12 Best Day Trips From Ubud

Bali is a paradisiacal holiday destination filled with unbelievable sights; gushing waterfalls, palm-tree-lined beaches, and luxurious resorts.

Ubud, the spiritual capital of the island, is a popular place to visit in Bali. While there are many activities to do in Ubud, holidayers should also get out of Ubud to see some of the more untouched regions of Bali. Its central location makes it perfect for epic Bali day trips!

So make like Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love and make Ubud your base for day trips in Bali. Here are the 12 best day trips from Ubud.

Best Day Trips From Ubud

Tegallalang Rice Terraces and Tirta Empul

Tagallalang Rice Terraces are a must-see in Bali and the perfect place to visit if you’re an avid Instagrammer. The terraces are filled with lush greenery and palm trees which create a picturesque backdrop to your photos.

There is a cafe here which is a great spot to stop at for some specialty coffees. Entry into the terraces is 15,000 IDR.

Tegallalang is home to the infamous Bali swings. Take part in this unique experience swinging into the canyon. There are also massive bird nests to fit groups of people for photo opportunities. Entry into the terraces and to ride the swing will cost 500,000 IDR.

Batu Bolong Beach and Tanah Lot

Canggu is one of my favorite places in Bali, and in recent years, has gained recognition as the place for expats, surfers, and budget travelers. The two most popular things to do in Canggu are hanging out on Batu Bolong Beach and visiting Tanah Lot Temple.

Batu Bolong Beach is the place to go if you want to surf. There are calmer parts of Batu Bolong Beach, making it a very popular spot to learn how to surf. Lining the beach, you’ll see many surfboard hire stalls, most of which will offer lessons for all abilities.

If surfing isn’t quite your thing, Finn’s Beach Club is a relaxing way to spend your time in Canggu. This top spot has four pools, luxurious sun loungers, and the best cocktails.

If you get hungry, there are some great restaurants in Canggu – the food scene in Canggu is top-notch. There is a huge selection of smoothie bowls, plant-based foods, warungs (traditional casual Indonesian restaurants), and more. 

Tanah Lot Temple is one of the best places to view the sunset on the island. This sacred temple is perched atop a small mountain, surrounded by the sea. Entry is 60,000 IDR, which is only possible during low tide.

Aling-Aling Waterfalls

The Aling-Aling Waterfalls is one of the best places to visit in Bali for adrenaline junkies, and it’s one of the hidden gems in Bali if you want to avoid crowds. The waterfalls are seen on a half-day hike which will take you to up to seven waterfalls. 

Cliff jumpers drop up to 35 meters in the water! If this seems a little too daring for you, there are a couple of lower drops, at five and 15 meters. It is recommended to take a guide with you to show you the safer places to jump, but the waterfalls are commonly done as a self-guided tour as there are adequate sign-posting and pathways. 

The easiest way to visit Aling-Aling is to book a shared tour online which will include return transport and a guide at the waterfalls.

Munduk Waterfalls and Ulun Danu Beratan Temple

Munduk is an underrated region of Bali. Munduk contrasts the popular hotspots in Bali in the number of tourists – in the few days we stayed here, we barely saw any tourists! 

There are plenty of exciting things to do in Munduk. The best attractions in Munduk are their waterfalls. There’s a half-day trek to explore their four waterfalls, either guided or self-guided through averagely marked paths. 

The best place to start is at Melanting Cottages. First, you’ll come across Labuhan Kebo Waterfall which will be deep enough to swim in during the wet season. Then, head to Red Coral and Melanting (my favourite of the four). The last waterfall on the hike is Golden Valley Waterfall, where you can dine at a cafe with a view.

After your hike, head to the neighbouring town of Bedugul for one of the most spectacular temples in Bali. Ulun Danu Beratan Temple is commonly photographed and is used by Bali tourism board to promote tourism to the island.

The temple ‘floats’ in Beratan Lake surrounded by gorgeous red flowers and manicured gardens. Entrance into the temple grounds will cost 50,000 IDR.

Mt Batur Sunrise Trek

Trekking Mt Batur was my favorite Bali experience. The views at the summit of the active volcano were breathtaking, and it was such a rewarding morning. We were picked up from Ubud at 2:30 am, then at around 4 am we started climbing the mountain with our guide. It took us around 70 minutes to climb to the top.

When we reached the summit, our guide even made us sandwiches, a hot drink, and a banana. The sandwiches contained egg which had been boiled in volcanic steam! After that climb, the warm drink and food were all we needed. 

As for the difficulty of the hike, this would be suitable for almost anyone. We saw people of all ages hiking. The hike, albeit challenging, isn’t too long. The part that makes the hike difficult is that it is steep and rocky, which may not fare well with those nursing lower limb injuries. 

If you’re lucky like we were, the sky may be clear enough for you to see Mt Rinjani on Lombok, the neighboring island to Bali.

Sekumpul Waterfalls

Sekumpul is another set of waterfalls perfect for cliff jumping. It is located in Northern Bali, relatively close to Aling-Aling. These waterfalls are grand and absolutely massive. As well as cliff jumping, there are areas where you can go rock sliding too.

There are tours that visit both Sekumpul and Aling-Aling waterfalls in one day, but I would recommend choosing one of the two. The treks and times at the waterfalls will feel quite rushed in order to fit in both waterfalls, including transport time in between.

Nusa Penida Island

Some of the most stunning views in Bali can be seen from Nusa Penida Island. 

The most common route is the west coast of the island. The first stop will be Kelingking Beach, with the iconic view of the cliff shaped like a t-rex. Then, make your way to Angel’s Billabong and Broken Beach which are both within walking distance of each other. The last stop of the day will be Crystal Bay for snorkelling, swimming, and relaxing on the beach with a cold beer.

Either hire a driver for the day or hire a scooter if you’re a confident driver. This will allow you to see the sights of the island.

To get to Nusa Penida, head to the port in Sanur. The port at Sanur Beach will feature a row of stalls with all the ferry companies. Choose a reputable company and buy your tickets there. Doing so will save you money – a return ticket should cost 300,000 IDR, whereas online, you could pay up to double this amount.

Bear in mind Nusa Penida gets very crowded from 10:30 am onwards. For this reason, take the earliest ferry possible. Some companies leave as early as 7:30 am.

Tukad Cepung and Sidemen

As if a waterfall wasn’t spectacular enough, Tukad Cepung is a waterfall inside a cave, with sunlight passing through to create light shafts. Located less than an hour away from Ubud, it’s definitely worth a trip. 

If you’re looking for a waterfall to swim in, this one definitely isn’t for you. We made this mistake as the water is only mid-calf deep, but it did make for a great photo spot.

The walk to get to the waterfall doesn’t take too long at around 10 minutes. There are steps and a small river to cross, so bring sandals or water shoes.

Time your visit between 9 am and 10 am, as this is when you’ll find see the sunlight peeking into the cave. It also isn’t so busy at this time, you’ll only have to wait five minutes or so for a photo.

Sidemen is a town just 30 mins further from the waterfall. This is another hidden gem with a rice field, vibrant markets and some great Indonesian cuisine. You could easily spend a few hours here exploring the town in a less touristed part of Bali.

Jatiluwih Rice Terraces

There are three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Bali: Pakerisan Valley, Taman Ayun Temple, and Jatiluwih Rice Terraces. The Jatiluwih Rice Terraces are located in central Bali, in between Ubud and Munduk.

The rice fields are impressive, extending as far as the eye can see, and the mountains backdrop the rice fields perfectly. There are multiple walking tracks at Jatiluwih, all of varying distances. The shortest walk is just over one kilometre, where the longest of the walk is around five kilometres.

My favorite part of visiting Jatiluwih is the lack of people. Due to its location, Jatiluwih isn’t a huge tourist attraction, which means you can walk through the terraces almost without seeing another soul. 

Entry costs 40,000 IDR.

Taman Ayun and Alas Kedaton Monkey Forest

Taman Ayun Temple is another one of Bali’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is located just half an hour from Ubud Town. Built in the 17th Century, there are similarities in the buildings to Ulun Danu Beratan Temple, which was completed around the same time period. The temple belongs to the Mengwi Royalty.

A moat and trimmed gardens encircle the temple, which make for a great place to go on a walk. Like all Hindu temples in Bali, make sure to dress appropriately, covering your knees and shoulders. Sarongs are available at the entrance if needed.

Entry into the temple is 20,000 IDR.

 Drive further west for 20 minutes to reach Alas Kedaton Monkey Forest. This monkey forest is similar to that in Ubud Town, but a lot less touristed. The forest also contains a temple named Pura Dalem Kahyangan Kedaton.

You’ll find the long-tailed macaques there. They’re quite docile here, but they still have a spark of cheekiness. Remember to keep your belongings secure. If possible, put your sunglasses, hats, and drink bottles in your bag. 
Entrance into the monkey forest will cost you 50,000 IDR.

Tegenungan Waterfall and Hidden Canyon

Tegenungan Waterfall is one of the closest waterfalls to Ubud, at only 30 minutes from the main town. It’s a great place for a dip. The water is a little murkier than some of the waterfalls in Northern Bali, but it’s still a perfectly safe place to swim. There will usually be a guard on duty to ensure you don’t get too close to the waterfall itself which is quite powerful.

The walk down to the waterfall will only take around five minutes. There is an iconic Bali swing here, as well as a cafe for food.

Hidden Canyon Beji Guwang is only around 15 minutes from Tegenungan, so visiting these locations in one day works well. It isn’t quite a hidden gem of Bali anymore, but it is much less busy than some of the major tourist attractions. 

You’ll be doing a lot of climbing, walking and wading through water, so bring appropriate shoes. Water shoes are your best bet but sandals with grip should suffice. A local guide will accompany you to guide you around the canyon.

Entrance fees start at 200,000 IDR, but are heavily discounted with the more people there are in your group.

Bias Tugel Beach

Located just one hour away from Ubud is a little piece of paradise. Bias Tugel Beach features turquoise waters, white sand, and black volcanic rock.

This small stretch of beach is an excellent place to go for a day-long getaway. It’ll only take a couple of minutes to walk down to the bay, which is a nice change from some of the beaches in Bali like Suluban Beach and Tegal Wangi Beach.

The water is crystal clear for snorkelling and exploring the marine life. The calmer the water on the day, the more fish you will see.

Head to the local warungs nearby for an authentic Balinese lunch.

About the Author

Delilah is a travel blogger making her way around the world. Follow her adventures on her travel blog, Instagram and Pinterest.

Bali Packing List: What to Pack for Bali (In Rainy or Dry Season)

Packing for a trip to Bali is pretty easy, but having spent 6 weeks traveling on this gorgeous island, once in rainy season and once in dry season, I’ve got a few opinions on what you need to bring to Bali. The biggest variable when it comes to deciding what should be on your Bali packing list is the time of year. Being a tropical country, Bali doesn’t have a summer or winter, but rather a wet and dry season.

From May to September, it is dry season, and you can expect gorgeous sunny skies and humid weather. My first trip to Bali was during dry season and it was some of the most perfect weather I’ve ever experienced in my life: humid without that feeling that you’re steaming in your own skin the way I felt in Bangkok and Singapore, just a bit breezy, and barely a speck of rain. If you have the ability to travel to Bali any time of year, the dry season is definitely the best.

Most of the year, though, is the rainy season, from October to April roughly. Despite the name, the rainy season is actually still a pretty pleasant time of year to travel to Bali, so you shouldn’t let that discourage you. In fact, my most recent monthlong trip to Bali was entirely in the rainy season. While there were a few all-day downpours, they were few in number. Generally, I found that mornings were generally really sunny, and there would be an epic rain or thunderstorm around 4 PM, usually clearing up by around 6 PM for a killer sunset.

So, by all means, definitely consider traveling to Bali during the rainy season, but I’d allow yourself more time and flexibility in your schedule to account for the rain. And be sure to pack properly for the weather.

Here’s everything you need to know about what to pack for Bali:

What to Pack Everything In

This is the most important part, in my opinion. If you are traveling through a few different parts of Bali you will likely prefer a well-designed travel backpack to a rolling suitcase, especially if you are planning any onward travel to places like the Gili Islands (highly recommended) or other islands of Indonesia. Sidewalks aren’t common in Bali and if you have to move from one place to another, a suitcase can be annoying.

However, keep in mind that there really isn’t much in the way of public transportation in Bali – everyone gets around in cabs or Ubers, or rents their own scooter for a portion of the trip. So, that said, if all you have is a rolling suitcase and you don’t see using a backpack in the future, disregard my backpack recommendation and just bring your suitcase — you’ll be okay.

  • Travel Backpack (carry on size or check-in size): I always use my Tortuga Backpack (I have the Setout version) for carry-on travel, even when I travel long-term.
  • Packing Cubes: While you can go either with a backpack or rolling suitcase when packing for Bali, I do have strong opinions about packing cubes being 100% necessary. It helps you organize your clothing and makes opening your backpack or suitcase a little less terrifying. Pretty much any set of packing cubes will work: you just need ones with a rectangular shape and a zipper. I personally use these packing cubes and love them. If you must, some gallon size plastic Ziploc bags will have the same effect, but they will eventually rip and need to be thrown out and thus aren’t very eco-friendly.
  • Laundry bag: I’ve never been anywhere where it’s easier to do laundry than Bali. Seriously — laundry is about $1 per kilo. It’s incredible. Laundromats are also everywhere, so if you think you’ll want to wash your clothes during your Bali trip, I’d bring a laundry bag like this one from Kikkerland to make laundry day even easier.
  • Hanging Toiletry Bag: I carry a lot of cosmetics and toiletries when I travel and using a simple hanging toiletry bag is a huge help. This conveniently fits perfectly in the outer pocket of my Tortuga backpack so it’s kind of meant to be. It has the perfect number of separators, organizers, and pockets without taking up any excess space. It’s like Mary Poppins magic bag.
  • Backpack with locking zippers : While Bali is safe, it’s not completely free from petty crime. I actually had my ATM card skimmed (more on this later — be sure to travel with a backup debit card if at all possible). While wearing a shoulder bag is probably the most secure option, it’s just not comfortable if you carry a lot of stuff with you during the day like I do. If you plan on renting a scooter, you’ll definitely want a travel backpack. I swear by PacSafe products and love their PacSafe Citysafe backpack. It’s actually super, super cute and comfortable. It fits my 13″ Macbook laptop no problem with plenty of room for all my other electronics and daily needs. If you don’t want to carry another small backpack, I recommend either a cross-body bag or a small handbag that you can carry securely and keep your daily items in.

Essential Things to Pack for Bali

Bali is set up well for tourism and as a result it usually won’t be a catastrophe if something is missing from your Bali packing list. However, there are a few things that are difficult to get in Bali or with fewer options. These are the essentials that I want to highlight that you definitely shouldn’t forget when you are planning what to pack for Bali.

  • Travel insurance: OK, it’s not technically something you pack for Bali but it’s so important that it deserves the top place here. Bali is a safe country but it’s not without its risks. Namely, lots of people choose to use scooters while they are in Bali and lots of people also choose to drink while they ride scooters. Put two and two together and you’ll see why scooter accidents happen regularly in Bali. Virtually everyone I know who spent a significant chunk of time in Bali has crashed their scooter at one point. Don’t be stupid – travel with insurance. I use World Nomads every time I travel, including in Bali. I recommend their Standard plan if you aren’t planning to dive, but definitely make sure you choose the Explorer plan if you are going to be doing any SCUBA diving as the original plan doesn’t include diving coverage. Get your free quote here.
  • Mosquito repellent: As a tropical country, Bali has lots of pesky mosquitos, especially in the rainy season. Dengue fever is a possibility in Bali and from people who have suffered it, it sounds absolutely miserable.. I usually carry a bottle of mosquito repellent with me (sometimes it’s hard to get the strong stuff in Bali) and also some repellent wipes with me if I need to reapply on the go.
  • Water bottle with built-in filter: Bali tap water is not drinkable and needs to be filtered or boiled before drinking. Bali has huge problems with plastic pollution, which is destroying its beaches (and thus the tourism-dependent island’s image) so please do not rely on water bottles during your Bali trip and instead pack a sustainable water solution. I used to carry a Water to Go bottle with me and never got sick on my travels in Bali. However, my filter broke and the water bottle now leaks so I am in the market for a new water bottle with filter – I have my eye on the Lifestraw variety which has rave reviews. You could also use a Steripen which is another option I am considering.
  • Reusable tote bags: Like many countries in the developing world, there is plastic everywhere in Bali and it’s a huge problem for the island. Bring your own reusable tote so that you can signal to it and refuse plastic bags whenever possible. I keep one or two small ones in my larger bag and bring them with me daily, plus I use them as beach bags, separating shoes from clothes, etc.
  • Basic medicine: Most medicine is available in Bali but to be safe I always carry a mini medicine kit as the last thing you want to do when you are sick is drag yourself to the pharmacy and explain your ailments. I carry Pepto-Bismol for standard stomach troubles, Imodium as a nuclear option for diarrhea (i.e. you have to ride a bus for several hours), some sort of painkiller like ibuprofen for headaches and minor pains, and some sort of motion sickness tablets. Supplement with any prescription medicine you need. The Pepto-Bismol is especially important as Bali doesn’t have great stomach medicine options – when I got sick last time all I could find was activated charcoal which is okay but not quite as effective.
  • Some cash in USD/euros/pounds and a back-up debit card: Unfortunately, card skimming scams at ATMs are incredibly common in Bali. It happened to me on my last trip. Also, on my first trip to Bali, I accidentally left my debit card in an ATM. This is because Bali ATMs give you your money first, then you have to tell them the transaction is over, and then retrieve your card. If you’re not paying attention and are used to things being in a different order it’s very easy to leave your card behind. I highly recommend having a secondary debit card – it was super helpful for me to have. If you don’t have a back-up debit card then bring at least $100-200 in a common currency like USD, euros, or GBP in cash as a safety measure (which I recommend doing every time you travel, anyway). I don’t mean to scare you off Bali but nearly every one I know who has spent some time on the island has had their card skimmed or lost at one point so be prepared.

What to Wear in Bali

Admittedly, this is a list for female travelers — dudes, sorry, but I trust you know how to dress yourselves in summer, so just follow that.

Bali is used to tourism, and while Balinese society is a bit conservative, they are used to tourists wearing pretty much whatever. You shouldn’t feel uncomfortable in shorts, mini dresses, etc. though it’s better to be wearing proper clothes and wandering around in just a bikini in restaurants and other establishments (though obviously that certainly happens, too). Be sure to bring comfortable travel shoes – this list has some of my favorites.

The only time you really should be mindful of what you wear is when visiting a Balinese temple. Cover your upper body with at least a short-sleeve shirt, and if you have any leggings or pants it is more polite to wear those. You will also have to put on a sarong regardless of what you are wearing / how covered up you are (sarongs are thought to keep bad energy in, away from the temple). Most popular temples will provide free sarongs to borrow but I recommend having one of your own just in case (plus they are a super handy travel item).

  • 5 lightweight summer dresses: Or really, however many you can pack without being cramped or ridiculous.
  • 5+ tees & tanks: The more neutral, the better. I suggest black, gray, and a few bright colors. Avoid white – it’s not sweat-friendly.
  • 1 pair loose pants: Pants can sometimes be more comfortable than
  • 2 pairs shorts: I bring one pair of loose-fitting linen or silky shorts for those insanely hot days, and one pair of denim shorts.
  • 1-3 skirts: I suggest bringing one black skirt and one printed skirt for flexibility. Personally I love having at least one midi-length skirt and prefer having two. The extra fabric around your legs traps some cool air, making you feel less hot, and I liked the additional coverage it gave me, especially when on scooters.
     
  • 1 sarong: Necessary for temples and for life. I like this one.
  • 1 pair sneakers: If you plan on getting active during your time in Bali. I usually wear a pair of black Nikes as I find they look cute even with my dresses and I’m all about options.
  • 1 pair cute sandals: Having a cute and comfortable pair of sandals is key. I’m obsessed with my Birkenstocks and will never go back.
  • 1 pair flip flops: Great fot beaches and days when you don’t want to muck up your cute sandals.
  • 1 rain jacket: Even if you don’t plan on traveling in the rainy season, sometimes the weather has other plans. The rainy season in Bali is no joke and you will want a proper waterproof rain jacket. I love my Marmot rain jacket.  If you plan on renting a scooter I recommend also buying a proper waterproof poncho as they will keep you much drier than a rain jacket.
  • 1 cardigan: Usually not necessary given the weather in Bali but I like to have it for those occasions when you’re in an over-air conditioned room or bus.
  • 1-2 bras: I trust you’re all big girls and you know what you need when it comes to bras. I personally brought 1 regular bra and 2 sports bras and switched between the them.
  • Exercise clothing: If you want to do yoga, etc. you’ll want to bring
  • 7+ pairs of underwear: The more underwear you bring, the longer you can go between washes. I don’t recommend bringing stuff to do your laundry on the road – it’s a waste of time and money. There are plenty of laundromats catering to backpackers in Nicaragua, plus you’re supporting the local economy. If you really need to clean some clothes in a pinch, a bar of soap and hanging it somewhere
  • Bathing suit: You’ll definitely want it, whether you’re taking dips in the your epic Bali hotel pool, going to the beach, learning to surf (in which case I recommend bringing a rash guard too) or diving in Bali or the Gilis.

What to Pack for Bali Hostels

If you’re staying in hotels or a private pool villa in Bali, you can skip this part, but there are a few specialized things you might want to bring in case you are staying in a hostel.

  • 1 pair flip flops: Yes, it was on the above packing list, but really, don’t forget your flip flops if you plan to stay in a Bali hostel. Those bathroom floors are rank.
  • 1 travel towelMany hostels nowadays do not provide free towels when you check in. Bring your own to avoid rental fees – and also to double up as a beach towel for beach days. These pack up smaller than you’d think and are an essential for me when I travel in hostels.
  • 1 eye mask: I swear by this contoured eye mask as it doesn’t put uncomfortable pressure on your eyes but completely blacks out any light. Great for inconsiderate roommates and early nights in when you’re tired and want to sleep before everyone else.
  • Some earplugs or good noise-canceling headphones: I love Hearos — they’re the gold standard for ear plugs. I’ve also been eyeing these noise-canceling headphones but haven’t tried out a proper noise-canceling variety just yet.

What Toiletries to Pack for Bali

Bali’s pharmacies and beauty stores will have most of the things you want and need… but these are my essentials that I always pack from home.

  • Hand sanitizer: If you’re traveling off the beaten path, restrooms can be questionable, so having some hand sanitizer is always a good idea.
  • Kleenex packets: Like above — public restrooms may be lacking in the toilet paper department (especially if you encounter a squat toilet), so having some Kleenex in a portable sleeve is a nice choice.
  • LUSH solid shampoo: Life-changing. Just trust me. Buy online or in store from LUSH and you’ll save serious money over Amazon.
  • Sunscreen: Bali is sunny as hell even in the rainy season. And you’ll want to wear sunscreen, even on cloudy days, as damaging UV rays can permeate cloud cover and wreak havoc on your skin and age it prematurely. My skin is really sensitive on my face, so I use this fancy Japanese sunscreen to prevent facial acne, and I buy a more standard sunscreen for my body when I’m on the road.
  • Travel medications: I listed them above, but just to reiterate — stomach medicine, motion sickness pills, and some sort of painkiller are my standards.

What to Pack for Safety in Bali

Bali is a perfectly safe place, despite all the fear-mongering about the volcano that has happened in the media over the last year. Let me break it down for you: unless you are in the exclusion zone, which is a mere 12 kilometers — a tiny fraction of the island — you will not encounter any problems in Bali. And no hotels in the exclusion zone are operating, so it’s kind of a moot point. I stayed in Sanur which is kind of close to Mount Agung and I never felt unsafe. Amed is even closer but it is outside the exclusion zone and safe for tourists as well.

Again, I recommend having travel insurance (especially for peace of mind regarding trip cancellation) – World Nomads is what I use – and just using common sense.

  • Combination locks: In Bali, you’re probably at the greatest risk of theft from your fellow travelers. Prevent crimes of opportunity with simple measures like having a combination lock and keeping your valuables locked away. I always check hostels on Hostelworld to ensure they have lockers available because I travel with so many valuable electronics.
  • Daypack with locking zippers: Backpacks are easy targets — I wrote above about how much I love my PacSafe Citysafe backpack. After nearly being pickpocketing while wearing a different backpack in Vietnam, I now carry no other kind of daypack. Pickpocketing is less of a problem in Bali than in many other places in Southeast Asia but it’s still good to be aware.

Don’t bother with a money belt. Thieves know about them. You’re better off carrying your wallet deep in a slash-proof backpack (like the one mentioned above) or in your day bag, tightly zipped.

Also, like I said before, before you travel to Bali I recommend having a second checking account and two debit cards if it’s at all possible. Keep them in different spots in case you get pickpocketed. This way you won’t be screwed while you wait for your bank to send you another card!

Electronics to Pack for Bali

There are really no special considerations when it comes to packing electronics for Bali. Bring whatever you’re comfortable bringing. As a travel blogger, I bring my entire life with me on the road, which includes a laptop, camera, multiple lenses, smartphone, GoPro, and more. If I stay at hostels, I always make sure that I stay at hostels with lockers so that I can lock up my valuables. People who are more paranoid/responsible than I am may want to bring a portable safe for peace of mind. But I’ve never felt the need, personally.

  • Laptop, if necessary: I bring my Macbook Air everywhere since I need it for work, but other people may prefer a tablet or an inexpensive netbook. I work on the road so a user-friendly, lightweight laptop is a must.
  • Kindle Paperwhite: English-language bookstores are few and far between outside of expat-haven Granada. I love the Kindle Paperwhite because the screen is glare-free, making it easy to read at the beach or in direct sunlight.
  • Travel camera: I use a Sony A6000 because it’s lightweight for a professional caliber camera, inexpensive, and a HUGE step up from a smartphone. You may want to replace this or add a GoPro too, especially good for adventure activities like rafting and diving (just check to see if you also need an underwater house for your GoPro if you dive, as many of the newer models are only good to 10m — not nearly enough for divers)
  • Portable charger: As an electronics-addict, I’m always running out of juice. Bring a portable charger to save yourself many headaches! Anker is a reliable brand and what I personally use.
  • Adaptor, if necessary: Bali uses the same plugs as Europe (non-UK), so if you’re coming from the US, Australia, Canada, or the UK, or anywhere that uses non-EU plugs, you will need an adaptor.

***

Well, nearly 3,000 words later, I think I’ve finally exhausted all the things you need to pack for Bali. While this sounds like a lot, I was able to fit my entire Bali packing list into a 44L backpack (carry-on size) and daypack because I chose lightweight fabrics and packed carefully.

Is there anything I’ve forgotten? Is there anything else you’re wondering if you should bring? Let me know in the comments!

6 Stunning Places to Visit in Bali

Spectacular beaches, world-class massages, mesmerizing landscapes, outrageously delicious food… Bali is absolutely stunning. I’m writing this from a beautiful villa in Canggu, feeling safe as can be. But because of the rumblings of an angsty volcano, the tourism-driven island economy is suffering. People working in hospitality are losing their jobs left and right, and businesses are being forced to shutter. 

The reality is that while Mount Agung is active, there’s no telling when the eruption will be: it could be today, a few weeks later, or even a year from now — or it could die down completely. Stay away from the 12-kilometer exclusion zone (easy to do, as Bali is a massive island) and you’re in no danger.

So if you’re hedging on coming to Bali, let me assure you: now is a great time to visit. Your dollars will make a huge difference to an economy devastated by the decrease of tourism, and you’ll be rewarded with the least crowded Bali has been and will be for years to come. If you’re not yet convinced, here are 6 absolutely magic places to stay in Bali that are perfectly safe to visit now, volcano or not!

Live the high life in Seminyak

Seminyak is one of the great places to stay in Bali

Seminyak is one of Bali’s top luxury destinations, where the best beachfront hotels in Bali dot the shoreline and fine restaurants and boutiques line the neighboring streets. The Legian Bali is one of a handful of five-star resorts in Seminyak with an exclusive spa and lush tropical gardens, while premium dining and entertainment venues such as Ku De Ta and the Potato Head Beach Club are popular hangouts for dinner and cocktails when the sun goes down.

Besides the luxe hotels, Seminyak is also known for being the epicenter of Bali fashion, with tons of trendy and one-of-a-kind boutiques to be found. Auguste the Label and Paulina Katerina are two favorites, but there are countless more boutiques to be found in Seminyak.

Relax and unwind in spiritual Ubud

Ubud, another great place to stay in Bali

One of the main stops for travelers backpacking in Bali, Ubud is one of Bali’s most beautiful cities and the cultural heart of the island, and most people spend at least a few days in Ubud.

The sense of a home away from home can be credited to the people – the Balinese are some of the friendliest people on the planet.

Bali has become known as a yoga and wellness destination, and nowhere is that clearer than in Ubud, a hippie little city about an hour inland. Here, you can take all the yoga classes you like, cycle through the rice paddies, dine in delicious cafés, enjoy the Campuhan ridge walk, or visit temples and markets.

Ubud is renowned as the cultural haven of Bali and the place to discover art galleries, museums, dance and traditional Indonesian crafts. There’s the excellent Seniwati Gallery, which exhibits female artists, plus the Neka Museum, which showcases artworks by Balinese and international artists.

Even the drive to Ubud is a treat: tranquil terraced rice paddies sit side by side with ancient Hindu temples offering a window into the real Bali.

Even better, Ubud is a great hub for chasing some of Bali’s best waterfalls.

Visit the real “Wild Bali” in northern Lovina

The north of the island is Wild Bali and an area that’s well off the familiar tourist trail.

But if walking in lush paddy fields, strolling on peaceful black sandy beaches, trekking to waterfalls, dolphin watching, snorkelling and authentic travel are of interest, it’s well worth a journey.

The best way to experience the quieter areas of the island is to book a private local guide or driver who can tailor the trip to your tastes.

Normally, I’d recommend the area around Amed, but even though it’s outside the exclusion zone it’s still a bit close to Mount Agung for comfort. Instead, try the area around Lovina – it’s stunning and famous for its wild dolphins.

Snorkel or dive in crystal-clear waters near Sanur

While the south of Bali is blessed with world-class surf breaks for which the island is so famed, there are also several beaches with calmer waters to the north, east and west that are ripe for snorkeling and diving.

Nusa Penida, Pemuteran Bay, and Nusa Lembongan are fantastic areas of coastline and surrounding islands to snorkel, with warm turquoise waters inviting you in to explore coral gardens, coves, and tropical habitats packed with rare marine life. 

Sanur is a great base when traveling to these spots and has a handful of local dive shops which can arrange snorkeling or diving tours by boat, plus it’s home to some of the most delicious restaurants in Bali.

Get your surf on in Uluwatu

Surfers from around the world congregate in Uluwatu’s beaches, which are considered the #4 surf destination in the world.

It’s a great place to get lessons or even check out a surf camp or retreat.

If you’re not much of a surfer, Uluwatu is also home to plenty of stunning hotels with infinity pools looking out to over the ocean and countless bars serving up delicious cocktails.

Hang out in hip Canggu

Canggu is kind of like the Brooklyn of Bali — filled with yoga studios, delicious cafés serving organic and vegetarian-friendly options, and some of the best coffees I’ve ever had.

But even for all its cafés, tattoo shops, and beach bars, Canggu is still decidedly rural. Rice paddies dot the streets in between the main avenues with all their shops, studios, and restaurants. This is where you’ll find most of the hostels in Bali so you’ll be surrounded with plenty of fellow travelers.

Canggu is also a great surfer destination, with waves not nearly as intense as in nearby Uluwatu. And, bonus, Canggu is home to the stunning Tanah Lot temple, which is one of the most beautiful temples in all of Bali.

Cycling in Bali: Rice Terraces, Volcanos, and Weasel Poop

Let me preface this by saying: I am usually so not a tour person. That said, I took an eco cycling tour in Bali and it was one of my favorite experiences of my whole 7 weeks backpacking in Southeast Asia. Despite my weariness of tours and all things organized, cycling in Bali was a wonderful experience, and I recommend everyone experience it for themselves!

The tour company picked my group of 3 up from our hotel, Ubud Ganesha Inn, which at $15 per person for a three bed capacity room was a steal. After loading up in the van at an ungodly early hour, we headed up north away from Ubud. After I jolted awake from my nap (I can sleep basically anywhere, so long as it’s moving), I was shocked by the beautiful scenery. Lush greenery and mountains everywhere: just a taste of what I’d continue to experience for the rest of the day. As we had a long day of cycling in Bali ahead of us, we started with a buffet breakfast at a hotel overlooking Mount Batur, one of the tallest volcanoes in Bali.

cycling in bali bike tour
Why yes, I do love it here!

After gorging myself on the closest thing to a Western-style breakfast that I’d had in weeks, I was full, content, and not wanting to move — i.e., not the ideal state of being for someone who’s about to bike 25 km. Luckily, a digestive break was planned: the “eco” part of our “eco cycling tour.”

We went to a coffee plantation, where we tasted a few different coffees and were told of the “luwak” coffee — more famously known as “weasel poop coffee.” Basically, they make weasels eat coffee beans, collect their poop, and turn it into coffee. Yum? But, as someone who suffers from serious FOMO, I coughed up the 5 extra bucks to try the weasel poop coffee. I wish I could wax poetic about how disgusting or revelatory it was, but it was… just coffee.

In all honesty, though, I don’t recommend you consume the luwak coffee – after doing my research, I find it really unethical in a way I had never considered prior to my tour. I guess I imagined them roaming free, eating coffee beans to their heart’s content (while someone picked up after them, I guess). But once I finished my coffee and toured the plantation, I felt rather guilty. The weasels simply are not kept in good conditions. Their enclosures, while large, had concrete floors and no real stimuli for the weasels to play with. It made me a bit depressed, and honestly, had I seen the cages beforehand I never would have paid for the coffee. I recommend researching any tour that includes a coffee tour in Bali and opting out of the kopi luwak experience.

After our weasel poop amuse-bouche, it was time for the cycling part of the cycling in Bali tour.

cycling in bali bike tour in ubud
My badass partner in crime

After a quick primer on how to use the brakes (which would come much in handy, considering we biked in a single-file line downhill, with frequent stops), we were off! The tour was billed as a “downhill cycling tour” and that was pretty accurate.  I don’t think I put my feet on the pedals once — until the end, when I and my friends opted for the optional uphill portion.

We biked through a beautiful remote village, where we got to explore a traditional Balinese compound. These compounds are fascinating! Rooted in Hindu and Buddhist thought, each compound houses several pavilions, a central courtyard, a family shrine, and several different stand-apart rooms such as bedrooms, kitchens, and food storage rooms. These compounds are intergenerational, with everyone from great-great-grandparents to the youngest babies living all in one property. Typically, a woman will move into the compound once she marries and becomes a part of this large extended family.

cycling in bali bike tour through ubud rice terraces
I can’t stand the cuteness!

cycling in bali bike tour rice terraces in ubud
My racing buddy. NB: He won

We kept biking through the village, until we reached some stunning rice terraces. Now, if you do the cycling in Bali tour, these aren’t the terraces you’ve seen photos of on Pinterest: that’s Tegalalang, which this tour doesn’t cover. However, these terraces are completely tourist-free, so you can truly soak up the peace and quiet of the gorgeous Balinese countryside.

If you want those iconic photos of Tegalalang to make your buddies back home drool, you’ll want to take a separate trip for that, either by renting a motorbike for the day or hiring a driver. If you rent a motorbike, don’t be stupid and please make sure to have an appropriate helmet.

Here, though, is what you will get to experience:

MUST DO: Ride a bike through Bali's rice fields!      Take a cycling tour to witness the real Bali!

eco cycling in Ubud

After reaching the rice terraces and taking some obligatory photos, the group splintered into two: those were tuckered out and wanted to go straight to the buffet, and those who wanted to kick their asses and opt for the uphill portion. Raring with energy, I and my travel buddies opted for the latter.

About ten minutes into cycling in Bali heat in the peak of the day, I started to wonder if that was a bad idea. With a sheen of sweat coating me and cooling me, I finally got into a groove, counting in cycles of 4 over and over again to get me over the big hills. After about 45 minutes of an intense series of hills, I was never happier to collapse into a plate of food.

This food, by the way, also happened to be some of the best food I’ve eaten IN MY LIFE. I know the word buffet brings to mind images of subpar, lukewarm food, but STAAAHP. This food was incredible, because Indonesian food is bangin’. (BTW, if you want to take a Indonesian cooking class, Ubud is a great place to do so!) Mee goreng (fried noodles with veggies and shrimp crackers), homemade sambal (chili paste), gado gado (veggies with peanut sauce), opor ayam (coconut chicken), tempeh kecap (marinated tempeh cooked in a sweet soy and ketchup sauce)…. good god, I need to stop before I book a flight to Bali just to eat all the foods. Even better, everything at the buffet was all made in an organic garden in the back of the restaurant!

delicious balinese food after cycling in bali
One of the top 10 meals of my life. And that’s saying something.

You may think this tour would have an insane price tag on it. After all, Bali does conjure up images of luxe honeymoons and outrageous villas, right? Well, there are truly two sides to Bali. While the luxury side does most certainly exist, Bali is also a backpacker’s paradise and it’s quite simple to do Bali on a budget. The cost for all of the eco cycling in Bali tour? $35 if you book in advance, $40 if not. For two buffets, round trip transfers, a coffee and tea tasting, and bike rental, I think it’s more than worth the $35.

Note: I paid for this tour out of pocket. However, this post does contain affiliate links unrelated to the tour mentioned. That means that if you purchase something using one of these links, I will receive a small commission at no added cost to you. No BS – I only recommend accommodations, services, and products I truly believe in.

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Cycling in Bali is one of the best things you can do in Ubud! Explore the rural side of Bali on an awesome, affordable cycling tour