Bali is emerging to be a very popular destination for so many people now, but all I see people doing are going to the monkey forest, Kuta and the Tanah Lot temple. No one seems to be exploring the real beauty of Bali. So in this blog i have listed down my top 20 off beat things to do in and around Bali, trust me it is worth the read
1. Food and Cafes – The main island of Bali is extremely famous for its local flavors and very unique food scene. When in Bali you have to try the traditional breakfast called as the smoothie bowl, it is so Balinese in its taste and presentation with a nice textural smoothie and fresh fruits of your choice. Next you must try Nasi Goreng and Mie Goreng which is the local staple food of the people. There are a lot of vegetarian options as well and please do check out random cafes and stop looking for Indian restaurants in Bali.
2. Rent a Scooter: To really get a feel of modern day Bali you must rent out a scooter. Since you are an Indian it is easy for you to rent a scooter as most of you are pretty used to it. Scooters are easily available literally everywhere and you can ask anyone to arrange it for you. It will cost you anywhere from 350 -500 Rs per day (Fuel Excluded) depending on the place you rent it out from. With the scooter, you can quickly navigate around Bali as it get can get very crowded. Also driving on those narrow roads surrounded by rice fields is an experience that is unique to Bali.
3. Night and Club life: Bali to begin with has some of best bars and clubs around. In fact because of so many options it can get difficult to pick a night club or a place to drink away into the sunset. But with no shortages around you must experience trending and hip clubs and bars of Bali at least once. One place really stood out to me was Omnia Day club which is south Bali in Uluwatu. This place is nothing like you have ever seen before. the infinity club merges into the ocean line into the distance and the sunset here is just magical and out of the world. It can be a pit pricey but remember, you only live once.
4. Cliffs – Bali is filled with beautiful cliffs and perfect for Instagram goals. Usually no one talks about cliffs when you plan a trip to Bali, but I think it a must. Some of the cliffs are extremely difficult to get to and you will need a considerable amount of fitness to reach them. Some of the cliffs I recommend are
- Karang Boma cliff in Uluwatu
- Blue lagoon in Nusa Ceningan
- Kelingking beach in Nusa Penida
- Cliff overlooking Peguyangang and Seganing waterfall – These are very difficult to get to so you must have decent hiking shoes and fitness.
PS – all the photos in the blog are mine and I have first hand experience of all these places
5. Waterfalls – Waterfalls are really easy to come across in Bali. But the one’s that stand our are the ones where you really have to beat the crowds and are not easily accesible. Waterfalls in and around bali are really stuff of dreams and extremely beautiful. Some of my favorite waterfalls on Bali mainland are – Tegunungan (crowded so get there early in the morning), Nung Nung (60 mins walk up and down) is by far my favorite waterfall on bali mainland. Aling Aling waterfall is way up in the north but is definitely not to be missed . When in the north check out Sekumpul waterfall. Hire a taxi for a day and drive around all these waterfalls. Carry extra dry clothes and towels as you will want to take a dip some of these waterfalls.
There are a couple of waterfalls on the island of Nusa Penida which are truly spectacular. They take a lot of time going up and down and will demand a reasonable amount of fitness, so tread with caution. My favorites are Seganing and Peguyangan waterfall, they are simply stunning and is an experience out of this world.
6. Snorkeling – Snorkeling in and around Bali can be very rewarding as there is a wide array of marine life within a small area. Some key highlights are snorkeling with manta rays in Nusa Lembonghan, snorkeling with turtles in Gili islands plus if you are lucky you can also spot some dolphins at dolphin beach on Nusa Penida.
7. Shopping – Bali really is a shopper’s paradise. There are hip and designer stores to local street shopping, Bali has something to offer for all tastes and budgets. I really like the fact that there are Billabong showrooms in every neighborhood and they always have sales and discounts going on there. My favorite street to shop is Jalan Raya. This street really sums up most of Balinese shopping. Another area that i really like is the lane opposite Ubud palace. It is very different from Seminyak and more related to handicrafts and art work. You will definitely find some amazing souvenirs for taking back home.
8. Villa Life – I’m sure there are tons of hotels and resorts in and around Bali, but i really love the villas they have to offer. We stayed only in villas throughout our trip and the entire feel of a typical Balinese villa was something you must experience at least once. Check out my video on all the villas we stayed in during our trip.
9. Natural wonders – If you guys do not know all islands in and around Bali are a product of thousands of years of volcanic activities. Thus the landscape so unique in it own way and has made way to some crazy natural wonders. Words really cannot describe and give justice as how these natural wonders are made. Some of places that you must see are Devil’s Tear on Nusa Lembonghan, Blue lagoon on Nusa Ceningan, Broken beach, Angel’s billabong and Kelingking beach on Nusa Penida island are some of my favorites to see in and around Bali.
10. Nusa Isalnds – You must understand that Indonesia is so much more than just Bali. Thai is why i highly recommend you venture out into uncharted areas of the Nusa islands which have Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembonghan and Nusa Ceningan. You can get ferries to all these places from Sanur pier very easily for as low as 1000-1500 Rs per person. There are so many things to do and see around the Nusa islands – my top picks are Kelingking beach, Angel’s Billabong, Devil’s Tear, Broken Beach, Blue Lagoon, Peguyangang and Seganing waterfalls.
11. Gili Islands – North of the Nusa islands and 2.5 hours away via ferry are the Gili islands. These islands are just off the coast of Lombok. Lombok in itself is a beautiful place to explore, but more on that later. there are 3 Gili islands – Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, Gili Air. All of them are 10 minutes away from each other and can be accessed easily. The best part about these islands are that there are no motored vehicles. All transportation is done on cycles and horse carriages. This is a very beautiful set of islands and very unique in its own way. This is the perfect place to go for snorkeling as you will get some diverse marine life and get to swim with turtles.
12. Sunsets – I think Indonesia does the best sunsets and there is not better place in the world to experience a better sunset. When you are in Bali, pick any spot and just around from wherever you can see the sunset. Best places are beaches and cliffs. The colors are so vivid with never before seen shades of red, orange, purple and pink. Do not miss out on sunsets .
13. Infinity Pools – Be it natural or man made Bali has it all. First it was difficult for me to believe but there were crazy natural infinity pools in and around Bali. There a few natural infinity pools that I would highly recommend. All of them are on the island of Nusa Penida. There are pools at the base of Peguyangan and Seganing waterfalls and one crazy natural infinity pool called as Angel’s Billabong. Apart from natural pools there are tons of artificial infinity pools which are equally magnificent. Best one I came across was in Omnia day club in Uluwatu, Bali
14. Volcano –Like I mentioned before, the island of Bali actually formed by years of volcanic activity. There is no surprise that there are still active volcanoes on the island of Bali and Lombok. There is a trek that starts at 2.30 AM in the morning, the point of this is to reach the top of the volcano as the sunrise from the top is breathtaking and the added attraction of the Volcano makes it stuff of Lord of the rings. The name of the volcano is Mount Batur
15. Surfing – Bali is also a surfer’s paradise. It has waves for experts, competitions and even for beginners and is the fantastic place to learn surfing. Surfing cannot be mastered in a day, but just for the experience I highly recommend you take a one day surfing lesson and i can guarantee you will not regret it. At least once you will be able to stand on your board, and this experience filled me with joy which i had not experienced before.
16. Rice Fields – Yes, rice fields are pretty good in and around Bali. But honestly when you are coming from India and have seen fields of Punjab, Assam and Kerala, the ones in Bali really does not amaze you. They really have made it kind of tourist trap and I would say tread with caution since there are so many people trying to sell you something or the other here.
17. Swings – Since Bali has become the best destination for Instagram goals there are so many of these swings around for you to get the perfect picture. But honestly the way i see it, when you mix commercialization with nature, it is not the best pairing and suddenly the beauty just disappears.
18. Coffee Plantations – Along with rice there are plenty of coffee plantations as well. The coffee grown there is good but it is not wow. Do it once for the experience, but would definitely not hesitate to miss when I am on a tight schedule.
19. Scuba Diving and Padi License – Like any other south east Asian country, scuba diving and water activities are at the top of to do list. The best scuba diving location has to be the Gili islands. Along with this the PADI licence training is also pretty big here and also a very good place to get your PADI license. It is not as cheap as in Koh Tao in Thailand but it is still affordable. So if you are planning on getting your PADI license Bali is a nice place for it.
20. Gates and Temples – Like India, there are a lot of temples in and around Bali. Please do not spend more time than needed at temples, you can see better ones in India. The only temple that i went to was the Tanah Lot temple and the Uluwatu temple as the natural beauty there is stunning. Another thing the really distinguishes Bali are the gates. The Balinese gates are literally present everywhere but the really photogenic ones are the ones outside Handara Gold resort. Do check it out if you are looking for stunning photos.
I hope this blog gives you some ideas as to what you want to do in and around Bali. If you still need a more visual idea of what you read check out my YouTube video below.