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  • Writer's pictureDan & Lois Gardner

Our Top 10 Things To Do in Bali

BALI has become one of the most popular holiday destinations on the planet over the past 5 years and we can definitely see why! We spent just over 2 weeks there last year and had an unforgettable time! We thought we'd share with you 10 things to see and do on the island that we did ourselves, for some inspiration in case you ever plan a trip there yourself in the future.

Hopefully this can give you a quick taste of Bali and the type of things you can experience on this beautiful island in Indonesia.

10 Things To See & Do in Bali!


1) White Water River Rafting

There are quite a few places in Bali where you can experience white water river rafting. We did it at the Telaga Waja River, and it really was an awesome experience!

The river is covered with white water rapids that combine a wild ride with beautiful jungle scenery. At times we felt like we were in the Jungle Book when Mowgli is sitting on Baloo's stomach as they float down the river - "Look for the bare necessities!"

As you ride the rapids down the Telaga Waja river you will pass the outskirts of little local villages and see the Balinese people washing themselves or their clothes on the river banks. You'll also float by many forests and fields allowing you to take in this beauty from a whole new perspective! It was definitely a highlight of our Bali experience.

2) Coffee Tasting

Absolutely BUZZING! This was great fun. We had our friend Adi drive us to a local coffee tasting establishment (near Ubud), where they also grow the coffee beans. We had a little tour of the place with Adi who showed us the different type of beans and how they are prepared after they are picked from the plantations. After this we sat down and was given a choice of approximately 12 different coffee and tea flavours to try! All free of charge!

They also explained how the civet (a catlike creature) will eat some of the best coffee beans/cherries from the fields and then poo them out partially digested. These coffee beans are fermented as they pass through a civet's intestines (which apparently improves the quality or taste of the coffee bean). Once the civet has departed the beans are collected, cleaned and roasted to create the world famous (and very expensive) coffee - Kopi Luwak. I had tried this coffee before in the UK and quite liked it, so I tried it again here. It was stronger and far more bitter than I remember it, and to be honest I think I preferred the original "Bali Coffee" - the local Balinese coffee brand.

After trying various different coffees and teas, we were understandably BUZZING! Although most coffee tasting tours are free they do encourage you to visit their shop on site to purchase a tea or coffee. This is of course more than fair and we were more than happy to do so. After getting a taste for what we like and dislike we could then purchase something in the shop that we know we are going to enjoy back home!

3) Nusa Penida Island & The Kelingking Beach Hike

Nusa Penida Island is an island next to Bali - just a 30-40 minute boat ride away. The island is still slightly under-developed which in our opinion makes for an authentic & educational experience, with a lot of untouched beauty to see. We stayed on the island for 4 nights close to Crystal Bay beach. The island was like nowhere we had ever been before, it was wild and beautiful! Many people we met had never left this tiny island, which was so strange to us, but I guess they've never had the need to.

Whilst on the island we had a driver take us around to different spots to explore. The roads on Nusa Penida are the worst we've ever experienced, it feels like you're constantly driving over giant LEGO. We would not recommend tourists (however experienced or skilled you feel you are) to rent scooters or cars on the island. Just don't.

We visited Kelingking on one of our days on the island and decided to hike down to the beach. We hadn't heard much about the hike, apart from it takes about 30-40 mins. The hike basically consisted of mostly jagged rocks on a near vertical slope. A health and safety nightmare! To support yourself on the way down there is usually a man-made bamboo handrail to hold on, but even so, it's not ideal. That being said we did enjoy the hike, it was different and you felt like you'd earned the right to enjoy the beautiful beach at the bottom.

We also had the chance to swim with Manta Rays on the island. A boat took us out from Crystal Bay beach to an area nearby where the Manta Rays are usually congregated, and then you jump in and swim around to find them. It took a while, but we did get to see one. It was huge and it took all my strength swimming to keep up with it for a few minutes.

4) Take A Walk! Talk to People!

Some of our best days spent in Bali were when we had nothing planned and we just walked around different villages talking to the local people. It's always so refreshing to see the smiles of kind-hearted people with a modest way of life. So we'd recommend taking some time to just go for a walk and talk to people!

5) Explore The Monkey Forest in Ubud!

If you love monkeys like we do then you will definitely want to visit the Monkey Forest Temple in Ubud. The complex is full of over 500 monkeys and the three temples that still stand and date back from the 14th century. The entire area is a nature reserve and you can walk around and take in the scenery as well as take photographs of the monkeys. The monkeys roam free here and are quite used to human interaction. Be careful though, they like to steal water bottles, sunglasses and any sort of food. So just keep your things inside your backpack.

6) Tegallalang Rice Terraces & 'The Bali Swing'

A beautiful place that we'd highly recommend you visiting early morning. We knew that this place could get overcrowded so we decided to go early in the day, at about 7am. At that time (apart from the locals working in the fields) there was hardly anyone else in sight. It's a very peaceful place to walk around and hear the sounds of the birds singing. There are also a few tree swings set up at different locations. They swing out over the rice terraces and provide incredible views!.. so you have to give it a go!

7) Find Waterfalls!

There are many, many waterfalls to be seen in Bali. A few to keep on your list are: Tegenungan, Jembong, Tibumana, Tukad Cepung and Leke Leke to name just a few. We were lucky enough to have a local man lead us on a 20 minute bike ride and then a 20 minute trek on foot through the jungle, to what he simply called "the secret waterfall". He said not even the locals know about this waterfall. It was on a farmers land that he knew personally. It wasn't sign posted and was very well hidden. I couldn't tell you how to get there if I wanted to!.. Sorry.

The Secret Waterfall

and we also visited some "not so secret" waterfalls...

Tibumana Waterfall

8) Explore Sidemen Village

Sidemen is often left off many travellers itineraries which is a shame as it offers you the perfect alternative to more crowded spots like Ubud. Sidemen is located in East Bali. The area is located among miles of rice paddies, fresh water streams, a valley and the majesty Mount Agung.

Sidemen Village is an inspiring place to explore where you can really feel the authenticity of a true Balinese community. So if you want to discover beautiful landscapes, go for peaceful walks, meet happy people and spend some time amongst nature, away from the crowds, then Sidemen is the place to go!

9) Check Out Ubud Town

Ubud is widely known as the cultural heartland of Bali, and if you like art then this is the place to come. Ubud sits among gorgeous rolling rice paddies and is filled with art galleries, shops and a wide variety of cafes & restaurants. The town is a busy one, but definitely worth exploring in the evening!

10) Go Surfing in Kuta

If you haven’t surfed before and would like to learn, or are just looking for some gentle waves to practice on, then Kuta Beach has got you covered! You can rent a board on the beach or sign up for a surf lesson with one of the many local surfers! We would have loved to do this together, but I (Dan) had unfortunately busted up my big toe pretty bad a few days earlier (on a bike ride) and was currently limping around. So surfing was kind of off the table! Maybe next time!

A little side note: there is a turtle breeding establishment just set back from the beach in Kuta, and you can help set the turtles free in to the ocean at certain times of year. Look out for the giant turtle statue.

You can also enjoy very beautiful sunsets from Kuta Beach (Lois not included).

We hope that we've been able to give you some inspiration for Bali!


You can also watch our video "A Taste of Bali" right here! >

Please feel free to SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel for more videos!

Thanks for reading.

Dan & Lois

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