7 EXTRA ORDINARY THINGS TO DO IN BALI THAT YOUR TOUR GUIDE MIGHT NOT EVEN HAVE HEARD OF – PLACES TO VISIT, EAT AND EVERYTHING
Do you have a bucket list?
Watch the sunset on the Eiffel Tower – checked. Paraglide over the hills in Nepal – checked. What else do you want to fulfill?
Though every country has its own specialties you must definitely try before you hit the bucket, did you know that you can actually find dozens of unique attractions just in Bali alone?
Yes, and this hinges on Bali’s fascinating culture, and a penchant for harbouring some of the strangest things in the world.
From testing your courage across deep ravines, a visit to the island of the dead or simply enjoying a day or two in some of the strangest villas ever built – it’s time to get all geared up and explore our 32 exciting suggestions!
Glide through paradise in Bali’s best infinity pools
Looking to swim or laze around in a pool that goes on for as long as you hope to stay in Bali?
Check out these stunning infinity pools that will take your ‘Bali day’ from ordinary to extraordinary.
1. Live life on the edge at One Eighty’s cliffside infinity pool
What’s bringing clifftop infinity pools to a different level?
A crystal blue glass-bottomed infinity pool overlooking the Indian Ocean, that stretches all the way out from the cliff 500 feet high, creating a gravity-defying concrete-encased lagoon with a million-dollar view – the highlight of One Eighty, a new sophisticated bar and restaurant that’s a recent addition to The Edge Villas at Uluwatu.
Before you know it, you’ll be floating in mid-air with the sweeping waves crashing beneath you.
These dramatic 180-degree ocean views extend all the way to your rooms. Isn’t it simply therapeutic to sip a cocktail while gazing out at the endless deep blue vistas ahead?
Your villa comes with a private plunge pool and personalised butler service, so you will be pampered from head to toe!
2. Swim in the sky at Munduk Moding Plantation
Have you always dreamed of reaching out to touch the sky?
It’s no longer impossible.
At the edge of the 18-metre-long infinity pool at the Munduk Moding Plantation, you can almost feel heaven at your fingertips.
Spread out in front of you is a sea of cloud, that partially shields the surrounding coffee plantation from your sight.
This magic extends beyond its signature view.
Designed by an award-winning Bali architect Popo Danes, the traditional Balinese interior has been dabbed with a blend of modernism in this secluded resort that only has nine villas and three suites.
From your room, you can open the glass panel doors to take in the breathtaking view of the coffee plantation nestled in the lush foliage of the jungle.
What better place to spend some quiet and romantic moments with your loved one?
3. Dive into dramatic views of volcanoes at Villa Sidemen
Bali is not only home to pristine beaches, but also to dramatic volcanoes – both active and extinct.
And how indulging would it be to wake up to a climatic view of the volcano?
You can do just that at Villa Sidemen, where guests are not only treated to the majestic view of Bali’s tallest volcano, Mount Agung, but also to a peaceful scene of its fertile foothills and rice paddies.
With the large windows, you can be sure to be able to enjoy the view from the living room, or even while you’re still snuggling in bed!
The majestic view of Bali’s tallest volcano, Mount Agung, and peaceful scenes of its fertile foothills and rice paddies awaits.
Non-mainstream places with dreamy scenic beauty
Considering the incredible natural beauty of Bali, it seems that most scenic spaces have gone mainstream. This might have happened to you before – you arrive at a panoramic destination, only to find that it’s overrun with tourists.
Tired of having to jostle with the crowd for your selfie moments and don’t want to visit another location where everyone else is there and chattering on? Shhhh.. Here’s three scenic places that most tourists don’t know about!
4. Swing above the lake at Puncak Danau Buyan Wanagiri
If the huge scenic swing at Zen Hideaway is not thrilling enough for you, you can challenge yourself at this huge one that brings you right over the treetops and Lake Buyan, one of the twin lakes in Bedugul.
This whimsical swing hangs from a huge, sturdy tree, but swing out at your own risk! If you are light enough, two of you can go on it!
In case you are wondering how on earth to get up the swing, there’s actually a ledge where you can climb onto.
If you are feeling less adventurous, simply chill and Instagram at this bamboo lookout spot right beside it!
If you drive on for around five minutes, you’ll come by this giant Instagrammable bird’s nest!
Now you know how it feels to be on the top of the world!
5. Daydream in a whimsical treehouse, Batu Molenteng
Located right smack on Nusa Penida and looking out at Atuh Beach – this beautiful treehouse is the latest unique addition to the island, providing stunning sights of the dramatic Balinese landscape.
Once you’re up in the treehouse and looking out, you’ll be able to see glorious, glorious sights. From the pretty Atuh Beach and small surrounding islands like Raja Ampat in Papua, to the many cliffs, ravines and hills that paint Bali’s landscape – it’s a sight not to miss!
Thankfully, the treehouse was built with a ladder, so you don’t have to literally climb the tree just to get to the treehouse! Just bring a picnic along and make it a stunning memory atop a tree, complete with crazy views and delicious food!
How’s this for an Instagrammable moment?
6. Marigold fields forever at Desa Temukus
Desa Temukus (also known as ’Temukus Village’) is not green but orange. The place blossoms with pretty yellowish-orange flowers!
If you’ve ever wondered, there’s one particular flower used in religious rituals in Bali – the marigold flower, or locally known as ‘Gemitir’. It’s easy to imagine how wonderful it could be to be in the middle of flower fields full of marigold!
Desa Temukus is a quiet village in East Bali, close to the holiest (but sadly most commercial) temple in Bali. Many of its inhabitants grow flowers, so you can find many flower fields here. But don’t forget to ask for permission from the locals before entering their fields!
Another good news for travellers – the area also has a flower field of Kasna. And one crucial tip: it’s better to visit the place before the harvesting season, so you can see the lushest flower fields ever (usually before a major religious day, so do check with your local Balinese friends about the dates, as Bali uses a lunar calendar so the dates change every year).
Stay in a creatively unique accommodation!
In Bali, you can say goodbye to cookie cutter hotels.
Creative juices abound and you can make these unique stays your special holiday nest! How about a luxurious overlarge glamorous camping tent? Or a villa completely surrounded by water?
7. Wake up to the zebras at Mara Safari Lodge
Ever wanted to dine with the rhinos?
Now you don’t have to fly halfway across the world to have an African safari adventure – you can get it at the Mara River Safari Lodge.
Located in the heart of the Bali Safari and Marine Park, this resort will definitely make your stay a memorable and unforgettable one, with its quirks and unique activities.
Not only will you get to feed carrots to zebras, rhinos and elephants right from the comfort of your own balcony…
You’ll even get to watch the rhinos and zebras graze together while you are dipping yourself in the pool.
You can dine with lions at the in-house Tsavo Lion Restaurant too!
From honeymoon to family-friendly getaways, this resort is suitable for all. Couples will enjoy the romantic atmosphere at the restaurant in the evenings, while thrill-seekers can quench their thirst for adventure at the night safari, where you can come into close contact with predatory animals.
On a similar vein, young children will love the petting zoo, informational performances and the vibrant Disney-esque Bali Agung show, which also features props that are completely handmade by the staff!
We’d love to say more, but you’ll have to make a personal trip there to experience the wonders of this place. This we’ll say – you won’t regret it.
8. Camping is now glamorous and luxurious at Sandat Glamping Tents
The term Glamorous Camping perfectly defines the experience you will get when staying in one of these charming tents in Sandat.
Connect with nature without giving up the comfort and luxury of sophisticated furnishings – and of course, wifi.
Hardcore campers might frown at the concept, but hey, that’s how you ‘camp’ in style, isn’t it?
9. Swim into bed at Villa Laksmana II
Do you love water? Is soaking in cool calm water your favourite pastime, and you wish you were born a mermaid?
If so, you’ll love this exotic water villa, one of the rare villas you’ll find in Bali that’s completely surrounded by water.
In fact, the first thing that greets you upon entering the villa is the pool!
You also get two huge comfy beanbags for nights when you just want to soak your feet in the water and admire the starry night sky.
Latest shopping trends
Weekend markets, boutique shops and more!
Who says Bali is only about gorgeous scenery and food?
You’re missing out on the island’s hipster trends if you haven’t been to these photogenic weekend markets and boutique shops that sell everything from unique souvenirs to homeware to textiles!
10. Find whimsicality and romance at Love Anchor
Canggu is hipster enough and you know it.
If you walk along Jalan Batu Balong after the sun sets, you can’t miss this exciting Instagrammable market made up of a complex of restaurants, bars and shops, decorated with dreamy fairy lights and illuminated with a cheery vibe as the crowd pours in for their after-dinner drinks.
And on Sundays, the area is transformed into the most happening bazaar with pop-up stalls.
Here, you can find trendy and whimsical island fashion, accessories, homeware, dreamcatchers, trinkets and even old school artwork. And if you keep an eye out enough, you can even discover some hidden gems for your kids.
Or if you are here for a drink, don’t miss the daily Happy Hour!
One tip from us – although this is one of Canggu’s most photogenic markets, the shopping here may be a little overpriced, but it’s worth a look (and many snaps!) if you haven’t been to Bali’s weekend bazaars before!
11. Sailor Sundays: Sea Vu Play
Looking for something fun during the weekend? How about a vibrant Sunday market full of beach vibes and buzzing crowds? There’s music, fun activities, and yummy food to gorge on at Sea Vu Play’s Sunday Markets, organised by the restaurant.
And did we say the magic word – shopping!
Just check Sea Vu Play’s website to find out which Sundays the market is scheduled to be held (usually it is held on every other Sunday), and you’re all set with a happy weekend plan! The nautical vibes are strong and the mood is chilled out. Doors open from 2pm – 8pm, but 3pm’s the perfect time to hit the market when the DJ starts playing and the crowd starts pouring in!
Sip on a margarita and browse through the numerous stalls selling swimwear, beachwear, jewellery and men’s and women’s fashion. You have endless choices, from international to local brands. It’s the perfect place to pick up some fresh beach-ready dresses!
You can even get tattoos or have your fortunes read. Come your friends, or bring the family along – there’s plenty of activities for the kids too!
P.S. Your little girls will love the mermaid tails they can purchase from one of the stalls!
12. Find quirky-cool homeware at Rose Avenue Bali
You don’t have to like floral prints and roses to want to visit Rose Avenue. Known for its rose-laden facade (and we’re talking about a wall full of red and pink roses), Rose Avenue offers beautiful homeware items from a pineapple shaped bottle opener to rattan swings.
So if you’re new in Bali and are shopping for home items, drop by this store and simply be stunned by everything.
Want to take a sweet Instagram selfie with a bed of roses as your backdrop? You’ll be able to do that if you visit Rose Avenue.
Another thing to note? Their paper bags have “Stop and smell the roses” written all over them. And why wouldn’t you? If you aren’t drawn by this unique facade, we don’t know what else will. Shopping will literally be a walk in the park.
If you think that pastel is the only color palette Rose Avenue has. You’re wrong. They have neon colors, as seen in their flamingo coat/towel hook – and in the apples, pineapples, and other tropical fruits that can be used as decorations or paper holders.
You can even get design inspiration through their dining table set-up, or pick through the different types of dinnerware, placemats, table cloths, and anything you fancy.
Even if you’re just looking for one eccentric piece, such as a rattan swing, or a bright pink chair that opens up like a flower – you’ll definitely be in the right place.
13. Find authentic art at Sukawati Art Market
When we were here, we were blown away by the sheer size of Sukawati Art Market.
Walking around Sukawati Art Market can be a little tricky in the sense that it may feel like a maze. But if you’re out to discover really unique things in the hidden shops off the alleys, then you’re in for a ride.
Here, you will find an extensive range of items. Handmade bags, wooden ethnic bowls, crockery, those popular comfortable batik pants, dresses, and insanely gorgeous shell items. (2-3 times cheaper than Ubud central)
Of course, if you’re on the hunt for some art to bring home, there are many shops with paintings available, and wooden sculptures too!
Be warned though, you will find plenty of similar paintings of the mass produced variety. However, if you do spend a little more time (and dedication) going through the shops and their paintings, you are bound to find something unique that will sit pretty in your home.
Tip: If you intend to explore the market fully, make sure to set at least half a day aside for this!
Restaurants with gorgeous views!
If you’re looking to spoil yourself silly, breakfast, lunch, or dinner with a view is a must.
From cliffside restaurants with dramatic crashing waves to exotic cave dining, you can find extraordinary restaurants with unforgettable views on the island. Let yourself be awestruck!
14. Order wood-fired pizza in paddy fields at Gong Jatiluwih Restaurant and Lounge
Dining should be a relaxing affair, and that’s exactly what you’ll get at Gong Jatiluwih Restaurant and Lounge. Overlooking lush, sweeping rice terraces, this laidback lunchtime reprieve is full of delicious options.
Stop by for a delicious customer favourite – wood-fired pizza! Thin, crispy, and oh-so-satisfying, this menu option is a popular choice among both foreign and domestic visitors, with international tourists coming back for more!
If pizza doesn’t tickle your fancy (or your tastebuds!), you still have multiple options if you choose the Balinese lunch buffet, which costs only Rp. 100,000 per person and is full of traditional Balinese favourites and regional dishes.
You can enjoy both Western and Balinese cuisine here, which makes it a great stopover for both adults and kids!
Swept Away comes alive in the evening with the 100-candle dinner service. The river transforms as 100 gently flickering candles are lit and create a truly special ambiance.
Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the decking and the comfortable lounge furniture. Swept Away serves a varied, ambitious and totally eclectic menu suitable for all tastes.
Sit back, unwind and let your worries get Swept Away.
16. Romancing in the caves at Samabe Bali Suites & Villas
Have you ever thought of dining in a cave at a secluded private beach?
You can do so at Samabe.
Hide from the world together with your loved one, and watch the sun set over the ocean from your secret cave hideaway – it’s an experience you’ll never forget.
Dedicated chefs and waiting staff will serve a stunning five-course set menu while you relax to the sound of the waves breaking on the shore.
Dinner includes specially created dishes such as a ‘Sweet Love Symphony’ – a combination of two secret recipes.
Perfect for two lovers sharing this special evening.
If we really can’t convince you on cave dining, the Samabe Bali Suites & Villas still boasts two fantastic restaurants.
Try the Crystal Blue Ocean Grill for a relaxed al fresco setting.
If pure luxury fine dining is what you want, Rempah Main Dining Room is perfect for you.
Do afternoon tea like the queen (or king)!
Take your pick between an afternoon of classy contemporary tea, or crazy-cool Mad Hatter tea. Either way you will be poolside and smitten with sweet treats!
17. Spot Stonehenge over tea at Standing Stones Restaurant (The Royal Purnama)
The Royal Purnama’s Standing Stones Restaurant stands out amongst many other dining establishments in Bali, for one simple reason.
Look at those magnificent stones standing against the perfect backdrop of black sand and deep blue waters.
Now take away the sand and waters, and there you have it – you’re at Stonehenge in England! Uh, not really, but since you’re at (what really looks like) the Brits’ homebase, how could you not indulge in some classic British teatime action?
Sit back on the grassy plains and sip at your tea in the sunshine, or dine inside the comfort of the restaurant – it’s your pick. But wherever you choose to go, the views won’t disappoint.
Neither will your tea party friends, namely the selection of eight Femmes Dammann French loose leaf teas, including Standing Stone’s signature Earl Grey Blend.
Freshly made pastries, cakes and biscuits are all presented on a classy tiered tray to top off your authentic high tea experience!
And if you’d like to work off those calories after consuming a mountain of cakes, simply pay an additional fee of IDR 350,000 (USD $26.50) to lounge on the gazebo or swim in the pool right beside the restaurant.
You know what, this might even be better than really going to Stonehenge.
Written by Elsa Marie . Co-written by Jiayi Ng . Edited by Candice Neo