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Experience Bali, the ‘Island of the Gods’

First time in Bali? Figuring out what to do can feel like an impossible task. Maybe you've already been to Indonesia but trust us, Bali is very different. There's just too much to choose from! From Kuta to Ubud, from the beach to the volcanoes, sacred temples and profane party spots, Bali will leave you breathless with excitement. Fear not! Skyscanner is happy to help you figure out all the best things to do on your first trip to Bali.

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1. Ubud Monkey Forest

Have a barrel of monkeys’ worth of fun! Located in the central part of the island, this nature reserve and Hindu temple complex double up as a secret jungle crawling with curious monkeys – who entertain tourists with their antics, clambering around the ancient temples and towering banyan trees. Purchase bananas on-site to feed the monkeys, but make sure to keep them (and other food!) carefully in a backpack because the monkeys will jump onto you at random for a free meal. But this is all part of the fun!

Address: Jalan Monkey Forest, Padangtegal, Ubud
Website: Ubud Monkey Forest
How to get to Ubud Monkey Forest: Approx. 1 hour from the airport without traffic

Make some monkey friends in Ubud Monkey Forest.

2. Tanah Lot

This amazing temple, one of the most visited and photographed in Bali, is the perfect place to watch your first Bali sunset and snap some classic vacation photos. This venerable Hindu shrine–clinging precariously to a rocky outcropping jutting perilously out over the ocean–will leave you breathless. This is a low-tide destination; the rising waves of the high tides submerge the causeways, making crossing impossible. At low tide, however, head over to enjoy the views and to catch a glimpse of the legendary sea snake guardians of the shrine grounds.

Address: Jalan Raya Tanah Lot, Beraban Village, Kediri, Tabanan
Website: Tanah Lot
How to get to Tanah Lot: Pass the Pan Pacific Nirwana Bali Resort until the end of the street

Enter the demon’s gaping maw at Tanah Lot.

3. Balinese cooking class

Most tourists leave Bali raving about the food. Now, you can go home and cook the dishes you’ve eaten with a mouthwatering Balinese cooking class. Learn the traditional ingredients and techniques in an authentic village kitchen in Ubud, fully equipped with everything you need hosted by Paon Bali Cooking. The classes are conducted in English by local chefs, so language barriers will be no problems. They can even accommodate vegetarians.

Address: Kab. Gianyar, 80552,Indonesia, Jl. Raya Laplapan, Ubud, Bali
Website: Paon Bali Cooking Class
How to get to Paon Bali: Takes about 1 hour 10 minutes by car from the airport

4. Uluwatu Temple

One of the top Bali attractions, this ancient Hindu temple is an amazing place for ocean views, wildlife encounters, and cultural treasures of the Balinese. One highlight is the daily Kecak dance performances, a hypnotic ode to the gods of Bali. The sense of history here is palpable, and recent digs prove that this sacred space has been venerated for over a thousand years.

Address: Jalan Raya Uluwatu, Pecatu Village, South Kuta
How to get to Uluwatu Temple: Take the bypass main road to Nusa Dua and to Jimbaran and then climb the hill to Uluwatu

Experience first-hand the Kecak dance at Uluwatu.

5. Surfing

If you’ve ever dreamed of learning to surf, you can’t go wrong at Kuta beach. The waves here are famous worldwide, and the surf schools lining the beaches are staffed with experienced instructors willing to show you the ropes. The Bali Learn to Surf School, the island’s first, is a great place to start, with a history stretching back to 1999. They have tons of experience teaching beginners surf etiquette, safety and environmental impact.

Address: Hard Rock Hotel, Jalan Pantai Kuta, Kuta
Website: The Bali Learn to Surf School
How to get to The Bali Learn to Surf School: 18-minute drive from the airport to Kuta Beach


A surfer surfing in the ocean.

Hit the beach and learn to surf.

6. Mount Batur

In local Hindu tradition, the majestic volcano Mt. Batur is of supreme sacred importance. Also known by its local name, Gunung Batur, this 1717 metre tall behemoth can be climbed in about 2 hours, if you’re fit and experienced. A great time to climb is in the cool misty pre-dawn, when you can watch the sun emerge from behind the ocean and rise slowly above. If you go with a trekking company, you can even enjoy a tasty breakfast cooked by the heat of the churning magma within.

Address: Mt Batur, South Batur, Kintamani, Bangli Regency
How to get to Mount Batur: About a 2-hour and 15-minute drive from the airport

7. Balinese Spa

While on the island, you definitely need to get a massage. Bali style rubdowns have a reputation around the world for being just the best, so why not treat yourself to the real thing? Authentic spa experiences abound here. A good place to start would be Jari Menari, which means “dancing fingers”. Perhaps “magic fingers” would be even more apt, for the male masseurs employed here are wizards at unknotting stiff muscles. With just one visit, you’ll definitely be hooked.

Address: Jalan Raya Basangkasa No. 47, Seminyak
Website: Jari Menari
How to get to Jari Menari: Approx. 20-minute by car from the airport

8. La Favela

Wondering about Bali nightlife? La Favela is a funky restaurant and club hybrid contained in a colonial building surrounded by a rainforest. Here, you’ll find vintage and antique furniture, green creepers framing everywhere and even a retro Volkswagen van! You’ll be able to make friends with cute little creatures as well, like the resident ferret. At night, the enchanted garden restaurant transforms itself into Bali’s party central, something like the best Bali house party you’d ever go to. Bonus is, more often than not, it comes with a theme – so try La Favela to experience clubbing in Bali!

Address: Jl. Kayu Aya No. 177X, Seminyak, Kuta, Badung
Website: La Favela
How to get to La Favela: 20 minutes by car from the airport with no traffic

9. Bamboo House

Bali is filled with unique accommodations that impress with comfort and imagination. The Bamboo House is one of the most iconic of these. Nestled in a green valley alongside the holy Ayung River, Sharma Springs Bamboo House is both a place to stay and a work of art. Constructed entirely of bamboo, the house will enhance your peaceful mountain retreat with its jungle surroundings and river valley vistas.

Address: Jl. Tanah Ayu, Sibang Gede, Abiansemal, Badung 80352
Website: Sharma Springs Bamboo House
How to get to Sharma Springs Bamboo House: About 50 minutes by car from the airport

10. Devdan Show

Indonesia is a land of music and dance, and the Devdan Show is a chance for tourists to witness the breathtaking scope of Indonesian culture. This show leads audiences back in time, demonstrating various dances from the islands that make up this beautiful country, and forward again, with contemporary interpretations with a bassy soundtrack. Held in the Nusa Dua Complex at the Bali Nusa Dua Theatre, the show is a must-see for anyone interested in the traditional art forms of southeast Asia, and how they are adapting and changing in the modern world.

Address: Jalan Nusa Dua, Benoa, Kuta Sel., Kabupaten Badung
Website: Devdan Show
How to get to the Bali Nusa Dua Theatre: About 20 minutes by car from the airport

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Published June 2016. Any prices are lowest estimated prices only at the time of publication and are subject to change and/or availability.