20 Wanderlusty Photos of My Best Things to Do in Bali

Bali, that little island in the Indonesian archipelago of over 17,000 islands, inspires serious wanderlust for anyone who has an Instagram account or saw the movie Eat, Pray, Love.  I had heard it was over-touristed, but the allure of Bali won over my sensible side. When I was in Indonesia, I set aside two weeks to visit this fabled island and it’s neighbor, Lombok.   Yes, it is touristy, particularly the southern part of the island. However, it is possible to avoid crowds if you use a few strategies. Heading to sights in the morning is a rule of thumb anywhere I go. Also, traveling to less visited parts of the island will give you more sights without hordes of wannabe Instagram stars breathing room. Here are my favorite things to do in Bali along with tips to enhance your enjoyment.

My Favorite Bali Places

#1. Who doesn’t love a street covered in Balinese umbrellas?

Things To Do In Bali

This street is close to La Plancha beach club and full of cute shops. I had a nice quiet morning stroll before having a banana smoothie and parking my self on a lounge chair at the beach for the day (She says, sighing wistfully).

#2.  This Private Villa in Ubud is under $100 per night!

Things To Do in Bali

No better place to avoid crowds than your own private oasis!  One of my favorite things to do in Bali is sipping a smoothie by the pool. This place was a dream and I literally cried when leaving. The owners were lovely people and made custom breakfast every morning, provided scooters, laundry, even help with a flat tire. You can book it here:  Villa Pondok Sawah Asri

#3. Tegallalang Rice Terraces in Ubud

Things to Do in Bali

Rent a scooter and head north of Ubud to these stunning rice terraces. This scenic valley shows off the traditional and ancient Balinese irrigation system that was passed down for generations.

#4.  Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud

Things to Do in Bali

I’m usually skeptical of animal tourism but this seems like a good place to enjoy interacting with monkeys. The forest has a temple and apparently, research and conservation work is done here. There are rangers walking around making sure things don’t get out of hand. You shouldn’t touch the monkeys but there is a good chance they will climb on you. One had a tussle with my hair. It was hilarious.

Don’t be a dick bad tourist. Follow the rules. The macaques are fearless and have large scary teeth. I watched some Russian tourist baring his teeth and staring at a monkey. I can’t lie, I was hoping he was bitten was reprimanded. Hey, I’m not the Dalai Lama, OK?

#5 Saraswati Temple UbudThings to Do in Bali

This gorgeous temple is really easy to find, right off a main street in Ubud, Jalan Raya. Saraswati is the Hindu Goddess of knowledge and arts. I loved the ponds full of blooming pink flowers.

Read More: Shoeless and Clueless, Trekking the Mount Rinjani Crater

#6 Kanto Lampo Waterfall UbudThings to do in Bali

Another of my favorite things do to in Bali is chase waterfalls. Bali has many but this was my favorite. This waterfall is relatively unknown, even to locals! All the more reason I adored it. If you go in the morning, you could have it all to yourself! It’s not often that you can become one with the waterfall.

#7 Sunset at La Luciana Restaurant, SeminyakThings to Do in Bali

This is a two for one deal because you get a fabulous meal plus a great view with a sunset. What more could you want in life? The food was so good that I cried. Hint: Get a reservation here for 30 minutes before sunset time.

#9  Hotel Tugu, CangguThings to Do in Bali

This is one of my favorite hotels of all time. If you don’t stay here (which you should), at least come to visit. They will gladly give you a tour of this museum-like property with stunning grounds. Thursday evening they have a cultural dinner with a Balinese dance show. The breakfast here is served anywhere on the property and is to die for!  Book here:  Hotel Tugu

#10 Sunset Drinks at La Plancha in LegianThings to Do in Bali

Starting at 4:00 pm, the beach chairs are replaced with bean bags and you can pick one out, order some cocktails and snacks and watch a typical stunning Bali sunset. The vibe here is great with music and friendly waiters.

#11 Secret Beach Nusa LembonganThings to Do in Bali

Not sure the name of this beach, but I found it while wandering around and standing on this little outcropping of rock. Head south from the Hai Bar and Grill in Mushroom Bay, hike through some woods and find the rocky path to climb down to this beach.  You wanted an adventure, right?

#12 Pura Tirta Empul (Water Temple) in Ubud

things to do in bali

Watch locals and tourists bathe in the sacred fountains.

#13 Kelingking Secret Beach on Nusa PenidaThings to Do In Bali

If you have time and some major cajones, walk down the steep path to the secret beach.

#14 Dream Beach on Nusa LembonganThings to Do In Bali

It really is dreamy. There are a restaurant and infinity pool that anyone can use. If you want to stay here they have beach view bungalows check out Dream Beach Huts

#15 Tanah Lot Temple Canggu

Things to Do in Bali

This stunning temple complex faces west and is well-known for gorgeous sunsets. If you want to avoid crowds, go at another time of day, like smack dab in the hot as hell afternoon. Just kidding, mornings would work also. I went mid-day and it was crowded, but not overly so. I can only image at sunset, but I’m sure it’s gorgeous.

#16  Bintangs at Sunset in an Infinity Pool in LembonganThings to Do in Bali

This was another great budget find with ocean view bungalows and this stunning infinity pool. Book here:  Poh Manis Resort

#17  Pura Goa Gajah in Ubud

things to do in bali

#18 Broken Beach Nusa PenidaThings to Do in Bali

Legend has it that the land that used to connect this bridge with the place I’m standing fell into the sea when the villagers angered a God.

#19 W Hotel Seminyak EntranceThings to Do in Bali

I heard there was a cool pool bar at the W and I was so excited to discover this dreamy entranceway!

#20 Sunset at Finn’s Beach Club CangguThings to Do in Bali

You have to pay a minimum on food and drink to get a chair here (I say bring it on, cocktail minimum), but if you go to the blissfully uncongested upper level, you sit for free and have this view.

Bali is definitely worth a visit and has much to offer; Culture, adventure, beautiful beaches, great shopping, and food. If you want nightlife and shopping with western style restaurants, head to Seminyak. Canggu has a chilled out surfer vibe. Ubud is the cultural heart of Bali with jungle and rice fields surrounding cute villas and cafes. Northern Bali is a lot less touristy and has gorgeous waterfalls and temples. Take the ferry to Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida for off-the-beaten-path rugged beauty.

Check out a short fun video about Indonesia!

Have you been to Bali? What were your favorite places? What did I miss?

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About The Author

Cherene Saradar

Cherene is a travel expert with 30 years of experience in over 100 countries and 7 continents. She has traveled solo to over 50 countries. She is also a nurse anesthesiologist with over 20 years of healthcare experience. Her passions include wildlife travel and visiting wine regions of the world.


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  2. Ajay kumar | 7th Jul 18

    Really thanks for sharing this useful post !! Bali is a nice place to visit for holidays and i will definitely do all these places with my friends.

    • csaradar | 12th Jul 18

      So glad you found it helpful!

  3. Joy | 6th Mar 18

    any info on how to get to Kampo Lanto Waterfall? I can’t find it online! Thanks!!!! I’ll be there next week!!

    • csaradar | 6th Mar 18

      Hey there! It is kind of unknown and hard to find. It is west of Goa Gajah Temple along the street Jl. Mahendradata towards Gianyar. and Jl. Patih Jelantik-Gianyar. I hope that helps. In google you have to type Waterfall Kanto Lampo for it to come up….

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  6. Rommanne | 28th Nov 17

    Wow! This is a lovely post. My trip to Bali has definitely shot a few notches higher after reading your post. The pictures are beautiful. May I please know which camera you use to get such wonderful clicks?

    • csaradar | 28th Nov 17

      Thanks Rommanne! I hope you enjoy it! I use the Sony alpha 6000 mirrorless camera for most of my pics but occasionally the Samsung S6 phone and GoPro Hero 5.

  7. Suman doogar | 30th Jul 17

    I m going to Bali next June and now looking at your pics I wanna go sooner..

    • csaradar | 2nd Aug 17

      Ooh I can understand that. June is a great time to go! You will love it!

  8. Rebecca | 29th Jul 17

    I can’t wait to visit Bali next year! These photos are lush and I hope to visit as many of these spots as possible. I’m looking forward to the rice paddies and beach sunsets most!

    Great post!


    • csaradar | 2nd Aug 17

      Lush is a good way to describe Bali. I hope you have the best visit!

  9. hertraveltherapy | 11th Jul 17

    Great photography! I’m really not a fan of Bali at all, but these photos are lovely, and there are some pockets of natural wonder to be found. I’m no fan of those monkeys though! I’ve encountered them all over Southeast Asia and they are just mean and always try to steal stuff and attack tourists!

    • csaradar | 13th Jul 17

      Haha those monkeys can be ornery. I’m such an animal nut that I weirdly like them. I guess I’ve been lucky with no major drama. It’s hard to find untouristy spots in Bali these days. I really enjoyed Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida and highly recommend for nature lovers.

  10. beccajtalbot | 10th Jul 17

    OMG!! This looks amazing 🙂 Bali has been on my bucket list for ages, and reading this post has definitely pushed it up a few places. Good to know about Ubud over Kuta too x

    • csaradar | 13th Jul 17

      Bali is one of those places everybody talks about and you just have to see for yourself. I don’t like big crowds so I always try to find ways to avoid them!

  11. baldthoughts | 4th Jul 17

    I’ve heard so many great stories about Bali and how beautiful it is, and your pictures confirm everything they’ve told me. I haven’t traveled much in Asia and South Pacific, but I need to start exploring places like Bali that are both beautiful and affordable.

    • csaradar | 9th Jul 17

      I really fell in love with Southeast Asia!! I highly recommend it!

  12. Stefanie | 12th Jun 17

    Woow, this looks really amazing,
    This is really on my have to do list before i get into my 40’s

    Keep posting,
    Kind regards

    • csaradar | 14th Jun 17

      Haha don’t worry if you don’t make it by then. I’m 42 and had a blast!!!

  13. Hannah Stein | 10th Jun 17

    Beautiful photos! Definitely makes me want to go back. To be perfectly honest, I LOVED Ubud because it felt so real, but we stayed in Kuta for two nights and I really didn’t like it. If I were to go back I would definitely visit Ubud again and maybe go north where there aren’t as many tourists. Absolutely love your photos though!

    • csaradar | 10th Jun 17

      I heard such bad things about Kuta I skipped it!

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