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12 Best Day Trips in Bali

I’ve been based in Bali, Indonesia, since 2019 and have spent that time exploring as much of the island as possible. Thanks to Bali’s relatively small size (the island is 153 km /95 miles wide and spans 112 km / 70 miles north to south), it’s easy to venture out just for the day without spending too long on the road. And, despite its small size, Bali has a huge range of sights to see, from majestic waterfalls, picturesque beaches, incredible architecture, and fancy hotels, among plenty more.

These day trips assume that you’re spending most of your time in the Badung regency (Canggu, Seminyak, Kuta, Uluwatu), which is where most tourists set up camp. With that in mind, read on for all of the best day trips in Bali!

Art and Culture in Ubud Art and culture in Ubud
Credit: Art and culture in Ubud by Unsplash

Art and Culture in Ubud

The stunning landscapes and rich cultural heritage of Ubud and its surroundings make for a wonderful day trip, and if you’re staying in the south of the island, it is an easy journey that only takes an hour or so each way. In Ubud, check out Ubud Monkey Forest, a natural reserve that’s home to hundreds of long-tailed macaques. Nearby you’ll find the Ubud Art Market, home to an endless array of handcrafted items like textiles, wood carvings, and jewelry. Spend some time admiring the beautiful Tegalalang Rice Terrace and, if you’re feeling active, stroll the 5km down Campuhan Ridge Walk. Bonus: just outside of Ubud, you’ll find the gorgeous Goa Gajah Temple: a UNESCO World Heritage Site that dates back to the 11th century.

Mount Batur Sunrise Trekking Mount Batur Sunrise Trekking
Credit: Mount Batur Sunrise Trekking by Unsplash

Mount Batur Sunrise Trekking

Spoiler alert: a Mount Batur sunrise trekking adventure usually starts pretty early in the morning. And by ‘early,’ we mean around 1 am. But it’s well worth the lack of sleep! As you ascend to the summit of Mount Batur, you’ll be amazed by the stunning views of the surrounding landscapes, including the volcanic craters and Lake Batur down below. The hike takes around two hours to the top and once you’ve reached the final point, you can sip hot tea and eat banana sandwiches. The best part? The final reward: breathtaking views of the sunrise over Bali. Nearby Kintamani is well worth an explore too, so, if you’re not short on time, you can spend the rest of the day drinking coffee in the cafes above the clouds here.

Nusa Penida Island Nusa Penida Island
Credit: Nusa Penida Island by Unsplash

Nusa Penida Island

There are three Nusa islands off the coast of Bali: Penida, Lembongan, and Ceningan. Penida is the largest of the three and is only around 30 minutes from Sanur on Bali’s southeast coast. Your first stop on the island should be Kelingking Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in Bali. Check out the gorgeous views at Angel’s Billabong, a natural infinity pool with vibrant blue water. Drive across to Crystal Bay, a beautiful beach with crystal-clear waters that are perfect for swimming and snorkeling. Here, you can also take a boat out for the chance to snorkel and swim with famous manta rays.

Jatiluwih Rice Terraces and Batukaru Temple Jatiluwih Rice Terraces and Batukaru Temple
Credit: Jatiluwih Rice Terraces and Batukaru Temple by Unsplash

Jatiluwih Rice Terraces and Batukaru Temple

Love the vibrant tones of Tegalalang, but would rather stay a little further down south? Head to Jatiluwih rice terraces instead. The terraces are one of Bali’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites and offer stunning views of the lush green rice paddies that stretch as far as the eye can see. Wander through the terraces and learn about the traditional irrigation system used by the Balinese farmers before snapping a few photos and stopping for lunch. Then, continue onwards to Batukaru Temple, one of Bali’s most important and ancient temples, located on the slopes of Mount Batukaru. You’ll want to ensure you’re wearing respectable clothes for this day trip, which means your knees and shoulders should be covered.

Uluwatu Beach Day Uluwatu beach day
Credit: Uluwatu beach day by Unsplash

Uluwatu Beach Day

Not all Bali day trips have to be action-packed ones! For a slightly more chilled alternative day trip, venture down to Bali’s southernmost point to soak up the sunshine in Uluwatu. Home to some of the island’s best surf spots, you’ll find a huge range of impressive beach clubs and restaurants here along with rainbow-hued sunsets at the end of each day. Towards the end of your day trip, you can also check out the famous Uluwatu Temple, where you can watch a Kecak Fire Dance as the sun sets. If you’re sticking around this part of Bali overnight, head to Jimbaran, the next town up, for a seafood barbecue served on the beach.

Luxury Living in Nusa Dua Luxury living in Nusa Dua
Credit: Luxury living in Nusa Dua by Unsplash

Luxury Living in Nusa Dua

Bali is famed for its luxury hotels and picturesque backdrops, and you’ll find some of the best examples of just that in Nusa Dua. Mostly known for being the honeymoon hotspot of the island, Nusa Dua is home to an endless array of five-star hotels and some of the most peaceful beaches on the east coast. Looking for a taste of luxury without the price tag? Many of the hotels here allow guests to check in just for the day, with access to the oversized infinity pools and direct beach views, but without the cost of staying overnight.

Scuba Diving From Sanur Scuba diving from Sanur
Credit: Scuba diving from Sanur by Unsplash

Scuba Diving From Sanur

If you’re a fan of the underwater world, Indonesia is a haven of incredible sights to suit people with all levels of expertise. A day trip from Sanur offers a great opportunity for scuba diving or snorkeling around the nearby Nusa Islands. If you’re exploring Bali on a time limit but still want to maximize your time here, this is one of the best ways to do it. This part of Bali offers some of the best scuba diving spots, with vibrant coral reefs, schools of colorful fish, and plenty more to be explored. A day trip here usually includes lunch on the boat as well as the chance to see dolphins swimming alongside you.

Venture Off The Beaten Track to Sidemen Venture off the beaten track to Sidemen
Credit: Venture off the beaten track to Sidemen by Unsplash

Venture Off The Beaten Track to Sidemen

Sidemen is around a two-hour drive from south Bali and offers a look back to what Bali used to be like a few decades ago. This laidback part of the island is filled to the brim with verdant rice terraces, traditional villages, and stunning landscapes punctuated by rivers and mountain backdrops. Visit the famous Sidemen Valley with the majestic Mount Agung in the background. Looking for more of Bali’s artistic heart? During this day trip, you can also check out a traditional weaving village, where you can see the local artisans making beautiful handmade textiles using methods passed down through generations. Staying overnight? Wapa Di Ume and Samanvaya are two unmissable hotels to check into here.

Do the Instagram Highlights Tour Do the Instagram highlights tour
Credit: Do the Instagram highlights tour by Unsplash

Do the Instagram Highlights Tour

There’s no shame in wanting to remember every moment of your Bali trip, which means fully making the most of all of the beautiful backdrops this island offers. You’ll find a huge range of day trips focused on photo opportunities here, regardless of where you’re based in Bali. Some of the most popular spots on this day tour include The Bali Swing, a giant swing that overlooks the jungle, the Tirta Gangga Water Palace, a beautiful garden palace with ponds, fountains, and statues and the famous Pura Lempuyang Temple, known as the iconic Gates of Heaven. This is one of the longer day trips in Bali, so you’ll want to pack a range of snacks and water to keep you going!

Tanah Lot for Sunset Tanah Lot for sunset
Credit: Tanah Lot for sunset by Unsplash

Tanah Lot for Sunset

Not all day trips have to last from sunrise to sunset, and if you’ve got half the day covered but still want to maximize every hour, a trip to Tanah Lot for sunset is a breathtakingly beautiful way to round off the day. Tanah Lot Temple is a Hindu shrine located on a rocky outcrop in the sea, offering incredible views of the Indian Ocean and Bali’s coastline. It’s only around a 30-minute drive from Canggu or a little further from Seminyak or Ubud, making it easily accessible no matter where you’re staying. Tanah Lot is a little out of the way with its rural surroundings, which means you’ll spend the first part of the trip admiring the gorgeous landscapes all around.

Nusa Lembongan and Ceningan Nusa Lembongan and Ceningan
Credit: Nusa Lembongan and Ceningan by Unsplash

Nusa Lembongan and Ceningan

Ideally, you’d spend at least a few days exploring Nusa Lembongan and Ceningan’s white sand beaches, chilled-out bars, rustic restaurants, and unique snorkeling spots. But if you’re on a tight schedule, it’s still possible to catch the first boat over from Bali and the last one back in the evening. Here, kayak through Lembongan’s Mangrove Forest and gaze down at Devil’s Tear, a natural phenomenon on the southern tip of Lembongan. Drive across the iconic Yellow Bridge to Ceningan to admire the Blue Lagoon and take a dip in its infinity pool. Finally, relax back on Dream Beach to soak up the natural beauty of the island before waving goodbye to the Nusas.

Chase Waterfalls Chase some waterfalls
Credit: Chase some waterfalls by Unsplash

Chase Waterfalls

Bali is home to more waterfalls than you could feasibly ever check out in one go. But you can make a big dent in that overall number on a waterfalls-focused day trip. First up: Tegenungan, one of the most popular waterfalls in Bali, offers a stunning view of the waterfall cascading into a natural pool. Take a swim in its natural pool or simply relax and soak up the beauty of your surroundings. Ubud – and the surrounding region Gianyar – is filled with plenty of beautiful waterfalls, so you’ll likely check out Leke Leke, Kanto Lampo, Tukad Cepung, and Nungnung Waterfall while you’re here. Make sure to bring swimwear and sturdy shoes!

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