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The most unique things to do in Bali

Bali is a bucket-list beach destination, but there's more to this island paradise than sea, surf and sand. From lush rice terraces to chocolate-making tours, check out our top tips on what to do in Bali off the tourist trail.

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Sip sunset drinks at El Kabron

This cliff top club is the place to be for spectacular ocean sunsets.

Perched on the cliffs on the west side of the Bukit – a peninsula on the south of the island – this beach club is one of the best places to spend a relaxing afternoon in Bali. El Kabron has some of the island’s best sunset views, but arrive earlier in the day so you can lounge on the daybeds and splash in the infinity pool overlooking the Indian Ocean.

As the sun dips below the horizon, take in the view over a glass of wine and plates of tapas cooked by the Spanish chef and local Indonesian team. Don’t miss the squid ink seafood paella, and leave room for some chocolate ganache truffles.

How to get there

The club can be a little difficult to find, which makes it even more special. Get on the road to Bingin Beach, approx 20 km/45 minute drive from Bali Airport, then follow the signs for El Kabron from there.

Dive with manta rays at Nusa Penida

Beautiful coastline and exceptional diving make this small island well worth a day trip.

Love diving and snorkelling? Jump on a boat and head to the spectacular Nusa Penida island southeast of Bali. From April to October you’ll spot majestic manta rays soaring through the waves. If you want to go as part of an organised tour, lots of dive operators in the mainland Bali resort Sanur offer day trips. These usualy include two dives or snorkels followed by a picnic lunch on nearby deserted white sand beaches.

Remember to do your research before you book – our readers have rated some of the best dive companies in Bali to help you get started.

How to get there

Travel to Sanur on Bali’s east coast, around 30 minutes from the airport, then either take the ferry from Sanur Beach or scout around the tour operators to find a good deal on a day trip.

Explore Pura Tanah Lot

This beautiful Hindu temple earned a mention in our guide to the top attractions in Indonesia.

Perched on a rock formation, the Pura Tanah Lot temple is one of the most popular places to visit in Bali. Visit the temple early in the day so you can enjoy it at its quietest. If you want to go at sunset, head left up the hill to one of the local clifftop bars to avoid the crowds.

It’ well worth hiring a driver, a scooter or car for the day. This way you can combine a trip to the temple with a drive through the nearby lush green rice fields, or travel further up the west coast and claim a sparkling black sand beach for yourself.

How to get there

Pura Tanah Lot is located on Bali’s west coast, north of the airport and just over an hour’s drive from Ubud.

Need a place to stay? Search for hotels in Bali here

Indulge in down time on Nusa Lembongan

Enjoy laid-back island living and try your hand at water-sports.

If you want to escape the lively resort crowds on the south of Bali, take a boat over to the laid back island of Nusa Lembongan. It’s the perfect place to chill out on the beach, enjoy a massage or simply take in the views of volcanic Mount Agung on Bali and Rinjani on Lombok. The island has plenty to keep sporty travellers happy with surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, snorkelling and diving.

How to get there

Hop on one of the daily boats out of Sanur. It takes about 60 to 90 minutes to reach the main hub of Jungkut Batu.

If you want more off-the-beaten-path beaches, take a trip Indonesian Borneo.

Practice yoga by the sea at Power of Now Oasis

Get flexible at Bali’s only ocean-front yoga studio.

While most yogis flock to Ubud for their yoga fix, this Sanur-based studio is the place to go for yoga by the sea. The Power Of Now Oasis offers a range of yoga classes in their stunning bamboo studio. Once you’ve built up an appetite from all that stretching, pop into Warung Kecil. Run by Balinese-born Novi, she serves up healthy nasi campur – a traditional dish of rice served with a mix of veg and meat. There’s also a selection of fresh juices and salads made with organic, local ingredients.

How to get there

The Power Of Now Oasis is next to the Mercure Resort on Sanur seafront, and Warung Kecil is 15 minutes’s drive inland on Jalan Duyung no 1.

Fancy more offbeat Indonesian yoga destinations? Head to Sumatra.

Learn all about Balinese bamboo on the Green Village Trail

Step into Bali’s world of bamboo.

The Green Village tours are a truly a unique Bali experience as you learn all about how bamboo fits into the island’s economy and culture. Take a visit to the design workshop of master Balinese craftsmen, learn more in the nature-based education centre and take a tour of the super-stylish private homes made from bamboo.

How to get there

On the edge of the Ayung River, Green Village is between Denpasar to the south and Ubud to the northeast.

Sip a cocktail at the WooBar, Seminyak

Experience DJ sets and expert mixology under the stars.

Even if you’re not staying at the chic W Retreat & Spa, it’s worth dropping into the WooBar. The grand tree-tunnel entrance twinkles with fairy lights at night, opening out into an sopen-air skydeck. Treat yourself to a carefully mixed cocktail and relax as a line-up of top DJs spin chilled out tracks.

How to get there

WooBar is in the coastal town of Seminyak, around a 15-minute drive north of the better-known resort of Kuta.

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Discover local culture in Ubud

The cultural and spiritual centre of Bali is the ideal base.

Masterful carvings and ornate temples sit on every street corner in bustling Ubud. Once you’ve visited the the main attractions – like the Monkey Forest and Ubud Palace – get on your bike. The Bali Eco Cycling tours take you into the heart of the surrounding countryside where you can stumble upon village ceremonies and might be invited into family homes.

If you prefer walking, the Campuhan Ridge Walk is a must-do. Wander west of the town centre from the main road Jalan Raya Ubud and hike up the ridge. As you head up you’ll get some amazing views over the rice fields and wooden stilt houses. Back in Ubud, refresh yourself with an Indonesian Arabica coffee or fresh kelapa muda (young coconut). Some popular spots are Seniman Coffee Studio and ethically-minded Freak Coffee.

How to get there

Ubud is around an hour’s drive from Bali airport, and on the Kura-Kura shuttle bus route.

While you’re in Indonesia, don’t miss out on a few days in the buzzing capital city, Jakarta!

Take an overland tour of Bali

Experience volcano hikes and jungle treks.

An overland safari is the best way to appreciate Bali’s natural diversity. Most tour companies can tailor the trip to whatever you’re interested in, whether you want to climb a volcano or tour a coffee plantation. The epic Jatiluwih Rice Terraces offer a glimpse into local farming life, and the incredible Taman Tirtagangga Water Palace is worth visiting for its hectares of sparkling pools and ponds.

How to get around Bali

Safari trips in Bali run from hubs like Ubud, Denpasar and Kuta. Bali Traditional Tours in Ubud are known for their range of bespoke day trips, and there are lots of niche companies focusing on interests from cycling to surfing. If you can’t find a tour to suit you, haggle with local travel operators to hire a driver for the day and go wherever you want.

or, hire a car and drive yourself. Search car hire in Bali now:

Book your flight to Bali or discover some other amazing destinations in Indonesia

Want to explore even more of Indonesia? Try these tips:

Top five destinations you must visit in Indonesia

The best hotels in Bali for every budget

Five incredible natural adventures you can only have in Indonesia

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