Bali is a popular destination, welcoming millions of tourists annually. It’s little wonder why as the “Island of Gods” is home to some of the most beautiful natural landscapes and attractions. There are so many things to do in Bali which is why it’s a traveller’s dream holiday. Many people venture to this piece of paradise for the awe-inspiring temples, waterfalls, scuba diving in the turquoise sea, the nightlife and island hopping. We’ve decided to show you a more exclusive and different side of Bali.
Take a look at our list of the top alternative things to do in Bali:
Explore natural wonders and scenic places
Tukad Cepung Waterfalls
Arguably one of the most unique and breathtaking waterfalls in Bali, Tukad Cepung Waterfall in Dudun Penida Kelod comes packed with exquisite sightseeing. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a dose of mind-bending sun rays sieving straight through the top of the falls. This breathtaking natural attraction is tucked away behind a cavern.
If you’ve done all the mainstream attractions and you’re in search of something different, head to Tabanan for what is sure to be an awe-inspiring encounter with Bali’s intrinsic and aesthetic beauty. The countryside is home to coffee and fruit plantations, rice fields, traditional villages and tropical forests. You can even learn how rice is grown and harvested from the stunning rice terraces!
Sambangan Secret Garden
Located in North Bali, Sambangan Village is referred to as The Secret Garden. It is abundant with wildlife and absolutely wonderful views. Not many tourists are aware of this blissful piece of paradise so it definitely qualifies as one of the alternative things to do in Bali. The Secret Garden is home to a series of waterfalls and pools protected by a jungle of lush trees, vines and flowers. It is great for thrill seekers with 15-metre jumps into the natural pools’ spring water and waterslide.
Dine as the locals do
The scrumptious Balinese nasi campur (mixed dishes with rice) is a local favourite. Warungs (small restaurants or cafés) serve nasi campur for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This famed dish is an amalgamation of the best bites of Indonesia. To get an authentic taste of nasi campur, look out for buffet-style warungs as you can choose from a glass display.
Arguably Bali’s national dish, nasi goreng (fried rice) and mie goreng (fried noodles) are staple foods in the Balinese diet. Different warungs will serve nasi or mie goreng with various toppings, including a fried egg and dried shallots, vegetables, prawn crackers, and chicken or beef satay. This mouthwatering local dish will have you coming back for seconds.
Sate Lilit Ikan
Tasting the local cuisine is definitely one of the most important things to do in Bali and searching for sate lilit ikan (fish satay) will not leave you disappointed. The skewered and spiced, minced fish (most times grilled on an open fire on the side of the road) is a firm favourite amongst locals and tourists. The result is a perfect mouthwatering sweet and spicy delicacy, topped with a lemongrass stalk.
Practice your yoga warrior pose
Uluwatu Surf Villas,
Breath in and out with mindfulness while overlooking the Indian Ocean. Uluwatu Surf Villas in Uluwatu is a magical resort home to the Morning Light Yoga Studio. This tranquil space is inspired by nature, surrounded by forest and crashing waves in the distance. While you’re present in your yoga poses, you’ll get to treat your eyes to the beautiful white sand beaches! This is the perfect spot for a tropical retreat. All levels are welcome.
Four Seasons Sayan
Picture yourself on a wooden terrace in the midst of a blooming lotus pond surrounded by a misty jungle valley. If you’re searching for the perfect combination of mind and body fitness with stunning views, then head to the Four Seasons Sayan for a stimulating sunrise class. This famed resort in Ubud is one of the most beautiful Bali yoga spots that simply needs to be experienced for yourself. You will need to be a guest at the resort to make use of the facilities.
Samadi is nestled in a serene and peaceful area in Canggu, idyllically close to the beaches (Batu Bolong and Echo). This yoga studio specialises in traditional Ashtanga Yoga. Samadi is a community-oriented space with a contemporary feel, surrounded by tropical greens and koi carp pools. Head to the Samadi weekly farmers market and vegetarian café for a wholesome meal after your session.
Find the best traditional markets
Sanur Sunday Market
Stroll around Sanur’s fun market which takes place on the last Sunday of each month. There’s plenty to eat and drink while you shop to the sounds of some feel-good music. Local designers and shop owners, from Ubud to Seminyak, sell their products at the Sanur Sunday Market. You’ll find incredible Bali souvenirs such as handmade jewellery, Balinese art and handmade leather bags.
Badung Market and Kumbasari Market
Shop at the island’s largest traditional and main markets in Denpasar. Badung and Kumbasari Market are often regarded as one major market, as they are adjacent to each other. Vendors at Badung Market sell fresh fruits, meats, groceries and spices while Kumbasar Market offers amazing souvenir shopping, such as wooden carvings, paintings and beautiful batiks.
This restaurant located in Ubud has a Saturday farmer’s market that sells organic produce and artisanal goods. Get your hands on some homemade tempeh, fresh Jackfruit and freshly stuffed tofu wrapped in pandan leaves. The fresh food served at the farmer’s market is out of this world!
Get inked at a Balinese tattoo studio
Artful Ink Tattoo Studio Bali
Part of an international network of tattoo studios, Artful Ink is known for their Italian and Californian inks. Situated in Seminyak, Artful Ink offers designs in Balinese Sanskrit, Indonesian, Italian and Russian that can be translated from English. Expect a world-class service from professional tattoo artists.
Suku Suku Tatau
If you’re an adrenalin rush seeker, and brave enough, then consider getting a tattoo the traditional way. Suku Suku Tatau uses hand tapping techniques with traditional tribal tools. The labour intensive process with traditional wood and bamboo will be rewarded with a more remarkably detailed design. Epic designs to choose from include tribal swirls, waves, mandalas and Papua New Guinean style armband motifs.
Bali Family Tattoo Studio
Bali Family Studio is one of the longest existing tattoo studios in Bali. Choose between their popular portfolio designs or freehand styles. Their diverse styles include mythical beast and Balinese mask designs, as well as portraits, viking and floral patterns. This reputable tattoo studio in Legian is praised for its professional and hygienic services.
This alternative list of things to do in Bali will afford you the opportunity to see parts of this island destination that you wouldn’t necessarily know of. Of course, finding the best of Bali’s nightlife is high on your list of things to do in Bali as it should be, but make sure not to miss out on an off-the-beaten-path itinerary!