First Time in Bali - What to Do

Bali Survival Guide

Your first time in Bali can be smooth and memorable, you only need to know where to start. We’ve come up with this ‘Bali survival guide’ to help you get the best out of your first visit to this world-favourite holiday island. Bali’s the tourism hub of the whole Indonesian archipelago, and with good reason.

It's true the island is a surfers' and beach lovers' paradise. It’s packed with sightseeing attractions, too. Almost everywhere you go in Bali, there’s ancient temples, palaces and unique landmarks to discover. In each resort area, you can browse through shopping streets for a bargain. The same can be said for the nightlife scene, as well. There’s a lot to enjoy, but here we’ve narrowed down the choices. With this quick Bali survival guide, you can get the most out of your first time in Bali.

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Bali At a Glance

Some of Bali’s monikers may come out as cliché, but they still hold some truth. There’s “island of the gods”, and “land of a thousand temples” (though there’s more than that). Just like its ancient landmarks, you can encounter cultural vibes and festivities that have lived on since centuries. Natural beauty awaits you all around the island, from down at the coastlines to up in its green mountains and valleys. The most famous beach resorts are in the island’s more crowded south, while the central highlands offer you tranquil escapes amongst lush green rice field panoramas.

  • Great beaches and world-class surf
  • Scenic mountains and landscapes
  • Plenty of cultural attractions and festivities
  • Well-varied dining, shopping and nightlife options
  • Impressive hotels and villas at great value
  • Renowned Balinese hospitality
  • English is widely spoken in all tourist areas
  • Some areas lack infrastructure
  • Traffic can be very unpredictable (ceremonial parades, floods, detours, etc.)

Things You Can Do in Bali

A short trip to Bali will never allow you enough time to enjoy all Bali has to offer. The island’s countless temples, historical sites, and spots of natural beauty are spread across its eight regencies. In between, there’s fun and excitement to be had through various activities. You might as well be enjoying the beachfront of your hotel throughout most of your short visit. But if you’re willing to explore, we recommend you see or do at least these three on your first time in Bali.

  • Tanah Lot Temple

    Tanah Lot

    Famed for its unique offshore setting and sunset backdrops, Tanah Lot, an ancient Hindu sea temple and one of Bali’s Read More»

  • Tegallalang Rice Terraces

    Tegallalang Rice Terraces

    Ubud is famous for its beautiful scenes of rice paddies involving subak (the traditional Balinese cooperative irrigation Read More»

  • Ubud Monkey Forest

    Ubud Monkey Forest

    Some refer to this site as the Sacred Monkey Forest of Padangtegal, and by its official designation, Mandala Wisata Read More»

Best Places to Shop in Bali

Even if shopping wasn't on your plans, you’ll most likely end up with a bargain on your first time in Bali. Walking streets, art markets and modern malls boast fascinating and irresistible buys. You can discover a treasure trove of fine art and handicrafts, paintings, delicately carved jewellery, woodcarvings and beautiful batiks. Start your bargain hunts at these great shopping spots in Bali. Shopping in Bali can be a fun part of your holiday!

  • Ubud Art Market

    Ubud Art Market

    Ubud Art Market, or 'Pasar Seni Ubud', is just opposite the Ubud Royal Palace. Open daily, here you can find beautiful Read More»

  • Kuta Beachwalk

    Kuta Beachwalk

    A fresh addition to Kuta’s leisure alternatives, the striking new Kuta Beachwalk is a sprawling complex just across from Read More»

  • Kuta Beach Walking Street

    The Kuta Beach walking street (Jalan Pantai Kuta) is one of Kuta’s main thoroughfares; a one-way street that follows on Read More»

Best Places to Go at Night in Bali

After the sun sets in Bali, more fun times begin. Some of Bali’s nightlife hubs, such as Kuta, Legian and Seminyak are packed with nightclubs, pubs and bars that cater to a lively crowd. Some party on well into the wee hours. When it comes to planning your evenings for your first time in Bali, we recommend you check out these great spots to drink, mingle, make new friends or party the night away.

  • Ku De Ta

    Ku De Ta

    A Seminyak nightlife institution, Ku De Ta was the trendsetter for upscale nightlife and beach dining in Seminyak, and Read More»

  • Sky Garden Rooftop Lounge

    Sky Garden Rooftop Lounge

    Sky Garden Rooftop Lounge is a Legian nightlife institution, with great skyline views, international DJs, drinks and Read More»

  • La Plancha

    La Plancha

    La Plancha is a vibrant beach cafe on Seminyak’s Mesari Beach, serving grills and Spanish selections. Colourful parasols Read More»

Great Restaurants We Like in Bali

Bali restaurants come in a great variety. The island’s an international gathering place with a wide range of options to suit every palate. The budget range also varies. There’s a road running through Seminyak that’s nicknamed “eat street” thanks to its closely-knit rows of world-class and local restaurants. However, here we’ve selected some of our favourites that we’d take you to anytime. They come in different budget ranges and themes, to give you a bit of variety.

  • Locavore Restaurant

    Locavore Restaurant

    Locavore in Ubud presents an ingredient-driven menu that features an exceptional interplay of flavours through creative Read More»

  • Kedonganan Seafood Cafés and Restaurants in Bali

    Kedonganan Seafood

    Famous for its fishermen’s landing site and fish market, the strip of seafood cafes and restaurants in Kedonganan Read More»

  • Bebek Tepi Sawah Restaurant Ubud

    Bebek Tepi Sawah Restaurant

    Bebek Tepi Sawah restaurant is one of the best places in Ubud to enjoy great local cuisine in a unique bamboo pavilion Read More»

Hotels in Bali We Recommend to Our Friends

Most hotels in Bali are the luxurious type with beachfront locations. However, there are some legendary ones that retain much of its charm are tucked away near the end of side streets. While offering ease of access to the excitement of the resort’s scenes, they’re also well positioned away from the traffic and crowds. The following are the hotels we personally think will guarantee you a comfortable stay, with a budget, a mid-range and a high-end option in mind.


With a stay at RIMBA Jimbaran BALI by AYANA in Jimbaran (Bukit), you'll be within a 10-minute drive of Garuda Wisnu Kencana Read More...

Villa Berawa

Villa Berawa Bali is just a five minute walk from the incredible Canggu Club and not to mention Berawa Beach.Echo Beach is also Read More...

Poppies Bali

Located in Kuta (Downtown Kuta), Poppies Bali is within a 10-minute walk of Kuta Beach and Bali Bombing Memorial.Featured Read More...


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Bali Map

Your first time in Bali can be smooth and memorable, you only need to know where to start. We’ve come up with this ‘Bali survival guide’ to help you get the best out of your first visit to this world-favourite holiday island. Bali’s the tourism hub of the whole Indonesian archipelago, and with good reason.

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