rainbows from the spray of water.

The water is stunning. The rock formations are unique. You’ll invigorate all of your senses at the Devil’s Tears.

The waves can be rather large and can often times come out of nowhere, so some level of caution is recommended. But as long as you keep yourself safe, it’s well worth it for the views!

Nusa Lembongan, a few minutes from Dream Beach.

Elephant Cave

The demons carved into the rock face are intended to frighten away pursuers as you hide within.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk into the mouth of a demon? You can find out at Goa Gajah, Bali’s famous Elephant Cave.

Built in the 9th century, the cave once served as a sanctuary. On the outside, menacing rock carvings greet you, including demons and what was once thought to be an elephant (hence the name). There’s even a bathing place on the site that appears to have been built to help ward off bad spirits.

The surroundings are as beautiful and fascinating as the cave. There’s a Buddhist temple at the site, small waterfalls throughout and more.

If modern life leaves you craving peace and serenity, be sure to check out the Elephant Cave.

Jl. Raya Goa Gajah, Ubud.

Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary

Who doesn’t love monkeys? Keep an eye on your purse – these primates are acquisitive!

Do you like monkeys? Of course you do. Everyone loves monkeys.

If you want to get up close and personal with monkeys and other wildlife, Bali’s Sacred Monkey Forest sanctuary is the place for you. Not only will you be walking around in the jungle surrounded by monkeys, but there are temples scattered throughout the island that add to the amazing scenery.

Sure, monkeys are known to be naughty and mischievous sometimes, but overall, these critters are pretty well socialized. And if you’re lucky, you can even get a few to pose for some photos with you. Or they could just try to steal your food, you never know.

This is one of the places all animal lovers should consider visiting if they have the chance.

Jalan Monkey Forest, Padangtegal, Ubud.

Mayong Village Tracking Experience

If you want to experience Bali like a local, look no further than the Mayong Village Tracking Experience. You’ll explore the village area with a knowledgeable local guide who explains the different kinds of vegetation growing around the area, as well as some of the culture of Bali, including religious practices.

Putu, the host, is known to be extremely hospitable, and he’s been known to feed travelers bread, biscuits and fresh fruit prior to the trek.

And if you’re interested in grabbing lunch afterward, his lovely wife Ria will prepare you a traditional Balinese meal. It doesn’t get more authentic than that!

Mayong Village: Kampung and Sawah, Mayong Village

Something for Everyone

This list could go on and on because seriously, there’s so much to see and do in Bali. There truly is something for everyone, and regardless of what you look for in a vacation, you are likely to find it on this tiny island.

About the author

Kristen Duvall

Kristen is a writer of tales both real and make-believe. A Midwestern girl at heart, she currently resides in Southern California with her boyfriend, a Great Dane, and two rescued kitties, one of which is known simply as the KiKi Monster.

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment