Bali: Things to do

Badung Market in Denpasar. (Photo: Tom Cockrem / Lonely Planet Images)
Badung Market in Denpasar
"Single girls (and anyone else who wants to chill out at the beach without being disturbed) should head to Callego."
Bali Insider

Find out all about the not-to-miss markets, beaches and more in Bali. From our local expert to you.

Badung Market

Located in Bali's capital, Badung Market in Denpasar (off Jalan Gajah Mada) is probably the island's biggest traditional market. The four-storey building is filled with stalls, although many makeshift ones litter the parking lot and surrounding area. If you stick to the outside vendors you can get the same goods as inside but at a fraction of the cost (and avoid the sweltering heat indoors). Souvenirs, homewares, clothing, accessories, pets — you name it, they've got it here! The day market is on from 5am to 5pm, and the night market from 5pm to 5am.

The Smile Shops

Items sold at the Smile Shops in Ubud and Denpasar are donated (brand new or in good second-hand condition) by expats and tourists alike. Proceeds from the sales aid locals who have craniofacial disabilities, such as cleft lip and benign facial growths, but can't afford reconstructive surgery. There's a good selection of jewellery and bags, clothing items, English-language novels and clothing for kids at affordable prices. And it's for a good cause. Happy shopping!

Callego

Single girls (and anyone else who wants to chill out at the beach without being disturbed) should head to Callego (Petitenget Beach, phone +62 361 731 613). Located at the end of the small road next to Hu'u on Jalan Oberoi, it's a massage parlour popular with the females and the gay community, and also has a cafe that serves up cheap local and European eats.

Seaweed

Watch seaweed being farmed from the sea off Geger Beach in Nusa Dua for something different. Accessible via a dirt track off the left of the road toward Nikko Bali Resort, the best time to catch the farmers in action is 8am to 10am, and 4pm to 6pm daily.

Nacho Mama

The famous sweet, tender ribs at Naughty Nuri’s in Ubud (Jalan Raya Sanggigan) keeps the warung (local eating place) busy at all times of the day. If you do not want to wait 45 minutes at dinner time for a table, take a short 50 meters walk to Nacho Mama. Open and run by same people of Naughty Nuri’s you can get the same ribs along with their menu of Mexican food.

Shopping for Local Crafts

If you have time, skip the shops and buy direct from the artisans at these places: gold and silver from Celuk; stone carvings from Batubulan; wood handicraft from Mas; paintings from Penestanan. Hire a local driver to bring you to the different villages, watch the local crafts men and women at work, and purchase directly from them and avoid having to pay for the fees of the middleman.

Beyond Ubud

Venture a little beyond Ubud and discover more sights such as the only cow farm of Bali, in Bangli just outside of Sideman, which supplies majority of the hotels, restaurants and supermarkets with fresh mozzarella, ricotta and primosale cheese daily. Discover how local coffee is roasted the traditional way at Munduk Moding Plantation. For a glimpse of how peaceful and serene Ubud might have been before the presence of retail shops catering to tourists, take a 10-minute drive to Melayang Village and soak in the easy pace of life among the village folk.

Pejaten village

The orange tiles seen on most roofs of buildings in Bali are produced in this village, which is located in the Tabanan regency, and approximately 15 kilometres northwest of Denpasar. A better souvenir than traditional terracotta roof tiles are the ceramics products that include cups, soap dishes, vases and ash trays. Although they are produced in various colours, green has become the identifying colour for made-in-Pejaten ceramics.

Got any more near the beaten track suggestions? Have your say using the comments form below.

Next: Adventurous types

User comments
Thanks, love it...but We need more choices for things that we can do in Bali. We found this 100thingstodoinbali.blogspot.com But seems just built, so not helpful yet. Anyone have an idea? this is my first time to Bali.
we are first timers and I am excited to go and do the shopping thing relaxing and wot eva else we feel like doin come on 6weeks till we go can't wait bring it on woop woop
Our tour guide was from the local community and very knowledgable about the flora, fauna and customs of the area. Keen to give us the best experience he possibly could and tailor-made our tour for our fitness levels, cycling ability and interests. Lunch prepared by the wives of the tourguides was BEST MEAL IN BALI. Tour in keeping with the local religious and cultural practices. We were invited into the family compound at an 11th century village and shown around private home including family temple and sleeping areas. Tour took us through places you will never see from the highway, along dirt one wheel tracks and around *** feild irrigation system. A must do while in Bali. joint with BALI HAI BIKE TOURS
I must of traveled bali over 100 times and everytime i go back i find something new and interesting. My new fav place is a small coast village on the north east side of the island called Amed. Very remote with no shops or even better ATMS. 1 small place to change money at the dive shop but thats it. very very quiet, the oceans are the clearest i have ever seen them anywhere in the world and great villa accomadation. If you are looking for the perfect escape without all the people and hassel of "YOU BUY" then you will never visit another place again and on a plus side the area has some of the best diving in the whole of south east asia with a couple of WWII very close of the shore line All i cvan say is you will be impressed! just dont go there if you want to party!
Bahaha mate, you gotta learn to speak for yourself. I'm going in a few weeks and honestly couldn't possibly care less about the 'hustle and bustle of the markets'. If I wanted to see markets, I'd go to the markets. But I want to see Bali, so if it's all the same to you, I think I'll just go to Bali instead of Sumatra. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it. This is a great article, very helpful. Thanks guys.
hi guys i have been to bali 19 times over the past 7 years. i love the country and the people are amazing. i always stay in kuta and hire a bike to travel everywhere. the country side is so beauitful and green. having a massage every day makes you feel special too. going back to bali and staying there for ten days makes me feel fresh again.i have travelled most of south east asia be i feel bali is one of my favs.cheers annie
I have timeshare in Bali and Fiji and travel to these 2 destinations evey 5 months. I have always wanted to get married in Fiji as the people are just so friendly. I must say after seeing a wedding at my resort in Bali Candi Dasa I was truely amazed at the effort that was put into a wedding for 8 people so I went back there 5 months later with 25 close family and friends and had my own wedding and I have never seen anything like it and my resort gave all my guests free accommodation now tell me where in the world would give your wedding guests free accommodation? Dont just stick to the hustle and bustle of Kuta, Sanua etc. Candi Dasa is such a relaxing place yes the Bechams (David & Posh) have stayed in Candi Dasa there really is so much to see and do. 1 minute drive and your in the beautiful mountains monkeys every where it's really a great place to stay and the food in Bali overall has to be the best I love it. Relax or Party bali's the place to be. Oh Yeh SHOP! SHOP! SHOP!
Bali is all about hustle and bustle especially the first time the more times you go you can check out many different things there is culture to be found there and a warmth from the people that is hard find elsewhere. Of course there are some that will rip you off but I have been ripped off in Sydney and many other places in the world. Loosen up and go there just because it is cheap and always warm the food is good and the beer is great just do it Gayle
Frog, please dont make my mind up for me. I will decide what I go to Bali for, would be nice for something constructive or informative rather than bagging the report.
You dont go to Bali for the traditional Island experiance, you go there to relax and enjoy the hustle and bustle of the markets Indonesia has to offer. Your suggestions assume people go to Indonesia for a cultural experiance, anyone who actually is searching for this would never go to Bali, but rather go to Sumatra or elsewhere.

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