Group tours to Bali promise to be an experience like no other. These are guided packages that whisk you off to the legendary Isle of the Gods of Indonesia, a mystical land of waterfalls, emerald rice paddies, glassy surf breaks, and otherworldly Hindu temples that we think just about every traveler should see at least once in their life.
With thousands (and we really do mean thousands) of tour providers out there, there are now all sorts of itineraries on the menu these days. You can pick four-week odysseys that take in hidden Balinese villages, include hardcore volcano treks, and surf days to boot. Or you can do quick whistlestop tours of the island’s main POIs, from Kuta Bali beach in the south to the dolphin-watching haven of Lovina in the north.
This guide to the seven best group tours in Bali runs through a selection of what we think are the crème-de-la-crème of the options currently out there. We’ve picked an array of packages that suit the hikers, the beach lovers, the surfers, and even those who like to stray a little off the beaten path. Let’s get started…
Beautiful Bali with Intrepid Travel
We think the Beautiful Bali package with Intrepid Travel is almost perfectly calibrated to give you a taste of all aspects of the fabled Isle of the Gods in the short space of just nine days. It’s a fantastic fly-in, fly-out adventure that will whisk you from the sparkling beaches of the south coast to the misty rice paddies under Mount Agung.
The trip starts in the arty town of Ubud. That’s often hailed as Bali’s cultural capital but has emerged as a bit of a backpacker and shopping haven away from the beaches. This is the place to partake in a bit of quintessential Balinese massage and Zen yoga overlooking the green countryside, and to see an amazing Kecak Fire Dance in a local temple once the sun goes down.
After that, you’ll push on through the highlands of south-central Bali to the lesser-known valley of Sidemen. That’s one of our secret picks, offering waterfall hikes and volcano views. Later, you’ll head north to go dolphin watching in Lovina and then back south for the white-sand beaches of Sanur. Overall, it’s a cracking package for culture vultures and adventurers, even if it skips much of the hipster south coast and – crucially – the surf.
Bali Beaches with Real Gap
This 8-13-day adventure in the Isle of the Gods might by called Bali Beaches, but it’s not limited to just the one island. It’s basically a whistlestop tour of some of the finest sands and coves that this corner of the Indonesian Nusa Tenggara can muster, with more turquoise lagoons, surf breaks, and snorkeling sessions than you can shake your peanut satay sticks at.
The black-sand strands of ever-vibrant Canggu start things off. You’ll begin with evening sunset drinks in the hip bars down there, followed by a morning at the eye-watering Tanah Lot Temple. Then it’s off Bali itself to hit the next-door isles of Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan, which host the Insta-worthy locations of T-Rex beach and the famous drift dive sites of Tojapakeh reef.
If you pick the longer version of the trip, there’s even time to squeeze on a trip to the island of Lombok (which many say is a bit like Bali from 20 years back, only it has a rich Muslim heritage and even higher volcanos at its heart). Plus, those 13-day tours include a pitstop on Gili Trawangan, the party paradise of the Bali Strait!
Classic Bali with G Adventures
The Classic Bali tour with G Adventures is another attempt to squash all the necessities into a single week. Again, this one transports you from coast to coast through the remote and lush hill landscapes and jungles of south-central Bali, ticking off everything from surfer spots to coffee plantations along the way.
We’d say there are one or two things that help it stand out from the crowd. First, you’ll drop by the coffee growing region of Kintamani. That’s a spectacular corner of the Isle of the Gods with tasty brews plus jaw-dropping views of Mount Batur (Bali’s second-highest volcano). Second, you finish up on the lesser-known beaches of Candi Dasa on the east coast, which are great for escaping the crowds (and, sadly, water pollution) of the south coast.
This is a fully planned itinerary that will set you back around $750 per person. It includes all accommodation in midrange hotels and a mix of public and private transportation options throughout.
Indonesia 360 with We Road
Just as the name implies, the Indonesia 360 tour is about much more than just Bali. It’s a 13-day adventure that takes you through the very heart of the most populous Muslim nation on the planet, crossing the jungles and reserves and volcanic mountain massifs of Java before hopping to the Isle of the Gods and then pushing on even further.
The portion of the trip on Bali itself lasts only three days. That might not sound like all that much but it’s enough time to fit in a walk through of the magical Monkey Forest of Ubud, a clutch of ancient teak trees and Hindu shrines that’s been colonized by cheeky crab-eating macaques. It’s also enough time to hit the beach bars of Kuta.
What’s really great about this trip, though, is that it puts Bali the destination in the context of greater Indo. You’ll see the stark difference between the Hindu cultures of one and the Muslim traditions of the other, get to explore cities like Yogyakarta (a cool hipster and backpacker hub on Java), and watch the sunset over Bali itself from next-door Senggigi.
Bali Experience with Intro Travel
Intro Travel’s flagship Bali adventure is one that we’d say really homes in on the younger crowd out there. It’s a flashpacker trip extraordinaire, offering a chance to hit Old Man’s et al (AKA the coolest beach bars on the island) with plenty of chill time on the side.
Don’t worry – there’s a good dose of culture in there for balance. You’ll see the Hindu shrines of Ubud to finish off, where you can watch Kecak dances and go shopping for batik and specialty coffee. Lovina is also there, with its quieter sands and days of dolphin spotting. The whole itinerary reaches a penultimate zenith with between six and nine days on the Gilis. That’s perfect for partying on Gili T and getting hard-earned massages on Gili Air.
The Bali Experience is hardly a bank-account-bolsterer. It comes in at a cool 1.4k in total. It’s also two full weeks of travel. For something shorter and easier on the wallet, consider picking the nine-day Bali Intro option instead.
Luxury Bali Tour with Jacada Travel
Calling all A-listers. Calling all lottery winners. Jacada Travel offer some of the most bespoke and tailored Bali experiences out there today. Their packages differ from client to client, but are always based in five-star accommodations, usually tucked somewhere between the rice paddies of Ubud with infinity pools that have 180-degree views of the smoking volcanos.
And just because it’s on the higher end of the scale, it certainly doesn’t mean there’s any compromise on the activities that are included. Itineraries with these guys can include heart-thumping ziplines above the rainforests, cycling jaunts that take you through grass-green farm terraces in the company of water buffalo, and hikes to the top of Mount Batur’s hidden caldera lake.
Cost wise and timing wise, there’s really no knowing what you’ll get until you reach out and start piecing together your curated travel plan. Exciting, eh? Just be sure there’s enough dosh to get it all booked!
Bali Boutique Tour with Bali Bucket List Tours
If you’re not one for mainstream tour companies and prefer to keep things independent, then the guys over at Bali Bucket List Tours might have just what you’re after. They run just two curated itineraries that are all about sharing the hidden gems of the island that they’ve fallen in love with over the last several years or so.
We’re focusing on the Boutique Tour here since that’s the crème-de-la-crème of what they do. It’s a touch more upscale than the basic 10-day romp, with ultra-lux accommodation on offer to start things off in Seminyak.
After that initial hit of margaritas on the beach, you’ll move onto the common plan of heading north to Ubud and then over to the Gilis. The finale is on beautiful Nusa Penida, with a bout of snorkeling and swimming in appropriately named Crystal Bay followed by a group meal with the sunset.
The best group tours in Bali – our conclusion
With so many outfitters currently offering group tours to Bali, it can be tricky to know where to begin when you come to book your adventure around the iconic Isle of the Gods. That’s okay – we’re here to help. We’ve been coming to this wave-bashed, jungle-topped rock in the Indian Ocean for more than 10 years, so we know a thing or two about what destinations really should make it onto tour itineraries. This list runs through the seven top choices for 2023, with short romps around Ubud and the Bukit beaches next to longer trips that take in the complete island.