Things To Do In Bali
Before I visited Bali, I thought that all there was to do in Bali was go to the beach, and I'd ignorantly think to myself, "Whatever, I can just go to Sentosa." And to past me, I say, "You have no idea what you're talking about."
First of all, there are so many things to see and do in Bali, way more than just beaches. Second of all, Sentosa can't even compare to Bali's magnificent beaches. I mean, I love my homeland and all, but seriously, Bali's beaches are something else. The waves are "interstellar"-big, the sunsets are so much more picturesque, and the stars shine so much brighter. I now dream of returning to Bali everyday.
It doesn't matter if you've never been to Bali, or you're a regular visitor looking for something else to do. The eight of us from TSL flew to Bali for one week to suss out the absolute best things for you to do. This list of 50 things to do in Bali is all you'll ever need to plan your trips.
Attractions and Culture
I have lots of friends who go to Bali and neglect the tourist attractions, but they're really worth visiting because Bali's so rich in culture. It's a complete waste to just go there for their beaches and sunsets (though they're undoubtedly amazing). Their attractions make me wish Singapore had a richer history and culture, or more space for lovely temples and maybe even our own monkey forest.
1. Drink from the fountain of youth at Goa Gajah
Once you enter Goa Gajah, you'll see 6 statues of women with water streaming out of a pot held at their bellies. There were originally 7 of them, but an earthquake caused the middle one to collapse. Even so, its meaning remains unchanged, and the water is safe to drink, so why not take a shot at eternal youth?
The Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave) was built in the 9th century, and served as a sanctuary. Don't go there expecting to see any elephants - it was named the Elephant Cave because the elephant is a symbol of education, and the cave was actually used as a school hundreds of years ago. But you don't want to hear this from me. There are guides that will take you on a tour through Goa Gajah for a small tip of 50,000 rupiah (~S$5) - totally worth it.
If drinking from a fountain of youth doesn't appeal to you, then you could always just visit because it's a gorgeous place. It's got a little waterfall, beautiful green terrain, fascinating temple ruins and is an overall peaceful, spiritual place.
Do note that in order to enter the Goa Gajah, your legs will have to be covered (regardless of gender) because it is considered a holy place. I was wearing shorts, so I was lent a sarong at the entrance of Goa Gajah. The same rule applies to all other temples and holy places. The loan of sarongs is free of charge here, but at most other places, you have to make a small donation.
2. Watch the sunrise from the top of Mount Batur
You'll have to wake up extra early for this, possibly as early as 3AM if you want to be at the top of the mountain before sunrise. But the view is definitely worth it.
Imagine watching a velvet sky dotted with sparkling lights slowly fade into a sleepy lavender colour before a warm orange glow pushes through. And as the sunlight lazily peeks out of the horizon, you're suddenly aware of the ocean of clouds surrounding you. That's when it hits you - you're standing in the sky, waiting to greet the sun as it climbs out of its apparent slumber. That feeling is simply indescribable.
Do take note, though, that it is cold there. But I wouldn't recommend bringing your own jacket. Just rent one. When the TSL team rented jackets there, we stopped wearing the jackets after a while because the chilliness was overpowered by the heat generated from the physical work of hiking up the mountain. So we tied the jackets around our waists where it just got really muddy and dirty.
3. Let monkeys climb all over you at Ubud Monkey Forest
The Monkey Forest is one of the most famous attractions in Bali, and for a good reason. The air there is very cool, but the sun still shines bright and warm. I've never been a big monkey fan, but these guys are adooorable! They're so chill and relaxed until you get right next to them, then they jump a little and look at you like whatchu want big guy? Love it.
We understand that letting monkeys jump on you and snatch bananas out of your hand may not be for everybody. If that's you, you'll be glad to know that you can safely walk through the forest without having monkeys climb all over you - just be sure to not let them see you hold any food or small plastic bag of any sort. And of course, don't irritate them. I promise you'll be fine!
Alternatively, you could buy a bunch of bananas and throw them on the ground. You'll be a monkey magnet without actually having to touch one! There's also a small and undeveloped deer enclosure in the monkey forest. It's where I found out that deers sound like constipated old men. You have to hear it for yourself to get what I'm saying.
4. Climax at Waterbom Bali
Your heart rate increases, your hands get clammy and your grip tightens. Your heart beats strong against your chest as you anticipate its approach. And when it finally happens, your mind blanks out for a few seconds as endorphins flood your brain and adrenaline courses through your veins. It ends in a wet explosion and your legs are left shaking and your mouth is a smug, excited smile from the Climax.
That's right - Waterbom Bali's most popular, aptly-named ride is a crazy trap-door that opens up under your feet to plunge you down four stories. It's a definite must-try for water-slide lovers and adrenaline junkies! Read our Waterbom Bali review to see exactly what the Climax ride is like!
Other than the Climax, Waterbom Bali has a whole bunch of other rides, including a relaxing Lazy River for adrenaline-challenged people like myself.
Read all about our experience at Waterbom Bali here!
5. Explore the underground labyrinth Goa Gala-Gala
This is the very inviting entrance to Goa Gala-Gala, which is an underground house, which I think looks more like a labyrinth than a house. It was painstakingly created using nothing but a hammer, chisel and sheer perseverance.
Looking at it makes me really admire whoever built this place. It's really a house that contains a bedroom, dining room, kitchen, bathroom and of course, a sacred meditation room.
This underground house can be accessed through a path veering off the main road towards Ceningan bridge. It's a narrow road though, so you won't be able to drive in. And be sure to let your imagination run wild as you explore this underground labyrinth! You could be in an adventure action movie, or a horror movie - anything you want. This place is where movies come to life.
6. Experience the Golden Hour at Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA)
Prominently located in Ubud, ARMA is one of the most impressive, if not the most impressive, museums in all of Bali. It boasts a collection of exhibits by German artist Walter Spies to 19th-century Javanese artist Raden Saleh and all sorts of classical Indonesian works as well as works by Lempad, Affandi and Le Mayeur.
And on top of that, ARMA hosts Balinese dance classes among many other workshops. If you're not much of a hands-on person, you can still immerse yourself in Balinese culture by watching one of the many performances hosted by ARMA. The workshop that ARMA seems to pride itself in the most is its Golden Hour, which is a little tour that starts before sunrise that enables you to "absorb the silence, the sounds and the colors of Bali while it awakes." It's the perfect blend of culture, serenity and nature that you just have to experience for yourself.
7. Tegallalang Rice Terraces
This place, like many others on this list, is #instaperfect. The pictures speak for themselves. They're like giant paddy field stairs, making this place look like some sort of paradise. This gorgeous terraced landscape definitely needs to be on everyone's "pretty places to visit" list! If you make your way up to the top, you'll get a magnificent view of the rice terraces sloping across the valley, peppered with coconut trees, with the water in the irrigation fields glistening in the sunlight. It's also a generally cool and breezy area - all the more reason to love it!
However, this place has become rather commercialised, so some farmers may come up to you to charge you for snapping photos. Just be careful, and keep in mind that there is no fixed charge for anything here, and always bargain if you feel like you're being overcharged.
8. Visit a local farm and home
These types of farms are extinct in Singapore, and city dwellers always learn new things whenever they visit a farm. Not sure why that is, but it's true! But forget sweating under the hot sun. One of the best ways to experience this is on a bicycle ride through the fields of Ubud - the cultural centre of Bali.
These bicycle tours can be bought of the streets of Bali by various promoters at $20-50 SGD, depending on your bargaining skills. The whole experience lasts about 5 hours, with your journey starting after they drop you off at the top of a hill. You essentially have an effortless ride with minimal pedalling as your cruise downhill for the next 2 hours.
Local kids will wave at you and hi-five you as you zoom past, giving you a glimpse of the real Bali, the version that existed before tourism inevitably came knocking. You even get to visit a local's home as part of the tour to see how Balinese really live. They do not even have electricity and many other things we #firstworldproblem complainers often take for granted.
9. Try cat poo coffee
Before you confirm your booking with the cycling tours, be sure to check with your tour provider on what is included just to be safe. The usual cycling route also includes a luwak coffee tasting session in the morning followed by banana fritters with a view of Mount Batur and finally a Balinese lunch at the end of the cycling trip.
Kopi Luwak or "Cat-poo-ccino" as the locals jokingly call it, is brewed from coffee seeds that have been eaten and expelled by Asian palm civet cats, a breed that resembles ferrets. The Australians in our group were saying this coffee goes for $50 AUD a cup back in Melbourne but it was just $5 SGD here!
Bali is probably where it’s priced most affordably. Just try not to think of the fact that the stuff you're drinking is brewed from cat poop, and it’ll be a super unique experience. You’ll come back to Singapore seeing cats in a different light.
10. Talk to people and make new international friends
Literally everyone is friends in Bali. Everyone is nice and relaxed, the locals are so super friendly and you can meet other tourists with the sexiest man-buns. What's not to like? Sometimes you don't even have to take the initiative because people will just start conversations with you.
We had people complimenting our flash tattoos and hair colour, which compelled us to strike conversations with other strangers as well! The cycle of conversation is officially my favourite cycle of all time.
11. Get a taste of royalty at Ubud Palace
Ubud Palace is in one of the most prominent places in Ubud, and is regarded by some as a focal attraction, so how could you not visit, right? It was built in the 1800s, and as you can see, has been extremely well preserved. It features charming Balinese gardens and intricate architecture, and the mere thought of the 200-odd years worth of people who have been here fills me with an indescribable type of sentimentality.
This palace is the perfect setting for traditional Balinese dances, so it's no wonder it's become a hotspot for such evening performances! If you're a lover of the arts, you'll want to be here to view this palace in all its nostalgic splendour.
12. Watch the sunset over paddy fields
First of all, remember your insect repellent if you're planning on visiting the paddy fields for whatever reason. And please do not neglect your feet - we find that Indonesian mosquitoes really like to poison your feet.
I honestly did not expect the sunset over paddy fields to be particularly breathtaking, but I was wrong. It's stunning! Sunsets in Bali are one of the best in the world, and seeing it happen over sparkling paddy fields and seeing the sunlight filter through the trees as the sky turns a beautiful warm palette of orange is something I'm very thankful to have witnessed. This was just a random paddy field that me and Averlynn chanced upon because we got lost, which I definitely do not recommend doing, but at least something good came out of it, right?
13. Soak yourself in holy water at Tirta Empul
Some people come here with little bottles to bring this holy water home, but why do that when you can just spend some time immersed in holy water instead? Do take note to enter the temple before soaking yourself in the springs, since you're not allowed in the temple if your sarong/sash is wet.
The tradition here is to soak your head under one of the gushing streams of water after praying and making an offering in the temple. Of course, many people choose to just visit the temple for sightseeing and then soak in the spring for the experience. I don't know if it's merely psychological, but it certainly feels internally purifying to get to soak in holy water - this water cleanses from the inside out.
14. Watch the Kecak Fire Dance
This is a massive dance that lasts well over an hour, and honestly is intriguing and slightly scary at the same time. The accompanying music is really just a large choir of 100ish men who sing swaying, standing up or lying down as the dance goes on and its story develops.
I've never seen a dance like this before - one that incorporates fire and is something so traditional. You'll certainly be entranced by its beauty and intense atmosphere, and the less-courageous may occasionally need to squeeze a familiar hand to stay grounded.
Do note that the dances have a schedule and are performed at many various locations islandwide. You can choose where to go watch the dance according to where you're staying in Bali.
15. Visit abandoned airplanes
It's an amusing sight - just an airplane chilling in the middle of a bunch of houses that will make for a crazy #OOTD shot.
However, this airplane cannot be entered or explored. There's actually another abandoned airplane in South Kuta, near Pandawa beach, that you can actually climb into (if you dare). The door to this plane is open and you can even climb into the pilot's seat to snap a few pictures!
16. Visit this abandoned amusement park
Taman Festival Bali is an amusement park that was never completed, allegedly because the crocodiles in its crocodile pit got out of hand. So take care to stay away from their abandoned crocodile pits. There probably aren't any crocs left in there, but it's always better to be cautious.
A quick walk through this abandoned park will send shivers down your spine as you see crumbling booths, broken windows and shut-down ticket counters. There's something especially creepy about the silence that fills this space when you know that it was meant to be filled with excited cheers and laughter.
17. Ride a motorbike
Motorcycles are everywhere in Bali, and rental is dirt cheap. Also, there are many narrow roads in Bali that can't be accessed by a four-wheel ride. But of course, be careful. Traffic in Bali is nowhere near as organised as in Singapore, and those narrow roads I'm talking about can be rocky and uneven. Definitely pays to be careful while riding.
Still, riding a motorcycle through Bali is the most efficient way of getting anywhere and everywhere, especially if you're looking to explore a bigger region in Bali.
Of course we're featuring Bali's beaches. It's not a trip to Bali unless you've spent some time lazing around on the beach.
18. Explore the cave under Uluwatu Beach
To me, this looks like the kind of place a mystical creature would lay its eggs. The Uluwatu beach cave is another one of those picturesque, mystical-looking places in Bali. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a 1000 year old turtle that knows kungfu meditating on one of the rocks in this cave.
This is also the perfect place to rest from being in the sun too long. Sun's great, but too much of it can get you to start feeling all icky and prickly, and coming to this cave would certainly help a great deal.
19. Release sea turtles at Kuta Beach
Accumulate some good karma by releasing little turtle hatchlings into the sea! Even if you don't believe in karma, you'll feel really good about yourself knowing that you aided such a little thing in beginning its life. It's a strange yet comforting thought that that feeble little creature you helped release into the sea will probably outlive you by a substantial number of years. In this sense, your actions have an impact that lasts years after you're gone. It's lengthened if that turtle ends up having offspring too.
Do take note that there is a schedule and a specific timing for releasing the turtles, so don't just go there and announce that you'll be releasing a few baby turtles - it doesn't work that way. Keep updated with their Facebook page and plan your trip down accordingly.
20. Ride on horses along the coastline
Too old for the pony rides at the Singapore Zoo? Whatever. Just ride an actual horse along the coastline of Bali. This is the ultimate Disney Princess moment! The experience may feel awkward initially as you're unaccustomed to bouncing on the back of the horse while your sweaty hands grab at the reins, but you'll quickly feel at ease as the serenity of riding on a horse along the shore sets in.
For some reason, I've always liked the sound of horse hooves clopping along as they walk. I also happen to really like the sound of waves crashing on the shore. When this combination of my two favourite sounds is topped with the calmness of the beach - it's a magical Disney moment of my own!
21. Dinner by the sunset at Jimbaran Beach
Would you like to witness the most breathtaking sunset by the beach while munching on delicious seafood and possibly grilled corn? Then this is the place for you.
While it's not exactly peaceful because of all the tourists here, it's undoubtedly beautiful. The sun sets in the way John Green describes falling in love - slowly, and then all at once. And it certainly feels like love. I can't imagine how great it must be to sit at the shore, waves rushing all around you as you talk about silly nothings with your partner as you watch the sun dip below the horizon and into the sea.
There's a very long row of over 30 restaurants here, so take your pick and enjoy your meal! But definitely visit at sunset, which is typically between 6:00 - 6:30PM.
22. Watch dolphins at sunrise at Lovina Beach
Doesn't get any better than this. Lovina is a black sand beach made of volcanic ash, and the dolphins at sunrise are a favourite here. So hop on a boat and speed away to catch the sight of cute little dolphins jumping out of the water! I'm sure no one really understands why humans are so fascinated by the thought of catching a dolphin jump out of the water, but we are! It's also a real challenge to capture that perfect moment on film - just try it. It's hard, but the sense of accomplishment after is totally worth it.
Lovina beach is located really far away from Kuta, where most tourists choose to stay, so you're probably going to need to wake up extra early for the commute to the beach before sunrise.
23. Have satay while chilling at Petitenget beach
If you think satay is good, try satay at the beach. We got this bunch of 10 satays at 20,000 rupiah (~S$2), the same price as one roasted butter corn.
Right opposite Petitenget Temple is the beach, and there are a couple of stalls selling corn, satay, drinks and various other sorts of street food. Grab a couple of items and head right down to the beach! It's super chill and the food tastes better there too. Do note that the area of the beach directly opposite the temple is reserved for religious uses, so it's unadvisable to use that area. Instead, head down further to the left where all the umbrellas and other tourists are. If you'd rather avoid the crowd, there's an intermediate area with less people where you can hang out in peace.
24. Suntan at Geger Beach
Clear blue water, white sand and not overly crowded like some other beaches in Bali - this is the perfect place for some R&R. Although there's a resort near the beach, it's still much more peaceful than other mainstream Bali beaches like Kuta beach.
This is probably one of the whitest beaches in Bali, and the fact that it's not overcrowded makes it a million times more appealing. So go ahead, order a drink, lay out a mat and start tanning! Do make sure you apply suntan lotion to avoid skin damage, though. That stuff's nasty.
25. Camel riding along the shore
In secondary school, I had a literature teacher who'd tell us, "don't display your ignorance." But I feel like I have to reveal that I had no idea camels exist outside the desert, just to explain why this experience was so novel for me. Riding camels on a beach? I'd never heard of such a thing before! Horse-riding on the beach has suddenly become mainstream now.
Plus, you can take gorgeous Sahara-princess-style photographs - that in my opinion trumps all other sorts of photos.
The Grand Nikko Bali resort offers this unique camel riding experience onsite.
There must be a reason why the story Eat, Pray, Love was set in Bali. The place is just full of calm, bohemian, and hippie vibes. Even the name Bali sounds relaxing. If you don't know what I'm talking about even when halfway through this article, you'll have to go down and experience it yourself.
26. Calm your mind with some Yoga
There’s no better place to meditate and relax your mind than Bali. This beautiful island has no lack of calm, green spots for you to be one with nature, making it one of the world’s favorite yoga spots. Make sure you’ll fully recharged before you board the plane back home!
27. Loosen all the knots in your body with a bazillion massages
There’s no better place to meditate and relax your mind than Bali. This beautiful island has no lack of calm, green spots for you to be one with nature, making it one of the world’s favorite yoga spots. Make sure you’ll fully recharged before you board the plane back home!
28. Go for a nice, deep detox at a spa
This one’s all about you. I highly recommend doing this upon arrival in Bali and right before you leave, but feel free to pamper yourself throughout your trip as you wish. There’re so many places in Bali that offer this, you’ll see one around every corner. We even chanced upon one as we were walking across a paddy field!
If you’re planning your trip, a quick Google search might reveal the most prominent ones. But you might leave out the smaller spas that run in less touristy areas, and those tend to be cheaper and more authentic.
Bangkok is often hailed as shopping paradise, but in my opinion, the retail therapy here is way better. Even though the variety doesn’t measure up, it’s much cheaper and easier to bargain with stall vendors, who are also way friendlier.
29. Explore the Alley Of Art at Legian Street
Legian Street sells practically everything under the sun, but this quiet, narrow alley has my attention. It’s almost like walking into an art museum. On a side note, it’s probably a great place to take artsy photographs or hipster looking OOTDs. The art pieces for sale range from portraits of people to landscapes and animals. After about 5 minutes of browsing, a man approached us to sell the paintings. We wound up at the actual shop where they are painted, and got to see an even more exquisite variety.
If paintings aren't your thing, it's okay. Legian street is also where you can find ornamental items like dreamcatchers, odd souvenirs and tattoo shops. Even when the prices are low, sellers are still open to bargain and are extremely friendly. This becomes a bit of a negative point because they’re so good at persuasion. I know I spent a whole lot more than I intended to.
30. Experience traditional shopping at Ubud Market
In Ubud Market, sellers will mark up prices by 657464698% just because you're a tourist, and they know you'll try to bargain. TSL's guide to Bangkok shopping article may have taught you halve the original price, but this hardly applies in Bali. Just offer 20,000 rupiah (~S$2) for everything and work your way up from there. One lady tried to sell me a (gorgeous) pair of earrings for S$18, but in the end I got it for S$2. Shirts usually go for about 40,000-60,000 rupiah (~S$4-6), so you can use that as a benchmark.
Low prices aside, what I really liked about Ubud Market was the atmosphere - it’s the sort of market I’ve always seen on travel documentaries but never had a chance to visit. The market is full of traditional flavor, especially when you go venture into smaller alleys and lower floors, so don’t be exploring only the main street.
31. Update your wardrobe at Kuta Art Market
Kuta art market is a large web of shops located right beside Kuta Beach. The shops mostly sell the same stuff, so you have the benefit of comparing prices across different stores. Here, you’ll be able to find a wide range of accessories, standard souvenirs and some really pretty dresses that we couldn’t resist buying more than just a few.
If this is on your itinerary, forget about bringing beachwear to Bali and just buy them here - they’re probably prettier (and cheaper) than whatever you have back home.
Krisna is the Balinese version of Singapore's Mustafa Shopping Centre, a one-stop shop for all your souvenirs, favourite Balinese beauty products, and food. The only thing is, of course, you can't bargain for a better price. I personally like street-shopping better simply because it's something I don't get to do in Singapore, but some people prefer shopping in a proper mall with everything in it. This one's for you guys!
33. The 100% Genuine Fake Shop
This shop was a little underwhelming yet special in the way they boldly advertise their fake goods. You can get a “Chanel” bag at 140,000 rupiah (~S$14) and a pair of “Raybans” for under $5. i didn't inspect too closely but with the proper tags and labels, they seemed pretty convincing to me. The non-scrutinising eye would probably not be able to tell that these goods are dupes.
34. Be badass (Get a tattoo/piercing)
Tattoo parlours are everywhere in Bali, and getting inked is as easy as buying a cup of Gongcha milk tea in Singapore. Also, they're ridiculously cheap and you can haggle! Bali's got very bohemian artsy vibes in general, but make sure you ask for samples of your tattoo artist's work before you get on the chair. Most importantly, demand to know their hygiene procedures and how sterile the tools and environment are. The same applies when you get a piercing here.
If getting inked isn't for you, jump on the bandwagon anyway and get a temporary tattoo for fun. They are lighter than actual tattoos and are painted onto your skin. Elaine's tattoos above are all temporary and it took us about 15 minutes each to ink up.
Learn something new
35. Learn to ride the waves at Odyssey's Surf School
In the land of sand sun and sea, go ahead and pick up a surf board! There's nothing cooler than knowing how to surf, and Bali's the perfect place to start. They've got strong waves but nothing too crazy, making it perfect for beginners. There’re extra charges for taking photos and videos, but the footage is priceless. I mean, not all of us can be as glamorous as Averlynn, smiling in all her photos.
I don't know why, but I look like I'm crying in almost all of my photos! Oh well, gotta remember to smile through the gulps of salt water and scraped knees on the sandy seabed next time. Hey, but even I managed to stand up on the board and surf by the end of the lesson, so that should testify to how easy it is!
Although we didn't try any other school, we highly recommend Odyssey's because the staff is friendly, the instructor is super patient and they got us to surf within an hour. They ferried us to-and-fro from our resort and also took pictures and videos for us with their GoPro. So you can pay an additional fee ($20 SGD) to relive the memories of your experience. Check Odyseey out here!
36. Wood carving
I'm actually upset that I didn't get to do this when I was in Bali, because wood carving is an impressive skill I’ve always wanted to pick up! And what better place to learn it than in Bali where it’s everywhere in its architecture? You can take a workshop at ARMA, but I saw a little shop offering wood carving lessons while walking towards Pomegranate (see #47). I would prefer picking it up there - I just think it’d be more authentic.
37. Learn Batik
Duh, so Indonesian. Don't just admire their art, learn how to do it! Basic batik painting is actually super simple, it only gets tricky when you want the end result to look pretty. Even if you're not an artistic person, go with a bunch of friends and laugh at each other's work! You'll even get to bring your masterpiece home to hang on a wall and show it off.
38. Go water rafting
It’s not hard to see why this is a popular activity over here - many visitors who come to Bali are adrenaline junkies! Water rafting is the best way to explore a river, as you get to navigate your way through boulders and rocks downstream. The best places to do this is in Ubud and like most of these services, the van will drive to your resort to pick you up so don't worry about getting lost.
The guides are really the ones who’ll be steering the raft while the rest of us make feeble attempts to paddle. So it's completely fine if you are total beginner. Still a fun and safe activity nonetheless.
39. Paraglide over the sea
Experience Bali from the sky! Paraglide over the ocean and feel it take your breath away. You'll be accompanied on this freaky expedition into the sky, so there's no need to worry excessively about safety.
Although I have to say, it can be a bit difficult to enjoy the view initially when you're feeling queasy from being suspended so high in the sky. After a while though, the adrenaline kicks in and suddenly you feel immortal. It's one of those moments that last forever and a memory that stays with you.
40. Walk on the sea
If snorkeling or diving just isn't your thing, how about taking a leisurely stroll on the seabed?
You'll have weights tied to your ankles to give you the ability to literally walk on the sea as you explore the marine biodiversity. You might want to be careful not to annoy some of the bigger fish though, I know someone who got bitten by a fish once. It's now a funny story he tells at parties, but I imagine it was pretty freaky at the time.
Bali's night-scene has quite a reputation, and not to worry, that's a good thing! Plus, booze is so cheap in Bali, and you're always near a pool or a beach. If not now, when?
41. Have a pool party
Yes, this is the villa our TSL team stayed in, which was essentially just $40 SGD per person! Villas with private pools abound here, so just book one and have a private pool party. Alcohol here is super cheap, so there's your perfect excuse right there.
We literally bought 2 whole refrigerator trays of alcohol and had 27 bottles left over at the end of our trip although we drank every night. So turn up the music, play some drinking games and have fun!
When the party winds down and the music dies, spend an extra 15 minutes floating in the water and looking up at the stars. It's such a gorgeous sight - something you'll never see in Singapore because of all the light pollution. Chatting while admiring the stars somehow feels more intimate as well, so this is the perfect setting for some HTHT.
And yes, we had an amazing breakfast everyday prepared by the in-house helpers for just $3 per person.
This is one of Bali's mega-clubs that partygoers will not want to miss. It has been named the #1 clubbing location in Bali and houses 8 pubs and clubs under its roof. This is the place to go if you're bouncing with energy and want to scream your lungs out and dance the night away.
Of course, if you ever need a little break from the noise, you can always head to the rooftop for a breath of fresh air. Don't expect silence, you're not going to get that, but at least the energy's turned a notch down for a bit.
Cocoon is a more relaxed beach club with chill vibes. It's the perfect place for a cocktail by the pool at night while watching the passers-by. Don't expect any of the noise that comes with Sky Garden here, this place is family friendly and their restaurant even has a kids menu. If you want a more hip environment, Cocoon does have a bar where you can lounge at. But I'd prefer staying near the pool area - it lights up at night and has a subtle party vibe to it while still remaining chill.
44. Potato Head
Potato Head is similar to Cocoon, but a lot more popular, which means that their human traffic is way higher. If you want a place that's teeming with other human bodies, this is it. The place to meet new people and bump into familiar strangers.
The best time to visit Potato Head Bali is just before sunset, when you can soak in the chill beachy vibes before night falls, and you can continue enjoying Potato Head in bliss.
I used to be an adamant believer that Singapore had the best food scene in all of Southeast Asia, but since visiting Bali, I'm not so sure about that. Not only are the prices shockingly low, the food tastes amazing and the variety is surprisingly wide. It's probably because the food is local, but catered towards foreigners, hitting that sweet spot that's exotic, but not unacceptably weird.
45. Cafe hop
For some reason, Bali is filled with cafes. And I'm not talking about kopitiam-type cafes, I'm talking beautifully designed cafes with amazing food at unbelievably low prices (compared to Singapore, that is).
Cafe-addicts and food-lovers, you're doing yourself an injustice if you don't visit at least 10 cafes on your trip to Bali. Even though we had to visit many, many cafes to write a Bali cafe guide, we still felt like it wasn't enough, and we wanted so much to visit more of their cafes. The only problems were stomach space and money. Boo!
It doesn't matter if you're in Kuta, Seminyak, Ubud or Canggu, cafes abound in every corner. If you see a pretty cafe, don't hesitate - just walk right on in.
46. Dine in the middle of paddy fields
You know you have to do it when you can't do it in Singapore. But other than that, it's seriously one of the most relaxing meals you'll ever have in your life. It's so secluded and everywhere you look, it's paddy fields and trees swaying in the wind and people smiling, laughing and taking photos.
Okay, I'll come clean - the real reason we caught the sunset over the paddy fields is because we got lost while looking for Cafe Pomegranate. There is another restaurant that was also in the middle of the paddy fields, but it's closer to the road and not smack in the middle like Pomegranate is.
We arrived at dinnertime, just after sunset, and the cafe was full. The wait felt short, however, since we busied ourselves by snapping pictures of the surroundings.
We don't recommend staying too long after sunset though, because the road back is extremely dark, and we would probably not have made it out alive if not for the flashlight on my iPhone. It's THAT dark.
Read about the food at Cafe Pomegranate in our Bali Cafe Guide!
47. Go Bak-So hopping
I feel like you can't go to a country, not try their local food, and still claim that you've visited the country. If this sounds like a weird thing to put on a bucket list to you, wait till you try the Bak-So here.
The best place we found was at Kuta market - we could not spot a single tourist here. So we decided to hop from stall to stall to try all the local food. We even had a meal sitting down on a mat by the roadside, the local way. And it was a super memorable experience.
48. Try local food
Sure, you have seen all the landmarks in Bali, but did you try the nasi goreng???
Plus, local food isn't difficult to find, it's literally always there. We had ours at one of the eateries along Kuta Beach. It wasn't anything mindblowingly good, but it's always good to taste and see the differences between international and local versions of a certain food.
Special shout out to Indonesian nasi goreng! There's just something about the texture of the rice that makes it different from nasi goreng in Singapore.
The best one was actually whipped up by the helpers at our villa, so we highly suggest you request that during your stay in Bali too! It's extremely cheap because you only need to pay for the ingredients that go into cooking.
49. Try their street food
Maybe it's a Singaporean thing, but exploring the streets always feels a million times more fun when I have a bag of food in my hand. Also, the street food scene is never just about the taste, as soaking in the sights and sounds of touting vendors and their “live cooking shows” is an experience in itself. Balinese street food is also pretty clean. At least, none of us left with upset tummies or burning butts.
50. Visit (and eat at) the reformed rickety bridge
This place used to be the site of a very old and rickety bridge in Bali that should not be walked by the faint-hearted. Unfortunately, that bridge has been torn down and reconstructed. Fortunately, it now looks like something out of a paradise island movie, and an amazing cafe has even been built next to it!
Yes, those carriages are the VIP seating area of the cafe! Be sure to check out our guide to Bali cafes to too - after this trip, all of us agreed that Bali had the best cafes in the universe.
The Bali experience
Before I went to Bali I was all like what's there to do in Bali? But when I was actually in Bali, that question became omg how am I supposed to do everything I want in Bali? Bali is the land of sun, sand and sea, but also of history, culture, beauty and relaxation. There’s so much to be done in Bali, no matter what kind of activities you’re normally into.
What are you waiting for? I’m already planning my next 5 trips here. If you have a favourite thing to do/visit in Bali that wasn’t mentioned in this list (oh no!), share the love and leave it in the comments so others can experience the joy that you did!
See more of our Bali adventures by looking up the Instagram hashtag #TSLgoesBali!
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