Bali is my go-to destination when I want to go inward and experience a deeper sense of spirituality. 

The island is filled with historic temples, natural wonders, and spiritual traditions — inviting us to pause and appreciate life’s simple pleasures.

I’ve been there several times and Bali’s healing is real.

In this post, I’ll share some of the best spiritual things to do in Bali. I’ll share my experiences with authentic Balinese spirituality.

But first, let me share some interesting facts about their spiritual practices.

Me in a white dress getting water from a Balinese statue, one of the practices in Balinese Spirituality

Balinese Spirituality

Bali is the only Indonesian island that is predominantly Hindu. However, you can also notice Islamic and Buddhist influences in their religious practices. 

God is believed to take unlimited forms in Balinese spirituality. This is why many temples and shrines in Bali are dedicated to different Hindu deities.

For example, the famous water temple, Pura Tirta Empul, is a tribute to Lord Vishnu, the Hindu god of Preservation. 

Other major elements of Balinese spirituality include nature and ancestral worship.

Mountains, rivers, and forests are considered home to the spirits of gods and deceased relatives. That’s why they give the highest value to their environment. 

One thing I really appreciate about their practices is how these beliefs are reflected in their daily life.

What are the spiritual beliefs of Bali?

You will more likely witness a few Balinese practices during your trip.

I didn’t need to understand the meaning behind these practices to appreciate them. Simply noticing how happily devoted they are speaks to how special these traditions are.

However, the more I come to Bali the more curious I become and study their meanings and I become more appreciative of their culture.

Nature is Holy

Balinese water purification rituals, harvest festivals, and traditional dances all honor nature in their own way.

For example, Balinese farming is heavily influenced by Tri Hita Karana, a philosophy about the harmony of people, nature, and the spiritual realm.

Next time you visit Tegalalang Rice Terrace, feel how this harmony created this magnificent rice field.

Tegalalang Rice Terrace in Bali
Tegalalang Rice Terraces

Good and Evil   

I was surprised by the demon statues and morbid carvings during my temple trips.

I soon understood during my yoga teacher training (YTT) that these are reminders that good cannot exist without evil. They believe that a balance between both is vital for spiritual stability. 


In Bali, daily activities are done with the family and fellow villagers. They assign roles to each community member for daily worship, temple anniversaries, and livelihood. Some villages even have rituals unique to other communities. 

If you’re coming to Bali, I highly recommend having an open mind and experiencing their culture.

Here are some of the best activities in Bali to experience authentic Balinese spirituality. 

The Most Spiritual Things To Do In Bali

1. Purify Yourself in a Water Temple

A serene water purification area at Pura Gunung Kawi Sebatu, one of the most spiritual things to do in Bali

Balinese water purification rituals are called melukat.

During this ceremony, people offer prayers and dip under holy water from temples, waterfalls, or rivers to cleanse them of physical and spiritual impurities. 

Pura Tirta Empul is the famous temple for water purification. It tends to get really crowded.

So my sister and I chose to do it in Gunung Kawi Sebatu.

It was way more peaceful because of the smaller crowds. During our visit, we only saw a couple of other visitors. It’s one of the hidden gems in Ubud.

A local priest was there and guided us through a ceremony. We donated 10,000 IDR for the ceremony. I felt the sanctity of the ceremony.

We also enjoyed roaming around this quiet temple and resting near its beautiful koi pond.

2. Observe the Day of Silence (Nyepi)

Empty streets during Nyepi in Bali, one of the most spiritual things to do in Bali

Bali seems to stop completely during Nyepi or the Day of Silence. Everyone is required to stay inside, fast, and meditate to welcome the Balinese New Year.

This happens on the dark moon of the spring equinox, typically during March.

I experienced this by accident during my first visit to Bali. I was so excited to roam around the island when I was stopped by the hostel who informed me that I couldn’t get out. 

At first, I was disappointed. Then, it became the most spiritual thing I experienced in Bali.

It led me to my meditation practice which later inspired my career in yoga and leading retreats. 

I also felt one with the Balinese as they celebrated an important tradition.

You can read my whole experience with Nyepi here.

3. Experience a Silent Meditation Retreat (Vipassana)

On my back with a black top and white pants holding a white shawl in a forest for my Vipassana Retreat

Vipassana has the most lasting impact on me among all the spiritual things to do in Bali. 

The Vipassana is a 10-day retreat with a strict daily routine of meditation. It’s one of India’s oldest meditation techniques that has been around for centuries.

After finishing the retreat, I understood why this transformative practice has stood the test of time. 

Vipassana uses silence to bring forward inner thoughts and sensations and understand their impermanence. It trains us to focus on the present and let go of the things we can’t control. 

What better place for Vipassana than on this beautiful island with thousands of temples?

Here’s my Vipassana experience in a nutshell.

4. Sing your Heart Out at Kirtan Ceremony

A group of people sitting inside a colorful bamboo structure in Ubud, participating in a kirtan session, one of the spiritual things to do in Bali.

I learned about bhakti yoga during my YTT. It’s a yoga of devotion that connects us to the Divine. 

One of its main practices is kirtan. Here, we use songs, mantras, and chants for emotional release and to clear blockages to our desired path. 

When I first attended a kirtan, it felt a little weird. We started singing about different Hindu gods that I knew little or nothing about.

Then, the lead singer explained that it’s more about the qualities that these deities represent.

Soon, I felt at ease. I sang my heart out for hours with a group. It felt second nature to repeat countless verses of worship. It was amazing!

The transcendent energy that stayed with me long after the ceremony. I’d definitely do this again when I’m back in Bali. 

5. Visit a Sacred Temple

A Balinese shrine in a lake with plants on the background in Gunung Kawi Sebatu.
Gunung Kawi Sebatu

One of the reasons why Bali is hailed as the ‘Island of Gods’ is its beautiful temples.

The famous Lempuyang Temple is a great example of how much splendor a Balinese temple can hold. 

However, a quick visit is not enough to truly experience these sacred venues. Stay longer, witness traditional ceremonies, and meditate.

Appreciate every element you can see: the clear koi ponds, well-trimmed gardens, and ancient artifacts that hold centuries of history.

These temples, although very beautiful, are more than just photo spots. These are spiritual places in Bali.

For a quiet visit, opt for less touristy temples like the Goa Gajah and Gunung Kawi Sebatu Temple.

6. Practice Yoga in Ubud

I relax in a reclined yin yoga pose using supportive bolsters in a serene, urban-style yoga space at Heart Space Bali.

Ubud is known for being a yogi’s paradise. I found it so easy to practice yoga daily because of the numerous studios and yoga day trips.

Aside from famous yoga studios like Yoga Barn, I also stumbled upon lesser-known ones like Heart Space Bali.

I went for their yin class, a type of healing yoga that works deeply into our body by holding passive poses for an extended time. It was the best yin class I’ve ever experienced!

Aside from yin yoga, you have a lot of classes to choose from! This can be a very relaxing way to slow down your Bali itinerary.

7. Open your heart in a Cacao Ceremony

Participants gathering around a flower arrangement in Bali with cups and a pot for a cacao ceremony

Cacao, which are raw beans that not have been roasted, is believed to help open the heart chakra.

This practice was first done by the Mayans who valued cacao as a currency and a holy ingredient for healing.

I took part in a cacao ceremony during a weekend retreat in Bali. It was such a heartwarming experience.

We consumed a cup of cacao mixed with warm water and coconut milk. We sang Lokah Sukhino Bhavantu, which means ‘may everyone in the whole world be happy‘.

Everyone was filled with music, joy, and an overflowing sense of community. 

If you can’t attend a retreat, you can also go to Raw Cacao in Ubud and order a cup of ceremonial cacao. 

8. Retreat to Sidemen Valley

A group of participants forms a circle during a guided activity on a grassy field at a spiritual retreat in Sidemen, Bali.
A traditional Balinese hut with a thatched roof, located in a green garden at a spiritual retreat in Sidemen, Bali.

Sidemen Valley is one of the best spots to escape the busy side of Bali like Ubud, Kuta, or Seminyak.

I was here on a weekend meditation retreat. It was so easy to tune inward through the quiet rice fields and the gentle sounds of the flowing river. 

Known for its agriculture and craftsmanship, Sidemen has a lot to offer aside from its picturesque landscape.

You can go on a refreshing trek overlooking Mount Agung, visit traditional bookstores, or immerse yourself in their popular weaving centers. 

Experiencing Sidemen’s quiet scenery and local scenery is one of the spiritual things to do in Bali. You’ll love it. I sure did.

9. Participate in a Balinese Offering Workshop

Nyepi Bali canang sari

I frequently saw small baskets of flowers placed in front of doorways, inside temples, and on stone statues.

These are called canang sari, an intricate basket of offerings made daily as a form of worship to the Hindu gods.

If you’re in Ubud, why not join a workshop to make your version of this work of art? 

In this two-hour class, you’ll learn about the details that go into making a canang sari: the meanings of flowers, the importance of placement, and which gods are represented by each design.

It’s one of the spiritual things to do in Ubud. And you’ll even be wearing a Balinese outfit during the workshop for a more immersive experience! 

10. Visit the Sebatu Sacred Springs

Near Gunung Kawi Sebatu Temple is Sebatu Sacred Springs, a waterfall that is usually used for water cleansing ceremonies by locals.

Since this spot is relatively hidden, it’s not crowded. You can witness the locals worshipping and taking a plunge into the cold water.

Make sure to wear the appropriate attire (sarongs to cover the knees) and bring alter offerings. You can also join a melukat with the guidance of a local priest.

11. Participate in an Ecstatic Dance

Kirtan uses songs and chants to release spiritual blockages. Imagine the same effect done through free movement. That’s what ecstatic dance is. 

This is one of the most spiritual things to do in Ubud. A professional DJ will guide your group of around 170 people in this special form of meditation. 

Let loose and don’t overthink. Just dance without worrying about how you look. Feel every beat through your bare feet and let it all out.

You’ll experience bodily freedom, mental clarity, and emotional release. It’s also normal to cry after the session.

You can also do an ecstatic dance outdoors. Wherever you may be, remember to maintain ecstatic dance etiquette at all times!

12. Witness a Balinese Funeral

Burning deer figures during Ngaben, a Balinese funeral

This might be an out-of-the-box item in your itinerary. But trust me, it will transform how you perceive and appreciate life.

The ngaben is one of the most important celebrations in Bali spirituality. It’s a cremation ritual with extravagant bamboo towers and coffins burned after a procession. A traditional orchestra accompanies the big event. 

Balinese cremation is believed to free the spirit of the dead from the bonds of the material world to reunite with the gods.

This funeral and cremation remind me of the impermanence of life and how we spend our lives chasing material pursuits that we will all leave one day.

It’s a call to evaluate how we spend our days and how small our worries usually stress us every day.

13. Join a Beach Clean-Up

My hand with gloves with some plastic on a beach cleanup in Bali
Small plastics on a beach cleanup in Bali

Water is a central part of Bali’s spirituality. Rivers, waterfalls, and beaches are involved in their daily worship. 

Unfortunately, Bali’s beautiful beaches are at risk of plastic pollution.

I participated in a beach clean-up during our YTT and it’s sad to see small plastics scattered on beaches.

Why not consider participating in a similar beach clean-up? You can do this after visiting any beach, like the ones in Uluwatu.

Aside from caring for Mother Nature, you’ll experience a deeper connection with the spiritual places in Bali.

14. Reflect at Karang Boma Cliff

Karang Boma Cliff in Bali, one of the spiritual places in Bali
Karang Boma in Uluwatu Bali

The Karang Boma Cliff is one of Bali’s breathtaking spots. 

The high cliff extends to the Indian Ocean, giving a breathtaking view of crystal waters, clear sky, and even the famous Uluwatu Temple nearby.

During sunset, the view turns into a perfect painting with gradients of orange, yellow, green, and blue.  

When I visited this famous photo spot, I was in awe that it looked even more beautiful than the pictures.

The vast scenery made me realize how our everyday worries seem trivial, feel a deep sense of connection to nature, and be reminded of our strength and courage.

The entrance fee for Karang Boma Cliff is IDR 10,000. You can check my experience and tips in Karang Boma here.

PRO TIP: I highly recommend visiting Karang Boma Cliff instead of Uluwatu Temple. You can enjoy the same view for a cheaper entrance fee and way less crowd.

15. Walk through Rice Fields

I am wearing a flowing white dress and walk along a narrow path through Kajeng Rice Terraces.

Bali has vast rice fields that stretch out as far as the eyes can see. Mat and I enjoy visiting these rice fields during the early morning and just before sunset.

If you’re on a quick trip to Bali, I recommend the famous Tegalalang Rice Terrace near Ubud, one of Bali’s most famous rice fields. You can even enjoy swings, ziplines, and other exciting activities.

However, for a quieter experience, opt for less touristy spots like Kajeng, Juwuk Manis, and Campuhan Ridge Walk.

You can take your time and have a deeper connection with the rice fields.

16. Bathe in the Forests of West Bali National Park

Aside from spectacular views, witnessing the wildlife in Bali can also be a profoundly spiritual experience.

Observing animals in their natural environment reminds us that we are interconnected with all living beings.

Watching them live in the present moment encourages us to do the same. Trust me, being in wildlife is transformational.

You can also simply nature bathe or “Shinrin-yoku” in Japanese, a practice of immersing oneself in a forest, and allowing nature to heal you.

One of the best places to do both is in West Bali National Park. This national park is home to some of the rarest wildlife in the world, like the Balinese black monkey and Bali Starling.

This park is so huge that you can encounter sea, forest, and flying creatures in one place. 

A day is barely enough to cover the whole park, but I believe it’s enough to realize how blessed we are to experience the gifts of nature.

17. Hike to Mount Batur at Sunrise

Trekkers' silhouette during a sunrise in Mt Batur

If you’re looking for a more adventurous yet equally spiritual experience, a hike to Mount Batur at sunrise is the way to go.

Mount Batur is an active volcano that the Balinese consider sacred along with its volcanic lake, Lake Batur.

Your guided hike will start at around 3 AM and you’ll arrive just in time to watch the sun slowly embrace your surroundings. Light will reflect off the sparkling lake and give quite a surreal view. 

This scenery can evoke a sense of awe and wonder and a deep connection with nature.

The trail has a low to moderate difficulty and even elderly individuals take it as a pilgrimage route. It also has nearby hot springs and a breakfast cooked using volcanic steam!

18. Learn Balinese Ayurvedic Cooking

Grinding turmeric during an ayurvedic cooking class

Ayurveda is an ancient system of natural medicine that originated in India and is considered a spiritual practice due to its holistic approach.

It emphasizes the mind-body connection and implies that what we eat affects our spiritual well-being.

This belief is what preserved the art of Ayurvedic cooking for centuries.

Ayurvedic cooking focuses on plant-based recipes that optimize digestion and energy

Why not learn some Ayurvedic cooking techniques on your next trip to Bali?

You’ll learn about doshas and how to cook for each mind-body type, how to be resourceful with organic produce without sacrificing taste, and how to use food as a source of healing.

For example, by knowing my dosha, I found that I should focus on light and energizing foods like fruits and non-starchy vegetables.

I also learned that I should avoid spicy and heavy foods and that team sports are a good way to be active.

Imagine returning home and successfully recreating the food for your health, digestion, energy, and even moods!

19. Meditate at Goa Gajah

Me in my white dress entering Goa Gajach cave with intricate scuptures and a mouth of a monster entrance

Goa Gajah or ‘Elephant Temple’ is a temple near Ubud known for its eye-catching entrance: a passageway carved out of a stone demon. 

However, what I love about this temple is it’s an excellent meditation spot and it’s one of the spiritual places in Bali.

You’ll find the hollow carvings where Buddhist monks and Hindu priests used to meditate for hours.

The crowds here are small so it’s also the perfect spot to reflect and recharge after or in the middle of your trip.

You can even descend after the local vendors and find a meditation garden. Even further, you’ll find the junction of the Petanu River and the Kali Pangkung underground river.

My partner and I sat on the rocks and meditated. You’ll hear the jungle and river sounds that are normally used in meditation apps

PRO TIP: You don’t need to follow a strict meditation technique. Just simply watch your breath, hear the sounds, and witness the beautiful surroundings. You’ll find yourself coming to a peaceful state.

20. Experience Spiritual Healing with Balian

Balians are traditional healers in Bali’s local villages. Becoming one requires intensive study of ancient texts from their ancestors.

Just like modern medicine, each Balian specializes in a type of healing. For instance, you can seek a Balian usada for herbal medicine or a Balian taksu to mediate conversations between you and your deceased loved ones. 

This can be a mystical and memorable healing experience in Bali. However, make sure to have an appointment so you won’t disrupt the daily healing activities with the locals. 

Dress appropriately, be respectful, bring an offering, and have adequate cash to pay for this Bali spiritual tour. 

21. Celebrate a Full Moon in a Local Village

The moon is an important element of Balinese folklore. It is believed that on every Purnama (Balinese full moon) gods step down to give blessings to humanity. 

This celebration is filled with color and prayer. Temples are elaborately decorated, people prepare massive offerings, and the night is spent in meditation and celebration. 

If you’re in Bali on a full moon (check the Lunar calendar!), you’re lucky to experience authentic Purnama in a local village. Ask your accommodation or local guides to arrange a visit. 

Wear traditional attire, visit undiscovered temples, and eat regional specialties. Every village holds unique celebrations, so you’re in for a treat and a surprise. 

22. Watch Traditional Balinese Dance

A large crowd watching a dramatic Kecak and fire dance performance in Uluwatu

During the evenings, many temples in Bali turn into stages for traditional dance performances. 

I experienced the Kecak Fire Dance during sunset in Uluwatu Temple. It’s amazing!

Up to seventy Kecak dancers begin their skillful storytelling of Ramayana’s life at exactly 6 PM.

It was surreal to hear the chorus of men chanting “cak” rhythmically.

I was blown away by the dramatic storytelling, intricate movements, entrancing vocalizations, and the last part where Hanuman, the monkey god, is set on fire yet remains unharmed.

Another traditional dance is the Barong dance in Kuta, Bali.

It is a traditional dance that depicts the battle of good vs evil, represented by the Barong, a mythical lion-like, and Rangda, the demon queen.

During Barong dance, you’ll enjoy elaborate costumes, vibrant music, and intricate choreography.

🤩 Witness and enjoy the Kecak dance – take 5% off with discount code “GLADISTRAVELS”

23. Receive Blessings from a Balinese Priest

Balinese priest in white attire giving water blessings

I first received a blessing from a Balinese Priest during the opening ceremony of our YTT.

The priest started by sprinkling holy water to us for spiritual cleansing and protection. Then we were given gelang tridatu, a three-colored bracelet symbolizing the powers of Brahma, Wisnu, and Siwa.

We were also told to make a wish and by the time the bracelet loosened up, that wish had already come true!

24. Attend the Bali Spirit Festival

A band leading people to dancing and singing during Bali Spirit Festival

The Bali Spirit Festival is a five-day yoga, dance, music, and healing event.

With attendees reaching over 250,000 in 2023, it is one of the most popular spiritual things to do in Bali. 

The festival gathers a community dedicated to spiritual growth. You’ll meet and bond with like-minded people in various yoga workshops, dance events, seminars, and MORE! 

Attendees from all over the world, each one at a unique stage of their healing journey. Some may be seasoned yoga teachers while others might be on day one of learning yoga. 

This spirit of joy and friendship is what keeps people coming back year after year. This 2024, the Bali Spirit Festival is going to take place from May 1 to 5. 

25. Explore Trunyan Village

Skulls lined up on a platform covered with leafy plants in Truyan Village, Bali

Have you heard of ‘dark tourism’? It is when places associated with death and tragedy become tourist destinations. 

The Trunyan Village in Bali is a perfect example. It’s probably one of the eeriest places you’ll ever visit. However, in its stillness, it’s also strangely peaceful. 

In one corner of Lake Batur is the village cemetery, an open space where the bones of the dead are left in the open.

You’ll be welcomed by a row of neatly arranged skulls, a hair-raising sight different from the lovely temples on the main island. 

I recommend going on a guided tour to learn about the beliefs and practices behind this unique place.

You’ll find that the community of Trunyan has a lot to teach the rest of the world about the cycle of life. 

26. Consult with Palm Readers and Fortune Tellers

Sometimes, a little peek into the future is just what we need to guide our decisions.

On your trip to Bali, why not consult a palm reader and fortune teller for some deeper insight into your life? 

They practice ancient divination methods from Hindu culture. Your reader could make use of tarot cards, tea leaves, or numerology to give a reading about your relationships, career, and other prospects. 

You can combine this group activity with other worthwhile encounters like water cleansing, coffee tasting, and a lunch by the Tegalalang rice terraces. 

Remember, take the readings as a guide and not as facts. 

27. Experience a Waterfall Retreat

Waterfall Retreat in Beji Griya Bali.

As someone who has both led and participated in retreats, I’ve seen how a few days of meditation can transform a life.

What more if these retreats are done in beautiful, healing waterfalls?

I highly recommend this tour where you will visit Bali’s hidden waterfalls.

The flowing water generates negative ions and helps to reduce stress.

The sound and sight of cascading water also anchor the mind in the present moment. You’ll feel lighter and energized afterward.

Some retreats even include yoga sessions and Balinese massages to increase relaxation.

FULL POST: The Most Beautiful Waterfalls near Ubud

28. Stay in a Balinese Homestay

Homestays are one of my favorite ways to fully immerse in a new culture. I love seeing how the locals live every day without the veil of tourism in the way. 

We stayed in a Balinese family near Ubud and were happy to witness the family’s everyday routine.

We woke up to the smell of their offerings, followed by a delicious breakfast. We also learned a lot about their cultures and traditions.

If you’re planning to stay in Bali for a longer period, I recommend this activity for a deeper understanding of local culture and spirituality. 

29. Experience Flow with a Balinese Craft Workshop

Carved woods in a wood carving workshop in Bali

Bali has successfully preserved much of its centuries-old craftsmanship, as seen with their canang sari, intricate sarongs, jewelry, wood products, and more. 

Art is an important part of their religious practice, so the work involved in creating handmade products is a form of worship in itself. Many craftsmen on the island offer short workshops to immerse visitors in this labor of love. 

If you want to get your hands busy while discovering Balinese culture, try out a batik workshop or a wood carving class in Ubud. You can also choose something that you are curious or passionate about.

Whichever workshop you choose, enjoy the deep immersion and effortless focus and get lose track of time.

Wrap Up: Balinese Spirituality

Spirituality is woven in every corner of Bali. You’ll find an experience that truly speaks to your soul.

Which of these spiritual activities would you try?

Read more About Bali:

Slow Travel Planning Guide

✈️ How to find the best flight to Bali?

I always use Skyscanner to find cheap flights. It’s a search engine that compares prices across many airlines to get you the best deals.

🚑 Should I buy travel insurance?

Absolutely YES! For just $5-10 USD per day, SafetyWing gives you peace of mind with its affordable coverage.

📲 Where to buy a local sim in Bali?

I’ve switched to eSIMs for all my travels and it’s been a game-changer! Airalo’s eSIM offers cheap data in 200+ countries without roaming fees. Super easy to set up and top up! Get your Indonesia eSIM here.

🏩 What’s the best way to book accommodations in Bali?

It depends. is my go-to platform for hotels and apartments. If I want to save money on hostels, I use Hostel World.

And for longer stays where I want a cozy home, I book VRBO (which is cheaper and safer than Airbnb).

🗺️ How do I find local experiences and tours?

I find the best local tours with Klook, thanks to its vast selection across Asia. Get 5% off by using the code “GLADISTRAVELS”

For truly unique and authentic local experiences, GetYourGuide is my go-to. I’ve taken cooking classes with local chefs and gone on guided tours of hidden places using both platforms. I’m really happy with how everything turned out.

🚗 Is renting a motorbike a good idea in Bali?

Absolutely! If you can drive a motorbike, I highly recommend renting one through BikesBooking. Bali doesn’t have a good public transport. We saved a lot of time and money in Bali by having a motorbike, and it was so much fun!

🏦 What is the best way to withdraw money in Bali?

I use my Wise card. provides free global accounts and the most affordable money transfers. I can manage multiple currencies easily and withdraw cash at very low costs. Plus, I find their exchange rates are among the best available!

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