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14 Best Places Like Bali (Fewer Crowds + Similar Vibes)

Palm trees and rice terraces in front of a volcano in Bali

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You’re not alone if you’re searching for the best places like Bali. Bali is one of the most popular destinations in Southeast Asia. It’s a gorgeous island, but it’s hugely overtouristed.

Known for its lush landscapes, vibrant culture and wellness vibes, Bali has a lot to offer so it’s no surprise that so many people flock there. 

I loved Bali when I visited several years ago, but mass tourism has become a huge problem – causing higher prices, affecting locals and damaging the environment in the process.

So, if you want to avoid the crowds and find some of the best alternatives to Bali, I’ve got you covered! Here’s my pick of 14 of the best places like Bali to visit and add to your travel list this year!

Best Bali alternatives for 2024

1 Sri Lanka

An aerial view of a villa set amongst dense tropical jungle by the sea in Sri Lanka

First on the list of places like Bali is Sri Lanka. This island country off the coast of India is a tropical paradise with many similarities to Bali. 

Sweeping golden beaches, breathtaking rural scenery and incredible cultural sites are all part and parcel of Sri Lanka. It’s also a destination that’s amazing for wildlife with national parks that are perfect for a safari.

Whatever your interests, there’s something to love about Sri Lanka! Plus, if you want luxury, Sri Lanka has some of the most heavenly accommodation.

As one of the world’s most picturesque and culture-rich locations, Sri Lanka has so much to offer. It’s a real bucket list destination… yet, it isn’t as popular as Bali. 

In fact – tourists are needed to help Sri Lanka recover from Covid and its economic crisis. So if you want a more authentic experience than Bali, this is a country that needs to be on your list!

📸 Things to see & do in Sri Lanka: Visit temples & cultural sites, ride the scenic Ella to Kandy train, visit a tea plantation, go hiking, relax at a wellness retreat, go surfing, go on safari

Best time to visit: December to March
Where to stay: Uga Ulagalla

2 Thailand

3 traditional, wooden boats in shallow sea surrounded by rugged limestone cliffs in Thailand

As two of the top destinations in Southeast Asia, Thailand and Bali are often compared. They share a lot of similarities, so Thailand’s a good alternative if you don’t want to go to Bali.

As a country rather than an island, Thailand has loads to offer. There are diverse areas to explore and quieter spots you could travel to as well.

Across Thailand, you’ll find gorgeous natural settings that definitely rival Bali’s. From lush rural scenery and mountains in the north to breathtaking national parks and pristine beaches, there’s lots to fall in love with.

One of my favourite spots is Khao Sok National Park with its lake, jungle and limestone cliffs.

You’ll also find beautiful temples, bustling cities and paradise islands in Thailand. Away from the beach parties and vibrant nightlife, you can stay at some of the world’s best wellness retreats and luxe resorts, too.

📸 Things to see & do in Thailand: Relax at the beach, see temples, enjoy the nightlife, visit an elephant sanctuary, go snorkelling & diving, go island hopping, book a Thai massage

Best time to visit: November to March
Where to stay: Rayavadee

3 Fiji

A hammock between two palm trees on a deserted white-sand beach in Fiji on a sunny day

Fiji is a tropical gem that epitomises paradise. An isolated country made up of over 300 islands in the South Pacific, Fiji boasts all the best landscapes and scenery. It’s a picture-perfect destination that’s just as worth visiting as Bali.

Obviously, the beaches and coral reefs are the big draw of Fiji. In my opinion, Fiji’s beaches are significantly better than Bali’s. Fiji’s islands have some of the world’s best beaches… But, there’s loads more to this destination, too!

READ MORE: Best 12-Day Fiji Island Hopping Itinerary

As one of the best places to visit like Bali, Fiji also has lush landscapes, great hiking spots and wild rural scenery.

The country’s third largest island, Taveuni, is an amazing choice if you want idyllic Bali vibes – it’s an eco paradise with rainforests, waterfalls and so much natural beauty. 

Compared to Bali, Fiji is a much more chilled-out destination. It has a lot fewer tourists so it’s also ideal if you want a peaceful, romantic or private escape.

READ MORE: Is Fiji Boring or Worth Visiting?

📸 Things to see & do in Fiji: Relax at the beach, go island hopping, join cultural experiences, visit traditional villages, go diving & snorkelling, take boat trips, go hiking

Best time to visit: May to October
Where to stay: Six Senses Fiji

4 Lombok, Indonesia

A view across rural hilly green landscape in Lombok, Indonesia

Bali isn’t the only destination in Indonesia that’s worth visiting. As a country made up of thousands of islands, there are lots of places in Indonesia that have a similar offering to Bali… minus the crowds!

Lombok is one of the closest islands to Bali and is an amazing place to visit. Thanks to its location, you can still expect the same breathtaking scenery that Bali is known for.

You’ll be able to explore waterfalls, beaches and incredible volcanic landscapes. And – you’ll have a lot more space to enjoy it all.

RELATED: Best Alternative Destinations to Visit in 2024

As a much quieter destination than Bali, Lombok has a slightly different vibe. It’s a lot more relaxed and is less developed so it feels more authentic. It could be your perfect destination if you want a back-to-nature, Bali-style getaway that feels peaceful and secluded!

📸 Things to see & do in Lombok: Chase waterfalls, go hiking, see rice terraces, go volcano trekking, relax at the beach, try surfing, take a boat trip

Best time to visit: April to September
Where to stay: The Oberoi Beach Resort, Lombok

5 Kerala, India

A traditional houseboat in Kerala on a river lined with palm trees

Known for its beaches, backwaters and amazing Ayurvedic wellness retreats, Kerala is one of the best places like Bali in India! It’s a destination that’s exotic, unique and offers the perfect blend of relaxation and adventure. 

Like Bali, Kerala has gorgeous diverse landscapes as well as a rich and vibrant culture with loads to see and do. It’s also a foodie paradise.

As a destination that’s known for its natural beauty, Kerala is a really great choice for a chilled-out vacation. You’ll find nature resorts, luxury beach hotels and secluded wellness retreats that are beyond dreamy.

You can also stay in a traditional Alleppey houseboat surrounded by lush scenery.   

If you want to immerse yourself in local culture, Kerala also ticks the right boxes. It’s a place where you’ll be able to experience an incredible mix of culture and traditions.

📸 Things to see & do in Kerala: Cruise the backwaters, go tea tasting, relax at a spa, join a cooking class, relax at the beach, spot wildlife in Periyar National Park

Best time to visit: November to March
Where to stay: Taj Green Cove Resort and Spa Kovalam

6 St Lucia

A view across palm trees and lush jungle looking towards two volcanic mountain peaks in St Lucia

St Lucia is known for being one of the most romantic islands in the Caribbean. It’s a destination that’s synonymous with honeymoons and is a gorgeous destination if you’re planning a couples escape.

As well as having some of the most beautiful palm-fringed beaches, St Lucia is a nature paradise with lush dramatic scenery that matches Bali’s. 

There are loads of breathtaking natural spots in St Lucia with untouched rainforests and nature reserves, waterfalls and mountains. You’ll also find volcanic landscapes as well as mineral-rich mud baths and hot springs.

Compared to Bali, St Lucia is definitely a more expensive, luxury option. But, that means it’s perfect for a once-in-a-lifetime vacation or special getaway.

You’ll also find incredible, romantic resorts and fewer tourists so you’ll get plenty of privacy.

📸 Things to see & do in St Lucia: Hike the Piton Mountains, relax in hot springs, enjoy the beach, explore rainforests, go birdwatching, go scuba diving & snorkelling, take a sunset cruise, chase waterfalls

Best time to visit: December to April
Where to stay: Jade Mountain

7 Langkawi, Malaysia

An aerial view of a mountainous jungle in Langkawi with a modern bridge crossing the treetops

Langkawi in Malaysia is a good bet if you want all the tropical vibes of Bali but in a much quieter setting. As a paradise destination made up of 99 islands, you’ll find beautiful sandy beaches and lots of nature.

Langkawi is a great destination if you want to relax on the beach or go island hopping. But it’s also known for its wildlife so you’ll find mangrove forests, mountainous jungles and waterfalls to explore, too. 

If you love the idea of Bali’s cool beach bars, you’ll also find similar in Langkawi. Pantai Cenang is the most popular beach area where you can lounge on a beanbag and enjoy a drink at sunset. 

Or, if you want to get away from it all and keep to yourself, you’ll also find dreamy accommodation that’s secluded and luxurious. They’re the perfect setting for a blissful retreat.

📸 Things to see & do in Langkawi: Ride the SkyCab cable car & visit the SkyBridge, take a mangrove tour, go island hopping, visit night markets, relax at the beach

Best time to visit: November to April
Where to stay: The Datai Langkawi

8 Madeira, Portugal

An aerial view of a rugged cliffside with a waterfall spilling into turquoise waters

There aren’t many places like Bali in Europe, but Madeira is one of the exceptions. Part of Portugal, but closer to the coast of Northern Africa, Madeira is a gorgeous volcanic island that has a ton to offer.

Known as the Hawaii of Europe, Madeira has some of the most breathtaking scenery that definitely rivals Bali’s.

It’s an incredible destination for exploring – you’ll find stunning wild terrain with jaw-dropping natural scenery.

A trip to Madeira is largely focused on nature and hiking and you’ll find beautiful trails across diverse landscapes. 

Similarly to Bali, it’s also a destination that’s great for surfing and scuba diving as well as whale and dolphin watching. It definitely needs to be on your list as a top place like Bali if you want a back-to-nature vacay!

📸 Things to see & do in Madeira: Join a whale & dolphin watching tour, go hiking, dip in natural swimming pools, go surfing & scuba diving, explore the city of Funchal

Best time to visit: April to October
Where to stay: Quinta Jardins do Lago

9 Costa Rica

A view across lush rural landscape with a volcano in the background

It’s not hard to see why Costa Rica is one of the best places like Bali. This gorgeous country is a lush, natural paradise with beaches, jungles and volcanoes.

It’s also an incredible wellness destination with loads of yoga and spiritual retreats.

Nature is the big draw of a visit to Costa Rica. It’s one of the world’s best ecotourism destinations with a number of national parks and nature reserves. It’s a picture-perfect place to explore.

You’ll find loads to see and do if you visit – from volcano trekking and wildlife watching to jungle zip-lining. Like Bali, Costa Rica is also an amazing destination for surfing. Plus, you’ll find beach bars if all you want to do is relax.

In Costa Rica, you can also stay in a rainforest eco lodge, which will be just as dreamy as a Balinese villa.

📸 Things to see & do in Costa Rica: Go volcano trekking, go jungle zip-lining & canyoning, learn to surf, go wildlife watching, chase waterfalls, join a wellness retreat, relax on the beach

Best time to visit: November to April
Where to stay: Makanda by The Sea Hotel

10 Seychelles

A drone view of granite rocks and jungle beside a pristine white-sand beach and turquoise sea in the Seychelles

If you’re dreaming of a secluded island paradise, the Seychelles needs to be top of your list of places to go like Bali. This remote destination is made up of 115 islands and is a heavenly option for beach lovers.

Admittedly, the Seychelles doesn’t have every likeness of Bali, but it’s still on the list thanks to its spectacular scenery!

As well as some of the world’s most stunning beaches, you’ll also find nature reserves, marine parks and breathtaking landscapes.

There’s a big focus on wildlife and nature so it’s a top choice if you want zen and space to get away from it all.

Because the Seychelles has so many islands, it’s great if you want to go island hopping. It also means you’ll be able to find somewhere with a lot more privacy. 

Unfortunately, this is a destination that’s a lot more expensive than Bali. But, it’s a good option if you’re planning an extra special vacation or a luxury honeymoon.

📸 Things to see & do in the Seychelles: Go island hopping, enjoy pristine beaches, go snorkelling, see giant tortoises, try sea kayaking, visit nature reserves, take boat trips

Best time to visit: April to May & October to November
Where to stay: North Island

11 Sumba, Indonesia

An aerial view of a traditional village beside the sea in Sumba, Indonesia

Despite being close to Bali, Sumba island is an untouched gem in Indonesia. This unspoilt and largely under-visited destination is packed with natural wonders so it’s a fantastic alternative to Bali.

This remote paradise is all kinds of perfect and has everything you could want from a fantastic island getaway!

It’s very similar to Bali with lots for every type of traveller to experience – from gorgeous palm-fringed beaches and crystal clear waters to jungles and tumbling waterfalls.  

With little in the way of development, Sumba is an amazing choice if you want a quiet experience away from the hordes of crowds.

There’s also a big focus on tradition and culture in Sumba. And unlike Bali which is very tourist-focused, Sumba feels more authentic and special!

📸 Things to see & do in Sumba: Visit traditional villages, go surfing, see beautiful landscapes & waterfalls, enjoy downtime at the beach, go snorkelling, go horse riding

Best time to visit: April to October
Where to stay: NIHI Sumba

12 Hawaii, USA

A road cutting through dense jungle and mountains in Hawaii

There aren’t many places that can compete with Hawaii when it comes to natural scenery. These islands are beyond beautiful with tropical vibes that give Bali a run for its money.

Beautiful golden sands, lush rainforests and jaw-dropping landscapes are all a given on a trip to Hawaii.

There are several islands to choose from but Kauai is amazing if you want to make the most of this impressive wild scenery.

As one of the best places like Bali, Hawaii offers a ton of similar things to do. As well as the obvious nature-focused activities like hiking, volcano trekking and waterfall chasing, you can also relax on the beach, surf and go scuba diving, too. 

📸 Things to see & do in Hawaii: Visit Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, go hiking or horse riding, go snorkelling, learn to surf, visit waterfalls, join a dolphin watching tour

Best time to visit: April to October
Where to stay: 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay

13 Tulum, Mexico

Traditional Mayan ruins among jungle and palm trees on a cliff beside the sea in Tulum

Although it’s not one of the quieter destinations, Tulum still deserves a spot on this list of places like Bali. This popular Mexican destination has a laid-back tropical vibe with lots of similarities to Bali.

If you’re dreaming of a bohemian, back-to-nature setting, Tulum has you covered. It’s known for its eco resorts that have a luxe-rustic feel. Plus, it’s big for wellness and yoga, which makes it feel a lot more like Bali. 

In Tulum, you’ll also find beautiful beaches, gorgeous cenotes and fascinating cultural spots to explore.

It’s a really lovely setting with dreamy paradise vibes. It’s also a good base for exploring the rest of the Yucatan Peninsula.

As a busier destination, Tulum isn’t the best place for a private vacation. However, if you’re travelling from the US or UK, it’s much easier to reach than Bali, so it’s a good option if you want a simpler journey and more time to relax.

📸 Things to see & do in Tulum: Explore Mayan ruins, swim in cenotes, sunbathe at the beach, browse boutique shops, rent bicycles, go snorkelling, join a yoga retreat, take a boat trip

Best time to visit: December to April
Where to stay: La Valise Tulum

14 Palawan, Philippines

A secluded bay in Palawan with cragged limestone cliffs, turquoise waters and traditional boats

Palawan is one of those places that really wows. It’s a Bali alternative that’s absolutely gorgeous with secluded beaches, dramatic coastal scenery and incredible turquoise waters. 

There’s a big focus on water activities in this part of the Philippines – from boat trips and island hopping to snorkelling and diving.

Compared with Bali, Palawan has better beaches so it’s a heavenly choice if you want stretches of sands fringed with palm trees.

Like Bali, Palawan also boasts landscapes that are amazing for exploring. You’ll be able to trek through rainforests, chase waterfalls as well as try zip-lining and rock climbing. 

The famous areas of El Nido and Coron can get busy in Palawan. But, there are other islands and spots across the province that are worth looking into if you want an unspoilt destination with fewer crowds.

📸 Things to see & do in Palawan: Go island hopping, relax on the beach, try sea kayaking, explore an underground river, swim & snorkel, go hiking & rock climbing

Best time to visit: November to May
Where to stay: Cauayan Island Resort and Spa

Similar places like Bali FAQs

Several palm trees on golden sand beside the sea in Sri Lanka

Is Bali similar to Thailand?

There are definitely some similarities between Thailand and Bali. Both are gorgeous tropical destinations that are rich in culture and have some of the world’s most photogenic landscapes.

However, Thailand is an entire country rather than just one island. Thailand also has more in the way of white sandy beaches than Bali, as well as a different culture and much livelier nightlife.

You can see all the similarities and differences in my post: Bali or Thailand: Which is Better?

Is Bali like Bora Bora?

Bali and Bora Bora are similar in that they are both tropical island destinations, but they cater to different types of travellers.

Bora Bora has a much bigger focus on beaches. It’s also a lot more of a luxury or honeymoon destination with upscale resorts and overwater bungalows.

RELATED: 14 Must-Visit Places Like Bora Bora

Bali on the other hand doesn’t compare with its beaches, but it does have rich culture, lush scenery and loads more for adventure travellers to do. If you want to get out and explore, Bali is probably your better bet!

Where is as beautiful as Bali?

There are lots of places that are just as beautiful as Bali. Hawaii is considered one of the world’s most photogenic destinations.

In Southeast Asia, the Philippines and Thailand boast gorgeous landscapes. You’ll also find incredible beaches in places like the Seychelles and Fiji.

Are there places like Bali in Europe?

Unfortunately, there aren’t many places in Europe that are like Bali. A big highlight of Bali is its lush tropical scenery, which isn’t found in Europe. An exception to this is Madeira. Thanks to its location, Madeira has a subtropical climate and amazing scenery that contends with Bali’s!

What are the best places like Bali for a honeymoon?

There are so many amazing places like Bali that are perfect for a honeymoon. The Seychelles, Fiji and St Lucia are all great traditional options for couples.

If you want a back-to-nature honeymoon, Costa Rica is also an incredible Bali alternative.

A pristine, empty beach fringed with palm trees and clear waters in Costa Rica

Is Bali worth visiting?

Even though Bali can feel busy, it doesn’t have to be completely dismissed. There’s a reason why this island attracts so many tourists – it’s incredibly beautiful and has lots to offer.

If you still want to visit, I’d recommend going outside the peak season and heading to some of the less popular spots. The north of Bali, for example, sees fewer tourists than places like Ubud and Canggu.

Final thoughts on the best places like Bali

Across the globe, there are lots of places that are similar to Bali. Whether your focus is nature, beaches, culture or wellness, there are plenty of alternative Bali choices that are just as good.

From Sri Lanka to Sumba, so many destinations are equally as heavenly as Bali and will often give you a more authentic travel experience, too!

READ MORE: Bali vs Fiji: Which Is the Best Vacation Spot?
READ MORE: Best Honeymoon Destinations in Southeast Asia
READ MORE: 7 Best Mamanuca Island Resorts in Fiji 

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