In recent years, Bali in Indonesia has exploded in popularity as a vacation destination, so much so that is seems like everyone has a Bali bucket list!
Whether you are drawn to this beautiful Indonesia island for its lush jungles, pristine beaches or robust cultural and historic offerings, you will be sure to find dozens of items to fill your Bali bucket list!
From volcanic mountains covered in thick tropical forests to some of the most photogenic sights and scenery, Bali is a paradise that attracts thousands every year.
Bali is a remarkably affordable destination, making it a perfect place to visit regardless of your budget!
Affordable luxury and a breathtaking setting has made this area an incredibly popular location for tourists and travelers, ensuring that you will find plenty of things to do during your stay on this paradise island!
When planning your own adventure to this Indonesian paradise, be sure to research ahead of time so you’ll be able to tick off everything on your Bali bucket list!
Bali Bucket List: What not to miss
Bali has exploded in popularity in recent years, becoming one of the top ten Asian tropical vacation destinations.
The island is filled with adventure and culture, from sacred religious sites, ancient architecture, sweeping views and dense tropical jungles. Whether you are traveling alone or as a group, with family or a romantic partner, the island of Bali has something for everyone.
Adventure seekers and those looking for a peaceful and relaxing vacation will both be able to find everything their heart desires on this lush oasis!
It helps to plan ahead and find reputable guides and companies to work with when discovering all the sights and experiences on your own Bali bucket list.
Whether you’re traveling to remote locations or venturing through the wild jungles of this island, a knowledgeable guide will go a long way toward making the experience better for everyone in the long run!
You’ll discover that a trip to Bali is unlike most other popular vacation destinations and the authentic and culturally vibrant experience you’ll have will surely leave you wanting more. Read on for a more in depth look at all the different destinations that deserve a spot on your Bali bucket list!
Located in eastern Bali, this famous water palace was a former royal abode and features some of the most exotic and remarkable architecture of the island.
Stepping stones across the still reflection pools have been featured on Instagram feeds and travel blogs all over the internet and for good reason!
The attention to detail and symmetry in the designs of this ancient structure create some of the most amazing visuals and perfectly exemplify the stunning beauty of the natural surroundings.
In fact the visuals are so well known and popular that you’ll be able to find tours tailored to getting the perfect “Instagram shot” during your vacation in Bali.
These tailored excursions will be sure to bring you to all the top ranking photography spots, including the water palace of Tirta Gangga. Another bonus is that your tour guide will gladly step in for your Instagram husband when needed, so you’ll be able to get shots of you and your partner together without needing a tripod!
Spread over 1.2 hectares, Tirta Gangga Water Palace features three levels with fountains, stone carvings, swimming pools (which the locals seemed to love), boat rides and large fish ponds with stepping stones.
Surrounded by lush tropical gardens and looking out over rice paddies and the ocean, there’s also a hotel and restaurant onsite.
Tirta Gangga Water Palace is about two hours from Ubud and Canggu, but I personally stopped on the way to Amed, which is 30 minutes away.
If you don’t have a scooter or a private driver, there is the option of an organised tour as well. It was heaving with people when we visited at around 2 pm, so I’d recommend getting there early in the morning if possible.
As mentioned, there’s lots to see and do within the complex, so give yourself time to wander and take photos.
Haley on Holiday
This stunning and iconic volcanic mountain peak is synonymous with the landscape of Bali and one of the top things to do on most adventurers’ Bali bucket list.
From the peak of the mountain you’ll be treated to panoramic 360 degree views of the rolling jungle landscape, tiered paddies and plantations in every direction.
Opt to arrive early and make the trek before the sun rises so you can experience the majesty of the sun coloring the landscape in golden and pink hues as you watch the sunrise from the peak of this volcanic mountain.
A trek around the crater of the volcano is also worth the effort; the landscape is perhaps the most breathtaking of any tropical island around! After trekking down through the lush landscape, treat yourself to a nice long soak in a mineral hot spring.
Not only will you have an opportunity to further admire the landscape around you, but you’ll also be able to soothe away the muscle strains from your long and arduous hike!
For an added bonus, be sure to select a tour that includes a stop at one of the coffee plantations near the base of the mountain for a re-energizing pick me up!
One Bali bucket list must is a visit to Nusa Penida, a remarkable region filled with pristine beaches, towering cliffs and stunning views of the Indian Ocean.
The breathtaking scenery of Nusa Penida is second to none and the beaches are sought after for their picturesque beauty and turquoise blue waters.
After venturing to this island by boat, you’ll have a chance to see the cliffs at Kelingking Beach before heading to Broken Beach and the remarkable natural pool at Angel’s Billabong.
From there, you’ll leave the peace and serenity of these more remote places and head to Crystal Beach.
For an added perk, look for excursions that include snorkeling with the stunning manta rays of the coral reefs around Nusa Penida.
These tours take you out into the waters to swim with these massive and peaceful creatures, admiring their graceful movements against a backdrop of lush corals.
From there, you’ll be able to stop at the nearby sister island of Nusa Lembongan for a traditional Indonesia lunch buffet and a kayaking adventure through the otherworldly mangrove forests!
Ubud is by far one of the most popular spots on the island and you’ll find it filled with a number of items on your Bali bucket list!
Filled with stunning scenery, lush jungles and some of the most culturally significant sites on the island, this area is filled with so many things to see and do during your time in Indonesia’s paradise island retreat!
Start with a visit to Tegenungan Waterfall, a breathtaking cascade of water deep in the lush jungle of the island. This spot is one of the most popular within Ubud, so be sure to arrive early to see it without the crowds!
Located in a deep, hidden canyon, you’ll be able to get close enough to feel the spray of the cascading waters as they fill the air with misty droplets!
Gunung Kawi Temple and Elephant Cave
Near the stunning waterfall, you will also be treated to explorations of the magical temples so well known on the island.
These sites, many of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, are some of the top items on any Bali bucket list!
Seeming to grow straight from the jungle floor itself, the ornate architecture and massive statues are slowly being taken over by the clinging roots and vines of the forest to become an intertwined being of an almost magical appearance.
The temples of the Ubud region are truly a once in a lifetime experience you won’t want to miss!
Mas Village and Ubud Market
You’ll also be able to visit a number of rich cultural sights in this area! Mas Village is a traditional carpenters village, allowing you a chance to watch Balinese craftsmen carving intricate wooden statues and items, perhaps even scoring an authentic souvenir to bring home with you from your travels!
The Ubud Traditional Market is another place to find souvenirs, from crafts to handmade artisan goods and fresh produce from the jungles and plantations nearby, a visit to this market is a perfect place to really embrace the culture of the area.
By far one of the most amazing items on any Bali bucket list is a visit to the famed Monkey Forest in the center of Ubud. Hundreds and hundreds of long-tailed macaques fill this lush jungle, surrounding an ancient temple that they call home.
You’ll be able to walk through the vibrant forest and get an up close and personal interaction with these quirky little creatures. The architecture of the temple they guard, surrounded on all sides by lush and perfumed jungle vegetation makes for an almost otherworldly experience on the magical island of Bali.
Other Ubud Experiences
For a truly comprehensive Bali bucket list, consider one of the many other adventures and excursions you’ll find in this highly popular area. From floating breakfasts to jungle swing adventures, this area has pretty much everything you could hope for when visiting the island of Bali.
One particularly thrilling way to experience this robust area is by hot air balloon. There is no better way to see the lush rice paddies, vibrant plantations, dense jungles and ornate architecture than from above, soaring peacefully above for a breathtaking bird’s eye view!
Depending on when you take your flight, you’ll also be treated to a delicious meal of classic Indonesian cuisine. Whether you choose breakfast, afternoon tea and snacks or a three course dinner meal, you’ll be able to enjoy the meal while admiring the scenery that gives this place the nickname Island of the Gods.
For an even more peaceful and Bali bucket list worthy experience, opt for one of the amazing spa treatments available in the area of Ubud.
These traditional relaxation experiences include foot baths, scrubs, flower baths and milk baths, all overlooking the lush jungles and perfumed by the organic essential oils sourced from the very same forests you’ll admire during your treatment. The experience ends with a sauna and refreshing ginger tea to leave you truly relaxed and rejuvenated!
Located in the northern part of the island is another amazing Bali bucket list sight; the magical Lake Beratan.
With its ornate temple that appears to be floating in the middle of the calm waters, this fantastical sight truly exemplifies all the reasons why this place is called the Island of the Gods.
All around you the hillsides rise up in a lush backdrop of vibrant green and the crystal waters of the lake surround you and the lakeside temple for a feeling of stepping into a lost world.
The island of Bali has been our most favorite place to travel ever since the first time we visited there. The beautiful landscapes, delicious food and the welcoming Balinese people hold a very special place in our hearts.
However, there is a serene spiritual connection we feel whenever we set foot in Bali. Just like the natural attractions, we are also drawn to the stunning Hindu temples all over this island. The Ulun Danu Beratan temple or Pura Ulun Danu Beratan as it is called, is the most beautiful temple in Bali.
Located in the Beratan lake among the hills of Bedugul in north Bali, this temple exudes a spiritual aura that is unmatched.
Although the temple grounds are on the shore of the lake, the main temple is a few steps into the lake waters. With the majestic mountains in the backdrop of the misty lake, the temple looks absolutely ethereal and is a photographer’s delight.
Traveling to this place takes a couple of hours from the south and east of Bali, but we would recommend staying somewhere in the north which would be much closer to the temple and also several other equally beautiful locations.
Whether you are looking for great photo opportunities or to get immersed in the pure spirituality of Bali, the Ulun Danu Beratan temple is a must visit.
Additionally, there are two more beautiful Ulun Danu temples located at Mount Batur and Lake Buyan which are also worth a visit. We though, could not get over the beauty of Ulun Danu Beratan.
For anyone interested in marine life, a chance to see manta rays at Bali’s Manta Point should not be missed! There are few experiences as special as snorkeling or diving in Bali with these gentle giants.
Manta Point dive site is located near Nusa Penida, an island just off the coast of Bali. You’ll have to take an hour boat ride from Bali to get there and it can be bumpy! However, the gorgeous views of the coastline more than make up for it.
Due to the shallow nature of the site and great visibility, this dive site and the chance to meet Manta Rays is suitable for both snorkelers and scuba divers. Manta Point is a manta ray cleaning station, but this site is also home to a number of blue-spotted rays, some octopuses and lots of nudibranchs. Of course, the little creatures can only be seen on a dive.
You’ll have to go with a tour to Manta Point so ensure you chose a sustainable operator that respect’s these majestic creatures and the ocean. November to April the seas are gentler and visibility is better, but manta rays occupy the waters around Manta Point year-round.
Drink Tea & Travel
Also known as the pathway to Serenity, this ancient stone structure rises up before you, perfectly framing the views of the breathtaking scenery found all over Bali.
These towering stone gates can be seen all over the island, but the Handara gate is perhaps one of the most remarkable, with views of the misty and majestic hills beyond creating a mysterious and almost fantasy-like backdrop!
(5) Stay awhile and contemplate your surroundings and you’ll understand exactly why it has been named the pathway to Serenity.
Jungle Swing Experiences
One of the most iconic experiences to be had in Bali is the jungle swing, an image seen countless times across Instagram feeds and travel blogs from all over the world.
This Bali bucket list must is one you’ll find repeated often all around the island, each one promising breathtaking views as well as the thrilling feeling of soaring high above the lush jungles of this Indonesian paradise.
Be sure to research ahead of time to ensure that any tour you book includes this experience, because it is truly one you won’t want to miss!
It’s only in recent years that Amed has been easily accessible by tourists, so it is still quiet in comparison with other parts of the island.
It’s also becoming very popular currently for yoga and freediving, or diving on a breath-hold. Amed is a beautiful place to take a freediving course, and many schools are based in Amed Bay itself, so you get fantastic views of Mount Agung while out on the water.
The course is done in very small groups and includes some yoga, relaxation and breathing/breath-holding exercises, as well as theory on proper equalization and your mammalian diving reflexes!
Be prepared to surprise yourself with how long you can actually hold your breath! You will then be taken to the water where you will attempt some dives, that will get progressively deeper as you become more comfortable with what is happening in your body, and how much you are able to control your mind.
It’s a truly eye-opening experience and Amed is a wonderful backdrop to give it a try.
One of the must do things in Bali is to visit the Uluwatu Temple. Situated high up on a steep cliff approximately 70 metres above sea level, the temple is just stunning with the waves crashing against the rocks below. This Balinese temple to the sea gods, is part of a series of temples built to protect the island from evil spirits.
The best time to visit the temple is just before sunrise, this way you can see the gorgeous sunset over the Bukit Peninsula. If you do want to do this, I recommend getting there early as this is a very popular time to go and the place will be packed with tourists wanting to see the gorgeous view.
The other reason sunset is a good time to visit, is because you can then also see the Kecak Dance performance. In this dance the performers act out a scene from Ramayana with a trance chant and include fire dancing as well as intricate costumes.
To enter the temple, keep in mind there is a dress code. You are required to wear a long dress or pants, and also ensure your shoulders are covered. However sarongs are available at the temple if you don’t have appropriate clothing.
Pro tip: be aware of the cheeky little monkeys that surround the temples. These little guys love to steal from tourists. Be sure to put sunglasses and hats away so the monkeys won’t take them from you.
Entry to the temple is 50,000 IDR and tickets to the Kecak dance performance are 100,000 IDR.
Thrifty Family Travels
Tucked away in the slightly sleepy town of Munduk, in central Bali, are some of the most exquisite and lesser-known waterfalls in Bali, that you just have to visit.
Munduk, which is known for its rolling hills and more relaxed, chilled outlook is a far cry from the traffic-heavy streets of Canggu or the bustling bohemian enclave of Ubud. You won’t find cool smoothie bowl joints on every corner and you are nowhere near any kind of beach but what you will find is one of the slightly more hidden gems of Bali: the Munduk Waterfall Trail.
Boasting four (yes, count ‘em, four) breathtaking waterfalls, the area is in easy reach of the town – just meander down the hill to reach your first one. To truly see them properly, its suggested that you start ‘at the top’, hitching a lift with a local on their moped to come across Golden Valley waterfall, where you can take in this impressive waterfall while sipping a cup of strong Balinese coffee at Eco Café.
From there its onwards to Red Coral Waterfall (also known as Munduk Waterfall), an almost deserted single stream waterfall. You can go swimming at Labuhan Kebo Waterfall, one of the larger falls with two rock pools at the base or end up at Melanting Waterfall, the most powerful (and probably impressive) of them all.
The Travel Scribes
Take a Scenic Helicopter Flight
Tanah Lot Temple
The Island of the Gods is a perfect name for this lush paradise in the Indian Ocean, but you’ll have to see it in person to truly understand just how magical the island of Bali truly is!
The items on a Bali bucket list are unlike any other experiences you’ll find anywhere else in the world. From ancient temples and magical sites rising out of the jungle to sweeping vistas of mist-strewn rice paddies and rolling volcanic mountains, the island of Bali is a breathtaking marvel for the senses.
Whether you’re looking for thrilling hikes and underwater adventures or you’d prefer peaceful serenity deep within the temples or during a riverside spa treatment, you’ll find everything and more on your Bali bucket list!
Plan ahead to be sure that you don’t miss a single magical moment on this Indonesian paradise island!
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