If you’re looking for an adventure holiday in Asia or you’re visiting Bali anyway and want some cool things to do whilst you’re away, we’ve put together our top 10 recommendations for fun and adventurous things to do in Bali, complete with tour suggestions and helpful tips to help you decide.
Pack your backpack and charge your FitBit as you get ready to explore the best adventures that Bali has to offer.
Without a doubt, the top adventure activity in Bali has to be surfing due to range of waves and surf difficulties, low cost and accessibility of the activity and beautiful beaches and cliff sides. Whether you’re a complete novice or a seasoned professional, Bali’s powerful waves are evident at every corner and coastline, from the mighty cliff-thrashing waves of Uluwatu to the tamer tide of Legian.
Most of Bali’s tourist beaches have local surf instructors that’ll teach you how to ride a wave all day for around ~£5 (plus board rental). It can be difficult at first but once you get a hang of standing up and balance, you’ll be surfing in no time! The best beginner surf spots are Canggu, Kuta, Legian and Medewi, whilst Uluwatu, Padang Padang and Dreamland are perfect for intermediate experience levels. We’d recommend simply turning up at the beach and negotiating a cheap price with a local instructor (look for the surf booths on the beach). If you prefer something more professional, use Tripadvisor to find a surf school and compare reviews.
A bike tour of the jungles, mountains and rice fields
We love our bike tours. They’re a great way of seeing cities and they’ve now arrived in the jungles of Bali to help you see the stunning scenery of the central highlights from a new perspective. You couldn’t possibly see all of the sites on foot and cars just aren’t as fun as feeling the fresh tropical breeze across your skin as you ride down a hill.
Bike tours are available throughout Central Bali, particularly in the Ubud area. Both electric and standard bikes are available and group tours come with a knowledgeable guide. You’ll visit amazing natural sites, Balinese villages, rice paddies, temples and more and your itinerary will all depend on the tour chosen.
We personally recommend Green Bike Tours. They’re an informative and eco-friendly company based in Teggallang, Northern Ubud. You can also combine your bike tour with rafting or an ATV for the ultimate adventure.
National Park Trek
Bali’s West National Park is located to the north-west corner of the island, a short boat ride from East Java. It’s a difficult place to get to if you’re staying in East Bali, however if you want unforgettable adventure, peace from touristic centres and some excellent natural scenery you simply must take the trip. You can also combine your visit to the national park with a stay to the less populated resorts of the west and north.
The national park itself is a protected conservation area, full of forests, mangroves and rare animals such as Bali starlings, monkeys and bantengs (wild cattle). Spend a morning (whilst it’s still fairly cool) trekking the forest and descend to the beaches for an afternoon of quiet relaxation. Just make sure you pack a good pair of walking shoes/trainers!
West Bali National Park was one of the best places we visited during our stay and although it’s a long drive, it’s simply a must-see. Don’t forget to visit the nearby Menjangan Island!
Taking a climbing or canyoning tour is the option that requires the most activity level on our list and is not for the faint of heart. If climbing rock faces, ziplining, rappelling and jumping off waterfalls sounds like your type of adventure, this is definitely for you. There are very few climbing tours available in Bali, however the options that are available are very good.
Adventure and Spirit Climbing Tours are the recommended choice – just look at their reviews! They’re a professional canyoning company with tours for both beginner and intermediate levels of climbing experience, or even professional if you’re a seasoned veteran! Their trips will plunge you into waterfalls, across tropical canyons and will have you rappelling through the trees. It’s a fun experience and it’s one of the more expensive activities on our list, however the standard is professional and it’s an excellent tour.
Quad bike tour
Forget cars, vans, bikes and by foot, exploring the jungles and hills of Central Bali on top of an ATV is exhilarating experience you’ll never forget! ATV’s are quick so you’ll cover a lot of ground in a short space of time. Visit off-road sites where cars can’t venture and develop a comradery between you and your fellow ATV riders! ATV tours are a popular way to see Ubud and the surrounding area. A variety of itineraries are available, taking you to beaches, deep jungle, rice fields or a combination trip. Tours typically last around 2 hours and cost upwards of £35 per person (you can save money by riding together with a partner on the same ATV).
We recommend Megisto ATV Adventure. They’re excellent valu, have top Tripadvisor reviews and are based in Ubud, however they only have one tour option. For more advanced experiences and different types of ATV tour throughout Bali, check out baliatvtour.com.
Scuba diving and snorkelling
Another extremely popular reason people visit Bali is for the relatively inexpensive PADI courses and diving experiences. The area is surrounded by transparent waters, amazing marine life and underwater treasure troves of plane crashes, World War II machinery and city ruins. To explore the seas to their fullest and visit multiple dive sites over three days, complete a full PADI qualification course.
For most visitors and those that don’t have a PADI certificate but want to try diving, there are plenty of less intensive 1 day yours available, where you can swim to a depth of 12 metres without PADI. These tours give you a good experience of the already shallow waters and are highly recommended for those on a 2-week holiday – you may not have time to spend 3 days diving. Alternatively, join the cheaper and highly popular option of a snorkelling tour. You’ll see the same amazing sea-life, just from the water surface. A PADI licence will cost you around £280 in Bali, whilst you’d pay upwards of £380 in Europe and the US.
We advise on researching a diving company before arrival, finding a company nearby the resort you’re staying and always checking reviews to find a reputable guide. Many diving centres offer built in accommodation packages, which are perfect for those completing a multiple day course. View the top Bali diving and snorkelling companies on Tripadvisor here.
Check out Divezone’s excellent article here for the best dive sites and zone around Bali.
White water rafting is a thrilling way to spend a couple of hours whether travelling solo or in a group. The river rapids are fierce (although not too dangerous) and you’ll get to see some amazing tropical scenery along the way when you’re not navigating rocks and drops.
Telaga Waja River and Ajung River are the most popular rafting sites. Ajung is located in the popular region of Ubud and although it’s a shorter course (1.5 – 2 hours), it’s great for beginners and people of all ages. Telaga’s northern start point is a little more difficult to get to if you’re staying in the resorts of the south (~1.5 hours’ drive), however the course is long and it’s in a less touristic region of the island.Rafting Bali has an excellent article comparing the white water rafting options and tours. Check it out here.
We recommend booking your rafting adventure through the official Bali River Rafting website, where you can choose from rafting options at the 3 main river locations. Find out more on their website here.
Mount Agung trek
Possibly the most exhilarating and rewarding adventure on Bali is the early morning trek up Mount Agung. Wake up at 1am and catch the tour bus to the base of the mountain, where you’ll ascend the mountain side in darkness with a torch, avoiding tropical bushes and local wildlife. The experience is challenging but rewarding, as you’ll get to see the bright orange horizon as the sun rises over the mountain. Your trek ends with a descent back to the base and trip back to your hotel for some well-earned sleep. Just look at the amazing pictures that can be captured on this mountain adventure…
Do you want to explore Bali’s thriving underwater world of tropical fish, abandoned ruins and colourful sea anemone, but aren’t a fan of scuba diving? Suit up with an underwater ‘fish-bowl’ helmet and walk across the ocean floor, being amazed by the close proximity of the sea-life. It’s a lot less challenging than scuba diving and great for all ages! The helmet allows you to breathe as you would on land and you won’t even get your hair wet.
Tours only cost around £30 and although there are only a few options to choose from on the island, each has excellent reviews and you’ll be in safe hands with their professional organisation. We joined SeaWalker Sanur for their underwater tour and would highly recommend it. Their instructors stay with you at all times and guide you around the ocean floor after some brief but thorough training on how to use the suit and what sea-life you’ll be able to recognise.
Surfing may be the activity of choice on Bali for beach lovers, however if you’re just looking for some adrenaline-charged fun, the beaches across the island have plenty of other water sports to try out. They include:
- Stand-up paddle boarding
- Water jetpacks and fly-boarding
- Wake boarding
- Inflatable banana boats and rafts
The main areas to do water sports are the tourist beaches of Kuta, Legian, Seminyak and Canggu in the south and the eastern beaches of Padang Padang, Sanur and Blue Lagoon are also very good. Although these are the key locations for water sports variety, you’ll find that most beaches offer some sort of activity that you can enjoy.
You don’t necessarily need to book water sports activities in advance, but be wary of being overcharged or scammed, although this is a rarer occurrence that other South-East Asia destinations. We’d recommend booking a combination of water sports with Wira Water Sports Agency. They’re a local activity centre and will give you an action-packed beach day out.
We hope we’ve inspired you to put on your bandana and hiking boots for an action-packed holiday in Bali. Spend your entire time explore the island and trying cool and quirky activities or substitute them into your itinerary when you’re bored of relaxing on the beach. Can you think of an adventure activity that you’ve missed or do you have any questions about any of the activities or tours mentioned? Get in touch for free holiday planning advice.