East Bali: 25 Unmissable Adventures and Things to Do

Amed – East Bali top spots

Are you considering a visit to East Bali as part of your Bali trip? This enchanting region is a treasure trove of captivating landscapes, thrilling adventures, and ancient heritage, meaning there are so many wonderful things to do in East Bali.

While Ubud may have claimed its fame among travelers, East Bali offers its own unique charm. You’ll be able to immerse yourself in the beauty of cascading waterfalls, laze around on beaches, visit traditional villages, explore underwater worlds, and even partake in a traditional weaving lesson. 

But, with an abundance of remarkable experiences, how do you go about selecting the perfect activities? Prepare for your journey to East Bali by ensuring you don’t miss out on the top 25 things to do! 

Things To Do In East Bali: Hand-Picked By Us For You

East Bali is truly a gem. While on a road trip around the Island of the Gods, Jack and I stayed at a small village called Amed and fell in love with the laidback seaside vibe. Everything was much more chilled out, less tourist-focused, and more authentic.

Don’t get me wrong, there were still plenty of restaurants, cafes, tour offices, and some smaller resort hotels dotted around and you’ll find people on day trips for a spot of snorkeling, but in general, the area had an off-the-beaten-path atmosphere – which is totally us! 

Although East Bali is becoming more popular with tourists wanting to escape the busier areas of south Bali, it still sees fewer crowds. If you’re after a more traditional Balinese experience while looking for the best things to do on the island, head East. 

There’s no shortage of old temples, soft sandy beaches, rice paddies, and lost villages to explore – it’s the best place to experience rural Bali without going too far from the airport.

The beautiful thing about East Bali is the landscapes. If you’re beachside you’ll have a stunning backdrop of Mount Agung; if you’re in the mountains it’s lush greenery and sweeping hillside views. 

Due to the calmer bays, the waters in this region are also perfect for underwater adventures like snorkeling and diving. So, if you’re a water baby who loves hiking, visiting temples, and stunning views, East Bali is going to be for you!

What Is East Bali Known For?

East Bali is known for its unbeatable scenery and age-old temples. It’s where you’ll encounter majestic volcanoes, pristine beaches, endless rice paddies, and incredible scenic views. The region is steeped in rich cultural history with traditional villages preserving ancient customs. 

With such incredible landscapes, you’ll also get the thrill of countless outdoor activities such as diving, snorkeling, rafting, and hiking, making it a paradise for adventure seekers.

25 Things To Do In East Bali

Let’s delve into the 25 best activities of East Bali and create an unforgettable experience in this captivating corner of the island.

1. Sidemen Village

Slowly being referred to as the “new Ubud”, Sidemen Village is an up-and-coming traditional village in, slightly more, remote Bali. It’s wonderfully picturesque, nestled amidst the stunning landscapes of the East. 

It’s best known for its terraced rice fields and peaceful ambience and offers a serene retreat away from bustling tourist areas. If you’re after local culture, learning some traditional weaving techniques, and scenic hiking trails, you’ll enjoy visiting this hidden gem.

2. Diving In Tulamben

One activity that can’t be missed while you’re in East Bali is a visit to the famous USAT Liberty Shipwreck. It’s just off the beach and is easily reached by a short swim – if you prefer to snorkel – but the gem is best explored during a scuba dive!

The wreck is a super popular diving site in Indonesia where you can experience an incredibly diverse ecosystem of marine life. We started our dive at sunrise and witnessed an eel garden, a huge Napoleon fish, bump heads, a barracuda, a lionfish, and an unbelievable array of tropical fish. 

3. Pura Besakih – The Mother Temple

Pura Besakih, oh, the Mother Temple of Bali! This is a sacred Hindu temple that is nestled on the slopes of the mighty Mount Agung. It holds a special place in the hearts of the Balinese people and to them, it’s not just a temple, but a revered pilgrimage site.

As you enter, you’ll be mesmerized by the sight of towering pagodas reaching toward the sky. Around the temple, you’ll notice intricate stone carvings which will leave you in awe of the Balinese craftsmanship while the views are breathtaking.

Pura Besakih is more than just a destination; it’s a spiritual journey that unveils the depths of Balinese spirituality and the grandeur of their architectural heritage. 

4. Pura Lempuyang

Otherwise referred to as Heavens Gate is a hugely popular temple in Bali. You’ve likely seen photos plastered over Instagram and might already have it on your Bali must-visit list. 

There’s no denying it offers a great photo opportunity and the views are stunning, but there are some things you might want to consider before going. 

You won’t get a good view of Mount Agung in the background if it’s cloudy, it’s also more expensive than other temples and it is very commercialized. The temple is quite small and there is no “reflective pond”, this is an optical illusion.

When we visited, it was not busy and so for us, it was a good experience. Since then, many people have complained about the long queues which is another thing you should be mindful of when planning a trip. 

Even so, I know how many of you want to visit and get your photo so, of course, it has to be on this list of things to do in East Bali!

5. Tirta Gangga Water Palace

Another popular temple, this time it’s a Royal Water Palace. It’s well-loved for its intricate water gardens, fountains, serene pools, and famous stepping stones where you can grab a lovely photo. 

Would you believe we actually missed visiting this temple? We got it confused with another one which had a similar name! 

Nevertheless, I’ve seen the photos and it looks lovely. An enchanting oasis with a tranquil ambiance, a place where you can stroll through lush gardens adorned with statues, and even take a refreshing dip in the natural spring water pools. 

6. Taman Ujung Water Palace

If you’re having a day of exploring the temples in East Bali then don’t miss Taman Ujung, also known as the Ujung Water Palace. It’s another captivating water temple, blending Balinese and European architectural styles, and is set against the backdrop of Mount Agung. 

Like most water palaces in Bali, it boasts beautiful gardens, ornamental ponds, and historic structures. You can crisscross through the intricate pathways, admire elegant bridges, and enjoy the harmonious fusion of nature and architecture.

7. Bukit Cinta Viewpoint

Are you looking to take some incredible scenic photos during your trip to East Bali? One of the most popular viewpoints is Bukit Cinta. It offers a mesmerizing panorama of East Bali’s lush landscapes, rolling hills, and picturesque coastline. 

You’ll find the spot perched on a hilltop, this viewpoint provides a particularly tranquil and romantic setting to witness stunning sunrises. For the best chance of good visibility go between April and October.

It’s a perfect spot for nature lovers, photographers, or anyone seeking solace in embracing East Bali’s natural beauty.

8. Lahangan Sweet Viewpoint

Another great spot to see Mount Agung is Lahangan Sweet Viewpoint. It’s a little hidden gem that offers captivating views of the surrounding landscape; although it’s becoming much more popular these days.

You’ll find this lesser-known viewpoint offers small decking platforms within the trees and a peaceful, unobstructed view. It’s an ideal spot to unwind, take stunning photographs, or simply marvel at the panoramic scenery.

9. Gembleng Waterfall

Who doesn’t love a waterfall? Bali is full of them and chasing waterfalls has become a favorite pastime for anyone visiting the island.

But you know, you can’t visit them all, and (full disclosure), we didn’t get to visit these next two waterfalls. Sigh. There are only so many waterfalls one can visit and these two were missed from our radar. Nonetheless, I have it on good authority that they are fantastic waterfalls to visit in East Bali!

Gembleng Waterfall is a secluded cascade tucked away in the lush jungles and surrounded by pristine greenery. It’s a hidden gem, off the main tourist route, and offers a refreshing escape with a chance to reconnect with nature. 

It’s not to be missed from your East Bali adventure!

10. Dusun Kuning Waterfall

Sometimes referred to as the Yellow Waterfall, it’s said to be a bewitching natural wonder nestled in the heart of East Bali. As it cascades down a rocky cliff, the waterfall creates a beautiful spectacle glistening a golden hue in the sunlight. Adventurous souls can take a refreshing swim or simply bask in the tranquillity of this hidden oasis.

11. Tukad Cepung Waterfall

Tukad Cepung Waterfall was one we did visit and thought it was lovely. It’s interesting as it falls into a cave and so you’ll have to walk down some steps to reach it. There isn’t a pool for swimming like many others and generally, you’ll only visit this one for the photo. But, the area is what we enjoyed the most!

There are some boulders that you can climb on for a great photo, there are a few smaller caves to explore, a stream, and lush vegetation curving through the cave and into the forest. In the end, there is a cafe where you can enjoy lunch overlooking the jungle below.

12. Guwang Hidden Canyon

Fancy exploring a natural wonder while having a thrilling adventure? Guwang Hidden Canyon is a unique experience in East Bali which will be one for the memory books! 

With its towering cliffs, breathtaking rock formations, narrow passages, and emerald waters, the canyon is a hidden gem perfect for canyoning enthusiasts, cliff jumping, and nature lovers alike.

The best way to experience Guwang Hidden Canyon is on a guided tour where you can share a hassle-free, fun-filled day with other travelers. If you’re after adventure, don’t miss adding this East Bali gem to your list!

13. Pura Goa Lawah

Also known as the Bat Cave Temple, any guesses why? It’s a sacred Hindu temple known for its unique feature – an underground cave that houses thousands of bats!

It’s an intriguing place to visit where you’ll be able to witness the mesmerizing sight of bats swarming out of the cave during sunset and explore the temple’s serene grounds, surrounded by a mystical aura.

14. Tenganan Ancient Village

There are a handful of traditional villages in Bali set up for tourists, Tenganan Ancient Village is one of them. We actually visited Penglipuran Village instead of this one, but they are both well-preserved Balinese villages known for their rich cultural heritage and traditional way of life. 

This ancient settlement offers a glimpse into Bali’s past, with its unique architecture, traditional crafts, and age-old rituals. As a visitor, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the village’s timeless charm and learn about the community’s distinct customs.

Again, the best way to visit this village is on a guided tour with a local from the village. They will be able to share their knowledge and take you around the village introducing you to the locals and their way of life.

15. Besakih Village

Besakih Village is a charming rural village located near the iconic Pura Besakih Temple I mentioned above. It’s surrounded by dense rice fields and panoramic vistas, providing a serene setting where you can experience the authentic Balinese way of life. 

Visit here if you want to explore the village’s narrow paths, walk amongst the rice fields, interact with friendly locals, and gain insights into traditional agriculture and village customs.

16. Candidasa Lotus Lagoon

Unfortunately, Candidasa is another place we missed but I’ve heard the Lotus Lagoon is a nice spot to visit while out exploring the area. 

It’s said to be a picturesque spot adorned with blooming lotus flowers and tranquil waterways. This serene oasis offers a peaceful atmosphere, perfect for relaxation and contemplation. 

17. Maha Gangga Valley National Reserve

Maha Gangga Valley National Reserve is a nature lover’s paradise, encompassing lush forests, cascading waterfalls, and diverse flora and fauna. It’s a protected reserve that offers opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, and exploring the region’s natural beauty. 

If you choose to add a visit to your East Bali itinerary, you’ll embark on a wonderful adventure through the forest discovering wildlife and hidden treasures, and immersing yourself in the breathtaking landscape.

18. Snorkelling in Amed

And we finally make it to Amed, our favorite place to visit in East Bali! No joke, if you’re thinking of staying in the East then I would strongly suggest choosing Amed. It’s full of fantastic hotel options to suit all budgets and is strategically located along a calm bay. 

Amed is perfect for snorkeling. The tourism in the area is set up mostly for snorkeling and diving and although you’ll notice many day trippers, in the evening you’ll find a much more tranquil setting.

There are a handful of excellent snorkeling spots in and around Amed, namely at Amed Beach, Jemeluk Bay, Japanese Shipwreck, Bunutan Reef, and the Amed Wall.

You’ll be swimming alongside tropical fish, marveling at beautiful coral formations, and witnessing the extraordinary biodiversity that thrives beneath the waves.

19. White Water Rafting Telaga Waja River

As we had done white water rafting on a previous trip, we didn’t do it in Bali. However, I can tell you that if you’re an adrenaline junkie it’s an experience not to be missed!

Telaga Waja River is the place to go for the adventure and you’ll find it a thrilling destination for rafting. It offers an adrenaline-pumping adventure amidst a spectacular landscape. 

Alongside an experienced guide, you’ll be able to navigate through rapids while surrounded by lush forests and towering cliffs. This exhilarating activity in East Bali is best done on a guided tour which will ensure all safety precautions are met. 

20. Virgin Beach 

Do you love beaches? I know I do! Virgin Beach is a stunning gem boasting fluffy white sands and almost transparent turquoise waters. 

It’s tucked away from the bustling tourist areas, although it’s frequently visited by day trippers. Even so, it still offers a peaceful and idyllic setting where you can relax on the soft sands, swim in the warm waters, and indulge in the serenity of this coastal paradise.

Not in East Bali, but if you’re wondering what our favorite beach is in Bali, you’ll want to head to Uluwatu and Nunggalan Beach!

21. Blue Lagoon Beach

Blue Lagoon Beach is a captivating coastal destination renowned for its azure waters and vibrant marine life. It’s a treasure trove for snorkelers and divers who usually visit on day trips. 

You’ll be able to easily explore the coral reefs which are teeming with life. Head here if you want to surround yourself with colorful fish, sea turtles, and other fascinating creatures.

The beach lagoon is famous and is always listed as one of the best places to go on a snorkel trip in Bali!

22. Komune Beach Club

Honestly, we didn’t make it to this beach club but I’ve heard that Komune Beach Club is a popular beachfront venue that combines relaxation and entertainment with everything else you would want from a beach club. 

I’m thinking of sunbathing, refreshing cocktails, delicious cuisine, and a lively atmosphere. Oh, and it’s smack-bang in front of one of Bali’s best right-handers!

It’s more South East than East, but it’s the most accessible (if you’re staying in the East) and planning an afternoon of social drinking… I mean this is Bali after all. 

23. Pasir Putih Beach – White Sands Beach

Another beach in paradise. This time it’s White Sands Beach and since it’s perched on the eastern coast of Bali it sees fewer crowds making it a little treasure trove worth your time. 

It’s loved for its powdery white sands and azure waters, offering a tranquil and picturesque escape. You’ll be able to unwind on the pristine shoreline with little worries while tucking into local seafood at a beachfront Warung.

24. Mount Batur Sunrise Trek

We loved our Mount Batur Sunrise Trek and think it’s another activity that can’t be missed in East Bali. It’s actually one of the most popular things to do in Bali, as a whole, with some people visiting the Island of Gods just to climb this volcano. 

I mean, who doesn’t love panoramic scenery and breathtaking sunrises? What we didn’t love so much was the early morning departure, but it was all worth it in the end!

25. Stay in a Bamboo Villa 

If you haven’t stayed in a bamboo house have you ever really visited Bali? Well, funnily enough, we didn’t. We tried but it was fully booked or too expensive… note to self, pre-book this experience!

A good one and the one we wanted to visit is the Hideout Bamboo House. It’s a unique accommodation option in East Bali, offering bamboo villas nestled in lush greenery. 

These eco-friendly retreats provide a serene escape from the modern world, allowing you to reconnect with nature. They’ve got a sustainable design, breathtaking views, and rustic charm which will make your trip to East Bali an even more memorable one!

Things To Do In East Bali: Conclusion

East Bali offers an abundance of captivating experiences that I’m sure will leave you enchanted. From exploring the cultural gems of Sidemen Village and the awe-inspiring Pura Besakih to diving into the vibrant underwater world surrounding Amed, there is something for every one of you.

The region’s picturesque water palaces like Tirta Gangga and Taman Ujung, breathtaking viewpoints such as Bukit Cinta and Lahangan Sweet, and hidden natural wonders like Gembleng and Tukad Cepung waterfalls offer moments of tranquillity and awe. 

With its rich heritage, stunning landscapes, and thrilling activities like rafting and hiking, East Bali promises an unforgettable journey filled with beauty, adventure, and cultural immersion.

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