5 Thrilling Adventures in Bali

There are an incredible amount of thrilling adventures in Bali, but not all of them are soulful experiences. Bali is known as the island of the gods and once you arrive, you’ll deeply understand why this is such a spiritual place. This makes it one of my top destinations for the sober traveler!

Adventure travel has been the secret sauce to my sober travels! If you used to be a big drinker, odds are that you have an affinity for a bit of chaos…I know I did! I have always had a deep sense of adventure, but alcohol took that love and shifted it into something dark. Now, I fulfill my sense of adventure with just that…true, heart pumping, adventure.

Travel in itself is a completely riveting experience – the excitement of stepping out of your home and heading to a new place will always be one of my greatest joys! Adventure travel is an embodiment practice that enriches your connection to each new place you visit.

Adventure travel will inspire you to move your body in new and creative ways while you are traveling. Adventure travel experiences have helped me find so much joy in movement! The mental health benefits are transformative as well – you’ll notice a change in your mood and ability to handle stress. Did I mention adventure travel experiences are fun? 

Bali is the perfect location for the adventure traveler. I’ve written about how much I love Bali for sober travelers – and its countless adventures are one of the reasons it’s my top sober travel destination! These adventure experiences will create an epic trip and you’ll meet loads of new people along the way. Who needs a bar when you have endless thrilling adventures? 

I’m so excited to share with you my top 5 thrilling adventure experiences in beautiful Bali. 

Sober Travelers’ Top Pick

I had so many epic adventures in Bali, but the most magical experience for me was swimming with manta rays. You can snorkel or scuba dive to discover them, and of course, a viewing is not guaranteed. Explore an incredible journey to see the Mantas in Nusa Penida.

1. Sunrise Hike to the Top of Mount Batur

Mount Batur is an active volcano that is located on the northeast part of Bali. One of Bali’s top adventures is to hike to the top of Mount Batur for sunrise. This holds a special place in my heart, because I did this adventure on my second sober anniversary! This is definitely one of my top adventures in Bali!

We weren’t so lucky, it was quite cloudy that morning so we didn’t see the picturesque sunrise that you see in so many photos. However, it was such a mystical experience being completely enveloped in the steam coming off the volcano and experiencing the pilgrimage with hundreds of other hikers. 

While you can hike to the top on your own, I loved going with a local guide! We were picked up from our hotel nearby at 3:00am, and taken to their house for some tea and cookies. We then made our way up the mountain and were served a lovely little breakfast at the top. 

The hike to the top takes about 1.5 – 2 hours depending on conditions and your fitness levels. There are other volcanos to hike in Bali but they take closer to 6 hours, making Mount Batur more accessible! This is such a worthwhile experience for the sober traveler – why stay in bed with a hangover when you can hike a volcano before dawn? That’s so much more epic.

Smiling on top of Mount Batur in Bali
Posing at sunrise on top of Mount Batur in Bali
Smiling with my boyfriend on top of Mount Batur in Bali

Are you ready to experience sunrise on top of this famous volcano? Find your world class guide and prepare to climb!

2. Swim with Manta Rays in Nusa Penida

Nusa Penida is a stunning island off of mainland Bali, easily accessible by fast boat for a day trip or a longer stay. It’s famous for its beautiful, rocky cliffs and more notably – it’s manta ray population. The coast of the island has manta ray cleaning stations, where the mantas visit to clean themselves and let smaller fish clean them.

I saw the manta rays while scuba diving, and it was one of the most magnificent moments of my life to date! But you don’t need to scuba dive in order to see these gentle giants. You can have a beautiful and intimate experience snorkeling with them, and I highly recommend going with a local guide who can help you have a safe and ethical experience. 

Fun fact: did you know that mantas love it when you sing? This is my favorite animal fact of all time. They have a hard time seeing you because their eyes are so spread apart, but they are very curious about sound. I encourage you to hum your favorite song under the water and watch the mantas swim around you and delight in the curious music! We sang underwater to two different mantas and they kept circling back to us – such a heartwarming experience.

Ocean view from a dive boat in Nusa Penida, Bali
Rock formations on the ocean coast in Nusa Penida, Bali
Rock formations along the coast of Nusa Penida, Bali

Are you intrigued by swimming with manta rays in their natural habitat? Book this amazing snorkeling tour to see manta rays in Nusa Penida. Don’t forget to sing to them!

3. Learn How to Surf in Canggu Beach

I spent three weeks living in Canggu, and my favorite experience by far was learning how to surf! My partner and I took lessons with a local guide, and it was a game changer for us! I was told that I probably would not be able to stand up on the board my first time surfing, but I stood up right away! We had an absolute blast spending an afternoon on the water, and we were able to surf quite a bit. I definitely would not have been able to figure it out without an expert guide who supported us the whole afternoon.

We started on the beach, where we got to know our surfing instructor as well as the basics of surfing. Your instructor will teach you different methods of standing up on the board, and you’ll drill your form on the beach before getting into the water. Once you get into the ocean, your guide will show you how to pick the best waves and talk you through the process of standing up on your board and surfing!

Canggu Beach is such a perfect place to learn how to surf – the waves are the perfect size for beginner surfers and accessible for all different levels depending on the time of day. Your guide will help you pick the best time of day for your lesson.

Funny face while falling off of a surfboard in Canggu, Bali
Surfing in Canggu, Bali
Funny face while falling off of a surfboard in Canggu, Bali

Ready to try surfing? Let’s get you connected with an excellent instructor! Enjoy surfing at Canggu Beach with a great teacher.

4. Scuba Dive and Dolphin Watch in Lovina Beach

Lovina is located on the north coast of Bali, and it’s a stunning place to visit. You’ll find so many adventures to sink your teeth into – my two favorites were sunrise dolphin watching and scuba diving Menjangan Island!

I found both of these worthwhile experiences from the house I rented while staying there! This place is the absolute definition of paradise – a beautiful multi-bedroom home on the coast. There is a lovely and helpful staff onsite, and they arranged everything for us! From our meals to local adventures, they were expert guides.

Massage hut outside of a rental home in Lovina Beach, Bali
Poolside view of a rental home in Lovina Beach, Bali
View from an outdoor workspace in rental home in Lovina Beach, Bali

We arranged a boat to pick us up from our stay, and we met them outside of our home right on the shore. The fisherman picked us up just before sunrise, and we went to find a local pod of dolphins! Now, it should be said that there were lots of other tourists looking for the dolphins as well, which took some of the magic away. But finding the dolphin pod was incredible and we enjoyed seeing them in their natural habitat. You can reserve through the home or you can book your own dolphin excursion!

Scuba diving is also an incredible adventure experience – especially in Bali! Bali has some incredible opportunities for scuba diving, but one of the most renown spots is accessible from Lovina! It’s called Menjangan Island, and it’s home to Bali’s most beautiful coral reefs and has rich biodiversity. We booked our experience through the home with Arrows Divers! If you aren’t scuba certified, you can still have an epic snorkeling adventure with a local guide!

Coastal view of Menjangan Island in Bali from a dive boat
Posing with my partner in scuba gear on Mengjangan Island in Bali
Dolphin Watching boat in Lovina Beach, Bali

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Are you interested in snorkeling on Menjangan Island? How about dolphin watching in Lovina? Check out these fantastic guided tours for your next adventure!

5. Take a Tour of Bali’s Epic Waterfalls

There is something truly astounding about the Balinese waterfalls. They are striking in a way that sets them apart and to see them is to experience pure awe. One of my favorite activities we did while we were in Bali was explore waterfalls! We had the pleasure of seeing so many, and we didn’t even come close to seeing them all!

There were two waterfalls in particular that stood out to me, and they are so different from one another! The first waterfall that I loved was Banyumala Waterfall, and this one is tricky to get to! We hired a driver from Ubud to Lovina, and he surprised us by taking us to this stunning waterfall for the day! It’s known as the “twin waterfalls” because there are actually two side by side!

Banyumala Waterfall is hard to access from many of the main cities in Bali, so I strongly suggest booking a tour where a local guide can get you there! This is such a treasure and I’m grateful that our driver took the time to point it out to us.

Smiling with my partner at Banyumala Waterfall in Bali
Banyumala Waterfall in Bali
Smiling in front of at Banyumala Waterfall in Bali

The next waterfall that stole my heart was Kanto Lampo Waterfall near Ubud! One of the sweet highlights was doing a famous photoshoot here. I thought this was so cheesy and touristy, and ya – it is! That doesn’t mean that it isn’t a ton of fun! I had so much fun hopping up on the waterfall and following my guide’s instructions for taking all sorts of photos in countless different poses! I laughed harder than I have in awhile, and I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything!

You can combine this waterfall with a tour of Bali’s famous Blue Lagoon for an epic half day tour! We didn’t have a guide for this one, and instead had to ask some people at the waterfall to take photos of us. It worked – but you’ll have a much more personalized experience if you arrange this in advance!

You absolutely need to see Bali’s epic waterfalls and experience their jaw dropping beauty! Delight in their crisp waters, breathtaking views, and the lush greenery that surrounds them. It’s an unforgettable Balinese adventure!

Posing in front of Kanto Lampo Waterfall in Bali
Posing with my partner in Kanto Lampo Waterfall in Bali
Posing in Kanto Lampo Waterfall in Bali

Are Bali’s stunning waterfalls calling your name? Book tour to see the incredible Banyumala Waterfall and Kamto Lampo Waterfall for your next adventure!

Final Thoughts

Bali has so many world-class adventures to offer the sober traveler. For me, adventure travel has unlocked sober travel because it fills my days with epic adventure that gets my heart pumping and pulse racing! But adventure travel doesn’t always have to be the greatest thrill – it can be anything that makes your spirits soar and gets you out into the world!

Adventure travel has been one of the key ways I meet people on the road. It can be hard to find a way to meet people when you’re traveling sober, since so many people just default to going to a bar to make new friends. Adventure travel experiences will introduce you to people who are also passionate about meaningful experiences and transformative adventures! In other words, they’ll introduce you to quality friendships that are built on a solid bedrock. 

I’m happy to say that I met all of my dearest travel friends while doing some sort of adventure! These are my people – the ones that prioritize meaningful, embodied travel over escapism. I know that adventure travel will bring you closer to both yourself and the next beautiful destination you find yourself in. Your adventures in Bali will become some of your most cherished and epic memories.

What are your favorite adventure experiences in Bali? What are you most looking forward to? Let me know what excites you in the comments!

Smiling in front of Banyumala Waterfall in Bali

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