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10 Best Things to Do in Bali for Sustainable Travelers

It’s no secret that Bali has become one of the world’s beloved travel destinations for adventurers and spiritual yogis alike. 

Coming from somebody who has planned a trip to Bali before and had NO idea where to start- because there are so many options to choose from- it can get super overwhelming.

That’s why this post is solely dedicated to showcase 10 must do things in Bali so you can start creating your Bali bucket list!

From the classics to the unusual and unique experiences, you’re sure to see the best of Bali by following this list.

Each of these experiences is also hand-picked because of its connection to sustainability and connecting with local Balinese communities and culture. 

You will not only be able to experience the best of Bali’s landscapes and natural beauty but also feel a deeper connection to the rich spiritual and cultural heritage of the island through these activities!

A drone shot over the rice terraces in Ubud
A bird’s eye view of the rice terraces in Ubud

Chasing Waterfalls

Natural diversity is vast on this little island, and there’s no doubt that you can find the most beautiful waterfalls in Bali.

They’re sprinkled all around the island, but many people choose to base their journeys from Ubud as it is a central location that allows you to access many parts of the island quickly. 

I have an Ubud Waterfall Route that takes you to all of the best waterfalls around Ubud- including some extra hidden gems in Bali to add to your itinerary!

Laynie posing beneath the Kanto Lampo waterfall

My favorite waterfalls to visit in Bali include Kanto Lampo and Tukad Cepung, but there are so many within reach on a day trip from Ubud.

If you choose to explore further, there are several waterfalls in the north of Bali including Sekumpul Waterfall, the tallest waterfall in Bali.

Learn to Surf

The pristine beaches that line the Balinese coast are not only perfect for relaxing with a cocktail in hand, but also for discovering a new sport!

Bali is one of the best surf spots in the world for beginners and advanced surfers alike! 

If you’re starting fresh or just want to take some easy practice waves before hitting the big waves, head to Seminyak.

You’re sure to find board rentals everywhere you look around this surf town, but you can also book surf lessons easily online. Use the tool below to search availability for surf lessons at the best beach for surfing in Bali- Kuta Beach.

Seminyak and nearby Canggu may be the best spots for beginner surfers, but keep in mind that these areas are also very touristy. 

To avoid contributing further to the effects of mass tourism on Bali, make sure you’re traveling responsibly by reading up on Sustainable Travel to Bali.

For more experienced surfers, hit the waves at Uluwatu! Located on the southwest tip of the island, you’ll find that all the best surfers choose this as their destination.

Wandering Words of Wisdom: Check surf forecasts, choose to surf in early morning/sunset for less crowds, and researching further will help you surf safe in Uluwatu.

Jewelry Making

Engage with skilled artisans to create your own unique jewelry for a new stylish souvenir and reminder of your time in Bali!

Jewelry-making classes are a creative and culturally enriching activity for visitors looking for a hands-on learning experience.

With snacks and a welcome drink included, you can easily book a class online to delve into the artistry of jewelry making and learn how to make a beautiful piece from scratch!

You’ll not only leave the class with a hand made and unique souvenir but with a deeper connection to the local artisans living and working in Bali.

$13 Cocktail and Tattoo

It’s no secret that some of the best Bali nightlife resides in Seminyak and Canggu. With no shortage of beach clubs and bars, you’re sure to find some unique places to party it up for the night!

One of my favorite places and one of the only shot bars in Bali- Little Havana also offers a unique (and potentially risky!) experience: pay 200k IDR for a cocktail of your choice & a tattoo!

There are size restrictions on your ink- and you have to contact the bar beforehand to save your spot for tattoo night, but in my experience, it’s been a completely safe and fun way to spend a night in Bali.

A hummingbird tattoo behind Laynie's ear
The tattoo I got at Little Havana!

All of the tattoo procedures are clean and speedy, with extremely experienced artists offering the best flash tattoos in addition to a cocktail. (I would choose your design before you start drinking)

While Little Havana is located in Canggu, they do have a sister location- Calle Norte- in Seminyak that does the tattoo night promotion on Thursdays!

Canang Sari Making Class

You’re sure to see these little offerings when exploring the streets of Bali, but have you ever wondered what they actually mean?

Bali is the only Hindu island in Indonesia, which is primarily Muslim, and as such, there are dozens of canang sari offerings placed everywhere you can imagine throughout the island.

These small woven baskets of flowers are offerings to the gods, and are sometimes accompanied with chocolates, cigarettes, or other valuables.

The flowers and patterns on the floor that make up the Canang Sari
Moments from a canang sari workshop

You can learn more about the meaning behind the Canang Saris and how to create your own through a Canang Sari Making Class!

Not only will you be able to learn and connect further with the rich Balinese culture, but you will leave with a new skill and greater understanding of all of the offerings around the island.

Go Diving

Experience the rich underwater world that’s waiting for you in the areas surrounding Bali!

There are tons of diving opportunities for beginner snorkelers to advanced scuba divers alike, but these are the best dive spots in Bali:

  • USAT Liberty Shipwreck located in North Bali is a shipwreck from WWII era and you can dive through and around it
  • Manta Point is a popular dive spot in the Nusa Penida area known for its many manta ray sightings! Lovers of pelagic life should not skip out on this amazing experience.
  • Gili Islands are a popular spot for diving as they offer diverse reef systems and pelagic life in the areas around the three islands
An abundant coral reef in Bali
Go out on a diving expedition and appreciate the rich coral reefs of Bali

Wandering Words of Wisdom: You are likely to encounter sea turtles, manta rays, or sharks while diving in Bali, so it’s important to remember to always keep a safe distance from marine life and respect the natural habitat underwater. Refrain from touching or interfering with the underwater ecosystems to allow them to continue flourishing!

Though there are some beautiful reefs to be discovered around the entirety of Bali, the effects of mass tourism have hit them hard. Read my Sustainable Travel Guide to Bali to learn more about giving back to the local community and preserving its nature for generations!

Forest Bathing and Foraging

This opportunity to be fully immersed in the Balinese jungle is unique but a MUST for any nature-lovers itinerary. 

Forest bathing is an ancient Japanese practice designed to calm the mind and reconnect with the earth’s nature.

When I first heard about this experience, I was HOOKED. Being exposed to Bali’s unique nature is already so meditative and inspiring in itself- so a day dedicated to this would be a dream come true. 

This is also a great sustainable option to get off-the-beaten-path in Bali as a local guide will take you to a largely unexplored area that not many tourists choose to visit. This experience is the best way to connect with Bali’s nature intimately and explore hidden gems of Bali. 

Conrad Bali offers this experience as well as sustainable accommodation and a few other experiences that you won’t find on the typical itinerary that you can find here. 

Instagram Tour and Photoshoot

When planning your trip to Bali, you’re sure to plan out all your outfits and photo spots while traveling on an awe-filled itinerary. 

Bali is filled to the brim with beautiful places to capture your best moments, why not embrace it with a full-out photoshoot?

While the Balinese landscapes require no filter, I loved getting personalized shots with a local company in Ubud.

Aloha Ubud provided me with dozens of poses and well-versed photographers that not only captured me on my phone but also offered a professional photo package. 

Laynie seen hanging from a jungle swing in Bali
Get a great view of the tropical landscape from a jungle swing!

The swing package costs 400k IDR (~$25 USD) for all of the photo spots, with a photo package and potential flying dress rental offered at an additional cost. 

You can also find a great Instagram highlights tour; a guided tour that will take you to all of the Bali highlights in one day!

Bring a tripod and a smile as you pose in front of some of the best spots on the island.

Temple Hopping

To get a glimpse into Bali’s rich cultural and spiritual heritage, add temple hopping to your itinerary!

You’re sure to find thousands of temples across the island, and they are not only architectural marvels but also provide a profound connection to Bali’s spiritual essence. 

This is a must-do activity, especially for those seeking a deeper cultural immersion when exploring Bali, and there are so many ways to do it!

From admiring the iconic Tanah Lot perched on a sea rock to attending a soul-cleansing ceremony at Tirta Empul, these are the best tours to get you closer to Bali’s cultural side:

Yoga

Whether you’re a seasoned yogi or a beginner, Bali’s spiritual energy and serene landscapes make practicing yoga one of the top experiences for those looking to connect further with their mind, body, and the earth.

One of the best places to visit for yoga is Ubud, and I have more information about the best yoga studio in Bali in my 4-day Ubud Itinerary.

However, you’re likely to find a plethora of studios scattered around the island offering classes or retreats for you to be fully immersed in Bali’s yogic energy, and it’s easy to book a class online

No matter where you choose to practice, it is sure to be a transformative experience for anyone seeking relaxation and self-discovery during their time in Bali.

Other Activities to Enjoy

There’s an abundance of experiences in Bali that will allow you to live out your ultimate Eat, Pray, Love fantasy outside of these top 10. Other activities to add to your itinerary include:

You can always find the best tours and experiences through the booking website GetYourGuide!

All in all, Bali is a beautifully diverse island with tons of different experiences and opportunities to connect with local nature and culture.

These experiences will not only be joyous additions to your itinerary, but will bring you closer to the rich history of Bali.

For more expert information to round out your Bali trip, check out these travel guides:

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