Surfing, yoga, and party – that is what most people think of when Bali comes into the conversation. But what about kayaking in Bali? Surely an island surrounded by water must have some epic places to dip in a paddle for a kayaking adventure.
From the east coast of Bali to the Ayung River, there are some amazing places to go kayaking. You can book to join an official tour company or choose to go solo if you are a competent kayaker.
If you want to have a unique experience and escape hectic Bali with a kayak, make sure you check out these 11 most beautiful destinations in Bali and beyond. We have also included some top tips to keep you safe while kayaking in Indonesia.
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Here are the top places in Bali to head with a kayak! Some are more remote than others, so it is important to stay within your capabilities and always check the conditions.
First up we have the Ayung River, the longest river in Bali. This is a popular tourist attraction for rafting and kayaking from central Bali. It is famous for its white water rapids and picturesque views along the way.
From Ubud, there is over 10 km of white water paddling routes available. These typically take around 1.5 - 2 hours to paddle, depending on your paddling ability. The grade of the river changes with the seasons:
As water levels rise in the wet season, the Ayung River becomes more challenging and can be dangerous, especially during/after heavy rainfall. You should always seek advice and guidance from an adventure tour operator. There are many located along the river, most offering rafting experiences, but some with kayak equipment available.
Lovina needs no introduction. This beautiful destination in the north of Bali offers dreamy ocean escapes shared with even dreamier dolphin encounters. Many backpackers hop on a small group excursion in a local boat. However, if you want to get up close and personal, head out in a kayak for a more intimate experience.
The best time of day to go paddling with the dolphins is at sunrise. Magic fills the air as the sun begins to rise over the water. You will be greeted by several pods almost immediately, with some travelers seeing up to 100 dolphin pods!
Munduk is a charming and quaint village in the Northern mountains of Bali. From here you have access to some of the best-hidden waterfalls on the island! In just about every direction you head in, there will be another waterfall just around the corner.
Tamblingan Lake and Buyan Lake, also known as the Twin Lakes, are also tucked away in this northern outpost of Bali. Most people stick to hiking around these lakes and the surrounding area. This means that when you are out on the water in a kayak, it is serene and tranquil!
Guide and rental top tip: head over to Tamblingan Jungle Track and Lake Canoe Expedition on the south lake for guided tours and boat hire if you do not have your own gear.
Keep going North and you will finally reach Bali’s best-kept secret, the West Bali National Park. This conservation area encompasses the mountains, shoreline, and turquoise coastal waters. Here, culture and nature collide with barking deer weaving around Hindu temples.
When you head out on the waters in this National Park, prepare yourself for vibrant corals and a plethora of marine life. We would also recommend taking a snorkel along for the trip so you can stop mid-kayak for a different viewpoint. These reefs are popular amongst the diving community as well.
Amed is also a popular site for divers to discover the beauty underneath Bali’s surface. Located over on the east coast, heading out in a kayak from Amed offers you unbeatable views of Mount Agung (Bali’s biggest volcano) and across to the Nusa islands.
East coast Bali is the best place to go sea kayaking. Amed is sheltered from Bali’s legendary swells, offering calm waters over unspoiled reefs. For the ultimate kayaking experience at Amed, we say get out there for a sunset paddle on a full moon. This will give you spectacular golden hour colors followed by an immersive lunar view.
Sanur and Nusa Dua are both also on the east coast but are further south heading toward the waves. When swell permits, this stretch of coastline offers perfect beginner-friendly conditions. The golden sands are paired with crystal clear waters making the whole experience magical.
There are rental outfitters and kayaking guides dotted along most of the beaches in the Sanur and Nusa Dua areas. You can also hop on some other fun water activities while you are here, like banana boat rides or surfing.
One of the most loved surf spots in Bali, Batu Bolong beach is quite simply legendary. When swell is about it is best left to the surfers to fight out their waves. But on the more mellow days, kayaking here is perhaps the best way to experience Canggu!
There are no kayak rentals available in the area, so you will need to either find a buddy with a boat or bring your own. From Batu Bolong you can paddle north and explore the other beaches, like Echo Beach, Perernan, or even Seseh for somewhere even quieter.
Up for more of an adventure with your kayak? Here are some of the most dreamy (and remote) destinations in Indonesia that would be amazing to explore by kayak.
Just a short boat ride from Bali is Nusa Lembongan. This small island is magical and breathtaking. From surfing to diving, temple visits to natural phenomena, you can do just about everything here. However, the best place to go kayaking is the mangroves on the north of the island.
Reaching the mangroves is an adventure on its own. Take yourself by a scooter or hop in an organized tour truck to get off the beaten track. Keeping the ocean on your left side, keep following the road around the island, it will look like you are going to a dead end. Suddenly it will open up to the mangroves where you can rent your own boat, paddle board, or join a guide for a tour. The mangroves are such a different side of the island and one that should not be missed!
Also from Nusa Lembongan, you have access to Nusa Cenigan and Nusa Penida. These islands are home to some of the world’s most beautiful (and instagrammable) destinations.
The Gili Islands are our namesake and ultimate destination. A chain of islands located off the coast of Lombok, the Gili’s have superb coral reefs, perfect beaches, and crystal clear waters. Kayaking over these reefs gives you the chance to see turtles, tropical fish, and dolphins.
Whether you head out on a kayak or a paddle board in Gili, just be sure to take a snorkel and fins with you. You are bound to want to jump in for a closer look!
Raja Ampat is as raw and remote as it comes. Best known for its untouched beaches and diverse marine life, this spot is a must-visit for adventure seekers. It is important to note that Raja Ampat is super remote so this is not a suitable trip for beginner kayakers. In fact, for most a kayaking trip to Raja Ampat will probably remain a dream due to reaching it with your gear. But there is nothing wrong with dreaming, right?
Let’s finish with the Komodo National Park. Probably best known for its komodo dragon locals, this region has so much to offer anyone that wants natural beauty and awe-inspiring landscapes. There are several tour operators that offer day trips and multi-day excursions throughout the National Park.
Sea kayaking through Komodo waters offers you an intimate experience of this unbelievable part of Indonesia. Sure, the journey to get there may be long, but you will most certainly be rewarded at the end!
Kayaking in Bali is super fun, but it can also be dangerous at times. It is important to remember how to stay safe while having fun in the water. Here are some top tips and some practical information to help you out:
Bali has two clear seasons every year:
The temperatures do not fluctuate much throughout the year, mostly hovering around 79 degrees Fahrenheit.
While most kayakers opt for the times of the year with high water levels, the wet season is often too unpredictable for kayaking safely. Flash floods can happen, causing significant damage and risk to life. Therefore, the dry season is the best time to kayak in Bali.
Solo kayaking in Bali is possible if you are a confident paddler. There are some rental shops across the island where you can hire kayaking equipment, and enjoy the peace and solitude. However, if you are a beginner kayaker we do advise joining a tour or getting a guide to help you out.
The Ayung River is the best place to go river kayaking and white water rafting in Bali. You get to this river from Ubud in central Bali. We recommend heading out with a tour guide so you get expert guidance along the river and maximize your fun!
Bali’s east coast offers the best sea kayaking opportunities. Between Amed, Nusa Dua, and Sanur you will be able to find dreamy beaches and superb coastlines to enjoy sea kayaking in Bali.
Most travelers enjoy visiting Bali in the dry season, from April to October. Temperatures are at a consistent and comfortable 75 degrees Fahrenheit and the rain is generally minimal. This makes for the best conditions to go kayaking, paddle boarding, and surfing in Bali.
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