Good things come in small packages and, while you might not consider Bali an especially small island, it only takes three hours to drive from top to bottom. Which means there’s almost no excuse for not booking some day trips in Bali during your time here.

And this little(ish) island has a bit of everything. From nature and greenery to beautiful beaches, picturesque mountains and incredible coral reefs, Bali really does fulfil all the clichés of having “something for everyone”. And that’s before you’ve even taken into account the buzzing nightlife, unique shopping and international restaurants and bars

But where to start when it comes to the best day trips in Bali? Read on for all of our top picks. Grab your sunglasses, it’s time to go exploring.

Shopping and Eating in Canggu and Seminyak

Most people opt to stay in Canggu or Seminyak if they want to be in the heart of Bali’s action, and for a good reason. These two digital-nomad-friendly towns are home to brilliant beach clubs, delicious dinner spots and everything in between. 

It doesn’t matter what you’re craving: you’ll find a large number of Bali’s best restaurants dotted throughout both Canggu and Seminyak. Almost every cuisine under the sun can be enjoyed here on tiny beach bars in the sunshine or stylish dinners where reservations are highly recommended. These two towns are also a great spot for shopping, with individual boutiques selling clothes, accessories and shoes created by Balinese artisans.

Rice Fields and Nature Trekking in Ubud

Looking to get up close and personal with nature? Head to Ubud. Around a 45 minute drive north of Canggu, Ubud is luscious and green: filled with rice fields, lengthy walks through the hills and overhanging branches on every road. It’s far more laidback than Bali’s southern counterparts and you won’t have to travel far to find yoga retreats, spiritual getaways and remote waterfalls. 

Travel slightly north of Ubud to the Sayan neighbourhood and you’ll find beautiful viewpoints overlooking the valley. Continue up this way and you’ll stumble upon the famous Tegallalang rice terraces. You’ll want to get here early in the morning if you’re wanting to spend a few hours here, before the hot weather makes itself known. Ubud’s Campuhan Ridge Walk is another – more centrally located – place for strolling at one with nature, up in the hills with breathtaking views and an easy to follow path.

Surfing The Waves in Uluwatu

Uluwatu is home to some of the best waves in the world: a must visit for any self-respecting surfer. While some of the waves here are restricted to pro surfers only, it’s not a long drive around Bali’s southernmost point before you can reach smaller waves, suitable for beginners. Padang Padang beach is a great midpoint for surfers of all levels, while intermediate and advanced surfers will love Balangan, where waves sometimes get as high as 15 feet. 

Advanced surfers should head to Bingin, while pros will adore Green Bowl. If you’re just heading to Uluwatu to enjoy the spectacular beaches rather than catching the waves, Nyang Nyang (known as the secret beach) is a lesser-visited spot. The 20 minute hike down is well worth the golden sand and wonderful sunsets it offers.

Sunrise Dolphin Boat Trips in Lovina

dolphin boat ride in Bali

Lovina sits high up at the top of Bali, which makes it a lesser-visited spot for many tourists as it takes slightly longer to get to, depending on where you’re based. But it’s well worth a trip. The main highlight here is the endless number of dolphins that call Lovina’s seas home. It’s almost imperative to book one of these trips while you’re up here, which start with a sunrise boat journey far out into the water and ends with the possibility to snorkel with dolphins all around you. 

Prices tend to be lower in Lovina, too, so you’ll get more for your money in restaurants here when you’re done with the dolphins. Need a little more convincing? The drive up to Lovina is unbeatable: through the Twin Lakes in the middle of the island, up into the mountains and finally down steep hills with the promise of the waves in front of you. If you’re lucky this is one of the best day trips in Bali.

Beach and Tanning Days in Nusa Dua

coconut drink on bali beach

If you’re staying in a fancy resort in Bali (and there are plenty of them), you’ll probably be based in Nusa Dua anyway (and might even have your own private beach – you lucky thing). But even if you’re staying elsewhere on the island, a trip to Nusa Dua is essential if you’re a lover of relaxed beach days with a good book and an ice-cold coconut.

Nusa Dua’s beaches are famed for being some of the best on the island. Sure, it might be a quieter spot than the likes of Canggu and Seminyak, but what it lacks in nightlife it more than makes up for with white sand, chilled out waves and perpetually blazing sunshine. Not sure where to start? Some of the best beaches here include Samuh Beach, Geger Beach, Pandawa Beach and Sawangan Beach.

A Taste of Island Life in the Nusa islands

yellow bridge crossing in Bali

Take a 45 minute boat ride from Sanur, southeast Bali, and you’ll stumble upon Bali’s famed Nusa islands. Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan (in order of size) all offer a taste of island life, with incredible white sand, lazy-day beach bars and beautiful hotels. Cars mostly don’t exist on these islands, so your best way of getting around is via motorbike. The relaxed pace of life here means you never need to worry about traffic or stress-inducing roads. 

You’ll still find multiple spots across these islands to grab a beer or a cocktail on the beach, but most of the fun here is found underwater. The Nusas are especially known for diving and snorkelling, home to the incredible Mola Mola (as well as dolphins, if you’re lucky), and rainbow-hued coral reefs. Make use of the azure waters and book at least one boat trip while you’re here.

Diving around a Shipwreck in Amed and Tulamben

Shipwreck divers in Bali

Amed and Tulamben sit high up on Bali’s northeast coast and are very popular spots for divers. The main attraction here is a shallow shipwreck called the US Liberty Wreck Ship, which was sunk in 1942. 

Even newer divers love this spot, due to its ease of accessing and incredible perspectives. Arguably the most famous diving site in Bali, it’s the reason most people come to Amed and Tulamben. As well as the ship itself, this dive site is now home to wonderful coral reefs and rainbow fish. It’s an experience unlike any other. The drive up to Amed is another beautiful one.

Sunrise Trekking at Mount Batur

sunrise mountain trek in Bali

There are three volcanoes in Bali (and plenty more throughout Indonesia) and the most famous one is Mount Batur. Perched high up in the north of the island, it’s renowned for being a brilliant day trip even if you don’t have much time. You could hike the volcano any time of day, but most people prefer to start very early in the morning to make it to the peak for sunrise. 

With an elevation of 1,717 metres, it’s possible to hike Batur in less than two hours – or one hour if you’re relatively fit. The views from the top are stunning, overlooking a huge caldera lake that looks even more special when sprinkled with clouds. There are multiple sunrise trekking tours for a Mount Batur hike, and it’s definitely possible just to rock up the day before and organise one there and then. Just remember warm clothes, as it gets cold at the top!

Coffee Shop Work Dates in Kintamani

coffee work date in bali with views

Kintamani is located very close to Mount Batur and, if you’re looking to stay in the area for a few days, is likely where you’ll find yourself. And it’s somewhere you definitely should visit, even for 24 hours, for its unbeatable views. Admittedly, Kintamani isn’t filled to the brim with activities, but its high elevation offers incredible views over the island. 

It’s one of the best places to visit on a cloudy day. Set yourself up in one of the coffee shops on the main road, on the edge of the mountain, and enjoy your coffee and brunch among the clouds, which actually seem to be within touching distance. This magical location is only around two hours away from Canggu on motorbike, or three hours from the airport.

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