Eight must-do activities in Bali for the full Balinese experience

Planning a visit to the Island of Gods? Make your next trip unforgettable by including these activities in your itinerary!

Noreen Shazreen

Probably the coolest cat lady you’ll ever meet.

Published: 8 August 2022, 12:08 PM

As the tourism industry slowly reopens after two years, Bali is becoming a dream destination for many. 

Known as the “Island of Gods”, many travellers seek to visit the tropical island for its beautiful beaches, venerated temples, calming waterfalls and scenic mountains with lush greenery.

Whether you are a thrill seeker, a culture vulture or a foodie, Bali has got something to offer for everyone. Here are the eight activities to add to your itinerary that will give you the full experience of the Balinese culture!

1. Visit Nusa Penida

Located in the southeast of mainland Bali, Nusa Penida is a relatively undeveloped island tucked away from the hustle and bustle of touristy areas such as Kuta and Seminyak. 

Although the island may not house any high-end beach clubs, vegan cafes or trendy restaurants, it is becoming a popular spot frequented by tourists for its precious crystal blue waters and stunning coastal cliffs.


Kelingking Beach is arguably the most popular destination in Nusa Penida. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/NOREEN SHAZREEN


You can easily get to Nusa Penida via a speedboat from Sanur in the morning and return in the evening just before the sun sets. 

Several activities such as snorkelling and scuba diving can be enjoyed on the island, so it is recommended that you take a day trip there. 


Take a memorable group photo surrounded by crystal blue waters and lush vegetation on the coastal cliffs. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/NOREEN SHAZREEN


If you’re not interested in participating in water activities, you can still take a half-day trip to the island and visit the scenic Kelingking Beach, Angel Billabong Beach, and Broken Beach with a personal driver. 

2. Hike to the top of Mount Batur

Besides the amazing rice terraces, waterfalls, sandy beaches and coastal cliffs, Bali is also known for its two active volcanoes on the island – Mount Batur and Mount Agung. 


Mount Batur is considered to be more than 50,000 years old and last erupted in 2000. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/NOREEN SHAZREEN


The Mount Batur hike commonly starts at 4am, so it does require you to wake up at an ungodly hour and be at the peak of the mountain before sunrise. Based on our experience – it was totally worth the climb!

Once you reach the top of the mountain, you’ll be served with a complimentary breakfast set consisting of your choice of hot beverage, a banana sandwich and hard-boiled eggs. It can get quite chilly at the summit, but the locals provide a blanket for which you may have to pay a fee.

3. Experience lunch with a view of the Tegallalang Rice Terrace

What’s a trip to Bali if you haven’t gotten a chance to catch the rice terraces?

Located in the regency of Gianyar, Tegallalang Rice Terrace is an ideal place for travellers seeking a sense of peace and tranquillity. With the abundance of blooming trees and lush greenery, the beauty of this verdant spot can’t be missed.


Sip on Bali’s classic iced tea and enjoy a view of the rice terrace! PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/NOREEN SHAZREEN


Contrary to life in Singapore, slow living is commonly practised here on the Island of Gods. 

As you explore the rice terrace, you can expect to see local Balinese growing crops and working at a leisure pace. Coupled with the calming wind and the sounds of birds chirping, visiting Tegallalang Rice Terrace will feel like a refreshing retreat.

4. Learn how to surf at Kuta Beach

In need of an adrenaline rush after a series of zen activities in Bali? Hit the beach and enjoy a good surf at one of Bali’s most famous beaches, Kuta Beach.


Kuta Beach’s tides are calm and low, making it a great surfing spot for first-timers and children. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/NOREEN SHAZREEN


If you’re an inexperienced surfer or planning to jump on the surfboard for the first time, Kuta Beach should be your first stop as it is the most beginner-friendly beach for surfing in Bali.


The best time to go surfing is between 4pm to 6pm to enjoy the waves while catching the sunset. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/NOREEN SHAZREEN


Upon entering the beach, you will be welcomed by many friendly local surfers who are more than willing to offer you a surfing lesson. The cost of a one-and-a-half-hour surfing session provided by an experienced local surfer typically runs at about IDR 150,000 (S$14).

5. Witness purification rituals at Tirta Empul Temple

Nestled in the heart of Gianyar, Tirta Empul Temple is one of the largest and busiest temples in Indonesia. 

Founded in 926 A.D., the temple welcomes tourists from all around the world to experience the beauty of purification rituals and witness Balinese worshippers purify themselves.


Locals and tourists will stand in a long line waiting to cleanse themselves with the holy waters from the waterspouts in the purification pools. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/NOREEN SHAZREEN


Like many other sacred sites and temples across Bali, Indonesia, it is customary to put on a sarong (wrap skirt) before entering the temple as a sign of respect for their culture. The sarongs are available for free at the temple’s entrance, but other temples may charge a small fee.

6. Make friends with the local Balinese

To make the most out of your travel experiences, developing your social circle and befriending the locals are integral aspects you shouldn’t miss out on! 

The Balinese are some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet and will greet everyone with a smile on their faces.


Despite not having much, the Balinese are always happy as they find joy in the little things. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/NOREEN SHAZREEN


While most Balinese are fluent in English due to the influx of tourists, the main language used throughout the island is Bahasa Indonesia and Balinese language.

Wherever you decide to wander on this island, you’re bound to meet locals everywhere – so it’s always good to prepare yourself with common phrases that you can use to interact with the locals. 

The following are a few common and useful phrases we’ve put together to help you kickstart conversations with the locals:

 Good morning – Selamat pagi

Good afternoon – Selamat sore

Good night – Selamat malam

Thank you – Terima kasih / Suksema

You’re welcome – Sama-sama / Suksema mewali

7. Explore the island on a scooter

While apps like Gojek and Grab allow you to get from one place to another conveniently throughout Bali, renting a scooter is still the best way to explore the island and discover hidden gems like a local. 


Driving on a scooter also allows you to save more time as traffic in Bali is notoriously busy. PHOTO CREDIT: WIJAYA KUSUMA VIA UNSPLASH


While most scooter rental shops in Bali allow travellers to rent a scooter without showing a driving licence, police officers may conduct random physical checks on travellers where they are required to show proof of an international driving permit.

8. Sip on Bali’s authentic Kopi Luwak

If you are in need of a caffeine boost, you have to try Kopi Luwak at least once in your life – especially on the island of Bali! 


Most coffee plantations in Ubud, Bali provide travellers with free coffee and tea tasting, which includes ginger tea, rosella tea as well as Bali coffee. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/NOREEN SHAZREEN


Kopi Luwak, also commonly referred to as Civet Coffee, is the most expensive coffee in the world made from a civet’s faeces. The coffee is made when civet cats consume fresh coffee berries which are digested in their system. These coffee beans are then collected, washed, roasted, brewed, and transformed into aromatic Kopi Luwak. 

Upon visiting the coffee plantation, you’ll also be entitled to do a free coffee and tea tasting, with an additional fee of IDR 50,000 (S$4.60) if you’d like to try out a cup of Kopi Luwak – which we highly recommend!

If you ever plan a visit to Bali, don’t miss out on any of the activities on this list! They are guaranteed to give you the best of food, lifestyle and culture on the island.

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