There are so many incredible Bali tours that you'd need to spend a month on the island to just scratch the surface. Yet if you're only here for a short time, there are certain experiences that you shouldn't miss.
Surrounded by tropical forests, rice terraces and ancient temples, Ubud is a paradise for adventurous travelers. The town is perfectly positioned for day trips too, although there's plenty to see and do in Ubud itself.
Located on the outskirts of town, the Ubud Monkey Forest is one of the most famous attractions. This mysterious forest is a sanctuary for long-tailed macaques, and you'll see them scampering around the temples and trees. They're partial to an easy meal so keep your food well hidden!
The Tegenungan Waterfall is another highlight. Just a short hop from Ubud, this picturesque cascade is hidden deep in the jungle – it's a great place for a swim. A further popular stop on Ubud day tours is a coffee plantation to try some of the famous Kopi Luwak coffee.
Bali was just made for Instagram. Even if you're not a social media devotee, you can't help but be drawn to the photogenic landscapes of this alluring island. There are many key locations across Bali that offer those iconic snaps that everyone raves about.
To make it easy for you to find these famous spots, there are Bali tours that specialize in getting you to those Instagrammable destinations. It's best to book early as they're super popular!
First up on your agenda is Lempuyang's Gate of Heaven. You'll probably have seen pictures of this on Instagram, but it's even better in real life with incredible views of Mount Agung. Meanwhile, at the Tirta Gangga Temple, you can take selfies by the royal water palace and see the traditional bathing pools.
Another popular stop is the Jungle Swing. Soak up the rainforest panoramas as you soar through the air while your companions take those all-important photographs. There are several swings dotted around the Ubud area, so you can take your pick.
Tanah Lot is a must-see for anyone who visits Bali. It's probably the most popular temple on the island and makes for great photos. This 16th-century Hindu complex is dedicated to the Sea Gods and is fittingly located on an offshore island surrounded by the ocean.
Featured on many Bali tours, the Tanah Lot Temple is over in the east of the island, in Beraban village. Tanah Lot is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is visited by millions of people each year. It's renowned for its sunsets so be sure to visit in the evening – arrive early to bag your spot.
At low tide you can cross to the rock and see the base close up. If you miss that experience, don't worry, there's still plenty to see on the mainland. You can wander around the onshore temple, learning about the history of the site.
This is also a great place to buy souvenirs. There's a local market with stalls selling artisan crafts, handmade textiles and even Balinese instruments.
Bali is phenomenal from the ground but imagine what it looks like from above! By taking a hiking tour up Mount Batur you'll find out! This active volcano offers some of the best views on the island – you'll be safe in the hands of your local expert guide.
The ultimate time to summit Mount Batur is at sunrise when the island is flooded with color. This means you'll have an early start – often at 1 AM – but you'll agree it's worth it when you reach the top. You'll be picked up at your hotel, so you don't need to worry about transport.
The hike up is steep, but the challenge makes the experience even more rewarding. Your aim is to summit before dawn, ready to bask in the golden sunrise. Enjoy a few moments soaking up your achievement before heading down.
Sunrises aside, Mount Batur has a lot more to offer. You can hike to hidden waterfalls, take a dip in the hot springs and visit local villages down in the valleys.
The Blue Lagoon is another favorite destination on many Bali tours. This is one of the best places on the island to go snorkeling, thanks to the crystal-clear waters and abundant marine life.
You'll find the Blue Lagoon in Padang Bai village on the southeastern coast of Bali. You can enjoy a day trip to the Blue Lagoon from many towns and resorts across the island, including Kuta, Jimbaran and Seminyak.
This idyllic bay is famed for its diverse wildlife, with shoals of colorful fish and vibrant coral reefs to discover. Most people come here on Bali snorkeling tours, and it's the perfect place for beginners to give it a go. Blue Lagoon scuba diving excursions are also available for those who want to go a bit deeper.
The laid-back seaside town of Lovina is a great alternative to the lively southern coast. Lovina Beach is home to several charming villages where tourists are welcomed by friendly locals. You'll find this peaceful haven on Bali's north coast – visit on a day tour or stay a few nights.
Lovina is known for being one of the top places for Bali dolphin watching tours. You'll head out by boat in the early morning, keeping watch for the bottlenose dolphins that frequent these waters. Take in the sunrise while enjoying close encounters with these wild marine creatures.
If you're on a Lovina day tour, you'll also visit the Ulun Danu Beratan Temple. This iconic complex is prettily situated beside Lake Beratan. The experience is both cultural and spiritual – Ulun Danu ranks among Bali's' most sacred sites.
If you want to linger for longer in Lovina, there are plenty of jungle adventures and waterfalls near to the town. It's a great place for nature lovers!
For a change of scenery, why not take a day trip to Nusa Penida? This island is part of an archipelago just off Bali's southeast coast that also includes Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan. It's a stunning spot, with dramatic cliffs, colorful wildflowers and 360-degree sea views.
Nusa Penida is popular with Instagrammers looking for that perfect shot. It's easy to see why with the turquoise water and white limestone cliffs putting on a beautiful display. The island interior is rugged, so the best way to explore is on a guided excursion with a local expert.
These Bali tours often feature Broken Beach and Angel's Billabong, where crashing waves add to the scenic effect. Admire the views from the clifftop and take photos of the mesmerizing natural infinity pool. You'll also visit the white sands of Kelingking Beach and look for manta rays in Crytal Bay.
You'll access Nusa Penida on one of the Bali boat tours that service these islands. For a fast ride, opt for a speedboat transfer so that you have longer to explore.
Get the adrenaline pumping with a white water expedition down one of Bali's rivers. This is a great way to see a different side of the island and immerse yourself in nature. There are several courses of varying difficulty, so there's something for beginners and experts alike.
The Ayung River is easily accessible from Ubud – it's just 15 minutes from town. The rapids are Class II and III, which is perfect for families and novices. The 2-hour route takes you through rainforests and paddy fields, as well as passing a waterfall and rock carvings.
Looking for something a bit more technical? Rafting on the Telaga Waja River is an exhilarating 3-hour experience, with 17 kilometers of Class III and IV rapids to navigate. Your professional river guide will put you through your paces as you plunge through the frothing water.
Up the action even further with a trip down the Melangit River. Here, you'll be faced with Class IV rapids and plenty of steep drops thrown in for added thrills.
Sunsets often feature on Bali tours, but the one at Uluwatu Temple is the cream of the crop. Uluwatu is known as the island's holiest temple and sits majestically on a clifftop on the southern tip of Bali.
Uluwatu is a relatively small temple, but its dramatic position makes it a captivating prospect for visitors. Stroll along the cliff edge and soak up those views while learning about the history of the complex from your guide.
As well as enjoying the sublime sunset over the Indian Ocean, you can take in a bit of culture while you're there. Each evening, the traditional Kecak dance is performed in the temple amphitheater, against a stunning ocean backdrop. It's an energetic and colorful spectacle, with fire dances and storytelling adding to the magic.
Some excursions include a delicious seafood supper on Jimbaran Beach. This is the perfect place to escape the crowds of the south, and there's some great surfing to be had here too.
Rustle up a feast at one of the many cooking classes in Bali. If you've enjoyed the local cuisine during your vacation, why not learn how to cook some of it? No experience is necessary as you'll be given expert tuition throughout your course.
Whether you book a group lesson or prefer a one-to-one session, you'll come away with lots of new skills. Some workshops take place on organic farms while others are hosted in local homes. It doesn't get more authentic than cooking with a multigenerational family.
You'll often get to visit the market before your class to source fresh ingredients. Your guide will teach you about local produce and introduce the recipes you'll be tackling in the kitchen. For something special, head to Sideman and learn how to cook with fire rather than gas or electricity. You can always opt for a food tour for a true Balinese food-tasting experience.
The best bit, of course, is getting to eat the results of your culinary creations after the lesson. Take the recipes home so you can recreate them after your trip.
The dreamy island of Bali is one of the most visited destinations in Indonesia, and perhaps even the world. Sitting between Java and Lombok, it's ideally placed for a bit of island hopping, although there's plenty to see and do in Bali itself. Most people come for a week or two so they can take in all the top sights.
Thanks to its global popularity, Bali is well connected to the rest of the world, with frequent flights making it easy to reach. Millions of people come here each year to enjoy the relaxed Balinese lifestyle, with temples, beaches and forests never far away.
Bali is a volcanic island, with eruptions occurring as recently as the 20th century. There are three active volcanoes on Bali, some of which you can hike up for sweeping views. The landscapes of this lush island have been shaped by volcanic activity, with fertile soils creating a lush tropical kingdom.
Known as the "Land of the Gods", Bali is a heavenly destination. Much of the interior is carpeted in rice paddy fields, punctuated with palm trees and jaw-dropping scenery. It's a rural island, yet in the coastal resorts, you'll find modern life in abundance, including some of the world's top hotels.
Bali is warm all year round, so the main thing to consider when booking your trip is the rain. The dry season runs between April and September, and this is when most people visit. Yet the wet season, which runs from October to March, makes the island lush and beautiful to photograph.
One of the most popular ways of traveling around Bali is by moped. They're cheap and easy to drive along the rural roads, but make sure you have the correct license and always wear a helmet. Taxis are available for local journeys, and you can hire a car and driver for longer trips if you prefer not to take the wheel.
For a cultural experience in the heart of nature, consider staying in the Ubud region. Here, you'll find swathes of rice terraces, lush jungles and traditional restaurants. Accommodation ranges from cheap and cheerful to uber-luxurious – there's something for everyone.
If you prefer more of a beach vibe, head to the coastal resorts of Seminyak, Canggu and Kuta. You'll have all the facilities you need here, as well as a vibrant ex-pat scene and buzzing nightlife. If you can, split your time between Ubud and the coast for a rounded experience.
If you're not tired of temples after visiting Lempuyang's Gate of Heaven, Tirta Gangga and Tanah Lot, then there are several more to see. The Besakih Temple is the largest Hindu complex in Bali, while at the Tirta Empul Temple, you'll see natural springs and bathing rituals.
To explore some of the more rugged parts of the island, Bali Volkswagen tours are the way to go. You'll arrive at your destinations in style and enjoy some enviable photo opportunities. Eat Pray Love tours are also available and are particular favorites amongst travelers who have read the famous book.
Other places not to miss on Bali tours are the vast Jatiluwih Rice Terraces and the mountain lake resort of Bedugul. For something different, take a day trip to Lombok from Bali, or explore the pristine beaches of the remote Gili Islands.
If you're keeping an eye on your budget, there are plenty of free things to do in Bali. There's no charge to witness many of the island's religious ceremonies, which are often very moving experiences. You can hike the Campuhan Ridge in Ubud for some great views or visit the turtle conservation center at Kuta Beach for your nature fix.