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15 Essential things to do in Bali in 2023. The 3rd one is a hidden treasure

You’re never going to get bored on this island, as for such a small island there seems to be an endless amount of things to do in Bali. Here are just a selection of the best, most popular and magical (in no particular order):

The Bali Swing in Bali
Do you swing?

1. The Bali Swing(s)

Looking to swing your way into an epic adventure in Bali? Say hello to the Bali Swing phenomenon! It all started with one original swing, swinging out over a tropical valley in Ubud. Turned out to be quite popular, and in turn a wildly popular idea.

Now, you’ll find swings popping up all over Bali like coconuts on a palm tree. These gravity-defying attractions offer a swingin’ good time for all ages, from adrenaline junkies to selfie enthusiasts. So, unleash your inner Tarzan or Jane and get ready for a hair-raising, heart-pumping, and Instagram-worthy experience. Swing through the air like a majestic bird, strike a pose, and let the Bali Swing leave you swinging with joy! Swing, swing, hooray!

Tellagalang Rice Terrace - one of the things to do in Bali

2. Explore the Tellagalang rice paddies

Get ready to step into a mesmerising green wonderland at the Tellagalang Rice Paddies in Bali! Spread over vast stretches of land like a vibrant patchwork quilt, these terraced rice fields are a sight to behold. As you wander through the narrow pathways, you’ll be surrounded by lush greenery, gently swaying palm trees, and the soothing sound of trickling water.

The Tellagalang Rice Paddies offer more than just scenic beauty; they showcase the remarkable agricultural ingenuity of the Balinese people. Capture picture-perfect moments, walk across the iconic swing perched high above the fields, or simply immerse yourself in the serene ambiance. Prepare to be spellbound by the natural splendour of Tellagalang’s emerald tapestry!

3. Discover the wonders of Menjangan island

Welcome to Menjangan Island, a hidden gem off the north coast of Bali! This pristine paradise is renowned for its breathtaking beauty and abundant wildlife. As you set foot on the island, you’ll be greeted by the black monkeys, known for their playful antics but shy nature compared to their grey long-tailed Macaque cousins. But they’re not the only inhabitants here! Keep an eye out for the graceful deer roaming freely, adding a touch of enchantment to the landscape.

The wonders continue beneath the crystal-clear waters surrounding Menjangan Island. Grab your snorkeling gear and dive into a vibrant underwater world. Explore colorful coral gardens teeming with a kaleidoscope of tropical fish. Glide alongside majestic sea turtles as they gracefully navigate the reef. With every breath, you’ll be captivated by the stunning marine life that calls this place home. Always go with a guide who can shadow you in the boat as you’ll drift in the current.

So, prepare for an unforgettable adventure at Menjangan Island, where encounters with black monkeys, encounters with deer, and thrilling snorkeling experiences combine to create memories that will last a lifetime. Dive in and discover the magic that awaits!

4. Dive & Party on Gili T

Gili Trawangan, the ultimate paradise for free diving enthusiasts and party-goers alike! This enchanting island in Indonesia has earned a reputation as the Mecca for free diving, drawing thrill-seekers from around the globe to explore its underwater wonders. Dive deep into the crystal-clear waters and discover vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life.

But Gili Trawangan is not just about diving; it’s also a renowned party island. As the sun sets, the island transforms into a lively hub of beach bars and nightclubs, where you can dance the night away under the starry sky.

Aerial view Gili T
Gili T

One of the best ways to explore the island is by foot or bicycle. With no motorized vehicles allowed, you can leisurely stroll or pedal your way around, discovering hidden beaches and charming cafes along the way. For a more adventurous experience, hop on a kayak and paddle around the coastline, or try your hand at stand-up paddleboarding.

If relaxation is on your agenda, indulge in rejuvenating spa treatments or simply unwind on the pristine beaches, soaking up the tropical vibes.

Gili Trawangan truly offers a perfect blend of adventure, relaxation, and vibrant nightlife. So dive into the depths and dance the night away on this captivating paradise.

5. Swim with Manta Rays

Prepare for an otherworldly encounter at Manta Point, located off the coast of Nusa Penida. Dive into the hazy waters and brace yourself for an awe-inspiring experience swimming with majestic manta rays. As these gentle giants emerge from the depths, they appear almost alien, with their vast wingspan and graceful movements. Gliding effortlessly through the water, they create an ethereal spectacle that leaves you in awe. As you swim alongside them, you can feel the power and tranquility they exude. Witnessing them suck up their food from the water with their massive mouths is a sight that will stay etched in your memory. It’s a surreal dance between humans and these magnificent creatures, a reminder of the wonders that lie beneath the surface of the ocean.

Manta Ray gliding through the water off the coast of Nusa Penida
Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, yeah

6. Chill on Lembongan

If you’re seeking the ultimate lazy getaway, Lembongan Island is the perfect destination to unwind and embrace the art of doing nothing. Here, you can fully embrace the island’s laid-back atmosphere and indulge in relaxation. Start your lazy day by lounging on pristine beaches, basking in the warm sun as the gentle sea breeze lulls you into tranquility. Take leisurely strolls along the shore, feeling the soft sand between your toes. Treat yourself to a rejuvenating spa session, where skilled therapists will pamper you with soothing massages and luxurious treatments. Savor delicious meals at beachfront cafes, sipping on refreshing tropical drinks as you watch the world go by. As the day winds down, find a cozy spot to witness breathtaking sunsets painting the sky in vibrant hues. On Lembongan Island, being lazy becomes an art form, and you’re encouraged to embrace the slow pace of life and simply let go of all worries.

Dreamy Lembongan

7. Climb Mt. Agung

Embarking on a journey to conquer Mount Agung from Besakih Temple is not for the faint-hearted. This challenging climb requires determination and endurance. The average person will spend anywhere from 4 to 6 hours ascending to the summit, with a similar amount of time needed to descend. Followed by a couple of days lying horizontally wondering why your legs don’t work.

The steep and rugged terrain demands physical strength and mental resilience. However, the effort is undeniably worth it. Setting off just after midnight, you’ll make your way up the mountain, guided by a beam of light from your headlamp. As you push yourself higher, the anticipation grows. And when you finally reach the summit, you’ll be rewarded with awe-inspiring panoramic views across Bali and even glimpses of Mount Rinjani in Lombok. The breathtaking sunrise over the island is a sight that will forever be etched in your memory.

To undertake this challenging adventure, it’s crucial to come prepared. You’ll need at least 4 liters of water per person to stay hydrated during the climb, as well as plenty of energy-boosting snacks. Safety should always be a top priority, so it’s recommended to never go alone. Hiking with someone experienced in the mountains or a specialised Bali Guide will provide you with the necessary expertise and ensure a safe and memorable journey. So, lace up your hiking boots, gather your supplies, and get ready for an extraordinary Mount Agung expedition that will test your limits and reward you with unforgettable views of Bali’s natural beauty.

8. Sekumpul Waterfall

Sekumpul Waterfall is a hidden gem nestled in Bali’s verdant heart. Located in the northern region of the island, reaching this natural wonder is like embarking on a thrilling treasure hunt. Strap on your adventurous spirit and follow the winding paths through picturesque rice terraces and quaint villages. The journey may involve some bumpy rides and steep walks, but fear not, the destination is worth every step! As you approach Sekumpul Waterfall, the thunderous sound of cascading water grows louder, building anticipation. And there it is, a breathtaking sight that will leave you in awe.

Multiple streams of water plunge down from towering cliffs, creating a mesmerizing spectacle of mist and rainbows. Take a refreshing dip in the cool waters, surrounded by the vibrant greenery and tropical beauty. Sekumpul Waterfall is not just a waterfall; it’s an immersive experience that connects you with nature’s wonders and leaves you with memories that will last a lifetime.

9. Be hypnotised by the Sunset Kecak Fire Dance in Uluwatu Temple

Prepare to be captivated by the mesmerizing Fire Dance at Uluwatu Temple! As the golden sun begins to set, the stage is set for an enchanting performance that will leave you in inspired. The performers form a mesmerizing concentric circle, swaying gracefully side by side, their voices uniting as one as they chant, “Chak ke-chak ke-chak.” The rhythmic chant and synchronized movements draw you into a trance-like state, as if you’ve been transported to a realm of ancient rituals.

Fire dance

The flickering flames they hold create an ethereal ambiance, casting dancing shadows that add to the mystique. By the end of the performance, you’ll be mouthing “Chak ke-chak ke-chak” under your breath, feeling a profound connection to the rich Balinese culture. or at least wishing you could just join in.


10. Stand at the gates of Heaven (and strike a pose)

Welcome to the enchanting realm of Heaven’s Gate, also known as Pura Lempuyang, in Bali! Brace yourself for breathtaking vistas, but let’s spill the beans on those Instagram photos first.

We’ve all seen them on Insta, you know those jaw-dropping shots with the pool perfectly reflecting Mount Agung? Well, they’re about as real as those pouty lips in the same photo. Simply hold a mirror under your camera for the effect. Sneaky, right? You don’t even have to turn up with your own mirror, there’s a man on hand to snap the photo for you. Wonder what he puts on his CV?

Heaven's gate Bali with a fake mirrored lake
Don’t believe everything you see

To catch the clearest views of mighty Mount Agung, rise with the sun and arrive at the crack of dawn. Be an early bird and witness the beauty of the mountain in all its glory, sans the crowds and clouds.

11. Monkey business in the Monkey Forest, Ubud

“What happens in the Monkey Forest stays in the Monkey Forest” says the monkeys in the Monkey Forest. Along with you wallet, camera, takeaway latte and whatever else they.

In Ubud, you’ll find an impressive number of our furry friends swinging from tree to tree. With over 700 monkeys inhabiting this lush sanctuary, there’s no shortage of playful mischief to witness and be a part of. From energetic youngsters leaping around to mature monkeys doing mature things with each other whilst crouching on your backpack. Followed by the same monkeys unzipping your bag grabbing what they can and scarpering. But you got that killer selfie whilst it was all happening right?

Monkey looking forlorn - 98.8% the same as you
You can trust me

No-one leaves the Monkey Forest without a story to tell. You might not have your journal, scooter keys and wallet but you’ve got your story. Priorities init.

12. Carve some lines at Bali Wake Park

Bali Wake Park is the ultimate playground for watermen, water-women and adventure seekers! Whether you’re a pro or a first-time wakeboarder, this place will have you hanging ten in no time.

Dive into a world of thrilling jumps, cool tricks, and adrenaline-pumping rides as you conquer the cable park’s crystal-clear waters. With state-of-the-art facilities and friendly instructors to look after you.

Don’t worry if you’re new to wakeboarding; they’ll have you gliding across the water like a pro with their expert guidance. Just don’t make the classic rookie error and take you newbie board over the jumps. They’ve got fins on, it’s bad form.

Then, when your arms are limp rags by your sides from hanging on for dear life, take the time to chill out with a coconut and watch all the other newbs and daredevils shredding and wiping out for your entertainment.

13. Bali’s finest view in Kintamani

Coffee with a front-row seat of Bali’s most mesmerising view. Charming coffee shops like Paper Hills and Tegenugi don’t hide their secrets well. Towering in the distance is the main event. Step out to their backyards and feast your eyes upon the most magnificent panorama in Bali. Mount Batur, Batur Lake, and Mount Abang. Framed perfectly within the circular caldera, forming a picture-perfect scene that will leave you humbled.

Watch as the clouds gracefully sweep by, revealing the majestic silhouette of Mount Batur against the backdrop of the shimmering lake. It’s truly a magical place and it never gets old. Every time you visit she sweeps you off your feet.

Insider tip: The layer cake in Tegenugi is spot on. A Kintamani ritual amongst TBL’s friends.

14. Make a splash at Waterbom

Looking for some adrenaline-pumping fun in paradise? Look no further than Waterbom Bali, one of the most stunning and waterparks on the planet! Even though this waterpark is nestled in the heart of Kuta you would never know with the lush and tropical environment.

TBL’s favourites have to be the nerve shredding trap door slides. Brace yourself as the floor disappears beneath you, and you plummet down at lightning speed, screaming with a mix of fear and pure exhilaration.

The dedicated toddlers area is guaranteed smiles as well. The huge bucket that steadily fills and then empties over the main play area every few minutes never fails to cause commotion. Especially funny when an unsuspecting parent get a dousing.

For the more chilled simply spend all day lolling around the lazy river in the shade of the tropical vegetation that line the amusement. Just bliss.

15. Snorkeling in Padang Bai

Looking for an aquatic escapade that will leave you grinning from ear to ear? Look no further than snorkeling in Padang Bai, where crystal clear waters and vibrant marine life await your discovery!

The waters of Padang Bai are so clear that it feels like you’re floating in a giant aquarium. But the real fun lies beneath the surface. Strap on your snorkel gear and immerse yourself in an underwater wonderland. The visibility under the water is probably the best in Bali. But this means that you have a much better chance of spotting something impressive whilst you’re browsing the coral.

Leatherback Turtles are a regular visitor in this bay. Blue star fish, huge trigger fish and archer fish can all be spotted in these waters.

Leatherback Turtle

Whether you’re a seasoned snorkeler or a first-timer, Padang Bai offers something for everyone. Swim through coral gardens bursting with life, and keep an eye out for hidden nooks and crannies where curious fish like to hide. And when you need a break from exploring, simply float on the surface and soak up the warm tropical sun, drifting along with the gentle current.

Do check with the locals about the day’s tides, currents and safest place to enter without having to step on coral.

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