The magical island of Bali has so much to offer. From stunning landscapes, action-packed adventures and a great foodie scene – it can be hard to know where to start.
Luckily, we’ve rounded up our top six Bali experiences for first-time visitors, to get you started.
Have a Sunset Cocktail
Everyone loves a sunset, and in Bali, they are truly magical. Whether you’re watching the sunset over the ocean in Seminyak or through stunning rice terraces in Ubud, it’s sure to be a sunset you’ll never forget.
Potato Head in Seminyak should be your first point of call for an ocean sunset experience. This glamarama beach club has been drawing tourists in since its opening, thanks to its award-winning restaurants and infinity pool looking onto the ocean. Be sure to arrive around lunchtime to claim prime pool-side real-estate for when the sun actually goes down.
If you’re looking for something more relaxed, then La Plancha is for you. Colourful, scattered umbrellas and beanbags line the beach in this super laidback and unpretentious bar. It’s the perfect place to chill out in your sarong and bikini with your toes in the sand. The equally relaxed Single Fin in Uluwatu offers stunning views of the surf break below and is the perfect place to enjoy a Bintang, after a long day out exploring.
If you’re looking for a real “wow” factor you can’t go past new kid on the block, OMNIA Dayclub Bali. Perched 100 meters above the Indian Ocean and only 15 minutes from Jimbaran Bay, this beach club offers an infinity pool, an almost-floating deck and plenty of sun loungers to hang out on while listening to the latest tunes.
Marvel at Rice Paddies in Ubud
Rice terraces are synonymous with Bali. A timeless testimony to the Balinese rice farmers’ love and respect for the land, these ribbons of emerald green have long been filling tourists’ entire memory cards with stunning snaps.
Only a one-hour drive from Kuta, Ubud is one of the most popular tourist stops for rice terrace experiences. The cool and breezy area has vistas that offer some of the island’s most Instagram-worthy shots.
You can choose to walk, bike or drive through these intricate systems of terraced rice fields, with the choice of plenty of tour companies. Most companies offer full day experiences which include lunch and transportation to and from your hotel. We recommend jumping on a pushbike tour which meanders through these ancient terraces.
Go Snorkelling with Sharks and Turtles on the Gili Islands
This one might be cheating a bit because it’s not actually on Bali island but we just couldn’t miss it off.
Jump on a boat from Bali mainland and head off to the tiny island sanctuaries of Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno. Forget hiring a driver once you arrive, because this island is a car-free. The closest you’re going to get to a car is a brightly coloured horse and cart.
Once here you can lounge on palm-fringed beaches, banana lassie in hand and soak up some rays. The real gem of these islands though is the incredible snorkelling opportunities they provide. Discover colourful reefs right off the beach or jump on a snorkelling tour and be treated with surprise visits from turtles and reef sharks. After a long day out exploring, spend the afternoon sipping from coconuts, eating authentic Indonesian food and embracing the islands’ laid-back vibe.
There are so many different snorkelling and dive centres on the islands. We recommend walking down the main street of Gili Trawangan and choosing a tour company that suits your budget and needs.
Eat the Meal of a Lifetime
Bali is teaming with excellent restaurants, all offering different cuisines, at very affordable prices.
Seminyak is a mecca for foodies looking for an out of this world dining experience. For traditional Balinese cuisine, you can’t go past Kaum at Potato Head Beach club, Sardine or Merah Putih. Each offering Indonesian fusion in settings that are almost as jaw-dropping as the menu.
While Seminyak may be the hotspot for fine dining, other areas of Bali offer equally impressive restaurants. Copper Kitchen, Bar & Rooftop in Ubud offers locally grown and ethically sourced produce on a stunning roof terrace in the middle of the jungle – the perfect setting for a romantic dinner.
If you’re looking for somewhere fresh, funky and oh-so-on-trend then head on down to Watercress in Canggu. Sip from tasty cocktails (and mocktails) while digging into a juicy burger, fresh salad or rustic pizza.
Soak up Balinese Culture at the Kecak Fire Dance in Uluwatu
The Kecak Fire Dance is one of Bali’s most iconic art performances. Set atop an Uluwatu cliff in an open-air amphitheatre, this performance is a great way to soak up some traditional Balinese culture in a stunning setting at sunset. Renowned for its use of human vocals in place of instruments, this music-come-dance-come-fire performance is sure to be unlike anything you’ve ever seen.
This fire dance can take a little while, so be sure to eat beforehand and, if you’re with kids, bring some (quiet) toys and snacks to keep them entertained.
Shop ‘Till You Drop in Seminyak
Bali’s shopping scene has come a long way from its day of Bintang singlets and knock-off sunglasses, and Seminyak is at the forefront of fresh fashion and design. Seminyak’s main streets are lined with one-off boutiques, selling everything from homewares to clothing.
Want some homewares to help bring a slice of Bali home with you? Souq is a charmingly fresh lifestyle store with homewares and gifts with a colourful café inside.
If you’re more interested in wearing your purchases, then Uma & Leopold is packed full of airy cotton tops, light linen playsuits and slinky silk dresses. Magali Pascal offers urban vintage with a French flair, including luxurious silks, laces and organic fabrics with refined embellishments – perfect for your work wardrobe. If you’re looking for high-quality vegan leather, then The Bali Tailor should be your first point of call. Their made-to-order leather designs and accessories fit right in on the streets of LA and the dancefloors of Coachella.
Whether you’re visiting Bali with friends, family or your partner, AccorHotels can help you find the perfect hotel for you. Find you Bali accommodation, now.
AccorHotels is celebrating 25 years in Indonesia this year and there has never been a better time to explore this fascinating country. Book a stay in Bali or Lombok, and we'll treat you to breakfast + lunch or dinner, as well as complimentary airport pick-up*.
Want to know more?