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10 best things to do in Bali

There’s nowhere quite like Bali. Whether you’re a dedicated sun worshipper, culture seeker, sorry-for-party-rocking rocker or aspiring yogi, vibrant Bali - one of over 17,000 islands that make up Indonesia - offers enough to satisfy every taste. The list of ‘Best Things to do in Bali’ could go into the thousands, but here is your starter for ten...

Rifle Paper Co Bali print

{Rifle Paper Co Bali print.}

1. Achieve enlightenment*

Feeling jet-lagged? Exhausted? Heartbroken? There’s nothing quite like a downward dog to turn that frown upside down...and you’ve come to the right place. Bali, and - in particular - Ubud in the foothills of the Gianyar region, is famous for its yoga retreats and mystical culture. If, back home, you’re accustomed to practicing yoga in a stuffy gym studio then prepare your eyes - and soul - for holding a cobra pose up among the palms fronds at The Yoga Barn. With over a dozen varieties of yoga taught each day, and the courtyard Juice Bar serving up fresh Vegan Goji Smoothies and Tropical Blasts, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Namaste.

The Yoga Barn Bali

The Yoga Barn Bali

{Photos © disastersofathirtysomething}

*enlightenment not guaranteed

2. Monkey around

Although definitely not recommended if you suffer pithecophobia (fear of monkeys), for other nature lovers and adventure seekers Ubud’s Monkey Forest is a thrilling opportunity to get up close and personal with the cheeky local primates. Although, be duly warned, ‘cheeky’ is the operative word: the Forest’s 700 branch-swinging, moped-chasing residents are so adept at pickpocketing and food-pinching they wouldn’t go amiss in Fagin’s Dickensian gang.

Monkey Forest Ubud

{Photo © disastersofathirtysomething}

3. Dine under the stars

From the very first step onto La Laguna’s cobbled pathways, you’ll be enchanted by the vintage gypsy caravans that line the walk, the strings of lights twinkling from the trees overhead and the sultry music beckoning you onwards. A world-renowned destination bar and restaurant, you may wish to book to ensure you secure one of the al fresco tables dotted through the tropical garden. Then relax, and let the bohemian magic wash over you as waves crash the sandbank.

La Laguna Bali

{Photo © lalagunabali}

4. Get the Midas touch

Hoping to discover the perfect pedi or most magnificent massage? Situated in the heart of hipster Canggu, Goldust Beauty Lounge is a luxury salon that - considering you’re paying in Rupiah - won’t break the bank. If you’re feeling truly decadent, plump for their signature 24k gold facial. Just remember your phone - you won’t want to miss the chance for a golden selfie.

5. Make a splash

If the sun is beating down and you fancy forgoing culture for larking about, then get your holiday gang down to Waterbom Bali, voted Asia’s number one waterpark. The park spans almost four hectares, with rides dotted among the landscaped gardens, refreshment kiosks and pools. True thrill-seekers should make their way to The Climax, Asia’s steepest slide, while passive paddlers can enjoy a drink in the shade. For discounted tickets look out for reputable vendors along Kuta’s main street.

Waterbom Bali

{Photo © Waterbombali}

6. Be one of the beautiful people

Bali bursts at the seams with dazzlingly attractive people; you can’t swing that proverbial cat without hitting a bikini model, and it can be somewhat unnerving. But, as the saying goes, if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em. And if you really want to join the beautiful bunch, head down any weekend to Sippy Sundays, where you’ll find it’s not just the party-goers who are gorgeous - the chic, bleached decor, signature dishes and buy-one-get-one-free frozen strawberry daiquiris are pretty damn gorgeous too. Boasting Bali’s largest lagoon-style saltwater pool, Mrs Sippy is a haven of sunbeds and palm trees, where - with hot music pumping from the decks and swimwear-clad revellers peacocking off the sky-high diving board - the entertainment continues long into the evening.

7. Get your praise hands up

Whether you’re a regular church-goer or just looking for a pop of peace amid the partying, Australian megachurch Hillsong recently launched a venue in Bali’s bustling Kuta. Drop by for any of three different Sunday services, savour a tasty espresso and croissant fix from the coffee shop and meet friendly locals, expats and other holiday-makers.

8. Catch a wave

If you’ve never tried surfing but you’ve always fancied it, Bali has no shortage of enthusiastic local instructors and is renowned for its racy, clean waves. Plenty of beaches around the island have some kind of surf action, but one of the best places to grab a last-minute lesson is down at Canggu. And, if you’re hankering for an ice-cold beer after getting pummelled in the Indian Ocean, you’ll find every surfer worth their board wax flocks to Old Man’s beachfront beer garden at 5pm for happy hour. 

Old Mans Canggu Bali

{Photo © disastersofathirtysomething}

9. Hike to heaven

Are you the type who likes to work for a reward? One of Bali’s least visited beaches, Nyang Nyang manages to remain a relatively unspoilt, hidden stretch of stunning coastline, thanks to the steep, half hour hike it takes to wind your way down. Wear non-slip shoes (trainers rather than flip-flops), pack drinks, snacks and sun cream (there are very few vendors on the beach) and anticipate the glistening vista that awaits you at the bottom. Look out too for the graffiti-adorned shipwrecks that dot the sand...although at 20ft high they’re hard to miss.

10. Escape the mainland 

Off the northwest corner of Lombok sit the trio of exotic Gili islands, a short boat ride from mainland Lombok or a longer (often choppy) ferry ride from Bali. Depending on your taste, Gili Trawangan is widely known as the party island, Gili Meno is more tranquil, and Gili Air - for many - is Goldilocks’ perfect porridge: plenty of bars and eateries, but with a chilled-out vibe. Spend the day snorkelling with turtles right off the beach, top up your energy levels with a sumptuous vegetarian spread at Pachamama, then end your perfect island day with a sunset cocktail (or three) on a bean bag at Mowie’s beach bar.

Gili Air Sunset

{Photo © disastersofathirtysomething}

Sarah Clarke spent an adult gap year travelling with her husband in 2017, and loved Bali so much that they went back three times during the year. She documents her travels and daily adventures on Instagram @disastersofathirtysomething.

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