7 Experiences for a Perfect Bali Getaway

Have you always dreamed of visiting Bali? It is hard not to fantasize about escaping to this exotic island when you see tons of gorgeous pictures shared online everyday. But frankly, Bali wasn’t even at the top of my travel list before our visit last month. Bali in my mind had always been a hotspot for party-goers, with bars and night clubs scattered along the beach. There was probably not much cultural experience you could have at this place, I thought. But man, I was wrong. Our Bali trip turned out to be one of our most memorable travel experiences to date and has enlightened the travel bug in me. If you’re planning a vacation in Bali, here is a list of unforgettable experiences that you must pen down on your checklist!

UluwatuTemple Bali Indonesia

1| Do a Temple Tour

With the majority of Balinese practicing Hinduism, it is not a rare sight to see Hindu temples on every corner. In fact, Bali is commonly known as the “Island of a Thousand Temples” or “Island of the Gods.” The best way to experience the devotion and culture of Bali is to spend a day touring the famous Hindu temples. Some of the most iconic landmarks are:

  • Taman Ayun: A beautiful moated temple with a royal past. This 17th century water temple is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2012 as part of Bali’s rice-field irrigation system.
  • Tanah Lot: With its unique offshore setting and sunset backdrops, Tanah Lot is the most popular and photographed temple on the island. Built in the 16th century, Tanah Lot’s rituals include paying homage to the guardian spirits of the sea. Poisonous sea snakes are found in the little caves at the base of the rocky island and believed to guard the temple from evil spirits and intruders. An important thing to note is that this temple is only accessible at low tide.
  • Ulun Danu: Perched on the shores of Lake Bratan, Ulun Danu is an iconic image of Bali, as depicted on the 50,000 Rp note. It is constructed in honour of the Balinese water, lake and river goddess Dewi Danu, for the importance of Lake Bratan as a main source of irrigation in Central Bali.
  • Uluwatu: Sits on a 70-meter-high cliff at the southern tip of Bali, Uluwatu overlooks the sea as if on guard protecting the island from evil spirits. It offers a wonderful vantage point to view a spectacular sunset while watching the sacred Kecak Fire Dance. Beware of the monkeys that are notorious for snatching food and personal items from visitors!

2| Visit a Luwak Coffee Plantation

How does drinking coffee plucked from cat poop sounds to you? This may sound disgusting and unsanitary, but civet cat coffee (a.k.a. Kopi Luwak) is actually the most expensive coffee in the world due to its processing method and limited supply. Curious about how it tastes? Why not visit a coffee plantation where you can learn about the coffee-making process of Kopi Luwak as well as sampling other local blends.

Luwak Coffee Plantation Bali Indonesia

Tasting Kopi Luwak and chocolate made from bali cocoa

Luwak Coffee Plantation Bali Indonesia

Having fun with civet cat

3| Trek Through a Rice Terrace

Along with majestic Hindu temples, Bali’s rice terraces are one of the island’s icons. Walk through the picturesque terraced rice fields, see the daily life of resident farmers, and learn about the traditional and ecologically sustainable irrigation system (subak) will bring you closer to the authentic Balinese way of life. Tegalalang Rice Terrace in Ubud is one of the most recognizable rice fields, but also the most visited. Jatiluwih is the perfect choice for those who want to get away from the crowd. Located in the height of 700 meters above sea level, these UNESCO-protected fields offer a dramatic and truly exotic landscape!

Jatiluwih Rice Terrace Bali Indonesia

Jatiluwih Rice Terrace

Tegalalang Rice Terrace Bali Indonesia

Tegalalang Rice Terrac

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4| Watch Sunrise over Mt. Batur from Pinggan Village

Climbing Mount Batur Bali to enjoy sunrise from the top of an active volcano certainly makes up an unforgettable memory; however, not all of us are an early riser or physically fit for this kind of outdoor experience. To see volcano scenery and the natural lake view, hiring a driver to take you to Pinggan Village in Kintamani is a good alternative. Located in the mountain, at an altitude of 1300 meters above sea level, Pinggan Village offers a beautiful misty view of the village at the valley of Mount Batur, with the astounding volcano and Lake Batur in the background.

Pro tip: Travel time from the southern part of Bali, e.g., Nusa Dua or Kuta, will take about 2.5 hours drive. To see the sunrise at 6 am, it will require you to wake up at around 3 am. The temperature at Pinggan Village is quite chilly in the morning (at around 16-18 degree Celsius). Make sure you bring a light jacket with you. Try to avoid during the rainy season.

pinggan village batur sunrise bali indonesia

Photo credit: seebalitours.com

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5| Have a Swim At Tegenungan Waterfall

The majestic Tegenungan Waterfall is one of the few waterfalls that aren’t situated in the mountains. Hidden in Ubud Village, this 30-m tall fall gives you a glimpse of natural beauty against a lush valley landscape. During the wet season, the fall would be pumping and the water at the bottom would be at its deepest, perfect for swimming and enjoying the fresh water!

Pro tip: Best time to visit is early in the morning before the crowd sets in.

Tegenungan Waterfall Bali

Staying overnight at Ubud? Check out Lauren and Ben’s review on Jungle Fish Bali, the best jungle infinity pool in Ubud, Indonesia!

6| Watch Kecak Fire Dance

Your visit to Bali won’t be complete without seeing a Kecak Fire Dance, one of Bali’s most unique art performances that is accompanied by of 70 men who create music with their vocals. Hear the men chant Cak ke-cak ke-cak ke-cak ke-cak ke-cak, in rhythm, over and over again while the dance takes you through the famous epic Hindu story of Prince Rama and his rescue of Princess Sita, who is kidnapped by a demon. The best place to watch the performance is at Uluwatu Temple with its beautiful panorama of the Indian ocean and mesmerizing sunset!

Pro tip: The performance starts at 6 pm every evening. It is very popular and always oversold. Make sure you’re there on time to get a seat.

Kecak Fire Dance at UluwatuTemple Bali Indonesia

Kecak Fire Dance at UluwatuTemple Bali Indonesia

7| Do Water Sport Activities in Nusa Dua

Nusa Dua, in the southern Bali, is known for its world-class luxury resorts (we love The St. Regis Bali!), with that comes the resort benefits…cue the private beach and various water sport activities to choose from! It is a great location to try paddle-boarding, kayaking, snorkeling, and glass-bottom boat rides. For adrenaline junkies, there is jet-skiing, banana and donut boat rides, water-skiing, wakeboarding, flying fish and parasailing.

If you’re not staying a resort, head north of Nusa Dua to the Tanjung Benoa area. This fishing village also offers a range of water sports facilities.

Private beach at St Regis Bali

Nusa Dua beach at the St Regis Bali


Bali has so much to offer, including the pristine beaches, magnificent Hindu temples, iconic rice paddy fields, rich cultural heritage, and stunning natural sceneries. I hope this list helps you plan your next Bali vacation and create a truly unique experience!

If you’re staying longer in Bali, this 2-week itinerary will help you plan the trip!

 

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50 Comments Leave a Comment »

  1. Waterfall swimming, volcano sunrise, fire dance, and temples? I’m sold. I would love to get to Bali one of these days. Gorgeous photos, btw.

  2. You’re right: there’s more to Bali than meets the eye.  I had the same impression about the destination as you, too.  But you’ve helped me realise there’s so much more – thanks.

  3. That chocolate looks delicious and the civet cat super cute! Would love to swim in that waterfall, too I haven’t been to Bali, but I would like to go… someday!

    • That civet cat was so friendly 😛 My hubby was scared of it though lol! The chocolate and Kopi Luwak are a must try!

      • Hey! What Kopi Luwak place did you visit? It looks much more ethical than other ones I’ve seen online. I hadn’t planned on visiting one for that reason, but if they are not kept in tiny cages, and actually have open air habitat then I think it would be worth visiting!

  4. Ok, you may have just twisted my arm to add Bali to my travel list. That sunrise in the south looks well worth the 3am wake up time. What was your favourite experience in Bali?

  5. This is amazing! I’ll be honest, I booked my flight to Bali just to have a flight OUT of Australia but I’m getting more and more excited. I bookmarked this page just so I can reread it later and makes notes of things. Thanks for all the awesome tips!

  6. Bali looks awesome. The temple tours is what really peaked my interest!

  7. Balli Getaway looks heavenly in your photos, Cat! Thanks for sharing these helpful tips!

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  9. I just love a Bail. I’ve been there several times as we used to live on the Gilis and it never gets old. Great post, and cool pics 🙂

  10. This is awesome!! I definitely dream of visiting Bali but wouldn’t know where to start… great tips 🙂

  11. The rice fields are absolutely stunning!
    Very interesting about the coffee… when you say that it’s plucked from cat poop, do you mean they use it as fertilizer? Icky, but I suppose we consume much worse things even at home.
    What was the food like in Bali? I’m really curious!

  12. I have definately seen the online photos of Bali……Its been on my bucket list like forever….. I had no idea there is so much to do and see. Thank you for the lovely article.

  13. Beautiful photos. I was always under the impression that there wasn’t much to do in Bali – that it was more of a sit back and relax kind of destination so thanks for writing this! You’ve changed my preconceptions completely – looks like there’s heaps to see and do!

  14. The temples and paddy fields are my top priority when I visit Bali. I will add some more things from your list here like the beautiful sunset .

  15. What interesting experiences! We travel with the kids and work hard to make it educational – showing them the world and raising them to be global citizens! They can only take so much ‘beauty’ alone. LOL! A rice terrace is surely a unique and interesting thing to get to see = it is also so pretty! So many kids these days think food comes from the grocery store and it is always  a great idea to show them where food really comes from!

  16. These are all great tips! I have to say, as someone born and raised in the Philippines, I always thought of Bali (or Indonesia for that matter) as a rival travel destination. There are plenty of similarities, but Bali definitely has a lot of unique things to offer.

    Also, I love luwak!

  17. Bali isn’t (or should I say wasn’t) high on my travel list until this post. Looks like there are a ton of fun things to do outside of partying all day. I think I might know where I am going to book my next trip…:)

  18. I love the activities you suggest to do in Bali! I’ve been there before, and I totally agree with you! The only thing that I’d add is to climb the Mount Agung to watch sunrise, it’s amazing! Check it out here: http://bit.ly/mtagung (Hope you like it!)

  19. Till now. I have always thought of Bali as a party hard getaway. I am glad to know that there are a lot of cultural experience!

    That’s the number one reason why I travel–to experience the culture and live like a local.

    Temple tours, fire dancing, and water activities? I hope to move Bali to the top of my list soon.

    Thanks for sharing. Happy Travels 🙂

  20. Bali isn’t at the top of my travel list either but the more I read about it, the more I’d be interested in going. It’s nice to know there are so many other options than just laying on the beach or partying. I would love to visit the temples and rice terraces!

  21. Wow looks amazing.  My dad loves Bali it’s his favorite place to visit. We would like to go there now.  Thanks for sharing how much was the St Regis per night.  

  22. Great tips Cat!  3am????  That is commitment to the cause right there, good work!  That would be a day to take an afternoon nap in a hammock!

    I have to ask…. What species is a civet cat?  It looks more canine than feline..

  23. Bali is an exotic place with its lovely sands and sea. But you paint here a fresh perspective of Bali, beyond its beaches. The temples look magnificent and the Coffee looks exhilarating. The sunrises are really magical

  24. Bali is the place of my dreams.

    I’m trying to convince my boyfriend to take an extra weeks holiday to go to Bali later in the year! Great post 

  25. Yes I have always dreamt of going to Bali someday with my husband. But now that we have fallen apart I don’t know if I will be able to pull myself up to do this trip all by myself. Buts Bali sure has so much to offer. Beautiful photos.

  26. That’s a wonderful set of activities! Sunsets in Bali are magic! I spend three weeks in Bali in 2012 and it wasn’t enough! I’m considering going back again soon. Thank you!

  27. I think Bali is a bit like Thailand. Incredibly popular and has got a bit of a reputation for party goers. But if you dig deeper there is a lot there for the cultural and nature traveler. I certainly want to visit Bali at some point.

    • That is so true, Katharina! I think Bali has a little bit of something for everyone, making it a great place to explore. I would totally go back again for a photographer tour 🙂

  28. Hi Cat! Husband and I are planning to visit Bali and find this post very helpful. Saving the link for reference. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  29. I loved Bali!
    Sadly I only had two weeks.
    Most of these I havent seen, so thanks for the tips. I hope i can use them some other time when I visit bali.

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  32. Oh Bali looks so like heaven on earth. I think if I go, I ll definitely do the temple tour… all your pics look so inviting!

  33. I never made it to Nusa Dua, but its on my list for next time. I also never did the camp fire dance, but I did seem the others on the list. Its an amazing island with so much to see and do, I loved my trip there.

  34. You basically do all the fun things! I mean of course that’s what you aim from a vacation. Choosing Bali, I have to say the best decision! If you like the combination of traditional and modern life, then Bali is definitely your friend. The chance to experience the local life is widely open here, the local can be so helpful and friendly. I would go to Bali again and again, no more contemplating needed!

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  36. YES TO ALL OF THESE! Although, I never made it to Nusa Dusa. It will definitely be on the must-do list for when I return! Thanks Cat! xoxo

  37. These places will make someone’s Bali trip very worthwhile. I would love to visit all. The Tegenungan Waterfall looks pristine and peaceful. It might be the first spot that I would visit in Bali.

  38. Your post reminded of my Bali trip. I loved Tanah lot temple, it’s simply so gorgeous! The fire dance and the waterfalls look fun. Still got many places to visit here!

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